Sermons

Summary: There's a New Year's custom in some villages in Scotland where barrels of tar are set ablaze and rolled through the streets, signifying the burning of the old year. Perhaps this signifies leaving it all behind and being focused on looking ahead.

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LOOKING AHEAD

INTRODUCTION: People all over the world celebrate New Year's differently. I came across an interesting custom in some villages in Scotland. Barrels of tar are set ablaze and rolled through the streets, signifying the burning of the old year. Gives an attention-grabbing feel to the idea of out with the old; in with the new. But I guess in the idea of burning the old year you are not leaving any remnants behind to dwell on; you're focused on looking ahead.

This isn't to say that there aren't any aspects of the old year to reflect on and remember fondly; of course there are. But in looking ahead we vow to put old regrets and old quarrels to rest. In looking ahead we are striving to replace old behaviors with new ones. Some things might follow us from the old year and there's not anything we can do about it except deal with them. But perhaps we deal with them in a new way or with a new attitude which can be more effective. Perhaps this is the year we finally get that monkey off our back. Perhaps this is the year we finally accomplish that long-time goal. Let's look ahead.

1) Eyes front!

Prov. 4:25-27, "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil."

Here we see a recipe for success in being able to look ahead and move forward. In looking ahead we are not being distracted by things in other directions. Looking ahead has with it a stated purpose of advancement. We are striving for reaching new plateaus. Therefore, in order to do that we need not lose our focus. Eyes front and keep it movin'! Don't look to the right or to the left but keep your eyes on the prize. Walk in the way that is solid and sure and that way is with Christ; all other ways are dangerous and treacherous. And don't look back! When God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah the angel sent to rescue Lot, his wife and their daughters basically told them to keep it moving and don't look back.

But Gen. 19:26 says that Lot's wife did look back and when she did she became a pillar of salt. She didn't look back in curiosity, she looked back in longing and sorrow. When we become born again we are called to not look back with fondness on our old lifestyle of sin with a desire to go back. That was Lot's wife's problem-she not only looked back, she desired to go back; she didn't want to let go.

Jesus cited Lot's wife in Luke 17:28-33, “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it."


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