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A wealthy man before leaving on an extended vacation said to a contractor, "While I am away, I want you to build me a fine new home according to these plans. Be sure you work with extreme care, and use the best of everything. Tell me the cost as soon as you have it and I’ll send you a check." During the process of construction the contractor discovered many opportunities to substitute inferior materials; he put in his own pocket the money he saved. His employer would never know the difference, and he himself would profit. But he soon regretted his dishonesty, for the wealthy man upon his return inspected the finished home and said: "You have built it exactly as I wanted it, and I’m sure that you used the best of everything in its construction. Now, in appreciation for your long years of service to me, I am giving you this new home for your very own. Here’s the deed!" Church, we are building for eternity. Do we build with inferior materials or do we build with choice materials on the foundation of Christ? Don’t ever forget, the house we will have later on depends on the material we are using now.
Sermon Central Staff
KEEP THE SPRINGS PURE
The family’s water supply came from a spring just a few feet from the house. The pure, cold, sweet water bubbled up through a large pipe about the size of a barrel that had been sunk in the ground. One morning two huge frogs were found in the spring. No one wanted to drink from the water until the frogs had been removed, and the water had been allowed to flush over the sides for the rest of the day. Everyone wanted to make sure it was clean and pure again.
You can make a parable out of the incident. Those frogs could represent bad thoughts, and the spring is man’s heart. If our thought life is evil, the words and deeds that flow from within will be contaminated. Jesus said that the blasphemous statements made by His enemies revealed their inner selves. They spoke the way they did because they had allowed evil thoughts to take control of their minds.
(From a sermon by Dennis Davidson, Guard Your Heart, 9/1/2011)
Wade Hughes, Sr
Many years ago, I failed the Lord in a stupid teenager deed.
I can painfully remember January the 1st, 1968.
I was raised in the parsonage,
I was 16 years old, I knew right from wrong.
But I failed the Lord!
1/1/68 was always a painful memory of my stupid
Before the sun went down Jan. 1, 1968 I begged God
to forgive me for breaking the very heart of God.
On Jan. 2nd, I begged God for His forgiveness.
On Jan. 3rd I begged God for His forgiveness.
And this continued for many years as the enemy oft
reminded me of my failure.
In 1970 I started college and moved to Tennessee
for my education.
One day as I was driving to class my enemy
rightfully accused me of my failure.
And I again asked the Lord to forgive me.
In 1973 I had been to classes, my junior year,
and driving home I remembered Jan. 1, 1968
and the enemy laughed at me for my failure.
I went to my apartment where Linda and I lived and
laid on the couch.
I know not that I was awake or asleep,
but as I lay there remembering my failures of
Jan. 1, 1968,
Jesus appeared right in front of me.
And I immediately cried and told him I was so sorry
for breaking his heart on Jan 1, 1968.
He said, Hum, Hum, as he stroked his beard, and he
reached for the book of my life.
I could see the tops of the pages,
I could see the headings : 1961, 1962..etc.
As he neared the end of 1967 my heart was broken
because I knew that he was getting close to a
terrible page in my life.
Finally, Jesus turned to the page for which I had
He took his right hand and stroked his beard several
times and said, Hum!
I then had a fear come over me.
I looked in His eyes and I wondered,
I reached over and I touched the book and I pulled
it down where I could see the whole page of
Jan. 1, 1968 and to my surprise it was totally
WHITE! Snow white!
There was not one blot of dirt or anything on that
I said to Jesus, "I very clearly remember
Jan. 1, 1968.
To which He replied to me,
"Son, you asked forgiveness for that on that
evening and I took my blood and
I washed your black sin and made it white as snow
and removed it as far as the East is from the West.
As far as I am concerned, you have been justified by
the blood of the lanb.
I will never remember or recall any of the deeds of
your life that is under the blood."
Before Jesus left, I said,
"Jesus, I have one question to ask you.
If you have removed this from my past, and it is
very apparent that you have,
why did you not remove this painful day of Jan. 1,
1968 from my mind, my memory hurts me so bad?"
Jesus looked over his shoulder and said,
"Son, while I have forgave you and forgotten your
sin, if I removed this painful memory out of your
mind, you would again fall into the same trap.
