Thanksgiving P1 – Bob George (11-20-20)
A very special Thanksgiving message for today of Putting Jesus First in Your Life.
Bob George tells the story of Dave Boyer, the singer that sings our Classic Christianity opening theme song, “Put Jesus First in Your Life.”
Welcome to Bob George Classic Christianity radio with Bob George, the clear and timeless teaching on the complete forgiveness and unconditional love of Jesus Christ as you learn about God’s amazing love. Bob shares from God’s word reminding us of the attitudes of love and thankfulness. He contrasts the world’ peace with God’s peace, lust or attraction with agape love, anxiety with faith, fear with love, self-centered thinking with God-centered thinking, worry with thankfulness, man’s will versus God’s will, weakness with God’s strength, negative thinking with thinking with a proper self image, a dead life replaced with a new life, following Jesus with being led of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fear with love, evil versus good, and worldly thinking with scriptural thinking based on truth. With such teaching, one has a solid foundation on which to be truly thankful. With the Holy Spirit in you, the love of God is shown through you; a sincere love, out of the heart, and not just with words.
In the world today, it is so easy to let our minds dwell on negative news, and I do not think I have to say anything about that, for we all know. But do we let our minds dwell there, or do we ponder over what God says for us to do, to trust Him, that He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory, to be joyful always, to pray continually and to give thanks in all circumstances. He says that if He takes care of the lilies of the field, which are here today and gone tomorrow, how much more will He take care of you. So do not worry about tomorrow. When you know the unconditional love and acceptance of God and His tender care for you, then let that perfect love cast out fear. Embrace that perfect love.
Can we really experience love and peace in a troubled world? Yes, we can when you have the prince of peace living in you, allowing Him to live His life in you and through you, having Him renew your mind with truth, and trusting Him. You trusted Him for eternal life, a big thing, knowing that you will be alive forever without end with Him. So let us keep our mind on Christ and trust Him, in what He says is true. As He said to us, let your love be sincere, hate what is evil and cling to what is good.
But you say you have been hurt and you cannot allow yourself to be hurt again. Think about how selfish that thinking really is! If God did that, where would we be? Would He continue to go through with the cross, shedding His blood for you and me? There is a risk in love, but God thought we were worth it to die for us. That is agape love, a love that God must produce in us and through us. We must forget what lies behind and press on to the higher calling in Christ Jesus. So let us be thankful and rejoice in Him!
We are going to talk today about Thanksgiving and how it ties into the word of God as it ties in with these words in Romans. But these attitudes of thankfulness we need to become continually reminded of. In Philippians 4:6-7, we are instructed to be anxious for nothing and we read about a peace that surpasses understanding.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
You have world peace. You can go out to the beach and you can look at the beautiful ocean, like Amy and I have an opportunity of doing, and there is a temporary peace that you have, by looking at God’s creation and being around God’s creation. But the peace of God that surpasses all understanding cannot be duplicated by anything here on this earth. It has to be produced internally by the Spirit of God, who is the author of peace.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Love, joy and peace is fruit of the Spirit that can only be produced by God.
So we understand the truth of these things. Only as we abide in and yield to the Spirit of God that we can experience things like love, the kind of love that God gives, but the kind of love that surpasses all understanding is only available to us by the source of that love, and that source is Jesus and Him alone. Until we learn to abide in Him, we are never going to experience love. We can talk about it. You can talk about lust, and you can talk about attraction, but the love god talks about, agape love, can only be produced by God Himself.
6 Be anxious for nothing
But He says to be anxious for nothing. You ask, “What is anxiety?” Anxiety is basically produced by worrying about what never takes place in the future. How many of you have wasted unbelievable amounts of time in your life worrying about something that never happens? How many of you have done that? Quite frankly, that is the bulk of our worry in what never takes place.
Again, the anxiety and the worry is a terrific contradiction to faith because you cannot walk by faith and be worried at the same time. We love to talk about the filthy five, the dirty dozen and the nasty nine but do you know that worry is just as much a sin as any of those things? We do not think about that, sinning by worrying. What is sin again?
everything that does not come from faith is sin.
So when I am worrying, am I exercising faith? No. So I am sinning. The whole issue is not that that sin has not been taken away from the eyes of God, just like all sins, but the issue is what God is saying. “I do not want you to do that. I want you to live in peace. I want you to live in quietness of spirit and love in your heart.” I cannot do that when I am preoccupied with me and what is going to happen in the future. I ask people, “Would you be so concerned if what you are so concerned about if that was happening to me instead of you?” The answer is, “No, I do not care a flip about what is happening to you. I am interested in what is happening to me.”
