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THE DANGER OF SPIRITUAL PROCRASTINATION
There is a fable which tells of three apprentice devils who were coming to this earth to finish their apprenticeship. They were talking to Satan, the chief of the devils, about their plans to tempt and to ruin men. The first said, "I will tell them that there is no God."
Satan said, "That will not delude many, for they know that there is a God."
The second said, "I will tell men that there is no hell."
Satan answered, "You will deceive no one that way; men know even now that there is a hell for sin."
The third said, "I will tell men that there is no hurry."
"Go," said Satan, "and you will ruin men by the thousands."
The most dangerous of all delusions is that there is plenty of time.
(William Barclay: The Gospel of Matthew, vol. 2 [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], p. 317. From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, The parable of the Faithful & Wise Servant, 7/17/2010)
"Isaac’s Storm" is a very interesting book about the hurricane that wiped out Galveston in 1900. One of the main plot lines of the book is about how everyone was convinced that a hurricane could never strike Galveston, even as one approached. The author vividly describes how as the streets began to flood people went about their business as if nothing was wrong. Children played in the water, men gathered for breakfast at the local diner, and no one fled from the storm that was about to strike.
Some didn’t worry because Issac Cline, the national weather service officer in Galveston, assured them it would not be a severe storm. Other’s simply believed that Galveston was invincible. Some thought that since they had never seen a hurricane strike Galveston one never would. So for a number of reasons, people assured themselves nothing bad would happen. And as a result over 6,000 people died one September day in 1900.
Today we can see storm clouds forming on the horizon. There is a moral and spiritual decline that continues to erode our national life. The warning signs are there for us to see--the signs that Jesus is coming soon. They beckon us to return to the Lord and seek refuge in Him. How will history look back on what we did as the storm approached?
SOURCE: Steve Hanchet. Citation: "Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History," by Erik Larson and Isaac Monroe Cline. Vintage Books; ISBN: 0375708278; (July 11, 2000).
Martin Luther is reputed to have said that even if he knew Christ was going to return tomorrow, he would still plant an apple tree.
Christian writer and commentator Warren Wiersbe, tells about a town where a horse bolted and ran away with a wagon carrying a little boy. Seeing the child in danger, a young man risked his life to catch the horse and stop the wagon. The child who was saved grew up to become a lawless man, and one day he stood before a judge to be sentenced for a serious crime. The prisoner recognized the judge as the man who, years before had saved his life; so he pled for mercy on the basis of that experience. But the words from the bench silenced his plea: "Young man, then I was your savior; today I am your judge, an...
You just know that some things are going to happen sooner or later.
That’s the way it was with Michael Parfit, a writer for Smithsonian magazine. For a feature article on the mighty Mississippi River, Parfit rode in a twelve-foot rubber dinghy down the Mississippi from Memphis, Tennessee, to the Gulf of Mexico.
Parfit learned of the incredible power of this giant river. The Mississippi gathers its water from 41 percent of the continental U.S., catching water from Montana to New York. Half a trillion tons of water flow down the Mississippi every year, carrying downstream sixty-three thousand tons of soil a day.
A river this big is a threat to the surrounding countryside. That’s why engineers have built levees to pinch the mighty giant and keep it from flooding the farmland and towns nearby. The levees on the lower Mississippi stand, on average, twenty-five feet high and run 2,203 miles on both sides of the main river and its tributaries.
"As the wall was built over the years," writes Parfit, " people came to live under its protection. They tore down the forest and planted cotton, and the floodplain of the Mississippi became the expanse of farmland known as the Mississippi Delta."
More than eight million people live in the Delta. But at what risk? Parfit flew in a plane over the Mississippi Delta and saw plainly the river’s tracks on the land, where it once had flooded the delta.
"The levee…cages the giant, or appears to," writes Parfit. "And no one but birds and an occasional light-plane pilot notices the long sweep of the river’s indelible script. What the river has written in the mud again and again is simple: ’Someday soon.’ "
Someday soon will come another flood. That’s what Parfit warned in February of 1993. Someday soon will come another devastating flood like the ones in 1882, 1927, and 1973.
"People in this valley get a sense everything is totally controlled," one engineer told Parfit. "That’s a false sense of security. We haven’t seen anything yet in this valley as to what this river can do. We’re not in control of anything."
