In The Light

In The Light

Matthew 5:14-15 (ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”

There are certain people who draw the innermost thoughts of others without even trying. Hairdressers are notorious unwary counselors as patrons who come for a makeover pour out their soul. Therapists in their own right perhaps it should be part of their schooling along with cuts and mixing color. How to deal with the complexity of people who find someone who will dedicate an hour to them. Yes, it comes at a price. But they are willing to pay it for a new look and some level of peace that someone heard them. Anonymity of an acquaintance affords them some confidence that their secrets are safely tucked in the other and hopeful that the experience might change them for the better.

Have you ever found yourself in the same situation? A perfect stranger waiting in line at the grocery store, an acquaintance who passes you walking through the mall, or maybe an old friend who sees you for the first time in a long time and in that moment decides to make you the keeper and caretaker of the broken pieces of their life as they share the burdens and concerns. I am often incredulous at the transparency of people to random others. Rather than confiding in those closest to them, they choose someone distant or apart.

It is human nature to relate. In other words, the heart and mind are always seeking to connect. Relationship is the innate need to mesh our lives with others. Experience helps or hinders the process. Innocence offers openness that is broken in betrayal. Perfection is not possible yet often projected. People want to be loved not judged yet feel judgment from even those closest to them. I believe there are a number of reasons why people reach out to strangers and acquaintances, but only one reason why they come to you and I as believers.

John 8:12-14 (ESV) Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.

You are the light of the world. Christ in us illuminates a soul shining that others can see. Attracted to light, love and hope that emanates from those who have found the greatness of His Love. They come in search of grace that bears no judgement but offers truth to guide them. In each encounter, the opportunity to be the light and the city on the hill that allows us to share the wonderful gift given to us. Jesus told the Pharisees that “I am the Light of the world.” The very ones who He came for. The ones who waited for Him but did not recognize Him. The ancient “church” was oblivious. Yet the Truth was no amount of darkness or ignorance could stop God’s Purpose and Plan for Christ…or for you. You are filled with a Light that will lead others from darkness. You have mercy that will overcome judgement. That’s really what people are looking for. Love without judgment. Liberty in truth. Grace overwhelming. You do have something to offer them – His Name is Jesus. He is the Light of the World. He is the Light within us.

I no longer believe in chance encounters but change opportunities. Coincidence is an excuse for randomness but I live an intentional life. It came with a plan carefully detailed for me including every single person who comes into my path. I have a purpose which requires relationship and influence to see come to pass. I must become conscious of the connections in life. His Light is on for others to see. It is in me to draw people to Him. I must become responsible for this little light of mine and let it shine!

Ephesians 1:17-21 (ESV) …That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

Jesus, enlighten my heart today. Make it attractive to others. Make me attentive to their needs. Give me pause for divine appointments even when they seem like earthly interruptions. Lord, take my eyes off my own problems, worries and concerns so that I may offer light to those of the same burdens. Make me ever aware of the hope that I am called to! In Your Great Name!

We have been given a “glorious inheritance”. Christ lives inside of us. He gives us His Immeasurable Greatness and Power inside human vessels created to carry it and pour it out everywhere we go. He just says, “Go!” Ordinary life will offer extraordinary opportunities. Natural occurrences become supernatural experiences when the Light of His Love draws people to us and drives away darkness. The author of lies tells us that we have nothing to offer but when Jesus came to reside in us – we have it all. Everything that is needed to meet and exceed the needs of others is inside of you and me just waiting for a wiling vessel to be poured out.

Lord, let me be your conduit of light, the city on a hill and a willing vessel aware of others who come in my path and pour out their heart looking for You!

Ephesians 5:8-10 (ESV) …For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 

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The Light

The Light

John 8:12 (ESV)  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

In a moment, the last breath is taken and another beautiful light is gone from the earth. Reading all the posts on social media, the light that one woman cast was far greater than she knew. She simply did as God instructed never pretending to be perfect yet striving for perfect love. Her character was that of a Titus woman called to build others and restore the broken hearted. Her hands bathed in the tears she had captured and arms heavy from the hugs she had given – it seems surreal that her work here is done. Laughing, crying and healing together – she spoke wisdom into my life. She was only a few steps ahead of me in time yet so wise in the depths of her soul. She is with the Lord today. Her light is not out as I thought it was waning but through the legacy of her life – somehow seems a bit brighter.

When my grandmother passed away so many years ago, many people offered their condolences. Their words were inspiration of another light in the dark shadows of the world. Though she never held a microphone, stood behind a pulpit or even conducted a Bible study – my grandmother gave off a similar light. People talked of her loving kindness. They told stories of her encouragement and generosity. Individuals pouring out volumes about her love. No one really mentioned anything about my Gram’s earthly accomplishments just how much she loved others. What a legacy to leave! Jesus create that legacy in me!

This is the legacy of light that God has entrusted us with through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” But the Lord did not stop there but went on with a promise – “whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Those who are believers have the Living Light inside of them. We are but earthen vessels but our great potential is to cast off the Light of His Love hidden deep within. To love others as Christ loves us. To give our heart away with nothing to lose but everything to gain as our Light grows brighter with each new spark or tiniest flame.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (ESV) For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

God placed His Light inside of us knowing that we are all broken vessels. No one lives a perfect or sinless life but that cannot be our excuse but our exclamation. Every crack and crevice in the human heart has the potential, once filled with His Love, to illuminate the darkness for someone else. We do not give off artificial light but rather simply allow our passion for Christ to burn within us. To know Him is to love Him and to serve Him is to love everyone else with His Love.

Some people are really good at this kind of love. They are usually the most broken folks you meet because there is nothing left to hold on to. In their lifetime, the heartaches and disappointments that the enemy used to destroy them makes them perfect vessels to let God’s Love and Light shine through. They have no pretense but live transparently held together by His Love. Light shines though such people. God wants to shine the Light of His Love through you. I think sometimes it is human nature to try to present a Gospel that is not real rather than the True Love that is found. It doesn’t require bright lights, good seating, loud music or perfect people. No it begins with the confession – I once was lost but now I am found. It continues with extending the same love, grace, compassion and kindness to every person encountered for the rest of our natural lifetime.

