Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stay In Your Lane

I love watching judge shows on television. Some of my favorites are: Judge Mathis, Judge Judy and Judge Alex. But the show that I like the best is Judge Karen. One of her most popular sayings is, “Stay in your lane.” Sometimes, one of the litigants will get overzealous while presenting his or her case and try to do the judge’s job. When that happens, Judge Karen says, “Stay in your lane. I know what I’m doing.” Judge Karen has a book with the same title, “Stay in your lane.”

Many of us have been guilty of trying to do someone else’s job. It not only happens in the secular world, it happens in many of our churches as well. We try to tell the pastor how to lead his flock. We want to tell the deacons how to minister to the congregation. We attempt to tell the minister of music which songs the choir should sing. We even have the audacity to try to tell God how to get us out of the mess that we have gotten ourselves into.

Our problem is, we want to be in charge of everything. We think we have all of the answers. We don’t want to relinquish control of our lives to anyone. Not even to God. When things don’t go the way we would like, we want to question God. I have seen people blame God for everything from the loss of a loved one, to the loss of a job.

God loves us and He knows what is best for us. We all go through difficult situations sometimes. But we cannot blame God every time things don’t go our way. I must admit, there were times when I was guilty of doing this.

The next time you want to tell God how to do His job, I suggest you read what God said in Job 38:4. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” In other words, “Stay in your lane.”




He's Only A Prayer Away: Examples Of Praying Until Your Breakthrough
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Love you all,
Rev. Burton Barr Jr. (Author of "He's Only A Prayer Away", "The Hoodlum Preacher" and "Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over") & Cedric Mixon

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Can We All Just Get Along?

These were the famous words of Rodney King in 1992 after the Los Angeles riots. As you may know, Mr. King was the victim of a vicious act of police brutality that was caught on tape. The officers that were involved were later tried and acquitted by an all white jury.

The verdict brought outrage to millions of African Americans across the country and resulted in one of the deadliest riots in the history of Los Angeles. There were 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires and the damage or loss of more than 3,100 businesses.

That was one of the darkest periods in the history of our nation. But the darkness has not subsided in this country. All across America, thousands of young men are being gunned down on the streets of our cities. The sound of gunfire is all too common in many of our communities. There are more gangs in this country than there are religious denominations.

What is our response? What is the church doing? What are the community leaders and politicians doing? More importantly, what are the parents and the people in our communities doing? We are the ones that are affected the most. It is our sons that are being stuffed into body bags every night. It is our children that cannot play in front of their homes. It is our seniors that are afraid to sit on their porches.

Instead of standing up and taking back our communities, we have bought into the philosophy of the streets, “Quit Snitchin.” We have become a society of people that are afraid to get involved. Therefore, our communities are suffering and our children are being carried off to cemeteries and penitentiaries.

When I was a child, there was a public service announcement that came on television every night. It said, “It is 10:30. Do you know where your children are?” But now, night after night, many of our children are wondering where their parents are.

I started this message with the words of Rodney King, “Can we all just get along?” I want to end it with the words of another man whose last name was King. In a speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted the Irish political philosopher, Edmond Burke by saying, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

My question is simple. What are you doing?




He's Only A Prayer Away: Examples Of Praying Until Your Breakthrough
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Love you all,
Rev. Burton Barr Jr. (Author of "He's Only A Prayer Away", "The Hoodlum Preacher" and "Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over") & Cedric Mixon

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

"He's Only A Prayer Away" Chapter 5 - The Corner

There once was a dance called “The Funky Four Corners.” I bring up this dance because there are four street corners that I want to talk to you about. They are all located in Chicago.

The first corner I want to discuss is at 13th and Christiana. That was the corner closest to my childhood home. I have a lot of memories about that corner. My friends and I hung out on the corner of 13th and Christiana when we were teenagers. That’s where we smoked our cigarettes and used our filthy language. That was where we drank our beer, our whiskey, and our wine. That was where we met up with our girlfriends and did our hugging, kissing, and smooching. These were the things that we knew we couldn’t get away with if we tried to do them on the street where we lived.

