Blessing Through The Battle
Is it possible that you can be a blessing to people who disagree with you violently and who wish you not well but ill?
And hello radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that little corny greeting establishes the fact that it’s your friend, Dr. Cook, and you’ll remember that the origin of the greeting is that we’re in the world but not of it. Our Lord Jesus prayed, “I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil.” You and I can be kept from the smear and the dirt and the defilement of a sinful world although we live in it on our way to the glory land.
Thank God that He keeps us, aren’t you glad? Well, look with me again at Romans 15:29. Just to finish up our thought about being a blessing. To be a blessing in your family means come downstairs to breakfast already blessed yourself. If you come down like an accident going somewhere to happen, you can’t expect to bless others. Bring the power of Christ into everyday crisis like burning the toast or tipping over a glass of milk on to father’s best gray suit or whatever it may be — bring the grace of God and the blessing of God into everyday matters in your home.
Bring God’s blessing into family conclaves like who’s going to have the car tonight. We fight and squabble about things in a family setting which a million years hence are going to look ridiculous. Why not look at things from the point of view of eternity and bring the grace of God to bear on things that would be frustrating, otherwise. Good idea? To bless your family means to be sincere and real and non-phony in your praying and in your religious life yourself. There is an influence that you and I exert on other people when we are real with God ourselves.
That was about where we left off the last time we got together. Then I wanted to remind you it is up to you and me to set the spiritual pace in the family. If you think that it’s a good thing to go to Sunday school, maybe you ought to go and bring the children rather than sending them. If you think that it’s a good thing to honor God with a tenth of your income, take 10% off the top of your pay check and give it to God, then you ought to do that rather than encouraging giving of the nickels and dimes by the small fry while holding out on God yourself. Good idea?
If you believe in praying about things theoretically at least, you believe God answers prayer, then bring your praying into the matters that concern your family. The old car is wearing out; pray about getting another one or your suit is wearing out. I’ve been through that, haven’t you? Your suit is wearing out and you need another one. Or there are payments due on the house and you don’t quite know how you’re going to make the budget stretch to meet those various obligations. How about taking that to God in prayer and then thanking Him for the answer when it arrives?
You will help to build faith in the lives of your children and other members of the family circle who live within your household; you will help to build faith in the lives of others by exercising it yourself. Do you believe that it is a good idea to witness for your Savior and to win people to Christ? Of course, you do. Why not take junior with you some night when you go calling? There is something reassuring about the sight of a grownup who has a child with him. When you go to the door of a person who doesn’t know you and you’re there to make a call on behalf of the first church of I-Will-Arise or whatever church you go to, you’ll be surprised at how much more promptly people will let you in if you’re there with a small child.
There is a certain amount of confidence that is engendered. And in the process, junior is going to get an experience he will never forget. Now, I can tell you this from my own life story. My father would very frequently take his boy with him on a Sunday afternoon when he went out to deliver Sunday school papers to people who had been absent from Sunday school that morning. And I would ride along with him sometimes covering as many as 15 or 20 miles on a Sunday afternoon on our bicycles and go with him to these various homes where he delivered the Sunday school papers and checked up on the absentees to find out whether or not they had been sick or just playing hooky and he would drop a few words of blessing at each place.
You know, yours truly had to be impressed by that and I was. To this day I remember the fact that I was brought along in a process that had a combination of neighborliness and concern and spiritual life and power all mixed up together on a Sunday afternoon. So if you want to be a blessing to your family, include them in your spiritual life activities. They’re not too young to learn to pray with someone. Bob Pierce was led to Christ by a playmate and a little Sunday school teacher who helped along and then he in turn, I’m told, led his little boy friend who came next door on Thursdays to be with his grandmother and would come over to Bob Pierce’s home to play.
He, in turn, then led this other little neighbor boy to the Lord. As a matter of fact, I remember now the story that Bob Pierce used to tell. He was in the house next door and they were playing and suddenly this little boy said to him, “You’re different.” Well, Bob said he knew he was different because the week before he’d lost his temper and tried to hit the little boy with a 2 x 4. And he was different in that way this week. But the little boy said, “No, you’re different.” And he said, “I saw you out on the street corner on Saturday night.” The Sunday school teacher had gotten these boys busy witnessing for the Lord right away and so Bob Pierce was out there standing on a soapbox in Los Angeles on a street corner as a little boy of 10 or 12 or whatever it was giving his testimony to the crowd.
