Truths To Live By
by David J. Stewart | April 2003
1) Ashamed of Jesus? (Romans 10:11)
Thought - You can count on Jesus!
Peter was ashamed of Jesus and yet he was a true believer. How could this be? This particular Scripture is an Old Testament quote from Isaiah 28:16 which reads "...he that believeth shall not make haste." To "make haste" means "to run away" (as in shame to hide). Many folks misunderstand Romans 10:11. It simply means that if we trust upon Jesus Christ for salvation, He will not let us down (i.e., we will not be ashamed of our faith, because Jesus will NOT fail us). Jesus NEVER fails!
2) Don't live with anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7)
Thought - Don't worry, take everything to the Lord in prayer!
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." What a beautiful promise! The Greek word for "Careful" means "anxious" (stress, anxiety). We are to be stressed out over NOTHING! We must take our burdens to the Lord, cast them upon Him in prayer (1st Peter 5:7), and then forget about them (because they are God's problems now). Do you best and pray about the rest? Is this what the Bible teaches? No, we are to pray about EVERYTHING as we just read in Philippians 4:6. "Casting ALL your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1st Peter 5:7)
3) In everything give thanks (1st Thessalonians 5:18)
Thought - God commands us to be thankful "IN" all things, not necessarily "FOR" all things.
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." As believers, we must learn to be thankful at all times. Though dark days may overshadow our life, being thankful to God is a key ingredient to our happiness. Notice in Romans 1:21 that being unthankful to God is one of the first steps downward in a person's life. We don't have to be thankful for the trials (problems) in our life; however, the mature believer rejoices in those trials (as Paul and Silas did - Acts 16:25), because he or she understands that they will eventually make us more mature in the Lord (James 1:2-4). "IN" all things gives thanks!
4) God controls the king's heart (Proverb 21:1)
Thought - God ultimately controls the governments of this world!
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." (Proverb 21:1). God is still on His throne and He is in full control of the universe! God causes the rulers of earth to do His will. A wonderful example of this is found in Luke 2:1, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." It's hilarious to me that Caesar wanted to tax the "whole world" (every politician's dream). Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth. However, Micah 5:2 prophesied that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem. How was this to happen? God caused Caesar to send forth a decree. Caesar had no idea whatsoever that God was working through him to accomplish His divine will. So be comforted, God's in full control. God permits and allows, but more than anything - He rules!
5) Our mouth gets us into trouble (Proverb 13:3)
Thought - Learn to keep your mouth shut!
It appears that many people learn this truth the hard way, and some never do. "He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction." (Proverb 13:3). Many people have lost their jobs, ended up in jail, some even murdered simple because of their foolish mouth. James gives us strict warning concerning the deadliness of the tongue (James 3:3-10). Proverb 17:28 tells us that even a fool can be considered wise if he or she will just keep quiet! A fool is known by his MANY WORDS - "A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards" (Proverb 29:11). You know, God gave us one mouth and two ears for a good reason - To teach us that we should listen twice as much as we talk.
6) Speaking with graceful words (Colossians 4:6)
Thought - When you do open your mouth, be very careful how you talk to people!
"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." (Colossians 4:6). The key to understanding verse 6 is to look back at verse 5 - "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. God is concerned about soul-winning (getting people saved). We are not going to be very successful at winning someone over to the Lord Jesus Christ if we have a perverted, foolish or unkind mouth. "The Greek word for "grace" means "pleasant, that which affords joy, delight, charm." In other words, do people enjoy talking to you? Do they walk away feeling encouraged?
Or do you try to force your beliefs upon them. You know, I had an unsaved Catholic man tell me this week at work that he can't stand religious people who try to force their religion upon him. He thanked me for not being like that, then he asked me what it meant to be born-again. By me not forcing the issue, he knew that I respected him. For over one year now, he has seen the small Bible verse (John 3:16) taped on my toolbox. That is one way of witnessing to my co-workers - and believe me - they all know John 3:16 is there! Let's go back to "seasoning." Do you know what salt does? It makes people thirsty!
But not too much! Question - would you like to eat a 100% salt sandwich? Of course not! Paul is saying that our words should be such that we lightly "SEASON" our conversation with the truths of God's Word. By sparingly and wisely inserting the Word of God at the appropriate times into our conversations, we can win people to Christ. But remember, too much seasoning tastes horrible and will ruin the meal (drive people away). Season your conversations with truth, but not so much truth that people don't enjoy talking to you anymore because your rude, overbearing or disrespectful. If someone doesn't want to hear what I have to say, then I can only pray for them.
