Don Guthrie
Aired week of Aug  7 - 13, 2011
“Change Begins In Me”

August 17, 2011

    Hi! I'm Don Guthrie and I would like to thank you for joining me as we look into God’s Holy Word in order to learn
how to become a more faithful followers of Christ, and a better witnesses to the world.

      As I begin, I would invite you to pray with me. Lord, I come before you this day in the name of Jesus. I ask that you
anoint me with your Holy Spirit and speak to those who are listening to my voice so that they might hear and
understand what you have to say to them. Open our heart and our ears that we might receive the message you have
for us today, in Jesus name I pray. AMEN

      Written on the outside of the tomb of an Anglican bishop in Westminster Abbey are found some very interesting
words. Listen as I quote them too you.

      "When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older
and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only
my country. But that too, seemed immovable.

      "As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest
to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

      "And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would
have changed my family.

      "From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I
may have even changed the world."

      End of quote.

      Many of us, like the words I just read to you, have dreamed of changing the world, or at least a small part of it.
Often because of the obstacles we encounter, we get discouraged, and our desires lesson and sometimes we give up
all together. This is pretty much what the writing found on the outside of the Anglican Bishop’s tomb is saying, but the
last two lines say’s it all.

      "And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would
have changed my family.

      "From their inspiration and encouragement, I would have then been able to better my country and, who knows, I
may have even changed the world."

In Matthew 6:33 Jesus said
33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these
    things shall be added unto you.

      What Jesus is saying is that everything else, before we can help others, before we can change the world, before
we tell others what they need to do, or how to live their life, we need to first seek the kingdom of God for ourselves.
Jesus said it best in Matthew 7:3-5.

Matthew 7:3-5
3.   And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considers
    not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4.   Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye;
    and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5.   Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt
    thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.  

      Jesus said that it is not possible to take a speck of dirt out of someone else’s eye if we ourselves have a plank, or
the whole board sticking out of our own eye. Not only could we not be able to see the speck of dirt properly, but by
trying to do so, we would be acting like a hypocrite. Jesus said that first we must remove the beam out of our own eye,
than we will be able to see clear enough to remove the speck out of our brother’s eye.

      I believe it was well said by one of the preachers of old. He said; “In order to have revival, one should get down
on their knees, draw a circle around your self, than pray for a revival to happen in everyone inside that circle.”

      This is pretty much what the writing on the Bishops tomb means. First you need to make things right between
yourself and God. You need to find what God’s will is for you is, than do your best to follow it. You should live your life
as an open book, like the bible, and allow others to read it by the way you live and act in your everyday life.

      It is said that one day St. Francis of Assisi said to one of his young monks, "Let us go down into the town and
preach." They left the monastery together and walked through the streets of town then returned back to the monastery
without saying a word.

      The young monk said to Saint Francis "You have forgotten, father that we went down into the town to preach."

      "My son," Francis said, "we have preached. We preached as we walked. We were seen by many: our behavior
has been noticed; it was thus that we preached. It is no use, my son to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach
everywhere we walk."

      This is the same manor in which we should walk in our lives. We should be living, working and playing every day
of our life as if we were showing people the way to heaven. Our heart should be so that every word which comes from
out of our mouth should be kind, gentle, like Christ himself would have spoken. Our actions should be so that the
smallest child or the oldest adult can see Jesus in us. Our life should reflect the one who made us, after all, we were
made in the image of God, and his reflection should be a part of our life.

      I am reminded of a book I read that is entitled “In His Steps” It was written by Charles Monroe Sheldon. It was
from this book that the phrase “What Would Jesus Do”, or “WWJD” originated. The book talks of a Church that
started asking this question before they did anything and than they did only what they thought Jesus would have done
in the same situation, or if he would not have done it, they refused to do it as well.

