Archive for August 2011
Pastor Miller hung the phone up and slumped into the chair. This was unbelievable! It was sickening. He sensed the pending devastation.
The voice mail on his cell phone announced that a 3rd couple in two months wanted to move their membership across town to the big church.
Only a handful of families were left here now. Would the nightmare ever stop? It was like a hemorrhage that was unending. The families that had left weren’t content to just go, they pulled on the remaining ones with reports of how wonderful things were at the new church. Their family and friends wavered in their loyalties. Who knew where it would stop. His church wasn’t growing. It was shrinking and he couldn’t stop the process.
No letter of transfer was ever asked for, and the other pastor had never called when someone moved in. He didn’t want to accuse the pastor across town of trying to proselyte, but the members there didn’t hesitate to do it for him.
The big church had quite a few people with money. They could afford to hire a full-time music director. They had also imported a youth pastor that was given full reign and a handsome expense account to attract and entertain young people. He did his job well, evidently. He personally encouraged all the young people in town to be a part of his youth group.
The bigger church had concerts, dramas, guitar driven worship, newer songs, fog machines, strobe lights, multimedia presentations, Power Points and many well-known guest speakers. A Starbucks type coffee shop was just down the hall from the entrance. The aroma always drew a crowd. Their church always had something going on there.
It was impossible for the pastor Miller’s small church to compete with the big boys. He had neither the resources nor the staff. He worked a secular job just to keep the wolf away from the door.
He had nearly broken his health trying to dig a church out of nothing. He had been ethical to a fault. He had never taken anyone from another church.
He personally had won most of the people in his church. He had taught almost every one there a Home Bible Study. He had prayed them through. He had baptized them. So this is the thanks he gets? How does he stop the migration? He didn’t want to feel jealous or harbor bad thoughts, but it still didn’t feel good. His wife was devastated. Now, there was little chance the church would be self-supporting anytime soon.
He knew the Pentecostals in town considered him “old school”. He still had testimony service. His church even sang out of the songbook. They sang many choruses were those sung by previous generations.
A piano and a box guitar provided the music. They used to have a drummer, but he had moved across town to the big church.
Bro. Miller had never been invited to preach a special meeting in his life. He knew he never would be asked.
Two special needs adults in his church always caused distractions to visitors. One often spoke out loud at the wrong time and had to be treated like a child.
The $41.43 in the Sunday night offering last week didn’t pay much on the utilities or church payment. His people were poor. He had to help most of them survive. He had paid utilities for many of his people, helped a few times with their house payments. He’d even co-signed for a car, once or twice.
The girls in the big church called the young girls in his church ‘grandmas’. Their modest apparel was scorned as unnecessary. At the big church, not much was said about standards evidently. (That was an unkind thought he knew, but he’s not been impressed by what he’d seen in the mall.)
There was no one for pastor Miller to complain to, confide in or cry with. He privately wished that the Prophet Nathan would go across town and preach the story of the ‘one ewe lamb’ again. It seemed fitting.
When he heard reports about ‘revival’ and church growth across town, he knew where some of the growth had come from.
Life didn’t seem fair. He made up his mind that he would paste a smile on his face, keep doing his best to have good church, preach like there was a house full, not talk about those that left, and encourage the rest.
God would sort it all out some how. He was trying to help build God’s Kingdom, not his own. He would not allow a war to go on. He didn’t know what to do.
So Pastor Miller took advantage of his off-night and went to his church by himself. He went up to the altar in the empty sanctuary and knelt down to pray.
He only prayed for one thing. He prayed for the church across town. He prayed that God would give them a great harvest of souls. He prayed that God would abundantly bless them. He prayed for the Pastor, for their leaders, and for the members. He prayed for their finances and for their outreach efforts.
He prayed for them, like he wished someone, somewhere would pray for him. He prayed for the big church across town, like he wished someone would pray for the church he pastored.
