Yesterday is Gone

The Beatles made a huge hit singing “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away”. And others waxed poetic about how “Yesterday’s gone” and how they remember “Yesterday when I was young” and so on.

Yesterday’s Hold

The reason “yesterday” has such a hold on people’s lives is that we all carry the past into the present and beyond that into the future. Yesterday is the time we sowed certain things into our lives and today we reap the harvest. So yesterday is a powerful component of ‘today’ and it will still be making its presence felt when we get to tomorrow.

The Catholic Church teaches people to go to confession to deal with the sins of yesterday. Someone sneered at the habit of some who sin during the week and look for forgiveness in the confessional on the weekend. They said it was like sowing wild oats all week and then praying for a crop failure.

The Hindu faith respects the baggage of yesterday as karma, which we carry not only through this life, but into future lives which Hindus believe they will face. Gautama Buddha, who rejected the Hindu teaching of reincarnation, went so far as to say that we cannot remove our Karma even in a thousand lifetimes.

Yesterday’s Debris

Here are just a few of the things we bring with from yesterday, even though yesterday is gone.

We bring our disappointments from yesterday. We face disappointments with others, such as our parents and family. But we also face disappointments with ourselves.

We bring our broken relationships from yesterday. Once we have offended someone else or they have offended us that damage remains, often throughout life. Family reunions and community life become tinged with the hurt and offence that we feel toward others and they feel toward us.

We bring our compromises from yesterday. Once we have compromised our values and character that becomes a weak spot for us from that time on.

We bring our slaveries from yesterday. When we give in to sin, such as anger, pride, jealousy or lust, that thing enslaves us and it controls us throughout our lives.

Today’s Harvest

It is also true, as the Bible teaches, that our actions and choices involve us sowing seeds in our lives. A seed not only remains, but it germinates and produces a whole crop. So when we sow something into our life, we are setting up a harvest in the future.

Today’s harvest is filled with the fruit of the things we planted yesterday. If we planted selfishness, pride, anger, greed, violence, self-pity, wilfulness, addiction, lies or other evil things, we will have an evil harvest today.

If we planted forgiveness, faith, love, trust, humility and the fear of God then we will have a much better harvest today than others might have.

Yesterday is not ‘Gone’

While the songs might say, “yesterday’s gone” it isn’t true. Yesterday has passed, but it has not ‘gone’. Yesterday lives with you today.

Just as yesterday’s piano lessons undergird today’s musicianship and yesterday’s studies undergird today’s understanding, yesterday’s moral choices undergird today’s character.

Transforming Yesterday

“You can’t go back in time” is one way to look at it. “What’s done is done!” might be your way of dismissing the past. But there are powerful ways of unlocking the past and transforming yesterday. Let me briefly outline two of them.

Confession of Sin is a powerful way to unlock and transform yesterday. When you repent of the choices you made in the past God is able to set you free from the debris and consequences of those choices in the present. You can actually get a crop failure, even though you sowed lots of wild oats.

God can go back in time. While you are stuck in the time-space continuum, God exists outside of time. So He is able to go back to your past and make Himself present, bringing healing to things that are part of your yesterday that has ‘gone’ from you.

A Testimony

A friend of mine named Malcolm visited a lady who had chronic problems. When he prayed for her she had a vision of a baby crying in a cot. She realised that she was seeing herself as a tiny baby. She sensed the extreme distress of the baby and it connected with the pain that kept surfacing in her life.

A spirit of intercession came on Mal and he began to weep for her. As he did she saw in her vision that the door to the baby’s room opened and Jesus walked in. Jesus lifted the baby into His arms and as He did the woman felt all her pain and torment drain from her life.

It was as if Jesus was able to go back in time to the entry point of the woman’s troubles and resolve them, even though that was now many years past.

Saying Good-bye to Yesterday

If yesterday has brought its bad baggage with it into your today then be encouraged to say “Good-bye” to that stuff. You can remove it forever by confession and by asking the Lord to unlock and heal your past.

The Steps to Release, which I have written about in my books and in other posts, will be helpful in this process.

I want you to live in the freedom with which Christ has made you free. I want you to be able to say, in all reality, that Yesterday is Gone! Keep all that is good from yesterday and unlock and remove all that is bad. Once you’ve said “Good-bye” to yesterday’s rubbish you will have an even better future to look forward to.

