Two of the men have impacted my life. Both of them died of cancer. For many years one of these men allowed his CIRCUMSTANCES to harden him towards those in his family and towards God.
I thought my dad was about as far away from God as he could be. He seemed to be represented by footpath in the parable of the sower that Jesus relates in Matthew 13:4,19. Jesus speaks of HARD soil, defensive, closed and bitter towards God.
The other man also had cancer. Before he died, Bill (not his real name) said to me, "I'm an atheist and I intend to stay that way!" INTENTIONALLY RESISTANT to considering that the message of Christ might have had any relevance. He was also like the footpath in the parable but it seems to me that he had allowed the cancer to be like a PNEUMATIC SOIL COMPACTER and His heart had set like concrete.
My Dad also got CANCER and it was clear that he was going to die. I think he could have responded to God in one of 2 ways. He could have allowed the cancer to harden his heart even further towards God like Bill, the atheist. Instead he allowed the cancer to be a like a PNEUMATIC JACKHAMMER. Yes, it shook him up but it also broke up the hard places of his heart and enabled God to get through to him. Everyone of us has that choice.
In Matthew 13:19 Jesus says, "The seed that fell on the FOOTPATH represents those who HEAR the message about the Kingdom and DON'T UNDERSTAND it. Then the evil one comes and SNATCHES AWAY the seed that was planted in their hearts."
Jesus says His message is planted in their hearts but there's an AUTHORITY issue here. Two KINGDOMS in conflict. What King Jesus wants to GIVE, Satan wants to STEAL. The "message about the Kingdom" speaks of the RULERSHIP of Christ. The degree that things grow in my life is determined by who has AUTHORITY over my ears and my heart.
Acts 28:27 (NLT) says "For the hearts of these people are hardened, ... so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to Me and let Me heal them.'"
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