I love you so much that I have forgiven you, but I
leave this scar to remind you that you need to live
your life pleasing to me."
With that, He said, "I love you and was gone."
Philip Yancey, in his book "Reaching for the Invisible God" describes the way God get’s blamed for things in this way.
"When Princess Diana died in an automobile accident, a minister was interviewed and was asked the question “How can God allow such a terrible tragedy?” And I loved his response. He said, “Could it have had something to do with a drunk driver going ninety miles an hour in a narrow tunnel? Just How, exactly, was God involved.”
Years ago, boxer, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, killed a Korean opponent with a hard right hand to the head. At the press conference after the Korean’s death, Mancini said, “sometimes I wonder why God does the things he does.”
In a letter to Dr. Dobson, a young woman asked this anguished question, “Four years ago, I was dating a man and became pregnant. I was devastated. I asked God, “Why have you allowed this to happen to me?”
Susan Smith, the south Carolina mother a couple years ago who pushed her two sons into a lake to drown and then blamed a fictional car-jacker for the deed, wrote in her confession: “I dropped to the lowest point when I allowed my children to go down that ramp into the water without me. I took off running and screaming, ‘Oh God! Oh God, no! What have I done? Why did you let this happen?”
Now the quest...
“Aunt Bessie’s Pickled Beets!” 2 Corinthians 7:2-13 Key verse(s): 10:“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
The worst part of doing wrong is being found out. We’ve all been caught doing wrong in life; especially when we reflect back on our childhoods. And there are many things about doing wrong that are hurtful. First and foremost is the pain and suffering that we bring to others in our wrong-doing. This is the impact of wrong-doing that reverberates. Wrong has a way of broadcasting and spreading out, making a little mistake into a much bigger one. Take a lie for example. What started out as a fib can easily become the initiator of all manner of hurt, none of which was our intention in the first place. Certainly the effect of our wrong-doing on others is preeminent in our concern for doing right. But, there are other consequences attached to our wrongful behavior; not the least of which is the regret that becomes our lot when we are discovered in our sins.
I really hate the feeling of regret. There is simply something grinding and gnawing about it. Regret has a way of packaging itself so that it stays fresh for a very long time. Just when you think that you have put it away for good in some safe place where it can slowly but surely dissipate into the farthest and deepest reaches of your consciousness, some little reminder of the deed that spawned the regret in the first place creeps into your life. And that’s when regret pops up. It’s the jar of Aunt Bessie’s pickled beets that you pushed to the back of the fruit cellar shelf in hopes that in the darkness it could be forgotten that, despite the accumulation of years of dust and perhaps a little rust around the rim, stares back at you fresh and beckoning to be opened. Unless you empty the contents and wash the jar, Aunt Bessie’s face will always be popping up in the cellar no matter how many times you push it to the back of the shelf. You can’t live with regret no matter how hard you try. It will never be tamed or transformed because, like pickled beets, regret always tastes and looks the same. You can’t “salt” it or tincture it to make it more palatable. Pickled beets will always taste pickled.
“In 1904 William Borden, heir to the Borden Dairy Estate, graduated from a Chicago high school a millionaire. His parents gave him a trip around the world. Traveling through Asia, the Middle East and Europe gave Borden a burden for the world’s hurting people. Writing home, he said, ‘I’m going to give my life to prepare for the mission field.’ When he made this decision, he wrote in the back of his Bible two words: No Reserves. Turning down high paying job offers after graduation from Yale University, he entered two more words in his Bible: No Retreats. Completing studies at Princeton Seminary, Borden sailed for China to work with Muslims, stopping first at Egypt for some preparation. While there he was stricken with cerebral meningitis and died within a month. A waste, you say! Not in God’s plan. In his Bible underneath the words No Reserves and No Retreats, he had written the words No Regrets. (Daily Bread, December 31, 1988.)