That is this whole self-centeredness that comes in that God wants us to get rid of, to become God centered instead of self-centered. But we all have that tendency, do we not, to go back to the garden of Eden and try to be God? What does God do? Controls things. What do we want to do? Control things, including my future. I want to be sure my future is secured. Inasmuch as I cannot do anything about the future, then the only thing I can do is worry about today, worrying about the future, which is God’s country. That is God;’s country, not my country. That is God’s country. I do not know what is going to happen in the future, do you? I do not know what will happen five minutes from now. If I had the ability to know what will happen five minutes from now, I could be a millionaire on the stock market. But we do not know the value.
So God says, “What are you doing up there?” All that is dealing with fear over tomorrow. Am I going to have enough money to take care of my children? Will I have enough money to send children to college? Will I have enough money to do this? Will I keep my job because there have been a lot of layoffs? The issue is whatever happens to you God says He will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory and not according to your savings in glory. So God wants us to quit worrying, to quit continually being in a state of worry and depression.
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they are? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Worry brings about depression. If I am worried about some bad thing that is going to happen to me tomorrow, how can I not be depressed today? For that is depressing. Sometimes if I said about you what you are saying about you, you would hit me in the nose. Am I right or wrong? We just tell each other how bad we are and how bad things are going to be and just do that joyfully. If someone else said that, you would want to stay away from them. They are negative. God does not want us to be anxious.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
What does that mean? Talking to God. What are you going to talk to God about? “God, you already told me that you will provide everything for me, according to your riches and glory. So I really do not need to worry if you are going to do that, and you are going to do that, so I do not need to worry about today and certainly do not have to worry about tomorrow.”
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
Be thankful for what you do have instead of worrying about what you do not have. Be thankful that you have food in your mouth today instead of worrying that you might not have it tomorrow. For most of us, if we did not have it tomorrow, it would not be a catastrophe.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
“Lord, you know what my will is. You know what I would like to see, but I do not want my will. It is not my will I am after. I am after your will. Inasmuch as I can trust you for your will for me today and your will for me tomorrow, then what is the sense in me sitting around and worrying.” There is nothing glamorous about a worrying person. A person may sing something, but his heart is weighed down and so he sings in a long drawl, without his heart in it, “I got the joy of Jesus in my heart.” And I sing that song. “I got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart.” Nothing glamorous about that. A big smile and a free spirit is evidence of a person who is walking in dependency on the Lord. It does not mean saved or not. If saved, obviously. But you are saved and sorry. You are saved but not trusting the Lord for what you trusted Him for the biggest thing that ever happened to you, your salvation.
I ask people sometimes, “Who are you trusting for your salvation? Are you trusting yourself or are you trusting Jesus?” “I am trusting Jesus. I could not save myself if I wanted to.” “But you are saved, aren’t you?” “Absolutely.” “So if He did such a big thing as give you eternal life, and that is life that lasts forever, do you think He is big enough that you do not have to worry about things we are worried about today? Don’t you think you can trust Him with these things? If you trusted Him for something that big, don’t you think you can trust Him today?”
That is why those passages are there, to enable us to get rid of stinking thinking that we have been plagued in our lives with negative things. It is not whether it is negative or positive. It is whether it is truth or not. Negative thinking is not truth. Negative thinking is thinking that negative things are going to happen to you and you do not know whether negative things are going to happen to you. The issue is to think properly. It is not a good self image that we have or a bad self image, but a proper self image, the image of God He has given you. If you are a child of the living God, you have this promise from Him.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I have people, a lot of times, who will ask me, “What is the will of God?” and then say, “I would like to know what the will of God is.” “I will tell you one thing that is the will of God is. Give thanks in all things. Have you done that?” “No.” “Then why seek the will of God someplace else? Until you are willing to do that one thing, why seek something else?” This is an easy one to get a hold of. In all things give thanks.
2 Thessalonians 3:5
5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Trials and tribulations will come. When you look back on your lives, as we all do, that seems to be more of a past time when you get older. You do not have much future left so all you got is to look back on the past. So you think more about the past. And as you look back on them it is the mistakes you made and the trials and tribulations you went through, that you look back on, that when I look at that with the proper sense, those are things that made who I am today. Those are things I learned to trust God. If I had not gone through trials and tribulations of life, I would not know what it means to trust Jesus.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
That is why the apostle Paul, in scripture, tells us to rejoice in our weaknesses. If you did not have weaknesses, you would not know the strength of God. If you did not have any weaknesses, you would forget Jesus in a New York minute. Do you realize the truth of that? If it were not for your weaknesses and your tendency to sin. I am not encouraging that. I do not need to. We sin quite well without encouragement.
