You don't have to let the duties of life interrupt your commitment to your Lord.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m so glad to be back with you. Oh, I look forward to these times, when I can just sit down with you and the Word of God. We’re looking at First Thessalonians Chapter Five and the verse was the 16th Verse, I believe is where we left off. “Rejoice evermore,” and Paul inverts the words, he puts them in order, that we would not ordinarily see, and so it reads, “Evermore,” all the time, without interruption, “Keep on rejoicing.” That’s a big order. But the last time we got together, I showed you some of the sources of the joy, and obviously, the joy of the Christian is based in, and tied to the presence of your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And things aren’t always the way you want them to be. Did you ever see a young couple, newly married, they’re so in love, and now, they have to move into some place. Let’s say they’re broke and I can identify with much of this, because we didn’t have two dimes to rub together, when we started out 54 years ago. But let’s say that the place where they’re staying is not too wonderful, and the former tenant didn’t leave it in good shape, and there’s a lot of work to be done. And so they’re working, and scrubbing, and pushing, and hauling, and putting things in place, and taking things down. And, oh, it’s a time of stress, and pressure. But look, watch them now, watch them, all of a sudden, they quit working, and straighten up, and look at each other, and laugh, and fall into each other’s arms. They’re joyful. [chuckle]
Now, around them, there’s nothing but dirt, and mops, and pails, and dust rags, and junk to be thrown out, and all that. But, all of a sudden, they look at each other, and smile, and then laugh, and then fall into each other’s arms for a big hug. What happened? Well, the joy was not affected by the stress, and the junk, and the mop, and the pail, and the dirt. The joy came, because there was somebody else there. Some of you people can remember back that far, can’t you? I wanna tell you something, you never get too old to enjoy the presence of Jesus. “In thy presence, there is fullness of joy. Rejoice evermore.” What does that mean? You gotta smile all the time? No, I wouldn’t say so. But you can have joy all the time. That’s the difference.
The old British chorus said, “I’m happy when everything happens to please, but happiness comes and goes. Well, the heart that is stayed on Jesus the Savior, always with joy o’erflows. Happiness happens, but joy abides in the heart that is stayed on Jesus.” They are great words, aren’t they? And that’s precisely what I’m trying to tell you. Yes, we live under times of stress. Yes, it’s impossible to be chuckling and mirthful all the time. But, yes, joy is that ineffable, deep sense of well-being that comes, when you ‘re with somebody that you love very much. You follow me? “Rejoice,” said he, “All the time, just keep on.” Why? Because He’s there, and if He’s there, you can rejoice.
I’m talking to somebody who’s very much alone. Even the kids don’t have too much to do with you. They’re busy with their own concerns. You’re alone and you say, “Well, Brother Cook, I don’t know. It’s pretty hard, pretty hard, hard to be alone.” And I have to agree. But the point I’m making is, if your faith in the Lord Jesus means anything, it has to mean that, in that aloneness, which could be boring, and bitter, and lead to a good deal of self-pity, maybe. In that aloneness, which could be boring and bitter, you instead can experience the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And you can be conscious of that lift of soul, and spirit, that just puts you on top of the world. Your mood will change, and you’ll be tackling tasks that you’ve been putting off even, because He gives you the strength, and the will, and the motivation to do it. Aloneness with Jesus can bring joy. Well, maybe you need that today.
Anything I tell you, I’ve been there and I know that it works. “In thy presence is fullness of joy.” Well, he says, “Rejoice evermore,” and then he says, “Pray without ceasing.” Now, of course, you can’t be giving formal prayers in the midst of a workaday situation. You work at the Widget Factory, and you come in there, and say to the foreman, “Now, let’s just stop here for a moment of prayer.” Well, the foreman may not like that too well. He may not be a Christian. He may not have an… And all the rest of your co-workers will be, at first, mystified, and then resentful, and you’ll find yourself in the office of the personnel manager by 10:00 AM. And if you keep on that sort of a thing, the men in white coats will come, and get you. [chuckle] You cannot be officially religious in a lot of situations. But you can be prayerful, because prayer is not a matter of time and place. Prayer is a matter of a lifted spirit. It’s like breathing. Like breathing in and breathing out. Prayer. “Pray without ceasing.”
