Spiritually Speaking – September 2019
Guest commentary from:
The Reverend Howard Strickland
Crane Eater Community Church—Calhoun, Georgia
Psalm 23:1-3 “The Lord is my Shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He restores my failing health. He helps me do what honors Him the most.” – The Living Bible
Psalm 23 is probably the best-known passage of the Old Testament. It is a testimony by David to the Lord’s faithfulness throughout his life. It pictures the Lord as a disciple’s Shepherd-King-Host.
George Washington said, “Few men have enough virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” Even though the Lord leads, it’s not easy to go in the right direction when:
1. It will cost you.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your every-day, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.
A living sacrifice—sounds like an oxymoron, kind of like jumbo shrimp! Most people understand the idea of giving an offering of money at church. We put our money or our check in an envelope and drop it in the plate. However, we still need help with the idea of offering ourselves to God.
After all, we can’t put ourselves in an envelope. Also remember—a living sacrifice is a lot different than a dead one.
Consider the aged pastor of a small church, who was asked to resign because there had been no conversions in the church for an entire year. The old pastor said, “It’s been a lean year; however, don’t forget about Bobby!”
The elders had forgotten about this lad who had not only gotten saved, but he had given himself in full consecration to God. It was Bobby who, in a missionary meeting when the plate came by, asked the usher to place the plate on the floor. Bobby placed his two feet inside, and he shouted, “I give myself; I have nothing else to give!”
Bobby became the world-renowned Robert Moffat, who—with David Livingstone—gave his life to healing the open sores of the continent of Africa.
What is your offering?
2. It’s not easy to do the right thing, when the wrong thing is more expedient, convenient, and practical. You’ll hear voices saying, “Just come on and do it;
no one will see the short cut!”
Every single day we make choices that show whether we are courageous or cowardly.
We choose between the right thing and the convenient thing, sticking to a conviction—or caving in for the sake of comfort, greed, or approval.
We choose either to take a carefully thought-out risk or to crawl into a shrinking shell of safety, security, and inactivity.
We choose either to believe in God and trust Him— even when we don’t always understand His ways— or to second-guess Him and cower in the corners
of doubt and fear.
It’s not easy to do the right thing—when no one but you will know.
It’s in those moments that your character becomes strong.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Cowardice asks: Is it safe? “Consensus asks: Is it popular? “Character asks: Is it right?”
I love the following true story:
During the final play-off of the U. S. Open, Bobby Jones’ ball ended up in the rough just off the fairway. As he set up to play his shot, he accidentally moved his ball. He immediately turned to the marshals and announced a foul. The marshals hadn’t seen the ball move; neither had anyone in the gallery. So they left it up to Jones as to whether he should take a penalty stroke. He did. Later when someone commended him for his integrity, Jones replied, “Do you commend a bank robber for not robbing a bank? No, you don’t. This is how the game of golf should be played at all times.”
Jones lost the match that day by one stroke, but he maintained his integrity. Because his character was so well known, the United States Golf Association’s Sportsmanship Award came to be named “The Bob Jones Award”.
Psalm 23:3 He refreshes and restores my life (myself); he leads me in the paths of righteousness (not for my earning it, but for His name’s sake).
Remember this: “Your eulogy is being preached as I speak. “Will the person officiating at your funeral be able to say, ‘He or she lived a life similar to Jesus Christ?’”