My mother and a group of her friends, who also lived on our block, were known as “the heads”. We called them the heads because their heads were always sticking out of their windows, watching everything that was going on in the neighborhood.
When we got ready to do the stuff that we knew we were not supposed to be doing, we got away from our parents. We got away from the neighbors. We got away from “the heads”. We left the view of our houses and hung out on the corner.

The next corner that I want to talk about is 16th and Kedzie. There was a tavern and liquor store on that corner called, “The Bucket of Blood.” I don’t know how it got that name but it could be because of all of the fights that went on and all of the blood that was shed in there.

There were always a lot of people standing around on the corner outside of the tavern. Rain or shine, day or night, summer or winter, hot or cold, it didn’t matter. They would be there. The alcoholics would be there. The drug addicts would be there. The gang bangers would be there. The pimps and the prostitutes would be there. The players and the hustlers would be there. They would all be there, standing on the corner.

The next corner that I want to tell you about is 15th and Drake. On the southwest corner, there was a court way building. Court way buildings are very large building with lots of apartments. Sometimes they have entranceways that resemble yards or courtyards.

This particular building was like a mall…a drug mall. Any drug you wanted could be purchased there. In one apartment, they sold heroin. In another apartment, they sold cocaine, and in yet another, crack was sold. If you wanted a bag of marijuana you went to this apartment. If you just wanted a joint or two, you went to that one.
They even had an apartment where they sold bootleg liquor after hours. To the players and the hustlers, that building was one-stop shopping. On Sunday mornings, from 6:00 AM until noon, they had a sale. If you bought one bag of drugs, you got a second one for half price.

The last corner that I want to talk about is at 26th and California. Anyone who is familiar with Chicago knows this is where the Cook County Jail is located.
You might be wondering why I am talking about those particular street corners. Well, those are some of the corners that Jesus was talking about when He said, “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” Matt. 22:9 NIV)
There is something else those street corners had in common. All of them were completely surrounded by churches. However, I don’t remember anyone from any of those churches going to any of those corners telling any of us anything about God, or about His love, or about His saving power. There were some people that went to the Cook County Jail, but most of them were unknown ministries.

One day, Jesus was speaking to some of the chief priests and the Pharisees after his authority had been questioned. In other words, he was talking to the preachers, deacons, and Sunday school teachers of that time. They were already jealous when they saw Jesus ride into town on a donkey, and how some of the people were laying palm branches in his path while Kirk Franklin and some of the young people were dancing around and singing, “Hosanna - Forever.”

The preachers, deacons, and Sunday school teachers got mad at Him when He went into the sanctuary and started throwing around pews because they were using the church for everything except what it was supposed to be used for. It had gotten so bad that people who were blind, crippled, or crazy couldn’t get any help because the church folks were too busy selling chicken dinners and raffle tickets, or playing bingo.
When Jesus came in and started healing people, they got mad at Him and wanted to see his preacher’s license, but He started talking to them in parables.
He said, “The kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come” (Matt. 22:2-3).

Most of the time, when someone gets married, after the wedding ceremony is over, there is a reception or a banquet. However, everybody that goes to the wedding does not necessarily go to the reception.

There are different reasons why people decide not to attend the reception. Maybe they felt obligated to go to the wedding. After they witnessed the couple taking their vows, and they shook their hands and offered congratulations, they left feeling satisfied because they had met their obligation.

Maybe they didn’t go to the reception because they were uncomfortable about being there. They didn’t want to be part of all the singing, the dancing, and the noise that would be going on. So they said, “It don’t take all of that.”
Maybe they didn’t go because they didn’t have the right kind of gift. They knew that everyone else would have a gift for the happy couple and they didn’t want to feel out of place because they didn’t have one.

Whatever the reason, they missed out on all of the festivities. They missed out on the food that had been prepared for them. They missed the celebration. They missed all of the fellowship and fun. In other words, they missed an important part of the wedding.

