Category Archives: Illustrations

Present Day Slave

I was once a slave.

I was once a slave.  Not in the sense that I was owned by any human master, but in the sense that I was a slave to vices that submitted to. The common masters of the human soul today are sex, drugs and booze. These things all draw you back to them.  When we cling to them, they gain control bit by bit.  Little by little they own us until we are completely taken in by their powerful draw.  Then, the chains of addiction bind us until we cease to have any choice in how we live. We are hooked. We are owned.

In the USA where slavery was once an issue that divided the nation, it is no wonder we are sensitive to the word. Yet, we do not think it slavery to be enslaved by terrible, and deceitful vices? People have sold themselves into bondage for a little good feeling today.  In doing so, they disregard any thoughts for the future.  They would rather feel good for the moment at the expense of others future.  Listen to the story of the present day slave and his liberation…

When I was on the auction block, naked and in chains, my thoughts ran wildly from anger to fear to humility and back again.  Angered because selling one human being to another was wrong.  But it was really no different than selling myself to a life enslaved to wicked vices.  Fear because I was totally exposed to everyone.  Being naked, there was nothing to hide behind.  Humbled because there was nothing I could do to change anything.  I was the lowest of all human beings; being bid on by the various slave owners looking for “new stock” to work their fields and breed their females.

I was poked, prodded and examined.  Fingers picked through my hair and my mouth was pried open to expose my teeth for inspection.  Finally it came time for the bidding to begin.  I dreaded this, but my fears soared when no one bid on me.  The auctioneer kept trying to persuade people to bid on me, but no one did.  Amidst all of my shame, the worst, and most humiliating thing I had ever experienced was when I came to realize that I was unwanted by anyone.  Didn’t I have any worth to anyone?  Surely I was valuable for something.  If no one bought me, what would be my end?  Would I be put out to pasture?

The thoughts were interrupted when, when to the surprise of all present, I heard a voice say, “I’ll take him.”  It was crowded, but when I looked in the direction of the sound of the voice, I saw a common man making the only bid for me.  Encouraged by the bid for me, the auctioneer was renewed with enthusiasm to increase the bid and get more people involved.  It was to no avail.  No one else wanted me.  The auctioneer had worked himself up into a sweat, but no one would make a bid for me.

“He’s yours,” the auctioneer told the man.

“Take off his chains. You can have them.  I won’t need them.”

“He might be wild and attack you.  You never can tell with these kind of people.”

I had never remembered a time in my life when I didn’t wear chains.  It was strange and liberating.  The weight of the chains literally lifted from me.  I wondered why I had been treated this way.  What was the catch?  Surely nothing good was going to come from this.  “Come with me,” my new master told me.  I got down off the block and followed the customary 3 steps behind him.  I didn’t mind being totally naked because it meant the chains I wore all of my life were gratefully gone.

We arrived at the bath house where my master told them he wanted me cleaned proper.  That meant he wanted my beard trimmed, hair cut, nails and feet cleaned and scrubbed.  I had never been cleaned this way before.  As I wondered at the four people working on me, I realized that, in fact, I had never even been clean before.  It was fresh and new.  I knew then that I wanted to stay clean forever.  “Please follow me,” my master asked more than demanded.

Out into the street once again this time brought a tingling of envy on my part.  I knew I was naked, but I was clean.  The chains were gone and I was clean.  Into the clothing store he led me where he told the clerk, “Put on him the best suit of clothes you have in the house.  Money is no object.  I want him to have the best.”

I was being measured and prodded.  Pins and needles and markers were all about me.  Finally they brought out the clothes they had made for me.  I had never had clothes like this before.  The silk ran softly across my clean cool skin.  There were no restrictions in movement anywhere.  The best thing was—the color was blue.

I appreciated the coincidence of making my first new suit of clothing out of my favorite color–blue.  This very thought was overwhelming as I had began the day as a slave, the lowest of low, being sold on an auction block where, nobody wanted me.  I was totally worthless.  Now I was standing on the street, unshackled, clean with a new suit of clothes made in my very favorite color.

All of this was new to me. I still could not comprehend it.  There was a tint of joy mixed with cautious apprehension as my appreciation for my owner grew.

