Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Broadcast)

     Welcome to this broadcast of Words of Life Radio as we share with you good news and the truth of the marvelous inspired Word of God. It is our pleasure and joy to do this and you will find out in this broadcast how you can be in touch with us and we will be glad to help you make a decision for the Lord Jesus and hold you up in prayer to our wonderful Lord.

I would like to begin the broadcast this morning by reading two verses of Scripture from the Old Testament writer Job, the man who suffered such horrible things as the devil tested his faith and he held true to God. Listen to what he says in the book of Job chapter nine, verses 25 and 26:

‘Now my days are swifter than a post, or swifter than a runner. And he says, they flee away and they see no good. They are passed away as swift ships and as the eagle that swoops down on its prey’.

Our days are certainly days fast passing away and we need to be able to understand time has its limits. Life has its limits. If the runner is going to run out of time, if the ships of Job’s day were fast, how fast we are today.  Many years ago a man finally ran a mile in less than four minutes.  Since that time many people have done it. Job with the ships of his day, but oh, what about the vessels of our day? What about jet airplanes? The speed with which time passes as we older folks are often heard to say – it just passes much quicker than it used to. That is because most of our life has been lived. We have lived a large portion of life.  And we need to understand that our days are numbered.

And so, my friends, as you and I voyage through our years we have had 2000 years since the Lord Jesus lived and we want to have a successful voyage as we think about him and committing to him. What can we do that will help this life to be joyful? What can we do with this life that can make it as we think of success, a life that is pleasing unto God?

Let me share just a couple of things with you about that if I may. Number one, we need implicit faith in our chart. And that chart, of course, is the Bible, the Word of God.

The little children love to sing the song:

The B I B L E, yes that is the book for me.

I stand alone on the Word of God, the B I B L E.

You are aware, if you buy a car, in the glove box there will be a book that tells you how to service that car, how to take care of that car. If you buy a lawnmower, if you buy almost any machine, some of the simplest thing will have an instruction book to help you know which buttons to push to get the desired effect.

Well, my friends, the Bible is that type of book for us today. It is a book in which we can learn and find out about life, about death, about eternity, about Jehovah God and about his Son the Lord Jesus. We must be very careful.

Oh, it is popular today to revise the Bible, to change things if what the Bible says doesn’t fit our way of thinking. We feel like we can all of a sudden become God and change his Word.  That will not work. Or maybe we just ridicule and make fun and talk about how old the Bible is and that it simply has no message for this modern jet age in which we live. Or maybe we just relegate it to the museum as a curio.

We cannot deny its reality. We cannot deny that these writers wrote it. Some of them thousands of years ago and many years removed from the other writers of the Bible. And so we just say, oh, it is an old book written by old people with an old message.  Yet there is no more clever a chart available for the human race than that found in the Word of God.

Maybe you have heard the saying. As people face life and its tribulations and difficulties, oh, it is like we are in a rat race and the rats are winning.

Well, my friends, it need not be that way for you if you will have faith, if you will turn to the Word of God, if you believe what it says and understand what it is trying to teach you. If you are a Christian you go to the Word of God to find strength, to add to your knowledge, to be able to live the Christian life.

If you are not a Christian, if you have been searching for that time when you can have peace with God and have hope, if you are today, as we know the Word describes you as being lost, apart from God from all eternity, you can go to this Word of God, you can read there how Jesus died in your place, how the gospel is the good news of that death, that burial and that resurrection and you are able then to discover how you can become a New Testament Christian and have grace and mercy and hope not only in this life, but in the life to come.

Jesus said he came to provide us abundant live.  Do you have that, my friend? If you do not, you can find it in the Word of God.

To the Christians I would say this morning that you need that special time which we might call a quiet time, just you and the Bible and God meeting together, communicating together, meditating on the Word of God. You can do that, just you and God.

Or maybe you have the privilege of meeting in a small group in someone’s home and there different ones read the Word and share what the Word of God means to them. Oh, what a precious time that is. Or you can go to a church that teaches the Word of God in Bible school, or Sunday school as it is called. And there you can learn.

You can turn to this Word of God as you come to worship and you are able to there have a clearer picture of the greatness of our God. Or, in some places, you might have the privilege of attending a college class. You can audit, just sitting in on the class, not worrying about the tests and being graded, but just going there to learn about the Word of God.

My friends, listen. The Word of God has stood the test of time. It has proven to be true. It is like the poem of the anvil in the blacksmith’s shop. The anvil is still there going strong, but many hammers have been broken upon it. So it is that the hammers that have come against the Word of God, that have tried to say that it is not true, to try to find fault with it, many of those hammers are broken and the Word of God stands strong.

Do you need help getting through life, through the voyage of your years, facing an eternity about which we know so little?  May I ask you to put your implicit faith in the chart, the road map, the book we call the Bible that God has given to you.

But it will be important as you read that book. You will make a discovery that not only do you need that faith in the Bible, in the words themselves, but in the one who is revealed there, our Savior, the Son of God, Jesus the Christ.

Faith then, not only in our chart, but in our captain. He is called the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord indicates that he is to have the primary place in our lives.  It is he who helps us make the right decisions. It is he who leads us through the valley of the shadow of death, he who accompanies us through every moment of time. What a precious thought that is. Surely he has proven his capability of meeting our needs.

