"I love you, Jesus," the monotone saying came out of his mouth. They were words that he said systematically. They meant nothing to him. They were words he used to impress all of the real Christians; surely he was not one of them.
But one thing he was; he was a deceiver. He was a filthy rich deceiver. He owned four cars, a mansion, a few rising stocks, and what he called 'his Baby', the largest car dealer's business in the city.
His name was Jake. He was very young for all his successes. Though he sounds of a man of at least thirty, he was nineteen.
Many successes had come to him. But he had not come near to God. He was at one time a Christian, but when God opened these opportunities to him, he became a backslider. The thing is that he fooled everyone around him. "God is such an old god that he can't tell I'm fooling him, too," he thought to himself as he pretended to lift his hands to the so believed and so-called God.
The next morning, Jake awoke to a beautiful sunrise. "This will be a very nice day," he said to no one in particular. No one answered back.
Why? He lived alone. When he got the dealer's job at the lot and the mansion offer, he neglected his family's offer to stay at his old family homestead. Then when the promotion to a dealership came up, well, he hadn't spoken a word to them for at least three or four years.
He finished staring at the sunrise and took a shower and got dressed. He ate his breakfast and watched the morning news.
What was he missing? Perhaps a regular morning Bible study and morning prayer routine? No. He only had to do that when someone was staying at his house. Here no one could see his lifestyle. Besides, he only had to act like a Christian in front of people, right?
He took his convertible and left for work. The ride was awesome. This view was breathtaking! All in the same, it was the best day of this year.
When he got to work and sat down at his desk, his secretary walked in and said, "Sir, our most money spending clients are on the phone and they want to speak to you. They said they are pulling out of the business."
"What!" Jake jumped out of his chair and held his hands as if to say why.
"Yeah," she answered, "they said they got a better deal with someone else." "Get them on the phone!" He practically screamed at her.
"Yes, sir," she hurried out of the room.
"Yes," a voice came on the phone almost immediately after she dashed out of the office, "what can I do for you?"
"Can you help me? Oh, I'm quite sure you can. You see, I have this big company and I believe you were buying off of us when you suddenly just decided to drop us. Now, I want a reasonable explanation, remember, reasonable explanation, if there is one, why you just decided to drop us like that!" Jake was turning into a mad man.
The man's voice answered back, "First of all, you should calm down. I can heWyou if you just speak to me. I don't need the extra boom box. Second of all, the reason is simple. We found a same quality car that cost us a lot less money to buy. I suggest you analyze your business before using that tone of voice with me. I can't see why you guys are the biggest dealership in that city." Then silence as the man was heard hanging the phone up.
Jake slammed down the receiver. Then he sat down and tried to calm his nerves and his attitude. Then, he got up and left his office.
He went outside his door and walked over to his secretary's desk. Her name was Jackie. He asked her if she would come into his office for a few minutes. "Sure. I don't see why not, " she sounded just a bit scared.
Once in Jake's office, he started to apologize to her. "Sorry for the way I screamed at you. It's just that this corporation was our biggest buyer. We will lose a lot of money now that they are gone.
"It's 0. K.," she answered, "I wasn't really mad at you anyway. I understand what it is like to lose a major buyer.
"I'm just not a violent person," he said to no one in particular, "I guess I just didn't want to ruin such a fine day with that terrible news." Again, he apologized. She accepted it and left the room.
Jake returned to his house later in the evening at about 3:00. He watched some television and then cooked and ate his dinner. He sat down in his huge luxury chair and watched the 5:00 news.
Knock. Knock. Knock. Someone was at the door. Jake got out of his comfortable chair and went to answer the door.
There was a man standing in the doorway dressed in a black suit. He looked to be some kind of government agent. He asked, "Is this the residence of a Mr. Jake Stadent?"
Yes," Jake answered, "I am Jake. What can I do for you?"
First of all, may I come in?" the man sounded urgent. He sounded professional. Jake hoped he wasn't in trouble.
"I Guess," Jake answered and let him in. The man came in and sat on Jake's couch as he closed the door and sat down in the chair he was sifting in before. "What is your name and why may I ask are you here?" Jake interrogated the man.
"My name is Micheal Delanney. I work for the House Appraising Committee. I called you this morning and I got your answering machine. I left a message on it saying I would be here at 5:00 and I was coming to check out your house. This is an annual operation."
Oh. I'm so sorry. I haven't checked my messages yet," Jake had just remembered why he hadn't checked them. He was still clearing his head from the incident at the office. "Well, go right ahead. I'm sure you can find what you are looking for. If you need any help, I'm in the kitchen."
"Thank you." The man left the room and went upstairs. Jake was working on his job detail sheet in the kitchen when the man came back downstairs and had entered the kitchen.
"Well? What do you think?" Jake asked.
" There's only one problem with the whole house, Mr. Stadent," answered the man. Then his face grew grim. "One big problem."
"Jake's voice sounded a little hoarse, "What's that?"
