Did you know how you can easily trap a monkey in the jungle? All it takes is a small container! You put some food in a flask that has a small hole at the top, just big enough for a monkey’s hand to get in. Then securely tie the jar to a tree or a post. When the monkey discovers the food, he will put his hand in the pot to get it, but when he makes a fist, his hand can no longer get out of the flask. Believe it or not, a monkey will fight ’till exhaustion, but it will never let go of the food! The monkey’s only hope is if he is a rescue.
Many times, when God begins the purifying process in our lives, we need to let go of things. We need to put at the foot of the cross. So often, we do not realize that the very things we are holding on to, are holding us in captivity!
Is God asking you to let go of things that have taken HIS place in your heart today?
“Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”(Jn.8:35,36)
A talented violinist was scheduled to play before a very critical audience. Although she had a fine instrument, she was not satisfied with the quality of its sound. So she said to her father, “This violin must yield its full resonance and vibration of tone. I’m going out to buy some tested strings.”
When asked what tested strings were, she replied, “First, they’re put on a rack and stretched and strained to take all the vacillation out of them. Then they are hammered and put through an acid test. This is what enables them to produce a perfect and full tone.” When she attached the tested strings and tuned the instrument, the music was noticeably more warm and rich than before.
If our lives are going to produce beautiful music for the Lord, testing is imperative. Just as a tested string gives the highest quality of sound, so Christians who accept their trials and learn to profit from them are able to bring the greatest glory to the Master Musician.*
Will your trials make you bitter or better?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4) (ODB Dec. 6 1991)
As the Cadillac owner walked to his car, he saw a boy about 10 years old staring intently through the windows. Wondering what he was up to, the man put his hands on the youngster’s shoulders, pulled him gently and asked him what he was doing. The boy said he was interested in cars and had read a lot about different models. He then told him many details about this particular year and body style.
After a bit, the boy asked, “Mister, how much did you pay for this car?” The man replied, “Nothing. My brother gave it to me.” The boy responded, “I wish…”, but stopped in mid-sentence. The man chuckled, “You were going to say, `I wish I had a brother like that’.” “No, I was going to say, `I wish I could be a brother like that.’ You see, sir, I have a brother who is crippled and I’d like to do a lot of things for him.” *
When was the last time joy welled up in you because you made a huge difference in someones life?
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (ODB Oct. 10 1991)
Doctor Chapman became concerned for one young man. He felt that he ought to speak to him but he feared that he might show more zeal than knowledge. He felt the man might be offended if he went to him in that way. ‘If anyone is offended because you try to do right, let them go. If anyone is offended because you ask them to be a Christian, let them go to Hell. You’ve done your duty.’ But he thought it over and made up his mind to speak to him that very night. The young man did not come that night so on the next day, Doctor Chapman drove out in a cutter to see him. He met the man and said, “I want you to be a Christian.”
The man was angry. He said, “You blankety-blank little preacher. I don’t want you to come to me about that.” Doctor Chapman turned and left him and drove away. He caught a cold while driving out there that stayed with him that winter and soon after he left the place and took up evangelistic work.
One night, ten years later, he was holding a meeting at Saratoga, when he saw a man coming down the aisle.
“Don’t you know me?” the man asked. Doctor Chapman didn’t know him.
“Why,” the man said, “I’m Benedict from Schuylerville. I’m the man who cursed you when you drove out to my home and asked me to be a Christian. I want to be a Christian now.”
“What has changed you?” Doctor Chapman asked.
“I’ll tell you,” said the man. “I never heard a sermon that touched me, nor a song. It was your tears, the tears that were in your eyes as I cursed you and you turned away. I’ve never been able to forget them. I’ve never had a day’s peace since that moment.”
Oh, if you knew the power of tears for the sinner. If you only felt enough concern to weep over those who are in danger of being lost. The sight of such tears would win many souls for Christ. (Billy Sunday)
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. Psalm 126:6 NIV
Lester Sumrall tells an interesting story about Chen Lee who was one of China’s unfortunate girls. While still a small child and not yet old enough to remember parental care, she was sold to a foul slave market for almost nothing.
