God bless you sir…

scrap metal 1

“Are you a God fearing man, I asked?”

“Well I know God in my own way…  I don’t attend church and I’ve never been baptized.”

“The thief on the cross was never baptized, but Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise today, have you ever heard that story?”

“No, I haven’t”

“Have you ever considered why Jesus came to this earth?”


“Do you have a few minutes?  I’d like to tell you about that.”


“Is your name James, I thought I heard you say that?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Okay, James…”

This is how my conversation began yesterday afternoon with a man named James.  I was outside working in my yard and James was cruising around the neighborhood looking for scrap.  That’s become a big thing recently and there is rarely a time when I put something on the curb and it’s not picked up before the city gets to it.

I’m grateful for the service these men perform.  They scrap out the metal and earn some money, I get rid of some of the useless “treasures” I’ve accumulated over time and the city saves time and effort by not having to pick up as much as they normally would.  It seems to be a win for everyone.   I’ve also observed most of these “scrappers” are friendly when they drive by.  They smile, they wave and they usually greet you.  I suppose that’s part of their customer service strategy.

When James drove past the first time I noticed he seemed to have a warm and friendly face and as he circled my cul-de-sac and came back through I decided I had some scrap I was going to give him.  It had been sitting in my garage for months with big plans for me to strip the wire and cash in a big check.  Suddenly I felt something come over me that just said James needed it more than I did.

So I waved him down and he readily jumped out of his truck and greeted me.  I said “I have something for you.”   When I brought out a box of copper wire his eyes lit up and he proceeded to thank me and was eager to get it into his truck.

As he said God bless you, I asked him if he was a God fearing man and so our conversation began.

James told me quite a bit about his life and he had some interesting stories of changes that many might believe a good sign of a changed man.  James had been a drunk and a drug user.  He had really cleaned up his life and that’s a good thing for the here and now.  This will certainly make James’ life better.  But does this mean James is a new creation? (2 Corinthians 5:17)  Does he have a new heart? (Ezekiel 36:26)  Does he practice righteousness?  This is the key to whether James has truly been converted.

1 John 2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him.

I asked James if he has a bible and if he read it regularly?

“No, it’s very hard to understand.”

“Yes, I understand…” God’s Word tells us that it is spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

James needed to hear the gospel.  He needed to understand that his sin and my sin put Christ on the cross.  And his sin will be paid for one of two ways.  God poured out His wrath on the Son for James or James will take that wrath for all of eternity in hell.

Think about that for just a moment.  Ten thousand times ten thousand times ten thousand years is only the beginning of eternity.  The torment will never end.  Never!

Much more than a hundred bucks of scrap this is the message James needed to hear.  In a fifteen minute conversation James heard that God is love.  God’s love was manifested through the cross but that love is only available to those that turn to Christ in faith and then live radically different lives.

I’m hopeful James will begin to see his sin.  I gave him a gospel message that challenged his thinking and asked him to read his bible, starting in the New Testament with the book of John.  Then he can read how Jesus requires us to be born again and I’m hopeful he will understand why God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.  (John 3:16)

I hope James will labor for the food that never perishes; this is far more valuable than anything he could find on the curb.

John 6:27 “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”


My Bible…


Psalm 119:159-162 Consider how I love Your precepts; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.  The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.  Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word.  I rejoice at Your word as one who find great treasure.

I’ve been thinking recently about those that claim Christianity but never crack open a bible.  They don’t bring them to church, they rarely go to them for guidance and they don’t use it in the way it has been prescribed by scripture.  Can you truly be a “Believer” and never, if rarely, open God’s Word?

I know you can in extreme examples such as the thief on the cross, the Lord told him he would be in paradise with Him today.  This man never went to church and probably never read the Tora.  He was saved to glorify God, just like all Believers.  I’m not talking about something like this.  I’m talking about Joe Christian that attends a service frequently, probably weekly and would identify himself as an evangelical.  He might even say he’s “born again”.

I want you to look around this weekend when you go to church and see how many people are carrying their bibles.  Take a sampling and then do an estimated percentage in your head.  Would it be shocking if it was less than 50%?  How about less than 10%?  How many read their bibles daily?  According to a recent article by Christianity Today, 80% of church goers don’t read daily.  Here is the article.



Are you in awe of God’s Word and find it as one who finds great treasure?  This may give you an indication of your condition before God.  Don’t check out just yet.  Why would I say that?

In Matthew Chapter 5 Jesus begins His Sermon on the Mount with what it means to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Do you remember this?  This is a road map to salvation.  You will be “Blessed” makarios – supremely blessed such as a blessing reserved for the “gods”.  I don’t intend this to be a lesson on the Beatitudes but I want to point to verse 6.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

This tells a considerable story about those that don’t hunger and thirst for righteousness.  They won’t be filled right?  You can’t hunger when you’re not hungry.  You can’t thirst when you’re not thirsty.   Jesus tells us if we’ve been poor in spirit and mourned over our sin, if we’ve become meek (power under control of the Spirit) we WILL then do these things.  This is a natural outflow of what happened to us in salvation.

Jesus said you will know them by their fruits.  What fruit is He talking about?  When Jesus changed my life, I had a desire to know Him more.  I wanted Him and His Word.  I craved Him like a hungry and a thirsty man starving in the desert.  It was my changed nature.  I didn’t force myself to “like” the bible.  It just was that way.

People come to church or profess Christ for lots of reasons.  Does it include a testimony?   “I was this….” (You insert all the nastiness you were) And now “I’m this…” (God changed you to something completely different) without a dramatic change in your life, your profession might not be real?

How many times have you been saved?  If it’s more than once you’re probably not saved.  Does that sound judgmental to you?

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   What was it like to be poor in the ancient world?  It was humiliating to say the least.  You had to beg for every scrap of food you ate.  You had to beg people to be merciful; crouched in the corner too ashamed to even look up.  This is what Jesus is describing.  We must come to a point where we realize we can do nothing for ourselves.

When did you realize that your sin separated you from God?  When did you understand that your sin had you headed to hell?  Don’t dismiss this today, I beg you.  Can you be saved without reading your bible?  Maybe, but I think it’s very rare.  Romans 10:17

The other reality of this is what Jesus called the wide road that leads to destruction and many go in by it (Matthew 7:13-14).  Read God’s Word and be saved.  I implore you today.  If you claim salvation and don’t hunger and thirst for God’s Word, I encourage you to examine yourself.

There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers. —Charles Spurgeon