All of her life Melissa wanted to be a school teacher. It was a dream come true when she enrolled in college and actually began to prepare for a life of teaching. She wanted to be the best teacher any pupil ever had. 
She decided to write Thomas Carlyle, a world famous historian, and ask his advice. She wrote, “Tell me, sir, what is the secret of successful teaching?” 
His reply was simple, “Be what you would have your pupils to be. All else is unblessed mockery!”
What a reminder for Christians. Though our words are important, our life is a much stronger lesson about who Christ is and what He can do than anything we can ever say. Said Paul to Timothy, “Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith and your purity.” 
Timothy was a young pastor and under much scrutiny. Paul knew the pressure that he faced and wanted him to be an example to his church in everything that he said or did. Wisely, Paul warned him that only those who lived lives that were modeled after Christ would be worthy examples and effective teachers of the Good News. 
And if we read Paul’s words carefully, we will notice that every aspect of life is mentioned: speech, behavior, love and faith as well as pure thinking and living.
Prayer: We often forget, Lord, that we are always Your model for the world to see. May our faith be strong, our thoughts pure and our lives modeled after Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.
The military is known for orderliness. Rarely does one see a uniform that is wrinkled or grounds that are unkempt. But there once was an exception.
When General George Marshall took command of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia before World War II, he found the post in a condition that was unacceptable to him. Having power beyond imagination and control over every individual assigned there, his options were unlimited. He could speak the word and everyone would fall in line and make the installation glow in the dark. But he did not do that.
Instead of issuing orders to get the post up to his standards, he got out his lawnmower, rake, shovel and paintbrushes and began to make his quarters the example.
And it worked. Soon the officers next door did the same. Then their neighbors and on and on it went until it reached the last home on the grounds. Fort Benning became the example for the Army.
Often the best way to encourage someone to do the right thing is to become an example for them to follow. Paul gave that advice to Timothy: “Be an example to all believers.” Paul gives that advice to us as well!
Prayer: Help us, Father, to live as You lived, to walk as You walked and to talk as You talked so that we will always be Your examples in this world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Can you believe that street lighting was first introduced in Antioch, Greece in the fourth century? But it was Benjamin Franklin, the famed inventor, who introduced it to America. Other countries had street lights in their cities as early as the eighth century.
While serving as the postmaster in Philadelphia, Franklin urged the city fathers to install street lights in their city. The city fathers refused because they believed it was too costly.
Franklin refused to give up and hung a beautiful lantern on a bracket in the front of his home. As the people walked by, they realized the difference it made. They no longer stumbled or fell because it provided light for their path. It was not long before his neighbors recognized the value of the light and soon the entire neighborhood, and then the city, had lights in the dark places. Franklin achieved his goal, not by argument, but by example.
People everywhere are looking for ideas that work. If they make sense people will adopt them and apply them to their lives. That’s why Paul encouraged Timothy to “set an example in speech, life, love, faith and purity.”
God’s Word works! When we apply it to our lives people will soon see that the Light of our lives makes a difference and follow our example.
Prayer: Lord, whenever our lives fail to live up to Your standards, give us no peace until we change. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
The pastor of a church in a rural community had been complaining about not feeling well for several months. His wife finally persuaded him to see the local doctor. Concerned that he would not explain all of the details of his illness, she decided to accompany him.

After his examination, the doctor asked her to accompany him into an adjacent room. After a moment he said, “I really don’t like the way your husband looks.”

After a few moments she said, “I don’t either.” Then she continued in a hushed voice, “But he’s a wonderful pastor, a great husband and an excellent example for the children to follow.”

What gracious compliments! There are not many who measure up to his standards. However, we as Christians are challenged to live lives that are examples. Paul said that we “must be an example to them by doing good deeds of every kind” and “to let everything we do reflect the integrity and seriousness of our teaching.”

When we live according to God’s standards, we will be examples for others to follow. If we live according to His instructions, we have the right to be heard when we speak, teach or talk. Additionally, we can provide counsel and comfort with certainty to those who are discouraged and in need if we are faithful to His Word.

Prayer: Help us, Father, to live as an example of Your love, grace and mercy by doing good deeds every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Titus 2:7-8 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.

“If you’re smart,” he said convincingly, “you can learn from the mistakes of others. You’ll never live long enough to make them all yourself and learn the consequences of being foolish. And,” he continued, “you won’t have to pay the high price some of us have had to pay for our mistakes.”

Perhaps that was the intent of Solomon when he wrote, “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight.” Obviously, this is a very stern warning from an experienced, perhaps a “worldly-wise” father to his son. Pay attention and listen well are very similar in their intent. “Son, listen up, or else you'll be sorry!” Not today - for we rarely experience immediate consequences for our wrongful behavior. But there will be a payday - someday! We can be certain that there is a reward to come or a price to pay for everything we do.

Sexual indiscretion has serious, and very often, life-long consequences. Consequences that impact more than those involved in “sex outside of marriage.” God very clearly and carefully defined the boundaries: a rich sexual relationship is to be confined to and experienced within the bonds of the marriage covenant. No exceptions!     

Society ridicules such a “narrow view” of sex. However, when we look at the tragic consequences of “casual sex,” it is heartbreaking: unwanted children, rampant abortions, broken hearts and homes, disease, children growing up without their “mom” or “dad” and...