We may be at the helm of our lives. We may be driving the bus, as it were.  But he is able to come in to that life, to that going through the things that face us every day. He can give us our orders for the day. They come from our captain.  You have maybe heard the expression, some time seen on a license plate on automobiles, God is my co-pilot.  Well, that has a good thinking to it. God is in the seat next to us and he is helping us go through life.

But someone has said if God is your co-pilot, move over and let him drive. He wants to be the driver. He wants to be the Lord. He wants to be the leader. And, oh, my friends, he is Lord whether I call him that or not. It doesn’t change one thing about him. He is Lord, he has come to the earth and proven that by living a perfect life and dying an excruciating, but perfect death on the cross for sinners. And you can put your faith there.

Faith in our captain to bring us salvation and then faith in him to lead us through life.

The priest was visiting the family who had just suffered death and as he talked with one of the members of the family he said, “Oh, I guess it is so hard for you all to deal with this death.”

And the person said, “No, death we can deal with. But it is facing the terrible times of life that we are not dealing with very well.”

That may be true of you. You may have a sorrow that is overwhelming today. You may have a sorrow that is just bearing down upon you. You may be unemployed and the bank account is getting awful low. You may have a lot of relationship problems in your marriage or with your parents or with your children or with your neighbor or whatever it might be.

Oh, my friends, let me urge you to find the answer to these things that come in life that can throw us a curve ball.  We must learn to put our trust and our faith in the captain of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a believer, as a Christian, you are a learner, a disciple. That is what a disciple is, he is a learner. And we are duty bound to learn what our Lord would have us to do. And it is a hard lesson to learn. My old self keeps popping up and wanting to make the decisions.  I want to do it my way as a very popular song said.  I want to captain my own ship. I want to give orders, but not have to be told what I must do.  It is generally a fact that the person who lives that kind of life without a captain of their soul will find themselves unhappy facing one tragedy after another.

The story is told of a boatload, a ship load of people out at sea, and a terrible storm came up. All of the passengers huddled together and they shared their views on whether they were going to make it?  Is this ship going to sink? Is this storm going to destroy us? And things, indeed, worsened and began to look very dim.

And then a passenger came in that had not been in the room with them. He had been up on deck and he came in with a big smile on his face. And he was very calm and very confident. And the rest of the passengers could not understand. How can you feel that way when you see the terrible storm that we are in and you feel how this boat is being tossed and turned about?

And here was his answer.  He said, “I have seen the face of the captain and he was smiling.”
This man placed his confidence in the captain of the ship. The captain had experience. The captain knew how to pilot the vessel in dangerous storms. He had the knowledge and the skill to take them through this terrible storm.

How about your storm, the storms that you will face in the coming years.  Oh, and if Jesus tarries there are going to be some worse times, it appears, in the coming days and the coming years of our life? Many kinds of storms, maybe spiritually. Maybe you understand that you have fallen far away from what is good and right and pleasing to your creator God? God has the remedy for that and you can come to him to find that ease. Maybe you have mental difficulties. Maybe life has dealt you such a hard hand and it has affected you even mentally. God can help you with that. Jesus is the healer to be sure.  Maybe you are facing physical difficulties, even a disease that is bringing about this thing called death. Your days are numbered. The doctors have said there is no hope.

Oh, my friends, faith in Jesus, faith in the captain who wants to be the captain of your soul can make all the difference through all of these storms that come into our lives.

If we will know, and see our captain as the man on that ship saw the captain, if we will understand he is sovereign, he is Lord, he is king of kings and one day every eye will see him and acknowledge him to be that.  He guarantees, listen carefully, not to always still the storm, but to take us through the storm and bring us to our desired haven.

The Bible does not guarantee that life will be a bed of roses with no thorns.  It does not say for the Christian, for the believer, for the person of faith that we will not have any difficulties. Oh, just the opposite. It tells us there will be tribulation. There will be persecution, especially for Christians. And I believe some of you listening to this Words of Life broadcast today may live in a country where, because you are a Christian, you are being persecuted, maybe even your life is in danger, your possessions taken because you are following the Christian faith.  Oh, my friend, God knows about that tribulation. He cares and he loves and he will sustain you through the storm. And if you will stay with Jesus you will have that desired haven we call heaven one day and the new and glorified body.

Here then is faith in our captain, our Lord Jesus. Here is faith in the chart he has given us called the holy Bible, the Word of God. It is the kind of faith that saves us because it is an obedient faith.  It is very important that you understand what your faith is in. That makes all the difference.

My Bible says in the gospel of Mark, the last chapter: He that believes, that is has a saving faith and is baptized, shall be saved.

Is that your need this morning?  Do you need to be released from all the guilt of sin that has plagued you?  God does not care what your past has been. He wants to give you a glorious future.

Find for yourself this chart, this Word of God. Find a Bible believing church.  Commit your life in obedience to the Lord Jesus who died at Calvary for you and oh what a turn around, what a life changing experience that will be. May God help you to have the courage, the desire, wherever you are to be able to make that decision.  Remember Job’s words:  My days are passing away. They are swift. They are fleeing away. I don’t see any good.

Oh, but when the Lord comes! What a difference it will make if you have faith in the Word of God and faith in the person of Jesus.

God bless you today, is our prayer.

Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ in Kentucky