Thinking (On His Word)
The things you think about all the time are what you're gonna end up trusting.
And hello, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doin’ alright? Well, I trust so. Bless your heart. This is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you to share from God’s Word. I’ve just been praying that He might put His love, and His truth, and inspiration, and blessing, and power, and all that you need into the words that are spoken. You know, radio is limited, but at the same time, it is subject to the touch of God. A voice can make so much difference.
Do any of you old-timers remember Dr. Charles E. Fuller? Do you remember the magic in his voice? All he had to do was open his mouth and even just say anything and you could sense that there was a man you could trust. In that voice was the inflection that said, “You can depend on me and on God.” So much in a voice. I always pray that God will put His love in my voice, I hope that’s true. So many people are hurting nowadays and if somebody can express a little of God’s love and grace, well, then maybe it helps a little.
Well, come with me to this last verse in 1 Timothy 4. He said, “You take heed to yourself.” We talked about personal responsibility, didn’t we? Then he said, “Take heed to the doctor,” and that’s our word, teachings of the Word of God. Then he said, “Continue in them,” and that’s our idea of staying on top of the Truth, being fresh in the Word of God, and then being at home in God’s Word. Abide is another meaning of that word ‘continue’. Tarry or abide. To abide in God’s Word. You remember our Savior said, “If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” How do you abide? Well, He says, “Abide in me.” That’s the first thing. A personal relationship with Jesus is the first step toward a better understanding of the Word of God.
Now faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. You read the Bible and pray over it and it will reveal God’s Will and God’s Presence to you. The other side of that truth is commitment to the Lord Jesus as your Lord and thus as your Savior. Commitment to the Lord Jesus opens the door to a better understanding of His Word. “Why call ye Me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say?”
See, commitment to Christ, abiding in Him means you’re going to obey Him, you’re gonna depend on Him- as the branch bear fruit of itself except it abideth in the vines, no more can ye except ye abide in Me. Abiding in Christ means depending on Him for your life, for your success, your fruitfulness, for everything that is meaningful and helpful in your life. You depend on the Lord Jesus. “Ye abide in Me,” said he. Then He says, “My words abide in you.”
Now how do you handle all of this? How do you approach it? Well, let’s get away from the religious concept and go to a very earthly subject such as homework. How do you make sure that the truth you’re going to have to know on the final exam abides in your mind? Oh, you say, “You gotta study. You gotta do your homework.” Exactly. Won’t do itself, will it? I often used to tell the students at the college while I served for 23 years as president, I suppose several times a year. I would remind them that a red hot prayer meeting either before or during exam is no substitute for having done your homework and knowing your stuff. God will not, not that is, in answer to prayer, help you remember something you didn’t first forget. You have to put it in there before He will bring it out.
So to abide in God and His words abide in us means you gotta put it in there, in the computer. It means read it. And that’s more than just a casual glance at a verse. Now I have myself, just like you, in busy times, opened the Bible and turned to some precious passage and said, “Lord, fulfill that promise in my life this minute.” I’ve done that, and I think it’s alright to do so. To depend on the promises of God’s Word is part of the way He works. “Ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers give Him no rest ’til He establish peace in Zion.” God likes to have you remind Him of His promises. By the same token, if you’re going to feel comfortable with the Word of God, you need to read it as you would read a book, or as you would read a letter, or as you would read a document: carefully, thoughtfully, thoroughly, not just scanning.
I can scan a page rather rapidly and get a lot of what is on the page. I’d train myself some years ago to look at groups of words instead of just one word at a time. That’s the secret of rapid reading, they tell me. So I can scan a page and tell you pretty well what it says, but I tell you if it’s gonna be a contract, I’m gonna sit down and read it word for word. Or if it’s gonna be something that is to be printed and I’m looking now at the final proof before it goes on the press, I’m gonna sit down and read it word for word. Why? Well, because it’s important, for one thing, and because you want it to be right, for another. You want to be sure that everything is as it ought to be and you want to be sure, if it’s a contract, that you understand it. “The large print giveth and the fine print taketh away,” someone has said. So you’re gonna read the Bible. If the Word of God is to abide in you, you need to read it. Read a book at a time.