“Have you eaten today?” he asked.  I had not, but I hesitated to tell him so.  He had already done so much for me and I didn’t deserve any of it.  How could I take him for granted? “Come on, you can tell me if you’ve eaten or not.” he coaxed.

As was the custom of slaves, I dare not look him in the eyes.  I safely stared at the ground when he addressed me.  I stammered, not knowing how to answer him.  His rugged hands touched me under the chin and raised my head up.  “You can look me in the eyes.”

Looking in his eyes, I could see something that I had not seen since I was a child.  I first saw it from my mother.  It was the look of deep compassion coupled with sincere concern.  It was the look of someone who cared about me as a person and not an object.  It enveloped a kind of friendship, but I could not accept that my master could ever be my friend.  Those eyes looked deep into my soul in such a way that I knew everything about me was revealed.  It was as if my whole life was laid out before Him there on that street.

My life did not have much true joy in it.  It was filled with pain and suffering; things that I did not want to share with anyone because I did not want to confront them again.  There were things that I put in a hidden compartment of my mind because the only thing I could do to overcome them was to bury them deep into the compartment of distant memory.  His gaze seemed to open up all of those hidden compartments of my life and not only see the pain, but experience it himself.  I was not really sure, but I think I saw a tear well up in the corners of his eyes as he said, “come on, lets get you a meal.”

Off we went down the street.  Because he wanted to walk with me, it was impossible to walk three steps behind him.  The slower he went, the slower I went until he beckoned me to walk with him.  I was very uncomfortable with this because I knew people were looking at Him with disgust because of the way he treated me.  their comments were not nice.  They threw at him words that contained a terrible, hateful message.  These were the kind of words I was accustomed to hearing, but he did not deserve anything like this.  He was being punished for compassion and it made me feel defensive of him.  I did not know this new master very well, but at least I knew I was His, and I didn’t like what they were doing to him.

We arrived at the boarding house with a following.  The owners were not going to let me eat in the main dining hall because I was a slave.  After some deliberation, we went into the back room where slaves could eat.  He beckoned me to sit down, which I did.  Then the biggest surprise of all was that he sat down at the table with me.  The owners were trying to get him to go out into the main dining hall, but he would have none of it.  “I eat with my friend”, he said with a tone of finality.  “Master, you don’t have to do this,” I said.  “You’ve already done too much.  There is no need to embarrass yourself so.”

“It’s okay.  I want to be here with you.”

“Master, I promise I will wait for you.  I won’t run off.”

“I know you won’t.  But I want to eat with you.  I want to know you better.  What’ll you have?”

“Whatever you want for me to eat Master.  It’s not proper for me to choose for myself.”

“Waiter!  We’ll take two of the finest steaks you have.”

When the steaks came, I looked at it without knowing what to do.  He showed me how to use the knife and fork and cut it.  I had never been allowed to hold a knife before.  It was the first time I had ever held the cool steel in my hand.  No one had ever trusted me with a knife, especially one sharp enough to cut a steak. With a little difficulty I cut the meat and put it in my mouth.  The sensations were so active I could only think they were going to collapse in a type of fatigue.

Today was a day of firsts. I had never tasted meat like this before.  It was the best meal I had ever had.  I enjoyed it so much that I almost forgot who I was. When it was time to leave, I quickly remembered my place.  As we went outside in the streets, there were people waiting to persecute my master.  They didn’t like it that he ate with the slaves.  They thought it showed a wrong message.  They didn’t want to be held to His standards.  They wanted him to digress to their standards, but my master was courageous.  He stood up to them all and did the right thing.

Following him to the end of the street, the crowd thinned.  this is where it happened.  At the end of the street, he turned to me and told me something I will never forget.  He said, “I bought you so you will never have to be in bondage again.  You are free to do as you please.  Here are your papers.  I love you and I am sorry that you ever had to be in bondage in the first place.”  I was stunned.  Was I hearing correctly?  Was I being set free?  Did he really buy me, clean me, clothe me and feed me to set me free?  I had long since lost hope of ever being free.  It was so far out of reach that I had even refused to think about it.  Now I was being set free by a master who loved me.  I didn’t really know him, and now he was setting me free.

