This is long, but it was an interesting story to me...
The "Martins" lived in a middle-class neighborhood. This family consisted of a dad, a mom, an eighteen- year-old son just out of High School, and a ten year old daughter.
Each member of this family was a Christian, and had each at one time Accepted Jesus Christ as their Personal Saviour. They had each invited Christ to live in their hearts. They regularly attended a Bible-Believing Church, over on Twelvth Street in town. The Martin family enjoyed Sundays together, for after church mom always prepared a big Sunday dinner and they enjoyed their 'family day' together. But something would happen to truly put this Christian family to the test, and it happened to their eighteen-year old son Brian.
Their son Brian, as I said, had just graduated from High School. He had been undecided as to which College he would enroll in, the following September. Of course, he and his parents had always discussed College as to which "Christian College"
he would apply. But a few months after Graduation, Brian somehow fell in with the wrong group of friends. His parents began to see a change in their son. Brian had always used good judgement in the past when choosing his friends, but when one
of Brian's 'new friends' dropped by one Saturday afternoon, a red flag suddenly came up. This new friend, with an earring through his nose, and one in his eyebrow, and long hair, was to have a terrible influence on their son.
Within a month, Brian confronted his parents with the news. He had decided to move out and get his own apartment. He also informed his parents that College would
"just have to wait" as he needed more time to 'enjoy himself before going back to school.' Much to his mom and dad's disappointment, and not without great concern for their son, they had no choice but to let their son go. After all, he was eighteen
now, and there wasn't much they could do to stop him from moving out.
But they were very concerned, for they could see that as of late, there had been a change in their son, and it was obvious that this change was NOT good. Brian began missing Church. Heno longer had time to stop by to say hello to his mom and dad,
and little sister.
It had been almost a month since Brian had moved out, and his parents had not heard from him, so his dad decided to call him and have a talk with him. He wanted to see how he was doing,- see if he was okay.
When Brian answered his phone, his dad asked him 'how he was?' and "how is everything with you, son?" Brian's reply was, "Oh just great dad, everything's fine."
He told his dad that he had found a job at a 'Music Store' working behind the counter. He said that although the job didn't pay very much, he was enjoying working there because he got to listen to all the newest CD's.
Before his dad hung up the phone, he told his son that theysure missed seeing him in Church, and hoped they'd be seeing him there the following Sunday. He asked him to stop by sometime to see his family. He wasn't at all happy about his son working at the music store. He knew that his son had begun listening to the kind of music that was not pleasing to the Lord. He knew his son had gotten out of Church, and he knew that Brian was headed down the wrong road.
When Sunday came, Brian did show up for church. His mom and dad were so glad to see him. They had a good Church Service that morning, and the Pastor's Sermon was about 'raising yourchildren up in the way that the Lord would have you to'. Their Pastor read from the Bible about how if parents do raise their children up in the right way, then their children will come back to them. Before the Alter Call song after the sermon, they noticed that Brian grabbed his jacket and quickly left. And yes, Brian's
parents knew their son was not happy. They could see signs that he was no longer including Christ in his life. They prayed for him constantly.
They couldn't help but worry about him, as they had seen a change in him in the last few months. They were wise enough to know that a Born-Again Christian can never be happy while living outside of God's Will.
As Brian's parents were getting ready to leave for home after the Church Service was over, they noticed that Brian had leftin such a hurry, that he'd left his Bible lying on the church bench.
His dad picked it up and took it home with him.
The following Tuesday morning, Brian called to tell his parents that he would be stopping by that afternoon. He also told his mom and dad that he had made an important decision and hewanted to tell them about it. He said that it was his day off and he'd be by around two-o'clock.
When three-o'clock came around and still no sign of Brian, his dad decided to drive over to his apartment. But before he left, he picked up his son's Bible and decided to take it along. He planned to hand it back to his son personally.
Brian's dad knocked on the door of his son's apartment. Brianopened the door and was surprised to see his dad standing there. He reluctantly invited his dad to 'come on in'. His dad could see that Brian had dark circles under his eyes, and it looked as if he hadn't slept in days. He asked his son why he hadn't shown up to see them that afternoon, since he had told them that he was coming over to talk to them about something.
