December 2, 2016 Brethren Letter
I’ll begin tonight’s letter with a quote that has been attributed to the former U.S. State Department Spokesman, Robert McCloskey:
I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
When I first heard that phrase years ago, it’s meaning was perplexing. Even as I read it tonight, I still find the sentence to be a little puzzling. Actually, a Church member quoted it to me as we were talking about the subject of “LISTENING.”
A short time ago, we heard a sermon that was recorded many years ago by God’s late apostle, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. During that sermon, Mr. Armstrong mentioned that sometimes Church members would listen to his sermon and talk about how wonderful it was. However, if someone who hadn’t heard the sermon asked the question, “What was Mr. Armstrong’s sermon about?” they couldn’t answer the question. Obviously, they were hearing words but weren’t LISTENING.
Can you imagine if you were praying to God for an hour, pouring your heart out asking for an answer, only to find that maybe God heard words but He really wasn’t LISTENING, and had no idea what you were praying about? Thankfully, God isn’t that way!
But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3)
LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, (Psalm 10:17)
For in You, O LORD, I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God. (Psalm 38:15)
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. (Psalm 55:17)
Likewise, God wants each of us to be attentive when studying His WORD. The Bible is God’s way of speaking to us. CONCENTRATE, LISTEN to God, and SEEK HIS understanding.
I’ll close with a few paragraphs from Mr. Armstrong’s “Personal” in The Plain Truth magazine, November, 1965:
The divine Instruction Book tells us how to LIVE — how to SUCCEED — how to find real HAPPINESS! It says: Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Eccl. 9:10). First be sure your hand finds only the RIGHT things to do. Then WORK AT IT — do it with your might — do it the VERY BEST way it can be done.
Never be satisfied with mediocrity.
This great Instruction Book says: “STUDY!” Most people neglect study. They let their minds drift. They devote far more hours to daydreaming than to study. Most motion pictures and television shows are merely ready-made daydreams, causing the viewer’s mind to simply DRIFT, not being sharpened by exercise, but rusting out!
God’s Word teaches us to USE OUR MINDS — and to use them properly, constructively. It says: “PROVE ALL THINGS.” Don’t jump to false conclusions, carelessly absorb the errors and untruths you hear or read. It says: BE DILIGENT.
If you work for a man, then WORK for him — give him the best you’ve got. THINK about what you’re doing, WHILE you’re doing it! Keep alert. Keep Busy. Keep active!
Yes, Sir! Being “old granddad” — being there longer than most, is not enough! In the only HAPPY life, the true Christian life, one must keep active — keep industrious, diligent, alert, constantly improving.
Please have a wonderful Sabbath!
Your Brother in Christ,