On The Clock
There are people who are watching you every part of everyday to see how you live and patterning their lives either consciously or unconsciously after yours.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friend, how in the world are you? That little greeting establishes the fact that this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and we’re back together again, you and I. The miles drop away, and we’re together with the Word of God. I like that, don’t you? So grateful for the privilege of sharing God’s Word with you dear ones. We’ve been looking at 1st Peter and we’ve come to that classic verse 3:15, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: And be ready always to give an answer to him that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you and do it with meekness.” And the King James Version says “fear,” that’s our idea of not only the fear of God, but respect. You respect the other person, you don’t get on his case and harass him. Meekness and respect.
Now, the last time we got together, we were talking about the fact that this verse advises us to give God a special place in our hearts as God. The word ‘sanctify’ actually means, set aside for especially holy use. And so in this connection, it would be, “let your heart be a place where God is on the throne, set aside for His special use.” There’s a decision then involved, the decision of commitment to give God absolute control, as sovereign of my life. Not only in generalities, but also in specific matters. Commitment. Lord, I’m yours.
My good friend, Clint Utterbach, sings a song with his choir ‘Take me, I’m yours. For the rest of my life, take me, I’m yours.’ Well, that’s exactly what you and I need to say to God. Now, that may take a bit of doing because our human nature fights against surrender, we are so self-willed, naturally. Aren’t we? How long does it take the little baby to realize that he wants things done a certain way? Not long. And the children at play, they learn the meaning early on of me and mine, “that’s mine” says the little child grabbing at a toy.
Our idea of what we want is very strongly built into human nature and so we have to bring all of that to our Lord and say, “Lord, here I am. Take me, I’m yours.” Give God a special place in your heart, as God, let him be God. Then the next thing we said, “There needs to be a follow through of commitment, item by item, incident by incident and day-by-day.” People write to me sometimes, or talk with me and say, “I’ve tried praying about my problem, but it doesn’t seem to work,” and I ask them, “When do you pray about it?” And it develops that generally, they do their praying, after they’ve slipped and fallen and failed in keeping their promises to themselves, not to do a certain thing or not to indulge in a certain habit or not to maintain a certain relationship. And they said, “Well, I prayed about it, but it didn’t work.” Problem is, you prayed after you had fallen. Now “There is forgiveness with thee that thou may is to be feared” the Bible says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
So, there is forgiveness when you pray, thank God, for that. But the idea of commitment needs to be moved forward in time, so that you do your praying in that split second when you are considering what to do about temptation, or some test or some decision, let God be God at the moment of stress. Will you jot that down in the notebook of your mind? Let God control, let God be God at the moment, the very moment of stress, whether it’s temptation, whether it’s harassment, whether it’s discouragement, whether it’s some desire, whatever it may be. We live through all of these things every day, don’t we? So when the moment arrives then you turn in faith to your blessed Lord and say, “Lord, I’m yours, you’re God, you run things for me.” You’d be surprised what will happen friend. Commitment follow through with surrender, item by item, moment by moment, incident by incident, so that God has control over you as things go on.
Then there’s this matter of God-glorifying communication. He said, “Be ready always to give an answer to everyone that asketh you, a reason for the hope that is in you, and do it with meekness and respect.” That’s quite a mouthful. I don’t know if we get through with all of that today, but we’ll start anyway. “Be ready always.” The Bible speaks about a ready mind, a ready mind. What does that mean, that means that you are alert for the opportunity of obeying God in anything. Some people have lazy minds, and some people are not really ready to do anything. This is built into little children. You call junior, say junior, “I want you to do this and this.” And what is he doing? He’s playing and he says “In a minute mom.” Well, that minute stretches out to a half hour, maybe to an hour. And you call him say “Junior?” “Yeah, I’m coming mom.” But he puts it off, delaying obedience turns out to be disobedience. A ready mind means I’m willing to listen right this minute, to what God wants me to do.
