Archive for the ‘Example’ Category

More Examples Needed (Jeremiah 35, Psalm 7-8)

August 7, 2014

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and have kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you,” Jeremiah 35: 18

There are days when it seems that I cannot get my point across to my youngest son.  John is one who has to think through matters before making a decision.  So, I have found that the more examples I give the better the odds that he will get what I am trying to teach him.

In the 21st century it seems that ours is a world filled with knowledge at the touch of a finger.  At any given point, anyone who has access to the internet can fill themselves with knowledge about millions of topics.  However, examples are different.  The Bible calls us to be a light (example) for the world.

Consider Jeremiah 35.  God speaks to Jeremiah and says, “There is a clan of people who are a great example. They have been faithful to their Father’s commands.”  God instructs Jeremiah to set them forth as an example contrasting the perpetual disobedience of Israel.  Because of their obedience God has promised that they would have an eternal future with him.

Think it through:

1.  Can God use you and I as His examples of faithfulness?

This very day, I want to live in obedience before my God and before this world so that I might bring glory to His name.

2.  Does God reward faithfulness?

Consider the promise of Jesus in Mark 10:29-30 “Truly, I say to you, ‘there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.'”

Our response:

Some people decide that following Jesus cost too much.  So they chose to be like most who want salvation, but they do not want to sacrifice for the glory of God.

Brothers and sisters, what our world needs is more sold out examples of people who love Jesus above everything!!!  May you and I be in the number of those who are examples for Jesus!!!

Be Careful (Titus 3, Ecclesiastes 11)

April 24, 2014

“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.  These things are profitable for people,” Titus 3:8

Last week John and I travelled to North Carolina to lead in a series of revival meetings.  One of the funny but serious things that always happens with Sherry is that when you talk with her, while away, is that she always ends the conversation with the following words, “I love you and please be careful.”  One night last year, John was in the bed talking with her and she closed the conversation as she always does.  After hanging up John began to laugh while saying, “do I need to be careful while I sleep?”

As Paul brings to a conclusion his letter to Titus we hear him saying, “I love you and please be careful.”  But he adds, “to devote yourself to good works.”  

Question: “How hard is it to devote oneself to good works?”  The answer, “It takes devotion.”

Think it through:

1.  The ground-rules

One must, “Be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

2.  The great-realty

We used to devote ourselves to evil works, but God saved us (Vs: 3-4)

3. The glorious response

We devote ourselves to being careful because we want to be profitable for the sake of the gospel. As we are careful in good works, God is glorified as the gospel is shining forth in our lives!

Our response:

Are there things in your life that you are not being careful about?  Maybe in your speech or maybe in your thought life?  Could it be that you need to create a budget so that you can be careful to use God’s money wisely?

Our response should be, “Lord,  I want to be careful with all of my life, so that you will be honored in all of my life!”

The Issue of Judgment (Romans 14; Job 10)

February 11, 2014

“So then each of us much give an account of himself to God,” Romans 14:12

He has held it as long as he could.  Suddenly his words erupt like a dam that breaks because of the pressure of the water that has become violent in the midst of a storm. Who is this man?  His name is Job.  What is his violent storm?  He is facing a spiritual attack to his very being.  Notice his words:

“I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.  I will say to God, Do not condemn me; Let me know why you contend against me?”  Job 10:1-2

In this moment, Job takes his case before God.  However, in the very next chapter, his friend Zopar passes judgment.

Question, “Have you ever been involved in passing judgment?”  I can answer for me, “I have been on both sides of the coin.”  I have both been judged and I have passed judgment.

Romans 14 helps us to understand the correct response to the issue of judgment, no matter which side of the coin you presently are on:

1.  The principle of judgment, Vs: 1-13

Here is the principle, “Do not quarrel over opinions!”

There are two examples of differing opinions given in the text (the subject of eating, and the subject of honoring certain days of the week over other days).

Paul’s teaching: “Do not quarrel over opinions.”