Living On The Edge
“Come over here son, I want to have a talk with you about the facts of life. No, I don’t mean like the talk we had when you were growing up. I want to talk to you about the facts of life for folks of all ages.
The old man continued, “I know that there is an adventuresome spirit in you. I love that, and never want to see it die. I know that your generation uses terms like, ‘Living on the edge.’ That’s what I want to talk to you about.
Living On The Edge – In Sports!
“In sports you’ve never found your limit. In life, you’ve pushed all the barriers. You’ve lived on the edge, whether it’s been mountain climbing, motorcycles, skiing, snowboarding or whatever.
“As your father, I can understand your curiosity to push your personal limits. I fear for you, but I know where you got your love for excitement.
“What scares me more than worrying about you getting a broken arm or a skinned up leg is living on the edge spiritually. You are not doing it, and for that I am most grateful. I just wanted you to see a couple of pictures that shows what happens when people live on the edge spiritually. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Living On The Edge – Spiritually!
My Father taught me that there were two things that could destroy my walk with God; Worldliness and Fanaticism.
I always want you to remember that the Bible said our adversary, the devil, goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. With that in mind son, have a look at these pictures and see what happens to those that live on the edge spiritually.
“In the end, it really won’t matter which one destroys you, Worldliness or Fanaticism. You’ll be dead either way.
“Do you see this picture? The ones on the edge are the ones the lions kill. Those that are not close to the edge of the herd are the safest. Understand?
“Good. What I’m saying son, is that when it comes to living for God, get in the middle of things. Don’t hang around on the edge of the church.
“I love you son! I want you to always keep your soul safe.”
He Threw His Miracle Away
The Texas Evangelist forgot to bring his Bible to the Revival. He’d been at our church for two weeks already. Every night, he’d have someone read his scripture for him. Some nights, he would have someone read a scripture of his or her choice and then he would preach a masterful message from that verse. His ability was unbelievable.
His singing was amazing. The people loved him. I sat on the front row and watched as he played my old Gibson J-45 box guitar. (We all knew he was a good singer because he had even ‘cut’ a record.)
He also had an incredible ministry of faith and a likeable personality. The church had not seen someone used in the ‘gifts’ like him before. Every night their faith was built up a little higher. Some of the saints testified of healings and blessings that had come their way during the revival.
After singing a few songs, one night, The Evangelist felt led to pray for the sick. The line formed and it was not short. Almost everyone could think of something they’d like prayer for, so they stood in line.
After 20 minutes or more, he raised his hands to stop the music and the praying. He got the microphone and said, ’How many here have never seen a miracle?”
Six men raised their hands. He said to them, “I want you to come up here by me. You are going to see a miracle tonight.”
He then bent over and asked the man he was getting ready to pray for, what his name was. When he found out, he continued talking in the microphone.
“Brother Marshall told me that he is a welder by trade. He said that several years ago, he was involved in a work related accident. A hot rivet fell out of a beam into his ear and it burnt out and destroyed his eardrum. The Doctors say it’s irreparable.
“Now, if God does not heal Brother Marshall completely tonight and restore his eardrum and his hearing, I will close my Bible and never preach another sermon.”
The saints and Pastor marveled at his faith and bold statements. Some cast furtive glances toward the Pastor in hopes of seeing his reaction. There was none.
“I want you six brethren to gather around Bro. Marshall.”
One at a time he had them place their hands on the man’s head, covering his ears. Finally all six pairs of hands covered Bro. Marshall’s ears.
The Evangelist prayed a prayer that didn’t seem to last 20 seconds.
With the hands still covering the ears, the Evangelist walked behind Bro. Marshall and stood about six feet away. He then turned his back to him and said in conversational tones, “Can you hear me now?”
“Yes,” was the reply.
He walked another 10 feet away and repeated the question and got the same answer.
The people rejoiced and faith was high.
The next day, Bro. Marshall went to see his Doctor. That night he came back to church with the Doctor’s report. The Doctor could find no evidence of an injury or scaring. He had a perfectly functioning eardrum.
