Godly Advice for Daily Living
by Rev. Randy Brown
I don’t know if you’ve realized it or not but the English language is one that is somewhat difficult and complicated. You may not think that because it’s the only language you’ve ever known but if you’ve studied language you know that by reputation that is true, that the English language is perhaps one of the hardest and most difficult to learn because sometimes words can have so many different meanings. Let’s take that word can, C-A-N. Can, you can go to the store and buy a can. A can of tuna, a can of ... Whatever you want to buy a can of, you can go to the store and buy it. It is a metal object, which contains something of value. Yet, can also can refer to some ability that you have.
Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Or, if you’re in a work environment and you get canned, you’re no longer employed. See, it has all kinds of meanings. If you’re canned at work that means you’re fired. Well, fired has something that is ignited, you see it gets complicated. Or, the word vision – now, for those of you that may not have vision problems, if I ... “Where did you all go?” We think 20/20, that’s perfect vision. Or, perhaps the vision that we have, those of you who may have flown, you know that a pilot has to have good vision and the visibility has to be good or you’re going to be in trouble. Or, just a vision is something that you can dream about, you can’t see it but you can see it before you see it, that kind of vision.
Or, you go outside today and you look, you may see clouds, and you may say, “Well the sun’s not out.” Yes it is, it’s just above the clouds. You see, vision is one of those things too that sometimes has complications to it. I don’t want to talk about can today, and I don’t want to talk about vision. There’s a word that I use as we read the scriptures, “In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path and crown your efforts with success.” All, you know what all means? It means all. It means everything. It encompasses the entirety of the whole. “In all your ways, acknowledge.” Now, there’s the word that we want to talk about for a few moments this morning. To acknowledge, “In all your ways, acknowledge Him.” Acknowledge God, “And he will direct your paths and he will crown your efforts with success.”
Now what does it mean to acknowledge something? It means to declare that it is true, that you recognize that something exists, that you accept something or someone as having authority, and that you will surrender to that authority, that you’re obligated to that authority, that you’ll live under that authority, and that you claim that authority to be true. “Acknowledge Him and He will direct your path and crown your efforts with success.” We’re called by scripture today to acknowledge that God is God and we’re not, and we acknowledge Him. Now, how are we to acknowledge Him? “In all that we do.” Not just some of the things we do, not just on Sunday, but in all that you do, acknowledge Him.
That begins with our thought process, that we’re to guard our minds from things that are unholy and un-pure. That we’re to guard our minds from things that are wrong. That it’s not necessarily based on public opinion or opinion polls, but we are to base our life on what God’s word says. “In all of our ways, acknowledge Him.” We’re not to lean on our own understanding, but to acknowledge him that what He says is true, that He is the foundation of our lives. Whether we want to agree with it or not, whether it makes worldly sense to us or not, that we acknowledge Him, that we give Him authority, and that we abide by that authority. Acknowledge Him in our thought lives; it’s up to us to set that tone. We do that with humility, we do it with our friends and our family, our co-workers. In all your ways, in all your thoughts, acknowledge Him; that we follow what He says that we’re to do and how we are to go about our lives.
“In all your ways, acknowledge Him.” First, in our thought life, then in our social life… The scripture tells us to walk in the light as He is in the light. To be the light of the world. Sometimes when I have the opportunity to speak to teenagers and other groups and especially to athletes and teams, I’ll say to them, “Be careful who it is that you’re hanging around because where you’ll be five years down the road can largely be determined by two things. The people that you’re hanging around and what you’re putting into your mind, what you’re reading.” Be careful to acknowledge and to put Godly things into your heart and into your life.
How will we do it? The scripture talks about, not to be unevenly yoked. I know a lot of times we put that into scriptural context of marriage, that Christians and non-Christians, that sort of thing. Now, I’m not a farmer, never been a farmer, don’t know how to plow, don’t know the first thing about it, and thank you, don’t want to know. I do know that the scripture says, “Don’t be unevenly yoked.” I do know that when you plow a field, you plow with horses or you plow with mules. You have a team, right, Rogers? You have a team, and the team is two mules or two horses, not one of each. I’m told that could lead to disaster because they have different talents, different abilities, different gifts, and they’ll go in different directions and you’ll never plow a straight line.
