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.

Youth Plants and Builds

Today’s pop culture acts as if youth is the time for indulgence, independence and unbridled pursuit of self-fulfilment. That idea is not only a deadly and useless one, it is a modern notion that defies the time-tested ideas of youth as a vital time to plant and build.

Let me take you back to some concepts of youth from yesteryear. Three thousand years ago King Solomon instructed youth to give special attention to God. The fear of God is something Solomon saw as vitally important for youth.

“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth..” Ecclesiastes 12:1b

Solomon dedicated the book of Proverbs to his son, giving abundant sound advice about the pursuit of wisdom, avoiding fools, keeping away from immorality and so on. The best kind of youth is first established on the fear of God and a desire to go God’s ways and fulfil His plan for our life.

Another concept from yesteryear is that of ‘sowing and reaping’. What you sow is what you reap, according the both Biblical wisdom and human experience.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows is what he will also reap. For he that sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh; but he that sows to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit.” Galatians 6:7,8 (Apostle Paul)

“For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.” Luke 6:44 (Jesus Christ)

Trees take time to grow. What starts out as a small plant becomes, in time, a huge tree or a dense bush. When young people plant things in their life they may not see the consequences for a decade or two. Initially there is no evidence that they will have any bad outcome. But if they have planted thorn bushes and brambles, they cannot expect to harvest figs and grapes. What they sow is what they are going to reap.

So take note of this quote from this important eighteenth century American writer, Thomas Paine. Paine wrote many things that were central to bolstering the revolutionary cause and maintaining commitment during the long and wearing struggle for independence.

“Youth is the seed-time of good habits”, Thomas Paine, ‘Common Sense’ 1791.

Youth is a time to plant. In fact, youth is the time when planting happens, whether the youth realise it or not. They are planting character and sowing seeds for harvests to be enjoyed throughout their lives. Time well spent and choice seeds sown in youth will provide much to draw from in later years.

Another historic reference point for the importance of youth is the idea of building things for the future. A notion which was popularised in Christian homes in recent centuries is that of our life being a house which we build when young and have to live in for the rest of our lives.

Just as a young man growing in frontier territory must learn the needed skills to build his own family home from raw materials, so too, he must learn to build his moral character to be strong and independent of outside influences.

This concept is given attention in Ralph Moody’s stories, “Little Britches” and “Man in the Family”. Moody explains, “My goal in writing is to leave a record of the rural way of life in this century, and to point up the values of that era which I feel that we, as a people, are letting slip away from us.” (Quoted in New York Times Book Review Aug 6, 1967). Consider the following quote from “Little Britches”.

“…you have injured your own character. A man’s character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn’t do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.”

In Moody’s short story, “I Meet the Sheriff” a lad must act responsibly, or face his father’s accusation that he is “running away from the law and tearing boards off my character house”.

Youth is a time to plant and build, in the fear of God. Wise youth follow God’s instructions, are attentive to what they allow to take root in their hearts and minds, and they discipline themselves to learn the skills required to build strong character, even when the raw materials are hard to come by.

I exhort each young person to consider your creator and live in the light of His searching gaze. Plant wisely and guard against wild seed being sown in the soil of your life. Build wisely and learn the disciplines that empower you to build and re-build again and again.

God bless you as you do.

Godly Seed & Introduced Seed

In my parenting seminars I teach on the significance of ‘godly seed’. In recent posts on the Bible I have discussed the fact that the Bible is an indestructible seed and an introduced seed. I now want to put those thoughts together as a lesson for parents and all who work with young lives.

The Old Testament prophet Malachi gives us a key insight into the parenting role. In Malachi 2:15 we are told that the reason God created marriage is because God is seeking ‘godly seed’. I have discussed this before and it is covered in my books, but to refresh the point let me simply note that a seed is something that reproduces after its own kind. A ‘godly seed’, then, will create a new godly seed, which will create a new godly seed, and so on. Parents are to raise ‘godly’ children, not ‘good’ children. (see my posting of 9 Feb – Godly Seed with a Heart After God)

What makes this prescription difficult for many parents is that they are not ‘godly’. They may be Christian, but not have the experience of being raised as ‘godly seed’ and so be at a loss to know how to raise ‘godly’ children. This is where the other ‘seed’ comes into play.

