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Billy Graham: "We’re suffering from only one disease in the world. Our basic problem is not a race problem. Our basic problem is not a poverty problem. Our basic problem is not a war problem. Our basic problem is a heart problem. We need to get the heart changed, the heart transformed."
Monty Robbins tours the country demonstrating an interesting technique in breaking in horses which have never been ridden. He explains to his audience that through a series of words, hand signals, and eye contact he will communicate with the horse and ultimately gain the trust of the horse. The traditional way of breaking a horse is to weight the horse down for hours and sometime even days until the will of the horse is broken. This "language" he uses gains the trust of the horse as he and the horse are reconciled together. He will demonstrate his technique by telling his audience that he will reconcile with a horse which has never been ridden, saddle, and ride the horse within 30 minutes. And he does so every time. Once he has ridden the horse he will ask the crowd, sometimes of 2,000 or more people, to begin screaming, stomping, and making loud noise at his command. The crowd will do as he says causing the horse to panic and run wild. As the horse runs wild he will once again "communicate" with the horse and the horse will come over by his side and Monty will get on the calm horse while all of the noise is going on. Monty explains that this is because he has reconciled with the horse and gained the trust of the horse. The world and Satan weights and breaks you down with sin, guilt, and death. Yet, the voice of the cross says that the weight of sin and the pressure of the world has been overcome. When Jesus was lifted up, Satan was cast down.
In a sermon several weeks ago I referred to a man I couldn’t reach. John was ex-Navy, a heavy drinker and a violent man. He was very personable when you first met him; when he drank enough beer the demons took over. I must confess that, until I met John I always thought people were born with a good nature, and, if they wound-up on the wrong side of things, had just somehow made a wrong turn. John taught me better.
John had married Rosemary only a few months before I met him; it was his fourth time at the marriage license bureau – her second. A few weeks after Rosemary joined our church, John came down the aisle also. We baptized him and it seemed they would escape the divorce statistic hanging over multiple marriages. Rosemary thought she could get John to quit drinking; she was wrong. It seems I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t reach John.
The crisis came less than a month after John’s baptism. The honeymoon had ended and John began drinking again. One night, late, Rosemary showed up at the parsonage door. She was bruised and scared. Elizabeth and I took her in, and I went to see John the next day. When I drove up to their front yard I was greeted by a strange sight. John had stuck empty beer cans on the end of every branch of the small orange tree in front of their trailer. The sign at the bottom of the tree read: This is for you, preacher man.
John was very drunk but still somewhat coherent…and very loud. He greeted me at the front door and invited me in. I only asked, John, how can I help? John talked angrily for the next twenty minutes. Finally, he looked at me with a hatred that wasn’t his own and said, I’m going to make a minister out of you.
Later that day Rosemary asked if we would accompany her to the trailer to get her clothes. We drove up and I went in first. He was calm and seemed reasonably sobered. He agreed to let Rosemary come in and get her belongings. When she came in he immediately began to threaten her. At one point he went to get his pistol. I urged Rosemary to forget her clothes and leave; it was a bad idea to come back. She was determined to get her clothing. When she went to the closet, John re-entered the room waving a pistol – a very BIG pistol! (I must say it looked a lot bigger from the wrong end of the barrel). After several tense moments John allowed us to return to the car where Elizabeth was waiting.
Several months later we got a letter from Rosemary thanking us for our help, and saying that she had settled in another state. Not long after that we heard about John – on the evening news. He had threatened people outside a K-Mart store with his pistol, and when the police showed up he committed suicide. A painfully tortured mind and life came to a wasted end.
Was John saved? I don’t know; I am not equipped to judge that. He made a profession of faith and was baptized, but his behavior never changed. That leads me to an opinion he never really believed – never really trusted Christ. It is only an opinion – God knows the real truth. Beyond opinion, however, it is true beyond any doubt that saved people have a Savior; John’s savior, what he really seemed to trust-in was Budweiser.
Now the point of John’s story, a painful reminder of my own failure, is that we cannot save ourselves – and, without Jesus, I’m just the same as John. Many people would say that the only difference is that alcohol made John do the things he did; John’s problem was alcohol, not sin. The alcohol only loosened-up John’s inhibitions to do those things which were already on the inside. The reality is we all have those things on the inside; the doctrine of total depravity teaches us that! Every human being on the face of this planet who has ever lived was/is capable of doing whatever horrific deed you can dream up. This is why we need a Savior.