When I enrolled at the Moody Bible Institute as a boy, not quite 16 years old, I was told that I was to take a course called Bible Synthesis. And part of the rules of that course was that you were to read the assigned passage again and again and again. Read it and re-read it and re-read it over a period of time. That was part of the rules. I don’t know if they still have it that way or not. But that was a good regulation and it helped me to begin a practice that has served me well through the years. To read and re-read a given portion of the Word of God puts it in proper perspective in your mind, lodges it in your memory, and helps you begin to understand something that you wouldn’t even think of at a casual reading.
Many of you, beloved friends, have the experience of looking at the Bible and spending some time in it and all of a sudden, a truth will seem to pop out of the page at you from a very familiar passage, something that you never thought of before. Isn’t that true? I remember how it struck me so forcibly one day when I was meditating on Isaiah 26:3. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee.” And I began to look at that verse, taking it from the last part of the verse toward the front. He trusteth in Thee, his mind is stayed on Thee, his mind stayed on God results in trusting God. Isaiah 26:3.
And you know what the Lord said to me? A brand new concept that I had never thought of before, at least. He said the things you think about all the time are what you’re gonna end up trusting. Anything you think about all the time is going to become the basis on which you’re willing to risk the whole bundle.
Well, I’ll tell you, when I realized the truth of that and put my own life in the light of that perspective, I began to think about others concerning whom I knew as to what they might be thinking about. The burden of your thought, the bulk of your thinking will determine the basis of your trust, and the word trust means the willingness to risk a situation. Think about money all the time, you’ll risk the bundle on money. Think about pleasure all the time, you’ll risk your life and reputation and future on some pleasure. Think about power all the time, you’ll risk the situation on personal advancement and enablement. Think about God all the time and he says you’re going to be trusting Him, you’re going to be willing to risk the bundle of life on the Will of God.
Now that was a new thought that hit me as I looked at a familiar passage. This is what we’re talking about. You want to have the Word of God abiding in you, you gotta read it and think about it, and let the Spirit of God teach you what He wants you to know in that moment. Read it, read it, meditate on it, turn it over, think about it. Third, memorize. Take a verse or a group of verses, write them out, put them on 3×5 cards or a smaller card, as you wish. Put the reference on one side and the body of the verse on the other side, and so then you look at the reference and quote the verse, or look at the verse and say the reference. And your mind then becomes fixed with that particular truth and you put it in your memory. And you say it over and you review.
By the way, those of you who are interested in Bible memorization, remember that the initial memorization is only as good as your willingness to review. It’s memorize and review. Go over the verses you have memorized systematically day by day. Memory is just as good as review, but not any better. Alright? So, you read it, you meditate upon it, you memorize it, and then what? You put it to work, because the faithful Spirit of God will remind you of the Truth of God’s Word in situations where God wants you to apply His Word to your life.
A man who visited in my church many years ago-this will be back in the early 1940s, actually-told the story of someone who was battling with the tobacco habit, but at the same time, was trying to memorize verses. And this dear man had been memorizing 1 Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. He had been memorizing that.
Well, after dinner one night, he said to his wife, “I’m going down to the corner store. I’m out of cigarettes.” And so he was walking on down to the corner store to get himself a pack of cigarettes, and he said, “Well, while I walk, I’ll say over my verse.” And so he began to repeat 1 Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able… ” And he stopped right there. He said, “Hey, that’s me.”
And as he thought about it, God enabled him, in faith, to trust the Lord for deliverance from that habit and he turned around, went back home, “Hallelujah,” he said, “God set me free.” Listen, the secret of abiding in the Word and having it abiding in you is to read it, meditate on it, memorize it, but above all, put it to work in your life.
Dear Father today, keep us in your word. 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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