Any person who seeks to please God must live by His every word! If you do, you will develop the very mind of Christ and reap abundant blessings.
Put It to Work by Selmer L. Hegvold
Why do so many millions who read and study the Bible remain in ignorance of what it really says? Why do most students of religion never reap the blessings found in God's promises? How about you? Even though God has revealed His truth to you, do you lack the prosperity, peace and happiness God's Word promises Christians? If so, why? The answer is simple. The Bible is a working phenomenon. Put it to work! Challenge the God who proclaims it His divine revelation to mankind. Locate the promises God has given — the Bible is replete with guarantees you can personally claim. And unlike man, God has never broken a promise — not one: "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Num. 23:19). God challenges you to prove Him. But He is not obligated to show you the veracity of His Word unless and until you act to prove it — until you put it to work in your life.
Claim God's promises
God's Word reveals the way to everything good — the way to every blessing you could possibly desire in life. God wants you to have the very best, and He will work miracles to accomplish His promises for you. But He will not hand these things to anyone on a silver platter. He attaches to His gifts certain stipulations. If you accept and perform those conditions, the gifts He promises are yours. You must do something. Note how steadfast God is in what He has committed Himself to do for you. "The Strength of Israel [God Almighty I will not lie nor repent" (I Sam. 15:29). "I the Lord have spoken it: it shall come to pass, and I Will do it" (Ezek. 24:14). "He abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself' (II Tim. 2:13). "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began" (Tit. 1:2). How did Herbert W. Armstrong, God's apostle for this age, attain so great a responsibility in God's Work? He was angered into putting God to the test of His Word. Mr. Armstrong could not accept what Lorna, his first wife, had come to believe and practice in her life — the seventh-day Sabbath. So strong was his aversion to her newfound belief that he would have considered divorce had it not violated his personal principles about the sanctity of marriage. So he set out to deliver her from what he believed was religious fanaticism. Since she rested her conviction on the Bible, he was determined to use the Bible to prove her wrong. Many of you faced a similar crisis in your lives. You could not believe Mr. Armstrong was right in what he was expounding before the whole world. And -in attempting to prove him wrong with the very Bible he quoted so profusely, you found yourself convicted instead. You, like Mr. Armstrong, failed and the Bible was the victor. Why? When I returned from military service to civilian life in October, 1945, I found my father deeply engrossed in a radio program called The World Tomorrow. Night after night he sat glued to his radio for that half-hour program. He was, in fact, purely antisocial toward anyone who came around him and would not listen as he did. Until Mr. Armstrong's intense, thundering presentation ended, nothing could interrupt my father. To rescue him from this fanaticism, I challenged him. My father accepted the challenge. He rested his case on the Bible, so, for the first time in my 30 years of life, I delved into God's Word. Inexperienced as I was in religion, I just knew I could convince him by the very Bible to whose truths he now adhered — truths I knew the rest of the world in no way espoused. Like Mr. Armstrong many years before — like you — I, too, lost that encounter. The Bible proved itself to be the Word of God. Losing that battle totally changed my life, just as it changed yours. Understanding God's Word can open to you more happiness, real meaning and productivity than you have ever experienced in your life.
Act on God's directives
Have you read biblical passages of instruction that God clearly expected you to practice, only to defer doing so after reflecting on the tremendous impact obedience would have on your way of living — perhaps altering it drastically? I can think of many such passages. God says, "You do this, and I will do that for you." Promises! But just reading them and being aware of what He says is not the way to receive what He promises. Knowing alone will not induce Him to respond. "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble" (Jas. 2:19). Satan believes the Word of God, but he continues to disobey His Maker's instruction, and his understanding grows darker and darker. "But wilt thou know, 0 vain man, that faith [and hearing and understanding] without works is dead?" (verse 20). Until you act on every directive from God, He will not reveal to you the next degree of knowledge or grant you the blessing promised in that particular passage. Years ago, Mr. Armstrong stated the key: God is not obligated to do one more thing for you unless and until you act on what He has just revealed to you in your study of His Word (or through His ministry). In my life, the Sabbath question loomed big. In my vain attempts to negate Mr. Armstrong's influence on my father, I was forced to read the Bible. I was shocked to learn that most of "Christianity" was not honoring God 0n the day He commanded! The Saturday Sabbath stood proven before my eyes. But would I change and obey? What an alarming, total reversal it would create for me and my family! I decided, with a shrug, that the point was interesting and left the matter. I continued my study and continued listening to The World Tomorrow, but found my understanding stagnating even though my interest remained high. I became restless and unhappy, and my study brought none of the blessings the Bible promised. God is marvelously patient and merciful. Everything I did in the next few months ended in one calamity after another. I attempted to disprove the Sabbath in other ways, but always came up short before God. Finally, I capitulated. I surrendered my will and began to keep the Sabbath in my weak way. God responded almost immediately. My understanding increased. The blessings began to come. I learned God is the great Healer, and when I turned to Him miraculous healings brought my family out of one health crisis after another. Still, I did not understand fully.