"The river," wrote Parfit in February 1993, "moves brown swift, unpredictable, enormous, always murmuring ’Someday soon…’"
In February 1993 when his article was published, Parfit could not have imagined how right he would be. Only months after the publication of the article, in the summer in 1993, came one of the worst floods of the history of the Mississippi.
God’s Word warns that someday soon, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Christ will return to the earth, bringing the terrible wrath of God on all who have not prepared their lives for His coming. Nothing can stop Him. The wise person gets ready.
SOURCE: Jack Voss, Crossroads Christian Center, Collinsville, OK. God’s Secret(A Study On The Book Of Acts).
James O. Davis
Jesus said the times before His second coming would include a multiplication sign, a mental sign, a moral sign, and a miracle sign. Concerning the latter, He was talking about the nation of Israel. He reminds us to keep our eyes on the fig tree. When it begins to blossom you know the end is near. Israel is the historical miracle in world civilization. She had been extinct as a nation for over 1,900 years, ever since Titus and the Roman legions marched into Jerusalem in 70 AD and nearly obliterated the Jewish people, forcing them out of their own country. The people were slaughtered and Israel died as a nation that day. But she was born again in one day. Isaiah predicted it would happen. On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation again. David Ben Gurion signed the Declaration of Independence. Jesus said when the fig tree buds the kingdom is at hand.
After an evening out, some parents returned home to their children, whom they had left with the baby sitter. They were pleasantly surprised to find the kids fast asleep. When the sitter had been paid—just as she was walking out the door—she communicated this detail: "Oops—almost forgot to tell you. I promised Sammy that if he would stay in bed, you would get him a pony in the morning."
Dr. George Sweeting once estimated that "more than a fourth of the Bible is predictive prophecy...Both the Old and New Testaments are full of promises about the return of Jesus Christ. Over 1800 references appear in the O.T., and seventeen O.T. books give prominence to this theme. Of the 260 chapters in the N.T., there are more than 300 references to the Lord’s return--one out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 N.T. books refer to this great event...For every prophe...
"Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." This charge could be summarized by saying, "If Jesus is coming back, what’s taking Him so long?"
This is a question that has been asked not only by skeptics, but by believers who have assumed that Jesus would return very quickly. It seems that some of Jesus’ contemporaries thought He would return within their lifetimes.
That idea has been with us throughout history, it seems. Christopher Columbus thought that his discoveries were part of God’s plan for the end times, since he followed Augustine in thinking that the world would come to an end 7,000 years after its beginning, which by the reckoning in Columbus’ time meant that there were only 155 years left!
HELL FREEZES OVER
A rough and gruff man from Massachusetts who didn’t live a very good life died and went to hell. The devil really wanted to punish him, so he put him to work breaking up rocks with a sledgehammer. To make it worse he cranked up the temperature and the humidity.
After a couple of days the Devil checked in on the man to see if he was suffering adequately. The Devil was aghast as he looked at the man from Massachusetts happily swinging his hammer and whistling a happy tune.
The Devil walked up to him and said, “I don’t understand this. I’ve turned the heat way up, it’s humid, you’re crushing rocks and sweating. Why are you so happy?” The man smiled, looked at the Devil and said, “This is great, it reminds me of the hot humid August days back in Massachusetts. This is fantastic! It’s just like home”
The Devil decided to change things a bit. He dropped the temperature, sent down driving rain and torrential wind. Soon, hell was a wet, muddy mess. The man from Massachusetts was happily slogging through the mud pushing a wheelbarrow full of crushed rocks.
Again, the Devil asked how this man could be so happy in such conditions. The man replied, “This is great. Just like April back in Massachusetts. It reminds me of working out in the fields doing the spring planting!
The Devil was completely baffled. In desperation, he tried one last ditch effort. He made the temperature plummet. Hell was blanketed in snow and ice. Confident that this has done it, the Devil checked in on the man. He couldn’t believe his eyes as he saw the man dancing, singing, and twirling his sledgehammer in glee. “How can you be so happy. Don’t you realize its 40 below zero!?” screamed the Devil.
“Hell’s frozen over!” replied the man from Massachusetts, “The Patriots have won the Superbowl!”