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The Yeilded Life
Sometimes we allow sin to come into our lives and hinder the work of grace. Paul cautions that the blessings of grace upon a yielded life can be hindered by sin. "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof." (Ro. 6:12) Our unwillingness to confess our sin and seek God’s forgiveness and healing may hinder our service. The floodgates of God’s grace and power can be released only when we are right with Him.
In days gone by, great rafts of loose logs were floated down the rivers to the timber mills. Loggers could be seen skipping across the logs in an effort to keep them moving freely. If a particular log became caught upon a rock or obstruction, thousands of logs could be piled up in what became a huge log jam. When the logger found this key log and freed it, the jam would be broken and the logs would glide smoothly again. Sometimes the jam would be so great, that dynamite had to be used to free the key log. The analogy of sin in the Christian’s life is clear.
Why would God go to all the trouble to endure our bad choices and our flagrant sinning in order to have relationship with us? Hear the story of the lost son from the modern setting as told by Philip Yancey in his book What’s so Amazing about Grace.
Yancey tells the story of a prodigal daughter who grows up in Traverse City, Michigan. Disgusted with her old fashioned parents who overreact to her nose ring, the music she listens to, the length of her skirts, she runs away. She ends up in Detroit where she meets a man who drives the biggest car she’s ever seen. The man with the big car – she calls him “Boss” – recognizes that since she’s underage, men would pay premium for her. So she goes to work for him. Things are good for a while. Life is good. But she gets sick for a few days, and it amazes her how quickly the boss turns mean. Before she knows it, she’s out on the street without a penny to her name. She still turns a couple of tricks a night, and all the money goes to support her drug habit.
One night while sleeping on the metal grates of the city, she began to feel less like a woman of the world and more like a little girl. She begins to whimper. “God, why did I leave. My dog back home eats better than I do now.” She knows that more than anything in the world, she wants to go home. Three straight calls home get three straight connections with the answering machine. Finally she leaves a message. “Mom, dad, its me. I was wondering about maybe coming home. I’m catching a bus up your way, and it’ll get there about midnight tomorrow. If you’re not there, I‘ll understand.” During the seven hour bus ride, she’s preparing a speech for her father. And when the bus comes to a stop in the Traverse City station, the driver announces the fifteen-minute stop. Fifteen minutes to decide her life.
She walks into the terminal not knowing what to expect. But not one of the thousand scenes that have played out in her mind prepares her for what she sees. There in the bus terminal in Traverse City, Michigan, stands a group of forty brothers and sisters and great-aunts and uncles and cousins and a grandmother and a great-grandmother to boot. They’re all wearing goofy party hats and blowing noise-makers, and taped across the entire wall of the terminal is a computer-generated banner that reads – Welcome Home!
Out of the crowd of well-wishers breaks her dad. She stares out through the tears quivering in her eyes and begins her memorized speech. He interrupts her. “Hush, child. We’ve got no time for that. No time for apologies. We’ll be late. A big party is waiting for you at home.”
JOY IN THIS WORLD
Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
Not in Unbelief -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born."
Not in Pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone."
Not in Money -- Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth."
Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."
Not in Military Glory -- Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
Where then is real joy found? -- the answer is simple, in Christ alone.
The Bible Friend, Turning Point, May, 1993. http://www.eSermons.com
A Young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. “That depends,” replied the foreman. “let’s see you fell this tree.” The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great ree. Impressed, the foreman said, “Start Monday.”
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and by Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.”
Startled the young man replied, “I though you paid on Friday.” “Normally we do,” answered the foreman, “but we’re letting you go today because you have fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you dropped from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday.”
“But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “ I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!”
The foreman, se...
Writer & speaker Joni Erickson Tada was paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident. In her book Secret Strength, Joni wrote about facing temptation.
I was in my late 20’s, single, and with every prospect of remaining so. Sometimes lust or a bit of fantasizing would seem so inviting and so easy to justify. After all, hadn’t I already given up more than most Christians just by being disabled? Didn’t my wheelchair entitle me to a little slack now and then?
Joni went on the ask her readers;
When God allows you to suffer, do you have tendency to use your trials as an excuse for sinning? Or do you feel that since you’ve given God a little extra lately by taking abuse, that He owes you a "day off?"
Hard times can often lead to temptation... In our suffering the evil one is quick to come to our aid and offer one of his solutions; pursuing pleasure to numb the pain, coping an attitude, becoming bitter, getting even, feeding anger...
A. Todd Coget
Nothing can choke the heart and soul out of walking with God like legalism.
Consider the story of Hans the tailor.
Because of his reputation, an influential entrepreneur visiting the city ordered a tailor-made suit.
But when he came to pick up his suit, the customer found that one sleeve twisted that way and the other this way; one shoulder bulged out and the other caved in.
He pulled and struggled and finally, wrenched and contorted, he managed to make his body fit.
As he returned home on the bus, another passenger noticed his odd appearance and asked if Hans the tailor had made the suit.
Receiving an affirmative reply, the man remarked, "Amazing! I knew that Hans was a good tailor, but I had no idea he could make a suit fit so perfectly someone as deformed as you."