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Yes – you! Inside of you is enough light to illuminate every dark place around you. His Name is Jesus! Inviting Him to live inside your heart is enough spark to start revival all around you. Today as I think of my dear friend and her living legacy of light – I must ask myself – Is my light shining before others so that they see God is good and give Him glory! When I came to the church I attend and met this mighty woman of God – my torch was dim. My heart so broken that the light inside was flickering in my tears. She helped me. She gave me some of the light inside of her to help me find my way back into the light of His Love completely. I will be forever grateful for my friend. I am so thankful for Jesus who gives us the Light of His Love to walk through dark places and times in this life with hope and revelation. Lord, help us always remember to be the light. To never give up but constantly fan the flame that you have placed inside us for all the world to see. In Jesus Name – Amen!

Que Sera Sera

Que Sera Sera

Ephesians 2:9-10 (NLT) Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Que sera sera translated means “whatever will be, will be.” We are God’s Masterpiece created anew in Jesus Christ. What does it look like? How does one become such a work in this lifetime? Is it really a transformation or just a foretaste of the life after death promised to those who love the Lord? I think that depends on each person. The Lord has a plan and purpose developed for us during creation. (Psalm 139) We are not random acts of science born as a result of a human act but a work of divine inspiration of God. He created us. He desires us. He wants to be with us. God loves us. He prepared a plan that is good with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29) Those who pursue God through His Son, Jesus Christ have nothing to fear because the plan is already working in us and through us by His Spirit. God made us with a measure of faith and taste of eternity in our heart. The breath of life breathed in us perpetuated His Plan in motion. Now it is up to us if that is what we choose for our life. To live out God’s Word for us. To have all that He promised us. To prosper in our soul until it produces abundance and full satisfaction in our life.

Que sera sera is absolutely true. God has recorded each day of our life in advance. Whatever will be – will be. Does that mean that there is nothing for us to do to facilitate the process? No. We do have investments that yield Kingdom dividend. It is in our weakness that the sufficiency of God’s Grace is revealed. It is in the sacrificing of our way that His Way is fully achieved. Is it really all that important to make a plan? To have vision or revelation if que sera sera is true and whatever will be will be?

Psalm 37:23 (NLT) The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

The Lord orders our steps. Like a well-crafted staircase, it is going somewhere or leading us to a higher destination. However, it is by faith that we continue in God’s Way. His Will and Word lead us to the greater things that He has in store for us. The motivating factor of God is His Love so He will not force you to accept His Graciousness and Goodness but is always pursuing us with unfailing love and goodness. (Psalm 23) I think the hardest part of Christianity is our free will. Though the Lord is perceived with a hovering hand ready to punish each indiscretion or mistake made – nothing could be further from the truth. The Hand once thought to be a visit is actually open and inviting us to a better life. New life and new creation produce good fruit that nourish our soul and bring forth the blessing. The Word of God says, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence, and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11) We are invited to participate in a new way of life living in the Presence of God and those who engage in that life are promised joy and pleasure forever. We must make a plan. We must plan to plant our faith in God. Wait for Him. Engage with Him. Following the Lord wherever He leads us.

Habakkuk 2:2-4 (NLT) Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. “Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.

God has a plan for our life. He reveals His Plan to us many times. We get excited. Ready to run with it. Then lose momentum when it does not produce immediate results. We do not take God seriously enough to actually write down what He speaks to our heart or the word that is given to us by another. We do not heed the words of the prophet, Habakkuk, shared that say, “The vision is for a future time.” Anything born before its time is premature. Things that come too early are aborted. The Plan and Purpose of Lord for our life are from His Perspective. He is the Alpha and Omega. The Beginning and the End. He sees our life completely. He knows exactly what it will take to win our heart, mind and soul forever. Not only does He know, but exacts an individual plan that requires absolute faith and complete trust until our hope becomes the confidence that leads our life.

Nobody likes waiting. People don’t come preprogrammed with patience. Even our little grandson already knows how to throw a tantrum when he does not get his way at just three months of age. Doubt gives way to frustration and discouragement compiled with the fear that life will not get any better than this so that even grown folks pitch fits in the Presence of God rather than waiting quietly in the watchtower marked “trust” until He comes. The righteous live by faith in God. Faith is not perceived by the eye but believed in the heart. Even when human logic and understanding do not understand, faith waits on the Lord. Trust keeps us from running off.

The Lord is clear that He reveals His Mysteries to us. The Word of God says that we are given the secrets of the Kingdom. (Mark 4:11) You have eternity in your heart. It is written by the Hand of God. Like any good book, it must be examined thoroughly to establish its validity. We must pursue that which God has placed in our heart because it is part of the eternal plan. Our natural ambition and drive for success outside of the four walls of the church is equally as important as how we serve God in the church. We must understand that every part of the component of self is part of His Plan for success and prosperity. Our realm of influence is to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. We have a Kingdom investment to make in earthly soil that will not only produce heavenly rewards but natural blessings. The plan is faith and will always incorporate trust in the Lord. We must make a plan and stick to it. We must set goals based on God’s Word for our life and choose to walk in them even when things are not turning out the way we planned knowing that His Plan is in perpetual and purposeful motion.

Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 

“Que sera sera” is an expression of surrender. Whatever will be – will be is scary when given a random spin. But as a believer to say, “Whatever will be will be… according to God’s Plan” – it becomes a surrender of self to the working of God in us and through us. The supremacy of God allows Him to exact His Plan for our life without our willful participation. But instead of exerting His Hand of Authority over us – He extends it to us through Jesus Christ. Now we can say with confidence, “I will wait on the Lord. He has a plan. It’s a good one. I want it and trust that it will come.” Are you ready to give up? Have you grown weary of well doing? The enemy wants you to leave the field that you have been sowing so he can steal every benefit and blessing about to spring forth because God is faithful. His Word does not return to Him void. It will do exactly what it was set forth to do! You must only wait for it! Has God given you His Word on something but it just seems impossible now? Awesome! God does miracles in the midst of the impossible. When there is no logical or natural way to accomplish it – God will do it every time! Be encouraged today! The Lord has not forgotten His Promise for you. His Plan for your life is in full motion. I know you cannot see all the steps ahead of you but if you take just one step of faith – you are headed in the right direction!

