Regret

Posted on 07/27/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


Please let my best friend not suffer and choose his destiny of this world or the next. He needs lots of loving thoughts sent his way, being so alone in this world. Envelope him in golden healing thoughts thank you.
-Cannot FindServer

I pray for the peace in the world, the children, for love and not war. I pray.... and give thanks for all that has been given to me.
-Annamaritza Resident



*******

Please click one of the offering plates in Second Life or at http://almcyberchurch.org, and give as the Lord leads.

*******


HIS NAME IS JESUS

He is the King of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- He is the King

...of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- He is the King

His name is Jesus, Jesus,
sad hearts we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
open wide the prizon doors
And he's able, yes he's able

You are the King of Kings
You are the Lord of Lords
Your name is Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- you are the King

Your name is Jesus, Jesus,
sad hearts we've no more

You can heal the broken hearted
open wide the prizon doors

You can heal the broken hearted
open wide the prizon doors

Yes, you can heal my broken heart and
open wide my prizon doors

And you're able, yes you're able
to deliver evermore


I STAND IN AWE

You are beautiful beyond description
too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
like nothing ever seen or heard

Who can grasp your infinite wisdom
who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
majesty enthroned above


I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you



WORD OF GOD SPEAK

I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say


Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak


I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice


*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***


Regret. That's the title of my message today. Regret. I don't recall who, but recently I heard someone say that everyone has regrets. They, or perhaps someone else, might have also said something along the lines of, if a person doesn't have regrets, that's probably not a good thing.

And I found myself unable to think of any regrets that I have now. Did I do things in the past that I have, at some time, wished I hadn't done? Of course. But do I have any regrets right now?

To make the question a little more clear, I looked up "regret" in the dictionary. And here's what it says:

Regret.
1. To feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.).
2. To think of with a sense of loss.
3. A sense of loss, disappointment, or dissatisfaction.
4. A feeling of sorrow or remorse for a fault, act, loss, or disappointment.

Sorrow. Remorse. A sense of loss. Dissatisfaction.

Over what? Over something that happened in the past. And not even over that thing itself, because in most cases, the action is no longer happening, the words are no longer being spoken, and even the whole situation often no longer exists.

All that's left is the memory. And the thoughts our minds generate about that memory. Thoughts, like vultures circling overhead around a long-ago decayed creature's bones scattered on the ground. And we watch the birds. We give them attention. Because of that attention, they land on us. They dig their tallons into us. And we feel pain.

Sorrow. Remorse. A sense of loss. Dissatisfaction.


Well, regardless of what other people might think must be true, I no longer have any regrets. Yes, there are things I previously did or said, or didn't do or didn't say, over which I have felt pain in the past. And if I were to dwell upon those memories, they might generate feelings of regret.

But what does 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KMV*) say?

17 Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away, and behold, all things are made new.

I am a new creation. Old things have all passed away.

But how about the things you've done AFTER you were born again? Well, this verse ends with the words, "all things are made new." Not WERE made, but ARE made new. ALL things. ALL things ARE made new. This is present tense. This is an ongoing, eternal thing.

"But I said some horrible things to so-and-so, and I feel terrible about it." Have you asked that person for forgiveness? If not, take that action now.

If you need to take action to write a wrong, take it. If you've already taken it, or if there's nothing you can do, then why are you holding on to it? That's like holding on to a scorpion, while bemoaning the fact that it keeps on stinging you.

"But I wish I could change what I did." Can you? Can you go back in time and do things differently? Your mind obviously thinks that it can, because your mind is under the illusion that the past exists right now. And since our minds think it, we tend to unquestioningly believe it.

But if we just stop and look, it's obviously true that the past does not exist right now. Sure, if your finger was cut off in the past, it's still gone. But it's not still being cut off. And there's no point in your living in regret over the fact that you have nine fingers instead of ten.


Regret. Sorrow. Remorse. A sense of loss. Dissatisfaction.

A sense of loss. Maybe you regret having said something in anger, or not said something you think you could or should have said, to someone whose physical life has come to an end.

And you beat yourself up about it. "How could I have been so stupid?" A better question might be, how could you have done things any other way than the way you did them? You can't go back and do them differently. You will NEVER be able to go back and do them differently. You are where you are right now, feeling pain as your mind replays those memories over and over and over. And it steals your peace. It steals your awareness of the presence of God with you. Sure, you know in your mind the concept that God is with you. But it doesn't feel as though He is.

Not while you're lost in regret.

Sure, you might be driven to cry out to Him, "God, why was I so stupid?" But when you hear the truth, that is God. And the truth is, does it matter why? And can you change anything by your dwelling in torment? The answer to both of these questions is "no."


REGRET: negative feelings about things that once were, that are now nothing more than a memory. The only power your memories have over you is the power you give them. Just like the only power your worries have over you is the power you give your imaginations about what's coming. The only place and time there are no regrets and no worries is here and now.

Here and now. It seems rather boring, doesn't it? The mind wants to be somewhere else. Some TIME else. Maybe in the past. Maybe where you did things you wish you hadn't done. Now THAT is exciting, isn't it? I'm bored, so I think I'll beat myself up. That will make me feel better. Won't it?