7) Heathen unsaved people do pray (Matthew 6:7)
Thought - Don't pray like the heathen pray!
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking" (Matthew 6:7). This to me is a remarkable Scripture! It's hard to imagine heathens praying. The "heathens" are those people who know not the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour. If you are not born-again, you are a "heathen." How do the heathen pray? - they use vain repetitions and much speaking!
They think (Proverb 14:12; 16:25) that they will be heard, but they will not. Look at verse 8 - "Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." The word "knoweth" means "to stare upon." In other words, God knows our needs 24/7. God never sleeps. Nothing ever "occurs" to God. God is never surprised - He knows all. God does NOT want us to pray like the heathen! We are to simply ask God for our needs and cast our burdens upon Him. What God DOES want is for us to spend much time in heart-to-heart fellowship with Him (i.e., a genuine, loving and intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit Who lives within our mortal bodies).
Of course, Jesus and the Father dwell within every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit (John 14:23).` If you ever watch someone pray at a White House prayer, they always read the prayer off a sheet. This is how the heathen pray. The Catholics have many prayer books to recite out of - This is heathen!
8) The world is becoming a cold place to live (Matthew 24:12)
Thought - Don't take offenses personally, Jesus said people would become cold!
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Matthew 24:12). We are living in a wicked day where injustice "abounds" (it's everywhere) - a day when men and women are lovers of pleasures, more than lovers of God (2nd Timothy 3:4). "Iniquity" means "the condition of without law." In other words, there is injustice everywhere. Nothing is more unjust than what Enron did to it's employees - cheated them out of their pensions and life savings. What's worse, the government let them get away with it - every executive involved should have went to prison, but they didn't. Perhaps it's because Enron Execs donated so much money to the political coffers of many Washington politicians. Sure it was! You see - Injustice!
Ridiculous lawsuits are occurring like a flood of rain and white-collar crime is running rampant. Kangaroo courts are the norm and judges can't be trusted. Much of what we call "justice" nowadays is no justice at all. If the scales of justice aren't balanced, there is no justice! (e.g., many states made a killing sharing the filthy lucre made by the cigarette companies, but what did the VICTIMS get - cancer and death!). There is a growing spirit of apathy and indifference in America because of the abundance of corporate corruption and injustice.
As believers, we must be understanding as to why so many people are cold-hearted nowadays - because of injustice, crime and corruption! It's NOT the sin that's upsetting people, it's the fact that so many criminals are getting away with it - LEGALLY! So let that impatient car pass you on the roadway - don't honk your horn at others in anger - be patient with employees in the store - relax!
We're living in PERILOUS TIMES (2nd Timothy 3:1-7) and must be wiser than the rude, insulting, hot-headed, frustrated, angry and foolish people that so often cross our daily path. They're not angry at you directly, they're just angry - period! With all the horrible things going on in the world today, I don't expect people to be happy. Whether it be taxes, war, scandals, lawsuits, crime or personal problems - Sin (iniquity) is the culprit!
9) Labour not to be rich (Proverb 23:4)
Thought - Work to live, don't live to work!
I've seen many people error from the faith because of a love for money. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.(1st Timothy 6:10). I knew one young Christian man who got caught up in selling life-insurance for a pyramid type company. I recall he dropped out of church. I've often noticed that money-hungry people try to recruit door-to-door soul-winners in hopes of becoming rich. I had an older man years ago who tried several times to get me involved with Amway. I declined every time. He just wanted to make money. We have a command in Proverb 23:4 not to work to get rich. "Getting rich" is a sinful goal.
Our goal should be to please God! If we work hard and riches do come, then we are commanded not to set our heart upon them (Psalm 64:10). I do not work overtime! I surely could use the money, but I prefer to spend that time with my family at home. I have many bills just like everyone else, but I refuse to live to work. I used to work all the overtime I possibly could, the bills still came and I had no life. I eventually let go of the money, realizing that life is too short to live for money. I've not worked overtime in many years and I am much happier, despite the many bills. Also, I do not buy stocks anymore. I used to live the stock market.
I bought stocks, options, etc. I was very unhappy back then, always worried about my securities. You know, I haven't bought a stock in years and am much happier now. I don't need the money, I have God - "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Wow! That settles it doesn't it! God says, "You have Me, that's all you need!" Thankfully, I have Jesus in my heart and He is all that I need.