Boy what a week I had last week! I had one of those weeks that had a couple of Mondays in it, and it wasn't good ones! Who ever knew that a small 'lil 'ol gum tree could cause major damage, at speeds of less than 5mph! At any rate, nobody was injured, and insurance will take care of fixing what the tree did. On Wednesday, I got to go to Clinton and keep stats for the NJCAA D2 National Softball Championship Tournament. That was an awesome experience to say the least. This coming week, I get to return to the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, AL with Bro. James Messer. In case you don't know Bro. James, he's a veteran SBC evangelist, and probably the biggest Ole Miss Rebel fan that I know. It is sure to be a good time to say the least! At any rate, as I was in Clinton for tournament action, little did I know how the Lord was going to give me a message from it to preach Sunday morning! But, that's how it has always been for me. Something during the week will be used by the Lord for His message on Sunday. Never know what, but it always comes! And so here I am, just doing what stats people do, and scoring games, and I got to see, meet, and hear from folks from all over. 16 teams were there, from Arizona to Wisconsin, Iowa, and more, all there for one purpose...one effort...one goal. The support and encouragement came from coaches, fans, players, and family members alike, as all of them hoped they would be there playing for the championship on Saturday. Of course, with double-elimination brackets, everyone would play at least twice. So long as you keep winning, you could sail smoothly! But if you ever fell to the loser's bracket, it would be tough. Possible sure, but it's tough to win it all from that side of the bracket. As the games went on, 8 teams were eliminated on Thursday, and 5 more Friday, leaving only 3 for the finals on Saturday morning. Having played in some "DE" tourneys along the way, I knew what was going on, but never had it hit me like it was then. I observed these teams, as they all struggled for the "prize", and I watched as one by one, their chances ended, and their 2013 season came to an end. As the Lord gently spoke to me, He was showing me how we all have a "prize" we seek in life. Whether it is related to athletics, business, finance, or any other of the goboodles of things the world has to offer, we are all after something! So, what's yours? What prize do you seek? In John 6, Jesus has fed the 5,000 with the 5 small loaves, and 2 fish. Now, let me help you just a bit here, and put this in proper terminology so we can grasp it better. Jesus fed 5,000 or more people, with just 5 biscuits, and 2 good redbellys, and had plenty of leftovers to boot! Just look at what giving thanks to God will do, huh!? Anyway, after that, the apostles got in the boat and sailed for Capernaum, but Jesus stayed behind. If you recall, He walked out to them later that evening! The next morning, folks got to looking for Him, but couldn't find Him. They knew boats had came there, but no more had left. So many of them sailed for Capernaum too, to try to find Jesus. Read John 6, and you'll get a far better picture.
But when they found Him there in Capernaum, they were very curious as to how He got there, so they questioned Him. In His replies, as was the case most all the time, Jesus continued to teach them about salvation, and how to achieve it. But the bible says that after hearing Him that day, "many of His disciples went back, and walked with Him no more." Huh? You mean they didn't like what they heard, and so they left!? Many years ago, there was a radio show, and later a television show, hosted by Bob Barker no less, called Truth or Consequences. There's also board games, and others as well, so perhaps you've heard of, or seen one of them? Anyway, the jest being that you take the truth, or the consequences for not taking it. Well, this is what's going on here. Some didn't like the truth they heard, so they chose the consequences. Maybe you're thinking that could never happen to you. Keep reading John 6! You will see that Jesus also asked the disciples if they were leaving Him as well! And our old friend, Peter, he spoke up for the group, as he was accustomed to doing. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69) Man that sounds solid, don't it!? These guys, "the twelve", surely it could not happen to them! Aftwer all, these are Jesus' apostles now! But look at what the Lord had to say next. Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70) Boy that will burst your bubble, won't it! Jesus was saying YES, it can happen to you, if you pursue the wrong prize! Just what is your prize? Better yet, maybe you're asking, "How can I know what my prize really is!?" Look, this world if jam packed with all sorts of prizes, and our enemy is trying his best to get you to focus on one of them. Have you? Here is the test you can take. What get's the majority of your attention? Your efforts? Your resources? Your finances? What is it? Some earthly prize? Or is it heaven? While a majority of us would like to answer heaven, the simple truth is that unless we pass the test, we are only fooling ourselves. We are surely not fooling the Lord! The proof of salvation lies not in a roll book or a baptistry folks. Take this test: Do you read your bible daily? Do you pray at least once every day? Are you faithful to the church the Lord has you at? Do you tithe to it, work at it, and serve in it... faithfully? Do you keep Jesus' commandments? If you are doing all that, then welcome to the minority! Remember what the Lord said now! Wide is the wrong gate, and MANY find it, but narrow is the true way, and FEW find it! It's either accept and believe on the Truth, and achieve a heavenly prize! Or, reject it, take the consequences, which is one hell of a consolation gift. So now, I ask you again... Just what is YOUR PRIZE? Truth? Or the consequences? A Savior's heaven, or a devil's hell? The choice is yours to make, and I pray that you make the right decision! God bless you all the more! PW