There is only one way to deal with regret. You need to remove it from your life completely. Aunt Bessie’s pickled beets are always going to be there unless, of course, you eat them, wash the jar and return it with thanks to Aunt Bessie. Regrets don’t go away unless you decide in the first place that there is simply no room for them among the provisions in your heart. You may not like pickled beets but one thing you can be sure of, the beets marinated in that pickling solution are suspended in a state of freshness that will preserve them for a very long time. It is not likely that they will self-destruct any time soon requiring you to dispose of them with a clean conscience. No, Aunt Bessie pickled them for a reason. She wanted them preserved as a memorial to her garden and she had every intention of insuring that their survival would even exceed her’s. You might as well eat them and get it over with.
Wade Hughes, Sr
NO TITLES AND NO DEEDS?
There was a terrible earthquake in California many years ago. Thousands of homes were destroyed and the state was in chaos.
Many people were claiming the homes they lived in as their own.
The courthouse and all the titles and deeds were destroyed completely.
The gas lines ran under the court house, and the flames were so consuming, not one record was found.
This couple had lived in this house 15 years and they went to the judge to declare the home theirs. Another individual came forward and claimed the home was theirs.
The judge did not know what to do, the people had lived there 15 years and brought people forward to back their claim.
The other people brought little stubs where the people had paid rent to them.
The judge asked to see the peoples signatures?
The judge asked, Is this your signature on these rent stubs?
The people said, YES!
The judge declared the other people the owners of the home, even though they did not live there.
May I suggest to you, that is sort of what paying tithes really is...
10% is a legal document that you believe Jesus is Savior and Lord, and that
God is the Creator. Your giving could be used in a court of law that you know who God really is.
Tithing acknowledges God as the true owner.
LOVE LOVES TO GIVE!
My first staff position in a church was as the Associate Pastor of The Kirk Community Church in Dunedin, Florida. I normally arrived at church early but on this particular morning my wife and I had arrived just a few minutes before the worship service was to begin. As my wife Christina unbuckled the baby from his car seat, I straightened my tie in the mirror and watched something which is really rather commonplace in a rather uncommon way.
I have seen people go in and out of church many times. That morning though, it was as though veil had been removed from things I had never before seen. It was one of those moments when something that has always been right in front finally comes into focus. Were I a painter, I would love to paint this image the way that it appeared to me that day. I paint a portrait of people walking as if unencumbered yet clearly overloaded with piles and piles of clutter on their shoulders.
It was as though God was allowing me to see the burdens that we carry with us every day and bring with us into the doors of the church every Sunday. It was as if He wanted me to know just how heavy and cumbersome those burdens are. As I watched the people filing into the church building from their sedans, trucks, and minivans, it occurred to me that each person carried his own invisible burden.
Some carried the burden of guilt for past sins. These people hoped that by regularly attending church they would convince God to forgive them. Some of them carried the burden of fear, depression, and anxiety. These people came to into the church hoping to find peace – even if only for an hour on Sunday morning. Whatever their burdens were, one thing became clear to me; most of us, all of us, carry burdens that we were not intended to carry alone.
As I sat watching all of these people, many of whom I knew well, making their way into the church that Sunday, I was struck with the sense that so many of us come to church and generally live out our Christian faith out of what is largely a sense of obligation rather than of love. We fill our lives with repetitious, albeit well intentioned, deeds in order to fulfill our obligations rather than living a life which flows from the love of God working in and through us.
Imagine the folly of a man who chooses day in and day out to hoard and heap burdens upon his shoulders which are not his to carry alone. Imagine the woman who works diligently to earn the forgiveness which she has already received.
Dear Saints of God, if we are ever to learn to live lives which are filled with the grace of God, if we are ever to live the grace-filled life, we must let go of obligation and embrace love. We do not do good works to earn God’s favor; we do good works because we have received His favor. Good works, duty, stoic obligation are not what is pleasing to God. While people tend to be mostly concerned with the outward appearance of things, God is concerned with our hearts. (I Samuel 16:7)
My wife and I recently saw a television show on The History Channel titled, “The Man Who Predicted 911.” We were both moved by this hour presentation and its focus on one man by the name of Rick Rescorla. Long before September 11th, Rick Rescorla, the 62-year-old head of security at the Morgan Stanley Bank, developed an evacuation plan for the bank. The bank’s offices were situated high up in the South Tower at the World Trade Center. Rescorla was convinced that Osama Bin Laden would use jet planes to try and destroy the World Trade Center. The plan and its preparation were hugely unpopular with the Morgan Stanley staff, many of whom thought Rescorla was mad.
