The True Story
There's room for the occasional misunderstanding, but what is said about you, over the years — 20 years, let's say — will be precisely the truth.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends, how in the world are you? [chuckle] Yes it’s your friend Bob Cook inquiring as to how things are going at your house, and I hope they’re alright. Glad to be back with you, and we want to continue our study of the Gospel of John chapter 18. Those verses there that tell us about what happened when our Lord Jesus was apprehended in the Garden and brought to judgement.
We’re talking about God’s timing. He has plans for you. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Now this is referring, again, to that passage in the last of John 13, and the beginning verses of John 14. Peter says, “I’m willing to die for you.” Jesus said, “The rooster won’t get a chance to crow before you have three times denied that you know Me, but don’t worry. You can’t trust yourself, but you sure can trust Me.” I’m putting that in the colloquial, but that’s how it might be said today. Then He went on to say, “In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am there you may be also.”
And so what that says to me is that God has plans for you. You can’t trust yourself, but you can trust Jesus. He looks forward to the time, when in simple faith, you trust Him to make you a victor instead of a victim under these things where, perennially, you’ve been a failure. Doesn’t scold Peter there at all, He just says, “You can depend on Me and I got plans for you.”
TThe Bible is always positive, even toward those who have failed. God doesn’t have any word of recrimination, He’s not gonna beat on you today. People ask, “Oh, is all this happening to me because God is mad at me?” No, He’s not mad at you. He’s longing for you to come to Him and trust Him. “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance,” says Paul. So He has plans for you. Would you like, in faith, just to reach up even this hour and say, “Oh, God by faith in Jesus I accept what plans You have for me. Reveal them to me step by step, and I’ll obey.” What a precious kind of life it is to walk in faith, in the wonderful Lord Who has made plans for you, and Who’s working them out, even when you can’t see what’s happening.
Three or four years ago, a radio listener in Cleveland, Ohio sent me a short poem that fits in right here. And I took it out of my note book and I’d like to share it with you. “God of split seconds Who doth time the course of every planet, every satellite. Who synchronizes with unfailing force, the tides and seasons, and the day and night. How can I doubt Thou hast a plan for me, when looking back upon my yesterday’s where joy and sorrow were consistently ordained for good; I glimpsed Thy wondrous ways. Shall I not then, with confidence sublime, trust all to Thee in Thine own proper time.” It’s a great sentiment there isn’t it? Great truth. Thanks to that Cleveland listener for sharing it with me years ago.
He has plans for you, and they reach from here to eternity. He was talking about the now. “Before the cock crows, you’ll three times deny that you even know Me. But you can depend on Me, and I’ve got plans for you that reach into eternity. In My Father’s house, many mansions. I want you with Me.” Union with Christ by faith is the way to conquer your failures. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there. All I can verify is how God has dealt with me, and then my observation of how He’s dealt with others.
But I know for a fact, that in those moments when I’ve been praying, “Jesus, keep me now.” I’ve been kept. And in those occasions when I’ve been praying, “Lord guide now.” I’ve been guided. And in those occasions when I neglected to pray, I sometimes went astray in my judgements, or in my words, or in my decisions. That’s the way it’s worked in my life. And that’s why I’ve told the young people at the college, through a quarter of a century, “Pray your way through the day.” Pray about everything.
I do not side with those who say that God started the universe, and then went off and left it to itself, so that you and I shouldn’t bother Him with little things. Jesus said that even the hairs of our head are all numbered, He didn’t say counted, He said numbered. There is a separate number for every hair follicle on your head. Now we begin to understand how that’s possible in the computer age, because everything is numbers. And those zeros and those ones, put together, somehow add up to the software that runs the computer. And we now have billions, upon billions, upon billions of numbers that are crunched together in the super computers. And making the informational decisions that will guide a satellite, or guide a descending aircraft, or whatever it may be.
We can understand, maybe, a little better, that it’s not problem for God to pay attention to individual things. So it is that if you pray your way through the day. Pray about little things, pray about a parking space, pray about your shopping list, pray about matters that involve your household budget. It really is painful when that budget gets out of whack, isn’t it? And sometimes you have to say, “Well, how am I going to do this? Too much month at the end of the money. What has to be put off?” Some wag had said… I saw this cartoon awhile back. The person was saying, “If we miss one payment on the car, and two payments on the refrigerator, we can put a down payment on the TV.” [chuckle] That isn’t the way. Pray about your budget. God has ways of telling you. Yes, He does.