Often that is just what we do in the church.
We get some idea of what the Christian faith should look like: then we push and shove people into the most grotesque configurations until they fit wonderfully!
That is death.
It is a wooden legalism which destroys the soul.
[Legalistic Strait Jacket, Citation: Richard J. Foster in "TSF Bulletin," Nov.-Dec. 1982. Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 2.]
If God had Voice Mail
Most of us have now learned to live with "voice mail" as a necessary
part of our daily lives. But have you ever wondered what it would be
like if God decided to install voice mail?
Imagine praying and hearing the following:
Thank you for calling Heaven.
For English, Press 1.
For Spanish, press 2.
For all other languages, press 0.
Please select one of the following options:
Press 1 for Requests.
Press 2 for Thanksgiving.
Press 3 for Complaints.
Press 4 for all other inquiries.
I am sorry; all of our angels and saints are busy helping other sinners
right now. However, your prayer is important to us, and we will answer
it in the order it was received. Please stay on the line.
If you would like to speak to:
God, press 1.
Jesus, press 2
Holy Spirit, press 3.
If you would like to hear King David sing a Psalm while you are holding,
To find a loved one that has been assigned to Heaven, press 5,then
enter his or her social security number, followed by the "pound" sign.
(If you receive a negative response, please hang up and try again.
For reservations at Heaven, please enter J-O-H-N, followed by the
For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth,
life on other planets, and where Noah’s Ark is, please wait until you arrive.
Our computers show that you have already prayed today. Please hang up
and try again tomorrow.
The office is now closed for the weekend to observe a religious holiday.
Please pray again on Monday after 9:30am.
If you are calling after hours and need emergency assistance,please
contact your local pastor.
Thank you, and have a heavenly day.
When you think of what prayer really is it’s astounding that we’d get an answer at all. Ambrose Bierce once said that to pray was …
"To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unwor...
“[16 year old] Nathan Johnson dreamed of starting a revolution for Christ. [He wrote in his diary, “God’s] will for me is to radically impact my school for Him." But before he could see the revolution become a reality, Johnson’s life was cut short by an automobile accident [after] striking a cement truck almost head-on.” 1
Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”
Question: How can Paul write these verses in light of tragedy to good people?
Perhaps you have asked a similar question about your situation.
How can anything good come from my death?
How can anything good come from my sickness?
How can anything good come from rape?
How can anything good come from a drunk driver killing an entire family?
Allow me to finish this true story published in the September 6th edition of the Baptist Press:
“Despite his early death, friends and family say that God is using the tragedy to make [Nathan] Johnson’s dream a reality. Nearly 300 people have professed faith in Christ in the aftermath of Johnson’s accident, including more than 30 at his funeral [and 16 more] two nights following the funeral at the Wednesday night youth gathering…
One of Johnson’s gifts was his football ability, which he displayed as a kicker and punter for Beech [High School]. Johnson […] consistently [kicked] field goals of 45-50 yards. But [he] saw his athletic ability as a tool to win teammates to Christ […] In his journal, Nathan had written, "God has given me the gift of kicking so that I can start by winning my teammates on the football team to Christ." During his freshman year, he led two players to faith in Christ during football camp and later led a senior to faith.
Inside the front cover of this year’s team program, which is sold at every game, is a picture of Johnson in his football uniform with a message dedicating the season to him. At the top of the page is the Apostle Paul’s declaration from Philippians 1:21: “For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” At the bottom of the page is Jesus’ command from Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.”
The final page in the program has another photo of Johnson in his uniform with the quote from his journal about impacting his school for Christ. At the bottom of the page is a quote from Johnson’s grave marker: ‘Dude, Heaven is sweet. See you there ...’
In the aftermath of Johnson’s funeral, professions of faith have continued, and several local churches report that they baptize people weekly who say they were saved at the funeral [and] teenagers at [Johnson’s church] have been saved at several programs since the funeral.” 1
The bottom line is that God allowed something bad to happen temporarily to a great young man in order to bring much good eternally for many.
1 Roach, David. “One godly teen dies; hundreds find new life.” Baptist Press. 6 Sep. 2006. 7 Sep. 2006.
FASTING BEFORE THE GREAT AWAKENING
Jonathan Edwards was a man used by God in the First Great Awakening. I have read that he preached in a weak, squeaking, monotone voice and held his tiny manuscript so close to his face that people could not see his expressions. When he preached, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," in his weak, squeaking, monotone, people had to strain to hear him. It is said that he preached powerfully without the energy, eloquence, or theatrics some modern "evangelists" depend on. Strong men gripped pews and pillars as if they felt themselves falling into hell. Judgment day had dawned and they were desperately holding on to life until the altar call.
For three days before he first preached that sermon, he did not eat or sleep. Claiming New England for Christ was the only thing that mattered to him. Prayer was important to him. Food and sleep were not. Nothing distracted him. I am certain he did not intend it, but people passing his room heard his weak, squeaking voice as he sobbed, "God, give me New England! Give me New England!"
He finally rose from his knees and made his way to the pulpit. He was so weak, he could barely prop himself up. Before he opened his mouth, great conviction had already fallen on the congregation.