“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14
A cycle, according to the dictionary, is a series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order.
For example, our automatic washing machines go through cycles. First, is the filling cycle; then the agitation cycle; after that the spinning cycle; next the first cycle is repeated to fill the machine for the rinse cycle; then follows the last spin cycle.
We take out those clean clothes, put in more dirty ones, and the cycles repeat themselves, over and over again.
In the book of Joshua, chapter 1, we read about the death of Moses, and Israel’s new leader, who took Moses’ place. A man named Joshua became the new leader of millions of Israelites who had left Egypt from bondage, toward the Promised Land.
To a certain extent, we can compare this situation with our own lives…just as Moses had died, 2014 has died. It’s in our past. It’s buried. We will never ever see it again. Joshua could never again say to Moses the things he wanted to tell him, because Moses was dead. And so it is with us, we can’t change those negative things we said or did in 2014. The only leader that the children of Israel had after the death of Moses was Joshua. The only thing you and I have, friend, is 2015. We will never have another opportunity to go back and “dig up” the corpse of 2014.
Did you know that no one saw Moses die? No one saw his body. Perhaps there were times when Joshua didn’t know what to do. We can just imagine Joshua saying to the Lord, “Lord, do you suppose Moses really died? Is it possible that he may still be alive? Could we maybe go back and look for him, so that he can help me with this problem, to help me make the right decision?”
No! They would never again see Moses, because he was dead.
Friend, 2014 has died. We can’t live it over again. It’s time to bury it.
What’s keeping you from doing that?
Life also has cycles. The lesson today is this: we must close cycles. It is a blessing to be able to enter into a new cycle…a New Year.
Let’s compare our problems and our failures to the life of Moses, and 2014 with the desert. Joshua is going to represent us. The time came when Joshua had to realize that Moses didn’t exist anymore. No one saw him die. In the last chapter of Deuteronomy, verse 6 tells us that God buried Moses. And in the last part of that verse we’re told, “but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.” What you and I should do with our problems, with last year’s failures is:
1. Realize that the desert is in the past. Joshua had to decide to leave Moses in the desert where he had died, where God buried him. What problems or sorrows did you go through in 2014? Maybe you’ve tried to change situations, relationships in your life, and you can’t. It’s causing you even more sorrow, regret, insomnia, physical problems. Let God bury it. If you will give your “Moses” to God so that He can bury him, you won’t be able to find him. Did you commit a sin, or several sins in 2014, that you feel have caused irreparable damage? If you have confessed them, and if you’ve done everything you know to restore the damage, God has forgiven you. Psalm 103:12 assures us, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” I have found such comfort in the words of Jeremiah 50:20, “In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” Just read Ephesians 1:7: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” And what about I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And Micah 7:19? “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Maybe you can’t. Tell the Lord to take your sins, and put them under the ground. Or even better, “As far as the east is from the west,…”
2. Realize that new opportunities to serve others lie ahead of you. Joshua 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel.” Moses would have been a hindrance to Joshua, dragging his stinky body through the desert. Did you know there may be corpses in your life? One is called remorse. The other is called guilt. While you are dragging those corpses from 2014, you are hindering your effectiveness as a wife, as a mother, as a friend, and as a child of God. You can’t fulfill your responsibilities; these corpses produce “stinky” negative attitudes, which in turn, affect others.
3. Determine that your strengths are going to focus on things that really count. Joshua 1:6 “Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.” Did you make mistakes in 2014? I did. We all did. Ask God to forgive you, and focus on the future.
4. Close out the cycle of 2014, with all its corpses.
a) Realize what you did right.
b) Accept what went wrong.
c) Learn from what you did right, and keep doing it; and what you did wrong, and don’t repeat it. Balance the books, just like a businesswoman does at the end of the year.
d) Just do it; start all over again; have a new vision.
God also gives us a new day every twenty-four hours. Days also represent cycles. Lamentations 3:22, 23 says, “It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” We can apply this same “cycle principle” every morning. It isn’t necessary to wait another year to start all over. We can do this every morning.
Tomorrow morning get up and thank God for another opportunity to serve Him better today than we did yesterday.