Gary Richmond, a former zookeeper, had this to say: Raccoons go through a glandular change at about 24 months. After that they often attack their owners. Since a 30-pound raccoon can be equal to a 100-pound dog in a scrap, I felt compelled to mention the change coming to a pet raccoon owned by a young friend of mine, Julie. She listened politely as I explained the coming danger. I’ll never forget her answer.
“It will be different for me . . .” And she smiled as she added, “Bandit wouldn’t hurt me. He just wouldn’t.”
Three months later Julie underwent plastic surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult raccoon attacked her for no apparent reason. Bandit wa...
The fact that our good deeds are not good enough to get us into heaven is no more cruel than it’s cruel for you to tell the fish in the water (I hope your not talking to the fish in the water) “I just can’t breath in your environment.” To say that, is not a cruel statement it is just a statement about your nature. You can’t breath under water. To say that my good deeds to God is like water to my lungs is not to say anything cruel about God it’s just the facts. God can’t tolerate us. And that’s not mean and it’s not cruel it’s just the facts. And in the world of our modern celebrities who seem to represent the thoughts of our culture, they in essence want us to believe that God can hang with sin. That God, the perfect God can somehow tolerate imperfection. And God can look at people like you and me, people who’s lives are out of sink and say “you know what, it’s OK”. But God would cease to be God the day He said that. You don’t want a God who accepts sin. Because a God who accepts sin is not a holy perfect God. It’s like when Grocho Marks said “I will never join a club who will accept me as a member.” And in reality we don’t want a God who looks at us in our sinful fallen state and say, “it’s OK your alright your in.”
The fact that you can’t breath underwater isn’t entirely true. People can breath underwater when equipped with scuba apparatus. You can conquer the environment but it’s going to take something, something you don’t have inherent in yourself. And that is what Good Friday is all about. Good Friday is about what we have in a bloody cross that allows us to live in God’s environment. And God says I’m going to provide the oxygen tanks for you, I’m going to make you acceptable in my sight. But you must recognize that there is an exchange that has to take place; your life for my Son’s. You take His life and you trade yours in for it and you can be with me. God will accept us but as the Bible puts it He will only accept us in Christ. I don’t want to just be accepted in David, I want to be accepted in Christ. That retains God’s perfection and makes me understand that I cannot be accepted aside from Jesus Christ. What I need I can’t provide, God is going to have to provide it for me.
The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is (scuba gear) eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:26) God says in effect you put on the scuba gear; put on Christ and you can survive in my environment.
A woman walking down a residential street, noticed a little old man rocking in a chair on his porch. She called out to him as she passed. "Hello there! I couldn’t help but notice how happy you look. What’s your secret for a long happy life?" "I smoke three packs of cigarettes a day," he replied. "I also drink a case of whiskey a week, eat nothing but fast food, and never exercise." "Wow!" The woman was amazed. "How old are you?" she asked. "Twenty-six," he replied.
"All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities."
Andy Fastow was a brilliant kid in my high school graduating class in New Providence New Jersey. He was one of the really good kids. In fact he was the student body president of my senior class. He went on to get a great education and a fantastic job. He climbed his way up the ladder until he became the Chief Financial Officer of his corporation. In fact he became one of the most powerful businessmen in America. But in order to climb that ladder he had to cheat. I’m sure he didn’t start out his career thinking he’d cheat his way to the top, but somewhere along the way he decided to negotiate his sin rather than eradicate it. Eventually he spun one of the greatest webs of sin corporate America has ever seen. You may have heard of my classm...
He could have turned around
A 20-year-old man was arrested by the Omaha Police on the “suspicion of robbery and giving police false information,” which was one of many wrong turns for this young man. His first wrong turn was the desire to make some quick, easy money for whatever reason. His second wrong turn was to act on this impulse.
According to the newspaper1, the police reported, a 27-year-old Omaha woman stopped for gasoline at a convenience shop, early a week ago Thursday, when the young man walked up, grabbed her and tried to yank her purse away, which was wrapped around her arm. Of course he knocked her down, then took off running, heading northbound on 90th Street.
That was his third wrong turn, for he ran right pass the police precinct at 90th and Grant Streets, where two peace officers happened to be standing outside. The newspaper reported police spokesman Don Savage saying, "It’s nice when the suspects come to us. It makes our job a lot easier."
The two officers jumped into their cruiser and caught the suspect near 90th and Ohio Streets, where they arrested him. Then he made his last wrong turn in this situation when he lied to the police.
Obviously, his wrong turns, or poor decisions, made his situation poorer and his life more complicated.