Take the big step
I was always afraid Mr. Armstrong would not be able to pay for the radio broadcasts. I knew the costs must be considerable,. and yet he made no appeal for financial assistance, though other religious broadcasters did. I felt impelled to send him a. dollar bill now and then, though with my growing family I never thought I could spare even the dollar. I concluded that Mr. Armstrong was surely a wealthy philanthropist, but because I wasn't sure, I continued to send my paltry support. Suddenly in my studies I stumbled on Malachi 3:10, and the subject of tithing loomed before my startled eyes. I studied the subject and could not escape the truth that a tithe was a tenth of my income. Again the battle began. Would l or wouldn't I? Weeks slid by and my family's ' financial problems multiplied. How could God expect me to give up one earning day a week — the Sabbath — and now, on top of that, give Him a tenth of all I earned? What kind of poverty would my family suffer? You have also faced this question. Both the Sabbath and tithing directly hit the element of security in your life. God expects you to abandon your reliance on the false god of money. Once you begin to tithe, the physical and spiritual battle has been won. You have put God to the test. In my case God responded, and has been adding to our blessings ever since. To apply the rest of God's directives as soon as we learned of them became less and less traumatic. It took a long time to understand the key I've described here. If you have not known what it is, you do now. God challenges you: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 3:8-12). Put the Word of God to work in your life now more than ever, as you see the day of Christ's return approaching! Never neglect this very positive Bible proof — tithing.
How to prove the Bible
Do you have difficulty studying the Word of God and understanding it because you have lost this key? Has the Scripture caught up with you? Has God been waiting for you to do something you haven't thought important enough to act on? The Bible is a workman's Book, and you must put it to work in your life. If you have neglected God's previous instructions, He is not now interested in revealing new, important truths to you. No other book is so jam-packed with exciting promises, most of which require absolute miracles from the divine Creator to fulfill in your life. What further proof do you need to reinforce the authenticity of the Bible? Atheists and agnostics will deny this proof, but their days are numbered. What surprises await them in the day of the Lord, when their minds are opened. In that great day none will remain to refute the veracity of God's Word. But remember! The reason you are among the few thousand who have proven it is because — God's Holy Spirit moved you to put the Bible to work in your life!
... And Reap the Blessings! by Clayton D. Steep
The Bible is true. Its authority, accuracy and timeliness are unquestionable. In this issue of The Good News many of the abundant proofs of God's Word have been discussed. But there is one proof of the Bible that you yourself can demonstrate on a daily basis, and it is actually one of the most convincing proofs of all. Simply put, it is this: It works. The Bible works. Its laws, its promises, its prophecies, its explanation of what life is all about — they all work. Consistently. Without fail. Time and time again. The old rule says the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Well, the proof of the Bible is in the doing. Do you know how a manufacturer of automobiles proves his product? He doesn't just look at it. He doesn't just stand back and question: "I wonder if the designer really exists. Where did the different parts come from? Who are the ones responsible for putting it together? Are some of the pieces counterfeit? Can the authenticity of all the parts be established by outside sources? I'm sure some of the parts are good, but are they all good?" The way to prove an automobile. is to try it out — to get in and drive it. That's why automobile companies have proving grounds. The product must be put through its paces. It is run over rough roads and through rigorous obstacle courses. It is subjected to wind, rain, freezing temperatures and blistering sun. Moving parts are tried ' time and time again until the manufacturer feels sure they will work every time. That's the way he seeks to prove to himself that his automobile can be depended upon to work under all conditions, that it has integrity and reliability. So it is with proving the Bible. It must be "put through its paces" — made to work time and time again until there is no doubt all of its parts will always work.