If you plow with two mules or two horses you’re going to get a better chance of a straighter line. When we walk together with fellow believers, we walk the straight and narrow instead of going off in one direction or the other. Now, I’m not saying turn away from all friends. I’m not saying that, I’m just saying that we need to be the influencers and not to be the influenced. That we will influence by our very light, by the light of Christ being in us. “In all of our ways, acknowledge Him.” Walk in the light, as He is the light. We’re to acknowledge Him in our thoughts, we’re to acknowledge Him in our social life, we’re to acknowledge Him in our business dealings. To treat other folks fairly, an honest days wage for an honest days work. A good product for a good price. You’ve heard all of those things.
For the employees, do your job with excitement and enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter if you’re putting in a septic tank or landing a jet plane, you ought to be excited about an opportunity to do something. Then we acknowledge Him with our ambitions. So long in our society ambition has sometimes had a negative connotation to it, that we shouldn’t be ambitious, we should just go along, but I don’t think that’s scriptural. If you have an ambition to do something, I think that’s God’s gift to you. I think he will guide your ambitions to bring about betterment of mankind. Will you let God have your ambition? What do you want to accomplish this year that you’ve never accomplished before? What Godly ambition will God place on your heart this year?
Try to meet that ambition with everything that’s in your being. Will you let Him have your ambition? Paul said it like this, “I choose to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” The more Paul got to know Him, the more Paul got to be like Him. Your ambition this year could easily be, “I want to be like Jesus.” What an ambition, what an ambition. What’s your ambition for the year? Acknowledge Him in your ambitions, and then acknowledge Him in your prayer life. So many times we just kind of hit and miss on prayer life. A friend of mine says, “We just kind of bless our cornflakes and go on.” That’s not a prayer life.
Will you acknowledge Him in your prayer life? Pray without ceasing, do we spend the time in prayer that we ought to? Prayer is not just a shopping list of things that we go down and tell God we want, but prayer is surrender to God. When we come to that prayer that we’ve prayed this morning already, “Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil.” Sometimes when we’re praying that part of the prayer, we have to realize temptation is a part of life but if we’re going to pray that prayer and ask God to help us in that way, we have an obligation to stay out of those places, those areas of life where we may be tempted.
I’ve got a lot of sympathy for that little boy who ... He was walking up and down the street and there was a grocery store there. The owner of the grocery store had a barrel of apples out in front of the store. He walked by, he looked at that barrel of apples, he walked on by. He’d come back by and he’d look and he’d walk by again. Finally, the store owner saw him and said, “Son, don’t you try to steal any of my apples.” The little boy said, “Mister, I’m not trying to steal them, I’m trying not to steal them.” If you’re going to pray, deliver us from evil, lead us not into temptation, then we have a moral obligation to stay out of those situations where we know we’re going to be tempted.
Do you acknowledge Him in your prayer life? In our church life, to reach out to those who have not yet come into the family of God. To reach out to those who are estranged from a church. To reach out to those who are not yet in the family of God. Are we going to acknowledge Him? I don’t know where that will lead us. Will we start a bus ministry? That would be acknowledging God. Will we identify with those who He identifies with? The last, the least, the lonely, the lost. Will we acknowledge Him in our church life? “In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your path and crown your efforts with success.” That doesn’t mean that we’re going to be president of the company in the morning. Doesn’t mean that we’re going to have all the worldly things that we want. It means that we’ll be a success in the kingdom of God. That we will follow and accomplish His plans and purposes for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans that I have for you, plans for a future with a hope.” God’s got a tremendous future for us. He’s got a tremendous future for you. We’ll live into that as we acknowledge Him in all that we do. I love the greeting card this time of the year that says, “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the new year, give me a light, that I might tread safely into the unknown and he said unto me, ‘Put your hand into the hand of God and it will be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’” Acknowledge Him.
This week I read this statement and I guess it has touched and changed my life more than any other recently. Here’s what it says, “His plans are better than your dreams.” “His plans are better than your dreams.” Your dreams are great, but His plans are better. “For I know the plans that I have for you,” says the Lord. We’ll meet those and exceed those as we acknowledge Him. “Acknowledge Him in all that you do and He will direct your path and crown your efforts with success.” That’s what the book says, and the book never lies.