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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Porch on Donegal Springs Road, Mount Joy, PA 11/15/15
Antique Cart on front porch on Donegal Springs Road, Mount Joy, PA

"Golden Rule Living"

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“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).

Several weeks ago we shared a lesson prompted by a very well-done commercial now airing on television. I enjoy watching football and most commercials are break time for me but there are some that do catch my attention.

Acura safety ad (click to play)The commercial we highlight today also has a rich spiritual lesson. It's a safety commercial for the Acura automobile. (Click on image at left to play video). There's no talking at all until the very end. A safety engineer is preparing to test the safety of a vehicle in the crash test. As he loads the car for the test it appears he's loading real people; a young boy and girl in the back seat and an adult woman in the front seat. Lastly the camera zeroes in on the driver who looks identical to the safety engineer.

Safety engineer in Acura adHe walks back to the control room to start the test and pauses a moment before pressing the button to have the car race down the track for the crash. At that point you see that there are actual dummies in the car. Finally the announcer's voice comes on and states, "When you don't think of them as dummies, something amazing happens."

Of course, it strikes you deep in the heart, that this engineer was actually lovingly loading the empty car with his own family, an everyday occurrence. This dramatized commercial had a Golden Rule component to its message. He was doing unto others (people who will buy that brand of car) as he would want them to do for him and his cherished family.

The Golden Rule is one of the most familiar sayings from our Lord. I suppose I first learned it at VBS or Sunday School as a child in a Methodist Church in Belton, Missouri. Brooksyne remembers it being posted at her public elementary school in Tulsa Oklahoma. (Now we suppose if anyone realizes it comes from the Bible it would need to be removed!)

Included in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount it easily stands out as a simple principle for thinking not only of oneself but also treating others fairly. I learned it as, "Do to others as you would have them do to you" (KJV). The NASV reads, "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." A similar expression of the golden rule is found in Philippians 2:4, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).

Spurgeon notes that "the law and the prophets are here condensed into a single sentence. This is the golden rule, a handy rule, a perpetually-applicable rule, useful in every condition, and it never makes a mistake."

The Golden Rule J.R. Miller writes of our duty to others, "This is a wonderfully comprehensive rule of action. It bids us consider the interests of others as well as our own. It bids us set our neighbour alongside of ourself, and think of him as having the same rights as we have, and requiring from us the same treatment that we give to ourself. It gives us a standard by which to test all our motives and all our conduct bearing on others. We are at once in thought to change places with the person toward whom duty is to be determined, and ask, “if he were where I am, and I were where He is, how should I want him to treat me in this case?” the application of this rule would instantly put a stop to all rash, hasty actions; for it commands us to consider our neighbour and question our own heart before doing anything. It would slay all selfishness; for it compels us to regard our neighbours interests as precisely equal to our own. It would lead us to honour others; for it puts us and them on the same platform.

The application of this rule would put a stop to all injustice and wrong; for none of us would do injustice or wrong to ourselves, and we are to treat our neighbour as if he were ourself. It would lead us to seek the highest good of all other men, even the lowliest; for we surely want all men to seek our good. The thorough applying of this Golden Rule would end all conflict between capital and labour; for it would give the employer a deep, loving interest in the men he employs, and lead him to think of their good in all ways. It would also give to every employee a desire for the prosperity of his employer and an interest in his business. It would end all strife in families, in communities, among nations. The perfect working of this rule everywhere would make heaven; for the will of God would then 'be done on earth, as it is in heaven'."

Consideration is the practice of the golden rule in the small details of life; beginning in the home and extending to all relationships. What if the billions of personal interactions that take place all over the globe today were truly characterized by this rule? That would surely bring about world peace but in reality that just isn't going to happen until the return of the Prince of Peace.

But by God's transforming grace we can all do something in our little corner of the world. Today in our speech and actions let us keep this attitude foremost in our hearts; "In humility consider others better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3).

We live in a very fallen world where fewer and fewer practice the Golden Rule. We, as followers of Christ, light up the world when we individually and corporately practice the golden rule. Today let us all subject ourselves to "Golden Rule Living".