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Shining Light

shining-light-e1523356149849.jpg

Matthew 5:14-15 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”

You are the light of the world. A city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. A lamp is placed on a stand where it gives light to everyone in the house. I think sometimes this imagery of Christ is modernized into a flashlight meant to shine in the darkness when all along it was intended to be a light standing in the darkness attracting others to its light. The need to illuminate the life of others must never be to expose them but always to encourage them to leave the darkness behind. We choose to live in the Light and give others the same opportunity by becoming light.

Yesterday started out well, I knew there was a big project with a looming deadline waiting in my inbox. I was prepared for it. However a couple hours in the day, things took a twist. It sent me to the Emergency Room with our son. I could feel my not-so-normal life trying to put a damper on the day. My joy was under attack by the constant reminder of days gone by. Sitting in the hospital for some precautionary tests, I could feel frustration rising up accompanied by the incessant beeping of a monitor the nurse forgot to silence in her haste. As time ticked by, I could also sense the urgency of the task waiting at work. Upon returning, I knew that it would be a late one. My heart sank. This is the night our daughter and grandson come to visit. Though the sun was shining, I could sense rain clouds on the horizon. It seems like lately the tears fall just a little faster than before as though they are on the edge of my eyes all the time. Standing in the grocery store with the deli backed up, now even dinner was taking forever. I felt like I would burst into tears at any moment. It was then my daughter called she was passing by the store and asked if I would like her to come wait with me. When she walked in the store holding her bundle of joy, it was like sunshine through rain clouds. She was light. My dark day illuminated by two people who bring me absolute and complete joy.

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

You are the light of the world…or at least the Light of the World lives in us. Rather than living like flashlights, it is our privilege to become lampstands of Christ. The light of His Love burning bright inside of us is more appealing than a spotlight in someone’s eyes. There are days I don’t feel saved. There are times when I don’t want to get up again. There are moments when the pressure seems too much to bear. The enemy too close to my ear. But it is in that moment, that God sends His Light to me. I do not ever have to walk in darkness but if it possible to be honest and transparent some days the darkness finds us anyway.

How do I maintain the Light of His Love? To keep a fire alive requires attention or it will burn out. We must feed the Light of His Love within us with the Word of God. The Light of His Love is a lamp that keeps us company in the dark times and helps us find our way in our wanderings. It shines through the broken pieces of its fragile jar called our heart for all to see. This life in Christ is one of complete transparency. People don’t need an artificial light that doesn’t represent a real God but rather need a passionate fire to fuel God’s Love in them. Is your light attractive? Is it bright enough? Is it properly fueled? Maintained even in the most inclement weather?

Psalm 27:1-3 (NLT) The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.

This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine! Let it shine! Let it shine! Hide it under a bushel…no! I’m gonna let it shine… I am quite sure that I will sing this with my grandson one day. He is a little light already. He is just another representation of God’s Love, Goodness and Faithfulness in my life. A blessing among blessings. The Lord is my light and my salvation. The next part of this verse is so important…why should I be afraid? What are you afraid of? What keeps you from living fully in the Light of His Love today? I guarantee you it is from the father of lies because there is absolutely nothing that can separate you from the Love of God today.

Before I can be a light to the world, I must identify the Light that lives inside me. He is Jesus. He is the Light of the World and definitely my salvation. In order to become a light in the darkness, I must become confident in His Love and Salvation. I know many people who claim to be saved but do not know or understand that capacity of God’s Love and Grace for them. They live in prisons built by fear, doubt and insecurity because surely no one can love like Jesus or offer grace without a price. Well…plot twist…He did and He does!

Psalm 36:7-9 (NLT) How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

One of my favorite worship songs has a verse, “You can’t turn out a light that shines from the inside. You can’t put out a fire that burns from the inside.” You cannot become light to the world without a constantly consuming passionate relationship with Jesus Christ. Your light will flicker and go out according to circumstances and conditions if not fully confident in the Lord as our Source. He must be more than enough. He must stand as overcomer. He must be exactly who He says He is to me in order for me to offer any kind of glimmer to another. The passion in our hearts is missing so the vibrant reflection of Christ that once was a beacon drawing thousands at a time, without sound systems, light shows, computerized screens and full bands with professional singers but just a light on a stand or city on a hill, is slowly fading to black. The Light that shines from my heart is an important part of the Kingdom. The Light potential in you is, too. Together we become the city for all to see and run to for refuge.

I have a flashlight I use each morning to take the dogs outside before dawn. It is important to avoid any surprises such as freshly dug holes or piles of mess. I share this because this is true in life, too. The Lord has given us the light to see. We must use that light in our own life. It is important to keep our eyes on the path before us with a consciousness of the “cloud of witnesses” all around. Those who are looking for light. Those who need help out of the pits of life and those who need to clean the mess off if you know what I mean. Sometimes we become so consumed with our own magnificence in life that we forget to magnify Jesus and draw others to Him. A light in the darkness stands like a candle. It cannot move or be swayed but nevertheless must be constantly consumed by fire to accomplish its purpose… as do I!

Ephesians 5:8-10 (NLT) For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

I must live as light. I must pay attention to the lens of my life to be sure that I am allowing the Light of His Love to shine through me. I am not called to illuminate my darkness and live in my circle of light but to be a lamp on a stand and city on a hill to shine the Light of God’s Love to the lost, broken and dying people who He came for. We become consumed with our own life sometimes rather than allowing the all-consuming fire of His Love burn away fear, doubt and insecurity so total trust gives way to complete transparency. The world is looking for love – real love. We have it. Hidden in the fragile jars of our heart ready to spill out for all to see – will you let the Love of God shine through you today? It means focusing on others rather than self. It means climbing the rough side of the mountain with a smile on your face. True joy is found in Jesus Christ. If you do not have joy – it is time to reevaluate the well. Living water flows through you to quench the thirst of others. You were made to be salty adding flavor to life. Jesus Christ lives in you. You are the Light of the World. Don’t hide. Shine. Shine bright and confident in His Love today. No matter what you face you will be victorious. No matter the obstacle – you will overcome. You are more than a conqueror with the confidence that no weapon formed against you will prosper. Even if you are weary, if you wait on the Lord – He will take you higher than ever before. You are called to be a city on a hill! Be the Light!
Proverbs 4:18 (NLT) The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

Proverbs 13:9 (NLT) The life of the godly is full of light and joy, but the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.

