The only way to keep from having God's Word choked out of your life is to make sure that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One who gives you the greatest joy.

Scripture: Mark 4:19


Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Oh, I’ve just been praying that God would put His truth and His love and His blessing into my voice as it comes your way. Today, someone needs something special from God. May it be found in these precious moments that we invest together, is my prayer.

Now, we’re looking it in Mark chapter 4, and the parable that the Lord Jesus spoke concerning the way the word of God works in different kinds of hearts. There’s the hard heart, Satan finds it easy to snatch the Word away, and then there’s the shallow heart, and the troubles of this world just to do away with the effectiveness of that kind of relationship, and then there’s the, there is the thorny heart, the heart that is preoccupied with other things. We had just gotten down to that 19th verse of Mark chapter 4, where the Lord Jesus said, “The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word”. Simon Peter talked about fleshly lusts that war against the soul. Do you realize that there are some things that may be legitimate, which have a harmful effect upon your spiritual life?

I remember the missionary, who became a friend of mine, in Japan years ago, when we were there for the world Congress, and he confided to me that he had a very fine camera outfit that he was going to have to get rid of. I said, “Why? Don’t you have to have a camera to take pictures of your work so that you can send them home to your people who are praying for you and supporting you?”, “Yes”, he said, “but I have to get rid of it”, and then he told me what had happened. As a young missionary, he went on over to the field and as many do, he had a little secret compartment his wallet with $100 in it. This was is a his emergency fund, you may say. On a Monday morning, he was approached by a G.I., an American G.I., who had been on a bender the weekend before, and who had lost a good deal of money gambling, a who had to raise money quickly to pay off his gambling debts. He had a complete photographic outfit, a 35mm camera with a wide-angle lens, a normal lens, a telephoto lens, flash outfit, the whole bit, worth many, many hundreds of dollars, even in those days. And he was, he was trying to raise money. He approach this young missionary and the upshot of the matter was, that the young man had himself a camera outfit for his hundred dollars emergency fund. He dug up the hundred dollars and the soldier gave him this beautiful camera outfit. Well, he told me, said, “I justified it by saying, ‘I have to take pictures of the folks that I’m dealing with so I can send them home, send the pictures home and the tell people what’s going on here’”, but he said, “Soon”, he said, “I was doing more picture taking than I was soul winning, and that thing became a snare to me and God has spoken to me during these times of revival, over here in Japan, and he said, “I’ve got to get rid of it”. Well, he did as a matter fact, that very day. He sold the whole outfit to one of our delegates, a dear brother from Indiana, who had a turkey farm, as I recall, and who had some of this world’s goods, and was able to buy the outfit without flinching, and so he sold at camera outfit that very day, and he told me about it afterwards. I said, “What you do with the money?”, he said, “I gave it all to be the youth camp fund of our mission”. Oh I said, “You should a saved up $25 to buy a Brownie box of some sort that you could use to take your pictures”, and he straightened up and looked me right in the eye, and said, “Don’t you talk to me about cameras. That thing was a snare to me and I’m not going to go back in it again”. He was done with it. Bless his heart.

You know, legitimate things can get in the way of your spiritual life. Do you know that? So, he says, “The cares of this world”, things that you say I got to do this, it won’t do itself, I’ve got a take care of it. All right, I know, but you have to put somebody first, and that somebody’s Jesus. He said to Martha one day, “Martha, thou art care filled and troubled about many things, but one just, one thing is needful and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her”. If there’s ever a choice beloved, between Jesus and time with Him on one hand, or doing some urgent business on the other, you choose Jesus. I can assure you that things will go far better if you’ve spent some time with your Lord. Your business meeting, for example, will be far better if you pray through the agenda first. Have you ever tried that? Pray through the agenda of your business meeting and you’ll find that the speeches are shorter and sweeter, and the business is done more quickly. See, there is no substitute for work, I know that, and there is no substitute for carrying responsibility, what our Lord called the cares of this world ,yes you have to carry responsibility, no one will do it for you, but you have to put something first, and that something, rather somebody, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Put Him first on the agenda of life. He says, “The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches”. Did you ever find a personal who felt he had enough money? I have never yet met anyone who said, “No, I got enough money, I’m not going to bother anymore about money”, and of course there’s of a famous phrase, I heard Dr. Smith many years ago talking about this, he said, “there’s a phrase that I hear often around our house, we’ll get a new set of drapes or something and after you get them put up my wife a look at me and say, ‘Now the next thing I want is’”. We’re never really satisfied, are we? No, we’re not. Things don’t satisfy, and so he says, “The deceitfulness of riches”. If you go after money and the things it will buy, you find that it exacts a fearsome price in the process, and that the bargain is not worth it after all. I think so often of the man who said sadly, I’ve made my millions would in the process I’ve lost my family, my children hate me, and my wife has left me and I’m losing my health. He said it wasn’t a very good bargain, was it? No, it wasn’t and you will find always that if you seek for things and the money to buy them, as your prime motivation, it will choke your spiritual life.