There wasn’t any preaching that night as the saints rejoiced and many came forward to be prayed for. All of us were saddened when the Evangelist had to go to his next revival.
Less than a year later Brother Marshall had some problems that caused him to start missing church. After a month or so of hit and miss, he let it be known that he wasn’t going back to church anymore.
Almost immediately, he lost his hearing and never got it back. A hearing aid was of no help. He lived many more years and died in that condition.
He threw his miracle away!
(This sad story is true. The name has been changed.)
Wuz Ya Skeered?
Most of us have enjoyed laughing at someone’s harmless fright. We especially enjoy their body language and their reactionary comments. Afterward, someone will ask the obvious question. “Wuz ya skeered?”
Most of us have been scared at some point. Scared by different things maybe, but scared nevertheless.
I Know What It Is Like To Be Scared!
Several of my young children have made uncounted efforts trying to scare me. They’ve tried everything from jumping out at me as I came around a corner in the house, to hiding in dark places waiting for me. So far they’ve always been disappointed in my lack of reaction. It disappoints them that I am not jumpy or easy to scare.
Just because I didn’t react to their attempts, doesn’t mean I’m a tough guy who has never been scared. Oh no. I really have been scared before.
As a 19-year-old evangelist, I found myself over 1,000 miles from home. I only had $1.50 in my pocket, and no place to go. I didn’t know where I where I was going to sleep that night, or where my next meal was coming from. I was scared.
A bear once swatted me from behind. It was Grizzly sow with two cubs. She knocked me airborne for over 10 feet. I was camping in the Teton Mountains. (She killed a man four hours later just a half mile away.) I make no bones about it. I was scared.
I have been snake bitten by a Cotton Mouth, a Water Moccasin, and a Copperhead. I once shot the head off of a Diamondback Rattler in the Mountains that was coiled 10 inches away from my ankle and ready to strike. I was scared.
I once stood in the Pediatric ICU Unit beside an incubator and held my newborn granddaughter in my arms and desperately prayed for a miracle. I was scared.
I hydroplaned in a VW late one rainy night in 1965. I went off the highway, hit a mailbox, and rolled the car three times. I crossed the grassy median and wound up on the other side of the four lane. I had landed upside down in the ditch facing the other direction. The driver’s door was jammed as a result. Gas was pouring everywhere. My 16-year-old younger sister broke both of her collarbones in the process. We couldn’t get out. I was scared.
A man kicked my kitchen door in late one night threatening to kill my wife, my children and myself. I held him until the police arrived. I was scared.
I once saw my 24ft travel trailer come along side car and try to pass me on Texas two lane road that was covered with black ice. My wife and baby son were in the car. I was scared.
I have had medical conditions that brought fear to me. I was scared.
I have seen some of those that I dearly love have spiritual struggles in their youth. I was scared.
I have sat in Emergency Rooms with my bleeding children. They had gashes and broken bones. Most of my children have had medical needs and procedures over the years that really made me pray. I’ve been scared.
I almost lost my precious wife after a kidney stone removal surgery last year. As they pulled the tube out of her throat after surgery, her gag reflex responded and she asphyxiated. Her lungs immediately filled with fluid. It took over five hours before they could stabilize her enough to bring her into the ICU Unit. After several days and a big miracle we got to go home. I was scared.
I suppose that all of my gentle readers could write volumes too about life moments that scared them.
The Bible Goes To Great Lengths Encouraging Us To:
- Fear not
- Be not afraid
We are told that God has not given us the spirit of fear.
These are beautiful, needed and timely words for us all. But there is one verse of scripture that tells us when to really be afraid.
All of our natural fears pale in comparison to this one!
It’s The Only Time The Word Of God Warns Us To Really Be Afraid.
Rom. 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom. 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom. 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Rom. 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Rom. 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Rom. 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Rom. 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Paul warned the church at Rome not to play with sin. He said if they wanted to be saved and do right, the preacher was their best friend.
