Illustration results for Walking Together
I want to read to you the opening story from David Platt's book "The Radical Question" (Multnomah Press).
Imagine a scene that took place in Asia not so long ago:
A room in an ordinary house, dimly lit, all the blinds on the windows closed. Twenty leaders from churches in the region sit quietly in a circle on the floor, their Bibles open. They speak in hushed tones or not at all. Some still glisten with sweat; others' clothes and shoes are noticeably dusty. They have been walking or riding bicycles since early morning when they left distant villages to get here.
Whenever a knock is heard or a suspicious sound drifts in, everyone freezes while a burly tough-looking man gets up to check things out.
These men and woman have gathered in secret, arriving intentionally at different times throughout the day so as not to draw attention. In this country it is illegal for Christians to come together like this. If caught, the people here could lose their land, their jobs, their families, even their lives.
I was in that dimly light room that day, a visitor from America. I huddled next to an interpreter, who helped me understand their stories as they began to share.
The tough-looking man--our "head of security"--was first to speak up. But as he spoke, his intimidating appearance quickly gave way to reveal a tender heart.
"Some of the people in my church have been pulled away by a cult," he said. Tears welled up in his eyes. "We are hurting. I need God's grace to lead my church through these attacks."
The cult that had been preying on his church is known for kidnapping Christians, taking them to isolated locations, and torturing them, my interpreter explained. Many brothers and sisters in the area would never tell the good news again. At least not with words. Their tongues had been cut out.
Soon after Jack Benny died, George Burns was interviewed on TV. Burns commented, "Jack and I had a wonderful friendship for nearly 55 years. Jack never walked out on me when I sang a song, and I never walked out on him when he played the violin. We laughed together, we played together, we worked together, we ate together. I suppose that for many of those years we talked every single day."
Several years ago, in Long Beach, California, a fellow went into a fried chicken place and bought a couple of chicken dinners for himself and his date late one afternoon. The young woman at the counter inadvertently gave him the proceeds from the day-a whole bag of money (much of it cash) instead of fried chicken. After driving to their picnic site, the two of them sat down to open the meal and enjoy some chicken together. They discovered a whole lot more than chicken--over $800! But he was unusual. He quickly put the money back in the bag. They got back into the car and drove all the way back. Mr. Clean got out, walked in, and became an instant hero. By then the manager was frantic. The guy with the bag of money looked the manager in the eye and said, "I want you to know I came by to get a couple of chicken dinners and wound up with all this money. Here." Well, the manager was ecstatic/ thrilled to death. He said, "Oh, great, let me call the newspaper. I’m gonna have your picture put in the local newspaper. You’re the most honest man I’ve heard of." To which they guy quickly responded, "Oh no, no, don’t do that!" Then he leaned closer and whispered, "You see, the woman I’m with is not my wife...she’s uh, somebody else’s wife."
Charles Swindoll, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, p. 159-60.
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
• William Booth tied faith and works together perfectly when He said this in an article in Christianity Today “Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then wo...
“If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago to define the word tsunami I would have probably given a humorous response, suggesting that it was an item on an Japanese menu or the name of a new Korean car. Today, however, there is nothing funny to be said that that awful word tsunami. This underwater earthquake that produced waves that swept across the Indian Ocean at 50 miles per hour and then slammed into the coastal areas with waves of water as tall as a 3-story building, washed away everything in its way for thousands of miles from India to Kenya and every island in between. The whole world stands in shock and sadness as we see over 150,000 people, a large percentage children, swept out to sea and then returned as bloated bodies. We have seen whole villages washed away and entire families killed as they sat together on a beach enjoying a vacation together. There is nothing funny about the word tsunami” (Marvin A. McMickle, from a sermon titled “A Few Words About Watching”).
The events of the past few weeks, the mudslides in California, the tsunami across the world, the deaths in Sanford last week, the accident on 46 in Geneva, all serve to remind us that life is fragile, time is limited, and tomorrow is not promised.
What makes the tsunami even more tragic, is that while the wave itself could not have been prevented, the death toll could have been significantly lowered if people on the shore had received even a few minutes of an early warning that might have allowed them to leave the beaches and move as far inland as possible. They were not warned.
Yesterday, I led a graveside service at Deltona Memorial Gardens. I happened to get there a little early, so I walked around the cemetery and looked at some of the headstones nearby. I was amazed at the number of young people I saw buried there. There were several teens there, and some people in there 20’s. I saw many places where children were buried. As I walked and looked I wondered, were they ever warned? Did anyone take the time to tell them to get ready?
Marshall and Manuel noted the following thought about these 2 covenant relationships and the necessity to commit to both:
How critically important for us Christians is the business of commitment to one-another-as vital for the Body of Christ today as it was three-and-a-half centuries ago! There are two great steps of faith in the Christian walk, and they correspond to the two Great Commandments: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The first step of faith is the vertical commitment: once a person had discovered the reality of God, and has experienced the miraculous gift of salvation in His Son Jesus Christ, he then must face the prospect of accepting Christ as his Lord and Master, as well as Savior. To do this means yielding our wills to God: ‘Nevertheless not my will but Thy will be done.’ And it is a covenant relationship, which means there are two parties to the agreement. As long as the Christian obeys His God in humility, God will honor his obedience, often blessing him beyond all imagining. The second step of faith is the horizontal commitment to one’s neighbor, and ultimately to that specific body of Christian neighbors of whom God calls one to be a part. In a way, this second step requires even more faith, because now one has to learn to trust a perfect God operating in and through imperfect vessels. We must do this armed only with the assurance that it is God’s will, that they too are aware of their being called to serve Him together. The vertical aspect of the Covenant has to come first, just as the First and Great Commandment does. But as strong as it is, the vertical aspect alone, without a cross-bar, is not the Cross of Christ. The second step calls one to yield to that local part of the Body of Christ, and to dedicate oneself to that congregation and its work. Indeed, the body’s effectiveness will be magnified to the extent to which its individuals mutually dedicate themselves. This dedication accounted for the soldierly esprit de corps of the early Jesuits, and made them the shock troops of the army of Christ. Alone, their vertical commitment to Christ was unsurpassed –but as the body, they are renowned the world over! Esprit de corps-the literal translation is ‘the spirit of the body.’ This may be one of the reasons why God permits pressures to befall the Body of Christ. For wherever there is pressure of affliction, there is corresponding increase in commitment to one another, as well as commitment to God” (The Light and the Glory, pages 167, 168).
Rico Tice makes an interesting observation in his book, Christianity Explored: “I didn’t have a particularly religious upbringing myself. In fact, my experience of Christianity was limited to a few dull sermons, slightly spooky people in strange garments, hanging about in dank halls and religious education lessons during which I attempted to find references to rugby in the Bible. Christianity was worse than boring: it was fiction. Jesus walking on water, the three wise men, the feeding of the five thousand, Father Christmas and Winnie the Pooh were all mixed up in my mind together. They were all make-believe, best left in the nursery”. (Christianity Explored. The Good Book Company. 2002. P. 1)
Enoch and God walked together until they arrived...
The Real Miracle
Meaning no disrespect to the religious convictions of others, I still can’t help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. Where...is the miracle I spoke of? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time -- possibly to your own home town. A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father’s shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father’s shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing -- the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, propertyless young man who...left no written word has, for 2000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived -- all of them put together. How do we explain that?...unless he really was who he said he was." (Ronald Reagan. http://www.christianglobe.com)
Brian La Croix
“From the dining room we walked into the living room. This room was intimate and comfortable. I liked it. It had a fireplace, overstuffed chairs, a sofa, and a quiet atmosphere.
He said, ‘This is indeed a delightful room. Let us come here often. It is secluded and quiet, and we can fellowship together.’
Well, as a young Christian I was thrilled. I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than have a few minutes with Christ in close companionship.
“He promised, ‘I will be here early every morning. Meet me here, and we will start the day together.’
“So morning after morning, I would come downstairs to the living room. He would take a book of the Bible from the case. We would open it and read together. He would unfold to me the wonder of God’s saving truths. My heart sang as He shared the love and the grace He had toward me. These were wonderful times.
“However, little by little, under the pressure of many responsibilities, this time began to be shortened. Why, I’m not sure. I thought I was too busy to spend regular time with Christ. This was not intentional, you understand. It just happened that way.
“Finally, not only was the time shortened, but I began to miss days now and then. Urgent matters would crowd out the quiet times of conversation with Jesus.
“I remember one morning rushing downstairs, eager to be on my way. I passed the living room and noticed that the door was open.
“Looking in, I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus was sitting there. Suddenly in dismay I thought to myself, ‘He is my guest. I invited Him into my heart! He has come as my Savior and Friend, and yet I am neglecting Him.’
“I stopped, turned and hesitantly went in. With downcast glance, I said, ‘Master, forgive me. Have You been here all these mornings?
“‘Yes,’ He said, ‘I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you.
“‘Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at great cost. I value your fellowship. Even if you cannot keep the quiet time for your own sake, do it for mine.’
“The truth that Christ desires my companionship, that He wants me to be with Him and waits for me, has done more to transform my quiet time with God than any other single fact. Don’t let Christ wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every day find time when, with your Bible and in prayer, you may be together with Him.” (Robert Boyd Munger, My Heart Christ’s Home, InterVarsity Press)