It is the same with some of the Christians of today. They are satisfied with just joining church. They repented of their sins and now they are saved, but that is all. They don’t go to Sunday school, Sunday Morning Bible Study, or mid week Bible study. They never attend any training classes. They never join the choir. They never get involved in anything that the church is doing.

Therefore, they never grow in the Lord and, consequently, they cannot share their faith or their testimony with anyone. In other words, they attended the wedding, but they didn’t go to the banquet.

I know they didn’t go to the banquet, because Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

They are not witnesses to anybody, not even to the people that are in their own homes. I don’t know why they don’t want to grow in the Lord and be His witnesses. Maybe they are like the people that went to the wedding, but didn’t go to the banquet. Maybe they just felt obligated to join the church. After they shook the preacher’s hand, they were satisfied and felt they had met their obligation.
Maybe they see people singing, and shouting, and making “all that noise”, and they say, “It don’t take all that.”

Perhaps, they think that in order to be a witness for the Lord, they have to have a certain gift. They have to be a preacher, a teacher, or an evangelist. Whatever their reasons are, they don’t realize what they are missing, because the banquet is ready, the table is spread, and the feast of the Lord is going on. You have to get into the Word of God. Go to Bible study. Get involved in whatever training the church has so you can be witnesses for the Lord. You have to feast on the Word of God.

The Bible says that the king sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. In other words, they were too busy doing other stuff to go to the banquet. Maybe they were watching the ball game or their favorite program. Maybe they just didn’t feel like going. Many of us can relate to these feelings.

He told his servants to tell those who had been invited, that the dinner had been prepared. The oxen and fatted cattle had been butchered, and everything was ready.
He said, “Come to the wedding banquet”, the Book says, “But they paid no attention and went off, one to his field, another to his business”, ( Matt. 22:5).

Some of our churches invest a lot of time and money in an attempt to educate and train their people. They are trying to teach them how to be good soldiers and good stewards for the Lord. They bring in preachers, teachers, and evangelists that are certified to teach every course imaginable. In other words, the oxen and the fatted calf have been butchered, and everything is ready.

They’re saying, “Come on over here where the table is spread and the feast of the Lord is going on.” God is looking for a church that knows that He is only a prayer away and is not afraid to go to a lost and dying world and tell them that the wages of sin is death and payday is coming. We have to let them know the gift of God is eternal life. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, we will be His witnesses.

We will be His witnesses to the people that are on the corner. We will be His witnesses to the people that are in the taverns. We will be His witnesses to the people that are in the drug house. We will be His witnesses to the people that are in the jailhouse. We will be His witnesses to the players. We will be His witnesses to those who are lost and hurting.

There are too many church folks who don’t care about the people that are on the corner. They don’t care about the people that are in the taverns. They don’t care about the people that are in the dope dens. They don’t care about the players, or the people that are in prison.

They keep telling me that I’m just wasting my time preaching to a bunch of convicts with their jailhouse religion.

However, I hear the God of the universe saying, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, in the jail house, and in the dope house.”
Just because you don’t want to go to the banquet, don’t try to stop me from going.
The king said to his servants, “That’s all right. They don’t have to come to my banquet. Y’all go out there to the street corners and tell everybody that you see to come to the banquet.” The Bible says the servants went to the street corners and told all of the good people to come to the banquet, but that’s not all. They told the bad people to come to the banquet too (Matt 22: 10).

They told the gamblers to come to the banquet. They told the liars to come to the banquet. They told the thieves, the murders, the players and the hustlers to come to the banquet. They told the pimps, the prostitutes, the dope fiends, and the convicts to come to the banquet.

God is doing a new thing. He will rise up a nation of people who will obey Him. If the church folks don’t want to reach out to those who are lost, they don’t have to. God will save the people who are standing on the corner and He will use them to do His work.

He will go to 13th & Christiana, get those nappy-headed boys that are up to no good, and use them. He will go to 16th & Kedzie, get the players and the hustlers from in front of the Bucket of Blood, and use them. He will go to 15th & Drake, get the dope fiends that are coming out of the court way building, and use them. He will go to 26th & California, get the men and women that are in the Cook County jail, and use them. He will go to the worst corners, in the worst cities, and tell everybody to come on, let’s go to the banquet.

