Classic Christianity – Call-In Bob George p385 (10-18-18)
Bob George, from People to People radio for over 30 years, answers calls to offer faith, hope and love to callers with real life problems. Bob is firm with truth from God’s word, yet extends such grace and tenderness to the callers. Some callers are calling on behalf of a friend while others are sharing from their own personal struggles. The first caller, Francisco, was puzzled about a friend’s predicament, delivered from such things as drugs and alcohol, yet seemingly unable to stop smoking. The second caller, Julie, admits she is a believer, but shares from her current life’s struggles. She eventually admits she is living in sin, but seems to be struggling to want to leave this life of sin, because she continues to choose to go back into sin. The third caller, Randy, is such an honorable man, who truly loves his wife, who also is a believer. Along life’s way she became overcome with pride, and that has contributed to their current legal separation and struggles, in addition to this fallen world we live in, with tribulations beyond our control. Randy’s current circumstances are truly heart-wrenching. She is also dying of cancer and became unemployed due to to a layoff, and is fearing the loss of his home. His greatest burden is his longing to be restored to his wife. He is at a loss of how to proceed and is struggling with depression, quite understandable in his situation, and even asking “Why God?”, to the point of almost doubting God’s love and provision. Again, you can hear Bob reaching out with such wisdom and grace, expressing such tenderness to those hurting and in need.
As believers mature in Christ, not only are they to guard their life and doctrine closely, but they are to grow in helping others walk in new freedom in Christ, just as God helped them.
1 Timothy 4:16
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ
As you listen, you can sense the heart of God in Bob George as he reaches out both with truth and with practical wisdom. Listen as he helps callers discern truth correctly about themselves and God. See also how he shares to exhort a caller to make the tough choices both for their own good and the good of others. As one can hear from the first two callers, it is so easy to rationalize sin, which is really replacing truth with a lie. Yet, the steps to freedom are really simple. Do you look to your circumstances or your emotions? Or, do you ponder over the truth about God and yourself, and come to realize that you already have everything you need to live Godly in Christ Jesus.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ
Oftentimes, without realizing, one can find yourself saying “I cannot” change, or “you do not understand my circumstances” or other rationalizations, that keeps you bound in sinful habits. Bob asks the callers questions to help them see the error in their thinking, then offers practical advice, as well offering continued support to help them walk in freedom. I think all of us can identify how easy it is to deceive ourselves about sin or even find ourselves doubting God’s love for us.
The first caller, Francisco, is concerned for his friend. He is glad that God had delivered his friend from serious sins, such as drugs, cursing, and fornication, but seems puzzled why his friend cannot overcome addiction to smoking and his seemingly lack of ability to read or pray. He mentions that his friend is so focused on his addiction to cigarette smoking that he erroneously thinks he cannot pray or read the bible. Bob discerns that the real issue is that he is living under law and not grace because he does not really believe God’s love for him. If he was living under grace, he would not be hindered in coming to Christ in time of need, boldly going to the throne of grace, knowing that in Christ, his sins have already been forgiven and he has Christ’s righteousness imputed to him. So how can he love God if he does not understand that God loves him. He is under law because he has believed a lie concerning God’s character and love for him. If he does not understand God’s love, how can he love God back?
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
Bob George also points out that on a practical level, addiction to smoking, just takes discipline. He shared that even while he was a non-believer, he quit smoking and it just took a little discipline, a willingness to change and be committed to take the necessary steps to change. How easy is it for us in our natural flesh to rationalize our behavior? He points out that addiction to smoking really is sin, for God’s word indicates that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and we should take care of that body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
How much more so can someone in Christ put to death misdeeds of the body? God will never tell someone to do something one cannot do. So, Francisco’s friend is really believing a lie by telling himself that he cannot stop smoking.
The second caller, Julie, at first shares as if she was talking about some person in general but then admits that she is the one who is living with someone outside of marriage and even that she has left and come back into that situation several times. She later confesses that her boyfriend says he loves Jesus and God but hates to talk about God. So in addition to fornication, she is unequally yoked with an unbeliever. She also is rationalizing her behavior. Bob confronts her with the truth, calling out her behavior for what it really is, sin. But he does so in a matter of gentleness, with the intention to restore her to right living, where she can experience the peace and joy with God.
1 Corinthians 6:18
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.
2 Corinthians 6:14
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Bob tells her that it is not a matter of someone’s view on it, but what the word of God says it is. He warns about denying calling something as sin when God clearly says it is. She then agreed with Bob that the behavior she is doing is sin. But seeking to justify her behavior, she provides more information about her circumstances, such as being homeless. Bob did not give into her one moment. He remained gracious yet firm with truth. He instructed her to make the right choices in life, reminding her that she is in this situation because of wrong choices. Then, to respond to her excuses or fears of homelessness, he informed her that there are always other options. To help her to be willing to make right choices, he asked her: “Are you happy with your choices? Is what you are doing working for you?” Obviously she knows the answer to those questions or she would not be calling, willing to express her difficult situation. He reminds her that all sin has been placed on Jesus Christ and tells her that God wants her to be happy. But one cannot be happy living in sin. God is interested in you having peace and joy.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Your old evil desires were nailed to the cross with him; that part of you that loves to sin was crushed and fatally wounded, so that your sin-loving body is no longer under sin’s control, no longer needs to be a slave to sin;
The third caller, Randy, is really struggling with depression and in how to reach out to his wife so as to be with her and help her. As Randy shares information, Bob continues to ask more questions to discern his situation. Oh, such heart-wrenching information to hear indeed. Randy is very open and such an honorable man. He continues to share details about his separation from his wife, her cancer and short time to live, and a great financial weight on his shoulders, potentially losing his home where his wife lives without him. The greatest need is to be restored to his wife. As Bob shared, there are always ways out, consolidation of debt and other practical ways out, in the material things of life. The more difficult and challenging issue is restoring the relationship with his wife. He encouraged Randy to do what he could to have a heart to heart talk with his wife, to tell her to put aside her playing games, that he loves her, and since he is his wife, he has an obligation to meet her needs, which he is already doing and more than willing to do. The real unanswered question is if she is willing. Bob encouraged Randy to appeal to his wife to live back together under one home in whatever remaining years she has left, and this is not a matter of having pity on her, but before God he has an obligation to meet her needs, to cherish and love her, in sickness and in health. Bob also addressed Randy’s struggle with depression. The reason someone is depressed is because they are thinking negative thoughts. As difficult and as natural as it is to be depressed, the only way that works to overcome depression is to replace what you are thinking about with truth. Instead of dwelling on present circumstances, projecting the unknown future of seemingly unending hopelessness, he encouraged him to ponder over the following scriptures. He encouraged him to think about those things that are always true – God’s love and provision. In your weakest moment, Jesus Christ is there and has always been and will continue to be there for you.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
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