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Here's Something Worth Remembering, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
December 31, 2020 7:05 am

Here's Something Worth Remembering, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Hello, this is Dave Spiker, reminding you that at midnight tonight, Insight for Living will close the books on another ministry year. To give your special year-end donation right now, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to insight.org. And on behalf of Chuck Swindoll and the entire team at Insight for Living, happy New Year's Eve. On the brink of a brand new year, we're glad you chose to study the Bible with us today. What you're about to hear is a message never shared on the program until now.

It's designed to help us set some goals and priorities for 2021. Yesterday, Chuck talked about the art of forgetting what lies behind. Today, we're looking forward.

Our primary text is the New Testament book of James chapter 4. Chuck titled today's message, Here's Something Worth Remembering. With the coming of another year, we add another year to our lives.

That may trouble some of you. Age, for some reason, has never bothered me, either in someone else's life or in my own. But there are many who worry over getting older, as we often refer to it, getting up in years. Sarah Teasdale has helped me in her piece titled Wisdom.

She writes, It's a wonderful trade-off. I've never met a youth who knew much of the truth. Don't mean that to be critical. It's just part of life. It takes years to learn truth. You learn what works and what doesn't. You learn what's best and what isn't. You learn what's worthwhile and what isn't worth the time. You learn the Scriptures, this body of truth, and you discover how it slowly but very surely replaces all of your long-standing opinions, some of which may not be true. And when you balance them against the Book of God, you have gleaned truth and you've replaced error with what is reliable information. As time passes, I hope you are regularly gaining truth and releasing old habits you have no business continuing, long-standing, offensive actions that really have no place in your life.

It takes time to learn the truth. Today we're going to be exposed to a few verses of Scripture toward the end of James chapter 4. If you have your Bible with you, I invite you to turn. It's one of those passages that lends itself to a new year. I don't know why, but invariably when the old year is fading and a new year is dawning, I often think of James 4, really verses 11 through 17, these last seven verses of this fourth chapter. Locate that in your Bible. I'm reading from the New Living Translation.

As you follow along with me, as we think about something worth remembering, something worth remembering, it's a truth I hope you will never forget. Beginning at verse 11, follow along, will you? Don't speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you're criticizing and judging God's law, and your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone who gave the law is the judge.

He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? Look here, you who say, today or tomorrow we're going to a certain town and we will stay there a year, we will do business there and make a profit. How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog.

It's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is, if the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that. Otherwise, you're boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

Look at that last verse carefully. The ultimate goal is not simply to know, but to do. It's sin to know what is right and then not do what is right. So today, as we learn of what is right, my prayer and our hope is that through this year, we'll do what we learn is right. And we'll stop doing what is wrong. I've titled my first message for this new year, Here's Something Worth Remembering.

Normally, I would begin a message with a story or an illustration designed to sort of whet your appetite for what's coming and cause you to wonder what it is that we should remember if it's so important to be speaking on it on the very first Sunday of the year. What is that something? Well, I've decided to just cut to the chase and not go into a story or give an illustration, but simply tell you what it is. You are not in charge.

Five words that some of you still don't believe. So let's make it personal. I am not in charge.

To help that to happen, say it with me. Here we go. I am not in charge. Now say it like you mean it. Here we go. I am not in charge.

Stop. There are two realms where we love to be in charge. We love to be in charge of others. Why in the world do they do that?

How could they get away with that? Or what's wrong with her? We love being in charge of others, and I might as well say it, we love being in charge of ourselves. After all, we're adults. We've paid the price of reaching this age. As Abraham Lincoln put it, any man beyond the age of 40 is responsible for his own face.

I like that. You're responsible for your own life, but wait a minute. Did you direct the affairs of your life over those past years? Last time I checked, you didn't really have a whole lot to do with it.

You were the recipient of one who chose to direct your life. Whether you cooperated or not is another story. But the fact is, I am not in charge of anyone else. I am not even in charge of myself. Unless you misunderstand what I'm saying in that second part, is that I don't open my own doors or close them. I don't manipulate situations so that I'm able to do whatever I plan to do. I'm not speaking against wise planning. I am really talking about mistaken kind of thinking that I set my life in concrete and that's the direction I will take. And I'm going there, thank you, whether you like it or not, including God.

