Immanuel Baptist Church
PO Box 703
Hoquiam, WA 98550
EMAIL: the church office
SERVICE: Sunday @ 10:45 a.m.
SUNDAY SCHOOL: 9:30 a.m.
Biblical Principles Learned in the Past 80 Years
By Pastor Emeritus Russell H. Voight
1. Put God first in our life in everything (Matt. 6:33). This is a major key to lifetime success and blessing. God will be no man's debtor BUT He expects to be first-always. He will not share His glory with anyone else. Remember: He IS God. At best, we are His children.
2. Learn to give God a tithe and an offering of everything you earn (Malachi 3:8-12). Ann and I started practicing this in 1955 when we had a salary of $15 weekly. God has proved through 55 years that He is no man's debtor. We have never had an unpaid bill and always had enough.
3. Practice a daily devotional time together as husband and wife. The greatest binding quality in our marriage has been the time we spend together daily reading God's Word, praying, and thanking God for each other. You cannot pray with someone if you do not love them. We mutually uplift one another before God and thank Him for giving us to each other.
4. Give your mate to God. At marriage, I told Ann she could never be number one, but she could always be number two. God had to be first in my life. I told her I could never be number one in her life, but I wanted to be number two. We have practiced that for over 55 years. It works!
5. God has given the Christian three powerful supernatural tools -- the Word of God which is our spiritual food, the power of intercessory prayer which can move mountains, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who is God Himself living in me. I am His temple. He indwells my life always. It makes a difference how much I exercise these three powers or gifts from God. It determines whether I am useable to God and experience His constant blessings and have His power at work in me.
6. Practice telling your mate every day that you love her, that you believe she was a gift from God to you. Let her know that she is the most important human in your life. Respect her, ask for her opinions, let her be your equal, be her spiritual support, keep your marriage vows intact. They were a promise made in the presence of God and several witnesses.
7. Learn to be totally honest. Lies always come back to haunt you. Your mate knows you better than anyone else. She can read you like an open book. If you violate your mate's trust, you may never totally get it back no matter how hard you try. Suspicion is insidious in marriage.
8. Learn to take a humble position in life. That will cure the ego problem. If we are nothing, the only way is up. Accept yourself as God made you -- your looks, abilities, talents, position, and spiritual gifts are all gifts from God. He made you the way He wanted you to be. He can easily change you if He wants you to be different. Remember: God created you for Himself.
9. Learn to be content -- wherever you live, whatever kind of job you have in life, how much income you have, the kind of house you live in, where you work, the circumstance that you find yourself in that you can't do anything about. The Apostle Paul's philosophy is found in (Philippians 4:11): "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content." When he wrote those words, he was in prison in a cold, dirty, vermin-infested, lonely atmosphere chained to a guard 24 hours a day. He did not allow his situation or circumstances to destroy his "joy" in the Lord. He knew God could deliver him IF that was God's plan. He can do the same for us if He chooses.
10. Learn to have the heart of a servant. When we become a child of God, we become bond slaves of Jesus Christ. That means we are here on this planet to serve Him and others. They are our brothers and sisters. One of the greatest joys is doing something for someone else. It is a joy to look at their face and see how they react when we serve them. Serve people with a smile. You may brighten their day. Adopt the motto: "I am here on this planet to serve others every day."
11. Keep your temple clean. Don't allow tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, gambling, foul language, immorality, or pornography to rob you of a healthy, vibrant, blessed life. Early in my 20s while I was in the US Navy, I yielded all of those ugly things to the Lord. I knew I could not be a good witness for Christ if I allowed those things to clutter up my life. Was it always easy? No! But God gave me the privilege to be an example, encourager, friend, and leader to scores of others. The world needs models to follow. I saw Navy buddies choose to follow Christ.
12. Remember people's birthdays, anniversaries, and special days. You can purchase greeting cards at the Dollar Store for 50-cents. Or you can jot a short note or send an e-mail. Especially honor your parents, grandparents, spouse, children, and people close to you. They will remember you for your thoughtfulness and caring heart. You really are a teacher to them in this way. Be a model!
13. Make friends with quality people. It is a maxim; you become like the people you spend time with or associate with. People will either build you up or tear you down, depending on the kind of people you spend your time with. I have always tried to help people to be better than they were because they associated with, recreated with, or worked with me. Many have come to me through the years and thanked me for the influence I had on their lives. These include children, youth, and adults. This is one of the joys of older age -- to read letters and hear how we helped.
14. Learn to be industrious. As a pastor for 55 years, I could have been lazy because no one was standing, looking over my shoulder to see what I was doing. I had to learn to be self-motivated. I don't think people that have known me would consider me as being indolent or lazy. I tried to give the churches I served my best effort every day. I think the record bears that out.
15. Learn to be thankful and appreciative for what people give you or do for you. My dad gave me the sage advice when I was a young pastor in my 20s. He said, "If people give you things, be thankful. If you can't use them, pass them along to others who can use them." A word of thanks to people for their thoughtfulness and generosity goes a long way. "Thank you" ought constantly to be in your vocabulary. It is catching! If you use it, others will pick it up.
16. Become an avid Bible reader. Make it a practice to read through the Bible yearly. Fifteen minutes daily will take you through the whole Bible in a year. If you haven't ever done that, you are in for an enlightening experience. God will reveal Himself to you from the pages of Holy Writ. Someone wrote: "Either the Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible." That is true! Golden nuggets can be mined out from the pages of God's Word by reading it.