Summary: Life consists of three time frames: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
“Three Good Looks
David P. Nolte
There are three time periods in each life. Yesterday, tomorrow and today. The past has come and gone; tomorrow doesn’t exist; so today is all we really have in which to live and love and labor and laugh and learn.
Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; but today is reality. Yesterday is instructive; tomorrow is unknown; today is the proving ground.
As the new year unfolds, let us be renewed and refreshed to serve Him well. I have three simple suggestions for doing that. The suggestions come in the form of taking three time oriented glances: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow..
I. LOOK BACK TO YESTERDAY AND LEARN:
A. Paul urges us to look back and learn: “I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did. As the Scriptures say, ‘The people celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.’ And we must not engage in sexual immorality as some of them did, causing 23,000 of them to die in one day. Nor should we put Christ to the test, as some of them did and then died from snakebites. And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.”
B. Sometimes we as Christians need to stop. look back at, and remember, lessons we have learned.
1. We should have learned from the good and bad examples of other people. Watch America’s Funniest Home Videos to see how not to slide down a snow covered hill, climb a ladder, jump on a trampoline or groom a cat. And remember Israel.
2. More importantly,
a. We should have learned from our own failures. “Well, that didn’t work!”
b. We should have learned from our own successes. “Well, that did the trick!”
C. What lessons should we learn by looking at Israel’s past?
1. They craved evil things. Let us desire the things of God..
2. They were idolaters. For us, God and God alone.
3. They engaged in pagan revelry. Let us engage in holy joy.
4. They were sexually immoral. Let us flee immorality.
5. They tested God over and over. We must not put God to the test.
6. They grumbled. “Moses, you blockhead – you brought us out here to die! What are we gonna eat? What are we gonna drink? We’re gonna die and years from now archaeologists will finds our parched bones buried in the sand! We wanna go back to Egypt!” Let us not be like that.
D. While it is important to remember the lessons of the past,
1. It is not good to dwell, morbidly or longingly, on the past!
2. Look to the past but don’t be chained to it.
3. As my good friend, John Dammarell, wrote: “‘Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.’ Isaiah 43:18-19 NASB. The key word is ponder, which keeps fouling us up. It means to keep talking about, keep dwelling on, in this case, your past such as hurts by a former spouse, a former boss or employee, or a parent that hurt you. You see, some of you will never see the destiny that God has for you because you're stuck in your past and most likely bitter But instead, you are being challenged to learn from it, forgive, and move on from your past with the promise that God is about to do something new in your life.”
E. Unless we learn from the pastg we will go on fighting the same battles, suffering the same pain. Let me illustrate. A man had a jar full of grasshoppers to use as fish bait. Gthe lid was on but the grasshoppers kept trying to jump out, only to smack their heads against the lid. Finally, they learned that if they would not jump so high, gthehy wouldn’t bash their heads. After a few hours, the man could open the jar and none of the grasshoppers would jump high enough to escape. Now we could say they locked their own prison – I prefer to say they learned from past experience. Don’t smack hyour head on the lid.