Be the Light!

MATT 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Notice that he doesn’t say we should be the light of the world, he says we ARE the light of the world! If we don’t shine, we are not fulfilling our purpose! But what does it mean to shine our light?

Light has one primary purpose, to dispel darkness. Imagine sitting in a large auditorium with no lights on and no windows to let in natural light. We would be in pitch darkness, but if one person would light a match, everyone would see it.

The light of one small match can dispel the darkness of an entire room. It doesn’t take a huge spotlight to make a difference!

Shining our light means that we reflect the very nature of Jesus in everything we do.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We must not hide that light under a bushel or in a church building. We must let it shine. How will people see that light? Through our good works.

The German atheist philosopher Nietzsche once said that if he saw more redeemed people he might be more inclined to believe in their Redeemer. Christians who do not have changed lives have a credibility gap. If I am trying to tell you how great my doctor is, but I am dying under his care, you might question his skill. If I try to tell you how great my auto mechanic is, but my car is leaving black smoke out the exhaust, you will probably be reluctant to entrust your own vehicle to him. What good does it do to tell people how great our Savior is if they cannot see that we ourselves have been saved from sin? Let your light shine.

1 John 1:5-6 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

If no light shines from your life, you have no relationship with Christ and you are bringing dishonor to Him. It is a sad thing for someone to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and continue to live an openly sinful life. It brings disrepute to Christ and the gospel. It is a stumbling block for unbelievers. It is certainly not effective in convincing anyone that Christ has the power to transform lives. Our responsibility as disciples and evangelists is to have lives so transformed by the Word and the inward presence of Christ that everyone can see His light reflected in our acts of kindness. [various works compiled by Felicia]

Choose to see the good through the bad!




 Let us be Wise Men (& women)

2 Samuel 24:24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

 

You remember David once said, I will never offer to God that which costs me nothing. So they offered the most costly things they could. But the greatest gift they gave was not the gold, frankincense or myrrh. The greatest gift that they gave the Christ child was the gift of true worship. That’s the greatest gift anyone can give Him.

 

John 4:23-24  23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

 

It was there in that house that they yielded their lives to one who was greater than they were. They adored the child and gave the gifts that they had carried all the way from their homes in the east. When they returned home they were empty-handed but were full hearted because of the worship from the heart. The treasures they gave the child were worth little compared to the value and fulfillment they had in their hearts in worship.

They had worshipped the King of the Jews.

 

 

The heart that can worship the Lord gives our entire lives a sense of fulfillment and meaning. Worship makes us whole because it meets the need of our inner being, our soul, our very core. God is worshipped, adored, and given honor. He is the one who created us and to respond to God in love makes life large and whole. Without worship of God we put ourselves in the center of our lives and we end up giving greater emphasis to ourselves.

 

Worship is a way to maintain perspective in the midst of life’s pressing demands. Most of us live our lives according to the “priority of the urgent”. We run from urgent demand to urgent demand. The problem is that we neglect that which is important. When the magi came face to face with the Christ child, the only thing that became urgent was ‘to worship him.’ They did not look to themselves.

 

They did not lift themselves up, but lowered themselves, bowing down in worship. If we take time to see the baby at all this Christmas, worship will not only be appropriate, it will be a necessity. Worship is a natural and appropriate response to the goodness and greatness of God. To worship means to pay tribute to, to honor, to revere God. When one comprehends God, truly sees him, it is the only appropriate response. [borrowed & compiled thoughts of others]




 Blessed

Psalm 1 – Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

 

Blessed! That’s the key word. It’s not that I did something so great, but God did great things for me and will do great things through me. God chose me for His team, and I am confident He’s going to make a beautiful player out of me. The training will be rigorous, but my coach is my God. And I trust Him. He’s great! I am blessed! [Nelle A. Vander Ark]




 Do Good

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

 

According to Psalms 37:3, the 1st step is: “Trust in the Lord.” I don’t admit to know all that that means. Certainly it means, in part, that I must recognize that God gave me a work to do and a place to do it.

 

And, believing that my work is God-given, I can go ahead with Him confidently, happily, and take the next step: “do good.” Say those 2 words to yourself 3 or 4 times, changing the pace and the tone/accent each time, and you will begin to see how, in two words, the Lord gave us a lifetime of work – of purposeful, godly living. “DO GOOD!” [Nelle A. Vander Ark]

 

We have that choice EACH morning. What are you doing? How are you doing it? What attitude do you display?




 Be Ye Holy

SANCTIFICATION is the act of cleansing or purifying the heart from inbred sin.

 

HOLY = dedicated to God; consecrated; sacred

 

WHY IS SANCTIFICATION NECESSARY?

 

Sanctification is necessary because even after we are justified the carnal mind is present in us.

 

Those who have carnal minds cannot fully obey the Bible.

 

Romans 8:7, 8   Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

We refer to the carnal mind as the Adamic nature. The Bible also calls it the “old man” and the “flesh” meaning the natural man or fleshly mind.

The Bible shows that the “old man” can be “put off” – “crucified.”

 

Colossians 3:9, 10 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Romans 6:6, 7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The following verses show that people were sanctified, thus proving that this is a definite experience.

 

Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and ours:

Jude 1:1  Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

 

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:




 My Prayer

As I reflect back on my recovery and progress, I can be nothing but thankful.  Although there are many things that I cannot currently do  (or I have to attempt using a different approach), I choose to focus on the good; things I CAN do. 8+ years on my life’s journey hasn’t been and isn’t an easy, la-tee-da, paved highway. In fact, the road is the path less traveled and it has made all the difference. Thank you Mr. Frost!