Jesus is saying, “Come on over here where the table is spread and the feast of the Lord is going on. Whatever you need, it’s at the table. If you need love, it’s at the table. If you need peace, it’s at the table. If you need joy, it’s at the table. If you need grace, it’s at the table. If you need mercy, it’s at the table. If you need salvation, it’s at the table."

Whatever you need is at the table. Come over here where the table is spread and the feast of the Lord is going on.




He's Only A Prayer Away: Examples Of Praying Until Your Breakthrough
In Stores Now!!! by Rev. Burton Barr Jr.



Available at Barnes & Noble, barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com

Love you all,
Rev. Burton Barr Jr. (Author of "He's Only A Prayer Away", "The Hoodlum Preacher" and "Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over") & Cedric Mixon

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Monday, September 6, 2010

"Hold On, Help Is On The Way"

PART 1


PART 2


PART 3


PART 4


PART 5


I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made Heaven and earth. (Psalms 121: 1-2)
This particular Psalm has a very special place in my heart. It was one of two Psalms that my father taught me. The first Psalm that he taught me was the 23rd Psalm. He taught me that when I was very young and didn’t know anything about the Lord. I didn’t know who God was, or should I say who God is, and I had no idea how much He loved me.

My father wanted me to know just who my shepherd really was. So he opened his Bible to the 23rd Psalm and showed me where it says, “The Lord is my Shepherd”
You see, he did not want me to be confused about this thing. He wanted me to know exactly who my shepherd was because he wanted to make sure that I knew who it was that I was supposed to follow. He wanted me to know that the neighborhood gang leader was not my shepherd. He wanted me to know that the corner drug dealer was not my shepherd. And as much as my father loved me, although he would do anything that he could for me, he wanted me to know that not even he was my shepherd. So he sat me down one day and said, “Son, the Lord is your shepherd.”

However, several years later I backslid, turning my back on God and walking away from His church. I became an alcoholic with a heroin and cocaine habit that was costing me an average of $200.00 a day. My drug habit led me into a life of crime. I was in and out of trouble, in and out of jails and prisons all across this country. I was living a life that was full of misery and pain. I knew I was in trouble and I desperately wanted somebody to help me, but I did not know where to go to find it.
So once again, I went to my father. And once again he opened his Bible, but this time it was to the 121st Psalm. He showed me where it said, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord who made Heaven and earth.”

Then he said, “Son, whenever you need help, just look to the hills and call on the Lord, and if you really mean it, then all you’ve got to do is just hold on because help is on the way.”

As you already know, Ralph, and I loved to watch cartoons when we were children. Every Saturday morning and every evening after school our eyes would be glued to the television set while we watched cartoons like Heckel & Jeckel, Bugs Bunny, Mighty Mouse and Mr. Magoo. Do you remember them?

However, my favorite cartoon of them all was Popeye. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that our churches would be much stronger if our members were more like Popeye. One thing I learned from watching Popeye was that he knew exactly where his help came from. Oh yeah, he knew without any doubt what gave him his strength. It was his spinach. Am I right?

So when he came up against something that he could not handle, he didn’t get all worried and depressed. He just said, “That’s all I can stands, cause I can’t stands no more.” Then he reached into his bosom and pulled out a can of spinach. Here is the good part. Before he had eaten it, before he had even opened the can, he knew that everything was going to be all right because he knew where his help came from.
Too many church folks do not know where their help comes from. They read their horoscope every morning looking for help. They call their psychic friends looking for help. They are standing in the lottery lines looking for help. They go to the boats and to the casinos looking for help. They turn to Oprah and Dr. Phil looking for help, but Jesus said, “I will pray to the Father and He will give you another helper that He may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16)
The Holy Spirit is the one who Jesus called to be by your side, to help you, to stand by you, to strengthen you and to assist you.

