With all the miles we travel to minister, I imagine the OPEC people must like us, as we sure give them a lot of business. Every time we plan a trip, we get out the map, and plot our course. And, if you happen to be a pilot, you know how important a compass is. Recently, while looking at a compass, I was inspired by the Holy Spirit. If you are flying across the country from San Francisco, California, and you want to land in Norfolk, Virginia, you would plot your course at 77 Degrees True North. However, if you are only a degree off in your heading, say, 76 Degrees True North, I’m sorry, but you won’t find Norfolk. You will be flying over Richmond Virginia, which is about 50.9 miles directly true North from where you aimed for. And when you get to the coastal area, you will find no airport there. So what’s just a degree off.  Well, if you happened to find a place where you could land the plane out there and had to take a taxi the rest of the way to Norfolk, you’d soon realize that just a degree off is a big thing. Now these figures may not be absolutely accurate, because I’m only giving a rough plot here. But they’re real close. You get the idea.
So what am I driving at? What does that have to do with Jesus? Well, for one thing, Jesus won’t lead you a degree off. He will get you to heaven if you will lay your course and stay on it. But there are some who will lead you a degree off, or maybe more. So what’s just a degree off amongst friends? Plenty, if you are the one who ends up finding out you missed the mark.
Friends, I want to see you make heaven. You want to make heaven. Jesus wants you to make heaven. His Father wants you to make heaven. BUT, there is one who doesn’t. And he’s going to do everything he can do to get you a degree off. Better yet, a whole bunch off. Maybe, if he tries hard enough, he may even succeed in getting you to go the opposite way, or not to make the journey at all. Who is that? The devil. Yeah, we all know he’s a bad dude, but do we really realize how intent he is on getting us off course? I don’t think so. Because if we did, we would be much more careful to watch our course and stay on it.
Listen, if you’re flying, you want your pilot to pay attention so you don’t end up in the Everglades when you’re expecting to go to New York, right? But this is one ride that you can’t depend on someone else. Why? Because you’re in the pilot’s seat. Now, I know that Jesus is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life, and no man comes to the Father, except by Him. But what if you get your eyes a degree off Jesus? Just a degree, mind you. One degree. Are you going to end up with the Father?
Well, if you leave the airport at San Francisco and go 1 block at 77 Degrees True North you will likely get to real close to the spot where you would arrive even if you headed from the airport at 76 Degrees True North because the distance was not far. One degree doesn’t matter much if you’re only going a few feet. But, you see, we’re not going just a few feet on our journey through life. And the farther we go, just a degree off, the farther we get from where we really want to end up. As we live the years of our lives the devil will strive to keep our course a degree off, knowing at the end of the journey, we will be miles off.

 None of us, being “born again” or saved, would fall for the devil telling us to go rob the local bank. We’re too sharp to fall for that one. Hey, we weren’t born under a rock. But I’m going to bring this home to you. How about if you go to the bank and they give you too much money in traveler’s checks for what you paid? Would you keep the difference and leave? Well, it was their mistake, right? That’s not the point. The point is, will you keep a true course, or will you let the devil get you a degree off? It’s only a degree, mind you, and besides, it was their mistake. And on the way home, you are driving 75 mph or so on a 70 mph highway. Hey, everyone’s passing me for Pete’s sake! Another degree off. Maybe you decide to call a friend long distance on your boss’s phone at work about your weekend plans. Big deal, everyone does it, right? Another degree off. Get the picture?
See how easy it is to compromise with God’s word that tells us to be a Holy people, separated unto God? And before you know it, you have wandered so far off course, and didn’t even notice you did it. It just kind of “sneaks up on you”, know what I mean? But had you checked your compass several times throughout the day, you would have noticed the error and been able to get back on course quickly.  This isn’t written to beat you up. I want you to get to heaven. And I know you do, too. This is to remind you that there is one who continually blows crosswinds to get you off course, who will mess with you daily to accomplish that. And he’s pretty good at it, too. After all, he’s been at it since the Garden of Eden. Don’t believe me? Look at all the times he has gotten you off course, and you didn’t even realize it until the damage was done.
Jesus said in John 10:10, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, but I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. Jesus warned us that there was one who was against us, and we need to take heed. Look at the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The story is in Luke 16:19-31:

Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
Luk 16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Luk 16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luk 16:23 And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Luk 16:25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Luk 16:26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Luk 16:27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
Luk 16:28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
Luk 16:29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Luk 16:30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.
Luk 16:31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

You see, the rich man could see Lazarus. He was within sight of where he wanted to be, but he had set his course just a degree off and didn’t end up where he wanted to go. Please, don’t let that happen to you. If you’ve gotten off course, and we all do from time to time, go to Jesus right now and ask Him to forgive you and restore you. He is quick to forgive and will get you right back on track.
Set your eyes upon Jesus,never let Him out of your sight, and you will stay on course. You’ll thank me someday for telling you…..