So let's just put it right down and break it into the categories. You are not in charge of others. You are not in charge of yourself. That is what James chapter 4 verses 11 through 17 teach us. James is not a dreamer.

He's a very practical mind. So he speaks bluntly and I will do the same. James isn't worried about whether you like him or not. He isn't worried about whether you feel good after you read what he writes. I feel the same after telling you what I say. My responsibility is not to make you feel good. My responsibility is to tell you the truth. In many ways, I'm like a physician. If I were your physician and you came to me and you had a tumor, it would make you feel better if I didn't tell you about it.

But that's called malpractice. I need to tell you the truth, whether you like to hear it or not. Because only on the basis of the truth can you deal with reality. So that's where we're going in these few minutes we're together learning about this something that's worth remembering. I hope you will say to yourself each week through the next number of weeks this year, I am not in charge. Just five words. Easy to remember.

Hard to practice. To begin with, I'm not in charge of others. Verses 11 through 12 talk about that.

When I try to take charge of others, what do I do? Well, I speak against them and I judge them. James addresses both. Look at it, verse 11. Don't do that.

Stop doing that. Since you are not in charge of anyone else, do not speak evil against or criticize dear brothers and sisters. See the words speak against right here in the verse. Kata laleo is the Greek combination of two words. Kata means down. Laleo means to talk, like yada, yada, yada. To speak.

And when you put them together, it means to talk down, speak against, put down. Don't do that. Don't do that.

You're not in charge of anyone else. You see, when you do that, you not only ignore your own faults and failures, you do that behind the person's back. And that's a cowardly thing to do. If it's so bad and if something needs to be confronted and it's for the good of the other individual, wait until you're alone and at the right time and in the right tone, confront the person to his or her face.

That's not putting them down. That's being faithful as a friend with a friend. Proverbs 27 six, faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. It doesn't help me when my enemy kisses me. It does help me when my friends wound me.

The Hebrew is quite colorful. Faithful are the bruises caused by the one who loves you. The deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. When I was at seminary, I was an upperclassman about to finish that senior year and had been in chapel where a missionary had spoken and had not done a really great job. And I took it upon myself to criticize the man who spoke in chapel. And I was with a couple of my buddies who listened and I was overheard by an underclassman who happened to be on the missions committee of the seminary and knew the whole story.

And he came up to me and he said, Chuck, why would you say that? You know what that man's been going through? And I didn't.

By the way, that's also a reason not to criticize because you don't know all the facts. Like I didn't. So do you know that the man's wife died three months ago?

I didn't. Did you know that just this morning he received a phone call and his son was in a terrible auto accident? He doesn't yet know the full condition, but still he was willing to come and to speak. Did you know that happened? I will never forget the reproof, even though it happened 1962.

The fall of 62, he confronted me with my loose tongue. Oh, that everyone would be that good a friend. When you hear something like that said about some other person that's negative, ask the individual, do you know all the facts? Why are you saying that about what about your life? You see, right away we become convicted because we are far from perfect, which takes us to the word judge. That means to bring condemnation on another, and only one is qualified for that. Who are you to condemn another?

You don't control destiny. And if you wonder about judging, check out Matthew Chapter 7. Remember the log in your own eye as you look for the speck in your brother's eye?

Don't go there. William Barkley has written, there are few sins which the Bible so unsparingly condemns as the sin of irresponsible and malicious gossip, and to listen to a slanderous story, and yet it is for most a fascinating activity. The small group that you run with, are you critical in that group? Have you reached such a low level that it's now about other people? Is that healthy?

It certainly isn't right. I've spoken with coaches who tell me one of the best things they can do is coach a team up. I coached them up, which means I helped the player know how to be better at that position. I helped him or her understand how to run that play or how to handle that particular moment, how to dribble the ball, how to take care of these very difficult parts of the game.

I coached them up. That's his desire here. If you criticize and judge each other, you're criticizing and judging God's law. That's not your call. You see, we step into a role that only God is qualified to fill, only he knows everything.

