Which Direction?

Fatal attraction

She looked back (Genesis 19:17, 26). Apparently, instead of thinking about God’s mercy in sparing her and her family from certain destruction, Lot’s wife looked back to the city where her home was. For her backward glance, she forfeited her life.

Israel forgot the slavery they endured and remembering the food they enjoyed there, “in their hearts [they] turned back to Egypt” (Acts 7:39 NASB). They too paid dearly for looking back.

“No one after putting his hand to the plow and looking back,” Jesus said, “is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). 

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Well worth it!

Unlike the Rich Young Ruler who chose wealth over eternal life, Peter and his fellow disciples left all for Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22; 19:27). Jesus assured them they would be amply compensated (Mark 10:28-30). And the promise applies to us as well!

“Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Theft-proof?

Secure?

Even though my bike wasn’t worth much, I bought a combination lock for it. But I became a victim of theft after all. Someone stole my brand-new lock and left the bike intact!

Jesus mentioned theft as one of the ways we can lose our stuff (Matthew 6:19-21), So what can we do about it? Better locks?

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Secure!

Here’s what Jesus recommends: Lay up treasure in heaven—it alone is truly secure from loss.

But how does this work? We lay up treasure in heaven by giving priority to what is eternal and by helping those in need (Mark 10:21-22; Luke 12:12-21, 33-34; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Hebrews 11:24-26).

Ready to invest?

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Underneath

When I was small, I thought I would build something. Taking a board, I nailed it to the ground. I learned quickly: Nails into dirt don’t hold.

Worth it?

But laying a solid foundation is tremendously time-consuming, difficult, and expensive, and after the building is completed, it doesn’t show all that much. Is it really worth it?

Ancient buildings had foundations. Modern technology has not discovered a way to dispense with a good substructure.

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Worth it!

Our lives too need something solid underneath. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus contrasted two builders. One built on sand, the other on rock. When the storm hit, what a difference! Check out Matthew 7:24-27 and ask yourself, “Am I anchored to the Rock?”

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Getting Away with It?

Before giving a quiz in English class, Mrs. Stanley asked us to use a blank sheet to cover our answers. “Now I don’t think any of you would cheat, but somebody might look on your paper.”

Cheating as a lifestyle of choice

Cheating in school is endemic. It is also lazy, sneaky, dishonest.

The cheat is developing a mindset that will make it all the easier to cheat on taxes, expense accounts, and marriage vows.

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You can’t cheat your way to heaven!

The thinking is, if you can get away with it and not get caught, why not?

God, that’s why not! The God of truth hates lying, cheating, and stealing (Proverbs 11:1; Revelation 21:8).

God calls us to be people of integrity, making all our choices with Him in view.

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Understanding at Last!

The litter I picked up was from a college math class. Both sides were practically covered with calculations, figures, equations, etc.

It was algebra—I think. Just because it didn’t make sense to me doesn’t mean it didn’t make sense.

At first, he couldn’t make sense of it.

Psalm 73 is a personal account of a man who was deeply troubled by life’s unfairness. “. . . my feet came close to stumbling . . . . I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

His initial conclusion: “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure . . . for I have been chastened every morning.”

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But then he got it!

After realizing that God will destroy the wicked but bring the righteous to glory, his final conclusion was: “Surely God is good . . . to those who are pure in heart!” (vv, 2-3, 13-14, 1).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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An Uncomfortable Feeling

Driving through a Pennsylvania snow storm at night, we wanted to pull off the road until visibility improved, but we couldn’t tell where off-the-road was.

A car passed, and I thought I’d follow, but soon its tail lights disappeared, and we had lost our “guide.”

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What a helpless feeling in a world without reference points!

Wrong way/right way

On our way to eternity, it’s far more critical that we find our way. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

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There are only two roads, Jesus says. The popular one ends in destruction, while the road few take leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).

Choose carefully!

Thank God, we’re not left without direction! His word reveals the way (John 14:6).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Message

Probably not too important

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When I answered my phone, I heard, “Please hold for an important message. Please hold for an important message. Please hold for an important message.”

This continued about ten times, followed by silence, then a dial tone. I never received my important message! A glitch prevented it from getting through.

Important!

Messages about the dangers of smoking, overeating, or lack of exercise are conveniently ignored. How easy to turn a deaf ear if it requires a major change–even if our very lives are at stake!

Most Important!!!

Likewise, God’s message is easily ignored. And yet it is the Most Important Message of All! Like health warnings, it calls for major changes in our thinking and behavior. If I’m not willing to change, I can easily ignore the message–even if my very soul is at stake–and it is.

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