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Dr. Ed Young - Stuck in a Rut

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    Dr. Ed Young - Stuck in a Rut
TOPICS: Spiritual Growth

You'd be amazed how many times people ask me, how you stay so passionate about life? How do you stay fired up all the time? You seem to have fire in your belly! How does that happen? Ladies and gentlemen, I decided a long time ago that I was going to burn up and not rust out. But I can tell you, there's a lot of people here who haven't made that decision. I know so many folks that may be 25 or 95, but they've just given up on life. And you know, they have the idea that, well, I have put a do not disturb sign on my door, and I'm going to continue to live the way I'm living, and you go through life, boring everybody to death, and even boring yourself to death. And you can't justify being alive, breathing air, consuming goods, loving me, my, and mine, and that's about it. Many people get in a rut.

On the Alaska Highway, there's a sign up there that says, Choose your rut carefully, because you'll be in it for the next 200 miles. Are you in a rut? Has fire gone out of your life? By the way, you know what a rut is. It's a grave with both ends kicked out of it. And when people begin to say, well, I guess my life is over. I'm just gonna live my life just like this, and I'm not gonna change. When is the last time you launched out into something that you'd never done before? When is the last time you stood up and said, I want to volunteer to move in this area? How many times have people asked you to move out of your comfort zone, and you'd said, you know, I've never done that before. I just don't know.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have lost fire in your life. What is fire in the Bible? It's used for many things, but primarily, it is a metaphor for God. God is like a fire, and when God comes in a life, He burns all away that which is extraneous, and He gives us life, and purpose, and direction. Have you lost your way? Are you confused? Are you, in a sense caught up in slavery? This is the way it is! There's no hope for me. I can't change. I was in the Bible Museum about three weeks ago in Washington, and the man who put it all together took me into a section there, and he was showing me literally thousands of Bibles, and he said, "Look at this shelf. These are Bibles, these are Bibles that the plantation owners had printed for slaves".

I said, boy, that's interesting. And here's these slave Bibles. The owners of the slave had them printed for their slaves, and I said, what's the difference in this Bible, than all the other Bibles? He said, "Well, the slave owners had the Book of Exodus left out". Didn't want the slaves to know that God sets people free! God intends for people to be free, but I can tell you, you're in a special kind of deadly slavery right now if there is no fire of purpose in your life. We've been studying Solomon. He's let us walk inside his life. This may have been his memoirs, it may have been is autobiography. it may have been his spiritual journal, but you have to be thrilled when somebody just opens up and says, this is the thrust of my life. You know what he tells us? He says, "This is how you can put the fire of God in your life".

If that fire has gone out, if you don't wake up in the morning and hear the sound of the trumpets any longer? Let me tell you something, I wake up every morning, and I wake up Winston, and I sing, this is the day the Lord has made, and he's never once complained. Is that your life? Do you hear the sound of the trumpets in the morning? Do you jump out of bed with purpose? Is there fire in your belly, to say it theologically? Solomon says "This is how you can put fire in your belly". And he gives us four proverbs. He's a master of proverbs, he's written that Book. And I want you to listen to these proverbs, and if you're sort of fed up with life, you know, you're caught up in the same old, same old, and it's sort of ho-hum, and I'm gonna hang in til' the end. And you always say, well, I can't do that because, you know, I'm older now, and I don't stay up on things like I used to now.

Let me tell you something. I stay away from people like that, I run from them. Because they've lost the light of God and the fire of God in their life! And I've seen 'em at 25, I've seen 'em all through the years. By the way, there are four or five stages of life. There's infancy. There's childhood, the teenage years. Then there is the young, middle years, and then there's middle age, and then there's old age, and then there is a you sure look good time. But in whatever category you find yourself, so many people, I see young people, and there is no fire in their life. I look at their eyes, and their eyes are glazed over. There's no real purpose, and they don't understand the meaning of life.

Solomon says, "You wanna keep fire in your life"? He tells us exactly how to do it with four proverbs. Look at them! Ecclesiastes one, verse one. Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, and you will find it after many days. What is that? You cast your bread, your life, your means and just throw it out on the surface of waters. Let me tell you, you take bread and put it in a plastic container, and it'll mold. You put it in the refrigerator, and it'll become dry. I've discovered that in recent days. And so, what do you do with bread? Solomon says, "You wanna keep fire in your life? You just cast it out on the water". And you'll be amazed what will happen. It will come back to you, many days later, buttered, I believe. And some people, they're so close. He's talking about living a life that is generous.

Somebody says, "Make all you can, can all you can, and sit on the can". In other words, don't share. don't become generous. But Solomon says, "Just cast your bread on the water". By the way, this is another way of expressing the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. What does that mean? It means whatever you need, that's what you give. Does anybody here have any need? You have anything you want, or you down, or what do you need? Need somebody to encourage you? Guess what, encourage others. Try it! "Cast some bread on the water". That's what Solomon says. And then he gives us another parable that is just as powerful and practical as that. Verse two, "Divide your portion to the seven, or even to the eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on earth".

