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Cleaning Up the Mess

We used to have a cocker spaniel named Duffy. She was one happy mess. Every time a guest would come over to our house, she would lick them to death and then wet the floor. Duffy’s bladder was unable to control her joy.

We were always cleaning up after her. She slobbered horribly. When she would run or shake her head, slobber flew everywhere, and we’d clean it up.

But we loved her anyway. She was incredibly loving, loyal, and fun. And messy.

One day, due to a back problem that is common among Cockers, Duffy became paralyzed. She couldn’t walk or get to her food dish. We spent a king’s ransom on her back surgery, knowing it may not be successful. Then we just had to wait and see. We fed her by hand and carried her outside where she could at least enjoy the view.

One day, she began to move again, and she eventually recovered fully. But Duffy remained a mess. That was okay, because she was our mess. We loved that dog. We didn’t like the messes, but we were willing to clean them up because we loved Duffy more than we hated the mess.

The truth is, we are all a mess. You are a mess. But God loves you more than he hates your mess.

And as you enter the New Year, know this. God loves you enough to clean up after you.

The Rushmore Report: The First Key to a Better Future

2017 is just three days away. If you are like me, you will set goals for the new year. If you aren’t like me, you’ll still set goals for the new year. There are many factors that go into having a better future: setting goals, a positive attitude, mapping out a plan, and perseverance. But in order to have a better future – and a spectacular 2017 – there is one step you absolutely must take first. If you do this one thing, you will be well on your way to a better future.

Do you want to have a better future and a great new year? Then do this one thing; it really is that simple . . .

If you want to have a better future, stop trying to have a better past.

There is a reason cars are made with huge windshields and small rear view mirrors. It’s good to glance back from time to time. We need to learn from our mistakes – or we will repeat them. What God has allowed in your past, he wants to redeem in your future. So it’s okay to visit your past; just don’t live there.

If you want to have a better future, stop trying to have a better past.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “One thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called my heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). The fact is, we all have a past. Paul had a past – a horrible past. But he learned to “forget what is behind.”

If you want to have a better future, stop trying to have a better past.

Every success story has a past. For every Superman there is a kryptonite. No one wins every race, makes every deal, or gets the prize every time. We all have a past. As you look to 2017, you will be tempted to judge the year you can’t see by the one you can. But that’s not how God works. His name is “I AM,” not “I WAS.” God does not live in the past – why would you want to live where God cannot be found.

If you want to have a better future, stop trying to have a better past.

Don’t run from your past; just run toward your future. Nothing will help you claim your best future than a decision to not live in the past. Everything in your past – I said everything – will inform and bless your future. But it will never replace your future. God’s promise is sure – “I know the plans I have for you. They are plans to prosper you and not to harm you” (Jeremiah 29:11).

You can have a year like none other. 2017 can be your best. God wants it that way. But there is one undeniable step you must take first, in order to have an incredible future.

If you want to have a better future, stop trying to have a better past.

The Rushmore Report: A New Year’s Message from Joel Osteen

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

As a believer in Jesus, you are a new creation. You have a new spirit and a new life! There may be “old” things in your life that you are trying to get rid of. Maybe you have old habits or addictions that you want to change. Remember today that the new has come. It’s a new year with new opportunities, and it’s time for you to be the new you. Let this be the year that you break old habits and addictions. Let this be the year that you move forward into a new life of victory. Let this be the year that you take hold of all the spiritual blessings the Lord has promised – peace, health, protection, and victory.

Be encouraged today because no matter what is happening in your life right now, you have a chance for a new beginning. Choose to leave the old behind – leave behind old behaviors, old thinking, old words, and old mindsets, and embrace the new by faith. Trust that He is leading you, and this year, declare His Word and embrace the blessings that he has prepared for you!

Prayer for today: “Heavenly Father, thank You for making me new. I choose today to leave behind the old life and ask that You empower me by Your spirit. Help me to understand Your plan and know the truth of Your word that sets me free, in Jesus’ name.”

About the Author

Joel Osteen is Senior Pastor of America’s largest church, Lakewood, in Houston, Texas. His first book, Your Best Life Now, was released in 2004 and sat on top of the New York Times best-selling list for 200 weeks. Osteen’s weekly sermons are seen by over seven million viewers weekly and 20 million monthly in over 100 countries.