The great botanist Luther Burbank once remarked, “Sin is a bad bargain”, and used this story to illustrate:
A young skylark was flying with his father. The heard the tinkle of a bell and dived down to investigate. They saw a man pushing a cart, announcing, “Earthworms for sale. Earthworms traded for feathers.” The young skylark loved worms, so in spite of his father’s warning that it was a bad bargain, he plucked out two feathers and got four juicy worms. He gobbled them down and soared back into the sky.
The next day the young skylark heard the same bell. Again he traded a few feathers for worms. Though his father disapproved, he began to do this every day. Then one day after he had traded his feathers for worms, he discovered what a bad bargain he’d been making, for he could no longer fly.
Sin seems to offer us something for nothing. And some people play around with sin, thinking they have found a good bargain. But, inevitably, there is a time when the full payment comes due. Thank God, there is a way to avoid the payment for sin. That is to repent of our sins and accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23).
Last weekend I had the privilege of praying for 12 people to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some of them received a prayer language right off the bat, others struggled a bit with it. Its amazing how differently people receive this gift.
When I received it on January 18, 1972, I had a glorious experience with God. Because of the garbage in my past and the cleansing that I needed, I shook like a leaf and cried like a baby. But, I, too, struggled with receiving a prayer language. I knew God had accepted me, yet I wrestled with the feeling of rejection that He would not give me this language to communicate with Him. After two weeks of seeking the prayer language, I finally gave up. Then, without even knowing what I was doing, I found myself praying in a spiritual language. As long as I tried, I got nothing. When I quit trying, it flowed. The rest is history. What a lesson in receiving.
If you haven’t yet received a fluid prayer language when someone laid hands on you, quit trying, and just receive. Seek Jesus, not the gift.
There are two ways to handle the present crisis in your life. You can pull back, hunker down, withdraw, and hope the end isn’t as bad as you fear. Or, you can rise up, double down, press forward, charge, and trust God to bring you through. These are opposite approaches. One seeks safety, the other seeks victory.
What will you do when Satan puts fear in your heart? What will your attitude be when it feels like you’re losing your grip? Should you run and hide (like the disciples in the upper room) or should you be bold and take the risk (like Paul in Athens)?
The Bible teaches us that we should be people of faith, not people of fear. God has called us to be overcomers, not avoiders. “Be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:6). Apply this to your life and today’s crisis as God’s word for you.
Yesterday was a wonderful day to work outside. But I have a springtime allergy that can make it miserable to be outside. So, first thing in the morning I took a generic Zyrtec to control the symptoms. And I didn’t sneeze once, and only blew my nose 2-3 times all day.
At lunch I came inside and was helping Anita with the grandkids. I was reading a book to my 1-year old grandson, Gideon, when it hit me. I couldn’t hold my eyes open or get up out of the chair. I was lethargic and sleepy, with absolutely no energy. Then I remembered that was one of the side affects of Zyrtec.
There may be a spiritual parallel for our lives. To honor God you have to serve Him. To serve Him means we press against obstacles. And pressing against the obstacles makes us weary. But, don’t back off, for the Bible tells us: “Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). Get up and get at it.
Last night I attended the graduation ceremony for S.E.N.D. North America. I was one of the instructors and Ze Heureuse did an internship with us at New Hope. I wanted to encourage each of the students and wanted to be a part of SENDing them out as missionaries to North America.
I was personally a part of a similar movement back in the early 1970s when I was a student at Christian Training Center. It was a move of God that produced lasting results, such as pastors of churches which remain, solid leaders in churches to this day, missionaries on the field 30 years later, etc. “Fruit that remains” is the measurement of real revival, a real move of God, not just a flash in the pan that is gone next year.
I want New Hope to be a church in revival, always looking outward (outreach), pressing inward (connections), and reaching upward (worship). Let’s constantly work to that end.
Here’s a word from God from Amos 4:10:
“I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt;
Your young men I killed with a sword,
Along with your captive horses;
I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the Lord.
If God was giving His people this prophetic word for today, what do you think He would be referring to? Go ahead, post your comment.
Years ago I traveled with some missions committee folks to help dedicate a church that we financed construction for in Brazil. Our host, Everaldo Rego, took us out to eat and he asked us what kind of food we wanted. I replied, “We want to taste Brazil. What is Manaus, Brazil famous for?” He replied that it was famous for the huge Sea Bass caught in the Amazon River. So, he took us to a fish food place.
When we were asked how we wanted the fish prepared, we said, “Fried.” “Oh, no,” he said, “that is very bad for your heart.” We asked what he suggested, and he said, with his accent, “broiled.” So, we ordered broiled bass. When it finally arrived, it was a big pot of boiled fish, like fish soup. And it smelled just like the water you would clean your fish in. It was nasty. It was all we could do to get it down.
There are some things that really stink. And stink can affect your appetite. There are five prophetic verses in the Old Testament where God talks about judgment as a stench. I think we want God to observe a sweet smell from us, not stink. As John 11 tells us, anything dead for four days surely stinks. Find new life in Christ.