Can I Have an Example, Please?
Jeff Schreve Crosswalk.com
When I was working in the chemical business, I had a customer named Dave who worked at the power plant of a major university. He was a quiet man with a great reputation among the other plant employees. One of the ladies who worked there told me, “Now, Dave … he is a real Christian.” Dave was not a hypocrite. He walked the talk. He was an example to the rest of the people at the power plant of what a true Christian really is. His speech and conduct glorified Christ. Because his walk was genuine and exemplary, his influence was great.
THE KEY TO GREAT INFLUENCE
Many people desire to live a life of great influence. To be sure, that is a good and godly desire. But how is that desire achieved? The answer is simple: through example. Paul told Timothy to show himself as “an example of those who believe.”
If you name the name of Christ, people will watch you like a hawk to see if your walk matches your talk. If it doesn’t—if you let your tongue loose in evil, if you listen and laugh at the dirty jokes, if you gossip about your boss and coworkers, if you lie, cheat, and backstab to get ahead—you will be quickly dismissed as just another Christian hypocrite. But, if you present yourself as genuine and true (not perfect because no one is), others will take note and will respect you greatly, even if they don’t agree with you. You will have influence on your job, in your neighborhood, in your school, and in your church. A godly example is a powerful witness for Jesus Christ.
Gandhi once said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” How sad, but how true so much of the time. Gandhi was looking for a godly example, but he found none. A poem I like says this:
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
I’d rather you go with me than merely point the way.
The eye is a more ready pupil than ever was the ear.
Good advice is often confusing, but example is always clear.
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
As you take a long and sober look into your own heart, what do you see? How is your example? If you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Do the people you rub shoulders with each day see Jesus in you? Are you letting your light shine? If not, why not?
The Lord has called us to come out from among them and be separate. He has called us to be holy and live godly lives where we deal with sin and walk in the light with Jesus. God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit are available to each one of us. And only by His grace and power, can we rise above our circumstances to be the shining examples He has called us to be.
The world is watching. Your friends and neighbors and workmates and classmates are watching. May we be able to say with Paul, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1
Taking God for Granted
By: Greg Laurie, Crosswalk.com
“And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:15 NKJV).
Even on foot, it doesn’t take 40 years to go from Egypt to Israel. So why did the children of Israel wander in the wilderness for four decades?
It took that long because they weren’t learning the lessons that God wanted them to learn. So they effectively went around and around in circles. Even so, they had it made in the shade. The Lord provided them with food every day, which was called manna. The Bible describes it as “angels’ food” (Psalm 78:25).
But it wasn’t very long until they started complaining. They said, “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:5-6 NLT).
They started crying out to Moses that they wanted meat, so God gave them what they asked for. It literally rained quail, and the people caught as many as they wanted.
The problem with the Israelites was they had forgotten how miserable they were back in Egypt. They had forgotten the sting of the Egyptian whip and that they cried out to God for someone to deliver them.
Then the Bible tells us, “While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague” (verse 33 NKJV).
Offering commentary on this event, Psalm 106:15 says, “And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” (NKJV).
Let’s not take what God has done for us for granted. Let’s not look over our shoulders wanting to go back to the old life again, because the first step to going back is looking back.
Streams in the Desert – April 19
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exod. 14:13).
These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut upon the right hand and on the left. What is he now to do?
The Master’s word to him is “stand still.” It will be well for him if, at such times, he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.
Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”
But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it, if you are a child of God. His Divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What if for a while thou art called to stand still; yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time.
Precipitancy cries, “Do something; stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once–we must do it, so we think–instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.
Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle.” But faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.
“Stand still”–keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.’
“The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, everyone by his own camp, everyone by his own standard, according to their armies.” – Numbers 1:52 NKJV
As he studied the military campaigns of Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte concluded that one factor more than any other contributed to his success: how the camps of his army were organized. This produced amazing advantages.
Caesar had followed a tradition established in Rome years earlier, which provided maximum protection and readiness. In fact, for more than a thousand years, it was said that “there is no case where one of their camps was overrun.” They always seemed ready.
God gave the Israelites specific instructions about how to set up camp. Each tribe had a specific role, and everyone had an important assignment. When they did everything God commanded, they were organized and safe. It was an efficient operation.
We can be sure that each of us will face many kinds of spiritual attacks and challenges. How often might we be vulnerable because we are not ready?
If you want to be prepared for life’s battles, be sure to surrender your life to Jesus, be filled with the Spirit, and operate in His power. Fill your mind and heart with His Word, and declare His promises to be true for you. Be a person of prayer, constantly seeking His wisdom.
Be sure you are armed and ready. Be protected by the whole armor of God, so you can be “Strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).