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NO LOOKING BACK
“Jesus said to him: “No man that has put his hand to a plow
and looks at the things behind is well fitted for the kingdom of God.”
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This “looking back” is not merely reflecting to evaluate the progress made since one decided to leave the world. Instead, it is like Lot’s wife, who looked back with a degree of longing to return to what she had left. Her life was literally on the line, and rather than being fully engaged in surviving, she placed a higher priority on life’s lesser matters than on the greater one of preserving her life through God’s gift of protection.
She looked back, revealing her heart still to be in Sodom, a type of the world. Her action indicates regret for having left. Success in God’s way requires following an awesome vision of future glory with devoted conviction. Abraham is a primary example: He looked for a city built by God, apparently leaving his homeland without ever looking back (Hebrews 11:8-10, 13-16).
Once we commit to Christianity, God’s calling becomes our vocation, which requires our concentrated attention going forward. A vocation is a person’s regular occupation. What happens when a Christian looks back with a measure of longing is similar to someone talking on a cell phone while driving his car. He frequently drifts all over the road, swerving this way and that because, at best, his attention is split between conflicting priorities. He is setting himself up for trouble, and all too frequently, an accident occurs. A Christian cannot make a beeline for the Kingdom with his attention diverted elsewhere. We are not to be anything but altogether followers of the Son of God. The stakes are that high, for the fulfillment of His promise is so great.
Dramatic, sudden death, as happened to Lot’s wife, will not likely happen to us if we gaze yearningly behind us. For this reason, a person who has begun to fall away will most likely take the second step backwards with hardly a pause. Hebrews 10:39 says, “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” Almost invariably, longing for the old life is followed by gradually and increasingly believing that God’s requirements are too exacting and difficult.
In Jesus’ parable in Luke 19:11-27, did not the man given one mina complain something similar to this when asked what he had gained with it? “Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow” (verses 20-21).
We must be prepared to put God first in all things. There will be times when this will be exceedingly difficult, especially if the surrender of a thing involves the sacrifice of someone or something deeply loved or desired. It can happen, but such occasions are quite rare.
It has been said that he who is unwilling to sacrifice everything for the cause of God is really willing to sacrifice nothing. Drawing back happens despite God’s promise that every trial is measured to the exact specifications needed by the individual Christian. In I Corinthians 10:13, God promises to provide relief from every problem: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” The word-picture in Hebrews 10:39 portrays a person shrinking back from following through on the demands of faith. He is looking for an easy way out of some distasteful thing he does not wish to face. This eventually happens to us all.
A major appeal of the world’s way is that it seems to be broader and easier. As Jesus says in Matthew 7:13, the easier, broader way it probably is—for a while. That deceptively effortless way draws the person ever-further from salvation, and he grows steadily weaker as he loses contact with God. The one who apostatizes thus permits himself to be drawn back.
The third step is taken when a person actually turns away. John 6:65-66 records such an occasion in Jesus’ ministry: “And He said, ‘Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.’ From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” In this poignant scene, Jesus watched people who may have been friends leave His entourage because they could not comprehend His teaching. He undoubtedly had spoken of things of an order far higher than they were accustomed to hearing, but rather than patiently facing it, as the apostles did, they simply gave up, proving themselves unfit for the Kingdom of God. Their loyalty could not stand the strain of what may have been merely a temporary misunderstanding. They had been followers, but apparently, they were seeking for something else.
By this stage, it is still not too late for a person to grab hold of himself and move forward, but the world’s appeal has become almost overpowering. Spiritual decline has reached the tipping point, and he is in serious peril.
The fourth and final step backward is illustrated by Isaiah in the Old Testament: “But the word of the LORD was to them, ‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.’ That they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught” (Isaiah 28:13).
In examining the context carefully, we see that the people being described have reached the critical point where God’s Word is falling on deaf ears. It is to them just jumbled noise. In New Testament terms, they had backslid beyond the reach of repentance and forgiveness. Here, the apostate reaches the point of no return; he has earned the Lake of Fire.
*John W. Ritenbaugh *
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“Children, obey your parents in the Master: for this is right. Honor thy father and thy mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the [new] earth.” (Ephesians 6:1). Children who dishonor their parents, and disobey them, and disregard their advice and instructions, can have no part in the earth made new. The purified new earth will be no place for the rebellious, the disobedient, the unthankful, ungrateful son or daughter. Unless such learn obedience and submission here, they will never learn the lesson hereafter; and the peace of the ransomed will never be marred by the disobedient, unruly, unsubmissive children. No commandment-breaker can inherit the kingdom of heaven. Will all the youth please read the fifth commandment spoken by Jehovah from Sinai, and engraven with his own finger upon tables of stone. “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Master thy Yahuwah giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12). “Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well-pleasing unto the Master.”
