Spiritual Food

The concepts that you dwell on will affect your words and your conduct.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:16, Philippians 2:13


Alright, thank you very much. Hello again, friends. How are you? Or shall I use the timeworn greeting, “How in the world are you?” [chuckle] If I ever missed that, somebody is sure to write in and say, “Hey, what’s the matter with you? [chuckle] You didn’t say, ‘How in the world are you?’ ” [chuckle] Alright, I did it and I’m glad I did it. I hope everything’s alright at your house. I’m feeling fine, thank God. I do these broadcasts in the early morning hours, because I know so many of you listen in the early morning. In winter days, the sun doesn’t get up quite so soon and you have to rise while it’s yet dark. And it’s a discouraging process sometimes, and you think to yourself, “Oh, boy, another day. Do I have to get up and face today?” Yes, unfortunately, you do. But, yes, fortunately, God is with you. He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” So you can walk with your Lord and make it an adventure, instead of a chore. You never have to be bored with life, beloved, if you’re walking with God. He’s the God of new things. He said, “Behold, I will do a new thing.” Let God do a new thing through your life today, as you walk with Him.

While we’re finishing up first Timothy 4:16, he said, “Take heed to yourself and unto the teachings, continue in them.” That means abide, live, make yourself at home in them, make it part of your life. “For in doing this,” in doing what? “In living in the Word of God.” That’s what He says, “In living in the Word of God, you’ll save yourself and those that hear you.”

Now, the last time we got together, we discussed that phrase “save thyself.” I won’t go back into that again. But I wanna go on then, with these last five words, “And them that hear thee.” A couple of thoughts here that come to my heart, that I feel I just must share with you. Number one, “You have an effect on every person you ever meet,” I used to tell the students at the college, while I served there as president for 23 years. Often and often, I would tell them, “Every person you ever meet will be either better or worse after you leave him.” Either you will move that person closer to God or with guilty fingers, you’ll move that person away from God, but there’ll be an effect. There will be a difference, because you came along. That’s an awesome concept, isn’t it? It’s frightening.

When I stop to think of the thousands and thousands of contacts that you and I make in any given year, oftentimes, giving no thought whatsoever to the effect of them, just going on through life, because we’re busy about our own affairs, how we ought to stop, and think, and ask God to guide us, and to make every word to count for His glory. I’ll tell you, I pray before I start these broadcasts, that God’s love might be in my heart, and in my voice, and God’s Truth in every word I speak, and that it might be practical for you, so you can get a hold of it for yourself. What I want is that, when people listen, they’ll be able to say, “Hey, that was just for me.” That’s what the Holy Spirit of God can do, as He applies that truth to our hearts. Yes, what we say does have an effect upon other people’s lives.

Think of the different things we say in any given day. You know the old joke about you either say, “Good morning, Lord,” or, “Good Lord, morning”? Well, maybe you’re not the kind that says very much of anything when you first awake. You struggle out of unconsciousness. The alarm goes off, you realize you have to get up, get ready for work, or school, or family duties, whatever it may be. And what are the words that we say? Well, do you ever say, “Good morning, I love you,” to someone near you in the family? Try this. Instead just of growling your way through those early moments, including breakfast, try greeting people in your family with a smile and saying, “Good morning. God bless you. I love you.” Now, they’ll look at you and wondering what you’re up to, [chuckle] but they’ll like it, I assure you.

What you say has an effect in those early morning hours and it may carry through the whole day. Everybody knows how bad the day is when the boss comes to work, after having had a fight with his wife. That’s an old situation that has been the basis for many a joke, but it’s based on truth. You have a good argument, a good, red hot argument before you go away to work and the whole day is gonna be bad news. So why not start when those first words come out of your mouth with love and with cheerfulness? Now, don’t be too cheerful. There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “He that riseth early in the morning and blesseth his neighbor with a loud voice, behold, it should be counted a curse unto him.” [chuckle] So cool it. Don’t get too cheerful, but just some love, and just some kindness, and just a little cheerfulness is gonna go a long way towards starting the day right.

