Worthless…How much are you worth…

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son

that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Worthless….How much are you worth…

A man was on the side of the road with a large birdcage.
A boy noticed that the cage was full of birds of many kinds.

“Where did you get those birds?” he asked.

“Oh, all over the place,” the man replied. “I lure them with crumbs,
pretend I’m their friend then when they are close, I net them and shove
them into my cage.”

“And what are you going to do with them now?”

The man grinned, “I’m going to prod them with sticks, and get them
really mad so they fight and kill each other.

Those that survive, I will kill. None will escape.”

The boy looked steadily at the man. What made him do such things? He
looked into the cruel, hard eyes. Then he looked at the birds,
defenseless, without hope. “Can I buy those birds?” the boy asked.

The man hid a smile, aware that he could be on to a good thing if he
played his cards right. “Well,” he said hesitantly, “the cage is pretty
expensive, and I spent a lot of time collecting these birds, I’ll tell
you what I’ll do, I’ll let you have the lot, birds, cage and all,…..
for ten pounds and that jacket you’re wearing.”

The boy paused, ten pounds was all he had, and the jacket was new and
very special, in fact it was his prized possession. Slowly, he took out
the ten pounds and handed it over, then even more slowly he took off his
jacket, gave it one last look then handed that over too.

And then (well, you’ve guessed it) he opened the door and let the birds
go free.

Moral of the Story…The Enemy of the world, Satan, was on the side of
life’s road with a very large cage. The man coming towards him noticed
that it was crammed full of people of every kind, young, old, from every
race and nation.

“Where did you get these people?” the man asked.

“Oh, from all over the world,” Satan replied. “I lure them with drink,
drugs, lust, lies, anger, hate, love of money and all manner of things.
I pretend I’m their friend, out to give them a good time, then when I’ve
hooked them, into the cage they go.”

“And what are you going to do with them now?” asked the man. Satan
grinned. “I’m going to prod them, provoke them, get them to hate and
destroy each other; I’ll stir up racial hatred, defiance of law and
order; I’ll make people bored, lonely, dissatisfied, confused and
restless. It’s easy. People will always listen to what I offer them and
(what’s better) they, blame God for the outcome!”

“And then what?” the man asked.

“Those who do not destroy themselves, I will destroy.
None will escape me.”

The man stepped forward. “Can I buy these people from you?” he asked.

Satan snarled, “Yes, but it will cost you your life.”

So Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid for your release, your freedom
from Satan’s trap, with His own life, on the cross at Calvary.

The door is open, and anyone, whom Satan has deceived and caged, can be
set free.

Rom 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

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CHRISTians look Strange to our World…Why is that…

In our world today if you are a true Christian you will be seen as a strange bird and even viewed as hateful and narrow minded. First we must understand that the worlds definition of a Christian and God’s definition as recorded in His word the Bible differ greatly.

The world sees a Christian as anyone attending a church with the name of Jesus in its teachings. Many do not proclaim the whole word of God. The bible says a Christian does not involve the denomination you attend. Check it out for yourself by doing a word search of the Bible and you find not one of the denominations of the world. God’s definition is anyone from any country or race who is ‘born again’. For help in understanding what it means to be ‘born again’ check out the following;

  • The Gospel of John where Jesus tells a religious leader what it means
  • Ephians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:16-21 where God tells us how many of our good deeds are requird to ‘born again’. Just of few of God’s thoughts on our lives and our deeds needed to be ‘born again’.
  • So, why are CHRISTians seen as strange to this world?
    • Rom 1:21-23 “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
    • John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
  • What is the ministry of Biblical Christainity while on this earth?
    • Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
    • Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
      • Salt seasons and points out sin. Darkness does not like to be exposed.
    • We are to be different understanding the vast majority of our world will choose the ways of the world in an attempt to restore the broken relationship with God that sin causes;
    • Matt 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
  • Our world will consider Christians ‘Strange’ if we point out sin for what it is and do not do the same.
    • 2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
    • Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of ”

So, do not feel bad this morning if our world hates or persecutes you when you stand up for Jesus and His truths. It very well may mean you are a true ‘born again’ disciple of Jesus and suffering because of it. Be of good courage because;

Romans 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”

James 4:14 “…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Then comes eternity……

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”

HE IS RISEN……..

We all need Help…

1 Samuel 16:7a “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; …”

We all need Help…

One evening I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car.
I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out
of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society
would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no
clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but
there are other times that you just don’t want to be bothered. This was
one of the “Don’t want to be bothered” times.

“I hope he doesn’t ask me for money,” I thought. He didn’t. He
came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop and he didn’t look
like he could have enough money to even ride the bus. After a few
minutes he spoke. “That’s a very nice car,” he said. He was ragged but
had an air of dignity around him.

I said, “Thanks,” and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money
never came. As the silence between us widened something inside said,
‘ask him if he needs any help.’ I was sure that he would say yes, but I
held true to the inner voice.

“Do you need any help?” I asked. He answered in three simple but
profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in
great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and
accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He
spoke three words that shook me.

“Don’t we all?” he said.

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I
needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus
fare but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three
little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how
much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you
have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or
a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it’s just a compliment, you
can give that.