Another thing I learned about Popeye was that he had a fresh supply of spinach every day. That leads me to believe that every morning before he left home he went to his supply source and got his spinach for the day because he knew that Brutus was going to be out there somewhere trying to catch him off guard. So, Popeye did not depend on yesterday’s spinach to get him through today’s battles, and he did not depend on the spinach that he had had when he first became a sailor. He knew that he had to have a fresh supply of spinach everyday.

We as Christians are going to have to learn to ask God for a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit everyday. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Be filled with the Spirit.” In the original Greek, “Be filled” means to keep on being filled, constantly and continually.

You cannot be satisfied with yesterday’s filling, and you can’t be satisfied with the filling that you received when you first got saved. Therefore, you ought to be like Popeye. Every morning, before you leave your house, you ought to get down on your knees and go to your supply source, and get a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit.
So when you are going through your daily routine and the cares of the world are starting to take its toll on you. When you don’t have but one nerve left, and Satan is getting on that one. When you feel like you are at the end of your rope and you just can’t take any more. You can do like Popeye, and say, “That’s all I can stands, cause I can’t stands no more.”

Then you can reach down in your bosom, way down in the depths of your soul, and you can call on your supply source, which is Jesus Christ. Then after you call on Him, all you have to do is just hold on because help is on the way.
Another thing that I really admired about Popeye was the fact that he wanted everybody to know where his help came from. He was not ashamed to tell people that it was his spinach that gave him is strength. As a matter of fact, he had a song that praised his spinach. You heard that song before.
“I’m Popeye the sailor man
I’m Popeye the sailor man
I’m strong to the finish,
cause I eats me spinach
I’m Popeye the sailor man.”

I know you heard that song before. He sang it all of the time. When the show came on, he would be singing his song and praising his spinach. While he was walking down the street, he would be singing his song and praising his spinach. Everywhere he went he was singing his song and praising his spinach, and while he was singing his song, he had a smile on his face and joy in his heart because he was so glad to be able let the world know how much he loved his spinach.

We ought to be like Popeye, but there are too many church folks who sit in God’s house Sunday after Sunday looking like they are mad at the world. They won’t praise the Lord and they get mad at you if you want to praise Him. They won’t stand up. They won’t clap their hands. They won’t pat their feet. They won’t even smile. The choir or praise team could be singing their hearts out, trying to lead the church in praise and worship while they are just sitting there looking at their watches and saying, “I’ll be glad when they sit down and stop making all that noise. It don’t take all that”, but we have got to learn how to praise the Lord and thank Him for what He has done and for what we have, instead of always complaining about what we don’t have. Haven’t God been good to you? Did He wake you up this morning? Did He put food on your table? Did He put a roof over your head? Well praise Him.
However, I have a confession. I am not always as thankful as I should be either. I was released from prison after serving 10 months of a two-year sentence. While I was incarcerated, God got my attention through a prison evangelist, named Rev. Jerry Hodges. I gave my life to the Lord and started going to church regularly. I also continued my education, scoring number one in my GED class. I like to tell people that I was class valedictorian of the state penitentiary. I even completed a few college courses before I was released.

When I got out of prison, I decided to go to church on the first Sunday of my freedom. The church was approximately three miles away, and since all I had was one dollar to my name, I decided to walk there and ride the bus back. It was a very, very hot August day. It was so hot that even the flies were walking, and using their little wings to fan themselves.

While I was walking, I started thinking about the car that I had had before I went to prison. It had been repossessed while I was locked down. The further I walked, the hotter I got. The hotter I got, the more angry I became. I started complaining because I had to walk in all of that heat.

In the distance behind me, I heard someone that was singing and whistling as if he didn’t have a care in the world. As he got closer, I started getting angry with him. I said to myself, “Why is this fool so dog gone happy as hot as it is out here? I’m walking in all of this heat, and he is back there singing and whistling and making all of that dog gone noise.”
I became so angry; I turned around so I could see who this nut was that was so happy. What I saw completely blew my mind. It was a man with no legs, rolling along in a wheel chair with a big smile on his face. As he rolled past me, he greeted me politely, commented about the lovely weather, and kept right on singing.
I really felt ashamed of myself. There I was with two good legs, complaining because I had to walk. I learned to praise God regardless of my circumstances. I don’t care how bad off you think you are, there is always somebody who is worse off than you are. So praise God for what you have.