 

Integrity is Transparent

Integrity is Transparent

Proverbs 10:9 (NLT) People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.

I started blogging about my time with Jesus almost a decade ago. Every single day without fail in every possible situation you can imagine, I would lug my laptop along and make it the very first thing I did every single day. You might even say that I did it religiously. The Lord laid this task on my heart, but it took many years to understand the value and worth of such encounters. I guess sharing it with others became my accountability. Anyway, a few years back I realized it had become a duty rather than a desire. This weekend, my sister-in-law came to meet our new grandbaby. I didn’t hide away to write this weekend. Today sitting in the quiet of the morning, the Lord and I talking about the day, I started to think about how it has changed over the years.

Integrity is adherence to moral or ethical principles. It means soundness of character. It is honesty. Integrity also represents being whole, entire and undiminished. It is a sound, unimpaired, and perfect condition. Clearly I cannot walk in integrity without the grace of God slathered over my life. Yet, in our pursuit of God sometimes we lose passion and it becomes a procedure. Religion is set forth with doctrines filled with rules and regulations. Religion is ineffective without a relationship with Christ who completes us. Sometimes, we must evaluate our life for authenticity. The only way to fully receive all that Jesus provided on the Cross and represents in His Emergence from the grave is to understand that our integrity is found in Him. Our sense of rightness has absolutely nothing to do with our ability to change our life but rather to live in the fullness of His Grace that makes us righteous and in a right standing relationship with God the Father.

2 Samuel 22:26-29 (NLT) To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.

Reading in I Kings 19 today, Elijah was fleeing the threat of Jezebel. He is in the wilderness ready to die. Seems crazy since he just experienced great victory killing the prophets of Baal. How is this possible? Why would he run after such a miraculous experience? Elijah was human. He was a man. The confidence of his life was God but the man still lived inside of him. He prayed that night to die. Elijah lived a life of integrity. He didn’t come to the Lord boasting in pride of his accomplishments but dissolved before God in his weakness. When he woke up the next morning, an angel of the Lord provided a meal for him in the wilderness. The Lord desires communion with us. He wants to live with us in an abiding relationship. This comes at the price of self. Integrity found in Christ is not a change of habit or even strength of self. It is to abandon our heart and mind to the Lord. To live a life of authentic transparency that does not put on a front or façade of inner fortitude or supremacy. The showing of faithfulness, purity, and integrity is exhibited in our humility before the Lord.

After having breakfast with the Lord, Elijah was strengthened enough to travel 40 days and nights to Mount Sinai. God would come to the mountain and speak with his servant. Some days this life of faith just doesn’t make sense. If we were honest, we would admit that there are seasons that walking by faith feels like going through the motions. I wonder if we examined our life with the Lord for integrity what we would find. Everything I do in Jesus Name must be from a heart of love and devotion not randomness but intentional living and breathing in our relationship with Him.

Proverbs 2:6-8 (NLT) For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him.

Imagine the potential of our life if we could be completely honest with others. To live and walk in integrity including the fullness of Jesus Christ. The only way that God can work in us is when we become transparent before Him which in turn creates transparency with others. I am of no use to others if I create a façade of perfection or elevate my persona to some unattainable level. The people who need Jesus most (all of us) respond to integrity and truth because it is trustworthy. The Lord is faithful. I fall short. The Lord is perfect. I am imperfect. The Lord never changes. I am in a state of constant change and transformation. He is good. I try to be. God doesn’t need you to be anything other than the broken mess you are. He desires you! He wants you! He loves you with all of His Heart! If you don’t relay that to others, how will they ever know?

Yesterday, I got up and visited with family. Spent the day shopping with the girls and loving on my grandbaby. I didn’t write. I am not sorry. I never want my relationship with Jesus Christ to become habitual. To live a religious life leads others to darkness never life. Can we come to the Lord today with an open heart and mind? Whatever you need – He has for you. Whatever needs to change – He will do it. Can we just decide to love Him and be transparent vessels of Light? When we do – He will carry us through wilderness to the mountaintop time and time again! The city on the hill is the one with the brightest light!

Matthew 5:14-15 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.

Be the Light

Be the Light

Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

The calendar page and it is finally December. Christmas music is now socially acceptable on every radio station. The Christmas trees at the local department store all already on sale after breezing past Thanksgiving. The days are full and nights even more so adding even more busyness to already overloaded lives. My email box is full of enticing advertisements. One particularly caught my eye today. It is a candle sale at a local specialty shop. I clicked the link and began to view their selection. The fragrances of the holiday pine, vanilla, cinnamon, apple and even desserts gave a hint of the deliciousness in each aroma. Then there were the ones for stress, relaxation, happiness, and energy. The mixture of the holiday senses all together in candles. These candles are special. Instead of one wick to burn, there are three. I stopped adding to my cart, and decided to take some time to study the Light.

The Light of the World is celebrated this season. He is evident in the atmosphere of churches but how effective are His People in taking His Light into the world. It is so easy to get caught up in our doing, cooking, wrapping, giving and celebrating that our focus shifts and distractions take from the simplicity of Christmas and the One who is honored during this busy time. Jesus did not stand alone to be the only light but went on to tell us that “you (and I) are the Light of the world. The ones to drive out darkness with radiant light that reflects our Savior and Born on that holy night. Only two people attended the party that cold and lonely night with a single star to illuminate the sky and let the world know the Messiah was born. It was a simple night in a manager filled with animals and hay. But the impact of the One born is still shedding light on the Truth that God loves us. He desires us. He sent a gift never to be given by a parent again. I know of no one who would allow their child to die for another if life is an option. Yet God did this for us so that the Light of His Amazing and Unconditional Love could fill cold dead hearts bringing new life again.

