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A Godly Example!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Pastor Cecil Thompson
Cecil Thompson

1 Peter 2:11-12

"Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation."

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Christians acted the way the people of God should act? If we were to die in the next twenty four hours and appear before God, would He be pleased with our actions? It is a sad commentary that Christians do not always have the best reputations.

Back in my earlier days, I was a juvenile probation officer for Canyon County, Idaho. One day I received a letter from the Superintendent of the Idaho Juvenile Correction Center informing me that one of the residents was being sent back to our county. This young man had been committed by the court before I went to work there, so I had never met him.

While at the Juvenile Correction Center, this young man had been such a disruptive force that he spent most of his time in confinement. The staff there had determined that he should be transferred to the State Mental Hospital. The State Mental Hospital staff tried to deal with him, but again, he spent most of the time being locked up in the solitary confinement unit. They finally became weary of trying to deal with him and shipped him back to the Juvenile Correction Center.

I hope you are with me, as I know the scenario is a little confusing. Here is where the letter comes in. The Superintendent had written me all of the above details and informed me that they had released the young man and that he was to report to me when he returned to the county. The Superintendent's advice to me was to inform the law enforcement agencies in our area and, once the young man had re-offended, to just lock him up for the protection of society.

Sitting at my desk in a stunned state reading and re-reading the letter, I was wondering what to say to this young man when there was a knock on my office door. The young man standing there introduced himself, and I recognized that he was the one I had just been reading about.

As we began to talk, I prayed urgently for wisdom in what to say. I asked if he ever wondered what people thought when his name was mentioned. He said they would probably think that he was a pretty good guy. I then asked him if he would like to read what people really thought of him. He said he would, so I handed him the letter I had just received.

I will never forget the look of utter shock on that young man's face. I told him that I would not be supervising him but would agree to be a friend that he could call and talk with if and when he decided to get his act together. He thanked me and walked out of my office. Over the next few weeks and months he called several times. He was able to get a job and his life took on stability with no further criminal violations.

At a conference about six months later, I was talking to the Superintendent who had written the letter. When he asked if the young man was in jail somewhere, I was happy to give a good report about what a change had come over him. Dumbfounded, the Superintendent asked how I had been able to accomplish it. I told him that I hadn't, but that he was actually the one that had brought about the change. "How did I do that?,” he asked. "I let him read your letter!," I replied. Then as I shared with him the story of the letter incident, we had a great laugh together.

Let's get downright personal. What do you think goes through people's minds when they hear your name? Would it be good or bad? Even more personal, do you think the Lord is pleased with you? If people were to search for an example of a true Christian, would you qualify? Are your actions and reactions reflective of the life the Lord wants us to live?

My prayer is that I will constantly live in a manner that emanates a sweet aroma of a Christ-like walk. I know that there are times when I slip and fall, even intentionally jump when I should stay put. In those times I try to make the necessary corrections and restore the joy of my salvation.

Blessings dear hearts. Draw near to God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing!

- - - Pastor Cecil


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