Walk With Jesus

CARRYING CHRIST WITH YOU

~ Acts 11:21

The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

The disciples must have seemed out of place in the bustling commercial atmosphere of Antioch. But sensing they were there by divine appointment, they dedicated themselves to share their faith. And the result? A secular city turned upside down.

Regardless of your employment situation, the Lord has placed you where you are for a purpose: to introduce others to the Savior. Charles Spurgeon wisely challenges you to use every opportunity.

WALK WITH CHARLES SPURGEON

“Wherever you are called to go, you should make known the gospel of Jesus. Look upon this as your calling and occupation.

“You will not be scattered now by persecution, but should the demands of business carry you into different situations, use that travel for missionary purposes.

“Providence every now and then bids you move your tent; take care that wherever it is pitched you carry with you a testimony for Jesus.

“At times the necessities of health require relaxation, and this may take you to different places of public resort. Seize the opportunity to encourage the churches in such localities by your presence, and endeavor to spread the knowledge of Jesus among those to whom you may be directed.

“The position which you occupy in society is not an accidental one. You are placed where you are that you may be a preserving salt to those around you, a sweet savor of Christ to all who know you.”

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

One writer summarizes the challenge this way: “If Christ comes to rule in the hearts of men, it will be because we take him with us on the tractor, behind the desk, or when we’re making a sale to a customer.”

God knows what he is about when he guides you into a location and a vocation. All that remains is for you to seize the opportunities he has placed within your reach.

Walk With Jesus

IN THE PRESENCE OF THE KING

Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?

Matthew 2:2

How far is it from St. Louis to Kansas City? About 200 miles if you’re going in the right direction and about 25,000 miles if you’re not!

Whether the goal is to bake a cake, put together a child’s Christmas toy, or—like the wise men in Matthew 2—find the Christ-child, the need is the same: good directions, and the willingness to follow them carefully.

F. B. Meyer offers this insight into the importance of hearing—and heeding—God’s directions.

WALK WITH F. B. MEYER

“God comes to men in the spheres with which they are most familiar: to the shepherds in the fields, to the wise men by a sign in the heavens.

“God knows just where to find us, and in turn provides all we need to find and worship him.

“When we follow God’s guidance, we may be sure that he will not fail to bring us to our goal. He who brings us out will also bring us in.

“The wise men prostrating themselves before the newborn babe were the first of a great procession down through the centuries who have followed them to the same spot.

“We cannot fathom the mystery, but we, like they, can adore and present our gifts, for indeed he is worthy.”

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

The road of life can be a baffling route indeed: smooth at times, sometimes full of potholes … one day a well-marked expressway, the next a maze of detours.

But your heavenly Father has provided a road map—the Bible—to keep you moving in the right direction.

Dotting the pages of the Bible like signposts along the way are promises to encourage you, warnings to protect you and commands to detour you from danger.

By following it daily, you, like the wise men, will come safely to your destination. And you too will fall down and worship.

Walk With Jesus

A GLORIOUSLY DIFFICULT LIFE

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

~ Matthew 25:13

Christianity is not a rest stop on the way to heaven. Instead, the New Testament pictures it as a walk of perseverance. A race of endurance. A battle of spiritual forces.

In the concluding paragraphs of the Olivet discourse, Jesus underscores the challenging demands of discipleship—the necessity of being watchful in conduct and fervent in service.

Oswald Chambers describes these pursuits as those that demand your “utmost for his highest.”

WALK WITH OSWALD CHAMBERS

“The Christian life is gloriously difficult. But the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in; it rouses us to overcome. Do we so appreciate the marvelous salvation of Jesus Christ that we give our utmost for his highest?

“Thank God he does give us difficult things to do! His salvation is a glad thing, but it also tests us for all we are worth.

“Jesus is bringing many sons and daughters unto glory, and God will not shield us from the requirements of being his child.

“God’s grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ.”

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

God is working in you to produce a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ. But are you helping or hindering the process?

Construction projects take time. Are you frequently irritated with God’s timetable?

Construction projects involve heat and pressure. Are you seeking the easy way out, stubbornly resisting God’s efforts to shape your attitudes and actions?

Construction projects are costly. Are you willing to pay the price following Christ may involve?

Your utmost for his highest may sound like a tall order. But considering what God has invested in your life, it’s a fitting way to say, “Thank you!”

Walk With Jesus

THE RIGHT PERSON IN THE RIGHT JOB

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.