This young fellow allowed his evil desire to drag him away to commit this misdemeanor, once he committed his crime the evil desire will probably result in jail time. If he doesn’t serve time in the Douglas County Correctional Center, at least many hours of community service and a hefty fine.
It’s unfortunate the young man didn’t follow the sensible advice of Psalm 34:14, which says, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
He could have saved himself and his community a lot of grief by turning away from this wrong. If he decided to volunteer 1,000 hours of his free time to worthy community organizations and gladly paid taxes from the income of honest work, that would have been better. His community and he would have experienced prosperity and peace, which he originally was seeking deep down.
We can’t lord it over this fellow for who of us have not allowed our sinful desires to lead into wrong, which hurt us more than helped us, made us poorer rather than richer.
Life teaches us and the Bible says, “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad” (Prov. 29:6). I’m sure he isn’t very happy now.
Maybe you’re in tough dilemma as you read this. In order to make your circumstances better, turn from wrong and do something good and right; seek a win-win solution to your problem. I’m confident you’ll be happier and life will be more peaceful.
Suspect Takes Wrong Turn
An Omaha man picked the wrong way to run Thursday after he knocked a woman down and stole her purse.
He ran right past the northwest precinct of the Omaha Police Department.
"It’s nice when the suspects come to us," said Officer Don Savage, a police spokesman. "It makes our job a lot easier."
According to reports, a 27-year-old Omaha woman stopped about 1:20 a.m. Thursday for gas at a convenience store on north 90th Street. The woman told police that she was pumping gas when a man walked up to her, grabbed her and tried to take her purse, which was wrapped around her arm.
The man yanked on the purse, knocking the woman to the ground. He took off on foot, heading northbound on 90th Street.
His escape route, however, took him past the police precinct at 90th and Grant Streets, where two police officers were standing outside. Savage said the officers responded immediately, jumping into their cruiser and chasing the man. He was caught near 90th and Ohio Streets.
A 20-year-old was arrested on suspicion of robbery and giving police false information. (Source: “Suspect Takes Wrong Turn,” Omaha World-Herald Sat., 10.9.99, Sunrise ed., sec. Vol. 135, No. 4, Midlands, Region: pg. 33.)
I remember well when the Holy Spirit helped me come to a conviction that I was a sinner and needed a Savior. I was a young adult of 20, married, and the father of one child at the time. I had been running with the boys and come to the place of desiring a divorce from my wife. Also, I was doing drugs, dealing drugs, and had an unhealthy fear of dying. I decided to go to a “fortune teller” along with one of my friends to find out more about my fate. It was there in Buena Vista, Georgia that the Holy Spirit continued the process of convicting me that the Help I needed was God.
This evil fortune teller asked questions and planted thoughts in my mind that would later be used by the Holy Spirit to convict me of my sinfulness. Questions like is your wife pregnant? Has she ever had a miscarriage? Just be patient, wait, you’ll get your divorce in a year or so.
Well, we drove back home and when I got to the house Kathy asked me what the fortune teller told me. Of course, I didn’t tell her everything, but as we talked she said to me, “Bruce, you know the Lord gives you something and if you don’t live right, He’ll take it away!” At that moment the Holy Spirit convicted me that something was not right in my life.
My friend had asked me earlier if I realized I had been talking about death for over a week. Well, I was under conviction! I went on to work on Monday morning, but by 11:00 am I could stand it no longer. I went to my dad and said, “I’ve got to go.” He replied, “Where are you going?” “I don’t know, but I’ve got to go.” I walked right out with Dad’s mouth standing wide open, got into my car, and reached down for a Winston cigarette when a pain in my chest drew me to a fetal position in intense pain and weeping. “Help, help I yelled!” Then I sought to get myself under control. As this intermittent pain and suffering occurred I drove in front of the First Baptist Church in Dadeville where I had joined as a 10 year old and made a rededication as a teenager.
My thought was, “This pastor doesn’t know me and I don’t know him, but if I can just get all this stuff off my chest I’ll be okay.” As I stood in front of the Secretary this pain came one more time and I fell to the floor rolling and yelling, “Help, help!” Well, I finally got with the Pastor and shared with him for over an hour everything I had ever done wrong. His response was, “Bruce, everything you’ve shared with me is what the Bible calls sin and it says, ‘All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. And the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Bruce, what you need is Jesus.” I said, “If Jesus is what I need, Jesus is what I want.” Right there in the Pastor’s Study we knelt and I prayed to receive Christ as my Savior. And it was the Holy Spirit who helped me know that it was Jesus I needed.