Remember that God’s timing is exquisitely perfect. He’s never early, and He’s never late, He’s right on time, and when God speaks to your heart, that’s the time to act. I found this in the pastorate, throughout 18 years of being in the pastorate, when God laid somebody on my heart either to telephone them, or to go call on them, I did it. And again and again, I would find that God’s timing was perfect. Pick up the telephone and phone somebody and say, “I’ve been thinking about you,” and the reply would be “Oh, thank God you called. I need somebody, I need some help now.” Or call on people and find them ready that minute to take Christ as Savior. God had set it up so that when I arrived, they were ready. What a delight to work with God. Paul says, “You’re laborers together with God.” So this matter of being ready is simply a willingness to act immediately upon the guidance and the commands of God’s Holy Spirit. His timing is perfect, don’t miss it.
“Be ready” said he always… There never is a time when you’re not on stage, there never is a time when you can say “It doesn’t matter now.” Some people think that they can let down when they get home. Home is a place where you can kick off your shoes, and at dinner you can ask for a second plate of soup. It’s also a place where many people feel they can growl and complain and treat people roughly because, well, they don’t have to be good now, they’re home. Just remember, your greatest mission field dad, is at home. There are people who are watching you every part of every day to see how you live and patterning their lives either consciously or unconsciously after yours. Your greatest mission field is at home. There never is a time when you can say “It doesn’t matter now.”
You’re off on a business trip somewhere mister, and you’re staying in a hotel and you look on the top of the television set, and you find a listing there of those porno films, that some areas have. You can pay $5 or $6 and you can look at all of that mental and verbal sewage, and you think “Oh, well, nobody knows about it. And I can easily pay the tab and it won’t show up on my bill, and nobody knows.” See, what happens is, you’re still on stage because it’s you and God, and all the angels being encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses. You’re never off stage. And so when you give in to the temptations of the world and the flesh, and the devil, and you say “It doesn’t matter now.” You wake up to the fact, “Oh yes, it does matter,” because the next time you try to read your Bible, the edge is off of enjoyment. Next time you try to pray, it doesn’t seem as though you’re getting through to God. The next time you try to say anything about Jesus to somebody, it has a hollow sound. What happened? Well, you forgot before, didn’t you? That you were still on stage, ready, always. There never is a time when you can say “It doesn’t matter now,” it always matters. It always matters.
How many times you and I have had to go back and retrace our steps and say to God and probably to some human being. “I’m sorry, I blew it. I was out of line there. I spoke out of turn. I’m sorry.” You’re always… It always matters. And so how do you do this? Well, oftentimes I’ve said to the students at the college, “Pray your way through the day. Pray before you answer a phone. Pray before you answer a question. Pray before you open a letter. Certainly before you answer one. Pray before you hire, or fire, or transfer a person, if you’re in management. Pray before you sign a contract, God has already read the fine print. Pray before you go on a date. Pray before you join in a social group, before you enter into a room where there’s a gathering of a group. Pray, momentarily stop and say, ‘Lord, make me a blessing’ and that’ll keep you in His care. Pray your way through the day, and you’ll find that after the day is gone, you can turn out a whole pocket full of memories and say, ‘Thank you, Lord, you guided me through today.’ Be ready, always.” That means always in touch with Heaven, always in touch. When you turn off the receiver, you get into danger.
My friend, John Clemenger, told me many years ago, the story of a young man who was in the military, and he had been out in the war zones flying an airplane for Uncle Sam, and was brought back for a refresher course and was based on a field somewhere down south, a field that had been hewn out of a swamp, on every part, on every side of the large airfield, there was swamp. And so it was that he was practicing takeoffs and landings and that sort of a thing. And he was flying one of these aircrafts that has a wing that folds back. You can fold it back to store it. And so there he was, he was taxiing and he got to the runway and the wind changed. And the tower said, “Go back to such and such a runway.” So we went back to the other runway. When he got there, the wind had changed again, and they said, “Go to such and such runway.” They had three runways.
Well, he lost his patience, and he thought, “I’m not gonna put up with this, I’m an expert.” And so, he gunned the engine, went roaring down the strip and plunged into the swamp. Why? Well, because he’d forgotten to fold his wings out and he was on his own. Hey, don’t turn off your radio, don’t forget to be in touch with God, be ready always.
Dear Father today, help us to stay on the job and be ready to obey Thee, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk With the King today and be a blessing!
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