Albert on Deerfield Beach


A few days ago, I went walking on the sidewalk of Deerfield Beach. The Spirit within me was drawn to a man sitting by himself on the grassy hedge.  I walked over and sat down right next to him.  His name was Albert.  I asked him if he would mind me asking him a personal question.  He said that he didn’t mind. I asked Albert if he was to die tonight, where he thought he would spend eternity.  He just laughed and said, “I don’t know; you tell me.”  I then asked him, “Well, what do you think it takes to get to heaven?”  He, “Man, you tell me. What does it take to get to heaven?”  He continued, “I come out here all the time to sit – just sit – and think about my life.  You know, it’s no accident that you picked me out of everyone on this beach to come talk to. And here you come asking me these same questions that I’ve been asking myself.”

Albert is from Pompano Beach (about 15 mins south of Deerfield Beach), and he did tell me that he was confident in his salvation and his relationship with Jesus Christ (I really felt he did). Albert, however, struggles with drug addiction. Albert told me how long ago he would have to go searching for drugs, but now drugs come to him. Albert shared with me how, besides going to work,¬†he sits in his one-bedroom apartment all day watching sports and feeling lonely. We talked about the poor decisions that he was making, but he already knew that they weren’t the best.¬† Albert told me that if he received a knock on his apartment door, then he knew it to be only one of two things: 1) someone looking for drugs; or, 2) someone selling drugs. Albert joked and said, “I ain’t got no drugs, so I know it ain’t people coming to buy.¬† It’s just people coming to sell.”¬† Then in a serious tone of voice, he continued, “The problem is I know what they want, but why do I keep on opening the door? I ought to not open the door.”¬† As¬†Alber was telling me this, I got out my Bible and showed him a few verses.

1) I told Albert about the sacrifices of Cain and Abel.  I shared with Albert how the sacrifices of both Cain and Abel were of great quality, but how both men came to God on two different terms.  Abel came to God in humility and offered his sacrifice in thanksgiving, but Cain came to God in pride and offered his sacrifice with expectations for God. Cain, then, got mad that God didn’t accept his sacrifice.  Then, I showed Albert Genesis 4:6-7, “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.'”

I shared with Albert that in the Bible and besides the story of Job, we see Satan literally tempting seven times.¬† In other words, we have an actual record of Satan tempting in the Bible seven times. There were 3 times to Eve in the Garden, 3 times to Jesus in the wilderness, and 1 by Peter towards Jesus before Jesus offered himself to be crucified.¬† After Satan’s last temptation, Jesus speaks to Peter, “Get behind me Satan.” I reminded Albert that all seven temptations were in the form of a question – they were not commands. I told Albert that as a Christian, Satan has no power over you; he cannot command you to do anything. Satan can only pose the question.¬† For instance, “Hey Albert, do you wanna hang out with us tonight?” or “Hey man, you want some of this?” or as you’re flipping channels “Hey, you know you wanna watch this.”¬† It’s amazing how our thumbs and remote controls work so well until we find something that we shouldn’t be watching, then suddenly our thumbs and remotes seem broken.¬† We laughed together. Albert said, “Man you know what I mean? I know I shouldn’t be watching that stuff, but somehow I just end up on it. I don’t even¬†want¬†to watch it, but something in me just makes me watch it.” We, as Christians, have the power to overcome temptation; Satan has no power over us – just questions.

2) I next shared with Albert how as Christians, it is so easy to be superficial; it’s so easy to have happy faces and pretend like life is okay.¬† What’s worse is many churches, with the “gospel” they preach, encourage it; these churches preach to forget our sin and be happy.¬†“Forget sin and focus on blessings.”¬†But that’s not what the Bible teaches at all.¬† I took Albert to James and showed him 4:7-10,¬†“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.”

I told Albert that he has a choice.¬† He doesn’t have to answer the door, he doesn’t have to choose to do drugs, he doesn’t have to watch tv shows that are filthy; he has many opportunities to choose.¬† I urged Albert to submit to God and then resist the devil.¬† I told Albert that scripture is very clear that Satan will flee.¬† I told him that he had to stop trying to control his life and submit to God’s authority.¬† Albert confessed that he was trying to control his life.¬† Albert started speaking portions of these verses over and over to himself.

He also shared with me how he tries to come out to the beach once a week to listen and watch the waves in order to clear his mind and find peace. I shared some more with Albert…

1) There’s a certain popular praise song that quotes a portion of Psalms and sings, “…mountains bow down and the seas will roar at the sound of your name…” I told Albert that I moved down here from Knoxville, TN.¬† While I was attending Carson-Newman, I’d go out to the football stadium to have my quiet times.¬† I loved going to the top of the stadium and looking out across the East Tennessee Smokey Mountains. I would frequently think of this song as I looked at the mountains.¬† I always loved how majestic, how powerful, how beautiful they looked.¬† Then I would see them through the eyes of the Psalmist and see that they were constantly bowing before their creator.¬† I told Albert that if those mountains looked majestic, powerful, awesome, and beautiful while they were bowing down to God and if these waves were speaking that same message as they roared up onto the shore, then how beautiful we must look when we humbly bow before our King.

2) I also told Albert the story of the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well. I shared how Jesus asked for a drink and the woman wondered why he was asking her.¬† Jesus replied, “If you knew who was asking, you’d ask me for a drink.”¬† To which the woman asked, “How will you offer me water?¬† The well is deep and you have nothing to draw with.”¬† Jesus answered, “You will always have to return for this water, but if you drink of the water I offer you will never thirst again.”¬† Albert remembered the story.¬† I told him, that he can keep coming out to the beach looking for peace and he might get his fill for the week, but if he would only find his peace in Jesus Christ, then he would never thirst for it again.

3) Thirdly, I told Albert maybe you came out here today looking for peace.  But, instead, today, peace came looking for you.  Albert agreed and said, “I told you earlier that it was no accident that you came over to me today.”

Albert then asked, how do keep from falling into this mess?  I answered with two suggestions:

1) “Submit to Christ.  Long ago, you might have relied on the Salvation he offers – I don’t doubt that – but, is He the Lord of your life?  If I took a $50 bill and ripped it in half and gave half of it to you, how much would it be worth?”  Albert answered, “Nothing.”  I said, “The same thing applies to the Lordship and Salvation of Christ.  You cannot have one without the other.  Christ demands to be both Lord and Savior.”

2) I then took him to Psalm 119:9-11.¬†“How can a young man keep his way pure?”¬†“Albert,” I asked, “isn’t that the question you just asked me?” He nodded his head.¬† I continued,¬†“By living according to your word. I seek you will all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”¬†I told Albert that the writer in Psalms knew that he wasn’t going to be perfect, but he hid as much of God’s word in his heart so that he¬†might¬†not sin against God.¬† By memorizing Scripture, you can defend yourself against Satan’s temptations.¬† I encouraged Albert to use some of the Scripture that he was repeating earlier.¬† I asked him if he had a Bible at home.¬† He said that he did.¬† I encouraged him to read it and start memorizing Scripture.

We talked for about an hour that day; it was a powerful opportunity to love and encourage someone.¬† You never know when and how you will make a difference.¬† I encourage you to make a difference in someone’s life today. You don’t have to have all the answers; you don’t have to have tons of scripture memorized (all though it does give the Spirit more scripture to pull from);¬†all you really have to have is the love of Jesus Christ.


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