I hardly realized he was shaking my hand in a gesture of departure.  I was trying to come to grips with my thoughts.  By the time I came to myself, he had already turned and was walking away.  Again I didn’t know what to do.  I had no where to go.  If I went back to the world, I would certainly be put in bondage again.  I knew I didn’t want that, but what could I do?  I had never been faced with making so many choices. I knew I couldn’t stand there forever.  “Whatcha gonna do boy?”, a burly man watching with amusement asked.  I was being pushed.  People were beginning to surround me.  It didn’t take long for the world to catch up to me and press in.  They were mocking, pushing and demeaning.  There was nothing I could do about it.  Hands were tearing at my new set of clothing.  They wanted it for themselves.  They wanted me to return to my hopeless, naked, enslaved position.

It came to mind suddenly.  When I had no thought of what to do, I wanted to cry out for my master, but he had gone on.  If I really wanted him to be my master, why had I not followed him?  I was so infatuated with my freedom, that I forgot Him.  Pushing through the crowd, I went after Him. After a short time, I caught up with him.  I had never wanted someone to be my master before.  I had always despised those who were proud of the title.  But this time was different.  I knew I wanted him to be my master.  “Master,” I cried.  He turned to wait for me.  “Can I come with you?”, I asked.

“You don’t need to.  You’re free now.”

“I know.  You gave me my papers.”

“You can go anywhere you want to go.”

“I know, but can I follow you?  If it’s okay with you, can I be your slave?”

“I didn’t buy you because I wanted a slave.  I bought you because I care.”

“I know that now.  But I want to be your slave.  I want to follow you.  I want you to be my master.”

This is the attitude that a sinner who has been saved by the Lord Jesus Christ should have.  There should be a deep desire for devotion to their master.  Under grace, He has put no requirements on the sinner.  The Lord bought us, cleaned us, fed us and clothed us; then He set us free.  We are free to do as we wish.  We can run off back to the world; we can follow selfish ambitions; or we can follow the master, not because He demands us to do so, but because we appreciate what He did for us.

Many Christians today have it all wrong.  They approach a relationship with Jesus because they are looking for what He can do for them.  Like those who demanded food from Jesus were disappointed when He would not give it to them (John 6:34-66), Christians today fall away when God doesn’t do exactly what they want.  They are the master of the relationship instead of allowing Jesus to be the master.  Yes, they may speak like He is the master, but their actions show a much different thing.  They go to certain churches because they are looking for a certain: children’s program, support group, bible study, activities for the family, marriage counseling, etc.  They are what is commonly know as “church shoppers.”  They are looking for the perfect place where God can give them what they demand of Him.  God may not ever give them what they want because it goes contrary to what He wants.  He wants them to freely follow HIM!

Confused Christians have their masters.  If they are not the vices of the day, they are the programs a church can offer.  It is not the Creator.  If He was their master, they would be willing to forego the programs and sit under good Godly preaching that would help them.  Preaching that would show them where they are right as well as show them where they are wrong.  They would not let personalities in the church dictate their attendance.  They would not care if someone said something bad about them or not.  They would only care about following the Saviour who rightfully bought them, cleaned them up, clothed them, fed them and set them free.  They would give up their freedom for a devoted life of following Him no matter how difficult it would be.

I would that every Christian reading this article would be able to say, “I am glad to be His happy slave.”  Why?  Because He doesn’t demand it.~

 

 

Can You or Can’t You change your circumstances?

plant tomato gardenAn old gentleman lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.

Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son:

Dear Papa,

Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.

Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you,

Vinnie

Vincent was able to help his aging father even though his circumstances were not so good.  Because he loved his father, he was able to do something for him that he could not physically do himself.  He was able to do so because he didn’t allow himself to be discouraged by his circumstance.  He looked for a way to help.  He looked for something he COULD DO instead of focusing on what he COULD NOT DO.

Life is full of such similar circumstances.  Oh, we are not always going to plant a tomato garden, but there are things that are going to cross out path of life that we are just not able to do; there are times when we want to help someone, but we see that we cannot do what we would like to.  These are the times for innovation and application.  Oh, I am not saying that we should be devious and get others to do our work for us.  Vincent was that way.  He lied to get the FBI to dig up his dad’s yard for him.  That is wrong of course, because lying is always wrong.  But, if we think positively, pray and give God enough time to show us a way, we can do amazing things.