Pray about your relationships at work. The Bible says, “Commit thy work unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Someone wrote me awhile back and said that the job was so terrible, and the boss was impossible, and she was harassed at work and so on. And I gave that verse when I answered the letter. And later on there came a letter back from that same individual saying things had improved vastly at work. And the individual now was in line for a promotion.
Commit thy work unto the Lord, pray your way through the day. God is interested in little things. He’s interested in everything about you. And when you pray, you get plugged into His eternal plans. That’s the point I’m making. When you pray, in faith, Jesus said, “I’ve prayed for thee that thy faith,” not thy will power, “that thy faith fail not.” When you pray in faith and you commit the situation to God, you get plugged in to God’s eternal plans for you. And oh, the delight of knowing that this very minute, you’re in the center of the will of God. Where I am and what I am and as I am, I’m in God’s will. Oh, that’s great. And it can be yours, every moment of everyday. Good truth, isn’t it? Well, try it on for size, because I can assure you it works.
Now let me go back and look into the 18th chapter. We’ve talked about Peter, but there’s some other things there about which we ought to speak. The Lord Jesus, evidently, slept out in the open. It was late at night now and they went into the Garden of Gethsemane. And it says, “He often times resorted there with His disciples.” You remember He said to someone, who was eagerly accosting Him, “The Son of man hath not where to lay His head.”
Yes, sometimes He went to Bethany and stayed with Lazarus, and Mary and Martha. But probably more often, He was out in the open. And this is where He went. Now Judas came- remember the tag that history puts on you pays attention to that which determined your action. The tag that history puts on you pays attention to that which determined your action. And so, it’s Judas Iscariot which also betrayed Him. It’s like a dirge, you find it throughout the Gospels. You find it here in John 18. “Judas, who also betrayed Him,” verse two, “Judas who also betrayed Him,” a little later on there. I can’t find it right now. You find the reference to Judas who also betrayed Him. That’s verse five. So that leads me then to ask this question of you and of myself, beloved: what tag is history gonna put on your life and mine? Sometimes there’s very little you can say about people.
I was asked, on one occasion in Chicago, to conduct a funeral for people whom I did not know. I was already just finishing a funeral service in this funeral home on North Avenue in Chicago. And people came over to me rather timidly and said, “Are you a minister?” I said, “Yes.” Well, they said, “We somehow have missed our connection with our minister, and he is not here, and we can’t reach him. Would you be willing to conduct the service?” I said, “Why, certainly.” And so I sat down with some of the relatives and friends I said, “What can you tell me about the deceased?” Well, there was a silence, they didn’t have much to say. And finally the only thing that of any value that anybody said was, “Well, he was a good provider. He always brought his paycheck home.” It developed later that he had a great many faults and failings, and was quite abusive and other things about which one wouldn’t speak of the departed. But that’s what history tagged on him. He was a good provider. Well, it isn’t too bad.
He wasn’t enough though, because he didn’t know the Lord, and he had all these other failings. And so it was kind of a doubtful tag that was put on his life, wasn’t it? So I’m asking myself and asking you, what tag is history gonna put on your life and mine? He loved people: He went for souls, he was true to the word, he was loving, he was kind, he was thoughtful. Is that what it’s gonna say, or will they say he was jealous, he was proud, he was greedy, he was undependable. What will they say?
And what you have to realize with me, beloved, is that what is said about you over the years, is precisely the truth. There’s room for the occasional misunderstanding, but what is said about you, over the years, 20 years let’s say, will be precisely the truth. That’s why that dirge about Judas Iscariot, just hits me so hard. That’s what history said about him. Let’s you and I live so close to Jesus that what history says about us will honor and glorify Him. Amen? Let’s live so close to Jesus that what history says about us will glorify Him. I pray that that may be so for you, my beloved friend.
Dear Father in Heaven, I pray that what history says about us may honor Thee. Help us to live so close to Jesus that that may be so, in His 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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