But if they persisted in doing evil, then they needed to realize their pastor wasn’t some unimportant hireling whose warning could be ignored or overlooked.
Paul said, “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid.”
Everyone that choses to live their life doing that which is evil in the eyes of God, you need to pay attention here. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
I am sad to say, this generation seems to have lost its fear of God!
Before I Could Stop Myself
My 66-year-old father stood in his Carlyss, Louisiana bedroom by the chest of drawers. He held a small compact camera in his hands that was made in the 1960’s. It was the world’s smallest full framed 35mm. The German-made Rollie 35.
I had heard him describe the camera’s virtues a number of times. It had a fast Carl Zeiss lens, which was one of the best on the market at the time. The lens was also collapsible.
One unusual thing about the little 35mm camera was that it had a half-frame option. A 35mm roll of film, could take up to 72 pictures with the twist of a dial, instead of the normal 36.
Dad had travelled all around the world with this camera. It was small and fit easily in his suit pocket. Our family had hundreds of slides taken with this camera.
The slides were all sharp and the colors were very vivid. It even took great pictures in low light settings.
Daddy always seemed to enjoy buying small things. Things like tiny Bibles, little spy cameras, very small shortwave radios, mini-cassette recorders, little ballpoint pens, and tiny pocketknives.
I stood looking at my father and the camera in his hand. I knew he had paid a good price for it when he’d bought it new.
Daddy began explaining something to me that I have long since forgotten. Somehow my mind got fixated on the little Rollei 35.
I had an urge to say something I’d never allowed myself to say before. I knew that I liked everything about that little camera. My mind began to wander far afield considering all the things I could do with it. I wasn’t right to want it. It was Dad’s. I couldn’t believe it. My strong Ballestero pride would never let me ask for anything. I almost didn’t.
I looked into the kind and gentle face of my big-hearted Father. Before I could stop myself, the feelings of covetousness prompted me to do something I’d never done before.
As soon as Daddy paused, I changed both the subject and the moment. I said, “Daddy, I sure do like that camera. I’m not asking for it now, but someday, if it’s OK with you, I’d like to have that.”
There it was. I had just said the thing I never thought I would be brave enough to say. I had just asked for one of my Father’s prized possessions, and he was a long way from dead.
My father smiled, pressed the button, and began to rewind the film in the camera. He opened the back, and took the roll of film out. He picked up the leather case, the flash attachment, a mini tripod, lens filters, a lens hood, and a small camera bag. While still smiling, Dad placed them all in my hands and gave me a hug.
He said, “I want you to have it now. I am glad that you wanted it. Enjoy!”
Whew! It had happened in seconds. The desire, the asking, and the giving took place in less time than it does to tell about it. I was still somewhat amazed at my new boldness. I didn’t think I would be holding it for another 10-15 years. But there it was in my hands, now!
It was in my hands, because I had asked. I had asked because I couldn’t get that covet thing out of my mind.
I realized anew, that this is the same manner our Heavenly Father interacts with His children.
Can your mind even imagine all the things that He desires to give us. He’s just waiting for us to want what He has.
1Cor. 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts:
James 4:2 …ye have not, because ye ask not.
Some Signs You Are Leaving
I do not submit that all of these signs must be experienced before there is a departure. But anyone of these by itself should raise a flag of warning.
Many of these signs are the same for both men and women.
Some Signs She Is Leaving You.
- She no longer confides in you.
- She does her best to avoid you by staying out late.
- She doesn’t seem glad to see you when you get home.
- She doesn’t want to hold hands with you.
- She doesn’t want to be touched, kissed or hugged by you.
- When you try to kiss her, she turns her head so that you kiss her on the cheek.
- Her friends and family act different around you because she has told them that she plans to leave you.
- She increases her weekly workouts.
- Her hug is different.
- She gets a new cell phone.
- She leaves the room to take calls.
- If she can’t leave the room, she doesn’t answer her phone because you are there.