Paul wanted to get Christ preached to the world.  He had much opposition to that noble goal.  There were people going around preaching Christ in a mocking manner, trying to put a stop to Paul’s ministry (Phil. 1:14-18).  Instead of getting discouraged by this big problem, Paul saw something positive.  He saw it as Christ being preached.  He rejoiced that Christ was being preached.  He didn’t get upset, angry; of even try to get even.  He rejoiced.

Too often, Christians are leading a discouraged life because their sights are set upon their circumstances.  All they see is the evil, bad things.  They choose not to see how God is working in their life.  The classic Biblical illustration of this is Peter.  The disciples were in a boat in the middle of a raging storm when Jesus came walking to them on the water.  The Lord beckoned Peter to come to Him, which he did.  He was walking on the water just fine until he took His eyes off Jesus and began focusing on his negative circumstances.  When he did, he began to sink.

You can identify Christians who are consumed with their circumstances because:

  • They always say “can’t.”  They talk about what they “can’t” do rather than what then can do.  When presented with a challenge, they immediately begin analyzing why they won’t be able to accomplish it instead of putting their energy into thinking how they can do it.  In fact, it is amazing how quickly they discard any challenging idea.  In fact, they are thinking of themselves: what it will cost them, how difficult it will be for them to do it.  The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13).
  • They always make excuses.  This goes back to not really wanting to do something in the first place.  If a person really wants to do something, and they are interested in it, they will not need any excuses because they will find a way to do it.  People do what they are interest in.  If they are not interested in something, they look for excuses why they can’t do it.  Excuses are different from reasons.  Excuses are what we fabricate when we can find no good reason for getting out of doing something we don’t want to do.  The Bible says, “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea: and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” (Jas. 5:12).
  • They are undependable.  They say they are going to do something, then they don’t come through.  If they really cared, they would be dependable, but they are not.  Unlike a reason or excuse, undependability is when we flat out lie; saying we will do something when we have no intention of doing it at all.  They just tell them what they want to hear so we can get them off of our back and have no guilt.  They make a commitment, but they begin looking at the circumstance and back out, leaving the one to whom a commitment was made, hanging out in the wind.  The Bible says, “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” (Ecc. 5:5).
  • They are “money minded.”  They are constantly talking about money; of their lack thereof.  They think that without money, they can do nothing, but Jesus said, “…without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5).  The problem is a misplaced faith.  Their faith is not in the Lord God, but in the “almighty dollar,” but as we know, the dollar can fail.  It has done it before, it will do it again.  People are constantly bombarded with the idea that wealth is money, but there are more important things than money:  happiness, contentment, joy, relationships and love for a few.
  • They are gamblers.  They depend on luck.  People who place their faith on luck, are the most unlucky people in the world.  Any true Christian knows that “luck” does not exist.  Everything is a design.  There is a designer and He has a plan.  When you begin looking at what you cannot do because of your circumstances, you are tempted to return to the vomit of “luck” (Pro. 26:11; Job 20:15).  The Bible says, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; not he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.” (Ecc. 5:10).  You tend to hear them talk about what they will do if they win “the big one.”
  • They talk about their past.  People who focus on their circumstance and look at the negative will often bring up memories of their past; memories of how they used to be able to do things.  But, now, with their circumstance changed, they can’t do anything.  The Bible says, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.” (Isa. 43:18).  It does no good to dwell in the past.  Old accomplishments were for old times.  New times demand, and require, new accomplishments.  The Bible says, “…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:18).  Because you are a new creature, and old things are passed away, any new thing you do, becomes old right after you do it.  Seconds after you accomplish it, it becomes an old thing and is part of your past.  When you come across people who live in the past (there is a difference between living in the past and reflecting on old memories), it is because the person is of an negative mind set.  They are looking at what they cannot do, instead of what they can do.  Yes, they cannot do the things that they once could do, but there is a whole set of new things that they can now do that they couldn’t do before.
  • They are easily discouraged.  When people convince themselves that they cannot do something, they become discouraged.  This discouragement is out of frustration only because they feel that they can’t do what they want to do.  Instead of looking for a way to accomplish something, they do nothing and get discouraged about it.  It is more healthy for the mind to focus on what you can do instead of what you cannot do.
  • They live a false Christian life.  In other words, they give up on Christ, but instead of going completely back into the world, they put on aires of being a Christian so that they can hide their embarrassment.  The Bible calls this: backsliding and has much to say about it.  Proverbs 14:14 says, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.”  The implication is that they begin craving and living the life that they used to live, even though they are a Christian and can never change that.  They act like they are spiritual when they are only concerned with themselves.