There are many passages of Scripture that are plain, instructing the young, showing them clearly the will of Yahuwah concerning them. These plain teachings they must meet in the Judgment. Yet there is not one young man or woman in twenty who professes the present truth, who heeds these Bible teachings. They do not read the word of Yahuwah enough to know its claims upon them, and yet these truths will judge them in the great day of Yahuwah, when young and old will be judged according to the deeds done in the body.
Says John, “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of Yahuwah abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of Yahuwah abideth forever.” (1 John 2:14-17).
This exhortation to young men extends also to young women. Their youth does not excuse them from the responsibilities resting upon them. The youth are strong. They are not worn down with the weight of years, and with cares. Their affections are ardent, and if they are withdrawn from the world, and placed upon Yahushua and heaven, doing the will of Yahuwah, they will have a hope of the better life that is enduring, and they will abide forever, being crowned with glory, honor, immortality, eternal life. If the youth live to gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, they are seeking for the things of the world, are pleasing their great adversary, and separating themselves from the Father. And when these things that are sought after pass away, their hopes are blighted and their expectations perish. Separated from Yahuwah, then they will bitterly repent their folly of serving their own pleasure, of gratifying their own desires, and for a few frivolous enjoyments, of selling a life of immortal bliss that they might have enjoyed forevermore. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world,” says the inspired apostle. Then the warning, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” It is an alarming fact that the love of the world predominates in the minds of the young. They decidedly love the world and the things that are in the world, and for this very reason the love of Yahuwah finds no room in their hearts. Their pleasures are found in the world, and in the things of the world, and they are strangers to the Father and the graces of his Spirit. Frivolity and fashion, and empty, vain talking and laughing, characterize the life of the youth generally, and Yahuwah is dishonored. Paul exhorts the youth to sobriety: “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” (Titus 2:6-8).
I entreat the youth for their souls’ sake to heed the exhortation of the inspired apostle. All these gracious instructions, warnings, and reproofs, will be either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Many of the young are reckless in their conversation. They choose to forget that by their words they shall be justified, or by their words be condemned. Take heed to the words of our Saviour: “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of Judgment; for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-36). How little regard is paid even to the instructions of the heavenly Teacher! The word of Yahuwah is either not studied at all, or if it is, its solemn truths are not heeded, and these plain truths will rise up in Judgment and condemn them.
Words and acts testify plainly what is in the heart. If vanity and pride, love of self and love of dress, fill the heart, the conversation will be upon the fashions, the dress, and the appearance, but not upon Yahushua or the kingdom of heaven. If envious feelings dwell in the heart, the same will be manifested in words and acts. Those who measure themselves by others, and do as others do, and make no higher attainments, and excuse themselves over the wrongs and faults of others, are feeding on husks, and will remain spiritual dwarfs as long as they gratify the Devil by thus indulging their own unconsecrated feelings. Some dwell upon what they shall eat and drink and wherewithal they shall be clothed. Their hearts are filled with these thoughts, and they flow out from the abundance of the heart, as though these things were their grand aim in life, their highest attainment. They forget the words of Yahushua,”Seek ye first the kingdom of Yahuwah and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).
Satan is gratified to have the attention of youth attracted by anything to divert their minds from Yahuwah, so that the deceiver can steal a march upon them, and they, unprepared for his attacks, be ensnared. They are not aware that the heavenly Artist is taking cognizance of every act, every word, and their deportment; and that even the thoughts and intents of the heart stand faithfully delineated. Every defect in the moral character stands forth revealed to the gaze of angels, and they will have the faithful picture presented to them in all its deformity at the execution of the Judgment. Those vain, frivolous words are all written in the book. Those false words are written. Those deceptive acts, with the motives concealed from human eyes, but discerned by the all-seeing eye of Jehovah, are all written in living characters. Every selfish act is exposed. The young generally conduct themselves as though the precious hours of probation, while mercy lingers, were one grand holiday, and that they are placed in this world simply for their own amusement, to be gratified by a continued round of excitement.