And this little neighbor boy said, “I saw you. What were you talking about?” He said, “Well, I was telling them I got saved.” “How do you get saved?” He said, “Well, I prayed and asked Jesus to come into my heart.” And so the little neighbor boy said. “Could I get saved, too?” He said, “Well, you’d have to go to church, I guess.” He said, “I can’t go to church. I’m only here on Thursdays.” “Well,” Bob Pierce said, “You have to ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your heart.” And so the two of them knelt there under the dining room table and they were right in the middle of their little prayer meeting when the grandmother came in and saw these two boys scrunched down there underneath the dining room table and she said suspiciously, “What are you boys doing down there?”
And the little neighbor boy looked up and said, “Grandma, I’m getting saved.” And she went and walked on out. And so he gave his heart to Jesus there. Today he is a minister. Bob Pierce, of course, is with the Lord having been taken by leukemia I guess three or four years ago now, isn’t it? But there is a little child who learned early in life that you can be a blessing to others. So take junior along with you when you’re making some calls or when you’re leading somebody to the Lord. He’ll never forget it. It will make an impact upon his life. You will have been a blessing. You can be a blessing in your family by refusing to cut corners and by insisting on doing things in a way that will honor the Lord. Always in family life as well as in business life there are occasions when you have your choice as to whether to cut corners and be just a little bit dishonest, be guilty of a little bit of sharp practice or whether to be straight and square about it.
Now, children aren’t always organized in their perceptions but they’re exceedingly acute and sharp. And so junior and his sister can observe when you have opportunity to trim and instead you say “Let’s do the right thing.” You can be a blessing to your family by setting the pace spiritually, by involving them in spiritual matters, and by patterning for them what it means to be a Christian. Good idea to bless your family. And I suppose when it comes down to it, not only to live for Christ but show them, when you get to the end of the line, how to die victoriously for your Lord’s glory. I often wondered how my father would face the end of his life.
He was sitting in his old rocker one day holding his Bible to his heart. He talked to it sometimes and as I tiptoed up the stairs on this occasion, I heard him talking to his old Thompson-Chain Reference Bible as he clasped it tightly to his heart and said, “Old book, I sure love you. Can’t seem to read you anymore but I sure love you.” And then I must have shifted my weight and the floor creaked and he turned his sightless eyes in my direction and said, “Is that you, boy?” And I said, “Yeah, it’s me, pop.” And he went on talking. He said, “I’ve just been sitting here, sort of loving the Word of God.” He said, “You know, one of these days, my boy, they’re going to tell you Charlie Cook has died. Don’t you believe it. Why,” he said, “I’ll have a brand-new pair of eyes.” And he said, “I’m going to walk down those golden streets with your mother and we’re going to sing together the song we sang 10 days before she left us.”
I guess they’d sung a duet in Sunday school and they’d used Fanny Crosby’s song “I shall know Him, I shall know Him by the print of the nails in His hand.” He said, “We’re going to sing that song that we sang together. Oh!” he said, “Don’t you believe it when they tell you Charlie Cook is dead. I’ll be very much alive.” Well, I guess so. By this time, he’s got the angels organized, I’m sure. Oh, brother. That’s the way to live to be a blessing. Though he had his faults just like all the rest of us and as a grown man I could see them very clearly but beyond and around and underneath all of that I saw the picture of a person who loved Jesus Christ with all his heart and who had long since settled the fact that to depart from this life is to be with Christ, as Paul said, which is very far better.
Now, Paul says in Romans 12:14 something that our Lord Jesus already had said back in the Beatitudes, “Bless them that curse you, persecutes you; bless and curse not,” said Paul. And our Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and shall persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven.” We come now then in these last few seconds of this broadcast to a consideration of your attitude and mine concerning our critics and our enemies.
Is it possible that you can be a blessing to people who disagree with you violently and who wish you not well but ill? The answer is a resounding yes. It’s pretty hard to fight with somebody who holds out his hand and says “God bless you. I love you.” Pretty hard to fight with a person like that even though you may disagree with him or her. And the love of the Holy Spirit is called the bond of perfectness. You and I are perfect in Christ but we don’t appear that way and the thing that holds us together, instead of allowing us to fly apart from centrifugal force just to splinter out and fly apart but keeps us together as the body of Christ is the love of the Holy Spirit shed abroad in our hearts. And so you can be a blessing even to your critics and to your enemies by expressing the love of God to them. “Bless them that persecutes you; bless and curse not.” The next time somebody disagrees violently with you and you can sense that there is not only disagreement but a little personal animus there as well, just hold out your hand and say, “God bless you. I love you.” You’ll be amazed at what it will do.
Dear Father today, help us to be a blessing to other people through Jesus Christ our Lord I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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