The Making of a Man

This document is entitled “Rules for the Making of a Man.”  These “rules” were written by my grandfather, Elmer S. Yoder.  He wrote this document when he was 16, which would have been in either 1941 or 1942.  My grandfather had a very conservative background, which influence can be seen in these 63 rules.  He never specifically quotes the Bible, although he often refers to Biblical principles.  While you may not agree with everything he says, this is a remarkable document for a 16 year-old and contains much wisdom which we would do well to heed.

Rules for the Making of a Man

1.  Be a living testimony for Christ.
2.  Prove your words by deeds and your deeds by words.
3.  Do not loaf.
4.  Make good use of spare time.
5.  Think about things worthwhile.
6.  Do not be bashful.
7.  Do not argue.
8.  Do not be afraid to state the truth.
9.  Do not become aroused or despondent in any extreme.  Keep cool at all times and have a bright outlook on life.
10.  Be on time and meet all appointments promptly.
11.  Be true to your word.
12.  Use good, correct English.  Do not make Christianity appear old-fashioned by careless use of English.
13.  Be sympathetic.
14.  Do not use by-words or any expressions with the appearance of evil.
15.  Dress neatly.
16.  Always keep clean, even though you don’t have the best of clothes.
17.  Respect another’s viewpoint.
18.  Be able to learn from mistakes.
19.  If you have wronged, admit it immediately, don’t try to hide under lies, because someday, sometime, the truth will come to light.
20.  Don’t gossip.
21.  Talk less and say more.
22.  Keep good posture.
23.  Always be ready to help someone in trouble.
24.  Try to learn and remember something new every day.
25.  Never cheat.
26.  Do your own work and never expect favors from other people, but be ready to do favors.
27.  Don’t say you can’t, but say I’ll try.
28.  Be strictly honest in all deals.
29.  Never call your father, “the old man.”
30.  Be kind to your brothers and sisters.
31.  Prove that you love your mother.
32.  Be faithful in small things, so that you will be prepared and entrusted to shoulder larger ones.
33.  Have a purpose and aim in life.
34.  Don’t try to appear a man by showing off, but be a man in the true sense.
35.  Don’t do anything just so you will be honored.
36.  Be ready and willing to be the door mat as well as the leader in an organization.
37.  Respect authority.
38.  Never promise more than what you can do.
39.  Don’t highly exalt one’s plans and condemn another’s.
40.  Be reverent.
41.  Never try to make yourself appear superior to your friends or foes.
42.  Be man enough to say “No” to the enticing of sinners.
43.  Be considerate to the feeble minded.
44.  Don’t be afraid to help your parents.
45.  Be ready to help the aged wherever you can and wherever you may be.
46.  Don’t shirk when duty calls.
47.  Take interest in something of value that will be a help to you throughout life.
48.  Be thrifty.
49.  Adopt as yours the motto or slogan “pay as you go,” even though that means that maybe you won’t have the latest in cars or conveniences.
50.  Support the Lord’s work.
51.  Learn to spend wisely as well as to save.
52.  Pay yourself out of your earnings by putting as much as possible away for the rainy day.
53.  Try hard to strike the golden medium, and steer clear of being a miser or a person who can’t keep money.
54.  Learn to rule the money, and don’t let the money rule you.
55.  Don’t call girls sissies.
56.  Respect the girls, and realize that God created them as well as man, and that although they don’t have a man’s muscles and mind, they excel in the finer qualities.
57.  Don’t appear to be silly.
58.  Be a man and don’t be teasing and pestering others.
59.  Be courteous.
60.  Introduce yourself to strangers in your church or community, if others don’t introduce you.
61.  Make strangers feel welcome in your home.
62.  When you have company, conduct yourselves in such a way that your parents want them to come again.
63.  Don’t brag.

You Are a Slave

We live in a culture that values freedom.  I once heard a lecturer say that the ultimate definition of success is self-expression.  He told his audience that they were in control of their own lives and therefore they should pursue what they wish.  That idea sharply opposes Scriptural teaching.  The following verses teach that we are all slaves.  The question is not, “Are you a slave?”  Rather, the question is, “Are you a slave to sin or to Christ?”