Satan has been making special efforts to lead the youth to find happiness in worldly amusements, and to justify themselves in thus doing, by endeavoring to show that these amusements are harmless, innocent, and even important to health. The impression has been given by some physicians that spirituality and devotion to Yahuwah are detrimental to health. This suits the adversary of souls well. There are persons with diseased imaginations who do not rightly represent the religion of Yahushua; such have not the pure religion of the Bible. Some are scourging themselves all through their life because of their sins; all they can see is an offended Yahuwah of justice. Yahushua and his redeeming power, through the merits of his blood, they fail to see. Such have not faith. This class are generally those who have not well-balanced minds. Through disease transmitted to them from their parents, and an erroneous education in youth, they have imbibed wrong habits, injuring the constitution, affecting the brain causing the moral organs to be diseased, and making it impossible for them upon all points to think and act rationally. They have not well-balanced minds. Yahuwahliness and righteousness are not destructive to health, but are health to the body and strength to the soul. Says Peter: “He that will love life, and see good days, . . . let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it: for the eyes of the Master are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Master is against them that do evil.” (1 Peter 3:10) “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.” (1 Peter 3:14).
The consciousness of right doing is the best medicine for diseased bodies and minds. The special blessing of Yahuwah resting upon the receiver is health and strength. A person whose mind is quiet and satisfied in Yahuwah is in the pathway to health. To have a consciousness that the eyes of the Master are upon us, and his ears open to hear our prayers, is a satisfaction indeed. To know that we have a never-failing Friend in whom we can confide all the secrets of the soul, is a privilege which words can never express. Those whose moral faculties are beclouded by disease, are not the ones to rightly represent the life of Yahushua, or the beauties of holiness. They are often in the fire of fanaticism, or the water of cold indifference or stolid gloom.
The words of Yahushua are of more worth than the opinions of all the physicians in the universe. “Seek ye first the kingdom of Yahuwah and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” This is the first great object–the kingdom of Heaven, the righteousness of Yahushua. Other objects to be attained should be secondary to these.
By: Ellen White
Review & Herald
March 30, 1886
We have taken out from the original article all pagan names and titles of the Father and Son, and have replaced them with the original given names. Furthermore, we have restored in the Scriptures quoted the original names of the Father and Son, as they were originally written by the inspired writers of the Bible.
The Magnet and the Nail Family
1. A Magnet.
2. Young Children of the Nail Family—small, bright, shiny Nails.
3. Mr. Nail (father), large nail, a bit rusty—invisible string attached, concealing
large bottle under the table.
4. Mrs. Nail (mother) middle-size nail; invisible string attached concealing
deck of cards.
5. Big Brother Nail, tall, bright nail; invisible string attached, concealing
a filthy rag.
6. Bent, rusty Nail (Grandpa Nail).
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We have the NAIL family before us this morning, boys and girls.
See them here on the table!
They picture a good many families living all about us today.
And what is this? (Exhibit magnet.)
Someone says, “a MAGNET.”
Yes, this is a magnet. It has drawing power. In John 12:32 the Lord Jesus said,
“And I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto Me.” He was speaking of His death
on the cross, which would enable Him to draw men and women from sin unto
Himself as Saviour.
We will let the MAGNET picture the Lord Jesus/Yeshua.
Let us put the magnet in among the Nail family. See the bright, shiny nails fly
to it? These are the small children in the Nail family. Like many other small
children, they are eager to accept the Lord Jesus in their youth. (Eccl. 12:1.)
They gladly accept His loving invitation to the children, “Suffer the little children
to come unto Me and forbid them not.” — Luke 18:16.
But what about the other members of the Nail family? Some seem unmoved,
while others make an attempt to come, but something seems to hold them back.
Let us look at each one separately. This tall, strong looking nail, is Mr. Nail,
the father of the household. Surely, Mr. Nail, as the head of the house, should
accept the Lord Jesus as His Saviour. But no, he refuses to come, though he
does seem moved as the story of God’s love is presented to him. Something
seems to hold him back. Let us see what it is. (Beer Bottle in hand)
Ah—this tells the story.
Mr. Nail is bound down by a habit which seems to have the better of him.
This bottle tells not only of a habit, but of worldly friends and pleasures,
which are keeping him away from the church and the Lord.
Is there no hope for Mr. Nail?
Oh, yes, the Lord Jesus is able to break every fetter. He says, “Him that
cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” — John 6:37.
Now, see Mr. Nail cling to the magnet! Hear him sing:
“Other refuge have I none, Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.”