Let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise the Heavenly Father. The true meaning of Christmas is best expressed by the Love of God given to all mankind freely. It is not in the best party, stellar performance or even the ugliest sweater. It is to be so captivated by a baby born in a humble setting who would be the Savior of the world. The best gift to bring are the fruits produced by His Spirit. Love, joy and peace are found no other place than from Christ in us. There is no greater generosity than giving from the patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and forgiveness that Jesus has given us. When our gifts begin in our heart, they are born of the Light within us.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NLT) This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Fan into flames the spiritual gift that God has given you. His Spirit identifies us light-filled children of the Living God. It is the inner beam with in us with the power to chase away darkness by entering a room. I have a shirt I wear this time of year that says, “Stay present.” I need the reminder with all the runaway lists, overloaded schedule, and holiday demands. The reminder that it is “presence” that is important more than anything else. I must continually enter the Presence of God to refuel the Light that lives inside me. He continually renews my passion and purpose day by day so that I do not forget who I am. The Presence of His Spirit is in me. He goes with me. I am never alone or forsaken even during those times I fall for the deception that I am isolated. I am always full of Christ. Finally, presence among people is of utmost importance. Relationship shares the Light of God’s Love with others as they get to know you they will see the Christ in you. They cannot see it if we are too busy to slow down or overburdened by details not meant for us to carry.

God did not give you the spirits of fear, timidity, anxiety or stress. You must decide that they are not for you and therefore, will not entertain them. Do not buy them either. Holiday giving should come from our heart with generosity from what we are able to give not according to the unmet or unrealistic expectations of others enhanced by a supply and demand world filthy from greed. God’s Blessing comes without sorrow added to it. We must master our emotions and not allow them to carry us away. It is not our job to give our children better than we had. It is not our job to meet all earthly expectation. We can burn ourselves out trying to do so, then where is the light to share with others.

Last night, my daughters and I took a late night run to the store for some extra touches for our tree. I realized walking through the store that I was actually enjoying decorating the tree this year. This is the first time I can remember in forever. Going through boxes of ornaments, my thoughts turned to our grandson not yet born. Next year, he will be here and our son will be married with a new bonus grandchild as well. Our family is growing. It is expanding with new life and new love. My heart is full. I am satisfied. God is slowly removing those feelings of insecurity, doubt, worry and stress from me. It has taken many years. His Word is forcing out the lies that overshadowed this miraculous season. His Spirit in me has been slowing adding those lies to a burn pile that is changing the darkness to light. Jesus is a life giver. He will make new whatever old things you entrust to Him. He doesn’t give us like for like but gives us so much more.

I John 2:10 (NLT) Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble.

This Christmas will not be successful unless there is love. Love came down from a Heavenly Throne to a dirty stable so that you and I could be part of His Family. Rightness with God was made possible because Jesus came to us. The Light of His Love was given to us when He died on the Cross and sent His Spirit to live in us. The Christmas Spirit is the Holy Spirit. The Light of God’s Love flows from us when we decide to give others the gift of love and life. We do that not by expensive gifts, fancy menus or perfect parties. No, we do it when we offer someone our place in line. Give up our right of way in traffic with a smile. To help someone carry their packages to the care. Hold the door. Thank the cashier. Invite someone to church and offer to come pick them up. Pay it forward. Buy an unsuspecting friend lunch when the bill comes. Pay for the person’s coffee behind you. Sometimes we try to share Jesus without sharing His Love and find it to be frustrating and ineffective. God is love. The character and nature of God is graceful, faithful, gentle, and giving. We must love those around us with the Light of His Love to lead them to the manager and celebrate our newborn king.

Luke 11:35-36 (NLT) “Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.  If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”

Is your light burning out? Do you feel dim? Do you have a cloud of darkness on the horizon? Maybe the holiday blues have taken a hold of you? Are you feeling overloaded this first week of a very long month? I have wonderful news for you! The Light of God’s Love lives in you. He is ready to reignite the flame of passion to pursue Him this busy season. Jesus will break every stronghold of insecurity, fear, stress, worry and the like from you – you only need to ask for His Help. Light always chases away darkness. Let the Light of His Word brighten the path before you. Let the Light of His Wisdom show you what is important and what is not. Let your Savior and Lord – save and deliver you from unrealistic expectations and the demands of society to step into the Light of His Love all over again.

Father, Son and Spirit are the three-wick candle of His Love today given to us as a precious gift. He is the Gift that keeps on giving. His Love will never let us down. His Passion in pursuing us is resilient. Take charge of your heart and let His Light fill every dark corner. Be transparent with the Lord and His Light will reveal any darkness looming within. The struggle against our flesh including our will, desires and emotions is a constant battle. Feed your Spirit – starve the flesh. Fuel the Spirit and burn away the darkness. Make it a point before you light up the tree, wrap a single gift, prepare a holiday menu or attend a performance to fan the flame of His Spirit within you. It will change the Spirit of Christmas every time.

John 1:1-5 (NLT) In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

Blinded By the Light

Blinded By The Light

I John 2:9-11 (NLT) If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.

If faith shows the reality of what is hoped for and it is the evidence or substance of things that remain unseen, then how does one every overcome spiritual blindness? I wonder if rather than simply reciting God’s Word people began to really think about it what might happen. I believe that our inability to integrate our spiritual and natural life puts people at a huge disadvantage. Living a “church” life and a normal life are mutually exclusive rather than completely inclusive. If faith is evidence of what we hope for and that which is hoped for remains unseen – how do we overcome spiritual blindness? Lost in thought today about the things that I continue to hope for including the things I know the Lord has promised to do in the “land of the living” with nothing in sight. I cannot see how His Plan and Purpose are coming together so I must decide each day if I will trust and continue to believe that God is good and in complete control of the details of my life.

Acts 17:22-28 (NLT) So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

How ironic that Saul now Paul would be the one to so eloquently describe the Lord. The one who tortured and murdered countless Christians. He was a Jew and Child of God but did not recognize the Messiah. It was on the road to Damascus when a bright light surrounded him, overtaking him and even blinding him that he realized his mistake. (Acts 22:6-16) The Law of God demanded a life for a life. If God was who Saul thought he was, then he would have surely died that day in the Presence of the Living God. He did not die but was taken captive by unfailing love and overwhelming grace. Everything changed that day because Saul experienced the Love of God firsthand. However, he could not see God but rather was blinded for three days. Three dark days of being led by others. His whole life the only images portrayed in his mind. I can only imagine how he must have felt knowing the countless innocent people whose lives ended at his order. Everything Saul knew about God changed that day. Everything. The Word of God did not change but the Way of God turned Saul into Paul and the one of the greatest ministries of all time was birthed in the foreboding darkness of blindness.