Now, I really need you to help me out with something. There is something that I have been confused about for a long time. I have always wondered why no one would eat any spinach except Popeye. Did you ever wonder about that?
I mean, every time someone got into trouble, they would call Popeye and he would eat some spinach and then rescue them. Why didn’t they just eat some spinach themselves? Could it be that they didn’t know what spinach was?
Well, Ralph, and I decided to try something one day. In my old neighborhood, there was a bully whose name was Fat Nash. You might remember me talking about him in “The Hoodlum Preacher.”

Fat Nash had the entire neighborhood terrorized. I mean, a bunch of us could be in the alley playing ball, but if someone said that Fat Nash was coming, the whole alley would clear out in no time flat. Even the dogs in the neighborhood were scared of Fat Nash. They wouldn’t even bark at him. If that wasn’t bad enough, he had a big brother that was called, Big Nash.

One day, Ralph and I decided to eat some spinach and then go and beat up Fat Nash, and if Big Nash was there, we were going to beat him up too. We almost tore up our pillows one night, practicing on them. That Saturday morning when we were at the grocery store with my mother, we told her that we wanted some spinach, a lot of it.
Now that surprised my mother because she knew that we didn’t like greens. When we got back from the store and started looking for the spinach, it surprised us even more, because we didn’t know that spinach was greens. It didn’t look like greens when Popeye ate it.

When we asked my mother where the spinach was, she pointed to the greens. I yelled out, “That ain’t no spinach. Them greens!” She said, “What do you think spinach is?” Needless to say, we didn’t eat the spinach, and we didn’t mess with Fat Nash either.
I told you that, to tell you this. There are so many people in the church, who are confused as to who the Holy Spirit really is. They do not know that He is God. They just see somebody who will shout all over the church on Sunday and then turn right around and curse everybody out on Monday. They’ll say, “If that is what it means to be filled with the Spirit, then I don’t want it.”

What they don’t realize is, if they are not filled with the Spirit, they are missing out on a lot of God’s blessings, because without God’s Spirit, you cannot love those who do not love you. Without God’s Spirit, you cannot have the joy of the Lord. Without God’s Spirit, you cannot have peace in the time of trouble. Without God’s Spirit, you will not have the patience to wait on the Lord. I’m telling you, you have to be filled with the Spirit.

Let us look into the lives of some of the people in Popeye’s world that chose not to eat spinach. First of all, there was Olive Oyl. You remember Olive Oyl don’t you? She was Popeye’s girlfriend. Now, Olive Oyl was not a bad person. She was kind of skinny and funny looking, but she was a very nice and pleasant young lady.
Her problem was that she would fall for every trick that Brutus came at her with. She used to make me so mad because Popeye would be trying to warn her. He would be begging her, saying “Olive, don’t go there. Olive, don’t do that”, but Olive Oyl just would not listen. She would go right ahead, following after Brutus and believing his lies until she found herself in something that she could not get out of.

Christians who are not filled with the Spirit are the same way. They will fall for every trick that Satan comes at them with. Other Christians will be trying to warn them, saying, “You shouldn’t be hanging out with that crowd. You know they don’t mean you any good.”
Aw yeah, they try to warn them, saying, “Look here brother. You shouldn’t be going to those places. You are going to get caught up in that same old stuff again.” Or, “Look here sister. You better watch that man. You know he doesn’t care about you. He’s just trying to get you into bed.”

Inevitably, just like Olive Oyl, some of you won’t listen. You go right ahead, following after Satan and believing his same old lies. Pretty soon, you start reminiscing and thinking about some of the things that you used to do, and some of the places that you used to go, and some of the people that you used to run with before you got saved.