circumstancesAll of these reasons focus on self.  Self is extremely negative because that is the way it feels when it is being deprived.  It comes up with the message:  “What happened to me?  No one cares about me!”  We commonly call these: “pity parties.”  Contrariwise, the positive outlook pleases others.  A positive focus does whatever it can to help others.  In short, this is called: LOVE.  So, do you seek to do that which you can do?  Or do you complain about what you can’t do?

~Pastor

Do You Need God?

 

There was a famous American pastor who went to Africa to preach for a summer.  He preached in many countries while there.  The crowds who came to listen were various, but always large in numbers.  After finishing with a crowd of over ten thousand souls, he and his hosts were headed to a town where there was expected to be three thousand.  But the country that he was in did not have a very stable government.  That particular day, the government ceased the sale of gasoline that morning.  On the way to the church, there were cars lined up all over the sides of the road.  Some were left abandoned; others had frustrated owners camping out in them.  It was a dreary and ominous sight for the American pastor, especially when earlier a tremendous storm blew in.  There was lightning and thunder all around the area.  On the way to the church that morning, the American pastor thought to himself, “There probably won’t be very many people in church today.  In a church of three thousand, if half of the people come, it is going to look pretty skimpy today.”

When they arrived at the building, it was about half full of people milling around preparing for the service.  But it didn’t stop there!  People continued to trickle in all throughout the morning until the building was “bursting at the seams.”

First they prayed.  They prayed for a good hour.  He thought it would never end.  He had never experienced anything like this before.  Then there was singing and praising.  It bubbled over into exuberant exaltation of the Lord in dance (proper dance) and joy.  There was such an atmosphere of love and praise for the Lord that the pastor was even able to “get his ‘jam’ on.”  He then preached for about an hour, but when he finished, as the storm raged outside, the faces of the people looked surprised.  The song leader stepped up and the singing began again.  Then there was prayer and more testimonies of praise.  There was such praise for the Lord that the shouting and elevating of Jesus spilled over once again to jubilant song and dance.  Some were standing with outstretched arms; some were kneeling at the altar.  Some were smiling and shouting; others were crying and shaking their heads in sorrow and deep conviction.  He sheepishly, but willingly joined in praising Jesus right along with everyone else.  An announcement was made and the people began sitting, still shouting with joy.  Eyes turned to the pastor and he quickly deduced that they expected more from the word of God.

He preached yet another full sermon.  At the invitation, the altar was full.  Then prayer broke out in the building once again.  Five hours had passed.  First it seemed like the church would be empty, but it filled.  Then it seemed like you couldn’t pry the people away.  Amazed by this display, he asked the national pastor, “Why aren’t these people leaving?”

“Things are different between Africa and America.  The people here, THEY NEED GOD.  You see, the people here have nothing.  Some of these people have walked 2 and 3 hours to get here.  They don’t even know if they will eat tomorrow, let alone have a job.  These people are a devastated people without God.  They live one day at a time.  There is such a desperate need for God over here, that every time there is an opportunity to come face to face with God, and be in His presence, they take advantage of it.  They can’t afford excuses, or compete with television shows or radio.  They NEED to be in God’s presence.”

As I listened to this story, I began to wonder about that very simple, yet convicting phrase: “We need God here.”  It was a shocking and unexpected answer from that simple African pastor: “WE NEED GOD HERE!”  He was not saying that Americans don’t need God as well. Nor was he criticizing American churches.  He was stating a simple and plain fact.  It was truly how the African pastor saw things from his position.  Having been in several third world countries myself, I can relate to that statement.  Having lived in third world countries for a big chunk of my life, I can see that statement formulate into a vision.  At no fault of the general American, there are just too many choices, especially in the way of “religions” competing over their interest.  At no fault of their own, the general citizen of this country has an abundance of food, water, health care and shelter available to him.  In short, there are very, very few instances in our great land that cause our citizens to be driven to their knees, yearning for an opportunity to be in the presence of God because they have no food, water, shelter or food, just to make it another day.  There is not much real NEED of GOD HERE in our great land.

