Tag Archives: witness

Doing What’s Best

You’ve seen them before. Young boys bustling with energy. Each of them wearing a blue shirt, with red numbers on the sleeve. Sometimes wearing an orange, or gold, or blue neckerchief. On the pocket of the shirt you find patches of tigers, bobcats, wolves and bear. I’m talking about Cub Scouts. Each learning and growing everyday and trying to live by the Cub Scout motto, “Do Your Best.”

This is a noble endeavor that we all should seek to live by.  But when you have to make a decision, how do you know what is best and why does it matter? The apostle Paul tells us in  Philippians 1:9 – 11 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

“Discern what is best.” In Dr. Don Sunukjian’s book, “Invitation to Philippians,” he list the answer he sees in this passage.  He list two reasons found in this passage for why it is important that we make the best choice. “First, so that no one else will have anything against us, and second, so that we ourselves will know that we’ve pleased God in every way?”

I readily agree that it is important to make the best choice so that we can please God. Pleasing God is what is most important in our lives as Christians. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” We are trying to please God. This is the role of a Christian, that everything we do is pleasing to God.

But what of his first point, “so that no one else will have anything against us.” Is this really our concern. Doesn’t Galatians 1:10 tell us, ” If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” At first glance, I would have to question the validity of this option.  But as I look closer at it I begin to see that it is not as far off as my initial thoughts would place it. Sunukjian said that it is important that we make the right decisions so that people will have nothing against us.  He did not say that we should do it to make people happy with us, that is to say, that we are not tying to please them.

Well, what exactly is the difference? After all, if people are happy with us, then they certainly will have nothing against us. While this is true, the reverse is not. In other words, even if a person has nothing against us, it does not mean that they will always be happy with us.

I know that there are people who I do not agree with. People whose choices do not please me, but I can not help but be impressed by their integrity. They are genuine about who they are. They do not simply act the way people want to make them happy. They make their choices because they truly believe in them.

You see our best choices are not simply to keep everyone happy. If we claim to be Christians, then our choices, our life styles, need to be consistent with that belief. When this is the case we please God, and give others nothing to hold against us for our behavior. This is what Peter is talking about in 1 Peter 2:12 when he writes, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

Doing our best means making choices that please God, choices that are consistent with what we believe.  When we do this, we will be sure to glorify God in our actions and allow our witness to stand before others. But to do this, we must know what pleases God and how to live. The only way to do this is to spend time with Him and in His word. That is our best choice. That is how we are “able to discern what is best” and how we are able to “be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” So spend time daily in His word.  Spend time daily in prayer. Walk with Christ. Get to know Him and what He desires from you. Then you to can do what is best.

 

 

 

I Love To Tell The Story

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

Words by A. Katherine Hankey, 1866
Music by William G. Fischer, 1869

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:1- 3

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:12 – 13

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Psalm 28:18 – 20

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6 – 8

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9


Everyone loves to tell stories, some more than others. Just ask any fisherman. Stories allow us to communicate things to others in a way that is interesting and exciting.  In our stories, we can emphasize what we think is important and minimize items we feel take away from our point. Some stories are of course completely made up, but other are accounts of real events.  Whatever the story, when it is told well, listeners can be transported to the time and place of the events as if they are actually there when it is happening.

Now I never claimed to be a great story-teller, but I have friends who can have you hooked from the first word out of their mouth.  Ultimately, however, the biggest components of a good story is the commitment of the story-teller and  the attention of the listeners. Katherine Hankey drew on these and the theme that runs through her hymn, “I Love To Tell The Story.”

The story that the hymn writer loves to tell is one that has been told time and time again.  It has been called, “Th Greatest Story Every Told.”  Hankey describes it as the story of “unseen things above.”  Seems a little strange at first.  How can you tell the story of unseen things?  She clarifies further that she is speaking “Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.” How do we tell the story of Jesus glory and love?  We tell it from what has been told us and from our own personal experience.  I can tell you of the Mansions awaiting believers in Glory, because Jesus himself told of them in John 14:1-3.  I can speak of His love because I have experienced it first hand, for John 15:12 say, “Love each other as I have loved you.”

The hymn writer next hits the most important point of the entire story, the reason we love to tell the story. She writes, “I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true.” There are lots of stories that we can tell.  From the time we are little children we hear hundred, even thousands of them, but when the story told is true it changes the impact.  All the more so, when the story-teller is a direct participant of the story. So it is with those who have come to know Christ as their personal savior.  It is more than simply a nice story.  It is something that comes from their heart.  It is something that they can not keep inside.  This is why the hymn continues, “It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.”

So we are driven to share a story that is more than simple words. It is a story that becomes everything to us. It is a story of which the hymn describes as, “more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.” There is no story that stands in comparison with this true story that has touched our very lives. And so we repeat again and again the story which “seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.”

Hankey next hits a point that while she shares from her own desire, it echoes the command of Christ who told us in Matthew 28:18 – 20 to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The hymn says, “for some have never heard The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.” So we share the message they have not heard out of love and obedience to Christ.

We share whar it truly the greatest story every told for the Bible tells us that God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) It also tells us that “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

Finally, lest we forget, like any dearly loved story people who know it, love to hear it again and again. So the hymn continues by saying, “I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” The story is so beautiful, so incredible, we can not hear it enough.  Again and again we are drawn in to the story of Jesus love for us.

The song echoes in the heart of everyone who knows Christ personally. So just as we sing it heartily today, so we shall again and again for all eternity.  Therefore, let us begin today by declaring to the world, “I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.”

Read more about “I Love To Tell The Story.”