No Looking Back

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Photo by Haeun Kang on Unsplash” width=”300″ height=”300″> Photo by Haeun Kang on Unsplash

“…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

As I am currently preaching through Philippians in a series I’ve entitled “Regaining Our Purpose,” thinking on how 2020 robbed much of our efforts carrying out God’s purpose in our lives. As I came upon the above verses, I began to think on how much we dwell on the past.

In my past I’ve seen God at work in ways that redirected me toward His purpose in my life. However, I can see so many failures from the past. If I dwell on those failures, they will multiply into more failures in my future. There needs to be no looking back at past failures unless we are to learn from them and not repeat them or else we become discouraged by them.

Learn from the past and move on (press on).

When Babe Ruth held the home run record for many years, remember his other record — strikeouts. And then there is Abraham Lincoln, considered one the most admired and respected president in history.

1831 – Failed in business; went bankrupt.

1833 – Back on his feet; failed again

1835 – Fiancée he loved dearly died

1836 – Nervous breakdown

1838 – Ran for speaker of the house; defeated

1840 – Elector; defeated

1843 – Congress; defeated

1848 – Congress again; defeated

1855 – Senate; defeated

1856 – Vice president; defeated

1858 – Senate again; defeated

1860 – Elected president; one of the greatest who ever lived

What if he had quit because of his defeats and failures? Where would the United States been in those years and the many that followed? He moved from one failure to the next. Surely, with God’s help, we can rise above a few failures in our lives.

From Bro. Larry


In God We Trust

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2nd Corinthians 12:9

I say that I believe God is fully in control and I believe He cares about me and holds my future in His hands. Yet, in the midst of troubling times like today I tend to rely upon myself or some alternative quick fix. Thus believing deep down that God can’t handle this by himself and that I’ve got to help Him out or seek an alternative.

Ever since the Garden of Eden, unbelief has blinded and defeated God’s people. Satan’s ploy for Eve to eat the apple was based upon the temptation to disbelieve God’s character and question His commands.  And throughout history, nothing has changed. Today, Satan is as relentless as in the days of Genesis in deceiving us to doubt what we know to be true—particularly about the character of God and who we are in Christ.

During troubling times, you may catch yourself attempting to reason, “You know, God has got a lot going on down here, and it is only understandable that now and then He overlooks some things. I can’t really expect Him to attend to all the details in my life, now can I?” That is the lie. The truth is that my God calls every star by name (Isaiah 40:26). He does not lose track of details! “His understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28).

Ask yourself, “Do I wholeheartedly believe that God is sovereign—even at this moment, when life feels out of control? What does this trial mean for my future? My work? My ministry? The dreams I thought God gave me.” Because many of us only halfheartedly believe God’s grace is sufficient, we live half-effective lives, defeated more often than victorious over sin and the challenges before us.

Until we believe that God holds the future as well as each of us in His hands, we will not be able to surrender our lives and dreams to Him with full abandonment. When we continue to believe what the world or the Satan tells us about ourselves, rather than what God tells us, we are quenching the Spirit of Truth and allowing lies to choke the good fruit that God wants to bear in our lives.

Bro Larry


Read Me!

Read Me!“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11

A few years ago, I was at a conference where Chuck Colson had spoken and as I approached him, he somehow realized I was going through some spiritual struggles without me ever telling him. He said to me, ”I sense God would like for me to pray for you. Do you mind?” He had not spoken those words to any others who came around but he sensed my need. That impressed me, touched my spirit, and gave me a memory I will never forget.

It reminded me of a story of a nationally known preacher who was signing a book he had written and shaking hands following his message at a conference. There was a line of people at his table when a lady came up to him and asked him, “Do you have a word for me?”

He looked her into the eyes and said, “Yes I do!” He then handed her his Bible. The Bible Is God’s Word for mankind but it is also God’s Word for you and me personally.

Before becoming a pastor, I was a member of the “Gideons.” They are an organization of Christian businessmen and professionals who gather for prayer and Bible study. What they are most known for is placing Bibles in motels, hospitals, and waiting rooms along with giving New Testaments to 5th graders, college students and military. One morning I was participating in their Bible give-a-way at Volunteer State College when a student refused to take a Bible from my hand saying, “I don’t believe in that stuff.”

Most Christians have multiple copies of the Bible. Personally, I have a couple dozen hard copies plus it’s available on my phone, tablet, and computer. But, as many could say, “I need to spend more time in reading and meditating on the Bible.” Since God only wrote one Book, we ought to read it and study it accompanied by prayer. Enter your prayer time with the Bible in one hand and a pencil in the other hand while talking with God and listening to His Word.

Bro Larry


I Used to Have Days Like That Before I Became a Christian

“Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10

As a teen, a rock song made the lyrics popular, “Momma said they’d be days like this, my momma said.” Maybe the following story will remind you of a few of those days.

