Weekly Sabbath Survey
Basics of Christian Life — 8-30-2014
A dear pastor friend, Rev. Ervin Veale, went to be with the Lord earlier this year at the age of 98, just a couple of months shy of 99. He was in some kind of active ministry to others within a year or so of his death. After he reluctantly gave up driving, when one of his many grandkids was sick at school and nobody else could be located, Brother Veale cranked up his old Chevy and was on the job. Soundly rebuked by his children, he and his young grandson were very happy he was there to save the day. At the end he was, as the Bible says, ‘old and stricken with years.’ But for many years of active life and ministry, he was a powerful and divine force in the lives of hundreds of people, me and my family being in that number. He taught me many things personally in counseling, including today’s lesson.
The Basics of Christian Life are compried of two things: Belief and Action.
Belief is our creeds and our convictions. A creed is a foundational, fundamental belief. Such as “God created the heavens and the Earth” and “Jesus is the Savior of all who come to Him,, repent of sin and accept is salvation.” The creeds are the core beliefs of Born Again Christianity. Our convictions are those fine points of the faith that we believe for ourselves personally. These are the ones we may not always agree about, as each of us responds to the Holy Spirit teaching us individually. I have wondered many times why some people get to a revelation of truth way before me and then others are coming up behind me with that same truth. There is no answer for this except that we are all working out our salvation (deliverance) between ourselves and the Lord. Some things I do, you may not, and vice versa.
Action is our conduct and our character. Our conduct is the way we live and behave within the context of our beliefs. It is the outward appearance of righteous living. Some behaviors can be easily agreed upon by most every one. But there are others that there may be disagreements about. We can all agree that marital fidelity is a must. Married people should behave as those who are committed to a spouse should. But something like women wearing pants instead of a dress to church, might be up for discussion. Our conduct is sometimes dictated by where we are and/or who we are with at the time. Our character is the part that makes us behave and do the right thing even if nobody is looking. It is the part of us where conscience and our spirit ‘police’ our actions.
Belief and Action are twins. They work as a team. One without the other is mostly useless, eternally speaking. As we develop our Creeds and Convictions over time, they become the foundation for the outgrowth of our Conduct and Character. What we absorb and retain of God’s truth, determines the person we become in Him.
These four categories of spiritual development work together in us to become a lifestyle that we live before God and our fellow man. The function of these things is very dependant on our understanding of the Bible through the teaching of others and our own habit of READING it. When we limit ourselves to the sermon Scripture on Sunday, we may miss things the Lord wants to speak into our lives from His spirit to ours. The Bible promises the Holy Spirit will teach us. He does this regularly as we read and read and read our Bible. Another old saint, in a similar mold as Brother Veale, is my grandmother Bessada Russell Cotton. She died at age 101, old and stricken in years, but still reading her Large Print Bible with a big magnifying glass.
Today we live in a terrible youth culture where one of the most dreaded circumstances to get or even look OLD. This worship of youth does not lend itself to regard or respect for elders. They are the annoying people ahead of us in line, ahead of us in traffic, and blocking our supermarket aisle when we are in a really big hurry. In America, we appreciate the young, strong and beautiful. And having money doesn’t hurt either!
I think all this makes God very sad. He recalls doing some of His best work through old people: there was a very old, childless couple named Abraham and Sarah, and an 80 year old sheepherder named Moses — just off the top of my head. We miss a lot when we whiz rudely past the old saints as we go by. There is so much for them to teach us, if we will take the time to listen.
You shall give due honor and respect to the white-headed old ones, in the fear of God. I am YHVH (Yahweh). Leviticus 19:32
Charlene Reams Manning
Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
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