Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Spotter

One day a little boy bowed his head and whispered a prayer to God. He said, “Dear God. So far today I have been pretty good. I haven’t gossiped or lost my temper. I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I am thankful for that. But in a few minutes, I am going to get out of bed. From that point on, I’m probably going to need a lot more help. Amen.

We must learn to depend on God and trust Him in all things. He is the one that gives us our strength. He is the one that sustains us through adversity. He is the one that leads us in the path of righteousness. David said, “The Lord is the strength of my life.”

When I was in prison, I used to lift weights with some of the inmates that were in the yard. One of the first things that I learned was to always have a spotter if I was going to bench press a lot of weight. The spotter’s job is to stand over you and help you lift the barbell if the load is too heavy. Sometimes the spotter will just help you guide the barbell back on the stand. But sometimes he will take the weight completely off of you and put the barbell on the stand himself.

One afternoon I wanted to go to the yard and lift weights. It was very hot that day, so no one else wanted to go outside. So I went alone. There was some weight that I had wanted to lift for quite some time, but was afraid to try because I didn’t want anyone to see me if I failed. I decided to try it while no one was around. That way, if I couldn’t do it, no one would know.

I put the weights on the bar, laid back on the bench, and lifted the bar off of the stand. I lowered the bar onto my chest, but I was only able to lift it half way up. I lowered the bar onto my chest again but was unable to lift it. I realized that I was in trouble and needed a spotter. Somehow, I managed to roll the bar down my stomach, past my thighs and onto the ground. I never tried to bench press any weights without a spotter again.

God is our spotter. He watches over us everyday. Sometimes He just helps us with our burdens. But sometimes He takes them completely off of us. Is your load too heavy? Are your troubles and worries weighing you down? Don’t try to do it alone. Trust the spotter.

- Rev. Burton Barr, Jr. (Author of The Hoodlum Preacher & Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over.)

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Burned Bridges

A wolf fled from a forest and ran into a village in great fear. Hunters and a pack of hounds were after him. Desperately, he looked for an opening in the city’s walls but found that every gate was closed.

When he looked up, he saw a cat sitting on top of the wall. He asked the cat which of the neighboring farmers might be sympathetic and hide him from the hunters. The cat said, "Go to Mr. Drucker’s farm at the north end of the village. He is a kind and generous man.”

“I can’t go there,” said the wolf. “I recently tore the skin off one of his sheep.” As the sound of barking dogs drew nearer, the cat said, “Then go to the west side of the village to Old Man Bill’s farm.”

“I’m afraid he is angry with me too,” said the wolf. “I carried off one of his kids last week.” “Then go to the south,” said the cat. “Henry’s farm is not far away.” “Henry is still upset with me from last spring,” said the wolf. “He threatened to kill me over one of his lambs.”

“There is really only one other possibility,” said the cat. “Daniel’s farm is on the other side of the woods. If you hurry, you can make it.” “I don’t think Daniel is a good choice either,” said the wolf. “I killed one of his calves two weeks ago.” The cat slowly shook his head and said, “Those are the most patient farmers in our area. Apparently you have burned a lot of bridges around here. It looks like you are on your own.”

I don’t know about you, but I have burned a lot of bridges in my life. Some of them were with friends, neighbors, relatives, even my own children. But there is one who can rebuild any bridge, no matter how badly it has been burned. His name is Jesus Christ. He did it for me. He can do it for you too. After all, He rebuilt the bridge that was burned between God and us.

Burned bridges destroy families, friendships and relationships. Have you burned any bridges? Do you want to rebuild them? Ask Jesus to help you. Don’t wait until it is too late.

- Rev. Burton Barr, Jr. (Author of The Hoodlum Preacher & Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over.)

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Let Your Light Shine

One of my cousins gave me a beautiful plant as a house-warming gift. I placed it in a nice corner where it could be admired by anyone who visited.
After a few days, I noticed that my plant was dying. I thought I wasn’t giving it enough water, so I started watering it more, but the plant kept dying. Then I thought that I might be giving it too much water, so I started watering it less, but the plant kept dying.

Everyday, when I got home from work or from church, I saw more leaves lying on the floor. I kept asking myself, “What’s wrong with this thing? Why is it dying?” Finally, it dawned on me. There was no light in that corner of the house. My beautiful plant was dying because I left it in the dark.

That made me think. How many people are dying because I have left them in the dark? How many of my friends, family members or people that I come into contact with everyday are living in a world of hopelessness because I have left them in the dark?

Let me ask you something. When you are on your way home from work or from church and you see a prostitute walking the streets, do you ask yourself, “What’s wrong with her?” How many times have you driven down the street and saw a group of young boys selling drugs? Did you just shake your head and say, “What’s wrong with them?”

I have done it more times that I care to admit. But now, when I see someone who is obviously lost and on their way to hell, I remember my plant. So instead of wondering, what’s wrong with them, I ask myself, “How can I lead them to the light?”

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.” So let your light shine. When you’re at home, let your light shine. When you’re at work, let your light shine. Wherever you are, let your light shine.

- Rev. Burton Barr, Jr. (Author of The Hoodlum Preacher & Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over.)

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

God Is Good

Two men set out on a journey together. They took a donkey to carry their packets, a torch to light their way in the night, and a rooster, who was a friend to the donkey. The rooster sat on the donkey’s head during the entire journey.

One of the men was a Christian; the other was a skeptic. During their journey, the Christian frequently talked about the Lord. “In all things, God is good,” he said. But the skeptic just said, “We’ll see.”

Shortly before dark, they arrived in a small village and looked for a place to sleep. Despite their frequent requests, no one offered them a night’s lodging. Reluctantly, they went about a mile outside of town, where they decided to sleep.

“I thought you said God is good,” said the skeptic. The Christian said, “God has decided this is the best place for us to sleep tonight.” So they fixed their beds under a large tree just off the main road.

As they were about to light the torch, they heard a terrible noise. A lion had killed the donkey and carried it away. Quickly, the men climbed the tree. “Do you still say God is good?” asked the skeptic. The Christian said, “If the lion hadn’t eaten the donkey, he would have attacked us. God is Good.”

Moments later, a cry from the rooster sent them further up the tree. When they looked down, they saw a wildcat carrying the rooster away in his teeth. The Skeptic looked at the Christian. Before he could say anything, the Christian said, “The cry of the rooster saved us again. God is good.”

A few minutes later, a strong wind blew out the torch, and the men were left in total darkness. By now, even the Christian was starting to wonder why God was allowing all of this to happen to them.

The next morning the two men walked into the village to buy some food. They discovered that a large band of outlaws had swept into town the previous night, robbed the entire village and killed all of the men.

When the Christian heard that, he turned to his friend and said, “It is all clear now. If we had been given a room in the village last night, we would have been killed too. If we hadn’t slept in that tree and the wind hadn’t blown out our torch, the bandits would have seen us. So in all things, God is good.”

No matter what you are going through right now or how bad things look. Just remember, God is good.

- Rev. Burton Barr, Jr. (Author of The Hoodlum Preacher & Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over.)

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