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer:
Father, You have placed Your children in a world where people push and shove to be first. Because of their self-importance they clamor for recognition and will stop at nothing until they get what they want in life, good or bad. But You've called us to view life from a perspective that considers others as important as ourselves. We are to have a humble attitude that puts You first, others second and ourselves last in everything we do. In our humanity this is impossible, but as we are being transformed into the likeness of Your Son, Jesus, we become more like Him. Our love and consideration for others grow and we apply the golden rule to our lives where we do to others as we would have them do to us. May this relationship rule guide us as we make decisions that affect others and us.  Help us to have the mind of Christ in all that we do.  Amen.

I recall a story which relates to today's topic. It took place in Germany during the Cold War.  East Berlin was Communist controlled and West Berlin was a free country. One day some people in East Berlin took a truckload of garbage and dumped it on the West Berlin side. The people of West Berlin could have done the same thing. But instead they took a truckload of canned goods, bread, and milk . . . and neatly stacked it on the East Berlin side. On top of this stack they placed the sign: "EACH GIVES WHAT HE HAS."  (Wow, was that a subtle yet powerful message!)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Golden Rule Song"  Video

"The Old Country Church"  Video  Homecoming Singers

"The Son Shines Down On Me"  Video  
Canton Junction

Acura – Safety – The Test  Video  "When you don't think of them as dummies, something amazing happens."

Note: Last week I mentioned that we planned to go to Washington today for a special screening of the movie, 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy. That bus trip was canceled although the film will still be shown (See here for info).

Special Thanksgiving Resources

We offer these resources to families and church leaders
to enrich the spiritual impact of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will leave them up through Thanksgiving.

We appreciate singing the traditional Thanksgiving hymns. Here are several classics that you may or may not hear this season.

"Be Magnified"  Video   Kim Hill

"In Everything Give Him Thanks"
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"In Everything Give Thanks"  Video   Charlotte Ritchie, Jeff & Sheri Easter  This song will bring joy to your heart!

"Now Thank We All Our God"  Video  Best Loved Hymns

"Come Ye Thankful People Come"  Video  Traditional version
Contemporary version but thankfully maintaining same tune and lyrics Video

"Thanksgiving Medley" (We Gather Together, For The Beauty Of The Earth, Come Ye Thankful People Come)  Video  Studio Musicians

"Give Thanks"  Video  Don Moen

"Thank You Lord"  Video  Community choir at a Lancaster Day of Prayer event in 2008.

"Thank You Lord For Saving My Soul"  Video  Holland Davis

Thorns"Thankful For The Thorns": A family reading and exercise that is a wonderful way to give a thoughtful focus around your Thanksgiving Table. The Thanksgiving celebration typically includes family coming together for a huge meal and hopefully a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness. However it can often be difficult to have a spiritually oriented conversation. Why not add some stimulating discussion about the ways God has worked in your life over the past year! Some of you are not in charge and are only visitors at your Thanksgiving gathering, but if it is possible share together around the table the theme of "Thankful for the Thorns"
(printable web page).

"A Thanksgiving family exercise" (pdf) We have used this questionnaire as a stimulus for discussion among family members in the past in our home. We encourage you to share results around the table at Thanksgiving before or after the meal.

A Thanksgiving prayer: Written by Joe Sherer, a pastor friend of ours and shared as the benediction at our community Thanksgiving Eve service several years ago. (web page) For those who enjoy written prayers this would be a beautiful prayer to read together at the Thanksgiving table.

A Thanksgiving Scripture reading:
A selection of Old and New Testament readings dealing with thankfulness appropriate for church, family and personal readings. (pdf) (Suitable for printing out and copying.)

 Video  Marshall Hall and the Homecoming Singers

"I Want To Thank You"
 Video  Karen Peck and New River  This is a song expressing thankfulness to the many people who impact our lives and also reminds us of the blessing of seemingly insignificant expressions of faith.  From the Gaither Homecoming series.

"Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me"  Video  Gordon Mote & Jason Crabb

"Come We Thankful People Come"  Video  
Traditional version  Here's a bit more contemporary version with same lyrics.

"I'm Forever Grateful"  Video  Willow Creek

"Give Thanks With A Grateful Heart"  Video  Don Moen

"When I Thank Him For What He Has Done"  Video  The Cathedrals

"Worthy Is The Lamb Crown Him .. Crown Him With Many Crowns"  Video  Travis Cottrell

"Thank You, Lord"  Video  Dennis Jernigan

"Thank You For Loving Me"  Video  Tommy Walker

"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)"  Video  Matt Redman

"For These Reasons"  Video  Lincoln Brewster

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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