1 Timothy 3:1

Prospective employers often seem more concerned with outward achievement than with inward character. In the business world, quality of life often takes a back seat to accomplishments.

Not so in the family of God! There, what you are counts for more than what you have achieved. The work of the ministry demands more than good businessmen, good civic leaders, good politicians. It demands good people.

Patrick Fairbairn discusses the importance of good character in the selection of godly leaders in the church.

WALK WITH PATRICK FAIRBAIRN

“The apostle’s list of qualifications is predominantly moral and consists of attributes of character rather than gifts and endowments of mind. The latter are included only as they might be required to form clear perceptions of truth and duty, to distinguish between things that differ, and in difficult or perplexing circumstances to discern the right and know how to maintain and vindicate it.

“Yet it is the characteristics which go to constitute the living, practical Christian, the man or woman of God, that are here brought into view.

“And whatever the church finds necessary to add to the number, in order to render her leaders fit for the varied work and service to which they are called, the grand moral characteristics specified here must still be regarded as the primary and more essential elements in the qualifications of a true spiritual overseer.”

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

Father, as I seek to minister to others in your name, make me conscious that serving you is more than doing the right things; it is being the right person—your Christlike child.

Build into my life those qualities that make serving you not simply a job but rather a lifestyle. In the name of him whose hands and heart were never in conflict. Amen.

GOD FORGAVE MY SIN IN JESUS’ NAME

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times”.

[Matthew 18:21-22]

Forgive and forget.

Peter was certainly comfortable with that principle. After all, hadn’t Jesus already taught him that if he forgave others when they sinned against him, his heavenly Father would also forgive him? And hadn’t the sacrificial system he had grown up with taught him that God forgives the sins of his people?

Yes, Peter was certainly comfortable with forgiveness—seven times. But seventy-seven times?

Unfortunately, all of us since Adam are like Peter in this respect—all except one. John Flavel reminds us to imitate him who is infinite forgiveness.

WALK WITH JOHN FLAVEL

“Imitate our pattern Christ and labor for meek forgiving spirits. I shall only propose two reasons for doing so: for the honor of Christ, and for your own peace. His glory is more than your life, and all that you enjoy in this world. Oh, do not expose it to the scorn and derision of his enemies. Let them not say, ‘How is Christ a lamb, when his followers are lions? How is the church a dove, that smites and scratches like a bird of prey?’

“Consider also the quiet of your own heart. What is life worth, without the comfort of life? What comfort can you have in all that you possess in the world as long as you do not have possession of your own soul? If inside you are full of tumult and revenge, the Spirit of Christ will become a stranger to you; that dove delights in a clean and quiet heart. Oh, then imitate Christ in this excellency also!”

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

The rest of the chapter is the parable of the unmerciful servant. The main character refused to forgive as he had been forgiven. Notice that he was “handed … over to the jailers to be tortured” (Matthew 18:34).

Are you “tortured” by an unforgiving spirit? Ephesians 4:32 has the answer: Meditate on Christ’s forgiveness. There is no better way to cultivate your own.

SINGING THE WONDERFUL SONG OF THE LAMB

Then I heard every creature … saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”.

[Revelation 5:13]

The Lamb of God has inspired more songs than all other creatures combined, and many hymns owe their inspiration to the praise-filled verses of Revelation that extol the Lamb that was slain. Horatius Bonar builds this hymn of praise from the worshipful words sung in heaven.

[WALK WITH HORATIUS BONAR]

Blessing and honor and glory and power,

Wisdom and riches and strength evermore,

Give ye to Him who our battle hath won,

Whose are the Kingdom, the crown, and the throne.

Soundeth the heaven of the heavens with His name;

Ringeth the earth with His glory and fame;

Ocean and mountain, stream, forest and flower

Echo His praises and tell of His power.

Ever ascendeth the song and the joy;

Ever descendeth the love from on high;

Blessing and honor and glory and praise—

This is the theme of the hymns we raise.

Give we the glory and praise to the Lamb;

Take we the robe and the harp and the palm;

Sing we the song of the Lamb that was slain,

Dying in weakness, but rising to reign.

[WALK CLOSER TO GOD]

In 1432 Jan van Eyck painted his now famous Adoration of the Lamb. In the center of that painting Christ stands as the Lamb of God, blood pouring from his sacrificial wounds. All around are gathered worshipers of the Lamb. Yet the Lamb is not lying on the altar near death. Instead he stands tall and straight, in triumph and splendor. Death has been defeated.

