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What would keep us from a confident look to the future?

” . . . Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith . . . ” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

* FAILURE TO CONCLUDE that the blessings of the past are with us in equal measure in the present in order to reassure us for the future.

* FAILURE TO APPRECIATE that the trials of the past were to mature us for today and to train us to persevere in true faith in the future.

* FAILURE TO BELIEVE that the fierce personal enemy who relentlessly seeks to devour us is Satan who rebelled against God, was vanquished by Christ, and thus in and through Christ is a defeated foe.

* FAILURE TO ADMIT that sin is the great malady afflicting the human race ever since Adam’s fall in the Garden; and that as a chain reaction sin has been and shall be handed down by inheritance from one generation to the next.

* FAILURE TO SEE that the solution to the problem of sin and evil in this world is to be found in God’s free grace towards us in the person and work of His Son, not in our past works, our present piety, or our future efforts.

* FAILURE TO UNDERSTAND that grace is that quality in God which moved Him to grant salvation as a free gift in Christ Jesus who was virgin-born in Bethlehem, crucified on Calvary, rose, ascended and now lives and reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords in heaven.

* FAILURE TO KNOW the necessity of true repentance which sees sin as an affront to the righteous and holy God, makes daily confession of sin, and trusts in His Son Jesus Christ who cleanses from all sin.

* FAILURE TO CONFESS the vital role of the Holy Spirit in our faith-life–from His calling us to faith in the past, to His keeping us in the faith till the present time, and His earnest desire to nurture that faith in the future through the Means of Grace in Word and Sacrament.

* FAILURE TO DETERMINE that trusting in God’s providence begins by accepting God’s creation of the world out of nothing through the power of His almighty Word; further, that all credit belongs to God for upholding this world, for giving us all that we possess; for making us what we were, are, and shall be, and that no credit is ascribed to past luck, our present ingenuity or private enterprise, or our future “fate.”

* FAILURE TO REALIZE that the Kingdom of God was established by God as a spiritual kingdom, now exists wherever there are believers in Christ, and shall be seen in its full glory not now in time, but hereafter in eternity.

* FAILURE TO ACKNOWLEDGE that the Word of God was our sustaining strength in the past, is our precious heritage today, and shall be our confidence and hope in and for the future.

* FAILURE TO TRUST that the blessings we possess by faith today rest upon past accomplished facts as revealed in the authoritative Scriptures, and that for the future our faith must be reposed on the promises of God contained in those same inerrant Scriptures.

O God, Our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Be Thou our Guard while troubles last And our eternal Home!

Note: Some years ago a congregation we served undertook what was called a “Look to the Future” program which included a building project. These statements were written at that time for the purpose of reassuring the members about the future. Perhaps there is something of inspirational value here for all of us as, by God’s grace, we prepare to enter the year 2001. — Pastor Paul Fleischer (Editor)