Archive for July, 2013

Stony Places


                “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while.  For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Mathew 30: 20 – 21.)


                The gospel is a powerful force; like a raging torrent, it demands reverence and respect.  Just as rivers gouge out valleys and tear apart mountains, the gospel transforms lives.  Many eagerly receive God’s Holy Spirit but lack foresight; they do not understand the magnitude of changes God intends to perform in their lives.  True faith is costly; the price of salvation is death; death to our old lives.  One must willingly be destroyed in order to be remade in the image of Christ.  Those whose hearts are stony experience a very shallow relationship with God.  They desperately cling to old familiar habits and abandon their faith when it requires real change.  They turn from the light and live in darkness; choosing comfort above growth and sin over righteousness. 

                When a famous gangster named Mickey Cohen was released from prison in the 1950’s, a Pastor by the name of Bill Jones made it his personal mission to convert him to Christianity.  When Jones presented Mickey with the gospel, he said a prayer and accepted Jesus in to his heart.  Soon, word of his conversion spread, and many were amazed to hear that this once villainous mobster had turned to Christ.  Although Mickey enjoyed being called a ‘Christian,’ he refused to live like one.  “He soon lost touch with Pastor Jones, and began to hang around his old buddies from the criminal underworld.  The disheartened Jones confronted Cohen to tell him that as a Christian, he needed to put distance between himself and his old [criminal associates].  Puzzled, Cohen responded, “Jones, you never told me that I had to give up my career.  You never told me that I had to give up my friends.  There are Christian movie stars, Christian athletes, and Christian businessmen.  So what’s the matter with being a Christian gangster?  If I have to give up all that – if that’s Christianity – then count me out.”

                Sadly Mickey’s story is not uncommon; out of the four different types of soil Christ describes, the stony heart can be the most deadly; for within it, there exists the greatest propensity for self-deception.  Believing a verbal profession of faith to be sufficient for salvation, many remain unchanged.  With their lips they affirm Christ, but with their lives they deny him.  Continuing in behaviors such as, pornography, fornication, drunkenness, idolatry, and dishonesty (to name a few), many delusional souls travel toward an eternal precipice from which there is no return.  If you can identify with this type of soil, then you have two choices; continue forward toward damnation, or get honest with yourself and begin a new life with Jesus; a life of repentance; a life free from darkness and unrighteousness; a life lived as a disciple of Christ; a life fully committed to purity, church fellowship, prayer, evangelism, and bible reading.  May the Lord give you the courage, strength, and conviction to make the right choice.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, transform us in to the image of Your Son.  May we lay down our old lives to take up our new ones.  May our relationships with You be deep and meaningful.  May our lives always confirm our verbal professions of faith.  If we have not fully committed our lives to You, reveal to us the areas where we have refused to change; and by the power of Your Holy Spirit, help us to overcome and to conquer.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.  

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