The Biggest Spiritual Mistake in the World

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I have to confess, I didn’t exactly go running into the Computer Age. It was more like I was carried into it. Several years ago I was returning from my first trip to an Indian reservation, and I had a heart full that I wanted to write into a report. So, as usual in those days, I pulled out my trusty pen and paper and hand wrote my report. It took the whole trip from Arizona to New Jersey. Well, after one of my friends read my report, he called my wife and said, “I don’t want Ron wasting any more time writing things like this by hand. He has to get a computer!” Karen agreed but she indicated that we didn’t have the funds to get a computer. Well, my doctor friend said, “That doesn’t matter. I intend to buy a computer for him!” I was stunned. And, shortly thereafter, the owner of a wonderful personal computer — which has greatly impacted my life!

Well, I’m Ron Hutch craft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Biggest Spiritual Mistake In The World.”

I couldn’t have afforded to buy a computer. The only way I got one was that someone who cared about me gave it to me as a gift. Had I tried to pay my friend for it … had I tried to work for my friend to earn it somehow — well, of course, it would have no longer been a gift.

Tragically, most of the religious people on this planet are making the mistake of trying to earn from God what He says we can only have as a gift. In fact, I believe that’s why so many people observe their religion’s ceremonies, attend their religion’s meetings, try to live by their religion’s rules — they’re trying to earn eternal life in heaven by doing good things and being good people. Now, it’s a good thing to live a good life, but it’s a deadly thing to depend on your good life to get you into heaven.

That’s the message of much of the Bible, including our word for today from the Word of God in Romans 6:23. God says, “The wages of sin is death.” In other words, what we get paid for running our own lives is spiritual death — eternal separation from God. That’s the bad news. But then God says, “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now, notice — eternal life isn’t the reward of God that we earn with a good life. It’s the gift of God which we cannot possibly earn. We can earn hell — we can’t earn heaven.

In fact, God says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “It is by grace” — that’s undeserved love — “you have been saved … it is the gift of God – not by works…” We can’t get to heaven by Protestant works, Catholic works, Jewish works, Moslem works, Buddhist works, Hindu works. God couldn’t make it any clearer — it is not by works! The computer my friend gave me could have only been mine if someone else paid for it. The heaven you want to go to when you die can only be yours if someone else pays the death penalty for your sin, and that is what Jesus, God’s Son, did for you.

All I could do to get what my friend had purchased was to accept it. All you can do to have the eternal life Jesus purchased with His life is to accept it. So the eternity-deciding question is, has there ever been a time when you have told Jesus, “Lord, You’re my only hope of having my sins forgiven; of going to heaven when I die. I’m welcoming you into my life right now. Jesus, I’m putting all my trust in you.”

If your trust is in anything else, including your religion or your goodness, you’ll never see heaven. Only Jesus can take you there. If you’re ready to put your total trust in Jesus, would you tell Him that right now? And I’d like to send you the booklet that I wrote about this relationship called “Yours For Life.” Just let me know you want it.

You’ll never be able to earn heaven. It’s a gift — one that God’s Son paid for with His life. But the gift won’t be yours until you reach out and receive it.

The Barber of Coupe De Ville

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A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father,who was a minister, if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said to him, “I’ll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study the bible a little, and get your hair cut; then we’ll talk about it.”

A month later the boy came back and again asked his father if he could use the car. His father said, “Son, I’m really proud of you.You brought your grade up, studied the bible well, but you didn’t get your hair cut!”

The young man waited a moment an then replied, “You know dad, I’ve been thinking about that. Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair,Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair.”

His father replied gently, “Yes son, and they walked everywhere they went.”

A Child’s Prayer

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Dear God, are You still awake?Have You got a minute or two?

You’re pretty good at understanding,And I really need to talk to You.

You see, Mommy came to tuck me in,Like she does every night.I was trying to play a trick on her,Since she can’t see without the light.

I was going to close my eyes and pretend to be asleep.But when I heard her crying,I didn’t dare let out a peep.

She started talking to you, God.Did You hear the things she said?Could You hear what she was saying as she stood beside my bed?

Why would Mommy be so sad?I wondered just what I had done,And then I began to remember it all As she named them one by one…

This morning we worked in the garden,But, honest, I really didn’t know that if I picked all those little yellow blooms the tomatoes wouldn’t grow!

