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November 20, 2020 7:05 am
The year 2020 down on record as unparalleled season of true confusion in which our world was overcome by fear and uncertainty.
So how is the follower of God supposed to respond. How do we maintain our equilibrium in this dizzying time in history the answer. The Bible teaches is to remain focused on the fundamentals today on Insight for living Chuck Swindoll points to a passage in Ephesians chapter 5 where Paul watches through a sequence of guiding principles. He titled his message the Christian life 101.
Begin with prayer. Once again, let's tell the Lord how precious he is. You join me in prayer. Often I feel this time with words and this might be a good occasion for you to do that in your mind and heart. We have song vowel, Lord, art, high above all the earth. You are exalted far above all gods.
We exalt the we exalt the more precious than silver more costly than gold more beautiful than diamond, and nothing we desire compares with our Lord it's true father just as your word is sweeter than the honeycomb bringing the lovely taste of truth to our hearts. And just as your spirit teaches us that truth and illumines our minds with it, we pause at this moment to give you our grateful thanks Lord were in a fast pace to somewhere were driving faster were walking faster.
Were thinking faster moving, and it's easy in a fast-paced culture like this one to forget the value of being still in learning that you are God. To forget the prophets words that fell from his pen in quietness and in confidence is your strength, and in the hurry up context of our lives. It is easy to begin to worry, rather than not fear knowing that you're with us you are God, you will strengthen and stabilize us. These are just artistic meanderings of a few dreamers, Lord. These are spirit inspired words from your book and in a world filled with human opinions and anchor news man who shape the thinking of our times saturated with the media emphasis all about us use these moments to eclipse all of that and may the beauty of your presence grasp us fresh and new. Remind us Lord that you never have a need and we never have a day free of need. Remind us our father, that you never need a leader you never look for the way to go and we spend our years seeking your heart and knowing your mind, remind us Lord that you seek us and you find great joy in our fellowship and obedience. Thank you for a few basics today. Forgiveness of sins release from guilt, deliverance from shame and in the place of all that your matchless grace grace for living grace for giving grace for responding grace for reacting grace for handling life as it's thrown at us remind us.
Also, Lord, that your love your mercy RD deep as an ocean. It's knowing that that prompts us to give as we would never give to any other work we give because you are the incomparable master of our lives and we give confidently knowing that these gifts are investments in eternity, we do so joyfully and generously in the great name of our deep merciful loving God, the Lord Jesus we pray in everyone's X window. Be sure to download his searching the Scriptures study by going to Insight world.org/studies and other message titled the Christian life 101. Let's go to the first test. By the way, everything mentioned in these verses is foundational. Everything removing any one of them and you made a significant you will encounter a significant hindrance in your growth. Any one of them follow them carefully and consistently and you will know what it is to be fulfilled and rewarded life there really worth. Number one is the conduct test. That's verse 50. Here's the test.
Are you careful and wise in your behavior. Are you careful and wise in your behavior on the scale of 1 to 10 how you doing there. How can I ask you that look in verse 15.
Be careful how you walk not is the unwise but as wise right out of the text are you careful and wise in your behavior. Please observe.
He's not talking about where you're going. That's about destination. He talks about how your walking that's conduct how you walk test number two. The time test verse 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Here's the test question are you disciplined and discerning in the way you spend your time. The question has to do with your opportunities.
Are you making the most of them are you applying the discipline and the discernment to invest those opportunities well because the days are evil. Let the day run its own course you'll wind up in sin you'll wind up gravitating toward that which pleases you, rather than pleases the Lord. Horace Mann once wrote, lost yesterday. Somewhere between sunrise and sunset two golden hours each set with 60 diamond minutes. No reward offered they are gone forever. Jonathan Edwards saw one of the great leaders of philosopher, theologian, back in the 18th century, early part of the century, he turned 20, Jonathan Edwards. This brilliant pacesetter for so many of that era determined before he turned to his 20th birthday. Several resolutions listen to one of them resolved never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can while to the selloff that sounds wildly extreme to the neurotic that could sound rather passive, not nearly disciplined enough. I see discipline and discernment that you improve time occasionally by laying down for a good nap by going out for a great ballgame or a run or walk by spending an hour or two or more with the family by taking a day off taking your day off or taking a vacation never brag about never taking vacations. It's not to be bragged about you not making the most of your time on the other side is the individual who sort of gets up late goes to bed early and in between of sort of slimy use of indefiniteness. This, that maybe I'm not sure what every phone okay what holding Napoleon once wrote, there is in the midst of every great battle, a 10 to 15 minute. That is the crucial point take that. And you win the battle, lose it and you will be defeated making the most of your time before I move ahead in this subject, I have to tell you another thought that the Lord gave me in preparing all of this I was talking with Cynthia about a day before yesterday and I got on the subject of discipline. It occurred to me in the conversation we were having that discipline has a twin whose name is sacrifice. Neither is admired in a day of sloth. I have never met a person who accomplished great things. He wasn't familiar with sacrifice never sacrifice plays a role in it and that led me to a wonderful quote that I found and I then printed her copy and I gave myself a copy and I put it on the wall right behind where I study it reads this for every achievement. There is a price for every goal. There is an opponent for every victory there is a problem for every triumph there is sacrifice people you admire are people who face the price live with opponents encounter problems and deal with them and know the meaning of sacrifice.
