Volume: 889 December 19, 2022
Theme: Christian Example
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Like many, we try to avoid using the house furnace to heat our house in the winter and try to heat it as much as possible with our wood stove.
Every summer, I cut, split, and stack wood for winter’s use. In the cold months, I use the oak that was split back in July. It burns hot, starts quickly, and does a wonderful job of heating the house. It seems, however, that I never split enough.
In early fall, I continue to split more, but it has not dried enough when I use it in December or January. Yes, it burns, but the heat is half as much as seasoned wood produces. It needs more attention, or it will go out. As it burns, it is not hard to hear the water still in the wood, bubbling and sizzling.
As I was burning the wetter wood at the end of this season, I thought about how much it was like many Christians. Because of their involvement in sin, lack of spiritual growth, or decisions to not give their utmost to the Highest, they never totally achieve God’s full potential for them.
Yes, they had gotten saved, but that is about where it ends. Unfaithfully, they attend church or start reading their Bible, but soon their attempts fizzle out. If someone visits them, they may go to church that one time.
It seems they are high-maintenance Christians. They require a lot of attention to keep living the way they should. They’re like the wet wood; they do not burn hot for the Lord. They constantly need “stoking.”
Like the sap-soaked green wood, it will not be long until their little light flickers out. They will not lose their salvation, but it will not be long until their church pew is empty, or they will be one of the countless that are saved but not doing anything with their salvation.
What a waste of a precious, spiritual life they are. God had such grand plans for them. It is a shame their light is close to flickering out; if they would only “dry out.” No one can do it for them. They have to do it for themselves.
They must decide on whom they will serve and how fervently. It is they that have to obey the commands God has already laid on their hearts through reading Scripture or convictions laid there from a Sunday sermon. The choice must be theirs. This world desperately needs seasoned, mature Christians to warm this dying, cold world with fervent, godly heat!
“To walk on water, you first have to get out of the boat!.” — Author Unknown
A traveler once, visiting the lighthouse at Calais, said to the keeper, “What if one of your lights should go out at night?”
“Never. Impossible!” the lighthouse keeper cried. “Sir, yonder are ships sailing to all parts of the world. If tonight one of my burners were out, in six months, I will hear from America, or India, saying that on such a night the lights at Calais lighthouse gave no warning, and some vessel had been wrecked. Ah, sir! Sometimes I feel, when I look upon my lights, as if the eyes of the entire world were fixed upon me. Go out! Burn dim! Never! Impossible!”
What a lesson to the Christian! It is not just good intentions that make the Christian a spiritual lighthouse for the world. Let then his example be full, bright, and clear. The moment he neglects it, and leaves his “lamps” untrimmed, some poor soul, struggling amid the waves of temptation, will be dashed upon the rocks of destruction for lack of a good, Christian testimony to draw them to safety.
“If you want your neighbor to see what the Christ spirit will do for him, let him see what it has done for you.” — H. Beecher
We missed him when he was gone. When he went home to Glory, he left something more than a tomb behind him. He left a goodly heritage of holy deeds. There is a fragrant perfume yet lingering about his precious memory; a trail of light that followed his luminous pathway has not yet died away from his saddened disappearance from this earth.
He was a legible Christian. There was no mistaking him. He never stood upon debatable ground. He never required one to search the church records to see if he was only a professor of “religion.” We felt and saw his “religion.”
You might have followed him by the fragrance of his Christ-like deeds of well-doing. You might enter the house of sorrow and see that he had been there by the weeping eyes once more dried and the broken hearts he encouraged. You might enter an abode of poverty and know that he had been there by the plentiful stores he had left behind. If you saw a group of children gathered by the wayside, you might have conjectured that he was there already giving out packages of little booklets and New Testaments. We all felt him in every good enterprise: in the prayer circle, Sunday school, and church. His mark was left pretty much everywhere.
But now there is a great blank in our meetings and gatherings. We wait in vain for his beseeching, tremulous voice that well we knew had the ear and heart of God. The teachers’ prayer meeting is not the same now that he is gone. The little Bible class that met at Widow Mear’s house is now without a shepherd.
It was a little time since a long procession wound its way, with many weeping eyes out of the village churchyard. That grave, beside which you may sometimes see an aged woman in black bending over it, had a stone with a touching date engraved on it. It reads, “aged twenty-four years.” His slight form and boyish expression made him look younger than that, but his testimony and work for the Lord surpassed most of those that were older than 60 years.
When it is our time to go to Glory, will we leave such a testimony behind?
“The path may lead, but examples draw.” — H. G. Bohn
Lot chose wisely by the world’s standards. Well, if this world be all, he got rich soil, became a prince, and had kings for neighbors. It was nothing to Lot that “the men of the land were sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” It was more important to him that the land was well-watered everywhere.
But his wife became addicted to her city’s glitter and enticements, and his children were tainted with ineradicable corruption. Warnings from God finally got him and his family to leave. All they gained for their time in that community was left behind. It was a wasted time for Lot and his family.
Lot’s wife looked back with lingering regret upon their splendid home and was turned into encrusting salt. His children carried with them into a new life the plague-spot of sin they “caught” from their exposure while living in the city devoted to wicked living. All that he had built in their life in Sodom was buried by the wrath of God. The remainder of his life was spent in shame. He did not make a good choice of friends and lifestyle after all.
“Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me.” — D. L. Moody
He that goes forth weeping,
Bearing precious seed.
Shall doubtless come rejoicing,
Bringing sheaves, indeed.
But too many Christians
Are standing idle today,
Telling others to take it easy
Instead of telling them “The Way.”
Christ commands us, “Go,”
And the rich man in Hell
Still echoes, “I have five brethren,
Won’t someone go and tell!”
James said to be not only hearers,
But be ye doers too,
You’ve heard many times,
When are you going to do?
We are saved to serve;
There is a job to do,
A few are serving Christ,
What excuse have you?
Christ is coming soon,
To catch His bride away.
Now it is the time to work,
Christians, start today!