Prayer:  How costly, Father, is the price we pay when we disobey Your laws. Give us Your strength, we pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today:  Proverbs 5:1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom, turn your ear to my words of insight,
There was a small huddle going on at home plate. Lucy and Linus of the Peanuts comic strip were having an intense discussion with their coach, Charlie Brown.

“Our team,” said Charlie, “has lost every game this season. There’s nothing good about our team!”

“But,” protested Lucy, “Schroeder almost hit a home run. We almost won a couple of games. Once we almost made a double play.”

Linus interrupted Lucy and added, “If it’s any consolation to you, Charlie Brown, we led the league in ‘almosts.’”

But there is no column in record books listed as “almosts.” There are wins and loses and records set and records that have been broken. But never an “almost!”

“Almost” carries with it the idea that if we had more time, more energy, more opportunities, more money or “more of something” our lives would be completely different. While life may impose limits on us, God does not! Whatever He has He freely gives.

The Psalmist said, “No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right.” He did not say that God will almost bless us, or almost answer our prayers or almost provide for our needs or almost give us good things. Not at all.

When we do “what is right,” God will give us “good things!” Not almost give, but will give if we do right.

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to follow the example of Your Son and “do what is right” at all times and in all places as He did. May we do what is right, not almost right! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
The new pastor wanted to get to know the members of his congregation. One evening at a church dinner he asked Mark how he came to know the Lord as his Savior.
To his surprise Mark replied, “Well pastor, I believe God is at work in our family.”

One thing is for certain: If our faith is real and at work, it will be real and at work in our homes. Family relationships always seem to be “on the edge.” There are so many different individual wants and needs, so many competing priorities and interests that relationships always seem to be stressed to the point of breaking.

The letter to Ephesians has some sound advice for families. It very clearly states that children are to obey their parents as long as parents act in the will and way of God. Parents have every right to make expectations of their children that are in keeping with His Word. Ideally, parents will act with thoughtfulness, gentleness and love. While this may seem difficult, if family members act in accordance with the teachings of God’s Word, each will put the other’s interests ahead of their own and selfishness will be replaced with selflessness because the real Father is the head of the home and worshiping Him will come first.

Fathers are also advised to “Bring up your children with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord.”

Prayer: We pray, Father, for families that are struggling to survive, dealing with overwhelming problems that leave them helpless. Give them hope through Christ to be victors. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Ephesians 6:1-4 And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Read more…)

General Dwight Eisenhower is recognized as one of the greatest leaders in all of history. After a brilliant military career he became a trusted and honored president.

On one occasion he was asked to describe the art of leadership. Rather than describing it, he decided to demonstrate it. To illustrate his point, he put a piece of string on a table and said, “Push it and it will go nowhere. Pull it and it will follow.”

Few of us will ever say to others: “Look at me. I am a good example. Follow me and do as I do.” But that’s exactly what Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians. Quite a daring statement!

He was able to set himself up as an example, however, because he walked close to his Lord and Savior, spent much time studying God’s Word, and praying and witnessing. Because he was “in Christ” he lived his life “through Christ” and could say to others, “I ask you to follow my example and do as I do.” At all times and in every situation whatever Paul did is what he believed Christ would have done.

If there ever was a Christian leader who “pulled” people to the Lord it was Paul. We see it in his faith that sustained him in situations far beyond our imagination. We are inspired by his hope that never faltered when he had no reason to hope. And his very life defined love.

Prayer: Father, it is frightening to think that others may look at us and imitate what we do because they assume we are Your examples. May our lives be worthy of imitating. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
A reporter was visiting a number of farmers who had been identified as “successful.” He had been traveling from state to state and farm to farm. He saved his last interviewee to be the farmer who was known for being more successful than the others.

“Tell, me, Sir,” began the reporter, “how much education have you had?”

Reflecting for a moment, the farmer answered, “Six years of schooling, but fifty years of learning.”

From His birth to His baptism, we only have one glimpse into the life of Jesus. It was when His parents took Him to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. He was so overwhelmed and impressed by the events that took place that He lingered a little longer than they did and became separated from them. Luke says that they found Jesus listening to the religious teachers and asking questions and adds that they were “amazed at his understanding and answers.” Imagine, if you can, the Son of God eagerly searching for knowledge to grow in “wisdom and stature and favor with God and all the people.”

In every area of His life, Jesus set examples for us to follow. But none more important than this.

Prayer: Father, if we would serve You fully and faithfully, we can only do so if we come to know You through understanding Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Luke 2:47, 52 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
The late Bishop Sheen was shopping in a New York department store going from one floor to the next. After he finished looking at all of the items on the fifth floor, he got on the elevator and pushed the button for the sixth.

As the door was closing, a lady rushed on to the elevator and smiled at him. When the elevator stopped and he made his way to the door, she looked at him with a frown and said, “I did not want to go up, I wanted to go down!”

“Madam,” he said with a grin, “I only take people up, not down!”

Often we are not aware of how our behavior is affecting others. We do what we do because it brings us pleasure, happiness or satisfaction. We may not realize that others may be watching what we do and then imitating our behavior – whether right or wrong. They may be looking for another Christian to follow.

Paul said, “So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live – for I don't want to cause another believer to stumble.” He was ever conscious of the example he set knowing others were watching. We must do the same.

Prayer: Father, may we never forget that we are a living example of what it means to be a Christian and always represent You well. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: 1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
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