That Step Of Faith
No matter what or where you are in life, you can always do something for God.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing Alright? [chuckle] That little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your friend, Dr. Cook. You know, I sort of stole that greeting from my good friend Elliott Stedelbauer. He is housebound now. He’s in his 80s, I guess, a Christian businessman who, through the years, has been very faithful to the Lord. He’s had a series of strokes and can’t get around much, but he still has that cheerful, indomitable spirit. I call him up once in a while there in Toronto. And years ago, you know, he would greet me with a murderous whack on the back between my shoulder blades and he’d say, “Hello, Bob! How in the world are you?” [chuckle] Yep.
So when I started in 1962 on the radio, I thought, “Now, is there any kind of a greeting that I can use that will tie in with the fact that we live in a world but we don’t have to be smeared with the world’s dirt?” And I came across, in memory, I came across that greeting, “How in the world are you?” In the world, but not of it. Thank God. Peter said, “You who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”. God can keep you clean in a dirty world. Hallelujah. That’s the background of that, “How in the world are you?” Corny, but good.
Well, we were talking about Mary and the perfume, the alabaster box of ointment, very precious. He said, “She wrought a good work on me.” That’s the first thing He said about her in Mark 14 verse 6. Then in verse 8, he said, “She hath done what she could”. Now, you can’t do everything but you can do something. That’s the logic that is involved here. What can you do? Well, I don’t know what you can do, ’cause I don’t know you that well, most of you. I know some of you, but for the most part I don’t know, so far be it from me to suggest to you what your particular function in our Lord’s work might be.
Now and again, I get a pitiful letter from someone who’ll say, “I live in such and such a place and there isn’t a thing I can do. I don’t have any friends and I’m not happy in my church, and the minister has these and these and these faults,” and so on and so on. And I don’t blame the people who write to me that way at all, because if you feel that way, that’s how you feel and no amount of advice or preaching is gonna make you feel different, is it? But I have to say that no matter where you live or what circumstances you have, there is always something, something that you can do for your Lord, starting with living the life you have. Now, it may be a very dull life, but living the life you have completely committed to your Blessed Lord and praying your way through the day.
Let’s take, for example, someone who’s shut in. You’ve had a stroke or arthritis has crippled you or whatever it may be. You have to have somebody help you out of bed. And oh, the pain, if you’re an arthritic patient, the pain in moving those joints the first thing in the morning, nobody knows how it hurts just to move a single muscle. But you have to do it, and so you get out of bed. How are you gonna start a day with that kind… Just thank God, number one, that you’re alive; thank God, number two, that you’re in a place where somebody can help you get out of bed. And quietly, in your heart, pray that God will make you a blessing and make you cheerful and make you Christ-like in this situation. And then as the day goes on and you think to yourself, “I sit here in this wheelchair and I’m shut in, I’m anchored, and I can’t run up and down stairs like I used to, and I can’t get out and see my friends like I used to.”
Has it ever occurred to you, beloved, that you can pray all around the world without moving a muscle? While you’re there in that chair, you can pray. And God, by His sovereign power, can bless somebody half a world away because you’re praying for him or her or them. You can pray around the world. Some of the best friends I have are people who are prayer warriors and who pray for Bob Cook. I know, oh, how well I know, that any blessing in my life is a result of answered prayer and God in His mercy deigns to use some word that I might say to bless somebody else. He does it because you are praying for me. I know that. And so, my dear shut-in friend, you can pray clear around the world before breakfast if you want to. You’re not shut up. You’re only shut in. And God can use your life to shine for Him. Now, no matter where you are, there are very few people who don’t see anybody. All of us have some human contact. And you can pray that every one of those human contacts, if it’s somebody to bring your breakfast, somebody to get you up and help you dress, or whatever it may be, you can pray that God will make you a blessing to that person. That God will make you cheerful and appreciative and cooperative and totally Christ-like.
You can pray that, and God will answer that prayer, so that the very persons who take care of you will be blessed because of you. Now, I’ve had that happen. I’ve had it happen where I’ve gone to see someone as a pastor, I was 18 years full-time in the pastorate, so I know what it is to be a pastor. And I’d make a sick call on someone, intending to go there to bring comfort and help. I was going to read the Bible and pray and try to encourage the person and try to bring some comfort and inspiration and help, as a pastor should, you follow me? But I went away from the place realizing that I myself had been greatly blessed by this cheerful, Christ-honoring, Spirit-filled saint on whom I had just called. Do you realize that you can be a blessing to the very human beings who take care of you and who greet you, even though you may be shut in because of arthritis or a stroke or some other illness? You can minister, she hath done what she could. You can be a blessing where you are. Oh, yes. Would you think about what you can do today? Some of you are so gifted. If I ever envy people, you shouldn’t, but if I ever do, I envy some of you who are so gifted.