The issue is, many times your sinful attitudes that come out of us, are the very things that keep us dependent on Christ. The Lord Jesus, if not for His mercy, His kindness and goodness to me, I would be a goner with the way I think. So these are attitudes of thanksgiving. I think of many things that I have to be thankful for, and for the saints here today, that there are many things you can be thankful for. You can be thankful for grandchildren that need to be taken care of. Bye. Bye.
I was very touched by a note that I got. Many of you know how much major Ian Thomas meant to me. Here was a dear man of God that when you were around him you did not have to wonder if you were in the presence of someone who knew Jesus. You were in the presence of a man you knew knew Jesus, in the presence of a man who knew how to trust Jesus, an inspiration. At his funeral that was held in Capery, in England, he wrote on the back here.
“As a young evangelist, my love and enthusiasm as Christ, as my savior, kept me very, very busy until out of sheer frustration that I came to the point of quitting. This was a turning point that would transform my Christian life. In my despair, I discovered Jesus gave Himself for me so risen from the dead He might give Himself to me, He who is the Christian life. Instead of pleading for help, I began to thank Him for all that He wanted to be, sharing His life with me every moment of every day. I learned to say ‘Lord Jesus, I can’t, but you never said I could, but you can and always said you would’ This is all I need to know from that moment. All life became an adventure that God intended it to be. That is the beginning of the torch bearer, that continues to be the main thrust of ministry and for teaching people about the saving life of Christ.”.
Major Thomas went to be with the Lord a number of months ago. I got this letter from his wife, Joan, a very, very sweet lady. She wrote, “Dear Bob, excuse this little note, but I do want to thank you personally for your tribute to Ian Thomas on your radio program, which was kindly mailed to me. You were quite right in all you said about my major and all the results of his ministry as they are seen in my email and phone calls, etc., every day. I am glad that you, too, continue to preach Christ so alive and available to every believer and to the answer to all human needs the church must hear and from whom truth, and they need to hear this, if there is going to be any impact on the world. Thank you for your faithful ministry and may the Lord bless you. In Christ, Joan Thomas.”
Those are things that encourage us. Those are things with Major Thomas that made a big impact in my life. I will always be deeply indebted to him for that. But equally important with that is a man, like I said, when around him, you did not have to wonder if this guy really knew the Lord. There was no religious playing in his life. He was just a man dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Another note I want to share with you. This came from a girl I was in a bible study with back in 1980. She wrote, “Dear Bob, I met you in 1980. You were teaching bible study that was held in Chriswell’s carriage house. We taught a high school and early college bible study in the garage of Dr. Chriswell’s carriage house every evening each week. It was a college class. I came even though I was still in high school. You hired me to illustrate several books you had printed. I was surprised you hired me to do that. Your son and I dated for a short time after this. I do not remember this but I am sure he will. Any way, you have been on my heart this past week. There was a specific night on one of those bible studies that I really felt God called me to teach with Him. It seemed He highlighted the evening and you were teaching me. I remember I wanted to run and hide from the highlighting and waiting to soak up all the teaching I could at the same time. So why are you on my heart? To say thank you for teaching me. I have run from the Lord’s calling for half of my life and I finally surrendered to Him. My life is His. It began to be His in the carriage house under your teaching. Thank you for teaching me so long ago.”
So it is signed by this girl who is teaching today. She wrote an additional on the back of this.
“My heart will not rest until I obey this strange prompting to get in touch with you. I found your website when I googled your name. I ran into you once at the First Baptist church about eight years ago. But I had no idea that you were pastoring a church today. I am beginning to teach and speak where my precious Lord leads. He leads me in these little towns in central Colorado. It has only started only in May, 2007 and quite a journey it has been. It just makes me take a deep breath and hold on to the Lord tightly. I am grateful for that highlighted moment because when I asked the Lord He really wants me, He reminded me that was the time when He called me. He was so faithful.”
These are letters like this you get from people. There was a girl I had not seen since 1980. But God is faithful and He keeps working with people. She said she ran from the Lord half her life but God brought her back. And He always will. It makes no difference. He will always bring you back.
Amy and I had the opportunity of having lunch with Dave Boyer and his wife when we were in Florida. Again, it is just an example of a man who grew up in a Christian home. His dad was a pastor. His brother was a missionary in France. The whole family was involved in Christian work and activity. Yet he was a prodigal son. And he ran. He had a beautiful singing voice. There he was in Atlantic City and got all tied up in beer and alcohol and drugs and women and everything under the sun. His wife left him for a period of time with their daughter. All of these things while running and trying to find happiness and success in the world, which was not able to be found. One night he was out on the railroad track waiting for a train to come and take his life. He found a phone booth and went over to that phone booth and called his brother, who was back from France, from the missionary field, taking over the church because of the death of his father. He called his brother and said “I need your help,” His brother said, “stay right where you are.” He came and got him and took him to church that night. They prayed through the night and at the end of that night he became a born again believer. Here he was a very popular singer, hob-nobbed with the Sinatras and Sammy Davis and all those guys, called the rat pack, and gave that all up in order to devote his voice to the Lord. He has been doing that now for well over thirty years. It is like you heard me say before, God has restored the years the locusts have stolen. So it really makes no difference where you are or what you have done. God is ready to restore you and He will restore you if you will let Him. That is one of the reasons we have to give thanks again, to be thankful people, for whatever we have done. It makes no difference what we have done or where we have been, the Lord Jesus Christ is here to restore people and lead us into paths of righteousness. That is the greatest news on the face of the earth.
