"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I reckon most folks aren’t old enough to remember the 1966 James Garner and Sidney Portier movie titled Dual at Diablo. To spoil it completely for anyone who might go back to the archives to watch the movie, only a small handful survived the battle of Diablo Canyon, until the cavalry arrived to save the day.

Diablo means devil in Spanish, which is an interesting coincidence, considering each of us, whether we know it or not, are at war with el diablo. Each moment of our lives, el diablo stalks us like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Have you never seen the devil? Perhaps you just didn't recognize him.
The devil is alive and well in the attitudes that place "Me First!" 

Like the valiant, fictional soldiers who died with arrows in heir backs, many—if not mostof us will die much as they did, attacked from the rear. Yes, the cavalry is on the way, but in the true story, it’s spelled Calvary. And the company of troopers who will save the day is just one man, but WHAT A MAN. He happens to be the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the eternal Word incarnate, and the self-existent, eternal God’s only Son, all rolled up into one Savior.

Only one problem: He, the only perfectly innocent One, had to die as a sinner to save a sinner. That would be me, and you.

Yes, of course we aren't the only sinners in the world, but even if we were, it would have made no difference to the Savior. Being God, he knows you personally, from among all the people who have ever lived. In fact, he knows you so well, you can't hide anything from him. Think of the most secret, darkest thoughts that have occasionally plagued you, or the one thing about yourself that no one knows. That's right; it’s all clear as day to the Savior whose name means God Is Salvation. But as hard as it is to imagine, he loves you anyway. He loves you with a depth and breadth we humans can't begin to conceive, because as the Bible says, God Is Love.

So quit fooling yourself. Though you may have all your weapons at the ready to fight the enemy of your soul, there is no way you can stop him. Your enemy is quieter than an Indian warrior. He is more stealthy than an assassin with a garrote. And if you think all this doesn’t apply to you, he already has you lulled into a complacency deeper than that of Rip Van Winkle.

If you decide to wake up--which is your choice--you’ll find that Jesus did all the hard work for you; all you have to do is appropriate(that’s, grab hold and never let go) the amazing salvation He offers. Come just as you are, sin and all. No sin is too big for His forgiveness. Even if you’re penniless you have the price of admission, and even if you’re wealthy you don’t have enough money to buy what He offers. Jesus said, I am the Door, and, I am the Way. He said nothing of a gate fee.

If you’re thinking, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” you are wise. Though the redemption He offers is free of charge, nowhere in His word did Jesus say it would cost nothing. When a wealthy man asked Jesus, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus gave him a brief rundown of the commandments, which the guy had followed since his youth. Then, though Jesus knew the young man was sincere, He also knew he was rich in worldly possessions. So Jesus challenged him beyond what he was willing to give. “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”(from Mark 10:17-23) The price was too steep, so the guy shuffled away, dejected.

Whether you’re rich or poor by the world’s standard, the salvation that Jesus bought for you with His life requires the same investment: Everything this world has to offer. Thing is, once your heart stops, somebody here on Earth will smile all the way to the bank with everything you own. And it won’t be you, ‘cause you’ll be d-e-a-d, like a doornail. And the fun you don’t want to give up? When you pass to the other side you will see it for what it is: stupid foolishness. You’ll be like the kid who spent his allowance on candy, and all he got that lasted was a bellyache and cavities.

So, back to Diablo Canyon. The few who lived were those who faced the enemy and were willing to give everything to live. If you want to survive your “Dual With el Diablo,” Give your life to Jesus, and Calvary will come to your rescue.

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