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:31–36, ESV)

Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:16–23, ESV)

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16, ESV)

They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:19, ESV)

In this poem I seek to capture the teaching of those verses.  It can be sung to the tune of Frances R. Havergal’s familiar hymn “Take My Life, And Let It Be” (that tune was written by Henri A. C. Malan).

Living, acting, like we’re free,
Living, looking out for me,
Being free, we’re slaves of sin,
Enslaved by what rules within,
Enslaved by what rules within.

As we serve Christ we are free,
We are free through slavery.
Christ in love has made a way,
If we will his word obey,
If we will his word obey.

Enslaved by who we obey,
Who do we live for today?
Slaves of sin find poverty,
Slaves of Christ find victory,
Slaves of Christ find victory.

The New Jerusalem

This helpful summary of Revelation 21:9-22:5 was developed by Pastor Jason Yoder (my father) and is used by permission. 

What John saw…the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God

The city’s glory

Had the glory of God

Radiant like a jewel

Like a jasper

Clear as crystal

The city’s wall

Twelve gates

Twelve angels at the gates (one per gate)

Names of the twelve tribes of Israel inscribed on the gates (one per gate)

On the east three gates

On the north three gates

On the south three gates

On the west three gates

Twelve gates were twelve pearls (each gate made of a single pearl)

Will never be shut—always open

Twelve foundations

On them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles

Adorned with twelve jewels

Jasper – dark green

Sapphire – blue

Agate – greenish sort of emerald

Emerald – bright green

Onyx – red and white

Carnelian – bright red

Chrysolite – golden yellow

Beryl – bluish green

Topaz – yellowish green

Chrysoprase – apple green

Jacinth – blue

Amethyst – violet and purple

Built of jasper

The city’s dimensions

Lies foursquare (length equals width)

Length and width and height were the same (twelve thousand stadia)

Wall was 144 cubits thick (twelve x twelve = 144)

The city’s interior

Pure gold…like clear glass

Street was made of pure gold…like transparent glass

No temple in the city…but wait!

Throne of God and of the Lamb is in the city

River of the water of life is in the city

Bright as crystal

Flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb

Flows through the middle of the street of the city

Also present was the tree of life

Produced twelve kinds of fruit

Yielded fruit every month of the year (twelve months)

The city’s illumination

The glory of God

The Lamb lamp…so the sun and moon and night are obsolete

The city’s influence

Nations will walk by its light

Kings of the earth will bring their glory into it

Glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it

Leaves of the tree of life were for the healing of the nations

The curse of Genesis 3 is reversed

The city’s admission policy

Nothing unclean will ever enter

No one who does what is detestable or false will ever enter

Only those in the Lamb’s book of life can enter

The city’s “future”

God’s people will worship him

God’s people will see his face

His name will be on their foreheads

God’s people will reign (rule, exercise dominion)

God will be “all in all” (see 1 Corinthians 15:28)

 

Let the Spirit Work

“We know our lack, but we are very slow in allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us into deeper Christian life and experience, that place where the intent of our heart is so cleansed that we may perfectly love God and worthily praise Him. In spite of our hesitation and delay and holding back God does not give up, because the Holy Spirit is faithful and kind and patient and ever seeks to lead us forward into the life of the special kind of Christian.”
(A.W. Tozer)

What is the Kingdom of God?

This blog claims to be devoted to the Kingdom of God.  That sounds really great.  However, there may be some uncertainty about the nature of this Kingdom.  Some clarification may be in order.

C.C. Caragounis wrote the article “Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven” in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (first edition; p. 417-30).  He states that the Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven was the theme of Jesus’ preaching.  The Kingdom also signifies God’s sovereign rule.

Caragounis articulates three aspects of the Kingdom of God:
1) The Kingdom denotes God’s eternal rule, rather than focusing on an earthly kingdom.
2) The Kingdom has a universal scope (it is open to all people).
3) The Kingdom was present in Jesus and is not simply a vague future hope.