What if the Lord is leading us into darkness to recognize the Light of His Love today? What if nothing makes sense to turn us back to the Word of God and seek the Way? What if life is pressing you to release the promise and purpose hidden inside of you? See I believe that when Jesus began healing blinded eyes it was not a natural change but a change of heart that He was after. The words of the prophet Isaiah read by Jesus that day rang true, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor…” Stopping here for just a moment, if the Spirit of the Lord lives inside of us, the purpose is anointing. You have been entrusted with the Good News that has a specific purpose which is to release captives, cause the blind to see, and the oppressed to be set free. The Favor of the Lord is for everyone. It is a product of God’s Love and Grace. Now that we are pumped up let’s get practical…

What if the healing does not come? What if the blinded eye does not see? What if the captive is not set free from their addiction or situation? What if the one who is oppressed remains in such conditions? What then? Is the Gospel invalid? Is it not true? Has God relinquished His Power? Has the enemy one? Am I the one who is overcome? Is God limited by my sin? Powerless in my rebellion? No, no, and no. What if all of this is with divine purpose? What if all of these situations are not physical possibilities but experiences designed for a change of heart? Here is what I am beginning to believe – the healing is in the heart change not the condition. Signs, wonders and miracles are awesome. I have experienced them firsthand. However, once the moment is over it becomes a memory memorialized in my testimony. What about the Living God? The One who lives in me. The one in who I am supposed to “live and move and exist” as His Offspring. Is He still good and still God in the waiting?

God miraculously healed our youngest daughter of severe and debilitating asthma. Not over the course of time or with medical intervention. He did it instantly. Here today gone tomorrow. Doctors scratching their heads wondering how in the world she required six medications and nebulization ever couple of hours to needing nothing at all the next. Crazy, huh? God did it just that way. Fast forward, our son is diagnosed with cancer. God gave me His Word that our son would live and not die so naturally I expected an immediate healing miraculously or medically. He relapsed four times. His bone marrow transplanted was denied by insurance. We had to fight for six long months. Ultimately – they said no. The next day – someone said, “Yes!” Nobody knows who did it or why or even how but we went with it and our son is alive today. However, his body continues to battle terrible side effects of five rounds of chemotherapy, maximum dose radiation, and the transplant. Where is God? Isn’t healing supposed to take care of all that? When will life be normal again? In this moment, I know that God is good. His Love is real. He is always faithful. Knowing is the sight that carries through the darkest days of life. The Light of God’s Love is His Favor that surrounds us in every situation even when the outcome doesn’t seem favorable to us. Faith must become our logic by which we see everyday life until the Saul in us sees life like Paul.

2 Peter 1:8-11 (NLT) The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the passage right before this one (2 Peter 1:5) the Word of God tells us to “make every effort to respond to God’s Promises”. It goes on to talk about supplementing our faith with moral excellence and moral excellence with knowledge and knowledge with self-control and self-control with patient endurance and finally endurance with godliness so that in all things we demonstrate brotherly affection for everyone. “The more you grow like this…the more productive and useful you will be…” Failure to do so may result in shortsightedness or spiritual blindness. I believe with all of my heart that unwillingness to respond to God’s Promises with faith but maybe routine or service instead has created spiritual blindness in the Body of Christ. Faith is evidence that we have hope that cannot be seen. However, like Saul, the idea of rightness overtakes God’s Concept of righteousness which is obtained fully in the Person of Jesus Christ. This is the blindness that I believe Jesus came to heal. The blindness of a heart overtaken by fear and insecurity that is barely holding on to hope.

In John 5, Jesus encounters the man sitting by the pool of Bethesda. The porches were covered with sick people.  Blind, lame and paralyzed all around him. One of the men had been sick for 38 years. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?” His response, “I can’t sir, for I have no one to put me in the water…” Hmmm. Do you want to get well? I guess it depends on your idea of wellness. Jesus ignored his excuse and told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat and walk!” The man was given a choice in that moment. Faith got up, picked up the mat and walked off that day. What about you? When Jesus passes by do you see Him, hear Him, feel Him or know Him? This man had a choice in that moment of infirmity and doubt to respond to the Word of God or remain in his current condition. The opportunity did not come when the water was stirring, people were moving, or church was hopping but in the Presence of the Lord. Could it be that our idea of salvation, healing and deliverance has caused us to turn a blind eye to the Light of His Love right before us?

John 9:2-5 (NLT) “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

God’s Light and His Love shine brightest through broken hearts and people. When we decide to give our heart to Jesus and let Him keep it – the Light of His Love will shine forth from it. Sin is rampant. Love is cold. This world is a dark place. The Light of the World lives in us. When we stop looking for why, the shame, regret and accusations are silenced and God’s Grace abounds in us and for others. What if the revival God is announcing is not about signs, miracles and wonders that produce it but hearts and minds set on finding the Light of His Love in every situation and giving it to every person. We are so set on perfect lives and certain expectations that cause us to turn a blind eye to God’s Will which is always to produce His Glory in our life while working things together for our good.

2 Corinthians 4:4-5 (NLT) Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in everything we think God hasn’t done and lose sight of all that He has done. Just the fact that I have a place in His Kingdom is enough to rejoice every day. It is not my job to have a perfect life or preferential outcomes in every situation. God did not promise a life free of problems or pressure. He promised to save, heal, deliver, provide, and prosper my life and asks only one thing of me – to love. To share this unconditional and unfailing love for Him with others. What if the miracle of revival is not birthed from God moving the water but moving our hearts? What if the Presence of God is before us but we keep looking for someone else to carry us in? What if the greatest revival of all time is waiting for us to love God wholeheartedly and people the same? Even Saul tried wholeheartedly to serve God and failed epically, that is until the Light of God’s Love surrounded him and overtook him in that moment when he became Paul. The rest of Paul’s natural life was spent for the most part in prison. He didn’t write like someone in captivity, blind or oppressed. His heart was finally free and filled with Jesus Christ. His faith no longer based on sight but full focused on faith. Lord, let that be me today.