The Bible is miraculous, divine seed, introduced to earth and enabling mortal beings to propagate eternal growth in their life. The Bible is an ‘indestructible seed’, so it produces a crop that is indestructible. What is born of God within us, by our faith in what the Bible teaches, is victorious, triumphant and glorious. This is the eternal seed which parents must apply to their natural seed, so the natural seed becomes godly seed.

Two steps in this process are worth suggesting, for those who would like some practical application of this. Seed needs to be planted and watered. Reading the Bible with your children and praying with them for God to give revelation and apply the Bible’s truth to your lives is a good start. Read, discuss and put your faith in what the Bible teaches.

The related step is to ‘touch your child’s palate’ with the Word of God. Since godly things are not going to seem as ‘tasty’ to humans as sensual and even evil things, it is important to create a taste for divine truth in your children. Reading and discussing the Bible together is the right starting place. Praying to God about the issues raised by your Bible reading is also good. Another way to prompt a taste for spiritual things in your child is to take them to a Bible believing church, especially where people enjoy a living faith in God, rather than a religious devotion to their doctrinal statements. When children befriend people who love God and love God’s word, have committed themselves to serving God – such as on the missionfield, or who are delighted to know and serve God, those children will get a taste for faith that is real.

If you don’t apply the special ‘introduced seed’ which God has brought to us from eternity, then you will not be able to transform your natural seed child into godly seed. And remember, the reason God gave you the privilege of marriage is because He expects and is looking for ‘godly seed’.

Introduced Seed – Mutiny on the Bounty

We know that various plants and animals have invaded new habitats when they have been introduced, either intentionally or accidentally. Plants often come into a new environment as ‘introduced seed’. The newly introduced species can often displace other varieties which cannot compete with the invader. At other times the newly introduced species can be a god-send.

There is a famous incident known as the Mutiny on the Bounty, popularised in books and academy award winning movies – with such famous actors as Errol Flynn (1933), Charles Laughton, Clark Gable (1935), Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard, Richard Harris (1962), Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson (1984). The real event took place in the remote South Pacific seas back in 1789, just one year after Australia was colonised. A ship’s crew, led by Lieutenant Fletcher Christian, took over Captain Bligh’s British Royal Navy sailing ship named the Bounty, and sailed to Pitcairn Island where they settled.

When I read Captain Bligh’s ship’s log I discovered that the voyage was all about ‘introduced seed’. Inspired by botanist Sir Joseiph Banks, the British wanted to introduce a Tahitian plant known as breadfruit to a West Indies community which was deficient in food variety. The “bounty” was to be a shipload of seedlings. However the voyage was interrupted by the mutiny.

As an historical note, when the breadfruit was eventually delivered by Captain Bligh on a second voyage in 1792 the slaves in Jamaica refused to eat the fruit. But enough of the history lesson, let me get to my point.

Planet Earth has received an ‘introduced seed’. An extra-terrestrial seed has been brought here, which allows a totally new kind of fruit to be enjoyed by earth’s inhabitants. The ‘seed’ is the Word of God – and it is an indestructible, eternal seed. When planted in human hearts it spawns a new kind of life-form, divine and eternal, springing from the mortal soil. Mortal, human creatures, mired and enslaved by sin, are able to propagate, within their very being, an eternal and divine existence, connecting them to the God of all Eternity as one of His children. This is a most amazing seed and we are most wonderfully privileged to have it introduced to us.

However, not everyone likes the fruit. Just as the Jamaican slaves rejected fruit which nourished Tahitians, humans have been known to spurn the eternal seed which has the power to set them free from their mortality. People have ingested the seed, then spat it out. Some have found it hard to digest. Others have simply despised its relative tastelessness, compared to the commercialised products designed to tempt their senses. This seed is, after all, “angels’ food” (see Psalm 78:25). It does not pander to base human appetites (see Matthew 16:23 and 1Corinthians 2:14). It lies dormant in the soil of the human heart unless it is “mixed with faith” (see Hebrews 4:2).

