28 Feb 2018
When we discover something for the first time and like what we’ve learned, we usually get excited about it. We can remember the excitement of skateboarding, fly fishing or putting on makeup for the first time. Similarly, many of us recall our excitement when we first came to Christ. We experienced His forgiveness and acceptance. We wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
Many new believers are on fire for evangelism and may impulsively walk into the coffee break room at work and declare the Gospel to every bleary-eyed coffee drinker in the room. Or we take the microphone at a family reunion and preach a ten-minute sermon when all they asked us to do was open with prayer. We buttonhole our team at the bowling league and drive them to distraction with our over-the-top testimonials about Jesus! Ugh! Even seasoned Christians might get tired of this type of over enthusiastic evangelism!
As admirable as this enthusiasm is, the Bible teaches us that we need to mature, allowing older Christians to counsel us. Just as sixteen-year-olds need driver’s training to go along with new driving privileges, newborn Christians need mentoring. Mature believers in our church have the responsibility to recognize that new Christians need help. In their passion for Jesus, new Christians may be judgmental. They may rightly identify sin but could harshly condemn it in others, without the love and gentleness more mature men and women of faith might exercise. Baby Christians can be quite demanding in their desire to be fed. Just as newborn babies demand feeding, baby Christians insist on getting attention. Full-grown believers must teach and offer loving suggestions for contemplation, personal Bible study, prayer, and corporate worship. Allow new believers to mature before electing them to positions of leadership (see 1 Timothy 3:6).
The body of Christ in our world today has many members, and each must nurture the other. New Christians must submit to the authority of the mature members, while the mature saints must not smother the ardor of the new ones. In unity, the work of Christ moves forward.
31 Jan 2018
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
As we were growing up, we always knew the girls who knew how and where to shoplift the coolest lipstick. We also knew the guys who could hot-wire a car so we could take a joy ride. Those same guys were the ones who tried to get us drunk! We were attracted to their “badness” and power. But when we remember their evil impact on our lives, we can appreciate the role that bad character plays in our lives and why the Apostle Paul wrote: “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”
Have we learned our lessons from our experience with the losers in our lives? Or, are we still drawn to the “bad-asses” who know how to manipulate the system? Do we admire the women who can manipulate and get away with murder at work and influence events for their own benefit? Do we overlook the lies and the cover-ups it takes to operate in this fashion? If so, then our companions will lead us into sin.
The people we hang with will definitely have an effect on what we think about life. Friends who seem attractive to us and flatter us may not be the best influence on our attitudes. Our attitudes toward our families, our wives or husbands, our bosses, and ultimately, our own sin, determine how we act.
We must not be seduced into thinking we can keep bad company and still retain good character and a healthy relationship to God. Light and darkness do not go together; one chases the other away. Like the old proverb says, “You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.”
As the new year starts, we need to evaluate our acquaintances and determine if they have a positive or negative effect on us. Do they promote sinful actions or encourage us to stay close to Christ? We need to find other believers who will have a godly influence on us. Good company promotes good character.
Dear faithful supporters of DHT,
As DHT celebrates its 17th year, we praise God for His faithfulness, even as we marvel at how fast 2016 has flown by. I reference God’s faithfulness because for a majority of our 17 years we have relied on His grace and provision to sustain His efforts through Doing HIS Time. He has always provided and we have great faith and trust that it will continue. How we got to this place of complete surrender and trust is not widely known. So, I will share the story today with you.
When DHT was created in 1999, it had an Endowment Fund of $1,400,000 that was a gift from our investment company, Vogelzang & Associates, Inc. From 1999, through 2003, all the expenses of the ministry we paid for by this fund. In 2004, the Holy Spirit had something else in mind. After reading a sermon by Dr. Peter Marshall that challenged his listeners to rely total on God’s provision and dared us and others to surrender their lives and how they operated to align with Malachi 3:10, to wit:
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
I felt greatly convicted by the Holy Spirit to live by faith according to this Scripture. When I contemplated what it meant for DHT, I felt it was a command to empty out the Endowment Fund 100% and live by faith for God to provide for the ministry. I also felt, as a businessman, that it was the “dumbest idea I had ever heard!” Over the next six months, through prayer and consultation with DHT peers and others wise persons, the decision was made to live by faith and to divest DHT of the huge $1,400,000 Endowment. And that is what happened. Over the next years we liquidated the fund, gave it away to a point where DHT had no more that $50,000 in the bank. That is the case today…YET…
Since that day, DHT has been blessed richly. DHT has never had a surplus, but DHT has never once missed a payment or a payroll. The blessings that flowed into DHT were more than monetary. We found ourselves on our knees more, communicating and trusting the Holy Spirit completely…growing in faith.
It is our hope that you, as supporters will continue with us in this faith journey. We never have surplus cash, but we never run dry either. Praise God for His faithfulness and praise Jesus for yours!
Together in HIS Service,
James C. Vogelzang
Last week (November 7-11, 2016) 5,000 copies of the UK Edition of our prison devotional were being distributed into every one of the 126 prisons in England and Wales!
How the Holy Spirit made this happen is exciting. I was having lunch in the Virgin Atlantic Airline Lounge at London’s Heathrow airport in early December 2015. While there, an article in The Daily Mail newspaper mentioned Justice Minister, Andres Selous, MP. I knew when I read his name that something was brewing. It was as if the Holy Spirit shoved me to get my attention that this man would be the person to contact about getting the prison devotional printed and distributed into the prisons of the US.
So I dropped everything and went online and found his phone number in Parliament. After speaking with his personal assistant, an email was sent to Mr. Selous, outlining our proposal for placing 5,000 copies, at DHT expense, into the prisons of the UK. More research encouraged me when I found out that Justice Minister Selous led the Bible study for MP’s in Parliament.
A few days later a reply waited for me that indicated his interest. Five copies were sent to him with an understanding that we would speak again in eight weeks after he and others digested the devotional. After eight weeks we spoke and the devotional was enthusiastically endorsed.
We then set out to edit the book into a UK Editions with British slang and references to UK prisons. In October 2016 the final, UK Edition was ready for print. Today, it is ready, printed, and being distributed to the 126 male and female facilities around England.
This might sound routine, but it is not! During the past 6 years we have tried repeatedly to interest the Justice Ministry in the UK in this devotional, without success. So we have been praying for an inroad, and God provided. Interestingly enough, Justice Minister Selous was replaced in his post in July after the new Prime Minister took over. We can only praise God for His timing and for our Holy Spirit led obedience that allowed the devotional to slip through this window of opportunity.
No we await to learn how the Word of God, as presented in this devotional will change the hearts and minds of prisoners and their families in England.