There isn't an exception in the Christian life. The question about time is not a moot point.
Could be that this is the avenue toward a new journey, you could be taking in your walk. Are you disciplined and discerning in the investment. The use of your time test number three the decision-making test is verse 17 so that sort of a summary statement so then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is a great person Scriptures and starts with a negative and/or positive, do not be foolish in Paul's day foolishness was not mischievous. This is it is today. We see things get a little bit out of control and we walk in and say with a little bit of humor was always foolishness. And that's a lighthearted term we use in Paul's day the fool was one who conducted his or her life as if there were no God.
There's a song that says the foolish said in his heart there is no God. The whole book of Ecclesiastes is written by a man who live the life of a fool attempting to find happiness without God and until you get to the last chapter, you realize the real consequences, but the keyword all the way through the book is vanity, emptiness, a life lived without God is a life of emptiness. It has a hollow ring to it.
So don't be foolish.
Don't think you can live your life without concern for God. He made you he has a plan for you. He is on your side if you will. He is in your corner.
He loves you with the kind of love we heard just saw uncle Russell as deep as the ocean is wide is the green's mercy and love are on our behalf.
So don't be foolish, but the positive now is understand what the will of the Lord is understand what the will of the Lord's question for this test. Are you actively and correctly pursuing the will of your heavenly father actively and correctly pursuing the father's will. Now I gave you a contrast earlier.
Let me give you another one in the pursuit of the Lord's will. It is easy to forget. He wants us to know what even more than we want to know what God is not hiding.
He's not hidden somewhere saying that you can find me you not got my will clear that I'm not going to release it to you got a little alone time may show you little game like that. The father seeks our worship. He loves our presence. He longs for us to be right in the nucleus of where he would have us walk his relationship with us is on the contrary, one of pursuing, not hiding now. My observation in my own life and the life of the lives of others has been that there again to extremes and that is the one who runs ahead of the will of God makes decisions in a hurry rashly comes to terms and pursues without understanding, and the other is resisting stubbornly resisting while thinking about those extremes I thought was Psalm Psalm 32 turned back there we go back to Psalm number 32, which is the Psalm of David wrote one of them following his release from the guilt of his sin with Bathsheba caught in the backwash of adultery lost in the emotion of his own shame and self disappointment.
He writes a song to God. Composers write songs that emotional times. Quite often, and this is David's emotional moment, any rights, Psalm 32, which is called notice at the at the base of the title of the Psalm mass keel MAS KIL let me get the teaching Psalm. It's a Psalm, the Lord led David to write for the purpose of teaching the reader about the subject at hand. This mosque you Psalm now let's jump in the middle of it.
Verse seven David is emoting him in his overflowing gratitude for God's forgiveness and he says to the Lord, you are my hiding place.
That's where we get the song title the hiding place.
That's where Corrie 10 boom's dad found the basis of where they would what they would name the place that would hide the Jews from the Nazis. You are my hiding place you preserve me from trouble. I love this.
You surround me with songs of deliverance which wonder what those songs were which wonder if David maybe wrote some songs and call them deliverance songs.
