Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Monday, June 15, 2015

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Stay hungry, Friend.

As I was dressing for work the other day, I had the TV on. My attention was drawn to a commercial for a diet plan (not that I need one) with a very energetic lady proclaiming the wonders of her exercise regimen. She made one statement that jumped out at me: “You can never outwork a bad diet!” She meant that no matter how much you exercise, sweat, and strain, you will never have long-term success if you don’t change the way you eat. As a former chubby, I knew the truth of that statement. For years I exercised fairly vigorously every day, yet never managed to get within 15 pounds of my target weight. Then one day I threw away my deep fryer, quit bathing everything in butter, re-tooled the fruit and veggie intake, and immediately dropped that final 15. Diet matters. You can’t build a strong body with inferior material.

The things of God work the same way. No matter how many good works you do, how many committees you serve on, how many tracts you give out, how many deeds of kindness you do, you can never be spiritually fit without a good diet. The Word of God must come first. Without a steady diet of the word of God there is no spiritual growth. So how do I feed myself on the Word? Here you go:

1. Get a good breakfast, the most important meal of the day. I make time for the Word on purpose, first, before anything else in the day. Matt 6:34 / Ps 5:3

2. I remember that the Bible is God speaking to me. Before I read it, I stop for a moment and thank Him for such a wonderful gift. 2 Tim 3:16-17 / 1 Thess 2:13

3. I am a child of the New Covenant, so most of my diet is composed of New Testament epistles. They were written to the Church. That’s me. I use the Gospels as appetizers, and the Old Testament for an occasional snack. Heb 8:6

4. Never forget there is treasure in that Book. I dig looking for nuggets that God has stored up there just for me. I ask for, and expect, personal instruction. Pr 2:1-11

5. I love good barbecue, cooked low and slow. Don’t get in a hurry. Read, pray, think: It is a conversation, not a lecture or a speed-reading contest. When He speaks, I listen. Ps 130:5-6

6. When I get a bite that tastes particularly good, I chew on it. That is my morsel of strength for today. I extract its juices by asking questions: How does it change my thinking? What will it mean to the way I face life? What does it require of me today? Then and only then is it time to arise and go forth with a full heart. Is 60:1-2 / Js 1:25

Scripture Reading: Desire God’s pure word as newborn babies desire milk. Then you will grow in your salvation. (1 Peter 2:2 GW)

Somebody Said: “The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.”― Augustine of Hippo

When asked to name the values of our church, our leaders immediately identified the Word of God as priority #1. I thank God for that. It is my obligation and responsibility to keep the Word of God as the central focus of what we do. Without it, all else is clutter and fuss, all to no useful end. We cannot outwork a bad diet. Let’s eat!

Pastor Virgil Stokes


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