A pastor was scheduled to preach his first Sunday at a new church. He had not had time to move his family to the new town, so he spent the first night in town in a motel with his wife and kids still back at the old house making final arrangements for the move. He was running late because the alarm had not gone off. In a hurry, he cut himself while shaving and bled a lot. Then his shirt wasn’t ironed properly and no iron to be found. When he was leaving the motel he noticed a flat tire!

Really disgusted and mad, he quickly changed the tire, ran back to his room and washed up again. He finally got underway, taking off from the parking lot squealing his tires and put the pedal to the floor. Racing through town, he ran a stop sign only to be pulled over by a policeman that was watching the intersection and he immediately heard the scream of the siren and saw the flashing red lights.

Really irritated, he pulled over, jumped out of the car and immediately begin explaining, almost shouting, “Well, go ahead an give me a ticket.  Everything else has gone wrong today!” The policeman quietly began his conversation with the minister by saying, “Sir, I understand your dilemma. I used to have days like that before I became a Christian.”

Hearing what he needed to hear, the pastor apologized, asked for forgiveness, and went his way toward the church, this time praying for strength and discipline to correct a faulty attitude. From time to time we need to be reminded, there will be days like that. How we respond makes the difference.

No wonder the psalmist encourages us to just be still (calm) and know God is at work while listening for His instructions and following His guidance.

Bro Larry


Remedy for the Soul

“. . . the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isaiah 1:5-6

One year when I was small, a carnival came to our town. Our town was so small this just never happened. They were always at bigger towns. I whined so much to my dad that he finally gave in and took me. It had rained so hard that the mud was deep. I don’t remember a single ride or a show but I do remember walking down the muddy path and hearing a barker ring out the words like these, “Step right up, ladies and gentlemen.  I’m holding in my hand nature’s own elixir. Get rid of those tired bones. Cure your baldness Fix the pains in your back. Repair your constipation. A dose a day for a month and you’ll never be the same person.”

To me, it sounded like the wonder drug of all drugs. Now that I’m older, I realize how gullible the people were to buy a product that did everything for you but didn’t really give any lasting effects for 30 days to allow time for the carnival to be out of town.

I can look around and see that our society is sick today, and the deceiver of the fake tonic is attempting to sell the cure at high prices. If you notice our Bible passage, Isaiah described the people of his day as being spiritually and emotionally ill. Sounds as if he is describing our day.

There is a Great Physician. Step right up to hear from Him. He is not selling a bottle with promises, He is offering a book with absolutes. You probably won’t find the cure for gout or cancer, but you can see the spiritually healing of our soul and it just may affect the body as well.

Open up the Book and you will see in its pages that God performs an examination throughout. He sees all and knows all. Also, we are to examine ourselves. The benchmark for our life is Jesus. We should follow His examples and guidelines in order to live a spiritually health life. Then the world will see in us what they lack in themselves.

So step right up, dive into God’s Word and take a daily dose of the spiritual medicine He provides. It is amazing.

Bro Larry


Building Bridges

“And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” (2nd Corinthians 5:18)


Two brothers lived on adjoining farms, but they had a deep quarrel. They had often shared their resources, but that practice stopped; and there was nothing left but bitterness. One morning a brother (we will call John) answered a knock at his door. It was a carpenter. The carpenter asked if there was any work to do.


John said that there was something he could do. He took the carpenter to where the two properties met and showed him how the other brother had taken a bulldozer and created a creek where the meadow used to be. John said, “I know he did this to make me angry. I want you to help me get even by building a big fence so I won’t have to see him or his property ever again.”


So the carpenter worked hard all day. When the carpenter reported back to him, John noticed there was no fence. The carpenter had used his skill and built a bridge over the creek instead of a fence. When John’s brother saw the bridge and was quite moved that his brother would do such a thing. The two brothers met in the middle and embraced. They saw the carpenter packing his tools and asked him to stay a while and do more work. The carpenter replied, “I’m sorry, but I have other bridges to build.” Does he have one to build in your life?


Reconciliation is simply building bridges to bring people back together. We Christians have received reconciliation through Christ building the bridge of the cross to bring people back to God. We have also been given the ministry of reconciliation to persuade men to come back to God.


As we begin a new year, are there any bridges you desperately need to build?


Bro Larry


Staying in the Game

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one received the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” 1st Corinthians 9:24

Years ago when my children were young, I was president of the local Little League which handled the little league teams, minor league and tee ball. Tee ball was for the 5 & 6 years-olds who were not old enough to play in the other leagues and they played by hitting the ball off of a tee.

My oldest daughter Natalie was six years old and wanted to please her dad by applying to play on a tee ball team. On the final practice a few minutes before her first game they were throwing the ball back and forth. She held out her glove and the ball bounced up and hit her in the mouth causing a bloody lip. Immediately, she was ready to quit the team. Since she had gone through all of the practices, I encouraged her to remain on the team.

