January 10, 2017
The true follower of Christ will do exactly what his/her name implies: they follow. This means, of course, that over the miles of their journey God will take them to new destinations. They will go away from some habits, places, relationships, etc., and into others.
THE BACKWARD PULL
But it is always tempting to go back. The Israelites, traveling to the Promised Land, were pulled in a moment of need to return to the ""leeks and onions"" of Egypt. Jesus in the New Testament reminded his followers that ""no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."" The wise writer of Proverbs says such a turn is often like a ""dog returning to his vomit.""
Recently our church experienced a miraculous step of faith by hundreds of families to begin to give at a new level of generosity, beginning with the tithe. They were called by God to ""Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse"" and test God that ""He would not open the windows of heaven."" I have never seen the depth of such a turn by a whole church in my 47 years of ministry. We have moved to a whole new place and God's promises for this new step are stunning.
That happened in October. I have thought this morning at the temptation, as the New Year begins, of slipping back from this resolve. How easy, in this particular area especially, to subtly slide back into Egypt. To slip out of faith. To turn back.
This is just one of many areas where we will be tempted to go back to the familiar. Why would our enemy not seek to pull us away from those places that illustrate God’s dynamic faithfulness to those who follow Him?
""The Lord had blessed Abraham in every way,"" Genesis 24:1 records. The reason? When God spoke, Abraham followed in faith. God had led a trusting man into the land of blessings and he was experiencing the fruits of that journey.
And now, close to death, he is seeking a bride for his son, Isaac. He tells his servant to return to his old homeland to find a wife. His servant asked the very practical question: ""Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?"" (Vs. 5).
Abraham's response is immediate and strong: ""Beware that you do not take my son back there!"" (Vs. 6). He says this in the strongest possible language. God had given the land of promise to him and ""to (his) descendants"" and that same God, Abraham said, would provide a wife for his son. But then he says again, ""Only do not take my son back there!"" (Vs. 8)
Abraham knew the depth of faith and resolve it took to get up and follow God into the promised land. He also knew how easy it would be to slide back into the familiar. The old ways, old relationships, and old path.
BEWARE AND BE STRONG!!!!
Perhaps you are being called by some naive friend, (or demonic enemy in disguise), to fall back into the familiar, old ways. Old habits, old pleasures, old relationships, old doubts, old disobediences. Do not give in! Stand strong and firm following Christ into the new places of places He has taken you. The lands that were gained by faith.
""I have decided to follow Jesus,” the old chorus says. ""No turning back, no turning back!""
October 13, 2021
October 12, 2021
It could not be worse. God is gracious in His offering of forgiveness through Jesus Christ to all who believe. Those who come to know God and obey Him will experience the best in this life and the life to come.
But what of all those who ignore God? Who will not trust Him? Who never follow and obey the one true God? The Bible leaves no ambiguity about this, and its clarity should sober us.
October 07, 2021
My son, who is planting a church in a Northern Colorado city, intentionally took me for a walk through a sculpture garden recently that is located in a prominent spot in his large city. It was beautiful, convenient, and filled with people.
To my amazement, at every 30 yards or so, there was a stone statue. The whole garden was a prayer garden, and each statue was named. The farther we walked, the more I realized it was a garden designed to help you pray to ancestral spirits. This religion is called animism and is no different from the false religions we read of in the Scripture. Paul encountered this in Athens.