- She changes her dress style.
- She changes her hairstyle.
- She is more concerned about her appearance than you remember her being before.
- Her work hours suddenly change.
- She often mopes around the house, but before she goes out, she always perks up.
- She suddenly wants a new body enhancement.
- She accuses you of flirting with or wanting to be with other women.
- She’s critical of everything you do.
- She spends more hours on the computer than before.
Some Signs He Is Leaving You.
- His computer now has a password when it didn’t before.
- He now wipes out the history files on his computer.
- He switches the computer screen when you walk into the room or tries to hide the screen from you.
- He starts wearing cologne.
- He changes is hairstyle.
- You catch him in a number small lies.
- He seems to have less money to do things.
- He doesn’t want to go out and do things with you.
- Your intuition is screaming at you that something is just not quite right.
- He calls you paranoid, psycho, jealous, unreasonable and crazy.
- He doesn’t instant message you as often.
- He doesn’t call or send emails as often.
- Or he starts sending more of them to cover up.
- He is unavailable when he used to available.
- You no longer receive gifts or presents, like in the old days.
- His work hours have suddenly changed.
- He now has more weekend or over night trips.
- He works later at the office than he used to.
- He has become more emotionally distant.
- When you ask what’s going on with him he says it’s just his work.
- He’s tired or he’s stressed or has a lot on his mind.
- He often mopes around the house.
- Before he goes out however, he perks up.
- He says that he is misunderstood and unappreciated at home.
- He looks for a reason to leave the house.
- When he comes home, all he wants to do is sleep.
- He buys a sports car. Maybe even a convertible, or the color red.
- He accuses you of flirting with other men.
- He criticizes the way you look or the way you do things.
- He spends more hours on the computer than before.
- He acts passive toward your affection.
Now, Let’s Take This Subject Into Another Dimension! Let’s Talk About You And Your Church.
Some Signs You’re Leaving Your Church.
- You start finding fault
- You undermine the leadership.
- You continually find ways to express your dissatisfaction.
- You express excitement over another church’s progress.
- You resign your position.
- You detach yourself from all of your commitments.
- You are no longer faithful to church.
- You don’t answer or return the pastor’s call.
- You avoid the pastor.
- Others notice how critical you are.
- Your prayer life has changed.
- Your worship is empty, it’s not the same.
- You’re not faithful with your tithe.
- You moved to the back of the congregation
- You are more excited about worldly things than godly things.
- You no longer dress the same.
- You no longer look the same.
- You stop caring what the pastor or the bible says.
- You stopped saying amen.
- You always hang around with backslidden or worldly people.
- You justify your carnal activities
- You become offended.
- You can’t stop talking about what offended you.
- You rationalize your disobedience.
- You always have an excuse not to obey standards.
- You become a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God.
- You have more friends out of church than in church.
- All you see are hypocrites in the church.
- You stop giving in the offering
- You stop giving of your time.
- You stop serving.
- You disconnect with your church friends.
- You make decisions without including the man of God.
- You made the choice to go against your pastor’s wishes.
- You resent being accountable.
- You disconnect with your pastor.
Are you showing signs of leaving?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not going anywhere. I’m not leaving!
Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!
Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The following is an excerpt of an old song by The Kendalls. Their song claimed that Heaven was just a sin away.
“Heaven’s Not A Sin Away”
Oh way down deep inside I know that it’s all wrong
Your eyes keep tempting me and I never was that strong
Devil’s got me now oh oh, gone and got me now
I can’t find him anyhow I’m think he’s gonna win
Heaven’s just a sin away oh oh, just a sin away
Heaven help me when I say I think I’m giving in
Oh way down deep inside…
Devil’s got me now oh oh, gone and got me now…
Heaven’s just a sin away oh oh, just a sin away…
But, Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!
1. With Sin Comes Guilt And Condemnation.
- How long do you pay for a mistake in your mind?
- How long do you pay for a mistake in the minds of others?
