The Importance of Reading and Studying the Best Books, (especially the Word of God) and Applying the Knowledge Learned to Your Life and Ministry
Proverbs 22: 17-21, “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, That they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you. Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, to make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer him who sent you?”
Margaret and I began our ministry in the Philippines in 1970 on the small island of Mindoro. As new missionaries, we were discouraged. We not only struggled to learn a new language and a new culture, but we also had no income for three months. In fact, we did not even have one dollar (P5.62).
Early one morning during a typhoon, Margaret shook me awake and groaned in pain. “Doug, my side hurts!”
I ignored the wind and rain blowing against our little house and jumped out of bed. Flipping through our medical book, I decided she might have appendicitis. But how could I find a doctor at this time of night? Perhaps the neighbors could help. When I woke them up at 2 a.m., they told me of a Christian Filipino doctor who had a small Christian clinic about 15 kilometers away. When they let me borrow their scooter, I wrapped Margaret up and put her on the back.
I drove slowly in the pouring rain, trying to miss the potholes in the muddy dirt road. About 4 a.m., I knocked on the doctor’s door. Even though Filipinos are friendly and hospitable, I was nervous at the reception we might receive at that hour.
A small man in his nightclothes opened the door. He smiled graciously and asked, “May I help you?”
“Doctor,” I said, “my wife seems to be seriously ill. Can you please help?”
After examining Margaret, the doctor announced that he needed to operate for appendicitis right away. We laid her on a table, and I held a lantern while he gave her a spinal shot and performed an appendectomy.
The doctor wanted to watch Margaret closely in case of infection, so we cleared a space and set up a bed in his storeroom. For five days, this little doctor and his assistants cared for Margaret. They even fed us, as we were penniless. While Margaret rested and slept, I helped at the clinic by cutting grass, sorting medical supplies, helping with record keeping, sharing the Word of God, and help care for patients as needed.
When it was time to leave, we were embarrassed over our lack of funds. “Doctor,” I said, “you’ve saved my wife’s life, and we’re so grateful.” Jokingly, I added, “ I have no money to pay now, but I can give you my watch, my wedding ring, and the gold in my false teeth. But seriously, how can I pay you?”
This loving, gracious man took my hands in his, looked up at this tall new missionary and said, “Brother, there is no charge. The Lord brought you to my country to serve my people in the name of Christ, so I can serve you. There is no charge, brother, no charge!”
Margaret and I left that little out-of-the-way clinic no longer discouraged but with a renewed love for Christ, His work, and for the people He had called us to serve. Because of the kindness, graciousness, and compassion of this little man from Mindoro, we have been able to continue in now for ministry for 45 years!
In 2005, I spoke to a church of 2,400 people in Metro Manila. The title of my message was, “Don’t Just Stand There, Put on Something,” based on Colossians 3:1–14. As I spoke about the garment of kindness that we should put on, I told the story about the little doctor of Mindoro. I then said, “It has been 35 years since I have seen that doctor—until this morning. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Dr. Romeo Santiago, the godly little doctor from Mindoro!”
Dr. Santiago was sitting near the front. His daughters had heard that I was speaking that morning and had brought him from bed rest, since he had been in a Manila hospital for various physical problems.
When the doctor staggered to his feet with the help of a cane and his daughters, the church erupted in thunderous applause. The congregation wept and continued to applaud. The pastors immediately went to shake his hands, and people encircled him, embracing him and thanking him again and again. It was a wonderful outpouring of praise to God for this doctor’s faithful Christian life.
God, in His gracious and sovereign will, encouraged over 2,000 people in their Christian walk with this simple story and in personally meeting Dr. Santiago, who had served God faithfully for many years.
Dear friend, you may never be so honored. You may not have even ten people applaud your name, but you will never know the impact of what simple acts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, forbearance, and love will have on the gospel to God’s glory to the ends of the earth.
Because of the kindness of Dr. Santiago, Margaret and I were encouraged to remain in the ministry. You, too, can reach out to others with simple acts of kindness in Jesus’ name for His glory. Who knows? Perhaps 15, 25, or 35 years from now someone will say to you, “Remember when you helped me? Your kindness so encouraged me in my walk with God that I have served Him for many years. Thank you so much. To God be the glory.”
Many of us just go about but Jesus, "...went about doing good..." (Acts 10:38). Charles Spurgeon wrote in his Morning and Evening devotion:
"From this description it is evident that He did good personally. The evangelists constantly tell us that He touched the leper with His own finger, that He anointed the eyes of the blind, and that in cases where He was asked to speak the word only at a distance, He did not usually comply but went Himself to the sickbed and there personally worked the cure. A lesson to us, if we would do good, to do it ourselves. Give gifts with your own hand; a kind look or word will enhance the value of the gift. Speak to a friend about his soul; your loving appeal will have more influence than a whole library of tracts.