The coach then placed her in left field. For those who may not be familiar with the left fielder position in children and youth baseball, it is the location you place the kids that are not very good. I know because I played left field in Little League. It is also a place where few balls are hit meaning less activity and the possibility of the player causing many costly mistakes. While in left field, she watched the birds fly overhead, picked the daisies and paid no attention to the game until occasionally when a ball was hit beyond the infield in her direction. Then everyone would yell, “Natalie, get the ball and throw it in!”

Modern day Christianity is much like that. A person is in for the easy practices, but when something happens and hits them in the mouth, they are out. Or they stay in left field where there is little action and not much is expected of them.

But, the Bible teaches us that God did not save us to be passively engaged, but to be actively engaged. Paul explained it one way as a race that all (everyone) was expected to run. Are you all in and are you persevering to stay in the game?

Bro. Larry


My Heavenly Home

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3


In 1964, singer Dionne Warwick recorded a song, “A House Is Not A Home.” The lyrics say that an empty house – no matter how beautiful – is not a home if the one we love isn’t there. Most can relate to that. A house is empty when the one you love leaves or passes away.


This was brought to my mind: we have a ninety-four old lady at our church named Norma. For her ninetieth birthday, she requested the church throw her a birthday party which was done. She spoke of the fact that as a child she always dreamed of owning a doll house. Many of us searched high and low to come up with a three-foot-tall doll house. She is only a little over four-feet tall. Four years later, for the most part, the house remains fairly empty. It was difficult to locate the properly-sized furniture and contents to place in the house. It just isn’t the same as it would be if the contents were there.


Prior to Jesus’ death He told His disciples that He was going away to a place that He would prepare for them. He described it as “His Father’s house.” The good news is that is also prepared for all who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. This house will not be empty. Much of the information about this place is found in the book of the Revelation.


If you do not go with me to that eternal home, there will be a place prepared for you that will be empty. We can’t take our money, houses, or other possessions with us to Heaven but we can take the souls of our friends, family, and others we cross path with in this world.


Bro. Larry


God’s GPS

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

As my thoughts go toward Noah on the Ark bobbing around in the world’s ocean for a year during the time of the great flood, he had no idea where he was headed following the flood. Noah had no smart phone equipped with Google Maps or even a GPS. He had no idea he would land on a mountain called Ararat (in modern day Turkey). How far had he drifted in that year? Where all had his ship floated?

Most would say that Noah and the Ark drifted subject to the currents of the sea, going wherever the winds of chance took him. My opinion was that he was sailing according to God’s GPS (God’s Global Positioning System). I believe that and because of that belief, I can’t see my God as a god of chance. As I have been preparing a teaching series on “An Unlimited God,” I see more and more how He is in control if I allow Him to be. He charters my path but allows me as a free moral agent to make my choices. He has laid them out, but I may choose to take my own path in life. When I do, I find myself going in the wrong path.

Later in sea navigation, ship captains discovered they could follow a path my keeping their eyes on The North Star. This keeps you focused on which way North is so you will know what direction you are going.

Sometimes the world seems like an ocean tossing us around in life. This is one reason we need a spiritual North Star. We have one. In fact, our North Star called himself, “The Bright and Morning Star” in Revelation 22:16. By His immoveable presence in our life, we are able to charter our present and future course.

Today, the skies are dark and the winds are rough as we ride through the Coronavirus and face the winds of racism and riots, and not even looking much now at the morality around us. We need to know that our GPS (The Bright and Morning Star) will be our guide through the sea of life to our destination as we land safely in our heavenly harbor for eternity.

Focus in on Jesus and stay the course.

Bro. Larry


Jesus Loves Me

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

I love to hear the stories of how our Christian songs and hymns originated. The story of how the song came about that we often sing to our children, “Jesus Loves Me,” is said to have happened this way:

Sisters Anna and Susan Warner lived on Constitution Island on the Hudson River across from the Military Academy at West Point. Their life was consumed with teaching the Bible to the cadets. In the meantime, they wrote a few books, one of which was “Say and Seal.” In the book they told of a fictional boy name Johnny Fox who was dying. His Sunday school teacher, John Linden, comforted him by taking him into his arms, rocking him, and making a little song that went like this, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so . . . “ Later, composer William Bradbury, read the words of the little song and together music for the lines and “Jesus Loves Me” was born as a children’s hymn.

The song has as strong of a foundation of faith as any other song today. It’s simple but true. Whether we are young or old, healthy or dying, prosperous or in poverty we can take assurance with fact that, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” 

Take fact that God loved us even before we loved him. “But God commended His love for us, that while we were yet sinners, he died for us.” Romans 5:8

Bro. Larry

P.S. Don’t forget to pray for schools returning to classes. Not all are going in person and not all at the same time. But, there are many reasons to pray for the safety of the students as well as school personnel and parents.