- A Moment of Weakness – Will Bring A Lifetime Of Regret.
Ask David – Bathsheba
- Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!
2. With Sin Comes God’s Displeasure.
Is. 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
Is. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Gen 4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
- Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!
3. When Sin Is Done With You, There Won’t Be Much Left.
Amos 3:12 Thus saith the LORD; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear;
- Reputation Lost
Heaven’s Not A Sin Away!
4. Willful Sin Is A Major Problem.
It Was For Esau. He Couldn’t Get Right With God Again!
Heb. 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
- What Woman is worth going to hell over?
- What Man is worth going to hell over?
- What Job is worth going to hell over?
- What Friend is worth going to hell over?
- What Entertainment is worth going to hell over?
- What Sport is worth going to hell over?
- What Style of Clothes is worth going to hell over?
- What Lifestyle is worth going to hell over?
- What Unforgiven Hurt is worth going to hell over?
- What Temptation is worth going to hell over?
Matt. 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Ask Eve - She saw that the fruit of the tree was pleasant to the eye, and she gave in to temptation. That brought the curse upon us all and banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
Heaven’s NOT just a sin away!
(1 Sam 26:21) Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.
5. You Better Be Glad God Is Merciful
- To God, There’s no such thing as a throw-a-way soul
- He is NOT willing that any should perish
- We Don’t Deserve His Mercy
- We ALL Deserve to be lost
The Story Of A Backslidder
Bob had backslid many times. He’d been in and out of the little Home Missions Church so many times that he’d lost track. He thought it had been maybe 13 or 14 times. He was ashamed. Why couldn’t he live for God? Maybe he just was one of those that God couldn’t help. Or maybe God had finally given up on him because of his many failures and weaknesses.
It had been nearly two years since he’d been back to church. The devil really wanted him to believe that there was no more hope for him. Bob was easily convinced. There was no point in even going back and trying anymore. He’d done that over dozen times without success. Besides, no one believed in him anymore. Bob was though with church and through with God, because he just knew God was through with him.
Bob was a good worker and men at the plant respected him for his abilities. His personality gained him many friends as well.
One day at work Bob got a chemical on his hand that left a bad stain. He tried to wash it off and even used hand cleaner. All his attempts to remove the stain were unsuccessful.
He was so embarrassed that night when he had to wear a suit to go to a fancy restaurant, that he kept his hand in his pocket so no one would see the stain.
The next day at work, Bob got too close to a machine and it sliced his hand deeply. Blood gushed everywhere.
“Call 911,” several people shouted. “Bob’s hurt bad!”
“Naw, don’t call 911, just take me to Med-Point.” Said Bob as he tried to wrap a shop rag around his hand and apply pressure to stop the gushing of blood.
“How bad is it?” Some one asked?
Bob took the shop rag off and wiped away the blood to see home deep the cut was. When he looked at the cut and then at his hands, he saw that the stain was gone. He immediately started to cry. The blood had washed away the stain.
His legs gave way and he fell to his knees. With tears running down his cheeks, Bob raised his hands in the air. The blood was still pumping profusely.
The men looked at Bob in amazement as they heard him speaking words they couldn’t understand.
“Call 911, Bob’s really hurt. We’ve never seen Bob cry!”
The men were concerned. Very concerned.
“Don’t call 911”, Bob said, “I’ll be alright! “
“Well if you’re alright, then why are you crying?”
Bob stopped long enough to say nineteen words that forever changed his life and restored his soul.
“Because I see for the first time in my life that the Blood of Jesus will wash away my sins!”
6. With Sin Comes The Need To Repent.
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Repent Today. Then Let The Blood Of Jesus Wash Away All Your Sins In Baptism. Jesus WILL Give You The Holy Ghost!
Heaven’s Not A Sin Away
Heaven’s Just A Prayer Away!