“Them that hear thee.” What do people hear from you, between the time you wake up and the time you leave for work? It’s a good question to ask, isn’t it? And answer, and of course, it’s none of my business what your answer is, but you and God can figure it out, can’t you? Oh, yes, you can. “Them that hear thee.” What about the way you answer the phone? Have you given any thought to the way you answer the phone? Business has spent a lot of money in training people to be the telephone voice of the corporation. And big business has realized that the person who answers the phone for the corporation, is the face, you might say, that the corporation wears for that individual. What do people hear when you answer the phone? What do people hear when you deal with them in a business situation, like going to the department store, or to the garage, or whatever it may be? What do they hear? “Them that hear thee.” What do they hear?

You and I certainly can check off the fact, that they ought not never to hear something blue, something dirty, something un-Godly. We agree on that, surely. Our language ought to be clean. But beyond that, do they hear impatient words? Do they hear selfish words? Do they hear “me first” words? Do they hear demanding words? Do they hear words of anger? What do they hear? “Them that hear thee.” Now, you can begin to see where I’m driving. He said, “Live in the Word of God and people will hear something different.” That’s the point. And I’ll go back to that principle that I enunciated in the last broadcast, and that is, “The set of concepts upon, which you dwell the most, will affect your attitudes and your conduct in public.” What you think about the most will affect the kind of person you are, and the kind of words you say, and the kind of things you do.

And I suppose you editors, right now, are saying, “Well, Brother Cook, you should have left out those three phrases. You don’t have to say “the kind of.’ ” It will affect the person you are, the words you say, and the things you do. You like that better? [laughter] Alright. But it will, it will. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Solomon uses the illustration of some poor Willie Lump Lump, who’s coming to eat at the table with an official, and he says, “When thou goest to eat with a ruler, put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite, for, ‘Eat,’ saith he, but his heart is not with thee. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” You’ll find that in the Proverbs.

Lots of times, the words tell on us. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” The concepts. The concepts that you dwell on will affect your words and your conduct. “Them that hear thee.” So how far have we come now? What do people hear when you first get up, between the time you awake and the time you go off to work or school? What do people hear in business situations? What do people hear in the course of everyday living? What do people hear when you’re just by yourself with some other individual, who may be a close friend or acquaintance? What do they hear? Oh, may they hear words that are pure, words that are filled with God’s love, and words that are based on God’s eternal Word, the Bible.

Now, you don’t have to go around quoting Scriptures the-, nobody more boring than someone who’s always quoting verses. I may quote too many of them myself, I don’t know, but that’s, of course, because it spills out of me. [laughter] That’s what I’ve got in me across the years. But nobody’s more boring than somebody who’s always preaching a little and giving you a Bible verse. That isn’t the point. The point is, if you make God’s Word the stuff of your life, the atmosphere of your life, living in the Word, breathing it in, feeding on it, “Thy Words were found, and I did eat them, and Thy Word was unto me, the joy and rejoicing of my heart,” says Jeremiah. Feeding on the Word of God makes certain, that the people who listen to you are going to hear the overtones of a Divine voice.

Now, let me come to the final wrap-up concept here and it is a tremendous one. What is the number one force for soul winning? “By doing this,” he says, “Thou shalt save thyself and them that hear thee.” You want to win people to Jesus Christ? The number one element in winning people to Jesus Christ is what God is doing in your life. “Save thyself.” What God is doing in your life. People who watch you know when you lose your temper. They know when you get irritated. They know when you are a little selfish. They know when the overtones of pride come through in something you say. They know when you goof off on the job. They know when you get discouraged. All of these are human components.

And when God begins to work in what you say, and in your attitudes, and in your lifestyle, so as to change it Heavenward, people know that too. He said, “You’ll save yourself in them that hear thee.” What God is doing in your life becomes the number one force for soul winning. Yes, explain the Gospel. Yes, share the four spiritual laws or anything else you may have, as a convenient vehicle for sharing your faith in Christ. Yes, do it, but realize that the number one force for soul winning, is God working in you. Philippians 2:13 is there, isn’t it? “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.”

Little boy jumped into a bus that was being used for a Bible club out in Kansas. And he said, as he interrupted the meeting, he said, “You guys have to tell me what it is you got. I have to have what you got.” Well, that is not very good grammar, but that’s what that little red-headed boy said. And I think that many a life around you, and around me, will echo those same sentiments, when we’re full of the Word of God.

Dear Father, today, may we be full of Thy Word and winning people to Thee, as a result. In Jesus’ name, I pray this. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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