What is he saying there? Don't put all of your eggs in one basket! That's what he's saying. You drop the basket, you lose all your eggs! What does that mean? It means diversify. Don't let one rejection, or one broken heart destroy your life. I know a young woman who said, "You know, I've never met my soul mate. I thought that I had, and I lost him, and oh, I'll never be happy for the rest of my life". The whole thing about soul mate is a myth, folks! It's a myth! It's not, I can only marry one person. Where do you get that in the Bible? Now I believe in covenant marriage, don't misunderstand or misinterpret this. But by the same token, just because this didn't work out, your life's not destroyed. I see teenagers, well, I didn't get accepted to that college. Therefore, I don't know if I want to go to school anymore.

You see, there a lot you have to divert. Don't put all your eggs in one basket and say, this must work for me, or I'm gonna be miserable! How foolish is that kind of thinking? Solomon says you want to keep fire in your life, if this door closes, God may open a window. If this window is raining, you can't go there, He may find you a backward way. In other words, believe in the providence of God! God's running this world, ladies and gentlemen! Nobody else is, don't believe anything you read, and when you and I try to run the world, I try it once in a while, and I quickly resign! The providence of God is working, so we don't put all of our eggs in one basket, or one thing. By the way, that's what happened to the ship, the Titanic.

In about 1912, this beautiful ship, most expensive ship ever made, on its maiden voyage, who's who was on board, and they advertised, this ship cannot be sunk! And they put all of their stock in the steel of the hull. How it was put together as a catacomb, and they had five different chambers that were air tight that gravitated to 16 different steel chambers, and they said, "If something would penetrate one of these airtight chambers, it would seal itself and the ship would still stay afloat". They put all their eggs in that kind of engineering, that kind of thinking. Therefore, they came to icebergs, they said, "Full steam ahead, this ship can't be sunk"! And they ran into an iceberg, it pierced one of those airtight steel compartments in the hull. They said, "Well, the rest of them, they haven't been penetrated".

But what they didn't know was, when they pierced this, the water pressure and the power, they had steel horizontally around the ship, but when it pierced this, the water was forced with power and came down in the other areas of the ship vertically, and they went down to the bottom of the ocean. They put all their eggs in the basket of pride, we're invincible, we can't go down. What is Solomon saying? He says, "Cast your bread on the water! Watch what happens, invest in life, in people, in things that make a difference". And then he says, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket". The he comes and gives us another parable, and by the way, put these things in practice, fire will come back in your life, purpose in your life. Verse three following, "If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth, and whether a tree falls".

What's he saying here, by the way, you're gonna see is don't put off to tomorrow what you can do today. He's saying, "Nike, victory, do it now"! And he says, and he moves on, "South, or toward the north, whether the tree falls, where it lies. He who watches the wind will not sow, and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how the bones are formed in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God, who makes all things". What is he saying here? He is saying if you want fire to come in your life, you have to understand and realize that you're not in control of all of this. You have to come to realize some very practical words of truth about life and where it comes from, and there's a capriciousness there. There's a unsteadiness there.

And then he talks about in verse number six, "Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you to do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good". He's saying very simply here that we just sow seed bountifully. We, say in Corinthians chapter number nine said, "Just sow bountifully". If you sow bountifully, you may have a bountiful harvest. If you sow sparingly, not much is going to come up. So he's talking about the fundamental law of sowing and reaping. And we just delay, we say, well, it's not the right time for me to do that. We put this off, we put that off, we procrastinate it. Solomon said, "Do it now! What are you waiting for? Decide now"!

I read about a Georgia farmer, and he was in an old shack, and a car pulled up. A man asked for directions, and the farmer gave him directions, and the man said, "Well, how's your cotton crop coming"? He said, "Uh, I ain't planted no cotton this year". He said, "Why"? He said, "Boll weevils". Okay. He said, "Tell me how your corn crop is doing"? He said, "I ain't planting no corn this year". He said, "Why"? "Well, they said we're not gonna have much rain". He said, "What about your potatoes"? He said, "I didn't plant any potatoes". "Why"? "Potato bugs". He said, "What did you plant"? He said, "I didn't plant anything. I'm playing it safe"! Some people take their whole life and they play it safe. Listen, there's never a perfect time for anything that we're trying to decide on. Some people have the idea, well, I can't decide about Christ. I can't decide about the church. I'm just gonna wait and see until my life is perfect, I get a lot of moral things straightened out, and I have new understanding about being a Christian.

Ravi Zacharias was speaking at the Harvard Veritas Forum, and he simply presented Jesus Christ, Biblical truth. God revealed Himself to man, and he talked about Christ in you will give you a new life at Harvard. When he got through, one student lifted his hand. He said, "I believe all religions are the same". He said, "I believe there are many paths that go up to the top of the mountain, and it doesn't matter which path you take, as long as you're sincere, we'll all reap the top together". He said, "I believe all religions are the same". And Ravi said, "Hmm, you're right. All religions are the same, except for the nature and character of God, the identity and a definition of man, except for ethics, right and wrong, except for the understanding of cosmology, the universe". He said, "Except for sexuality, except for suffering, except for relationships". He said, "Except for your eternal destiny, Heaven or Hell". He said, "Oh, just with those few little minor things, you're right, all religions are the same".