Friends, because we don’t have that situation here, does not mean that we don’t NEED God.  Everyone needs God.  We all need God.  I need God, and so do you.  So far, God has not driven us to this realization.  So far, God has granted us a reprieve from such a destitute situation; a situation where there is no other place to turn to but Him.  For now, He has left us to ourselves.  We can turn to our government, families, and charities for help.  The lines at the food banks are not full of starving people so far.

For now, God has given us the “choice” to need Him or not, but it might not be that way for long.  I know that this is something that most of my fellow countrymen cannot “relate to” because they have never seen anything like that with their own eyes.  They have only heard stories about such situations, or seen it on T.V.  I assure you that there is a big difference between seeing it on T.V. and seeing it in person.  Let me go even farther than that.  There is a big difference between seeing it for your self, and living it in person, but when you do, when you have absolutely no other place to turn to but God, you will crave the presence of God.  I don’t mean coming to the end of your rope in such a sense that you can’t figure out any other way to fix your problem except asking someone to pray for you.  You know, the kind of problem where you have already solved it, but you just can’t grasp the resolution because it lies just outside of your reach.  I am talking about the kind of problem that has no resolution.  These are the kind of problem where you absolutely NEED GOD to live another day.  These are the real big problems.  These are those that drive you to God and keep you there.  The kind of problems where you not only welcome an opportunity to be in His presence, but are disappointed if you cannot be there.

So I ask, “Do you need God?”  Do you need Him so much that you would not so much as lift up your eyes unto heaven, but smite your breast saying, “God, be merciful to me—a sinner.”  (ref. Luke 18:13).  How poor are you?

I am not saying you need to be poor.  I am asking, How much do you Need God?  It shows in your desire to be in His presence.

~Pastor Coale

 

Common Sense

Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.

Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn’t notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor’s hubcaps.

Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn’t re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight days and survive on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the home owner’s insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish.

Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor’s beagle – even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

A jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay $113,500 to Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because  after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000 plus dental expenses.

Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, purchased new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, from an OU football game, having driven on to the freeway, set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich.  Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owners manual that she couldn’t actually leave the driver’s seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Let me just say it up-front and here:  The world is going crazy!  There never seems to be a lack of knowledge, but there sure is a lack of common sense right now.  There is a great difference between the two.  Knowledge is just that—knowledge.  Common sense is—knowing how to use that knowledge.  For several decades now the people have been bombarded with knowledge.  We have knowledge coming out of our ears.  This is the problem—we have too much knowledge, but we seriously lack wisdom to know how to use it properly.

The reason that we have this lack in ability to use the knowledge that we have is because there has been a wholesale retreat from the word of God and from God Himself.  God is the one who gives common sense.  In Nehemiah when the people stood in their place and the words of God were read to them, they obtained knowledge.  But, as the words were being read, “God distinctly… gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Neh. 8:8).  Because there has been a disdain of God, there has been a lack of common sense.

In the garden of Eden, Adam was told not to eat of the fruit of the tree of KNOWLEGE of good and evil.  Why?  Because in the very day that he would eat of that fruit, his EYES WOULD BE OPEN.  That is what happened—man’s eyes were open but his mind is shut off.  Knowledge keeps pouring in, but to no avail, there is no sensible way to use the knowledge unless you turn to God and get a little common sense.

Those who know me, know that I always tell a person before getting saved, they will get “new eyes.”  I am telling them, (and you if you are unsaved today while reading this), they will begin seeing the same old things they have seen all of their life, but from a different perspective.  That is the perspective of common sense.  God will cause them to understand the things that they have KNOWN as they read their Bibles.

This is how an intelligent person, a person with an ability to store huge amounts of knowledge, can come up with such “far out” theories as: evolution, big bangs, black holes, expanding universes and space within space.  The have a lot of knowledge, but cannot disseminate it, that is to say, use it in a common sense way.  It is not enough for them to know gravity exists, but they must understand it.  This is a good example of taking something that they know exists (gravity) and apply common sense to it (how it works).