Psychologists say that 98% of our thoughts are the same things over and over and over. They often accomplish little except to make us feel horrid, and to even make us physically ill, or at the very least, to cloud our experience of God's gift to us of the eternal present moment. That time in which He is making all things continuously new.

And our earthly mind just makes problems out of everything, as it fights against what it doesn't think is ideal. Like that red light. Or the heavy traffic. Or the past. Your mind fights against it in total futility, and the only thing it succeeds in doing is raising your level of stress, stealing your peace and joy, and shortening your life span.


Philippians 4:6 tells us that we are supposed to be anxious about nothing. Not about what might happen tomorrow. And not about what we did or didn't do yesterday.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Prayer and supplication. Are you going to ask God to change the past? If there are still negative consequences in your life story right now, that's something you could ask God for wisdom and help in taking right action. But when you're dwelling on regrets of the past, this generally isn't the case. Instead, perhaps you should ask God to free you from being controlled by your mind.

With thanksgiving. When you talk to God about it, are you thankful? And I don't mean, are you thankful because you think God will make things different some time in the future. We can be thankful for what the Bible promises is coming for those who are in Christ, while being very unthankful for where and when we are right now (and the truth is that we are in Christ right now, we are seated in a heavenly place with Him right now, in our physical body, that sacred temple of God.)

You are standing right now on holy ground. And that ground is holy because you are standing there and God is standing inside of you.

So how can you NOT be thankful? Well, it's pretty easy: just leave the here and now where you don't really have any problems, and where and when you are in your body on holy ground in that heavenly place with Christ Jesus.

More than 90% of people don't ever fully inhabit their bodies. They are lost in their earthly minds instead. This is simply a reminder to come into the temple and sit with Jesus in that heavenly place.

Do you think your body isn't very heavenly? Well let me as you this: If God is there, if your body is His temple where He dwells in His vast glory, and the Bible says it is, then how could your body NOT be heavenly? God is there! And where He is, there is heaven.


6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


The more you're lost in the past, or more accurately in your thoughts about memories of the past, especially memories about which you feel regret, the less of God's peace you feel. And since you're not at peace, you also are lacking joy, for joy is what bubbles up out of the deep waters of peace.

And your mind might say, "Well if I'm not still feeling bad about how I did things wrong before, then I'll just do things wrong again in the future."

Is that true? Your mind generates feelings of "this is true" while it thinks those thoughts. But let's hold this thought up against the Scriptures.

In John 14:26 (NKJV), Jesus says this:

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Of course we could argue that He was referring to the writing of the Scriptures, that the Holy Spirit would remind the disciples of His words so they could be accurately written down for us. And that is most certainly true.

But the Holy Spirit is still with us. Remember, your body is His sacred temple. And Jesus has spoken words directly to you, even through your actions in the past that you currently regret. The Logos, the living word, the life behind the Truth, teaches you through past mistakes. Not so you can keep reliving them and punishing yourself over and over again for things that He has forgiven and made new, but so that if you are ever confronted with a similar situation, you will make the right choice.

Is it your human mind that is your teacher? Is it your human mind that leads you into all truth? Or is it the Holy Spirit of God?

And yet, we dwell within our minds, trusting them to fix our problems and keep us out of future trouble. And as a result, we are pulled out of our bodies and out of the only time that exists, the present moment. In other words, we are kept away from God's temple at the time in which His Spirit is there.

If part of you made sure you always had excuses to not be at church, especially not when service was taking place or when God's Spirit was obviously moving, you would probably label that thing as your flesh, or perhaps as a demon trying to keep you out of God's presence.

But this is exactly what is happening. And yes, it is your flesh, your earthly mind, that part of your mind, or more accurately, that nature of your mind, that thinks its thoughts are of the utmost importance and reliability, and that going to, or putting your attention on, the temple of God at the time of visitation, is boring, or stupid, or maybe even dangerous or evil.

And so we neglect God's temple. And we are absent when He is moving.

And when hearing those words, there's a chance that your mind is feeling regret about it. Or confusion. Or something else unpleasant. However it appears, your mind is probably at least TRYING to make a problem out of it. Resisting the past. Resisting the way things are right now.

Our poor, sick, flesh-laden minds.

Here's an interesting bit of trivia:

The endless chatter in your head comes from a peanut-sized group of cells in your brain that think they are superior to everything and everyone else.

That's a fact. And this little peanut drives almost everyone in the world. The peanut builds up a strong identity, and the being accepts that this identity is who they are.

This little peanut declares that there is no God, and the being believes it is obviously true, and that anyone who doesn't believe what it says is obviously an idiot.

This little peanut tends to lose its control over you when you come fully into the here and now and you just experience what is without labeling it. So it does its best to keep you out. Out of the temple. Out of deeper communion with God. Not just the intimacy you have from time to time when you're at church or when you're praying, but an every moment of every day, or I should say THIS moment, since that's all there is, an unending communion with God, in His temple (your body), during the only time He is there (right now).