You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it
all. They are waiting on you to give them what they don’t have. A
different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a
respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the
streets. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.

Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum,
then said, “Go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help.”

AND, “Don’t We All?”

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Growing Old and Priorities…

II Pet 3:18 “But grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ, to Him be the glory both now and forever, amen.”

Growing Old and Priorities!

The first day of class our professor introduced himself and
challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up
to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around
to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that
lit up her entire being. She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m
eighty-seven years old.  Can I give you a hug?” I laughed and
enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” And she gave me a giant
squeeze. “Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I
asked.  She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get
married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel.” “No
seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be
taking on this challenge at her age. “I always dreamed of having a
college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared
a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the
next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was
always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her
wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she
easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she
reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She
was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at
our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was
introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped all of
her 3 x 5 note cards. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned
into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery.  I gave
up beer and this whiskey is killing me!  I’ll never get my speech back
in order, so let me just tell you what I know.”

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop
playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. “There
are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving
success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You’ve got to have
a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people
walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!  There is a huge
difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen
years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive
thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old
and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn
eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or
ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in
change. Have no regrets. The elderly rarely have regrets for the things
we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear
death are those with regrets.”

She concluded her speech by courageously singing , “The Rose.” She
challenged each of us to study the lyrics.

At the years end Rose finished the college degree she had begun
all those years ago. One week after graduation, Rose died peacefully in
her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to
the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to
be all you can possibly be.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY,

GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.

A cute story but may be misleading if you are not careful. Did you notice the very first priority that we must have in life was missing. To know, love and serve Jesus is what life for the believer is all about. And fortunately for us there is no retirement from that privilege and responsibility.

Mat 6:33 “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and its righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you!

I don’t know if the story is real but I do know that when I leave this
world and stand in front of Jesus that I would like to have no regrets and to hear;

Mat 25:23a “His Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;”

How about you?

Do you Need Help….

Do you want stability and success in your life? Do you need someone to provide you with counseling on how to do so? Do you want a counselor who can never advise you incorrectly? Most Counselors in our world treat symptoms vs the root cause. Why is that?

Do you want help in time of trouble?

Where do I go when I need Counsel…

Psalm 1:1-6 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

So, God says that we cannot go to Counselors who do not know Jesus as their Savior. Why is it that the unsaved cannot counsel the hurting with advice that is in line with what God gives us?

I Cor 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. “

We also must understand that

God’s Counsel is the only Counsel that never changes and offers hope, lasting hope.

So here is the quiz.

1. Where do you get your counsel from?
2. How much time do you allocate daily to reading God’s truths from His word to us (Bible)?
3. Is your tree (life) firmly planted on the Rock (Jesus)?

If you need counsel this morning seek out someone who will use God’s truths as his or her guide.

Without that basis for truth you will never get to the root cause of your problems.

Sin, does it still exist…

Sin, does it still exist!

Do you believe that sin is still alive and active today? A good way to tell is to ask yourself when is the last time you recognized a sinful habit in your life.

The ugly truth is that sin is as active as it has ever been and that makes release from its bondage a must if we are to have peace! Woe, did I say bondage?

Yes, that is what sin does to us whether a ‘born again’ believer or not it can control our lives.

Mal 3:6a “For I am the Lord, I do not change;

Our world has tried to avoid this topic starting with Adam and Eve who tried to run from God. The truth is that God and His truths do not change over time.

And we are never able to run from God. He is all knowing and everywhere all at once.

There can be no hiding from His eyes.

Sin today is the same as sin of the past and the wages of our sin is death both physical and spiritual.

Heb 2:14, 15 “… He Himself likewise shared in the same that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Are you in bondage or in release? How about your family and/or friends?

The solution to the problem!

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Take them to the Savior! There is no one else who can help and there is only One Who can be our Mediator with God the Father.

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I Tim 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Who is the Author of the Bible…

Author of Scripture

Is the Gospel of John a book of John’s words and wisdom and is John the author? Is the book of Romans a book of Paul’s words and wisdom? The same question applies to the other books of scripture. The thoughts, words and wisdom in scripture are from whom is the question.

Are the scriptures actually the word, thoughts and philosophies of God and not the books of men? If they are the words of God and not men we then have the ONLY source of truth we will ever need to find truth!!  One of my bibles has the words that Jesus spoke outlined in red. There is a danger in thinking that only those words are God’s words. I remember a 6th grader saying to me during an AWANA night that those red letters means that God is speaking. God inspired and protects the words in black print also.

I don’t know about you but the scripture takes on a much more important place in my life when just Who is speaking to me is recognized as God!!!!!

II Tim 3:16,117 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be made perfect
thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

II Peter 3:18 “Knowing this first that no prophesy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophesy came not in old times by the will of men, but holy men of God spoke, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

Isa 55:10,11 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Who’s writings and counsel do you turn to?

Psalm 1:1-4 “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in the law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth it’s fruit in it’s season, and whatever he does shall prosper.”

While we are on the topic of scriptures Author and the importance it plays in our lives listen and heed the following.

Rev 22:18-20 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”