Eternity is rushing towards us.
You and everyone else must be ready.
A few weeks ago, I celebrated another birthday. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Only a little over 10,000 of you forgot about it! No worries. I am not holding grudges today, but today only!
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â One of my buddies, Dave, wanted to take me out to eat. Hmmm. Food. On my birthday? Hmmm. Easiest decision of my life!
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â So, Dave chose a good restaurant that he wanted to go to. Now, I always pray to go to the right place to eat. The reason I do that is because I want to talk with the right waiter or waitress, chat with other patrons, and buy peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s meals, etc. To me, eating outÃ¢â‚¬â€minus the foodÃ¢â‚¬â€is a mission trip. That is how I look at dining in restaurants. That is really the mindset all of us should have when we cross the threshold of our front doors and walk out into the lost and dying world.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â After we had been there a stretch and were getting ready to leave, I saw a man sitting by himself enjoying his lunch. So I asked the waiter to give me his bill, since I wanted to treat him to his meal. So I paid for it, and just as he was finishing, I walked over to his table and told him that I had picked up his meal for him. His eyes got very big. He was very surprised. He said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why did you do that?Ã¢â‚¬Â I told him that I was a Christian and Jesus says it is more blessed to give than receive and that I live by that principle. He was very thankful and said he would pay it forward. Of course, that just means that we will do some kind of Ã¢â‚¬Å“good workÃ¢â‚¬Â by blessing others and never really tell them why we did that. As Christians, we should always be letting people know why we do the things we do in this life.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Matthew 5:16
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I actually think this verse is misused often. People tell me that when they do good works, others will see them and know how good God is. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think that is accurate. Look at the verse again. How would people know to glorify our Father in Heaven after seeing His light shining through us? Well, they wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t unless we told them Who we believe in. Some people just do good works. So those works glorify them. People think,Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Oh what a nice person.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â That is fine, but it wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t glorify the Father in Heaven unless they know Who we represent. So we need to tell people why we do things in life. If they know we are Christians and we act like Christians would act, then it glorifies the Father in Heaven.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I bought the meals of one table in another restaurant recently, and the woman was nasty! I mean hornet-nest nasty! I have never had a reaction like that before. Her husband, or boyfriend, could not believe it. He was staring at her like he could not believe the reaction she just gave me. Oh well. My job isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t to worry about peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reactions, my job is to obey the Lord and glorify the Father in Heaven. So I told them that Jesus says it is more blessed to give than receive. I also told them that I was picking up their meal and the tip as well, so that when they walked out, they would do so scot-free! Then I walked back to my table to resume my good meal and do some reading. When they left, she hustled out the door, but the man walked over to me. He was very gracious. He was very thankful that I would do that. He then told me that he was Jewish and that Jesus was Jewish as well! Many people, for some reason, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know that, but this man did. Well, I stood up and was going to ask him a question, but he really didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want anything to do with me. He began to hustle out of the restaurant, too. That is okay. God will use what happened that evening, and it has been fun to pray for the both of them.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â So Paul, the man whose meal I bought at the restaurant I was eating at for my birthday, stood up and walked over to the table where Dave and I were seated. That is when all the fun began! He stood there for almost 20 minutes talking with us. It was a fascinating give and take. I asked him what he did for a living. He told me he was retired. I said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“What did you do before retirement?Ã¢â‚¬Â He stated that he had been a college professor! I thought to myself,Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Okay, now this is going to get interesting. And am I smart enough to have a give and take with him? Is he going to blow me off the field with all of his knowledge?Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â He then let me know that he had written nine books!!Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Okay, I am officially out of my league now. I have only written seven.Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â Ã‚Â So what was I going to do? Just let a grand opportunity pass me by? No way! I was really curious to see where this was going to go.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Also remember, you plus the Holy Spirit are a majority wherever you go! Never forget that. Paul might have degrees and books, but I have the Holy Spirit. And if you think about it, he really didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stand a chance!
