Looking back to go forward!
(Exodus 14:15 BBE) And the Lord said to Moses, Why are you crying out to me? give the children of Israel the order to go forward.
As 2006 comes to a close and we look forward to 2007. Sometimes you hear the expression “don’t look back.” At other times we hear “if we don’t learn from history we are bound to repeat it.” No matter how you look at it the important thing is that you go forward. Have you ever wondered why in your car that the windshield is big and the rear view mirror is small. It is because what is in front of you is so much more important than what is behind you.
We can spend our whole lives looking back at the way it use to be. We can waist our future by dwelling on our mistakes from the past. We can fall into a ditch by not looking forward to where we are going. We can also be going around and around in circles if we do not remember where we have already been.
So today we are going to look back at the year behind us for the soul purpose of making sure we are headed in the right direction. And that direction is forward.
In our scripture above the Israelites are in trouble; the Red Sea is in front of them and the Egyptian army is closing in fast on them. Whenever the children of Israel felt any pressure the first thing they did was to want to go back to the way things were in the past.
If we look back before the enemy came upon God’s chosen he saw that they did not have any direction.
(Exodus 14:3 BBE) And Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are wandering without direction, they are shut in by the waste land.
If the enemy thinks that you do not have any purpose or direction they will attack you with every thing they have got.
I want to cover two things right now. First I want to talk about your past. I want to talk about overcoming the besetting disappointments, your setbacks, your reoccurring failures. Have you ever felt like you were wondering around and around and around in the wilderness of disillusionment?
A synonym of disillusionment is lack of expectation. What are you really expecting out of life? Some people expect disappointments. Some people expect sickness. Some people expect to be hurt. And guess what? They usually get what they expect.
If that has been you in the past then it is time to change the way you think and get a better perspective on what God expects for you. Yes, it is good that we prepare for the worst, but our expectations must be for the best.
The Israelites were up against a wall and they expected the worse. Even their leader wanted them to just sit and cry out to the LORD. I see so many people who have told me how they have prayed and prayed to God about this thing or that. They have spent years waiting upon the LORD.
Now, we all know that those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength. They will mount up like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 KJV) But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
But look at that word “wait.”
A primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting), that is, collect; (figuratively) to expect: - gather (together), look for.
Waiting upon the LORD does not mean staying in the same place, It does not mean to wallow on you own self pity. It means that you get up and you go forward with strength and victory. It means you put all your trust in the LORD and have confidence in Him and be strong and of good courage.
(Joshua 1:9 KJV) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
So the first thing we are going to work on is looking at your past, not the failures, but I want you to look at how far God has brought you thus far. He has pulled some of us out of the muck and mire of self destruction. He has given you a new lease on life. a second and third chance. God has turned some of your mistakes and bad choices into His victory while making all things work together for your good. So as you look at the year behind you, do not look at the setbacks, but look at the victories. Sometimes we have taken two steps forward and three steps back, but we have taken those two steps forward, if we just take those two steps again we will be one step ahead.
You can not get comfortable with the way things are. You can not expect to go forward if you are happy with where you are. You have to be content, yet at the same time pressing forward.
Before we look at the future, we need to take a real look at where we are and who we are with God. Where are you in your relationship with God? If you are a stranger to God then it is understandable why you have not been expecting good things. Because all good things come from above.
(James 1:17 KJV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
In the present. Living in the now, you need to know who you are. Not who people may have told you that you are. You need to see yourself as God sees you. You need to know that you are the head and not the tail. You need to know that you are anointed. You need to know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You need to know that you are more than a conqueror. You need to know that you are a child of the King. You need to know that you are loved with an everlasting, never-ending love. You need to know that you are indeed blessed and highly favored of God and that you have favor in men’s eyes as well.
And to keep it all in perspective you realize that it is God who shines through you. It is Jesus that you are lifting up in your life. The higher you lift up Christ the brighter his light will shine in your life.
Now as we look into the future. Look at what God told Moses. Moses was crying out to God. Moses was confident of God’s ability but Moses did not know where to go or what to do. We have all been in situations where we know that we can put our trust in God but we still don’t know what to do.
God tells Moses, in no uncertain terms to get up and go forward.
As you take on some New Year resolutions, think big and at the same time make small achievable goals towards your high calling. If you are setting a goal of losing 50 pounds, start with deciding to lose 5 pounds and get a plan as to how you are going to do it.
Success breads success. I had a strange dream last night about people from all around the world coming together for a common cause. The dream was actually in more of a sci-fi kind of genre but the idea fits God’s purpose for us today. There was a giant asteroid headed for our planet and no one nation could do anything about it alone. As all the nations came together, there was in fighting and egos and language barrier to overcome, but the realization that if they did not work together and quickly planet would be destroyed forced them to come together in unity.
The unity was not the soul purpose of this dream however it is a huge part of our future, or at least needs to be if we are going to go forward in any area of our lives. The thing that had to be done was much like a game of pool. They could not just fire their weapons at the asteroid, it was far too big. What they had to do was to take aim at a smaller frozen asteroid and bounce it into the path of the lager asteroid.
I woke up before they had actually accomplished their goal, but all was going well when I did wake up. It got me thinking about our success in going forward. Let me use the illustration of a game of pool if I can. In pool you can not just take your queue stick and aim at the eight ball and shoot it into the corner pocket. You have to aim at the queue ball and shoot that into the eight ball and hit it just so as that it will go into the corner pocket.
So if you we can use that illustration to help us see how by setting small goals for ourselves, and keeping those small goals in line with our larger goal we can accomplish more and do it with style. To take the illustration just a little further. When you are shooting pool if you make a good shot but are not careful the queue ball after hitting the eight ball might just go off on its own and fall into another hole, causing it to scratch and you lose the game. So you have to learn how to put some English on the ball. By hitting the queue ball on the top or the bottom or the right side or the left, you can determine where it will go after getting the ball you are aiming it at. In that way you can not only be sure not to scratch on the eight ball but you can also set yourself up for your next shot.
We all have different goals that we want to achieve. Some want to lose weight, some want to earn more money, some want to get their marriages back together, some want to get their families straighten out, some want to quit drinking or smoking, some want to improve their health, some want to stop cussing so much, some want to do it all…. Some need to do it all…. What ever it is that you are hoping to accomplish in the future, set your goal high, then find the small achievable goals that can lead up to that goal and gain a little momentum winning small victories. Give yourself a few pats on the back, it is the best thing to keep you encouraged on the long journey of life.
It is when we start kicking ourselves that we give up on our goals. I really do not believe that there is one person who does not want to be a better person in one area of their lives or another. Well, it is time to stop talking about it; it is time to even stop praying about it. It is time to get up and go forward. Stretch out your rod of faith and watch the waters of adversity part. Go forward in the knowledge that God is with you and that you can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you. Get up and go after the thing that God has laid on your heart to accomplish. Knowing that if you are truly seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness everything else will be taken far of by him for you. He will supply your every need according to His riches in glory.
It is time to see where God has brought us from. See who we truly are as His blessed and highly favored children, and get up and go forward.