This principle helps us to understand how judgment will take place:

A.  The Lord is the judge of His people, Vs: 4.

B.  The Lord will judge His people, Vs: 10-12

2.  The practicality of judgment, Vs: 13-23

Because of the principle we can now practically obey Paul’s imperative, “Never place a stumbling block before our brothers and sisters.”

I have discovered the work of the Lord is far to important to allow varying opinions to cause stumbling blocks in the work of the Lord.

Think it through:

Imagine how much better served the kingdom would have been if Job’s friends would have followed God’s direction on the issue of judgment.

Question, “How is the kingdom being served in our lives in the area of judgment?”

Consider the principle and commit to the practice of the imperative of this chapter!!!

A Man Who Cared (Nehemiah 13; Acts 23)

January 24, 2014

“Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for His service,”  Nehemiah 13:14

Recently I watched an interview with a 10-year-old girl who had saved the life of her classmate who was choking to-death.  When she was asked, “Why did you help?”  She responded, “He is my friend, I had to do something.”

Question, “How many of us, who read this blog, are really friends of God?”  Now we know that our friendship is granted by Jesus (John 15:10-15).  We were born as rebels who were against God.  But when the kindness of our Lord appeared.  We were made right with God through the blood of His Son (Col. 2:14).

Those who are truly friends of God have a deep abiding desire to care about the things God cares about.  We see this in the life of Nehemiah in chapter 13.  There are 6 reforms made by Nehemiah.  Each of these reforms reflect on this fact, “Nehemiah is a man who cared about what God cares about!”

Think it through:

1.  Nehemiah sought the purity of his people, Vs: 1-4

2. Nehemiah sought the purity of God’s house, Vs: 5-9

3.  Nehemiah sought the care of God’s leaders, Vs: 10-14

4.  Nehemiah sought the observance of the Lord’s day, Vs: 15-23

5.  Nehemiah sought purity in marriage, Vs: 24-28

6. Nehemiah sought purity in God’s leaders, Vs: 29-30

At the end of the book we read these words, “Remember me, O my God, for good.”

Our response:

You and I must care about the things God cares about.  If we really care we will take action and this action will be remembered when we stand before God.  Maybe you are struggling with a decision about one of the issues that Nehemiah struggled with or maybe it is another issue?  Be assured God is calling you to do something because you care!

Hearing What You Say (John 1:29-51)

November 19, 2012

“The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!’ The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.”  John 1:29-51

Imagine the shock of a parent after hearing shocking words coming from their child’s mouth.  The father asks, “Where did you hear such words?”  The son replies, “I heard them from you dad.”  In this moment there is the greater shock of failing to say the right things before others.

This morning we begin a new book in our More For Christ readings.  This book is the gospel of John.  This book’s goal is to reveal Jesus Christ to its readers so that they might know and believe Christ.  This is what John wants us to hear and believe.

In verses 29-51 we discover the life of John The Baptist who was tasked with preparing the way for Jesus first coming.  As we read this text, we discover how John was successful in what he said.  Two of his disciples (Vs: 35-42) so clearly heard his words that they started following Jesus.

Question, “What do people hear us say?”  Who occupies the thoughts and intends of your heart and mind?  For John the Baptist, “It was Jesus.”  In verses 35-42 we discover how Andrew came to this place as well.  Here we discover Andrew looking for his brother (Peter).  Once he finds him, he speaks the following to him, “We have found the Messiah.”

These were joyous words for Andrew and they were life-giving words for Peter.  Brothers and sisters, the words we speak have so much importance.  It is of eternal importance that we speak the right things to those who we encounter, those we have influence, and those who have invested in.

Consider our Savior, Vs: 43-51.  He reaches out to Phillip and says to him, “Follow me.”  In this moment Phillip follows and immediately he starts to speak into the lives of those he has influence in.

This very day, I want to challenge you to speak into the lives of people you encounter.  Many are those you have influence and investment in.  Oh how I prayer others are hearing what you say!!!  You and you alone have the challenge of spreading His word to a dark world.  Do if for His glory.