Philippians 3:6-9 (NLT) I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

Artificial Light

Artificial Light

Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG) “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

Light of the world. What does it even me? To be the Light of the world…like Jesus. There are many lights shining in the world. Just one house has countless fixtures, lamps, and a variety of light all turned on by the flip of a switch. Some put dimmer switches on the wall so that the amount of light can be adjusted according to the mood or occasion. It seems that thanks to Thomas Edison – lighting has come a long way since the first light bulb was patented in 1879. Mr. Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways it won’t work.” I wonder if this was the result of testing more than 3,000 prototypes for the light bulb in a span of two years. I understand his attitude. Many times I feel the same way. I try to get this “God-life” right and end of finding out – I was wrong again. Wrong in a good way always.

God has put the Light of His Amazing Love inside of me. It is the Christ in me. He has ordained me to be the Light of the World. There are so many different kinds of light. How do I decide what kind of light I should be? There are stores specifically for lighting homes and businesses. Yet in the grand scheme of life the lighting in my home is not as important as the Light that shines from my heart. Is the Light in my life real or artificial? How can I tell?

Is the Light illuminated in my life effective? Is it attractive? Or is it like a flashlight shining abrasively in the eyes of the lost? Blinding rather than leading? Insulting rather than soothing? God’s Light is His Love invested in our heart and mind given for the purpose of leading others to Him. Too often our misuse of light can drive people away further. It is important to constantly reflect and refine the Light shining from us to see if it is attracting people to Jesus or not. Oh, don’t be offended. If we all got it right the first time, the Lord would whisk us away the moment we asked Him to come live in our heart. However, the purpose and plan scribed by God as He created us is one with divine potential that will bless us if given time to get it right. To become one with the Lord. To shine His Light to the world.

John 8:12 (MSG) Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.”

I usually do not use The Message Bible but today its straightforwardness is refreshing. Jesus provides plenty of light to live in. He is our Source of Light. He is an abundant God who gives plenty of resources. However, it is up to us to engage with the Lord and have what He offers. I am the world’s light. There is no greater or more satisfying light in our life than that of Jesus Christ. He is the Way, Truth and Life. Everything I need, want and desire can be found in the Lord. Not only that He promises to be doing more than I can think or imagine. Together – the Light shining from my life will be real. It will be authentic. However, for the Light of His Love to get out of me requires an opening. This is not always the pleasant part but the absolutely necessary one. Religion tries to keep us altogether in our doing. A real relationship with Jesus Christ is our complete undoing until all people can see is God’s Love shining from us. What do people in life truly desire above all things? To be loved.

Psalm 89:15 (NLT) Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.

There are many theories as to what attracts a moth to a flame. There is one called transverse orientation. It theorizes that the artificial light throws off the moth’s internal navigation system that is flying at a constant angle relative to a distant light source. The thought is that this will cause the insect to take a kamikaze dive into the light as a result. I wonder… does the same happen to those looking for the Son of God when we put of artificial light? Absolutely. It is not a theory but truth.

I am filled with the Greatest Light ever known to mankind. It is real. It is true. It leads out of darkness into the Presence of God whose Light surrounds us, fills us and overflows from us as light. The kind of light that attracts the world. But when they get close do they find it is not real light? I love the flickering of candlelight. You can buy plastic tea lights with battery-operated tiny light bulbs that shine for a few hours. They work for many occasions but they do not give off the same light or create the real ambience of real candles with the faint smoke line of a burning wick and the smell of liquid wax. We must examine our heart and evaluate our life to be certain that the light of our life is real, true and authentic. Flowing from the Source of Light and not warmed over, recreated artificial light that is not of God.

Are you happy? Is your life filled with joy? Can you laugh when most people are crying? It matters what’s inside of us? Insecurity, fear, doubt and unforgiveness will smother the light inside of us and snuff out the ember of passion God has sparked in us. It is the beginning of doubt that eats at our faith which is the tinder to the flame that attracts others to the Lord. The faith that is constant on matter what the situation. The part of us that believes no matter what we think or feel that God is good. We must work to remove all pretense and hypocrisy from of our life so His Light shines clearly through us. God is love. Grace is real and always enough. We have all we need to be bright and burning lights for Jesus Christ without doing anything for ourselves. Jesus is the Source of every good thing in my life. His Favor shines on me. His Glory will come out of me…when I choose to be real and authentic.

Psalm 112:4 (NLT) Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

Do you attract people in your natural life? Are people drawn to you? Are you comfortable in the midst of many? The Light that shines in you should be attractive. It will produce traits in us like generosity, compassion and righteousness. Righteousness is not piety. It is humility that allows us to give our life away with complete confidence that God has us. We do not need to look out for number one, because He has us in the center of the palm of His Hand and no one can snatch us from Him. It is with such confidence that compassion will give our heart away and generosity will give what we have knowing the Lord always provides for His Children. It is this confidence in Jesus Christ that others find attractive. One’s ability to maintain a life of constant love, joy and peace no matter what the natural conditions of their life because the Light of God’s Love keeps them secure. If I am not secure in the ability of God to light up my life and make it better, how will I ever attract others to Christ?

Psalm 139:11-12 (NLT) I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

We must learn to live transparently. Open lives in the Presence of God so that He can be the Light that shines from us. Here is a mind-bending reality – God sees us in darkness and in light. He loves us no matter what. The Light of Love in us should shine in every situation. Our position on the hill is placement by God not a form of exultation. In fact, our light shines brightest and is most reflective of the Lord in humility. He chose to love you and put you forth as a shining example not because you are Susie-Super-Christian or Johnny-Jesus-Junkie but because His Love has overtaken you and shines from you. It is a product of His Love, Grace and Faithfulness. What we do doesn’t project it unless covered in His Love? What we say is merely conversation if not backed up by His Love? I am nothing outside of Jesus Christ and His Love that has saved me.

In Isaiah 58, I believe it tells us the difference between artificial light (v. 4-5) and real light (v.6-12). The Love of God demonstrated to people is not a religious act or congregational movement but rather how we live day in and day out. It is to take this wonderful gift of amazing grace and spread it all around. It is to love and love some more. It is to be the first one to forgive and the last one to accept offense. It is to love Jesus more than anything this world has to offer. We are in this world but not of it. We are part of society even though only foreigners. Christianity is not an organization of exclusionary elitist – it is a-who-so-ever-will-let-them-come kind of family. It doesn’t matter who you are, how you look, how many times you have tried, how many times you failed or if you think you have it all together! It is all about the Love of God and His Grace which is always enough to hold the door to His Presence open to us and the welcome sign is lit. It is not up to me to save, heal, deliver, restore, renew or revive another person. It is my divine calling and position to be Light that leads people from darkness to the Love of God.