Those who have no interest in this divine ‘introduced seed’ can live their whole lives without it. Those who have been born again by the germination of this seed cannot live without it. Those who live without it exist without any sense for what it is. Those who have eaten of its fruit have transcended their personal capacities and enjoyed realities that are of eternal consequence.

Praise God for introduced seed. I pray that you pick up the seed packet – the Bible – and determine to plant the seeds, watering them with faith, until your life has become a verdant garden of eternal frutfulness.

The Bible – Indestructible Seed

I have extolled the value of the Bible in previous posts and I now want to point to a miraculous quality about this oft abused and rejected book. I have previously described the Bible as the most Enduring, Authoritative, Profound, Resilient, Enlightening, Impactful, Endorsed and Significant book in all human history. Beyond all of those qualities is the fact that the Bible is an ‘indestructible seed’.
We all know what a seed is. It is the germ of a thing, which when planted will germinate and begin developing into a full-grown version of the thing which it came from. An fertilised apple seed will recreate an apple tree. A human seed, when fertilised, will develop into a new human being. A chicken seed, when fertilised, will develop into a new chicken. And so it goes across most created things.

Now consider this principle, which I first enunciated back in the 1980’s. “If you can destroy the seed you can destroy what it produces.” 

Can you destroy an apple seed? If I were to smash an apple seed with a hammer could I destroy it? Once it has been mashed by my hammer will it be able to grow into an apple tree? The answers are that an apple seed can be destroyed and will be mashed by a hammer. The mashed seed will not produce an apple tree. So we know that the apple seed is destructible. (This probably sounds patently obvious and maybe too childish for your advanced brain – but stay with me a while, please.)

We agree that we can destroy an apple seed. Can we also destroy an apple tree? Yes, we can. So what about human and chicken seed? Can they be destroyed? Yes. Can humans and chickens be destroyed too? Yes. So there’s my amazing principle displayed in human experience. “If you can destroy the seed you can destroy what it produces.”

So, what about a seed that cannot be destroyed? If I came up with a seed that could not be mashed by a hammer or burned in a fire, or killed with a poison, then it would surely produce something that is also indestructible. Eh? And that’s what we have with the Bible. The Bible is indestructible. It is described by the Apostle Peter as indestructible seed.

“Being born again, not by destructible (corruptible) seed, but by indestructible seed, the Word of God, which lives and exists for ever.” 1Peter 1:23

Now, let’s apply my profound principle to this new fact we have about the Bible. The Bible is seed that cannot be destroyed, so what it produces in your life is something that also cannot be destroyed. What God has created in you, when you put your faith in the Bible, is something that is eternal in its dimensions, because it comes from an eternal source – an indestructible seed.

That’s yet another reason why the Bible is such an awesome book. It is able to create in you, a mere mortal, something that is beyond the scope of your mortal existence – something that is eternal. While your natural life came about by natural seed which is destructible, and so you are a mortal, destructible being, what the Bible births inside you, by the work of the Holy Spirit, is an eternal being with eternal dimensions. Only the Bible can do that, because only the Bible is “indestructible seed”.

Now, I need you to understand that while the Bible is miraculous it is not magical. The Bible is able to bring miraculous results in your life, but the book itself is not a magic charm. Keeping it under your pillow won’t help you. Memorising it won’t help you. The seed has to be germinated within you, and that takes two things, the work of the Holy Spirit and faith in your heart to believe what the Bible says. When the Word of God and the Spirit of God are given free reign in your life by your faith, the miracle dimension of the Bible is released and its seed takes root in you, brings fruit in you and causes eternal things to spring to life in you.

That humble black book in your book-case, which could look like just any other book, is a unique, miracle gift to you. It will let you ignore it. You might even find it hard to get started into. But when you choose to dig into its pages, believe what it says and live by what it teaches, you will discover what millions of people have found through history. The Bible as the most Enduring, Authoritative, Profound, Resilient, Enlightening, Impactful, Endorsed and Significant book in all human history – and it is Indestructible Seed!