Brian wasn't able to look his dad straight in the eyes when he gave him the news. He would be moving away in a few days. He was going to be traveling in a Van with a group of his 'new friends'. They were going to 'see the world'. He told his dad that whenever they ran out of money, that they'd stop in 'some town and work just long enough to pay for gas and food', and then they'd be 'back on the road again.' Brian told his dad that he 'just wanted to travel around for a while and see the world.' "Life is short dad, and I want to enjoy it as much as I can while I'm still young."
It wasn't hard to see that Brian was not happy. He wasn't the happy Christian that he had once been. After Brian finished his 'speech', he wasn't saying anything now. He was sitting onhis sofa, with his head down. Brian's dad could see that his son had lost his way, and didn't know how to find his way back just now. He asked his son before he left his apartment if he could pray with him for a moment. Brian said no. Said he didn't have time, and that he had a lot of packing to do. Said he would write them when he got the chance. He asked his dad to tell his mom and little sister goodbye for him.
This dad loved his son. He loved him with all of his heart. It hurt now to see the terrible shape his son was in. He was remembering Brian as how he used to be- always had a cheerfulsmile...he had even at one time talked about his desire to
become an Evangelist one day. Brian's dad was remembering how his son used to have such a burden for lost souls in the world. He was remembering how he used to love to go to Church and be around his family and Christian friends.
Before Brian's dad left, he told his son that he had somethingin the car that he needed to get. He told Brian that he'd 'be right back'.
He returned a few minutes later with his son's
Bible. He had placed a book marker in it, at the Book of Psalms.
He said, "You forgot your Bible, son." "Would you do me one last favor, and read the verses where I've place this book-marker ?"
Brian promised his dad that he would. This dad looked at his son, thinking to himself, that he may never see his boy again. He had tears in his eyes, and when he looked at his son, he noticed that he too, had tears in his eyes. Brian looked as if he was carrying the weight of the world on his young shoulders.
Brian's dad walked out into the parking lot, got into his car, and just sat there for awhile before driving off. He began praying. He sat in his car, praying and crying for his only son.
About an hour later Brian opened up his Bible. He opened it to the place where his dad had put the marker. He began to read:
"Psalms: 37:24: Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
"Psalms: 37:32-34: The wicked watcheth his righteousness, and seeketh to slay him. The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condem him when he is judged. Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exhalt thee to inherit theland; when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
Brian read on:
And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.
Brian had Christ in his heart already, and nothing could ever change that...but he had somehow lost his way for a time. He had gotten out of Fellowship with the Lord.
After he finished reading, the guilt came. The tears came. He could hold back no longer. He got down on his knees, there in his apartment, and Re-Dedicated his life
to Christ. He poured out all of his guilt and anguish. He told the Lord all about it. Though he knew in his heart that the Lord already knew all about it. He knew these 'new friends' he had gotten mixed up with didn't love the Lord. Why, they couldn't even stand the mention of His Name. His Lord. Who he loved so much. He knew they didn't really care about him. How had he ever gotten this far off of God's Path? He would never allow Satan to get such a hold on him again! He missed his family that loved him. He missed church. How he had missed talking to God! How he had missed that wonderful peace inside! He knew the Scripture in his Bible which is 1 John 1:9 and he confessed his sins to the Lord.
He had a long talk with the Lord that day.
Brian had been raised in a good Christian home and he knew that the verse in 1 John 1:9 is speaking to Believers - those who are already Saved - Born-again Christians.
For Brian, it felt so good to have his heart right with the Lord again!
The very next day, Brian showed up on his parents' doorstep.
When his mom and dad answered the door, the first thing they noticed was the big smile on their son's face. Then they noticed that he had his Bible in his hand. They could see that their son was finally 'back'. They grabbed him and hugged him. They held on to their son for more than just a few seconds that day, too.
Brian moved back in with his parents. Within a month's time, he had chosen a wonderful Christian College to enroll in. Brian was some years later to become one of the biggest soul-winning Evangelist Preachers of all time.
As Brian traveled around as an Evangelist to Preach at Church Revivals, one of his favorite Sermons was the one that became known as.....
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