      In today’s society, this is not a popular conception, but it is something that would be good to apply to our lives.
Just think of the impact we would have on our families and our community if we would start living our lives like Jesus
would be living if he were here. Imagine what people would think if they saw that everything you did was done in an
honest and upright manor. Imagine how people would warm up to you if you showed no prejudices toward them.
Imagine what an impact it would make if you refused to talk about people or judge them. Imagine how they would feel
if you kept a smile on your face, and had joy flowing forth from your heart. I can’t help but believe that people would be
drawn to you, and would desire what you have for yourself.

      Like St Francis, if we were to live like Jesus, and if we were careful not to do anything that Jesus wouldn’t do, we
would be preaching everywhere you walk, everywhere you shop, everywhere you work and anywhere else you
happen to be. Jesus would be lifted up, and by your words and actions Jesus would be glorified. As people came to
realize that you were practicing what you claim, in other words, you would be acting like a child of God, instead of just
claiming you were one, they would be drawn to you in order to learn how they could do the same.

      There is a quote that was made by an unknown author that says, “The only part of the Bible you truly believe is
the part that you obey.” I would like to expand on this a bit and say, that the only part of what you believe in the bible,
and what you trust in God, is what you live with your life. Unless it’s real to you, it means nothing. Unless you strive to
live what God tells you, shows me that you do not believe in God, therefore, how could you, or I for that matter, help
someone see the error of their ways, or how could we help to change the world, our community or our family if all we
are doing is telling others is “do as I say, not as I do? The truth is we can’t.

      There is another saying, I don’t know where it came from but it goes like this, “You can fool all the people some of
the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” This is a very true
statement. People can see through a person’s false front and they are able to see a hypocrite underneath when one
tries to fool them.

      When people see folks sitting in church on Sunday Morning singing praises to God, and acting reverent and
sincere and then see that same person on the job sight Monday through Friday mornings cursing, telling dirty jokes
and talking about their neighbors, they see a fake, someone who has a beam in their eye and trying to take the speck
out of their neighbors eye.

      For this reason some folks have become discouraged and will not attend Church. They have seen church
members acting a hypocrite, being one thing on Sunday, and something completely different on Monday, yet claiming
that everything is good, and failing to see the wrong in their life. For this very reason we need to stop once in a while
and take a look at ourselves to determine where we are spiritually, and what others are seeing in us.

      What do people see in us when they see us on a daily basis.  

•        Are we showing people the love of Jesus by the Love we are showing them?
•        Are we showing people the Joy that comes from God, through the smile on our face and the joy that flows from
•        Are we living the Gospel, trying to be a spokesman for Jesus in what we say and do?
•        Are we simply pretending to be a Christian, or are we diligently trying to live what we know to be right?

      There is a lot riding on the truth of your answers, people watching. Your Children are watching. Your Grand-
children are watching. Your friends, neighbors and co-workers are watching. But most importantly, God is watching.

      There is a passage in the New Testament that makes me tremble every time I think of it, read or hear it. It is found
in Matthew seven verses twenty-one through twenty-three. Listen to these words.

Matthew 7:21-23
21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but
    he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in
    thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work

      According to Jesus, and I would consider that to be a pretty reliable source, not every person who claims to be a
Christian, or a follower of God, will be allowed into heaven. Jesus said those who will be allowed into heaven are
those who do the will of his Father who is in heaven. All the claims that are made to him, all the pleas to let you into
heaven will center on that one simple statement, have you done the will of my father in heaven?

      Those who cannot answer that question in the affirmative, those who have pretended to be something they were
not, those who fooled all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, will be standing in front of a
righteous God, and they will hear him say the most horrible words any human could ever begin to hear, “I never knew
you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Then they will be cast into an eternal everlasting hell, separated from God

      The time to assure your self that this will not happening is now. Quit worrying about politics, the economy, where
to eat or what clothing to purchase, instead concern yourself with doing the will of God, and living and acting like he
desires you to act, than someday, you will hear him say, welcome my son, welcome my daughter, enter your rest, here
is the title to the mansion I prepared especially for you, enjoy your eternity in heaven. AMEN  

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