In 1906, shortly after the great earthquake struck San Francisco, I was hired to work as a Sentry in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles police needed extra help to watch the hundreds of people who were flocking to the Azusa Street apostolic church—where the modern outpouring of the Holy Spirit began in America. At the time for me, I desperately needed a job and the police desperately needed someone to help out; so the arrangement was a mutual benefit. It was a 2nd shift position; and most of the men who applied for the job had families, and wanted to be home with their families at night. I was single at the time, so shift work did not matter to me.
We found out later that people all over the United States were praying for us in California; some put feet on their prayers and showed up to help with the clean up and re-building efforts in San Francisco; others showed up in Los Angeles to witness the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
I didn’t understand all the “spiritual stuff”; I did my job to the best of my ability and kept naysayers at bay and performed basic crowd controls duties. What amazed me in my first week on the job was the fact that those people never stopped: they had meetings every night.
I didn’t mind the overtime, but oh, I sure went home tired!
One night in the middle of summer, there was a particularly loud move of the Holy Spirit. People were being filled with the Holy Spirit inside the church building and outside. It was so loud I covered my ears. Then, a small boy—a young lad about 6 years old—tapped me on my right leg. “Mister, what’s wrong?”
Immediately, I uncovered my ears, and squatted down. I looked the young lad in the eyes and said, “Oh, there’s nothing wrong.”
“Raise your hands, like this!” He showed me how.
“Like this?” I raised my hands.
“Yes! Now look up and thank Jesus for dying for you.”
I did what he suggested. I didn’t understand it. Tears started falling down my face on dropping onto my uniform like water dripping after a summer soaker.
I am crying even now as I write to you.
“That’s it!” The young boy skipped away toward his mother.
After a few moments, I tuned out the young lad and was soon speaking and shouting in tongues.
Centuries come and go, but the Word of God never changes. We know just from living our day-to-day lives that things and people and processes in this world are constantly changing: We make plans, and the plans change. Let’s take a look at three scriptures from the New King James Version:
Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.
Dominion refers to who is ruling your life. Choose to allow Jesus to be the King of your life.
A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
See that? We make our plans, but plans can and do change, because the Lord Himself is directing our steps. How many of us made plans yesterday that had to be changed? There’s a reason for that.
O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
If we follow our heart’s desires—code words for our fleshly lusts—we will be led astray from the path the Lord wants to lead us on.
The man in our story today was hired to be a sentry. In the Bible, “watch men” guarded cities and important sites all throughout history. We witnessed the “turn” of the sentry as he repented. Every Christian is a sentry: we are the guardians of our souls. Check it out:
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Finally, a warning:
Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
1 Peter 4:7
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.
Lord, like the Sentry, help me to repent and turn to You every day. I need You every moment today—starting from this moment. I love You.
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