Then Satan really starts talking to you. He’s says, “That stuff that you used to do wasn’t all bad. You really did have some good times back then. You just went too far. You can do some of that stuff again”

Then it starts sounding good, so you start agreeing with him, saying “Yeah, I know that God delivered me from a life of drugs, but I was smoking crack back then. I’m just going to smoke a little weed this time.” Or you’ll say, “I know I was a hopeless drunk when Jesus saved me, but I’m not going to drink Jack Daniels this time. I’m just going to drink wine coolers from now on.” Or you’ll say, “I know that I almost lost my family when I was laying up with Billy Bob, or Susie Bell, but I’m not going to sleep with them this time. I’m just going over there to have dinner.”
Before you know it, you’re going to find yourself: in trouble again, pregnant again, strung out again, in Jail again, or without hope again. Then all you have to do is just call on the Lord again, repent of your sins again, and ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and then just hold on because help is on the way.

The next person that I want to tell you about was Wimpy. You remember Wimpy don’t you? “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday, for a hamburger today.” He was the negotiator. He always wanted to eat first, and then he would pay for it later, if he had to.
You know what I found out. There are a lot of Wimpy's in the church too. They are always trying to make a deal with God. They want God to bless them first, and then they might do what He wants them to do.

I can hear them now, “Lord, I will gladly tithe, if you will give me a better job”, or “Lord, I will start going to church every Sunday if you will just get me out of this mess that I’m in.”

Aw, come on now. You know we have some Wimpy’s in the church. They are the ones that are always praying those “I ain’t gone do it no more” prayers.
Finally, there was Sweet Pea. Little Sweet Pea. When I used to watch Popeye, Sweet Pea was a little baby, crawling around, drinking his milk from a bottle, saying “Goo Goo” and “Gaa Gaa”, and getting into all kinds of trouble because he didn’t know any better. That was almost 50 years ago.

You know what I found out? I found out that Sweet Pea is still a little baby. He is still crawling around. He is still drinking his milk from a bottle. He is still saying, “Goo Goo” and “Gaa Gaa”, and he is still getting into all kinds of trouble, because he still doesn’t know any better, 50 years later.
You might not know it, but there are a lot of Sweet Peas in our churches today. Some of them have been saved 20, 30, 40 years or more, and they are still babes in Christ. They have not grown.

They don’t go to Bible study. They don’t go to prayer meetings. They don’t attend revivals. They never fast and they do not pray. Therefore, they are making the same mistakes and getting into trouble because they still don’t know any better.
Guess what. I have another story for you. One day, a Sunday school teacher asked her class, “If you could be any Biblical character that you wanted, who would you chose to be, and why?” One little boy raised his hand and said, “I would be Moses because he was able to see God’s glory.” Another little boy raised his hand and said, “I would be David because he was the apple of God’s eye.” A little girl raised her hand and said, “I would be Mary because she was the mother of Jesus.”

Little Johnny, who was sitting in the back of the class, raised his hand and said, “I want to be Low.” The teacher said, “Johnny, there is no such person in the Bible”, but Johnny was insistent. He said, “Yes there is, teacher. There is a person in the Bible whose name is Low, and that is who I would want to be.”

The teacher said, “OK Johnny. Where in the Bible is there a person named Low?” Johnny said, “He is in Matthew, the 28th chapter, where Jesus said, “And Low, I am with you always.” Then he said, “The rest of the class can be whoever they want, but I want to be Low, because I want Jesus to be with me always.”

Although Little Johnny was confused in thinking that there was a person named Low, I agree with him. I want Jesus to be with me always too. When I am sick, I want Jesus to be with me. When I am in trouble, I want Jesus to be with me. When friends turn their backs on me, I want Jesus to be with me. When my family forsakes me, I want Jesus to be with me. Weeping may endure for a night but joy will come in the morning light. So hold on. Help is on the way. Hold on. Help is on the way.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, (surely) I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matt.28:19-20)




He's Only A Prayer Away: Examples Of Praying Until Your Breakthrough
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Love you all,
Rev. Burton Barr Jr. (Author of "He's Only A Prayer Away", "The Hoodlum Preacher" and "Amazing Grace: The Storm Is Passing Over") & Cedric Mixon

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