I know that someone will focus on what they desire and miss the whole purpose of this little article.  They will think that I am saying that knowledge is not good, and that like most preachers, will think that we have to have blind faith to be a Christian.  That is not so.  Knowledge is profitable, but only if it is coupled with common sense, so it can be used wisely.

The world today seems to be getting more stupid as we go along; yet there is more knowledge out there than has ever been before.  How is that?  There is a lack of common sense; there is a disdain for God.

~Pastor

 

Why Don’t You Fly?

TT

A. J. Gordon was the great Baptist pastor of the Clarendon Church in Boston, Massachusetts. One day he met a young boy in front of the sanctuary carrying a rusty cage in which several birds fluttered nervously. Gordon inquired, “Son, where did you get those birds?”

“I trapped them out in the field.”

“What are you going to do with them?”

“I’m going to play with them, and then I guess I’ll just feed them to an old cat we have at home.”

When Gordon offered to buy them, the lad exclaimed, “Mister, you don’t want them, they’re just little old wild birds and can’t sing very well.”

“I’ll give you $2 for the cage and the birds.”

“Okay, it’s a deal, but you’re making a bad bargain.” The exchange was made and the boy went away whistling, happy with his shiny coins. Gordon walked around to the back of the church property, opened the door of the small wire coop, and let the struggling creatures soar into the blue. The next Sunday he took the empty cage into the pulpit and used it to illustrate his sermon about Christ’s coming to seek and to save the lost — paying for them with His own precious blood. “That boy told me the birds were not songsters,” said Gordon, “but when I released them and they winged their way heavenward, it seemed to me they were singing, ‘Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed!'”

This is what Jesus did for each saved saint of God.  He set us free from the cage of sin in which we are trapped.  It is only by His precious blood that the door of sin is open and freedom is at hand.  Jesus paid for our sin.  He is the only one who could ever pay for it, because His blood is pure and sinless.  Ours is not.  No matter how much we may cry out that we don’t belong in the cage of sin, our blood is still sinful.  What binds us, what holds us is the sinful blood contained within our veins.  As it bleeds out, more is produced in it’s place, and it is just as sinful as that which it replaces.

Our problem is a blood problem.  Let me simply say it like this, “we have bad blood.”  Yes, there is bad blood between us and God, and it can never be purified.  We can only have an advocate who will accept us, and then present us to the Father based on the pure blood coursing His veins—That is what Jesus Christ did.

The door is now open.  The way is made clear.  There is nothing standing in the way that would hinder us from leaving the cage of death.  But, sadly, there are many who will not venture into the open air of the heavens.  With fear or pride they huddle in the back of the cage, making excuse after excuse about why it cannot be real.  At the same time, they witness (over and over again), another one step to the edge and soar with open wings, into the open free air.  How terrible life must be for those who live in fear.  How hopeless life must seem for those who will do anything but stretch their wings and fly.

If you are not saved today, I hope you will come to your senses and get right with God now.  ~Pastor Coale

GRANDMAS ARE SMART

 

I was out walking with my grandson.  He picked up something off of the ground and started to put it in his mouth.  I took the item away from him and I asked him not to do that.

“Why?” my grandson asked.

“Because it’s been on the ground; you don’t know where it’s been, it’s dirty, and probably has germs. Sometimes germs make little boys sick and not feel good” I replied.

At this point, my grandson looked at me with total admiration and asked, “Grandma, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.”

I was thinking quickly and said to him, “All Grandmas know stuff. It’s on the Grandma Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Grandma.”  We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but he was evidently pondering this new information.

“Oh…I get it! He beamed, so if you don’t pass the test you have to be the Grandpa.”

“Exactly,” I replied with a big smile on my face.

I Can’t Pray?

After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said: “Let me see if I’ve got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning?”

“You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride?”

“You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job?”

“You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the final exams?”

“You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card?”

“You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps?”

“You want me to do all this, and then you tell me……

I CAN’T PRAY?”

If I were the Devil

By

Paul Harvey

If I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree—THEE.  So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States.

I’d subvert the churches first.  I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.”  To the young, I’d whisper that the Bible is a myth.  I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would convince that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”.  And the old I would teach to pray after me, “Our father which art in Washington”.  And then I’d get organized.  I’d educate authors how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the Devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves, until each in it’s turn was consumed.  And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the devil, I would encourage school to refine young intellects, but to neglect to discipline emotions; just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

Within a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography.  Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of congress.  And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science.  I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.