I have one friend that can look at a column of figures and tell you whether it’s right or wrong just by looking at it. I envy that. [chuckle] I have some people who can think their way through management problems, I have to plod through them, but some people can just think their way right through them and come out with an answer in management. Oh, some of you are so gifted. Would you take a little time and just ask God what He wants you to do for Him? Ask Him to bless your daily work as you do it for Jesus, and see what a difference it will make in all of the effect of your life, and in the attitude with which you face living every day. She hath done what she could. Then there’s the step of faith, “She has come ahead of time to anoint my body for burying.” The one record says she poured it on His head, the other record said it got on His feet and she wiped them with her hair. So when He said, “My body,” both ends of it, and probably some of it ran down the rest of His body because there was a generous supply of this lovely perfumed ointment. “She’s come ahead of time,” what about the step of faith that dares to believe God’s Word and acts on it? This is the third thing. Number one, she did it for Him, “She hath wrought a good work on me.” Second, she did what she could. Third, she did what she could, believing God’s promise.
Now, you know me, I’m kind of a hard-headed, practical realist and I am against any kind of hysterical religion that puts you out in left field somewhere and makes you the victim of some foolish business under the name of religion. I think following God has to be sensible as well as sanctified. Having said that, there is a point at which you say, “God said it, I am going to obey it”. Abraham heard from God, said, “Go out into a land that I’ll show you.” And it said he went out not knowing whither he went. He came into the land of Canaan, not knowing whither he went. Mrs. Gadabout came in one day, saw Sarah packing, said, “You’re packing, dearie, where are you going?” She said, “We’re moving” She said, “Where to? Over to the other side of town to that new subdivision, where all the rich people are going?” “Oh, no”. “Well, where are you going?” “I don’t know”. Well, what about it? Well, Abraham heard from God, the living God, the one that’s greater than all these idols that other people serve. And he heard from the living God who said, “Get on out into a land I’ll show you.” “I don’t know where we’re going, but we have to move”. And Mrs. Gadabout got her lace handkerchief out and dabbed at her eyes and said, “Oh, poor Sarah. I’m so sorry for you, you married a religious fanatic.”
She goes out and starts to spread the news that Abraham has gone off his rocker, he’s going to move to some place, he doesn’t know where, and poor Sarah. You could just hear the gossips clucking over that, can’t you? [chuckle] But it says, “Into the land of Canaan he came,” God knew where he was going, and brought him there. There are some points in life when you need to be willing to act on God’s Word because He said it. You wanna think about that in the context of your own life? Now, I can’t get down to specifics with you ’cause I don’t know your own situation. I only know this, as you read and pray over the Word of God, the faithful, indwelling Holy Spirit is going to apply God’s Word to your heart in a very special way. And when He does, you want to obey Him. Don’t argue, don’t ask for explanation, don’t try to second-guess God. Just obey Him, and you will find that His plans were already laid, and He brings you into your particular land of Canaan, just as He brought Abraham through. “He went out not knowing whither he went, but into the land of Canaan he came.”
God knows where He wants you to go. God knows what is going to happen in the future because He sees it all. Past, present and future is one vast panorama.
“God knows all that He wants. His plans are laid. Known unto God are all of His works from the beginning of the world,” the Bible says.
All you and I have to do is to obey. My father taught me that lesson of obedience, I recall, when I was in high school. I only went to one football game during all of high school. We were poor. We had no money to buy tickets to games. But this one was a special game. Waite High School, where I was enrolled, was playing Scott High School, our arch rival from across the river. And I wanted to go to that game and so I asked my father if I could, he said, “Well, boy, if you’ll wait for me at such and such a corner, when I come to cash my paycheck I’ll give you the $2 and you can go to the game.” I was there half an hour early and I waited and I waited and I waited and I waited. Finally, after I’d been on that corner for well over an hour, he came across the street, he said, “Well, boy, you passed that test”. I said, “What test?” He said, “I just wanted to see if you’d obey.” He’d been watching me all that time. [chuckle] God waits to see if you’re willing to obey Him because He knows what He wants you to do.
Dear Father today, help us to obey thee, obeying God’s Word, no matter what. 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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