"Every wall, ceiling, roof, and board of this house can't withstand much more weight. It's all just too old. You will be evicted if this house is no better when I return in three days," the man left without another word.
"Thanks, I think," Jake said as the man walked out the door. He didn't have much time before he would go homeless, Three days. Three days to come up with his life savings to get someone to fix this old house. He couldn't believe it wasn't up to code.
The phone rang and interrupted his train of thought. "Hello?" He answered the phone.
"Hello, Mr. Staken," Jake immediately recognized the voice of his secretary. "Sir, it's time to yell again"
What's wrong?" He asked.
"Well, I just received a fax from Mr. Jones." Mr. Jones was Jake's boss. He owned the dealer's lot. He was also notorious for enjoying firing people.
"Oh, no," Jake's heart sank.
"Oh, yes," she spoke the words he didn't want to hear. "Sir, he just fired you."
"Thanks. I won't be coming in to clean out my desk for a few days. Jake hung the phone up in dismay. "Why me?," he asked, looking toward the ceiling.
He looked outside. It was pouring down rain and he listened to the thunder. Today started out perfectly both for the day and for him. Now, it had turned completely up-side-down. The phone rang again. "Here goes my chance of getting this house up-todate," Jake said with sarcasm. The thing is-He was right.
"Hello?" he asked as he picked up the phone receiver.
"Hello. Is this Mr. Staken?" asked a young woman's voice.
"Sir, this is the National Bank of the United States. We checked your stocks. They are in the negative numbers. This means that we had-to use the rest of your money to pay off all of the debts."
"You did that without my permission?" Jake asked.
"Sir, we called you yesterday and gave you the terms for this settlement. Also, you have been ejected from this bank for failure to have enough money to to have an account." The phone made that noise he didn't want to hear. It was the sound of someone hanging up.
"No! This can't happen to me. I have nothing. Nothing! No money. No house. No job. What am I going to do?" Jake sat down. He put his face in his hands and he began to cry. It was gone. Everything he had was gone. He worked so hard. He had done so much. He built a dealership all by himself. All these things he had, they were because of him, right?
It was Wednesday. Jake had spent yesterday trying to convince his family to help him. No one would. He was alone. There was no one but him. Church started. He got up and did his normal routine. You know, pretend you're a real Christian. After Worship, the offering was collected. He had nothing to give. Not even a cent.
"Good Evening!" the pastor stood at the pulpit. "Boy, have I got a message for all of us." Jake sat in his seat bracing for what the pastor was going to say next. "My sermon," the pastor continued, "is entitled 'Huh?'."
The pastor's message was meant just for Jake. Pastor talked about backsliding, losing it all, and getting it back.
What? You can't lose everything and regain it. He was wrong. The message said that if you lose all of your material blessings from God by sinning, and you have rejected God, you can't get all of your material blessings back.
What, then, is there to regain? A lot. Pastor said next that the things you can regain is your faith and your love for God. Sometimes, God puts us through a lot to get us to stop saying 'huh' and start saying 'Yes, Lord'.
"But where does the 'huh' part come in," Jake thought.
"So why did I entitle today's message 'huh?" the pastor must have been able to read Jake's mind. "The 'huh' comes in now. Did you know that you need faith with doctrine? There are some of us this evening who know the Bible backwards. Let alone forwards. But we don't have faith. We are weak within ourselves."
"There are others who only know John 3:16, W they have faith. They are so strong. How can this be?" the pastor was coming to his point. "These strong ones don't need religion or anything e4se. They have God, who prepares for his servants what they need."
"The weak ones, however, hide behind religion. They need rel-ig:ion. It's their shield. Well, my weak brothers, I am here to tell you that God is all you need. God is your shield!"
Something came over Jake. It was something Jake remembered from when he was a real Christian. It was the Holy Spirit. At that minute, the power of God stripped him of all of the power in his body. He couldn't move. He saw a golden hand on his chest. It was keeping him from moving away from the other golden hand coming down from above him.
It wrote one word in front of him. The word he knew described his life. The word was "Weakling". Then both hands disappeared and his body regained all of its lost energy. The pastor was giving the altar call for those he described in his message. Jake jumped up from his seat. He ran as fast as he could to the altar. Now, he really didn't care who saw him.
He accepted Jesus into his heart and stressed "forever" and "truly". "Jesus, you were always there. I didn't do anything by myself. You are God Almighty! I will truly love, seek, and serve you forever."
When Jake got home, his whole family was there. His dad walked up to him. "Son, we saw what happened in church this morning. We all believe that God has turned you around and you have come back to Him. We just want to say that we are sorry for all of our bitterness and rudeness toward you."
"Thanks, Dad," Jake's life was beginning to turn around. First Jesus accepted him and now his family also did.
Later his brother came over to him. "Listen, Jake, I know you lost your job so I was talking to a friend of mine and he's Wiling to pay a good amount of money for someone like you.
"Thanks. I'll take it!" Joe was having a good turnout. Not by Jake's will, but by God's.