Don’t Put Yourself At Risk
I stood in one of the many lines at Denver’s Casa Bonita, a number of years ago, waiting to order. In the adjoining line on my right was a man dressed in National Hot Rod Association racing attire, complete with his number and sponsor patches. He was the center of attention for 20 feet around. People were congratulating him on his race that day and shaking his hand. Other’s asked for his autograph. Some asked questions about the race.
He said that the other racer had already received six cornea re-attachments. He explained that the dragsters go very fast, and that while the sudden stopping of the car is good, it is bad on the eyes.
He explained that the eyes are the softest and weakest part of the body, and while the body and the car stop, the pressure pushes the cornea forward often causing a detachment. That’s why I don’t use two. They make me stop too quickly.
I only using one, I have only had two retina re-attachments so far. He held up his trophy and said, “But it’s worth the risk.”
The piece of metal he held in his hands and the applause of men in his mind was worth risking his eyesight forever.
Sadly enough, some folks around our churches are risking more than their corneas. They are putting their souls at risk.
Saints Are Putting Themselves At Risk:
1. By Name Calling
(Mat 5:21) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old-time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
(Mat 5:22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
- “In danger of hell fire!” –if you call your brother a liar, fool, be careful!
- Name calling is dangerous.
2. By Rebelling Against Your Leadership.
- Ask Korah – he disagreed with Moses and rallied support against him.
- 200 princes stood on wrong side of the argument. They too were swallowed up with Korah.
- Don’t ever fight against your pastor.
- Don’t hang around critical (Railers) people. You’ll inherit their spirit.
- A Critical Spirit
- Murmur – Criticized
- God Sent Fiery Serpents because they murmured
4. By Disrespecting The Man Of God
- Bethel – 42 children mauled by bears.
- The children’s parents put them at risk for talking negative about their Prophet. Children are always put at risk, by their unspiritual parents.
5. By Becoming Holier Than The Pastor
- Once this happens, he can never teach you.
- Now, you think you know more than him.
- Your standards are higher, so he can’t ‘help’ you.
- No matter if you have convictions about something and your pastor doesn’t, that does not give you the right to disrespect him as long as he is still in the Truth.
6. Moving To Another Church For A Bad Reason
- Not every transplant is successful.
- Never TELL your pastor you are moving. ASK him what he thinks and have him pray with you about it.
- If he does not feel good about your moving, then there must be a reason.
- Make sure you have your pastor’s blessing and approval
7. Lot’s Choice Put His Family at risk.
- Your decisions in life always include those you love.
8. If You Marry The Unsaved Or Backslidden
- You are going against all of God’s Advice.
- I sincerely ask you not to make that mistake.
9. Don’t Marry The Heathen
- Lest you learn their ways and it becomes an abomination
- Marry heathen,
- Unequally yoked
- Your flesh may think it’s OK, but your spiritual man will always be affected for the worse.
10. By Robbing God
- Do you have God’s money in your bank account right now?
- You cannot afford NOT to pay tithes.
- If you delight in the blessings of the Lord, you will NEVER have them without putting Him first.
- Give Him the first fruits of you income, The Tithe.
11. By Being Unfaithful To Church
- Your faithful attendance to God’s House has already been decided.
- Heb. 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
- The night you miss is often the night God had a Word, just for you. That’s why the devil kept you home.
12. By Prayerlessness
- Every day without prayer puts you and your family at greater risk.
- Why would you ignore the very lifeblood of your experience with God?
13. By Ignoring The Word Of God
- None of us ever get too smart or too holy to ignore God’s Commandments.
- When God says something, He means it.
- When God says something, there’s a reason.
14. By Not Responding When God Speaks To You.
- Ignoring God will always get you in trouble. Ask Jonah.
15. By Choosing To Become Offended.
- How long will you let a war go on?
- Life is too short to die bitter.
- Bitterness will destroy you and curse your family.
- Forgive, and love again.
