Never Look Back

One story that I feel we can all look at and think about where we are as Christians in our faith is the story of Lot and his family. We can see where we fit in and what our future can be based on the different characters that we see.

Lot was told to flee the city because God planned to destroy the city because of the sin that was taking place. One instruction he was given was to tell his family to not look back at what was taking place. So here we are with a city full of corruption, a family found faithful, and God’s displeasure with what was taking place.

Abraham had even bargained with God that if there were 10 righteous men in the city it would not be destroyed. But he could not find them. So we see God fulfilling his word and saving a family with instruction to keep their eyes forward and not look back, the same instruction we are given when we flee the past and move forward as new believers when we accept Christ as our savior.

So, Lot took his family and fled the city, as God called down His fire to destroy the two cities who had turned their back on the God who had given them life. And the instruction was, “Do not look back!”

This is where we see ourselves in the story. We are one of three people in the story. For those who live their lives with no regard for God and His word, we are like those in the city who refused to accept God and His ways, and our end will always be destruction for the unrepentant sins that we commit. Or perhaps we are like Lot or his wife.

We may find that we are like Lot, willing to trust God, move forward, and go on with a new life that He has promised because we took Him at His word.

Then again, we may find that we are like Lot’s wife…

We live life on the fence, living with one foot in both worlds, and in the end we will find that our end comes without a true decision to follow God’s plan. Lot’s wife was given the chance to leave and to follow the same path as Lot, but she could not let go of what was being left behind and looked back, which was in direct violation of the orders that God had given and she met her end as she was turned to a pillar of salt.

Are you living like Lot’s wife today? Are you living with one foot in both worlds? Are you running forward on the path to freedom, but looking back and struggling to let go of a past that is leading you into certain destruction?

God’s word to us today: “Never look back!”

God tells us how he feels about those who are on the fence in Revelation 3:15-16: “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Today, learn to be like Lot…run from destruction and never look back. Put your trust in God and trust His direction. We can’t move forward if our focus is on what is behind.

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Where is Faith?

We all battle with uncertainty…we all struggle with questions…and seemingly we all seem to be searching for answers that many times we feel may never come…

So what are we supposed to do? We hear stories of faith…we see examples in Hebrews 11 of many who are considered heroes of faith…but that still doesn’t help us when it comes to our own struggles, or at least it doesn’t seem to help us like we think it should.

First, we must understand what faith truly is…

It is the assurance of things hoped for, the certainty of things not seen (Heb. 11:1)

So if we feel sure that things we hope for will work out, and we are sure of things that we can’t see then everything will work out just like we feel it should…right?

Well, there is still the tugging of our hearts to worry about things because we can’t see a clear answer…we still battle with things because we feel like we need to touch it and hold it for it to be real…but why?  Why is it so hard for us to just let things rest and have faith that they will all be ok?

We are like many who are outlined in the chapter…we deal with struggles that sometimes seem too much to bear.  We deal with circumstances that are more than we hoped they’d be. We get frustrated because we expected an answer yesterday to our prayer…no matter what our circumstance, we struggle with letting God handle our issues.  So, let me ask you a few questions:

Where would Shadrach, Messhach, and Abednigo be if they hadn’t trusted that God would deliver them from the fire? Where would Joseph had been if he didn’t have faith that God had a bigger plan than him getting tossed in a pit and sold into slavery? Where would Noah have been if he hadn’t trusted God and built an Ark, even though it likely had never rained on the earth? Or Moses, if he hadn’t had the faith to stand and lift his staff to part the Red Sea?

Or, maybe Abraham, if He hadn’t had the faith that God would provide and left his home to travel into a land that was unknown because it was promised to him and his heirs? Or, if he hadn’t had faith that God would do as he said and provide an heir to he and a barren wife?

Where would Joshua have been if he didn’t trust that God would destroy the walls of Jericho just because he showed faith in walking around the city 7 days in a row? Or when he had the courage to tell the sun to stand still while the battle was being won for the Lord?

These stories show us faith beyond measure…faith that moves mountains and destroys kingdoms of this world…faith in a God who can…and God who still does…and a God who always will provide for His people…

So, where is your faith today?