Charlie and I were trying to be helpers,’Cause I know that’s what Mommy needs,But I don’t think she was too happy with us when we pulled up carrots instead of weeds.

Mommy said we should stop for the day,she decided we had helped quite enough.I sure had worked up an appetite…I didn’t know gardening was so tough!

we had peanut-butter and jelly for lunch and I shared too much, I guess…But I didn’t realize until I was done that Charlie had made such a mess.

Mommy said she needed a nap,she had one of her headaches today.She told me to keep an eye on my sister and find something quiet to play.

Well, God, do You remember all those curls you gave my little sister Jenny?We played barber shop…very quietly…and now, well, she doesn’t have any.

Boy, was Mommy mad at me…I had to go sit on my bed.She said never to cut “people hair” again.I guess I’ll practice on Charlie instead.

We sat and watched poor old Albert,I just knew he must be so bored going round and roundin the same place all day,Wouldn’t You think so, Lord?

I didn’t think it would hurt to let him out for a while.I mean, mice need exercise, too.By the way, have You seen Albert lately?He’s been sort of missing since two.

Mommy sent us outside for the rest of the day.She said we needed fresh air.But when Daddy came home she told him he was trying to get something out of her hair.

We thought Mommy needed cheering up,so we decided to brighten her day.But, God, did You see the look on her face when we gave her that pretty bouquet?

We had gotten a little bit dirty,so Mommy said to get in the tub.”Use soap this time,” she reminded,”and please don’t forget to scrub.”

Charlie didn’t like the water too much,but I lathered up real good.I knew Mommy would be so proud of me for cleaning up like I should.

I went downstairs to the table,but during dinner it started to rain…I’d forgotten to turn off the water, it seems,and I hadn’t unplugged the drain!

I decided right then it was just about time to start getting ready for bed,When Mommy said, “It’s sure been a long day,” And her face began turning all red.

I lay there listening to Mommy as she told You about our day.I thought about all of the things I had done and I wondered what I should say.

I was just about to tell her that I’d been awake all along,And ask her to please forgive me for all of those thing I’d done wrong.

When suddenly, I heard her whisper,”God, forgive me for today…For not being more understanding when those problems came my way…

For not handling situations in the way You wanted me to…for getting angry and losing my temper,Things I know You don’t want me to do.

And, God, please give me more patience,Help me make it through another day,I’ll do better tomorrow, I promise…In Jesus’ name I pray.”

Wiping her eyes, she kissed me and knelt here beside my bed.She stroked my hair for a little while…”I love you, precious,” Mommy said.

She left the room without ever knowing That I’d been awake all the time.And God, could we make it our little secret?You know, just Yours and mine?

I’m sorry I was so much trouble today,I really didn’t mean to be…Daddy says it’s tough being a kid sometimes,but I think it’s harder on Mommy than me.

Well, goodnight, God. Thanks for listening.It’s sure nice to know You’re there.I feel so much better when I talk to You’ cause You always hear my prayer.

And I’ll do better tomorrow, I promise…Just You wait and see!I’ll try not to be so much trouble again,But, God,please give more patience to Mommy……Just in case! Amen.

1 Dollar and 100 Dollar Bill

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One day, a one dollar bill and a hundred dollar bill got folded together and began talking about their life experiences.

The hundred dollar bill began to brag:

“I’ve had a great life,” he said. “I’ve been to all the big hotels, Donald Trump himself used me at his casino, I’ve been in the wallets of Fortune 500 board members, I’ve flown from one end of the country to the other! I’ve even been in the wallet of two Presidents of the United States, and once when Princess Diana visited the US, she used me to buy a packet of gum.”

In awe, the dollar humbly responded, “Gee, nothing like that has ever happened to me, …but I have been to church a lot!”

100 Points

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A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates. St. Peter says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven.You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you getin.”

“Okay,” the man says, “I was married to the same woman for 50years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.”

“That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth three points!””Three points?” he says. “Well, I attended church all my life and support edits ministry with my tithe and service.”

“Terrific!” says St. Peter, “that’s certainly worth a point.” “One point? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.”

“Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,” he says. “TWO POINTS!!”the man cries, “At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!”

“That’s right!, Now you have got it!” said St. Peter.

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