I do wonder about that you surround me with songs of deliverance. My mind is full of goodies and the lyrics you give me as I compose songs to you. Artists understand those wonderful moments of inspiration, then God answers David in the next verse. The pronouns don't tell you that. But look at the meaning I will instruct you. This is God answering David's response I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go. I will counsel you with my eye upon you my upon you ever had somebody lead you with their eyes, try to look real closely here. Okay I'm going to lead you with my hands didn't make any noise. I didn't hear a thing inside my own head. I'm leading you to go there in that direction sometime with you when you're with a friend and you know what the other person to know what's being said no go. In some cultures they do it with her lips single like the going to kiss somebody over there. The Lord's leading is very delicate, very sensitive doesn't scream and shout does a jerky by the arm doesn't slap you on the cheek to silent moving of the eyes, and look at the next word picture.
Do not be as the horse. What is the horse to limeade a horse that is not tame a horse that is not broken. If you can hang onto one of them. It's blocking and kicking and racing and moving wherever it wishes to go know me as the horse to the other analogy will be like the mule who have no understanding whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check. Otherwise they will not come near to you.
David David this I'm going to guide you with my eye.
You go with me go where I show you follow me very carefully will walk together through this back in Ephesians chapter 5. Do not be foolish, don't run ahead.
Don't resist but understand what the will of the Lord is understand the word means to grasp to comprehend how do I do that, listen carefully, listen carefully you don't look for cloud formations that spell out words, you don't look for faces of Jesus in an enchilada. Don't do that it's not there. You don't wait for sounds in the night. Three clicks in about its God, you don't look for four green lights. That means go. That's superstition. That's hocus-pocus that voodoo theology listen to me you pray with an open heart. You go to his word because he never leads contrary to his word. You seek the counsel of people you admire in the Christian life. Poor objective have nothing to gain or lose in your decision.
There are defined by the way, and then having done so, you wait you wait you listen to his voice as he speaks to you and messages just like this or in messages from his word. Or maybe a hymn or a song that's being sung or the Council of that individual that you maybe haven't sought out but seek you out and then forgetting what you want to obey and you understand what the will of the Lord's were midway through a message. Chuck Swindoll has titled the Christian life 101. Please stay with us because we reserve the closing moments of today's insight for living here a personal comment from Chuck to learn more about this ministry. Visit us email@example.com.
Now let me remind you that insight for living ministries has produced a number of resources to help you grow in God's grace. For instance, Chuck wrote a devotional that includes 365 daily reflections for the new year is called good morning Lord.
Can we talk and additionally we created a flip calendar designed to hold a prominent spot in your home or office, is called quotable Chuck Daly insights from the pulpit. Both resources will become a welcome addition to the new year and either one would make a thoughtful Christmas gift as well to purchase the daily devotional in the flip calendar go to insight.org/store or call one of our friendly staff members. If you're listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 2020 has motivated us to make the most of our time because as Paul said the days are evil. While all of us. It insight for living are praying that this study and Ephesians inspires you to become an agent of God's grace. In that spirit, we are inviting you to join us in taking God's message of grace all across our country and even around the world through vision 195.
The majority of your gift is applied right here in North America were you here, Chuck's teaching and then a small amount is all that's needed to carry insight for living beyond our borders. Everybody I know is waiting for something, including you, waiting for relief waiting for an answer to prayer waiting for her dream to be fulfilled were all waiting for something, and few biblical characters teach us more about waiting and having patients while avoiding than Abraham. He and Sarah waited long beyond their childbearing years to fulfill the dream of starting a family and even with occasional missteps. They become a model for those of us who feel like we're in a holding pattern. Individuals who have grown deep in their relationship with God have learned this just as Abraham did to wait with anticipation. Instead of worrying they know that God keeps his promises so they don't fret over whether the fulfillment will come. They know it will take place they just don't know when or how.
Let me admit that as we finish another year of ministry we too are waiting on God to do what only he can do our financial reserves are drawn down and were completely dependent on our God and all his people to restore and replenish what we need.
Were not fretting and let me assure you were not worrying.
For we know that God is faithful. He always works through his people, and in this case he will work through people.
People just like you. So let me ask you, would you be among those who respond with a year end donation. You see, we need you because our world needs God's truth. So let's do this together. Okay, let's do this now while there's still time.
Jesus said this, we must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us the night is coming, and then no one can work. You'll find that in John nine verse four.
Thanks for hearing my heart.
I would forward to hearing from you soon. And here's how to respond to Chuck Swindoll right now to give a donation.
Collis listening in the United States dial 1-800-772-8888 that's 1-800-772-8888 or go online insight.org insight for living.
The preceding message. The Christian life 101 was copyrighted in 2000 2001 and 2009 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R.
Swindoll. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited