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The short answer is, Yes – you are! But what kind of example are you?
Are You An Example?
The short answer is, yes you are! Good or bad, nice or ugly, right or wrong – you are an example in everything that you do. If you ever identified yourself as a Christian, you can count on the fact that you are watched closely by people you never even thought about. The question to ask, then, isn’t “are you an example”, but “what kind of example are you”?
The Bible is full of stories of normal, everyday men and women like you and me. Reading them one comes to realize that people haven’t changed all that much over the centuries. Cultures, styles, and available information change all the time. People… not so much. Included here are some stories of people with life views you will recognize as seeing every day. Maybe you look at life like one of them yourself. Read more in Christianity « Fourteen Sons in Jerusalem Word of God »
Lot: Can’t we all just get along? – (Genesis 11 to14, 18 to19, 2Peter 2:8)
Lot came from the land of Ur before Israel was a recognized nation. He was the nephew of Abraham, a man of great faith, and knew the power of the Lord. He was immensely blessed by God and became very rich. God sent an angel who personally took Lot by the hand and dragged him to safety, so evidently Lot lived a relatively righteous life in his own house. The apostle Peter called him a “righteous man, vexed in his righteous soul … with their lawless deeds”.
Lot had a problem, though. He had no guts to make a stand. So anxious was he to get along, to not make waves, that he didn’t even have influence over his own wife and family, much less anybody else. By failing to stand for anything, he ended up standing for nothing – a pitiful and wasted life. More than that; he taught his daughters to stand for nothing as well. They became the progenitors of two nations, the Moabites and the Ammonites, who in future times would cause great trouble for both Jews and Christians.
Today Christians fall into this same trap. They are taught to be meek, to obey authority, and to be peacemakers. However, the Bible does not instruct us to be peacemakers at all cost. In fact it teaches us to stand up for what is right, protect those who cannot protect themselves, and be unashamed of the gospel of Christ. We are sometimes to be warriors! We are always to stand for truth and righteousness.
Though God did not abandon Lot, his life was totally ineffective as a man, a father, and a godly influence. His choice to just get along affected not only his own life, but that of his children and ultimately the entire Jewish nation that was yet to come. You never know what far-reaching consequences your actions or in-actions may have.
Sampson: Lovin’ life to the fullest! – (Judges Chapters 13 to 16)
Sampson had the world by the tail. Though Israel was ruled by the Philistines during his reign as a judge, he had a promise from God that he thought protected him. He had been born with the promise that he would begin the overthrow of the Philistines. He had great sex appeal, incredible strength, and a promise of greatness. Life was good! He was invincible, right?
Instead of judging with integrity, Sampson depended on his greatness to see him through, and figured he could pretty much do whatever he wanted – especially where the ladies were concerned. It was his undoing, for small sins lead to bigger ones, and the consequences of sin are always devastating. His pride and swaggering earned him hatred, and his weakness with women got him captured and tortured by his enemies. In the end, he saw it and came back to the Lord in obedience. God honored both His own promise and Sampson’s repentance by allowing him the chance to destroy a whole coliseum filled with Philistines, killing them all and himself along with them. This turned out to be the fulcrum that turned the tide between them and Israel.
Are you one who has life by the tail? Your conviction that you can do anything you want may come back to bite you. Read the whole story of Sampson, and think about the possible consequences you may be inviting for yourself.
Gideon: Check your sources before you act – (Judges Chapters 6, 7, 8)
Gideon was a pretty normal ‘little guy’, a Jew of the tribe of Manasseh. In his day, the neighboring country of Midian was in control of the whole area. Since Jews were known to obey and worship God instead of the ruling powers, the Midianites delighted in forcing them to build altars to their gods as part of their tyrannical rule. They also delighted in camping out in the grain fields, destroying all the produce and stealing all the stock so the Jews had little food to sustain themselves. By the time Gideon was called by God, Israel had been brought very low indeed.
Gideon was a careful man. He did what he had to do to survive. He hid his stock in mountain caves, and threshed his wheat in a wine press to hide the food from the Midianites. He believed in God and believed the stories of God’s intervention on their behalf. But he was also very careful to check his sources of information before he acted.
When an angel of the Lord appeared to him to let him know he had been chosen to lead an army against their enemies, he didn’t shout “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!” No, he checked the source. He asked the angel – who looked like a man – to let him serve lunch first, so the angel could give him a sign that he was who he said he was. The angel agreed. Gideon spent some time, roasting a young lamb and making cakes to go with it. When he took the meal out at last, the angel had him put it on a rock. Then he burst the meal into flames and disappeared. Now, poor Gideon thought he was going to die for questioning an angel! But the Lord calmed him, knowing his heart was for proving the source, not questioning the word of the Lord.
Later God revealed His battle plan, and Gideon again tested the source. He laid out a piece of sheepskin fleece, and asked God to soak it with dew but leave the ground around it dry. The following night he asked God to leave the fleece dry but soak the ground around it with dew. God performed both signs for him, again approving his desire to be sure of his source of information. You see, Gideon was not questioning God. He was just verifying the source. Once sure, Gideon obeyed his instructions to the letter, and defeated a huge and world-renowned army with a little band of 300 men. He later became a judge for Israel, serving for 40 years.
Are you a careful person? When presented information, do you jump on the bandwagon or carefully look for the truth? The story of Gideon shows the value in checking your sources.
