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Hitting It Big

By Pastor Phillip Howell
web posted October 8, 2013

RELIGION – I am not a lottery player. The odds just seem too far-fetched for me to even care. I can, however, understand the rational of those who play the lottery. I mean you pay a few bucks and you have the thrill of wondering will your life be forever changed by hitting it big. Most players only experience the lows of the loss of a few bucks (a few bucks that adds to a bunch of wasted money after awhile) and never have the thrill of hitting it big.
I was reading this week in World Magazine about an amazingly honest cashier in Spain.  A cashier by the name of Manuel Reija found a lost lottery ticket on the counter of his convenience store and out of curiosity checked the numbers and discovered it was a winner. A big winner, to the tune of 6.3 million dollars!  This ticket was in his possession and so was the money!
He said of the experience that “I was standing up, but I had to sit down. I almost broke the chair, I was so flustered.” Listen to what he does, rather than pocketing the ticket, Reija turned the lost ticket in to authorities. He could have kept the money free and clear, but his conscience would not allow him to do so! The city actually began an advertising campaign to try to find the buyer of the ticket. Should they fail to authenticate the ticket’s actual purchaser within two years of its purchase date; the lottery authority will give Reija the $6.3 million jackpot. This time next year he will know whether or not the owner of the ticker comes forward.
So what would you do? The cashier did nothing wrong. He did not steal the ticket. The person who bought the ticket seems to have simply misplaced it and did not even look for it. The cashier simply found it. Could we fault him for pocketing the money? No, provided he used it for good. But he could not take the money because of his conscience.
How about your conscience?  And what do we mean when we speak of a conscience? Simply stated, it is the faculty of our inner being by which we judge what is right and wrong, or make value judgments. It operates on information that we accept as authoritative, coming from an authority that we acknowledge has the right to tell us what is right and what is wrong. All people have a conscience.  If one functions properly it can help lead a person to God to find forgiveness. But now a day’s consciences seemed to be largely ignored.
Christians should desire to have a working conscience. The apostle Paul warned, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron" (1 Timothy 4:1–2).

I heard a story about a man who went to see the doctor with two severely burned ears. The doctor said, "You have to tell me—how did this happen?" The man said, "Let me explain. I was ironing a shirt when someone called me on the phone, and I answered the iron instead of the phone." "That is horrible!" the doctor said. "That explains one of your ears being burned. How did you burn the other?" "They called back."

We don't want our consciences to be seared. We want them to be sensitive and open to the work of the Holy Spirit. We want to feel conviction. Think about it: do you want your smoke alarms in your home sensitive to smoke or require some major smoke to go off? While it may be inconvenient to have a smoke alarm go off every time you are in the kitchen, but if your home is on fire every second is life or death for you or your family.

So do yourself a favor and pray this prayer with the psalmist David: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23–24). We all overlook certain sins and flaws to our own detriment, the act of doing this sears the conscience and we need to bring back feeling and conviction to our lives.
Be reassured any new sin or sins you may become aware of can be forgiven. 1 John 1:8-10 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  (9)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (10)  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

Thinking I Might Be Six Million Richer Had I Found That Ticket (and yes I would hook you up too!)
Pastor Phillip


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