“Do you know where you’re going to?”

diana-ross
Diana Ross

 

No apologies today for a post to make us think – me included!

There is so much good in our world, yet so often these days we hear the tragic news of promising young lives cut short. Just this weekend we heard of the fatal shooting of Prince William County Police Officer Ashley Guindon near Woodbridge, Virginia, USA. Ashley was only 29 years old, and was on her first shift after only being sworn in the day before. Ashley was shot while investigating a domestic disturbance in which the suspect’s wife also died. Two other officers were injured.

1602 - Ashley Guindon
Ashley Guindon (centre)

Ashley was a talented individual. She held a degree in aeronautics and a license to fly historical aircraft. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.

If there is one thing we can learn from this tragic incident, it is that we cannot take the future for granted, no matter how old we are. When applying to draw certain types of pension, the finance company will estimate how many years they think you have left to live – what a reality check! Yet that estimate may be years out. However, the question should not be, “How long have I got left?”, but “Do I know where I’m going to when it happens?”

Every year millions of us pay our annual subscription for breakdown cover in case we need to call out a mechanic on our journey. We want to make sure we arrive at our destination; but surely our eternal destination is of far greater importance?

The good news is that there is a Divine Power, a Supreme Being, our Creator, who knows all about us, including how long we’ve got left, yet loves and cares for us. He offers us a fresh start, forgiveness and peace of mind now, not based on what we’ve done, but based on what Jesus did for each one of us, when He went to the cross in our place, paying the price for our record of wrong. He offers us a life of freedom, purpose and hope, and not only that, but also a new life in eternity.

With all that on offer, the question comes to mind, as sung by artists including Thelma Houston, Diana Ross and  Mariah Carey:

“Do you know where you’re going to?

Do you like the things that life is showing you

Where are you going to?

Do you know?

Do you get

What you’re hoping for

When you look behind you

There’s no open door

What are you hoping for?

Do you know?”

One day, when you step into eternity, you will look behind you and there’ll be no open door, no way back. Will you then be glad you made the best decision ever, knowing perfect love, acceptance, peace and security or will your future be filled with regret? An ancient spiritual leader once said, “Choose life!”

“Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” is a song written by Michael Masser and Gerald Goffin, and recorded by American singers Thelma Houston in 1973, and most notably Diana Ross as the theme to the 1975 Motown/Paramount film Mahogany.

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Happy New Year!

2012 - written in the sand
Time passes

A very Happy New Year to you all!

What a year 2011 turned out to be; earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ; an earthquake and tsunami in Japan; political earthquakes spreading across the Arab world; financial earthquakes in Europe; the death of Osama Bin laden; a tragic shooting incident in Norway; disastrous storms in the USA; a new nation in Africa, South Sudan, and two royal weddings in the UK! Will 2012 be more of the same?

On a more personal level, today is the first working day of a new year for many of us. What sort of year are you hoping for? A happier one? A more successful one? Are you hoping to weigh less, drink less or spend less? And what are you bringing with you into 2012?

Were you hurt last year? Were you cheated? Did you fail last year? I know I did. Some of us begin a new year by bringing with us the disappointments, the failures and the regrets of the past twelve months. These sorts of things weigh us down. Forgiveness and letting go of the past can work wonders. Now is an opportunity for a new start; last year has gone. Look ahead, not back to the past. You can’t undo the past, but you can improve on it.

Our Creator is continually working to make things new, and He wants to do the same in your life, if you’ll let Him. As God once said through the prophet Isaiah:

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Time passes, and as it does we can be reassured that His love for us never falters. Another prophet, Jeremiah, also spoke for God, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Don’t look back!

Colin Bell of Manchester City
Colin Bell of Manchester City

Last Saturday was an important day for the City of Manchester. On the same day that Manchester City won the FA Cup, Manchester United became Premier League champions. In recent years City fans have been those who looked back, particularly to a three year period from 1968 – 1970, when they won four major trophies under the leadership of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison. Now however, they can look forward with renewed hope for a brighter future.

For those who still look back, wise King Solomon once remarked, “Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10) Why not? Because the more time we spend focussing on the past, the less effort we are putting into preparing for, or even improving, our future.

Looking back isn’t all bad of course. We can learn from the past – that’s something our world needs to do more of. For those who know Yeshua (Jesus), looking back spurs us on as we move forward. As we look back to the death of Yeshua on the cross, we are reminded that we are forgiven, cleansed, made new; we have been freed from a guilty conscience. And as we look back to His resurrection, we realise that we have the power and the permission to live a new life. Our future is not the grave, but a new quality of life in God’s presence. How about you? Are you still holding onto the past or are you making the most of your time to create a brighter tomorrow?

Our Creator certainly wants you to make the most of your future. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)