Let me tell you something. He who was at the top of the mountain made a path down to the bottom of the mountain and came where we are, and provided a way through Christmas, and Calvary, and Easter that we can go back up that path, up the mountain, and that is a simple definition of Jesus Christ and of Christianity! Well, you know, I just, I don't know about all of these things. You wanna stay there with the fire of your life getting dimmer, and dimmer, and dimmer, and finally, it just blurs out into oblivion? Solomon says, "You want fire, purpose, passion in your life? These parables will point you right to it"! And he says, "Don't put off to tomorrow what you need to do today". Oh, I'm gonna decide about God and Christ some day. Now is the time of your salvation! Now is the time to put it together.

Now is the time to step out and take that wonderful, confident leap of faith! And then he comes to the end, and he does a fabulous thing here. The last, the last proverb he gives us, you find in verse seven following. He says simply, "Let the good times roll". You like that one, don't you? Christians are to let the good times roll, and fire comes back when we cast our bread on the water, it comes back buttered. Man, that brings fire back to us every single time. And then, when we don't put all of our eggs in one basket, we've diversified, as God works, and leads, and moves with His Spirit providentially in your heart and in my life. That'll put fire back within us. And then we have the thing, don't put off to tomorrow, do it today. Do it today, Nike! Nike, now, do it now! And then the results of that, we can let the good times roll!

Now how does this operate? Look at it. In verse seven, "The light is pleasant". You're in the light. "It is good for the eyes to see the sun. Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all". And here's our first word. He says, "Let him remember". Look at verse nine, "And rejoice, and let him remove". We are to have a rear-view mirror if we let the good times roll, and look back and remember what we've learned in the past, who we've met in the past, the great experiences of the past, the good, the bad, the different, the ugly, and the past. We are to remember that, that prepares us to celebrate, prepares us to rejoice. He says, "Young man, during your childhood, and in your heart, be pleasant during the days of young manhood and follow the impulses of your heart, and the desires of your eyes, and you know that God will bring you judgment for these things".

Very interesting passage there. He's saying we are to rejoice. There are things that we see that we can appreciate, we can rejoice in. He said there's things we can't see, that's the passion of our heart, but said remember within this, there is the judgment of God. Other words, we have to be rejoicing and celebrating within the parameters of God. Whoever told people that we as Christians can't have fun and enjoy life? I don't know where we get that. And then the final thing, he says you remove some things for your life as you rejoice. Let me tell you, if you put poison in your mind, what you read, and you poison your eyes, what you see, pornography, that's so prevalent, and you put poison in your mouth with various kinds of addictions, and all of a sudden, you put enough poison in you, or I put enough poison in me, we wonder, why am I not healthy? I wonder why I'm not healthy?

You see, that has to become out of us. That's what the fire of God does. We invite Christ to come in our lives. He has to remove a lot of trash, and the best way to get trash is to set it on fire, and that's what the Holy Spirit does when He enters your life and enters my life. That gives us the ability to rejoice! Re-joy, joy, joy, joy! Cliff Barrows, long time personal friend, member of my church, led music for Billy Graham for many years. Did more than that. He was one of the leading administrators and entrepreneur in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association from the very beginning. Someone asked Billy Graham, "Who's the greatest Christians you've ever known"? He said, "My wife, Ruth, and Cliff Barrows".

My son, Cliff, is named after Cliff. We don't have any musicians in our family, but I think because of that, he became a musician, I don't even understand that. But Cliff told me a story. He said, "When I was a young teenager". He said, "My dad took me to Yosemite National Park". He said, "It was a memorable experience". He said, "A forest ranger took a tour group around". He said, "He took us all over that park. Told us the history, all the animals, the beauty, the valley, the trees". He said, "It was a wonderful day I spent, touring Yosemite". And he said, "When it got to the end of the day, he took us to a place called Glacier Point".

And he said, "We had our tour group there, and he explained to us". He said, "There on a mountain, a cliff". He said, "It was 1,000 feet high". He said, "You'll notice all those coals that are glowing"? It was getting almost dark. He said, "Men have been up there on that cliff burning logs and wood all day long". He said, "You, those coals lined up all the top of that mountain". He said, "I want to show you something when the sun goes down".

And sure enough, in a few minutes, the sun went down. Everything got dark except for those glowing coals up there at the top of that cliff. And then all of a sudden, a voice came down from the top and said, "Are you ready"? And said, down there, his guide looked up and said, "We are ready! Let the fire fall"! And Cliff said these men began to shovel over those coals on that cliff. He said the minute they hit the cold air, they exploded into flames, and said, "We were looking at a wall of fire about 100 yards wide, and 1,000 miles down"! He said, "We, no one said a word". He said, "We stood there in awe, and wonder, and amazement". And he said, "No one knew what to do, because looking at that wall of fire". He said, "We though only of Almighty God". Let the fire fall!
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