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THE PUNISHMENT OF THE GOLF ADDICT
Once there was a man who was such a golf addict that he was neglecting his job. Frequently he would call in sick as an excuse to play.
One morning, after making his usual call to the office, an angel up above spotted him on the way to the golf course and decided to teach him a lesson. "If you play golf today, you will be punished," the angel whispered in his ear.
Thinking it was only his conscience, which he had successfully whipped in the past, the fellow just smiled. "No," he said, "I've been doing this for years. No one will ever know. I won't be punished."
The angel said no more, and the fellow stepped up to the first tee where he promptly whacked the ball 300 yards straight down the middle of the fairway. Since he had never driven the ball more than 200 yards, he couldn't believe it. Yet, there it was.
And his luck continued. Long drives on every hole, perfect putting. By the ninth hole he was six under par and was playing near-perfect golf. The fellow was walking on air.
He wound up with an amazing 61, about 30 strokes under his usual game. Wait until he got back to the office and told them about this! But, suddenly, his face fell. He couldn't tell them. He could never tell anyone.
The angel smiled.
(Bits & Pieces, August 22, 1991 -- 10,000 Sermon Illustrations)
We can get ourselves in Trouble Fast
A burglar broke into a house one day. As he was stealing the valuables he heard a voice out of the darkness that said, "Jesus is watching you". He almost choked. He stoped and looked around and then he shook of his fear and went on stealing some more. Suddenly just as before the voice cam and said Jesus is watching you. He was trembling so bad he could hardly contain any composure. He finally approached the corner and there was a bird cage with the cover over it. The words came from the CAge, Jesus is watching you. The thief pulled off the cover and saw the parrot. He said with an angry voice, what is your name? The parrot replied, MOses. The thief replied, what kind of wierd person would name a parrot Moses? The parrot replied the same kind of wierd person that would name a Rocwieller "Jesus".
We can get ourselves in serious trouble by not paying attention.
Suppose a keg of gun powder has been placed under a man’s house right beneath the furnace where a fire is burning, but he is ignorant of its presence there. After awhile THE HEAT of the furnace causes the gun powder to burn its way through the top of the powder keg and there is a terrible explosion in which the man’s family is destroyed. Fearful as is the occurrence, no one condemns the man.
But suppose he had been told that the keg of powder was there, and saw for himself its proximity to the fire, and he went away without removing it. Then, when the explosion took place and his family were killed, everybody would condemn him and say that he was a guilty man.
So it is with sin.
Sin is fun [Hebrews 11:25]... for a season. The problem is that sin always has consequences [Galatians 6:7]... and they are unpleasant [Romans 6:23].
(ill.) National Geographic reported that a 13-foot Burmese python swallowed a 6-foot alligator in Florida . The consequences were lethal, as the gator split the snake open from the inside out, lit...
Let me conclude with this brief story about Clay King Smith. Mr. Smith killed 5 innocent people, 2 women and 3 children, after tripping out one evening on drugs. In May of 2001, Clay King Smith was executed. A local news reporter in Arkansas had the chance to sit down and talk with Smith a year after the killings. While sitting in the Arkansas Department of Corrections, Tucker Maximum Security Unit, Smith was interviewed and asked why he had done this horrible crime. Even after a year Smith still had no explanation. This was a stark contrast to the man that Smith used to be. Clay King Smith was once so deeply religious that he attended Central Bible College to become a preacher.
How is that possible? I can’t understand what would cause a man to kill 5 innocent people. But I do know that Clay King Smith went from being a man in Bible college pursuing ministry, to a man on death row awaiting execution. Smith failed to live a life with no exceptions. Clay King Smith lived with regret until the day he faced eternity because of the decision that he made. Smith did repent for this horrific sin, but he would never stand behind a pulpit and proclaim the Word of God because he made an exception that ruined his future ministry.
News story on Sunday, January 12, 2003; CHICAGO, Jan. 11 -- Illinois’s outgoing Republican Gov. George Ryan commuted the death sentences of 167 people to life in prison today after concluding that the capital punishment system was "haunted by the demon of error."
Friends and foes of the death penalty said the step, which empties death row of 156 inmates and 11 others who had been sentenced but were awaiting hearings, was unprecedented. The action will have ramifications for the intensifying national debate on the issue and came a day after Ryan pardoned four death row inmates who he said had been tortured into false murder confessions. Three were released immediately and are already home with their families.
Death Row Facts
• As of December 31, 1999, the death penalty was authorized by 38 states and the Federal Government.
• There are five methods of execution in the United States: lethal injection, electrocution, lethal gas, hanging, and firing squad.
• 3,581 offenders were under sentence of death in the United States as of December 31, 2001.
• Texas, California, and Florida have the largest death row populations.
• Texas leads the nation in the number of executions since death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
• As of July 14th, 2005 there are 412 people on death row in the State of Texas.
• 9 being females and 403 being males.
• Since 1982 to the present day Texas has executed 345 people.
• Harris County leads the State of Texas by sentencing more people to death than any other county in Texas with 280 people being placed on death row.
• As of today there are 9 people still waiting for their death to be carried out in the State of Texas this year barring a stay from the Governor they will die before 2005 ends.
• Since 1982, 507 people placed on death row in Texas have had their sentences reduced or commuted life. (Life with Jesus)
Kay Arthur, a Christian author, put it this way.
If you tolerate sin in your life, that sin will not only take you farther than you wanted to go, it will keep you longer than you wanted to ...
"If punishment reaches not the mind, it hardens the offender."
The Equal Justice Initiative clams there are 73 Americans serving life sentences for crimes they committed at age 13 or 14. SOURCE: Gary Foster