Our Lord's mode of doing good sets forth His constant activity! He did not only the good that came close to hand, but He "went about" on His errands of mercy. Throughout the whole land of Judea there was scarcely a village or a hamlet that was not gladdened by the sight of Him. How this reproves the creeping, loitering manner in which many professors serve the Lord. Let us not grow weary in doing good.
This verse also implies that Jesus Christ went out of His way to do good? "He went about doing good." He was never deterred by danger or difficulty. He sought out the objects of His gracious intentions. So must we. If old plans will not answer, we must try new ones, for fresh experiments sometimes achieve more than regular methods.
Christ's perseverance, and the unity of His purpose, are also hinted at, and the practical application of the subject may be summed up in the words, "Christ . . . leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps." (1 Peter 2:21)
I am often asked to share what Apologetics texts have had the greatest influence on me personally. The titles below are not necessarily recognized as classics, but I’ll describe why they are so to me.
A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell... This summary of Josh’s classic work in Evidence That Demands a Verdict whet my appetite for apologetics as a teenager and really convinced me that Christianity was rooted in valid reasons to believe.
The Lie by Ken Ham... As a teenager this was the first book that really began to expose for me the flaws of Darwinian evolution. It also clarified for me the critical importance of upholding God’s word as our ultimate authority in matters of truth.
How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer... A “must read” for anyone interested in worldview apologetics. Schaeffer examines the profound role of the biblical worldview in shaping Western Civilization. He also speaks prophetically (written in the mid-1970’s) about cultural challenges and debates the Church is confronted with today. Schaeffer saw clearly the logical end of the West’s abandonment of absolute truth as revealed in God’s word.
The Case For Faith by Lee Strobel... I’m a big fan of all Lee Strobel’s books, but if I had to pick one this would be it. Lee’s books are engaging and read like mystery novels as he applies his background in investigative journalism to examining the validity of the Christian faith. This book is very helpful in addressing some of the most common, and challenging, skeptic’s questions.
A Reasonable Response by William Lane Craig... This is the book I read, and re-read, before I speak on college campuses. If there’s a good chance issues like “quantum physics” will come up in your apologetic conversations; Craig is your guy.
One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven by Mark Cahill... Apologetics is ultimately about evangelism; and this book revolutionized my view of evangelism. God used Cahill’s message to motivate me to be an evangelistic apologist.
Fast Facts On False Teachings by Ron Carlson & Ed Decker... How can I not include my Dad on this list? No apologist had a greater impact on me than my father and I still pick up Fast Facts when I want to hear his voice. My Dad was a master at balancing truth and love as he shared the faith with those caught up in false religious systems.
It is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink, for they will drink and forget what is decreed, and pervert the rights of all the afflicted (Proverbs 31:4-5).
These verses give wise counsel to Christians and especially Christian leaders, to drink no wine or alcohol. As Christians, our minds are always to be clear, in order to think carefully, to counsel others and make wise decisions for ourselves and others to the glory of God.
Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar(Proverbs 30:5-6).
Everything in the Word of God is intended to influence the heart and conduct. It is pure and trustworthy because it is God's Word, not man’s. It is sufficient; therefore, nothing needs to be added to it. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, the wicked does not understand such concern (Proverbs 29:7).
One of the main characteristics of a Christian is compassion for the needy, for the poor. Selfishness marks the life of the wicked and they do not understand why a follower of Christ seeks to put others and their needs before his own. As Christians we are to be concerned “to study the needs” of the poor, not just to give a glance, but to be so filled with compassion that we study and know their need and then seek to do something about it in Christ's name.
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked though he be rich (Proverbs 28:6).
It is better to be honest and poor, full of uprightness and integrity, than it is to be crooked and perverse, but rich. A wicked person cannot really enjoy his riches with a bad conscience as a result of wicked, perverse living. There is nothing wrong with earning money and lots of it, if gained from honest work and investment, but not by sin. It is much better to be poor and have a clear conscience before God and others.
Do not boast about
tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth (Proverbs 27:1).
As children of the Heavenly Father we are to prepare for the future, but not
brag or be overconfident about what we may or may not do. Boasting is pride. We
are, however, to show humility toward and trust in God. It is wise to work and
study hard, to prepare, to provide for the future but in complete faith and
trust in the Lord who controls the future.
If you haven’t watched the damning videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue donation (or, in plain language, exchanging aborted babies’ body parts for money), you should watch them now before you read further.
The first alarming question is whether Planned Parenthood illegally sells aborted fetuses’ organs and tissue. This is what Planned Parenthood and its defenders have repeatedly focused on, insisting that they are compliant with all laws.
But it is what precedes that “fetal tissue donation” that needs attention. Read more ...