Monday, December 31, 2012

Bridge Crash

Today is New Year's Eve, and tonight there will be people across the world partying, while others are on their knees, seeking the face of God.

So I want to tell you a parable about a widow, who had only one son.  One New Year's Eve, in the middle of the night, he was driving home from a party.  Having had too much to drink, he was dozing off at the wheel, as he traveled down the highway. So he didn't notice the sign that said, "Road Ends. 1 Mile."  Up ahead, a bridge had recently collapsed in an earthquake.  And now the road ended at a sheer cliff that descended straight down 230 feet to a rocky gorge below.

His mother was at an all-night prayer meeting, calling out to God on her knees with her eyes closed. Suddenly seeing her son's face before her, and sensing he was in great danger, she began to pray earnestly for him.

As he nodded off at the wheel of his car, he then passed by another sign on the road side that said, "Road Ends. 2,600 Feet."  Then another sign that said, "Last Exit." Seconds later he was speeding toward an orange, wooden sign in the center of the road.  It was 30 feet wide and 15-feet high, spanning both travel lanes, and it read, "DANGER! ROAD ENDS 100 FEET!"  He didn't see the sign, which was flanked by many flashing orange lights on both sides, because he had gone to sleep at the wheel. 

His car smashed through the wooden sign and veered off the right side of the road, where there was a sloping embankment down into the woods.  As the car left the road, it went airborne over the right-hand embankment and crashed into an oak tree that stood only 5 feet from the sheer cliff.  The oak tree had two large, V-shaped limbs at the top, and his rear tires became caught between the limbs. So his car came to rest there at the top of the tree, facing downward.

When he regained consciousness, he found himself at the wheel inside his car, suspended over the edge of the cliff, staring into the pitch blackness in front of him.  He called for help on his cell phone, but the emergency vehicles were unable to reach him from the road with their heavy equipment.  So he waited until a rescue helicopter arrived.  As New Year's Day dawned, and there was light, he discovered could see the bottom of the rocky gorge through his windshield.  Finally the rescue helicopter sent a medic down on a line with a basket, which was used to place him in and hoist him up to safety.

This is a parable and not a true story.  It is meant to show the danger of ignoring the warning signs that God has placed before us, in order to keep us from perishing.

If you do not know Jesus, then this post is your warning sign to turn around and follow Jesus, so that you will live forever with Him and not perish.  If you are a believer, who has fallen away from the Lord, the message is the same.

Those who crash through that final sign at the end of the road will certainly perish.  There are rare exceptions, where a miracle may happen, giving the person another chance to live.  When that happens, it is because of the grace and mercy of God.  But the person must still repent, or else they will eventually die and perish forever. 

Warning Signs
Here are some examples of warning signs for all of us, especially those who don't know Jesus Christ:

Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. (Joh 3:16-19)

Jesus said, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Mat 10:28)

Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And Jesus said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."  (Luk 13:1-3)

Jesus said, "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."  (Mar 16:16)
 And here are some warning signs for those who know the Lord, but are tempted to fall away:
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Heb 6:4-6) This verse means what it says.  It is impossible, except for God!!
Jesus said, "With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God."
(Mar 10:27)

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire." (2Pe 2:20-22)

But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luk 9:62)
'But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 'I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 'Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 'And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. (Rev 2:20-23)
There is Hope for You

You may feel that you have crashed through that final barrier and you are hanging over the side of the cliff.  You feel the terror of dangling there. Enough light is given to you in your heart to realize you are staring down at hell, expecting certain judgment.  You may be wondering if there is any hope for you.  If that's you, then I've got good news!  There is hope for you in Jesus Christ.
"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Mat 12:31-32)
If "My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2Ch 7:14). Note that this is about God's people, who are called by His Name, turning from their wicked ways.
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."  (Rom 10:9-11)

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1Jo 1:8-9)
God's "mercy triumphs over judgment." (Jam 2:13-b)
Repentance is Necessary for Everyone, Including Believers
If you are a backslidden believer, it is not enough to simply believe in the Lord in your mind.  You must repent and do the deeds of one who is absolutely in love with the Lord Jesus. Or don't you know that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? (Rom 2:4) The Lord warned most of the pastors of the churches of Asia to repent.  Here are some examples:
'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent. (Rev 2:5)

'Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. (Rev 2:16)

'So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. (Rev 3:3)

'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent." (Rev 3:19)

There was a king named Mannaseh, who did evil in the eyes of the Lord.   He misled the entire nation back into idolatry, after it had been wiped out by his predecessor. He put idols inside God's holy temple.  He even offered his own sons up as human sacrifices on the devil's altar. But when he repented with his whole heart, God forgave him.
Therefore the LORD brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon. When he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God. Now after this he built the outer wall of the city of David on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entrance of the Fish Gate; and he encircled the Ophel with it and made it very high. Then he put army commanders in all the fortified cities of Judah. He also removed the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, as well as all the altars which he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside the city. He set up the altar of the LORD and sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it; and he ordered Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel. (2Ch 33:11-16)
Manasseh ACTED on his repentance by breaking with sin.  His repentance was not just words.  And after he repented, he did not sit and wonder if God had really forgiven him.  He did not question whether God could be so merciful.

Putting it All Together
Don't spend your time any more, wondering IF God will forgive you.  Be zealous and repent.  Call upon the all-powerful name of Jesus Christ, asking Him for mercy and forgiveness.  Believe that He will forgive you!  "Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning;" (1Co 15:34a)  Follow Jesus, obeying Him as your Lord in all things.  Don't drive past any more warning signs, because you never know if this could be your final warning.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like "The Lord Healed My Backsliding," "Drifting Away" and "Keeping Power of God." My daughter has written a poem, called "At the Crossroads" that speaks a very thought-provoking message related to this blog.  Now that you have read this parable, I suggest reading some true stories of people I know, who've had miraculous survivals, which I've recorded in "Angelic Escape from Terrorist Assassins," "Head On Collision with Oncoming Car," "Head on Collision with School Bus," and "Head on Collision with Highway Overpass Abutment." You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master." 

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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