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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Anytime, Anyplace

Anytime, Anyplace

          I have heard some say that there are no death-bed conversions and that if we don’t come to God and repent while we still have time to work for Him then we really aren’t repentant. I disagree. Looking at the Word we will see many examples of those who delayed their repentance, even though they did suffer because of it. Today I want to examine the character of God in which men have mercy and grace.

In the book of Judges is the story of a man named Samson who went his own way. Beginning in chapter 13 is the miraculous event of an angel who foretells Samson’s birth. We all have a special place in this world and a call from God (if we will answer it) but in Samson’s place it was important for his parents to know ahead of time that he had been chosen to deliver Israel. It seems that from the beginning Samson was disobedient to his call as a Nazarene. Sometimes we feel that there are too many rules and that we couldn’t possibly keep every one of them. Samson only had three rules or vows to keep. First, he was to drink no alcoholic beverage. Second, he was to never touch a corpse or dead body. And third, he was to never cut his hair. He systematically broke all of these as spelled out during Judges Chapters fourteen through sixteen. Let’s pick up in Chapter sixteen where God’s hand was withdrawn from him.

In verse eighteen Samson is just being hooked by the enemy like a fish comes to a lure. He is with a harlot named Delilah and she has been given the task of finding his strength. He toyed with her but after a while she wore him down. Samson gave the secret of his strength as being his hair. Even he realized that the first two vows had been broken and he had this one final thing that connected him with God. When he told Delilah that his hair was his strength, she had him. She cut if off while he was sleeping and he was overcome. Verse twenty is very significant. Samson had no idea that the Spirit of God had left him.

Have you walked away from God or do you know someone who is out of God’s will? Perhaps they feel that they are in complete forgiveness because of a past experience with God. They may believe that their one-time walk with God is enough. But as Samson soon found out, God’s protection and grace was no longer over him. But wait! The message is all about another chance today!

Look at verse twenty-one. The enemy took irons and put out his eyes. Sometimes if takes a physical blindness or loss to see God with spiritual eyes. Samson was taken from all that he knew and delivered to the enemy to tread out their grain. God always has a passage of hope in every story in His Word. The next verse is that hope. “Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.” Not only was his hair growing back, but his relationship with God was, too.

You
may want to read through the next verses with your family but I want you to see verse twenty-eight. Samson humbled himself and called out to God for forgiveness. At this last moment in his life he repented and is restored before God. There was a lot of time to think as he turned the grind stone. Day after day perhaps month after month he went in circles. The scripture never tells us that he called out to God. But a moment was reached when he came to himself.

Sometimes is we may get into a situation where we are so stubborn toward God that we feel He could just take our lives and we’d be better off. We may have resolved to suffer the storm, even though it is of our own making and go to the grave with dignity, if nothing else. The next man I am thinking of is Jonah. In the book that bears his name we can read about a prideful man who dared to say no to God’s plan and went his own way. God gave him the mission to testify of Nineveh’s destruction in Jonah 1:2. Jonah ran the other direction because of his dislike for these people. He refused to present them with the message of God because he knew of God’s mercy of grace (Jonah 4:2). He knew that judgment was inevitable for them and he thought it was well deserved.

You know this story and how God prepared a great fish to swallow him up. Just as Samson’s disobedience took him in blind circles, Jonah’s did, too. For three days he rolled around in the belly of a whale (according to Jesus in Matt 12:40) in the dark and had time to reflect on his mistake. I can just imagine that he continually thought that any moment he would die and it would be over with. Friend, God is much more patient than you can endure! You may think that you can ignore the Almighty’s plan and just die and it will be over with. But He loves you more than that.

In Jonah chapter two he cried out to God from his own private Hell. I think that first word in the first verse is strange-“then”. Then Jonah cried out to God. After three days of no sleep, drink or rest. Three days with no relief in site. Finally, Jonah understood that God would not blink first in this staring match. At times we may feel that even though we are suffering from our sin we will hold fast to our convictions. Friend, we cannot outlast God’s love. He loves us and others too much for His will to not take place.

I want to look at one more passage. In Matthew chapter 20 Jesus gives the parable of the workers. A man who owned a vineyard went out and hired workers at the beginning of the day. He bargained with them to work for a penny. Later he hired other workers and told them that he would pay them a fair amount. Toward the end of the day (the eleventh hour v6) he hired still more workers. At the end of the day he called for them to be paid beginning with the eleventh hour workers. They were paid the penny that was agreed on with the first workers. As the workers came forth who had worked all day they presumed that they would receive more but received the same wage.

This parable explains that God’s love is equal to all men. His reward of life everlasting is there for the one who is saved at an early age or at the end of life. You might feel that you will just live the way that you want to and come to Jesus when you get old. That will never happen, friend. It would be just like saying that you don’t want to wear your seatbelt because it is uncomfortable but if you start having a wreck you will put it on! No one can know how long we have to walk this earth. We might be taken tonight or in fifty years. We must be ready.

Now, I thought I had better throw that in since there is always someone who wants the easy way out. After all, who wouldn’t want to work for an hour of the shift and get the same wage as those who had been there all day? Think about what those poor people went through that went all day without working. They probably were in despair at the unpaid bills and tax collectors. During this time someone could lose their children or even be put into slavery themselves for payment on a debt. If I had to choose, I would rather work all day. Waiting to see if there is provision is harder work than any job.

The other aspect of walking in your own direction and thinking you will have fun until the end is that there is no sin that doesn’t bring pain into your life. The torment that you will go through and inflict on others is beyond what you can imagine.

As we are looking at the character of God’s mercy and grace today let’s realize that God is still waiting one someone to come home. I firmly believe that when all who will be coming to Christ are in the fold then Jesus will return for His Bride. Until that day, or the day when you breathe your last breath you have a chance. After that, there is no hope for anyone. There is no scripture that even hints that we can change our decision after we die.

There are many other places where we can see individuals who delayed their salvation. The thief on the cross held out until his last day and finally saw Jesus for who He was. Paul refused to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah until a Damascus Road experience. Thomas said that He would not believe unless he saw the scars on our Lord’s hands. Nebuchadnezzar lived like an animal for seven years until he acknowledged God.  So you see, God is willing to wait on us to give us a chance.

Dear parent; perhaps you have a son or daughter who has gone down the wrong path. They could be in prison or in some other way appear to have destroyed their life. God has a plan for them. Don’t give up. Continue to pray that while treading out the enemy’s grain they will hear from God. It’s not too late. Until they breathe their last, there is hope that they can repent and be made right with God.  Like Jonah, they may be so stubborn that they think they can out wait God. God is just as steadfast as ever and He will not be moved by their hardened heart.

Yes-today is the day of salvation. As long as there is breath in that one then there is a chance. Maybe you have given up on them long ago. Don’t. Perhaps it pains you too much to keep praying for them day after day. Don’t give up! God hasn’t. The longevity of a sinful person’s life is only a testament to the Mercy of God. He is ready to save you-anytime, anyplace!

 

Prayer–Father, I ask today that You would reach out to the hurting person who has a lost friend or family member. At times it seems hopeless to go on praying. But You never give up and neither should we. Give us strength to keep hoping, keep waiting and to keep seeking. If there is one who reads this message today and they are delaying the surrender of their heart I pray that You would call their name again. Like Samson, let them hear You through their blindness.

In Jesus’ Name-Amen

2Cr 6:2  (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now [is] the accepted time; behold, now [is] the day of salvation.

 

 

 

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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