It is no wonder he is worthy of praise. This Lamb is your Lord.

Evening Devotional

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

[1 Peter 4:1]

When one criminal testifies against another criminal, he is sometimes given a fresh start in exchange for his help—a new name, a new home, a new life. No one knows of the past, and he can either become a model citizen or revert to his old ways.

 

The Christian has a new life given him by God. In God’s eyes, the old life of sin is done away with. The statute of limitations has run out.

 

F. B. Meyer suggests the following course of action for Christians in their “new life.”

 

WALK WITH F. B. MEYER

“The apostle Peter urges the disciples to make a clean break with sin.

“As our Lord’s grave lay between him and his earlier life, so should there be a clean break between our life as believers and our earthbound life which was dominated by lawless passions.

 

“Sometimes God employs the acid of persecution or suffering to eat away the bonds that bind us to our past. Let us accept these with a willing mind. The one condition of reigning with Christ is to submit to his cross.

 

“Of course, we must die to the allure of the world, and to the temptations of the evil one, but it is quite as important to die to our self-life.

 

“Let us cultivate the unchanging habit of looking up from our service, of whatever kind, to claim the ability to do it for the glory of God.”

 

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

Leaving behind a life of crime, most respond with gratitude to the offer of a fresh start: offenses forgiven, new opportunities provided. The one requirement: Keep out of trouble! It’s a tough assignment—especially if you keep going back and trying to mix the old with the new.

 

Looking back won’t help you make progress in your Christian life either. Rather, look up to draw from the source of strength that God has given you to live the new life God has set before you.

Evening Devotional

LEARNING IN THE CRUCIBLE OF LIFE

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

[James 1:2-3]

Character qualities such as perseverance develop with use and are learned not in the classroom but in the crucible of life. As Paul said, “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3).

God knows the best way to build character, and he has his reasons for letting experience be the best teacher, as H. A. Ironside makes clear.

WALK WITH H. A. IRONSIDE

“It is no evidence of God’s displeasure when his people are called upon to pass through great trials.

“If someone professes to have faith in the Lord, that person can be sure that his or her profession will be put to the test sooner or later.

“Alas, that we so frequently lose courage and become despondent in the hour of temptation, instead of realizing that it is the very time when we should look up into the Father’s face with confidence, knowing that he is working out some purpose in us which could not be accomplished in any other way.

“We are called to consider it pure joy when we face trials. The trials of many kinds do not refer to our being tempted to sin, but rather as when God tempted Abraham, to the testing of our faith.

“The man or woman who learns to be submissive to whatever God permits glorifies him who orders all things according to the counsel of his own will.”

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

Gold subjected to high temperatures emerges much the same—yet different. It is still gold, but it is a gold of a brighter, purer character.

Faith in the furnace is like gold in the fire. The heat only serves to refine it, purify it, strengthen it, deepen it. It emerges with a brighter, purer quality.

As the fire grows hotter, thank God that he values your faith in him and that this test will “result in praise, glory and honor”—to him! (1 Peter 1:7).

Walk With Jesus

UNITY AND DIVERSITY IN THE BODY

For we are members of his body.

[Ephesians 5:30]

Every cell in the human body is alike in some ways to every other. But different cells perform different functions in the body—an analogy C. S.

Lewis draws on and applies to your role in the body of Christ.

WALK WITH C. S. LEWIS

“The society into which the Christian is called is not a collective but a body. It is in fact that body of which the family unit is an image on the natural level.

“If anyone came to it with the misconception that the church was a massing together of persons as if they were pennies or chips, he would be corrected at the threshold by the discovery that the Head of this body is utterly unlike its inferior members—they share no divinity with him except by analogy.

“We are summoned at the outset to combine as creatures with our Creator, as mortals with immortal, as redeemed sinners with sinless Redeemer.

“His presence, the interaction between him and us, must always be the overwhelmingly dominant factor in the life we are to lead within the body; and any conception of Christian fellowship which does not mean primarily fellowship with him is out of order.”*

WALK CLOSER TO GOD

You are a cell in the body of Christ—like millions of other Christians.

But are you a nerve cell (to feel)? blood cell (to nourish)? brain cell (to direct)? muscle cell (to strengthen)? bone cell (to support)?

Cells are alike, yet each is different. And each is crucial to the effective functioning of the body. The nucleus of all these cells is Christ himself. Without the nucleus, the cell dies. Unity is found only in Christ; diversity of function is vital in his body.