A Momentary Lapse

December 13, 2011

“For they made his spirit bitter, and he spoke rash with his lips.” Psalm 106:33

This morning, I spent a few moments online watching a series of video’s that depicted people who had a momentary lapse of sanity as they tried to accomplish different feats.  One video stood out above all the others.  A  Teenager was attempting to jump 31 feet from one ramp to the next on a motorcycle.  The caption at the bottom of the screen read, “Man needing to jump 31 feet misses it by 1 foot.”  Here was a guy who was so close but still paid the price for not making it all the way across.

This was the case with Moses in Numbers 20.  Moses was by God’s assessment, “The most humble man on the earth.”  However, we see a momentary lapse in Numbers 20.  The chapter begins with nothing unusual with God’s people.  They are coming to the end of forty years of wilderness wanderings and as usual they are complaining to Moses and Aaron about the fact they have no water.  As usual Moses and Aaron go before the Lord and as usual the Lord gives instruction as how to deal with the people.

However, there is something unusual in the chapter.  If you are not careful, you will miss it.  The fact is you would not even notice it until you come to Vs:10.  “Then Moses and Aaron gathered the people before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels; shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”

In this moment, we discover Moses has anger and a touch of bitterness in his heart.  In this moment we realize, Moses has not given his anger to the Lord.  Before we see a pattern of Moses always talking with the Lord concerning his anger. We see and example of this in Numbers 11:11-14.  But here Moses chooses to keep the anger to himself.

The fallout of this momentary lapse is devastating.  Moses fails to honor God in sight of these people.  Moses fails to carry out God’s plans.   Moses is out of fellowship with God.  Moses loses the honor of leading Israel into the Promised Land.

This chapter has taken on fresh meaning for me this morning.  You and I cannot afford momentary lapses with God.  We must daily live lives that are committed to Christ in all things.  Certainly this can be tough for our lives.  But God has a prescribed way for us to handle every issue in life:

“Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  James 1:19-20.  

If you and I are daily in the word (Quick to listen), we will not have those momentary lapses.  Be assured we will have them if we bypass our time with the Lord.

So, if you are having a momentary lapse today?  I encourage you to get away for a while, even it is on lunch break.  Spend time in God’s word working through what you are facing this day.  You will be glad you did.

Setting The Example

September 7, 2011

This Sunday night our president will attend a 9/11 remembrance service at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. This service is labeled as a service that is to be interfaith based, which means that people of many faiths will have a part.  However Fox News revealed this morning that Evangelicals will be left off the program.  The President of The Southern Baptist Convention has officially asked the president to turn down his invitation.  But the question remains, “Will he turn down this invitation?”  Truly this is an opportunity for our president to set an example.  Please be in prayer that our president hears from God.

In life, seldom do we find someone who always sets the right example.  Certainly I have failed from time to time in setting the example that I should.  However, as a follower of Christ, I find great encouragement in the example of Christ.  This morning I was amazed at Christ example during the last week of his life leading up to the cross, Luke 21-24, and then his example in the 40 days after the resurrection.

Here is just one encounter Jesus had during those days.  “A dispute arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.” Lk 22:24.  Notice Jesus response, “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves,” Lk 22:26.  Jesus was instructing the disciples concerning true greatness.  The one who is truly great is the one who puts others before himself.

Be honest, how often have we heard this truth?  The fact is I have heard it many times, but the question is, “How often have I submitted to what I have heard?” Notice what Jesus says, “But I am among you as the one who serves,” Lk 22:27.  Our Lord and Savior not only instructed us about life, He set the example of how to live life.

I must be honest, I found myself crying out to God to help me to be a better example in living out the word of God.  Daily, I find myself in a battle between the old Keith and the new Keith.  I find myself at times even not wanting to set the example.  Those moments usually come when I am tired and when I have failed to spend the proper time in prayer, praising God for all He has done for me.  However when I spend time in prayer and in the word, I have an example before me and I have energy within me to be the example He is calling me to be.

This very day, I am praying for those who from around the world are seeking to set the example for others.  I am praying that each will be empty of self and that each would be filled with the Spirit.  Oh how our world is desperate for people to set the example of godliness in a godless world.