Turn now to Romans 12:9.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Because of these truths, in view of God’s mercy offer your bodies as a living sacrifice.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
In other words, Christ says, “I came to live in you.” Think about that for a minute, guys. Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, has come to take up residence in you, to live there. We have the privilege to participate in that divine nature that lives in us.
2 Peter 1:4
4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Christ lives in us, our hope of glory. We have come now, no longer to follow, because if I am following Jesus then he is out there some place isn’t He? I do not follow Jesus any more. I followed Him to where He was going. Where was He going? To the cross. Then where? To the resurrection. So if I followed Him to where He went, to His death, burial and resurrection and then was indwelt by Him, no longer to follow Him, but to be led internally by Him.
Do you see the difference? There is a difference between following someone, trying to imitate His steps and someone living in you, guiding you to take your steps. There is a world of difference to that. The idea of what would Jesus do. He did what His Father told Him to do. What are we supposed to do? Follow what the Father told Jesus to do? No, to follow what Jesus tells you to do, if He lives in you. He is there to guide you into all truth. You do not imitate somebody else’s steps, but He is in you to individually guide you and me into the steps of righteousness that God walked us into.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
So He is saying that there is love but then there is love that is sincere. Again guys, you see a lot of insincerity, don’t you? You see a lot of it unfortunately in a lot of Christian realms. “I just love you brother but I will stab you in the back tomorrow, but I love you.” He says love must be sincere. Love is something I want to come out of the heart. I just do not want it with just words.
Guys, many times people have trouble loving. Do you know what I am talking about? There are people who have trouble loving. Sometimes they are afraid to even, because they are afraid they are going to get hurt. There are people who loved in their early life and were hurt so traumatically by that, that they have said “no one will get close to me again”. So we put a wall around us and say “no one is going to penetrate that wall”. If that is true, you will be one sad creature because again, you are not trusting the Lord with that.
If I am hurt, what makes it important is you keep thinking about it. Outside of that, it is over. If someone ripped you off, then it is over. The only way it is important in your life is you continue on thinking about it. So the issue is to let go of it. Leave the past behind and realize that the future is God’s and learn how to live one day at a time. You are not being holy by putting up a wall up against yourself and saying “no one is going to penetrate this sucker. I am just not going to love because I have been hurt before.” What is that? Selfishness. It is saying ”I do not want to be hurt.”
Think how many times Jesus was hurt? Do you think He might have been a little disturbed, when they were crucifying Him on a cross? It never stopped Him from loving. I know there is a danger to loving. God so loved the world. There is a chance on that gamble. There is a risk associated with that. To love you unconditionally there is a gamble to that. You might hurt my feelings and walk out. God does not say to not love anybody. Satan says that, “Do not get close to anyone.”
God wants our love to be sincere, to have a sincere love for one another, to get rid of this attitude of fear. Fear is the opposite of love.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Perfect love drives out fear. Fear drives out perfect love. So God does not want us fearful that I am going to get hurt or fearful what this is going to do. Often people live in fear and they are hard people to live with. When always living in fear, always fearing this and that, because you are never free to just be. What is the motive of this person? What is he thinking of? What are they trying to get from me? I wonder if they are trying to rip me off? Those thoughts do not come from God. God says, “If they rip you off, so what.” He says, “Be wise as serpent but innocent as a dove.” He does not say “here I am. Come rip me off.” But the issue is, quit living in fear of that. It will not do you an ounce of good until love is sincere. You cannot have sincere love when you are fearful or when your cell phone goes off, any one of those.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Hate what is evil and cling to what is good. There is some genius. Before you can hate what is evil and cling to what is good, you first have to know what is good and what is evil. That is what is going on in the world today. People have to be dealing with what is good and what is evil. They do not even think there is evil. “Everyone has to be tolerant.” Is that not what we are told? “Just be tolerant. There is no such thing as bad. Everything is relative.” Is that true? Not according to the word of God. He says there is evil and there is good. Our role is what is good and what is evil? It tells us in scripture what is good and what is evil. We do not have to wonder about it. It tells us in scripture the things that are good and the things that are evil. He says to hate what is evil and cling to what is good.