With Mr. Nail a Christian, he is anxious for Mrs. Nail and the other members
of the family to accept the Lord Jesus as Saviour. Mrs. Nail has surely seen
a change in Mr. Nail since he became a Christian, she would like to come to
the Lord Jesus, but something seems to be exerting an influence over her.
Let us see what it is … Why, attached to Mrs. Nail is a deck of cards.
So this is the reason Mrs. Nail will not put her trust in the Lord as her
Saviour — she loves the world and the pleasures of the world.
Finally she too, accepts the invitation of the Lord Jesus. She hears him say,
“Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
— Matt. 11:28.
What rest and peace she found in Christ—a peace that the world never knew
Another member of the Nail family is Grandpa.
This bent, rusty nail is Grandpa Nail. He is getting old, all of his life has been
lived for self, with practically no thought of God. He hears of the Lord Jesus
from his son and daughter-in-law, but it doesn’t seem to be for him.
He feels he has lived in sin too long. Again and again they tell him of Jesus’
love. His heart seems changing—he listens with more interest. Finally one
day as Mr. Nail repeated Romans 5:8, “For God commended His love toward
us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” — a joy filled his heart
and life as he exclaimed, “He died for me! He died for me!”
With Grandpa Nail in the fold, there was only one other member of the family
left untouched by the Gospel. This was Big Brother Nail. Big Brother was a
Senior in college. He couldn’t understand what was happening to the family.
His mother and father tried to tell him, but he was always too busy, besides,
he said such things were “old fashioned.” How they all yearned over Big
Brother and longed to see him come to the Lord Jesus and accept Him as
This tall, bright looking nail is Big Brother. Let us see if we can find out why
he refuses to come to the Lord Jesus. Something seems to be preventing him
from even listening to the “Good News.”
Ah, see what is attached to Big Brother — a filthy rag!
What can this mean?
God’s Word says that self-righteousness is in His sight as “filthy rags,”
(Isa. 64:6). Big Brother feels that he has a righteousness of his own, and so
does not need a Saviour. But the prayers of the Nail family are not to go
unanswered. At last Big Brother is brought to realize that, “All have sinned
and come short of the glory of God.”— Romans 3:23.
He turns his back on his own righteousness, takes his place as a sinner in
need of a Saviour. What rejoicing there was in the Nail household the day
that Big Brother came to the Lord. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,”
they all sang that night as they gathered around the family altar.
What happened in the Nail family can happen in your family too, boys and girls.
The Lord Jesus longs to DRAW unto Himself those who know Him not.
“The Son of Man is come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10),
and “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”—John 6:37.
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excerpted from “www.moreillustrations.com”
a vital organ for survival or an organ of ‘damning fire’.?
*** Words that heal and wound comes from the same mouth.***
“5 So, too, the tongue is a little member and yet makes great brags.
Look! How little a fire it takes to set so great a woodland on fire!
6 Well, the tongue is a fire. The tongue is constituted a world of
unrighteousness among our members, for it spots up all the body
and sets the wheel of natural life aflame and it is set aflame by
7 For every species of wild beast as well as bird and creeping thing
and sea creature is to be tamed and has been tamed by humankind.
8 But the tongue, not one of mankind can get it tamed. An unruly
injurious thing, it is full of death-dealing poison.
9 With it we bless Jehovah, even [the] Father, and yet with it we
curse men who have come into existence “in the likeness of God.”
10 Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing.”
*NWT — JAMES : 3 : 5-10*
Speak with kindness and thoughtfulness with consideration and discretion,
as words spoken cannot be taken back, just as it is the same with time that
cannot be wound backwards.
Reflect on these two poems ……..
An Evening Prayer
*C. Maud Battersby*
If I have wounded any soul today,
If I have caused one foot to go astray,
If I have walked in my own willful way,
Good Lord, forgive.
If I have uttered idle words or vain,
If I have turned aside from want or pain,
Lest I offend some other through the strain,
Good Lord, forgive.
Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee.
Forgive the secret sins I do not see.
That which I know not, Father, teach Thou me—
Help me to live.
No Unkind Words
*George Matthas Adams*
If I knew that a word of mine,
A word not kind and true,
Might leave its trace on a loved one’s face,
I don’t think I’d speak it, would you?
If I knew the sting of a word
Might linger and leave its mark
With a deep dark scar on a loved one’s heart,
I don’t think I’d speak that word, would you?