If I were the devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle.

If I were the Devil, I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.  And what do you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich?

I would caution against extremes, and hard work, and patriotism, and moral conduct.  I would convince the young that marriage is old fashion, and swinging is more fun; that what you see on T.V. is the way to be.  And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.

In other words, if I were the devil, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.

Paul Harvey, Good Day.

Life Is A Bike Ride

At first, I saw God as my judge, keeping track of the things that I did wrong so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I died. He was a lot like the President – I recognized His face when I saw it, but I really didn’t know him. But later, when I met Christ, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride. But it was a tandem bike.  It was like Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t know just when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has never been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but it was predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful “long” cuts. Up mountains and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all that I could do to hang on. And even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal.” I was worried and I was anxious and I asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and that’s when I learned I was going to have to trust Him.

I forgot my boring life and entered every adventure and when I would say I was scared, He would just lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people who had gifts that I needed – gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. He gave me gifts to take on my journey and off we were again and he would say, “Give the gifts away, they are extra baggage, too much weight.” And so I did to people we met and I found that through giving, I received and the journey continued. I did not trust Him at first to take control of my life, I thought He’d wreck it. But He knows bike secrets – He knows how to make those sharp corners and how to jump to clear high rocks and do things I could have never done if I were in control. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places. I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful companion, Jesus Christ. And when I’m not sure that I can do it anymore, He smiles and says, “Just pedal.”

The Wordless Christmas Tree Story

images (46)Merry Christmas! Every year, people all over the world get ready for Christmas by putting up a Tree and decorating it. They buy presents and wrap them in pretty papers and put them under their Christmas Tree. But, do you know why Christmas is celebrated and what the Tree and the presents mean? Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s take a closer look at His story.

A long time ago, an angel appeared to a virgin named Mary in the land Israel. Luke 1:30-32  “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest…” At the birth of the Son of God, a star shone above where He lay for all to see. A star is put on the top of the Tree to represent this majestic star. Some wise men from the East followed this star to where the Son of God lay.  Matthew 2:9-11 “…and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was…And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him…” God had a special plan for His Son, who left His royal throne in heaven to become man in order to bring salvation to all men.

The colors on the Tree have special meaning which tell His story:

  • White represents Jesus’ purity and sinlessness because only the Son of God was born without a sinful nature.
  • Black represents sin which brings death. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death…” Every man is a sinner by nature, so without intervention, everyone will die and go to Hell.
  • Orange is the color that represents the torturing fires of Hell.
  • Red represents the blood of the Lord Jesus.  The shedding of blood is the only payment for sin, and only the pure blood of the Son of God could pay the sin debt for all mankind.
  • The brown branches on the Tree represent the tree upon which Jesus was crucified. After His death, His body was placed in a tomb and sealed. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “…that Christ died for our sins …And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day…” On the third day, Jesus Christ rose victorious over sin and death. By rising from the dead, He conquered death that He might give life.
  • The green branches of the Tree represent life. Because Jesus now lives, so can we. What is the gift that God offers to man? Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The gift which God offers us is life, which we can receive through Jesus Christ.
  • The gifts under the Tree represent the precious GIFT which Jesus extends to all. If we accept the gift of eternal life, we will live with the Lord Jesus in heaven forever.
  • Yellow is the color on the Tree that represents heaven.

What about YOU?  You and I and every person in the world are sinners by nature.  Sin causes death which means that without intervention, you will die and go to Hell.  However, the good news is that the Lord Jesus paid the price for your sin and now offers YOU the gift of life, which is known as salvation!  You can be saved from your sins!  Will you accept the gift?  What a great tragedy it would be for you to choose to spend eternity in Hell separated from the Lord Jesus who paid such a high price for you!

If you are serious about receiving God’s gift, then you can tell God directly by praying a prayer like this one to Him and He will save you:

Dear God, I see that Your Son the Lord Jesus Christ has paid a high price for me.  I’m a sinner on my way to Hell.  I don’t deserve Your gift, but I ask You to save me.  Thank You, God, for saving me.  Amen.