Only he knows all the facts. Second, as I said earlier, we ignore our own faults and failures. And third, I will add, we assault our love relationship when we do that. I know this when I really pray faithfully for another, I cannot say things ugly about them. So I know when I say things ugly or someone else says something ugly, I know prayer isn't going on. Remember love, L-O-V-E, when you love someone, L, you listen to them.

O, you overlook faults. V, you value what they have to say and their presence. E, you express your gratitude, your affection. You encourage them.

But when you put them down, you do none of the above. So, for this year, let's you and me agree, since you and I are not in charge of others, let's agree that we will not operate as though we are. And we'll stop putting people down and judging them. We would be miles ahead in relationships if we would just cover those two bases. How wonderful it would be to have that kind of verbal integrity.

That's first. Now the second reminder, we're not even in charge of ourselves, verses 13 to 16. Look here, James begins this 13th verse. And in this 13th verse, he puts his finger on five things an individual does who attempts to control his own life or her own life.

Number one, look at how he puts it. You who say today or tomorrow. So we begin by setting our own hard and fast schedule.

Now wait a minute, wait a minute. There's going to be someone hearing this that's going to say, you mean we're not supposed to plan, we're not supposed to organize our lives? That's not what he's dealing with.

So let me clarify that. There's a proverb that says a man's heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Is everything right about devising your way? Every New Year's Day, you wouldn't know this if I didn't tell you, so I'll let you in on a little activity I do virtually every New Year. I say virtually because some things have come up and I haven't been able to. But I take my day timer, small book I carry, which is the calendar of every day in the year, January through December, with all the pages in between, double page for the calendar, and I go to the calendar of each month and I enter into that calendar the events of that year, all the birthdays of those I love and want to remember, all of the significant events that have been planned, those trips I'm to take, speaking responsibilities, on and on it goes.

It takes me about five to six hours to complete my day timer. I go through it meticulously. All the while, if not saying it aloud, thinking, Lord, at any time, I'm at your disposal.

You want to bring any change to any part of this, please do. This is Insight for Living, and we're midway through a study in James Chapter 4. There's much more practical wisdom Chuck Swindoll wants to show us. He's titled this portion of our special New Year's Eve study, and here's something worth remembering. And to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. As you listen to Chuck describe his system for tracking personal appointments, you'll be interested to know he uses a similar format to map out his preaching calendar each year. In fact, in the new year, he's planned to present a brand new verse-by-verse study through the Gospel according to Matthew.

The first portion of the series is called The King's Arrival. Now to prepare for this upcoming study in Matthew, we invite you to purchase the two hardbound volumes that comprise the brand new comprehensive commentary from Chuck. It's called Swindoll's Living Insights Commentary on Matthew. If you secure the two books now, you'll receive them in plenty of time to prepare for the study that begins on January 13th. To purchase Swindoll's Living Insights Commentary on Matthew, go to insight.org slash store, or call one of our friendly staff members.

If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. And then please bear in mind that we're counting the hours before Insight for Living closes the books on another ministry year. If this program has touched your life in 2020, it's imperative that we hear from you. Your gift today will not only help us meet the year-end goal, more importantly, your generous year-end gift will be used to touch a life in 2021. Chuck? Thanks, Dave. As you prepare to kick back and celebrate a leisurely New Year's Day with your friends and family, remember that today, December 31, is a profoundly important day on the Insight for Living calendar.

In fact, around here we call it the most important deadline in the entire year. Please don't allow your good intentions to fall by the wayside. It might surprise you to know how many people listen to our program but never give.

They've never given. I'm talking about well-meaning, loyal listeners. You may be one of them. If so, jot down this contact information. Take a few minutes to call or to meet us online.

Do it right now. Thanks so much. If you're listening in the United States, you can call us right now at 1-800-772-8888. That's 1-800-772-8888.

Or you can also go online to insight.org. On behalf of Chuck Swindoll, this is Dave Spiker wishing you a happy New Year. Please join us again tomorrow, New Year's Day, to hear Insight for Living. The preceding message.

Here's something worth remembering. And the sound recording were copyrighted in 2020 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. The implication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-09 16:05:04 / 2024-01-09 16:13:09 / 8

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