Years ago, said to somebody, “Why weren’t you in church?”, “Why”, he said, “I had to go out and watch my boat race this Sunday”, said, “Our company has bought a racing boat to advertise and I, and of course, I had to go out and see whether it was going to win or not, didn’t I”? The answer is no, you didn’t have to. You decided to put that first that was the answer. I didn’t tell him, but then maybe God did. Oh, who was going to be first in your life, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. Believe me, money and the things that buy it, although they are important, are deceitful, that is to say, you are always offered more than you get in satisfaction. You always pay more than you expected to, in the unseen price of spiritual life. You want to remember that? You always get less than you expected when you go after money, and you always pay more than you expected, in the unseen price of spiritual life and power. I think that’s why it’s dangerous for people to make money their goal. Now, the Bible makes room for profit. The Bible is in favor profit and investment and hard work and success. That’s all clear. If you read the Bible, you find that what I just said to you is absolutely true, but the Bible also warns against the deceitfulness of riches and Paul says in Timothy, “They that will be rich, purchase to themselves a lot of cares and troubles”. You remember that? People that want to be rich, they purchase to themselves many sorrows. “The love of money”, said he, “is the root of all evil, which some coveted after they have erred”, they’ve been seduced, is what the word means, “from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not high-minded nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God who giveth us richly, all things to enjoy”, that’s 1 Timothy chapter 6 verse 10 and verse 17. All right, you know what I’m talking about and what God is saying to our hearts here. Yes, you have to have money, yes you have to pay your bills, yes, it’s a good thing to be successful, yes, it’s a good thing to have something in the bank, yes, it’s a good thing to invest and show a profit. The Bible is for all these things, the important matter is who has top billing in your life. Then, he goes on to say, “The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts”, that’s our word, desires, “desires of other things entering in”. Can things be a snare to you? Oh yes. Can they choke off your spiritual usefulness? Oh, yes. It all depends on what your real delight is, what really satisfies you. I think of what John the Baptist said in this connection. He had a delegation waiting on him one day, they said, you know we’re your buddies, we love you, but you’re losing your grip. Said, “He to whom thou barest witness, behold, He’s baptizing and all men are coming to Him”, you’re losing your crowd, you’re losing your grip. We love you, we’re going to stick with you, but we know that the crowd is smaller because we count the offering, and all that, see, and some of the people that used to be in your meetings, now they’re in Jesus’ meetings. Well, what a John the Baptist say? “A man can receive nothing except to be given Him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness that I said, ‘I’m not the Christ, I’m just sent me for Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled”. He must increase, but I must decrease. Where to John the Baptist get his joy? to hear Jesus speak, and to see what He was doing. To hear His word and to see what He was doing. The real satisfaction of my life, has to be Jesus and what He does and what He says, in my life and in the lives of others. You want to make that true in your own life so that you’ll be bearing spiritual fruit? The only way to keep from having God’s word choked out of your life, is to make sure that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who gives you the greatest joy and greatest satisfaction. Well, we’ll get at the rest of this passage the next time we get together, God willing.

Dear Father today, may we put Jesus Christ first, first in our responsibilities, first in our set of values, including money, first in our relationship to things that we enjoy or don’t enjoy. May Jesus Christ to be first in it all, in His name I pray, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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