When God commands us to "Prove all things" (I Thess. 5:21), He is not talking about intellectual proof only. Intellectual proof is good and necessary, but the Greek word translated prove has a broader meaning. Notice how the same word is used in Luke 14:19, where a person is quoted as saying, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them." This was active proof. He tested his oxen by putting them to work. That is how you can prove the Scriptures! Consider the Sabbath. The Sabbath particularly goes against the grain of human nature. A person who does not keep it can think of endless reasons why he would never want to keep it: It could easily interfere with his job. It would make him look strange to others. It would "ruin" his weekend. After all, what about all the yard work, washing the car, shopping, the favorite hobby or pastime? Only a person who properly keeps the Sabbath can understand what a blessing it is. The same holds true for the Holy Days ordained in the Bible. The same holds true for any of God's laws, any of His precepts, any of His instructions. A person who does not keep them is like one who strolls past an elaborate, abundant banquet table without trying the food. He does not know — he cannot know — how good it is. "O taste and see that the Lord is good," exclaimed David in Psalm 34:8. Yes, taste God. Try Him out. Prove His Word — by doing it. Try it — you'll like it!
In Psalm 19 David praised God's laws, testimonies, statutes, commandments and judgments. It was praise based upon experience. David knew what he was talking about. He had proved to himself that when he obeyed God's instructions he reaped great benefits. That's why he declared "in keeping of them [this involves action; it requires doing] there is great reward" (verse 11). God's ways work. The laws revealed in the Scriptures are living laws. You break them and they break you (Rom. 6:23). You keep them and they keep you (Prov. 6:21-23). Take note of the blessings for obedience and the penalties for disobedience in your own life. Observe these laws in action in the lives. of others, in the conduct of nations and groups of nations. Not only will your faith in the Bible be confirmed, but learning from the experiences of others is just plain wisdom. Solomon gained much wisdom from merely observing others. "For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice," he wrote (Prov. 7:6, Revised Standard Version). Solomon watched. The rest of the chapter describes the scene he witnessed: a foolish young man being seduced by a harlot. Wisdom and understanding raise their voices and cry aloud in the streets for those who have ears to hear, concluded Solomon (Prov. 8:1-3). Everywhere around us the truthfulness of God's Word is confirmed in the rare triumphs and the many failures of mankind. What a blessing it is to have confidence in the Bible and thus be able to avoid — even though witnessing — the suffering because of the transgression of living laws! "Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked," God promises those who obey His instructions (Ps. 91:8). Being observant also includes watching world events as they fulfill Bible prophecy. The "sure word of prophecy" (II Pet. 1:19) is confirmed daily in newspapers and magazines, on — radio and television. Following Jesus' admonition to watch world events (Luke 21:36) is an essential key to developing unshakable faith in the Scriptures.
In one respect proving the Bible is really a matter of building faith. And faith is built by works. "Faith without works is dead" (Jas. 2:26). But, as Abraham demonstrated, faith is increased — it is made perfect — by works (verse 22). Once the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5). Jesus replied with the story of the unprofitable servant. What does the story have to do with faith? It's really quite clear. First Jesus told what can be accomplished by faith that increases as a grain of mustard seed (verse 6). Then, in verses 7 to 10, He described how to increase faith. It is a question of faith being perfected by works. Jesus said that to increase faith we must go beyond merely fulfilling what is commanded. We must go beyond the letter of the law, doing more than what is required. We must live by every word, every precept, yes, every thought of God. The more we put the Bible to work in our lives — the more we absorb its teachings — the more confidence we will have in it. The Bible is like no other book. It is extraordinary. And it is true. Millions of people do not believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Why? Because they do not test it. They do not put it into practice to prove it. "If any man will do [yes, do — doing comes first!] his [God's] will," Jesus said, then "he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God" (John 7:17). If anybody will put the Bible into practice, will live by it, he shall know it is of God. That is one of the greatest proofs of the Bible.