Paul: The Proverbial Zealot – (Principally the books of Acts, Corinthians II, and Galatians)
Paul’s original name was Saul of Tarsus. He was the Jewish world’s principle zealot. So deeply did he love the Lord that he burned to rid the world of all who would tarnish His holy Name. Well, that sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? He was loyal, eager, and dedicated, the best of the best. He sincerely believed he was serving God and the greater good by persecuting and killing Christians. The trouble was, he was sincerely wrong. It took God kicking him off his horse and robbing him of his eyesight to get the truth through his thick head. Do you know anybody like that in today’s world?
Though his information was wrong, his heart was right – and God honored that by making him the principle apostle to the gentile world. Through him, God was able to teach and touch nations far removed from Israel, and establish His church to the ends of the earth.
Are you zealous for what you think is right? Good for you! But make sure your heart does not over-rule your head. Be sure of your facts before you speak, and learn to speak truth in a way that creates thought and trust, rather than hostility and anger. Paul had many regrets for a life wasted before he finally got it right. Learn from his example.
So, what kind of example are you?
There are many, many biblical stories of ordinary men and women. Some get it right, and do extraordinary things or are blessed in extraordinary ways. Some don’t get it, and have consequences and regrets to deal with – some that are far-reaching. Most are a mixture of the two, just like folks today. It is my hope and prayer that you examine your own like and attitudes, and choose wisely – hour by hour, and day by day.
Christian Lafeur (My favorite preacherman) his contribution this week... Tearing Pages Out of The Bible: From The Theologian’s Corner
The Bible is filled with so many amazing stories, lessons, guides and rules for how to live a sanctified life. What is peculiar about the assembly of believers is we take and add from the Bible to suit our own selfish desires. Are we just ripping pages out of the bible is the question?
Let us explore and examine a few examples of tearing pages out of the Bible that we don’t like. Think back in time when you were a child. There was a always a child on the block who was spoiled and had all the toys your parents had not purchased for you yet. If you were the poor kid as I was, you may recall the other kid not getting his way, pout-ting and taking all his toys in the house. The Christians in today’s assembly of believers are not much better. They refuse to accept correction and reproofing. They only care to hear uplifting messages that pertain to making life easier. These are people who are not willing to accept what is wrong in their lives. They totally ignore all the fingers that point at them. I like to refer to these people as those who tear pages out of the bible.
The Bible doesn’t say that
The age old response from someone who does not want to accept what is being said about the gospel is, ” my Bible don’t say that.” It would help if they actually read their Bible. I have found this as the most common way to rip pages right out of the Good Book. It seems that whenever the Bible says something that contradicts our sinful practices, we ignore that part and pretend we have never heard or saw that. Are we so selfish, and are our ears that clogged, that we will not take time to acknowledge the words of God? I recall sitting in a Denny’s restaurant having dinner with to women friends. One of them received a phone call telling her that a friend had committed suicide. The other lady upon finding out the news reacted to the info by saying, ” he is going to hell.” I immediately wanted to minister to them, and that’s where everything went down hill. I asked them what made them so sure that the guy was going to hell because he took his own life. I went on to explain to them that the Bible gave to examples of suicide that I am not going to go into in this article. I further explained that the teaching was out of Roman Catholic theology, and was like many other teaching from Catholicism, not backed up by scripture. Why did I say that? The girl was stumped, so she called her sister whom she believed had a better defense. She did not, and so she went to insults and a un- Christian tantrum. The conclusion to this is, we had to go through all this because this person was not willing to listen to or accept scripture. She was dead set on ignoring the scriptures in the Bible I gave her, Thus she removed them in her mind. As far as she was concerned, those scriptures were not there. She had torn them out in her mind, and therefore torn them out of the Bible. Let me refer you to Revelation 1:3, Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Read more in Christianity « If The Atheist Had Not Missed.. What Kind of Friend are You? »
Jesus didn’t say that, the Apostle Paul did
In this new Christian era we are in, it amazes me that Christians are still questioning the Apostle Paul’s Authority and Apostleship. When ever there is a scripture mentioned out of the Pauline epistles that some one doesn’t like, it is often disregarded and shunned. People often say, Jesus didn’t say that, Paul did. I always thought that Jesus selected him, and made him Apostle to the gentiles. I found well over a dozen scriptures to validate his Apostleship, but I will just use one. Romans 11:13, For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry. Over 2000 years have passed and this is still an issue amongst believers. I read a statistic that only 13 percent of Christians believe the Bible is 100 % true and infallible. This is a scary number for Christendom, and woe to the 87 percent who just tear the pages out they don’t like. If you are concerned about substantiating the data, please don’t hesitate to view some of the comments left on my past articles. I have heard Paul referred to as a chauvinist pig, and that his teachings are not relevant today. Let me state for the record that the epistles were obviously not written to us, but they were certainly written for us. I believe that Paul’s role if you compare it to this modern church era, he was the equivalent to what we refer to today as a district bishop, or head bishop etc. Paul was with no doubt overseeing and supervising several churches and their pastors. This work that Paul was doing, he was no doubt selected by Jesus to do it. Let me refer you to Acts 9:15-16, But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” How is it that we have omitted this from the Bible for our own selfish convenience? Your guess is as good as mine.
Christians can’t be in line with the world. We must hold everything that is written in the Bible as fact and not fiction. Christians must die to this sinful flesh daily, and strive to do the best we can to represent the word of God as Ambassadors of Christ. After all it is fair to conclude if Christians don’t believe the word of God, we cant expect to convince any one its worth believing. Christianity is all about faith and love yet it is fair statement that there is not much love or faith in the laws and instructions our saviour left with His disciples for the betterment on mankind. If we do not begin to display that God is written on every function in our lives, Christianity will continue to be an estimated 33 percent of the world population and declining. Let me conclude with a scripture for you to marinade on. Refer to Deuteronomy 6:6-7, These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.