So during the day, when you realize you've been lost in your head, placing the utmost importance on and believing the endless chatter of your little peanut, put your attention into the rest of your body, which is here and now, and which is the sacred temple of God Himself. Just feel it. And hear the sounds around you. And feel the air on your skin. And feel the aliveness within. As you let your little peanut do what it does. And when you're totally here and now, what your peanut does tends to be less and less useless stuff.


Okay, I realize that it might seem as though I've gotten off topic. We were talking about regret, right? Of course. And what is it that continues to pull us back to that regret? It is our little peanut. And it pulls us into self-abuse over the past when it pulls us out of the here and now.

So there you go, we're totally on topic.

Now, I also realize that, when a speaker starts talking about putting your awareness into your body, feeling your breath, and other things of that nature, the mind of the Christian sometimes starts throwing up little red flags.

But from where are those little red flags coming? From God? He's the one who inspired the words that tell us our body is His temple. Our physical body. The body that breathes. The body in which we tend to not be fully present, because we're pulled away by our mind.

And God is the one who inspired the words in Hebrews that say NOW is the acceptable time. But we are constantly pulled AWAY from that time by our mind.

So does it make sense? Isn't it true that to be fully in God's temple at the time He said is acceptable is a very good thing indeed? And if any part of you objects, then that part has just identified itself as fleshly, as mistaken, and as not the voice of God.


Now, someone would be asking an excellent question if they pointed out that people from many different religions teach going into the body, transcending the chattering mind, and becoming one with God, but they don't teach getting there through Jesus. And Jesus Himself said that He is the only way, the only door, and that no one can reach the Father any other way than through Him.

But remember that mankind was created in the image and likeness of God. That likeness did not completely disappear when man sinned. Deep on the inside, you look like Him. So when a person without Christ becomes inwardly silent, and they embrace the present moment as they come fully into their bodies, they experience their deeper selves, and they experience the image of God.

And if everyone on earth were to become what some called "enlightened," where they remain in that place of clarity and peace, this world would become a very kind, safe place to be. The problem is this: a few minutes ago, we touched on the possibility of one of our past actions still having effects in the present moment. Well, sin is like that. It leaves a crimson stain. We can't wipe it away even if we were to never do or think another evil thing. And experiencing the God image of our own beings in our own bodies will not remove that stain.

There is only one thing that can redeem us, and that is the blood of the Lamb. And once you are washed by that blood, once your sin stains are all washed as white as snow, once you are born again and the Holy Spirit comes to live within you, then when you enter that temple at the acceptable time, it is not just your own being that in there in God's image, but God Himself is there with you. That's what He said. And that makes it a fact.

So the next time you catch yourself lost in regret, come back to the present, and fully inhabit your body. Without resisting what is, for you are in a heavenly place, and you are on holy ground. In that place, there are no problems, regardless of what might be going on around you. There are no worries. There are no fears. There are no regrets.

And at times, you might sing songs of worship. At times, you might say words to God. At times, you might read the Scriptures. But your experience of God's beauty, God's glory, God's presence, won't be limited to times in which you are doing something. Instead, you will be there always. And when that little peanut inside your head leads you away, you can watch it as it does the few good things it does such as plan a schedule, or read a good book, or recite a relevant Scripture to you. And you watch it do these things from within the temple, and in the time called Now.

And when you are finished using your mind, your full attention comes back to where and when you are with God.


Is that okay? Can you see the truth behind these words?

And remember that it's okay if you're not in that place all the time. The more you come back to the temple now, the longer you will remain in that place. And the only thing that that's important at any time is that you go there now.

And if the only thing you can do is sing songs of worship, and that brings you into a place of intimacy with God, then do that as often as you can, as you practice intimacy with God even when you AREN'T "doing" anything at all. For when your home in which your awareness dwells is not the little peanut in your head, but is the temple of God right now, then whether you eat, or drink, or dig ditches, or answer phones, whatever you do, or even when you're doing nothing at all, it will be an act of worship, an act of intimacy, an act of love, and it will bring and be bathed in the glorious presence of God.


Let's close today's service with a time of prayer, worship, stillness, and ministry.

You're invited to gather at the front if you so desire, or stay where you are if you prefer. And in the spirit, let's spend some time with God, letting Him sort out all these words you just heard me speak, as He Himself brings any truth in there to life within you.

If you'd like to talk or pray with someone, you can instant message one of us, or if you're listening later in the week or outside of Second Life, you can point your web browser to almcyberchurch.org, click the Pastors' Offices link, and contact us there.

Whenever you need to leave, you're dismissed, and if you can stay for awhile after this time at the altar, you're invited to make your way up the steps into the room to your left after you're done here, and we'll meet there in a little while for some fellowship.

Come, and let's surrender to the Author and the Finisher of our Faith, as we submit to His freedom from all fear, confusion, and regret.

Come.


Lord God, we thank you for speaking to us today. Thank you for your Logos, your living word, the power behind your Truth. We ask that you would send any seeds that are from you deep into our hearts, and send your rain to water them, so that we will reap a harvest of closer fellowship with You.

And as we let go of our regrets, we ask that you would help us make your temple, not our earthly minds, the place in and from which we live our lives, as we begin to look around us and see only You.

And we ask these things in Jesus' Holy Name.

Amen.