On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 hit World Trade Center Tower 1 at 8:46 am. Rick Rescorla ignored building officials’ advice to stay put and began the orderly evacuation of Morgan Stanley’s 2,800 employees on 20 floors of World Trade Center Tower 2, and 1,000 employees in WTC 5. Rescorla reminded everyone to "be proud to be an American ... everyone will be talking about you tomorrow", and sang God Bless America and other songs over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the building. Rescorla had most of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 employees as well as people working on other floors of WTC 2 safely out of the buildings by the time United Airlines Flight 175 hit WTC 2 at 9:07 a.m.
After having reached safety, Rescorla returned to the building to rescue others still inside. He was last seen heading up the stairs of the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains were not recovered. As a result of Rescorla’s actions, only 6 of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 WTC employees were killed on September 11th, 2001, including Rick and three of his deputies who followed him back into the building.
The remainder of this very moving broadcast focused on Morgan Stanley Bank employees who now in tears were praising and acknowledging Rick Rescorla for saving their lives from total destruction that day. Many felt so guilty and apologetic they had thought Rick foolish to keep preaching and standing for what he believed would happen if they were not ready. Those interviewed said they would never forget Rick Rescorla. He was their hero.
Mr. Rescorla left behind a widow, Susan Rescorla, and two children that day. Since 911, a memorial stone was erected in Rick’s hometown of Hayle, Cornwall, to commemorate his life and the sacrifice he made to save others.
James 5:19-20 says, “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” As sinners saved by grace, we must have a “Rick Rescorla Attitude.” He was convinced people entrusted to his care would perish if his plan of escape were ignored. Rick Rescorla stayed the course even when unpopular and ridiculed because he believed what he was doing would save lives.
Sadly, many Christians today have a “Cain Attitude” when it comes to rescuing the perishing and having a consistent witness. Unlike Rick Rescorla, they say by their actions: “I am not my brother’s keeper.” How this must grieve the heart of Almighty God who has left us here as His Beloved Children to sh...
WHAT DOES "ALL" MEAN?
I know people who are carrying around a load of guilt over the past and they're loaded down with this extra weight God doesn't want them to have.
I remember a lady in my church in Wiesbaden I'll call Jill. Jill had rebelled against her parents, had been on drugs, had had three abortions, had cheated on her previous husband resulting in their divorce, and before they had gotten saved had cheated on the husband she was now married to then. She was carrying a lot of guilt, and though she was now saved, she felt she had to atone for her past somehow by works and deeds for God. We all should work for God, but our motive should be to serve Him out of love, not out of guilt.
One day her husband asked me over to talk to her and him because they were having a lot of marital strife. I did and she told me about this awful load of guilt for past sins she was carrying around which had produced a lot of tension in her life that spread to her family.
We looked at scripture after scripture about God's forgiveness of our sins. But she just couldn't seem to feel forgiveness for her abortions. It wasn't until I quoted over and over to her 1 John 1:7, "...and the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from ALL sin." I said, "Jill, what does the word 'ALL' mean?" Suddenly the light of God's Word broke through and the tears of joy flowed, and her life was forever transformed. She learned how to serve out of joy and love, not out of guilt and shame.
If you're carrying a load of guilt, claim 1 John 1:9 and ask forgiveness of the Lord and if you've offended any person, go and make it right. Then you can experience the joy of forgiveness and peace and drop your burden! But never take up the burden of yesterday again, for it will just weigh you down from doing your duties today.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur wrote this prayer for his son. He prayed: "Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, & brave enough to face himself when he is afraid. One who will be proud & unbending in honest defeat, & humble & gentle in victory.
"Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds - a son who will know Thee, who is the foundation stone of knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease & comfort, but under the stress & spur of difficulties & challenge.
"Here let him learn to stand up to the storm. Here let him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
"And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor so that he may always be serious but never take himself too seriously. Give him humility so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, & an open mind of true wisdom, & the meekness of true strength.
"Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, `I have not lived in vain.’"