Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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My wife hates snakes! Okay, let's just get that out there. Her skin crawls almost at the mention of those critters. Of course, growing up in the Ozarks didn't exactly help her learn to appreciate them. And then there were the weeks she spent as a counselor at a camp deep in the woods. Oh, man, that really didn't help.

One night she and her girls were coming back to their cabin from the chapel after dark. Suddenly one of the girls yelled, "Snake!" My wife asked, "Hey, was anyone bitten?" And they all said, "No." But they were freaking out! Well, there was one girl who said, "Well, I stepped on the end of a stick and it hit me in the ankle and it kind of hurts." Immediately my wife said, "Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Let me take a look at that." And when she looked, she saw three blood marks evenly spaced.

Then my wife just said to everybody, "Be quiet." She could hear the slithering in the grass. And then it stopped, and then she heard the rattling. She cleared the area quickly. Then she ran to the kitchen, thinking there was a snake bite kit there. There was none. So, she grabbed a towel, ran back and tightly tied it as a tourniquet a few inches above the bite. The hospital was an hour away from the camp, and they said it was that tourniquet that made the difference. It stopped the poison from spreading and it saved that girl's life.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Human Tourniquets."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Numbers 12, beginning with verse 1. Let me tell you, God really does not like poison circulating in His body. That's His people. It says this, "Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses. At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, 'Come out to the tent of meeting all three of you.'" This doesn't sound good. "So the three of them came out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud. He stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. The anger of the Lord burned against them."

See, the Lord heard them criticizing. He heard the backstabbing. Moses didn't; God did. He heard the poison and it angered Him. And God still hears it today when you and I say it. He still feels the same way about it. God wants us to surgically remove all the stuff that produces poison between His people.

Listen to Colossians 3, beginning at verse 5. "Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature. You used to walk in these ways in the life you once lived, but now you must rid yourselves of all such things as anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." God says, "Get rid of all kinds of negative talk. Take out the garbage." There's way too much poison circulating through the body of Christ don't you think? I know God does.

Not enough people are there who are willing to be human tourniquets; people who will stop the poison from spreading to another person. It's okay to have frustrations with somebody as long as you take them straight to God and if necessary straight to that person. Everything else is sin and it angers God.

Right now, maybe there is inside you the beginnings of anger, some things you feel you need to confront; maybe your wounds or hurt. That's okay if you take it straight to God and then again straight to the person involved. But see, the poison starts to spread when we start to go to other people. We're criticizing. We're complaining. We're tearing down. Poison! And when there's poison on the loose, a tourniquet is desperately needed to stop it.

Will you be the one? Would you be the person where you are, where you live, where you work, where you go to church, who just simply refuses to listen to the poison talk; directing the poison-spreader to the person they should be talking to? God hates poison in His body. He loves the person who commits himself or herself to stopping the poison.