The world says Give Up. The Bible says TRUST GOD. (Prov. 3:5)

The world says it’s too hard. The Bible says My yoke is EASY and My burden is LIGHT. (Matt. 11:30)

The world says you can’t do it. The Bible says I CAN DO ALL THINGS. (Phil. 4:13)

The world says you’re not strong enough. The Bible says I don’t have to be. (Ps. 18:2)

To every question the Bible has the answer. The Lord inhabits our praises. He is our joy. The I AM is whatever we need if only we will Ask, Seek and Knock, He will answer.

 

Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.



 True Freedom

The July 4th holiday is upon us once again.

Trusting Christ’s payment for all our sin is the only way one can be free of sin’s control and from the ultimate payment for sinning — hell!

  • If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36
  • For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Rom. 8:2

    The choice is always up to the individual!  He does not have to serve sin any longer. We have the opportunity not to be forced to serve sin.  We have the liberty to do right.

  • Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Gal. 5:1

    When free from the desire to sin, you will have the desire to live righteously.

  • Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. Rom. 6:18
  • But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Rom. 6:22

    Let’s not take ANY of our freedoms for granted. Thank you, Jesus, for Your GREAT sacrifice.




 Joy…in the Long Run

 

You’ve heard the expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” Life is really like that sometimes, isn’t it? The details of day-to-day life and the problems that pop up in it can be t overwhelming. Those details and accompanying problems can steal your joy very quickly. Of course, once you begin focusing on those problems, every day begins with a dark cloud hanging over it.

 

So what do you do? Take an emotional step back. Stop looking at the trees and focus on the forest for a while. Ask God to help you see the struggles you are dealing with right now fit into a bigger picture. Remember God is in control of the big and the small stuff.

 

As you see a bigger view of life, you can celebrate the joy that lies ahead … in the long run [Daily Inspirations of Joy by Carolyn Larsen].

 

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

 

Remember – the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10)

 

I choose daily to see the BIG picture – the forest – instead of focusing on the “trees” (my double vision with glasses and a prism; lack of swallowing; use of a walker for mobility; fine motor / coordination troubles; driver’s license still revoked status [although I do drive an RTV Kubota]).




 Choose Wisely

Good friends will have a positive influence on you.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?

12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I can’t even count the times over the years that I have sought to be a better person thanks to the example of trusted friends.  Last week I wrote about being a servant with the heart of Jesus, and I’ve been so fortunate to know many friends who have shown me what servanthood really means.  In many ways we tend to lean on each other, learn from each other, and make better choices because of each other’s examples.

 

In turn, bad friends will have a negative influence on you.

 

1 Corinthians 15:33

33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

 

Many people make the mistake of associating with the wrong crowd, and it is one of the warnings parents try and give their children all through their developing years and even into adulthood.

One of the pieces of advice that my father gave me during my adolescent years, was “Be careful who you associate with!” There’s a Spanish proverb that he would use to teach this lesson, “Tell me with whom you walk, and I will tell you who you are.”

I can’t help but think how Jesus, who could have chosen to complete His earthly ministry all by himself, instead chose to surround himself with a group of friends.  For three years, they lived together, ate together, celebrated together, and mourned together.  I also really like the fact that when you look at these twelve men Jesus hand-picked to follow Him, they were just real guys.  Jesus could have chosen men of influence, who came with tons of money and education.  Instead he chose fishermen and a tax collector!  Again, Jesus–even in a subtle way–gives us the perfect example of how important it is to choose friendships wisely.

 

Of course the ultimate example of friendship is that Jesus chose to sacrifice Himself for us.

 

John 15:12-14

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

 

The principle of friendship is also found in Amos.

 

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

 

 

Friends are of like mind. The truth that comes from all of this is a friendship is a relationship that is entered into by individuals, and it is only as good or as close as those individuals choose to make it. Someone has said that if you can count your true friends on the fingers of one hand, you are blessed. A friend is one whom you can be yourself with and never fear that he or she will judge you. A friend is someone that you can confide in with complete trust. A friend is someone you respect and that respects you, not based upon worthiness but based upon a likeness of mind.

Finally, the real definition of a true friend comes from the Apostle Paul:

 

Romans 5:7-8

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.




 What love?!

You and I do not deserve salvation. Our sin does not merit such mercy.

  • Why did God redeem you?
  • Why did Jesus pay the ultimate price for your redemption?
  • Why does God continue to give His unconditional love to a people who continually throw it away?

    It’s not because we deserve it; it’s because His mercy demands it. Aren’t you glad God does not treat us as our sin deserves?

    Psalm 103:10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

 

God chose you and loves you. This love story is your story. Even if you are faithless, He will remain faithful.

  • If you are enslaved, God will buy you back.
  • If you are lost, God will find you.
  • If you are ashamed, God will cover you.
  • If you wander off, God will bring you home.
  • If you give up on Him, God will not give up on you.
  • No matter where you are, God sees who you are, and He loves you.

 

Through the story of Hosea, God tenderly touches your arm and whispers, “Come home. My love sets you free. When you get tired of striving and wandering, I’ll be there to draw you to Myself again and remind you who you are in Christ.”

How Your Story Connects with Hosea’s

He bought us back.

God’s response to you is the same as it was to Israel. He will heal your faithlessness. He will love you freely. God has written on your very life the words I love you. He values you so much that He enters into covenant with you, redeems you and remains faithful to you.

May we never carelessly throw away what cost God so much. Oh, what love!