“When Mr. Howard Carter of London, England, and I were journeying throughout Southwest China, we were entertained in the home of Mr. and Mrs Wood. There we met the former slave girl named Chen Lee. We also visited the slave market where Chen Lee was purchased, and we saw two dozen girls for sale that day. In all my life I had never seen such pitiful humans as these slave girls. They were offered to us for a price ranging from 75 cents to $7.50, American currency. The poor little creatures knew the pangs of hunger, and malnutrition was evident. They had been beaten and kicked about by vile persons until some of their bodies were badly deformed; their hair was matted with filth; their bodies were caked with dirt which had been on them for some time; the filthy den in which they lived was exceedingly rich–entomologically!
As we looked at Chen Lee, a lovely refined young lady, and thought of the horrible slave market, it was almost impossible to realize that she had once been living in that very prison. However, we saw in her one of the most beautiful and most striking comparisons to conversion we ever beheld. At one time every one of us who is now a Christian was in the slave-market of the Devil; he was our task-master, driving us into sorrow, tears and despair. He mistreated us and mocked at our misfortune. One day Jesus came to the slave-market of sin and offered to pay the price of our redemption, the price was high–very high–but Christ was willing to pay it to the last farthing. While angels in heaven stood by in holy awe, the Royal Prince purchased the emancipation of the human race.
This is by no means the end of the story. While Mr. Carter and I were in Woods’ home, we were told that a wealthy businessman in the city had asked if his son might have Chen Lee for his bride. Could it be possible that a businessman had asked that a former slave-girl become the bride of his son? But what Jesus has done for us is even greater.
The Prince of heaven has chosen a former slave to be His bride. His chosen one, purchased by His own blood, is soon to be called; there is to be a royal wedding, such a wedding as the universe has never witnessed. Ten thousand times ten thousand angels (one hundred million) will witness that dazzling scene and shout for joy until the heavens ring because their noble Master has brought His bride to be forever with Him.”
Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb! . . . Revelation 19:7-9 NIV
Lester Sumrall tells about a large packing plant of Swift and Company in La Plata, Argentina, that had a great black ram of notorious reputation. He answered to the name of Judas, which seems very fitting for a creature in his dreadful business.
“Judas, the ram, had the responsibility of leading thousands of innocent lambs and sheep to the slaughter. Employees at Swift and Company believe that Judas realizes the deceptive work in which he is engaged and agree that he does it diabolically well. One worker told me that the way Judas goes sporting among the sheep of the corral with black wool glistening, and his head high, seems almost rational. He assumes a place of leadership and protectorship over the flock almost immediately. After walking among them and fully attracting their attention he turns and walks straight for the slaughter pen. With one backward glance Judas is satisfied — the sheep are following ignorantly. He jumps through the gate of death and is unharmed, but the unwary sheep are murdered one by one as they enter. Judas is rewarded with food for his cunning deception and is again sent on his mission to beguile another flock!
One wonders whether the sheep are able to think as they enter the gate of death, never to return, “Judas has beguiled us.”
There is a great deceiver in the world, who graphically reminds us of Judas the Ram. The Bible warns that he can appear as an angel of light to deceive the unwary; he is an instructor of the simple to make them haughty toward God. He leads thousands of millions into a gate of death from whence they never return.
Take care who you follow, and know “in whom you have believed.” (Lester Sumrall)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 NIV
An old unbelieving blacksmith said that he could refute any argument that a Christian could make. There was an old deacon there; he was a Baptist and he heard of it. He told his wife and they got down on their knees and prayed until 3 o’clock in the morning. That morning the old deacon hitched up and drove over to see the man. He went into the blacksmith shop and the unbeliever was standing there. The deacon stood before him and said, “My wife and I prayed for you until 3 o’clock this morning.” Then his eyes filled with tears and he sobbed and turned away. He couldn’t think of one of the arguments he had prepared. He drove back home and when he got there he said to his wife, “I’ve made an old fool of myself. It was all for nothing. When I saw him, I just told him that we had been praying for him, then I broke down and couldn’t think of another thing and came home”.
In the meantime, the blacksmith went into his own house and said to his wife, “I heard a new argument this morning.”
She said, “What was that?”
“Why,” he said, “the old deacon drove in to see me this morning and told me that he and his wife had prayed for me until 3 o’clock in the morning. Then he sobbed and went away.” And the critic said, “I’d like to talk to him.” They drove over and he told the deacon why he had come, and it was not long before the deacon had him on his knees and he was saved.
The strongest evangelistic tool is a broken heart for the lost.
For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Philippians 3:18 NIV