Any Old Bush Will Do

At Bible College in New Zealand in the late 1970’s I was advised to read Major Ian Thomas’ book, “The Saving Life of Christ”, and in particular, his chapter titled “Any Old Bush Will Do”. I followed that advice and am so glad I did.

Let me share with you some of the significant impact of that chapter.

Major Thomas deals with the life of Moses, pointing out that he had every advantage to prepare him to be the Lord’s servant. He was raised with all the wisdom of Egypt. In terms of worldly preparation he was about as equipped as a natural man could be to do just about anything on the planet.

Moses was also prepared by his spiritual heritage to be a deliverer of the Israelites. Yet when Moses stepped out to do his thing, going to the aid of a fellow Israelite by killing an Egyptian, his whole life fell into a heap. Instead of being a deliverer he became a fugitive. Instead of rallying all his resources to serve God, he proved that he had nothing to offer, despite all that he had gained.

Moses burned out in one short blaze of emotion. At age forty, with decades of supreme preparation equipping him to be a leader par excellence, Moses burned it all in one hasty action.

For the next forty years of his life Moses was on the back-side of the desert, in Midian, looking after sheep in a remote wilderness region. He lost the dainty delicacies of Pharaoh’s household. He lost the pomp and circumstance of his stately position. He lost contact with the people he had hoped to save. He also lost his arrogance and even his self-confidence to be of any use at all.

Then he saw that bush. There, on the side of a mountain, was a bush that just kept on burning. It caught his attention until he could not resist going to inspect this phenomenon. What was it with this bush that it didn’t just become a heap of dusty ash? How could this miserable, scrubby bush blaze on with such persistence, for such a long time?

Moses had burned out in one blaze of failure. This bush burned and burned and burned. It was not burnt out in an instant, even though that what we would expect from a bush in the wilderness.

When Moses approached the bush, God called to Him from the flames and changed the entire direction of his life. Moses, the one-time self-assured and self-proclaimed agent of God, was now standing face to face with the presence of God. And in that blazing presence God gave him the commissioning that was all divine, and not motivated by the human breast.

Ian Thomas imagines a conversation between God and Moses, in which God answers the question that must have been in Moses’ mind. How could a bush of no real substance burn with such enduring flame and persistent blaze? What did that bush possess that it could perform as no other bush could?

God’s reply is, “Do you see that bush over there? That scruffy, scraggy looking thing – THAT bush would have done. Do you see this beautiful looking bush, so stately and fine – THIS bush would have done. For you see, Moses, any old bush will do – ANY old bush – if only God is in the bush!”

“Moses you learned all of Egypt’s wisdom and became confident in yourself. You thought you were some bush! But you burned out and have been a heap of ashes for 40 years.”

“If this bush that you admire were dependent on its substance to keep burning it would have burned out in no time – it would be a heap of ashes like you. But it is not the bush that sustains the flame, it is God in the bush, and so ANY old bush will do!”

Major Thomas points out that many of God’s men were prepared by failure. Their failure disconnected them from self-reliance. It was almost a pre-requisite, to erase self-confidence and ready them for reliance on God. So, even failure is not a problem for God. Rather, it is part of the preparation program.

Have you notched up a failure or two? Have you been faced with the cold reality of your limitations and ineptitude? Have you managed to burn yourself out in a short-lived blaze of hopeful ambition?

If so, then you are ready to go to the burning bush. You are ready for that life-changing revelation that it is not the bush that does the job, but God who empowers the bush. It is God who works in us, both to will and to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

I have met some strange bushes in my day. Often those bushes are treated with suspicion by on-lookers. Even now there are people who are offended at Todd Bentley and the Lakeland, Florida Revival, since Todd and his team don’t match people’s expectations. I have met people who seem too pompous and others who seem too uncouth. I have met people who are too lacking in culture and education and others who are too preoccupied with both. Yet I have seen God move through all kinds of bushes.

You may be the strangest bush ever created, but if God is empowering you and burning through you, then you can have as much impact on a nation or generation as that simple bush had on Moses and the nation of Israel 3,500 years ago.