 

Blameless

In my studies of the scripture over the past couple of weeks I have come across a couple of passages that have really spoken to me and opened my eyes to the way that God views us.  One is found in Jude 24-25:

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (KJV)

Jude puts in two of the most beautiful verses that we see in scripture, this because Jude gives insight into who Jesus is in our lives with his view.  Jude makes it a point to state that this goes to “him that is able to keep you from falling” and, more importantly, “to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”

Jude points to the one true God, our Savior, and gives him all glory and honor, both then and now, as well as forever.  We can see how God views us through these words of Jude, seeing that God is the only one wise, and God is the only one who can present us faultless…blameless.  When it comes to God’s glory, none of us are capable of standing before Him in the state that we are in…we are sinners, separated from God, without a chance to see His full glory.

This is why we need Jesus…the one true sacrifice that could give us a chance to achieve the ultimate goal that God had for us from the day of Creation…to spend eternity with Him.

Jesus stated in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Jesus understood his role.  He understood that there was only one road to salvation and that road was designed to go through a cross on Golgotha.  Jesus knew that Calvary was a part of the plan; he knew that there was only one way to save the world…and for that to be accomplished his blood had to be shed.

Jesus freely took our sins…and all he asks in return is that we live for him and lead others to him.  What are you doing to bring others to Christ today?  Are you being an example to others on how they should live?  Are you giving an example of who they should know, or are they seeing the opposite of Christ?

Being a Christian means that you are an example of Christ to the world around you…don’t turn your back on those around you by living like the world they see.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26, KJV)”

We are CHRISTIANS!

Sports fans take pride in their teams, so much so that they adapt a certain lingo when talking about their favorite team.  It even gets to the point where they speak of the team in first person terms, saying, “We need this guy” or “We need to go in this direction”.

The same should apply to our Christian walk…where is our team pride when it comes to the cause of Christ?

The best example I can think of to show this team pride is the shirts and chants that teams use for fans to show their feeling of belonging and ownership.  The Marshall Thundering Herd uses this chant to show their unity, gathering prior to a contest, and chanting, “We are Marshall!”  The fans chant prior to a Notre Dame Football game, “We are N.D!”  The Avery Vikings have gotten into the act with their Viking Nation shirts that boldly proclaim on the back, “We are Avery!”

We were founded as a Christian nation…a nation that uses mottos like, “United We Stand”, “In God We Trust”, and “God Bless America.”  But are we united? Do we trust in God?  Do we really expect to be blessed when we have forgotten the reason we are able to celebrate the freedoms we have?

We are not united as a nation…we haven’t been in years.  The closest we’ve come as a nation to being unified over the past 10 years was in the days and weeks following the attacks on 9/11.  We were at the end of our ropes, we had no where else to turn…but we let things get back to normal.  We are divided between political parties, to the point that we fight over simple issues that this nation used to be able to solve quietly.

We don’t stand behind our leadership the way we should, and we have been weakened in the eyes of the world because we look like a dysfunctional family that can’t agree on anything.  We have torn our country apart at the seams because of individual play in a team sport.

We don’t trust in God…we trust in money, we trust in ourselves, we try to do it all without God.  Psalm 118:8 says, “It is better to trust in The Lord, than to put your trust in man.” Words that could not be truer at a time like this, a time where many struggle to find the money to pay a bill, where many struggle to figure out where their next meal may come from.  We have to trust in God…if we want to be blessed by God.

If we want God to bless America, we have to get America back to where it was when our forefathers founded it.  If we want to be blessed, we have got to give back to him, and we have to play as a team…we have to be unified as one to accomplish what we set out to achieve as a country.

The same is true for the Church…instead of sitting back and talking bad about your church leadership…stand up for them and support them.  Instead of talking bad about your fellow church members…stand in the gap and offer support in their times of need.  Too many churches are falling to the wayside due to selfishness within the doors of the church. We have to get on the same team…we have to unify as the body of Christ.

We are all on the same team…its high time we showed the world we have a little team pride…apply the motto, “We are Christians!”