Monday, August 11, 2014
Greetings to all. I trust this will be a very good week for all of you. Today, I want to expand on the thought I wrote for a future church bulletin. I wrote about a young man I corresponded with while he was in prison. It was there that he confessed Christ as his Savior and was paroled after serving a three year sentence. After he got out, he did well for over two years and then recently was arrested again for a DWI. Now he will be confined to a new six month term. According to his dad, he now wants to write a book about his life experiences while he serves out this term. I told his dad that I hope he does, but also that he is able to heed and practice any advice he may impart in his book. I reminded him of a serious obligation all those who preach, teach, or share God’s word with others have, that is, that people expect them to be the first to practice what they preach. I know by experience that folks will, from time to time, come up to ministers and begin their conversation with them with words like, “Did we not hear you say from the pulpit………….?” Simply put, they will hold us to our words.
As I was going through my scheduled bible reading for this past Saturday, I came across a verse in the book of Ezra that reminded me of that obligation I just mentioned. Ezra was a leader and a scribe who lived over 400 years before Christ and the man who was in charge of rebuilding the Lord’s temple in his time. Though his people were under Persian rule at the time, Ezra found favor and was supported by the king in this project. One day, however, when he and those in his company had to travel to Jerusalem, Ezra proclaimed a fast with the prayer that God would protect them on the dangerous journey. Note what Ezra 8:22 says: (NLT Version) I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”Can you see that Ezra was basically saying, “How could I ask the king to protect us when we had already told him that God takes care of his own?” Would the king not think “If your God is so powerful why would you need me to protect you?”
All of God’s children face this challenge: We need to back up what we tell others about Jesus and our faith. We need to put into practice what we preach and teach, and I’m not talking about being perfect or sinless. Of course, there’s always the easy way out, that is, if we never share Christ and our faith with anyone, we don’t have to worry about any obligations. But then again, we’re better than that aren’t we?
Memory verse for the week: (Romans 10:14, NLT) But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?