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â So I asked him, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Paul, what do you think happens when you die?Ã¢â‚¬Â Once the question was out on the table, it became one of the most fascinating conversations I have ever had. It really took off. He believed in energyÃ¢â‚¬â€that we are all energy. So when he dies, his soul will just meld back into the energy source of the universe.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â He also kept mentioning lightÃ¢â‚¬â€that he has an inner light that tells him right from wrong. I asked him how he knew thatÃ‚Â lightÃ‚Â was correct. Ã¢â‚¬Å“How can you be sure that the light is not deceiving you?Ã¢â‚¬Â He told me that Ã¢â‚¬Å“you just know.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I asked if he believed in Satan. He did. I told him that the Bible says Satan can appear as an angel of light.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â 2 Corinthians 11:14
Ã¢â‚¬Å“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â So I asked him that since Satan can appear as an angel of light and he can appear as something good but is not, how are you sure you are not being deceived? He kept saying that Ã¢â‚¬Å“you just know.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â He also told us that he has taken spirit-guided journeys. This is where your soul exits your body, and a spirit guide comes and takes you on a journey somewhere else. This is very, very demonic and very prevalent in the New Age movement.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Then I asked him who he thought Jesus was. That is always a good question. He told me that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light! Whoa, Charlie. Hold up now. Did you catch it? I told him that is not what the verse says. Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and theÃ‚Â life!Ã‚Â You saw what he was doing. Everything was Ã¢â‚¬Å“lightÃ¢â‚¬Â to himÃ¢â‚¬â€this inner light. And the way he phrased it would just confirm to him that he was on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“rightÃ¢â‚¬Â path.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â I said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do you know what the rest of the verse says?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â John 14:6
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â So we explained to him that what Jesus is saying is the only way to get where he really wanted to go is through Him and Him alone.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Then we talked about sin by using the Ten Commandments and also about repentance, Heaven and Hell, the cross, and the resurrection. We asked him if he believed that Jesus died and rose from the grave. That is an important point to get to in a conversation, if you have the time.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Paul countered back with Ã¢â‚¬Å“God is love.Ã¢â‚¬Â He was very hung up on that. Now think about what I wrote. There is nothing wrong with being hung up on that! It is true.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â 1 John 4:8
Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â But what I meant by that statement is Paul thinks GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s love trumps everything else. Since God is love, Paul thinks there is no Hell, God will not judge people, etc. That is not true. GodÃ‚Â isÃ‚Â love, but He is also righteous, holy, no respecter of persons, impartial, a consuming fire, and a just Judge.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â So toward the end of our conversation, I asked him, Ã¢â‚¬Å“What if you are wrong? What if Jesus is the only way to Heaven and you reject Him?Ã¢â‚¬Â That is an excellent question to ask anyone. I want people to think about the consequences for not following the plan that God has laid out for them so they can be right with him. So we talked about that. And then, he turned the question on me! That is okay. Nothing wrong with that at all. He asked me what if I was wrong? I let him know that if I was wrong, then I have literally wasted my entire life. Completely wasted. I would have also lied to people for many years as I witnessed to them and as they read my writings. What a pitiful life it would be if you lied to people about their eternal destinations.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â So then, Dave wanted to ask him another question: Ã¢â‚¬Å“What is the source of your authority?Ã¢â‚¬Â What a great, great question! It asks where your Ã¢â‚¬Å“truthÃ¢â‚¬Â comes from. Do you believe in absolute truth or relative truth? So, since you have been reading to this point, where would you say Paul got his authority from? You already know: his authority is coming from the inner light that he thinks he has. And, of course, Dave and I let him know that we take our authority from the unchangeable words of God.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Next, I asked Paul if he liked to read. Well, he was a college professor, and he has written nine books, so it was kind of a dumb question! But I wanted to hear him say yes. I had already given away all of the books I had with me, so I asked him to walk outside with me because I wanted to give him a book I wrote calledÃ‚Â One Heartbeat Away. He was very thankful. As we walked out and were standing by my car, he said something very interesting to me. He said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Thanks for putting my feet to the fire in there. Those questions really made me think. I had to defend what I believe. I think I came out pretty good.Ã¢â‚¬Â What an interesting statement. Holding someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s feet to the fire in love is a good thing and not a bad thing. What Paul didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand was that he failed the test miserably. The inner light he is following was still lying to him. That is okay for the moment, but it is not okay for eternity. It was a good seed plant, and he has a book loaded with eternal truth in his hands. Please say a prayer for Paul.
Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Seems to me that all of you out there look hungry. Go get something to eat. There is a waiter, waitress, hostess, or someone else in that restaurant who needs a blessing. Or maybe there will be a New Ager sitting at the table next to you who needs to hear what you have to say!
Until the nets are full,
P.S. By the way, if there are any good leftovers from your mission trip to the restaurant, please send them to me! Thank you!!