Never Knowingly Put Your Self At Risk
A Good Day For A Vulture
They all had seen this scenario played out before. It always unfolded in slow motion. They were used to the waiting game, but it was worth the wait. The focus of their attention had made one fatal mistake and now he was badly hurt. They couldn’t take their eyes off of their victim.
They watched and they watched and they watched.
They waited and they waited and they waited.
It almost always turned out the same. They were ready for it this time. They wanted to see death come. They wanted to tear the victim apart. They couldn’t wait to get their fill of him. They couldn’t wait to pick him to pieces. They were vultures, and that’s what vultures do best.
They had watched him struggle to survive for the last mile or two across the wasteland. His weakness excited their thirst for blood. The injured traveller had struggled valiantly to make it to safety, but to no avail. Their joy was in his weakness. Their future depended on his failure.
- There was no one to help him.
- He had no water to drink.
- He had nothing to defend himself with.
- He had nothing with which to dress his wounds.
- Fever caused by infection, racked his emaciated body.
- His strength was gone.
- He had lost a lot of blood.
- A few hours earlier, he had fallen to the ground.
- He now had no strength to rise.
- He couldn’t go on.
- He was finished.
Vultures passing by noticed the large gathering of their kind and excitedly joined the crowd. This would be a good day. Something or someone had fallen to the ground. That always made their day.
They wanted to see death come. They wanted to tear the victim apart. They couldn’t wait to get their fill of him. They couldn’t wait to pick him to pieces. They were vultures, and that’s what vultures do best.
There would be no restraint. There were no rules of decorum. There would be no referee or umpire to stop them. They would rip, tear, flap their wings, squawk and devour the victim without mercy. They would leave nothing but a skeleton.
Vultures do not care what they look like to the rest of the world. Their actions are just a manifestation of their degenerate nature.
Every vulture would soon gorge himself. They would soon tear the victim apart. They couldn’t wait to get their fill of him. They couldn’t wait to pick him to pieces. They were vultures, and that’s what vultures do best.
In an hour or two, his white bones would lie bleaching in the sun. This victim would only be a brief moment in time for them. He would just be a little something to help them fill their day.
Tomorrow they would be looking for another victim. They always were looking for a fresh victim. They wanted to tear the next victim apart too. They couldn’t wait to get their fill of him. They couldn’t wait to pick him to pieces. They were vultures, and that’s what vultures do best.
This Was A Good Day For A Vulture.
Things About God That Thrill Me!
Psa. 145:5 I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
Psa. 145:21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
1. It Thrills Me To Know God Is Still On The Throne!
- When dictators are dead and forgotten, God will still be God.
- He is eternal.
When stars fall from heaven and the sun grow cold and mountains crumble into dust, His Throne still rules.
2. His Blood Has Never Lost Its Power!
The blood of bulls and goats has dried up long ago, but Christ’s Blood is more powerful than sacrificed animals.
- Picture the ancient priests and the sacrifices.
- But, now we are blood washed.
- He has given us a clear record.
- We are Saved, Washed and Protected by the Blood.
3. It Thrills Me That Every Promise Is True!
- God cannot lie.
- He always keeps His Word
- He is not obligated to make us any promise.
- But once He does, He is bound to keep it.
The Character, Justice and Goodness of God stand behind every Divine Promise.
4. I Am Thrilled To Remember That Heaven Is Real!
- It is more than a city in the state of the mind.
- On the authority of God’s Word, it is an eternal City.
- It is a prepared City for a prepared people.
- He has prepared a place for us.
John 14:3 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.
5. I Am Thrilled That He Is Coming Back Again!
- He came the first time because the prophets said He would.
- He’s coming the second time by His own Word and Testimony.
To His Disciples the Angels said:
Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
6. None Of These Truths Could Really Thrill Me Unless I Was Convinced The Soul Is Immortal!
- My soul is going to live forever somewhere.
- It can be saved or lost.
- But it will live eternally.
7. I Am Thrilled What The Pentecostal New Birth Experience Does For Us.
- It gives us Victory
- His Name!
- Eternal Life
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.