I often told the young people at the college, when I was there with them as President, through 23 years, I told them often and often, “Pray your way through the day. Pray when you wake up. Start the day with your Lord. ‘Good morning, Lord.’ ” Pray before you meet your roommate or your family, so that you’re ready for that first human contact of the day. Pray before you start your first task, whether it be school, or office, or shop, or whatever, or housework. This lady said she didn’t mind doing housework, but it was so daily. [chuckle] That can get to you after awhile, can’t it? Pray before you start those million and one things that you have to do. Pray before you answer the phone, you don’t know who’s on the other end of the wire, somebody to bless you or bless you out. Pray before you open a letter, it could be a check or a bill, there’s a difference. Pray before you go on a trip. Pray before you go on a date. Pray before you sign a contract, God has already read the fine print.
You know the old saying, “The large print giveth, the fine print taketh away.” Pray before you make a commitment. Pray before you, either quit a job or take one. Pray your way through the day. I found that it helps me, even in casual conversation. When I meet a person and it’s just casual conversation, “How are you? How are the kids? How are the grandchildren? How’s the job? How are you feeling?” And so on, pray before you even start a casual conversation with people. You never know what one of your words may mean to somebody.
A man told me the other day, that something I said to him back in the 19… What was it? ’50s, maybe… Changed the whole course of his life. For the life of me, I can’t remember what I said. But there it was, it was casual conversation and God used it to turn a life around. Well, hallelujah. But that’s an awesome and frightening thought, that some word of yours or mine could make a difference in somebody else’s life. Yet, that’s the way it is. Pray before you open your mouth, even in casual conversation. Pray before you argue, you’ll argue less. In a meeting, in a committee meeting, pray before you speak up. God may keep you silent, until it’s the time for you to say a few words that really count. All of us are aware of the person in deacons, boards, or committee meetings, that a person who doesn’t say an awful lot, but when he opens his mouth, everybody listens. God can make you that kind of a person. He can give you the right word. Bible says, “How forcible are right words.” See, God can give you the right word in answer to prayer.
Small thought here. Words have an action like pulling the trigger on a gun, they trigger responses. Ask God to give you the right word. Instead of saying to somebody, “I don’t know why you’re so defensive, you’re always defending yourself,” there’s a better way to say that. There’s a better way to… Different words that don’t have the same sting to them. I found that out, to my sorrow, through the years. To use an unfortunate word, brings up a whole litany of hurts in the other person’s mind. And God can help you avoid that, if you pray. “Pray,” said he, “Without ceasing.” And that “without ceasing” means no interruption. No interruption. Keep right on praying. You don’t have to let the duties of life interrupt your commitment to your Lord. You understand me?
Years ago, we used to have the electric trolleys, the streetcars that ran with a trolley, up on a wire, up above the car? When we moved to 60th Street in West Philadelphia, the streetcars were then running. And the first night that we occupied this house on North 60th Street, it was a very hot summer’s night, and the windows were open, and we slept in the front bedroom, which faced the street. And I had just fallen asleep, when I heard this noise, which sounded, to me, as though there was a tremendous rainstorm. You know that hissing sound that the trolley makes on the wire as it goes by? And in my sleep, it seemed to me, that there was a tremendous rainstorm, so I jumped up, and closed all the windows. [laughter] Then, we laughed after that. We got used to it. But that streetcar runs only when the trolley is on the wire. Now, the fact that the trolley is on the wire, does that affect what the motorman does? Does that keep him from doing his job? No, he goes on, does his job. Does that keep the conductor from collecting fares? No, he does his job. But that’s the source of the power, it’s there.
What I’m saying to you, is you go on and do your job. You do what the boss tells you to do. You do the homework, or the housework, or the shopwork, or the sales work, or the professional work, or whatever it is. You go ahead and do it, that’s what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it? But all the while, you keep the trolley on the wire, the source of power. “Pray without ceasing.” Good idea? Yes, it’s a very good idea.
Abba, Father, we love you, we worship you. Help us to be constantly in touch with thee. I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen. ‘Til I meet you, once again, by way of radio, Walk With the King today and be a blessing.
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