Proverbs 13:9 (NLT) The life of the godly is full of light and joy…

I know a whole lot of people who don’t go to church anymore. When they got to the House of God, they found the light to be artificial, judgmental, overbearing, unloving, and religious. Rather than finding the Source of Light, they are were driven to darkness where they found acceptance and affirmation rather than rejection and hurt. Why is that church? Where is the Love of God? The real and true love that allows people to approach the altar unbiased and unrestricted by an audience of artificial light who pretend to love but really don’t. The altars of such places are empty and the people come once and leave. It is just another set of rules, regulations and expectations that cannot be met so they go back to the life they know and comfort found there. This is such a tragedy when inside of us lives the Life-Giving, Life-Changing God who desires nothing more than to welcome them, love them, help them and accept them just as they are. As believers, we must inspect the Light of our life. Use the Word of God to make sure it is burning bright. To keep the ember alive means continually basking in His Presence so passion remains. I want to be the Light in this world that Christ has called me to be. It means that I must give up my life and my way to shine brightly according to His Plan. The more of my life surrendered to God’s Love the fuller the light and joy overflowing from my life. Who wouldn’t be attracted to that? Everyone one would…even if they are not now. I have the ability to make better choices and give more of my life to the Source. It is up to me to decide the Light I choose to shine.

Thomas Edison also said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” I love it. To love like Jesus and shine like Him in this world is going to be a lot of hard work. It means giving ourselves away when we don’t really feel like doing anything at all. It is to yield and yoke our life in total dependency to Jesus Christ and allow Him to illuminate our life. It doesn’t matter if you have tried a thousand times…do it again. This may just be the time you get it right and your light shines brighter than ever before. His Love is attractive. It is soft and loving. It never is blinding but always overwhelming. Maybe if we started leading the way rather than pointing fingers – the Kingdom of God might get somewhere. Maybe… Lord, be the Light of my life today. Move me out of the way until all people see is the Light of Your Amazing Love – Jesus!

Psalm 119:130 (NLT) The teaching of your word gives light so even the simple can understand.

Radiate

radiate

Isaiah 60:19 (NLT) No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

As the sun slowly rises, its rays fall on the study floor. Catching my attention, I look away from this study to see its radiant brilliance shining through dirty windows. Yes, I need to clean my windows. Put that on the list today. Just outside the window bushes have risen above the handrail, obstructing the view. Maybe Big Daddy will cut them back a bit for me, so that I can add those black rocking chairs that I have been waiting for spring to buy. Spring is here. Life is bursting forth after a long winter. We are full of life. Each day the Lord is working on the inside to make His Light shine outside of us. After all, He has called us to be His Light to this world. He placed His Spirit in us to produce His Glory through us. Is this the life we live? New life. Bursting from every facet of our life like a brilliant diamond under direct light. Or have a windows become cloudy and the cracks of brokenness subtly filled, so that the image is slightly askew, maybe a bit dimmed or has it grown dark altogether? The Light that shines from our inside must reflect the true radiance of God. It is not a light that flickers or impacted by any other source. It is a fiery passionate burning flame that consumes all that lies between us to emit light glorious unfiltered light. Is your light brightly shining today? Is it breaking through the darkness that surrounds you?

To radiate means to extend, spread and moving outward from the center. To project or cast forward. Light changes the atmosphere around it. Darkness cannot remain where light is present. Light is attractive. The emission draws and things to it. Is my life attractive? Is it engaging? Do I project and cast a true image of God and His Great Love? Isn’t that the most attractive thing about our Savior and Lord? The fact that His Love for us is unchanged by condition or weakness. He loves us. Case closed. He promises to fill us with His Love and release His Glory in us. It all begins with grace. Amazing grace. It sounds so sweet but is so easily mistaken. Grace is not a doorway to enter God’s Favor but the Source of the life. We live in God’s Grace which allows to be in right standing and live in the Presence of God. I cannot earn it but only receive it. I cannot ever exchange grace for entitlement but must live humbly before Jesus who is the Source of Grace.

I believe Isaiah 60 is not a futuristic place yet to come but the very opportunity Christ gives us now. It is for today. This very moment called opportunity. God’s Glory covers us in radiance that cannot be altered, filtered or covered by this world. It is the favor of God that allows us to be blessed and prosperous no matter how many clouds fill our sky or how long the night may seem. It begins “Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you!” Throughout the chapter, it tells of powerful influence as “everyone is coming home” drawn to the light. Not just ordinary people but kings are attracted as well. The radiance will also direct prosperity into our life as “they bring you the wealth of many lands.” As the Light of His Glory shines in us making its way through us until the substance of our faith is made into absolute trust with confident hope that allows us to be the light rather than groping in darkness any longer. The Lord will be your everlasting light. The events outlined in Isaiah 60 are not for eternity. The Favor of God for life is found in His Presence. To trust the Lord with our natural life allows His Light to shine through us. His Light is His Love. His Love makes the way. As His Love grows complete in us an extravagant exchange is made, our feeble attempts to earn His Grace become a willingness to accept His Grace as sufficient alone.

Isaiah 60:20-21 (NLT) “Your sun will never set; your moon will never go down. For the Lord will be your everlasting light. Your days of mourning will come to an end. All your people will be righteous. They will possess their land forever, for I will plant them there with my own hands in order to bring myself glory.”

If just for a moment, try to forget about the church culture familiar to you. No matter what denomination chosen or the doctrine that is subscribed to – for this second just focus on you and Jesus. Let the weight of service, the next offering, or even the sin that you struggle with evaporate from your thoughts and fall like heavy chains pooling at your feet. Say to yourself, “Jesus loves me.” The beginning and end of every bit of hope that I have as a believer is the credibility of this statement in my life evidence by my ability to believe it. Is Jesus enough? If I truly believe that then the things of this life no longer affect the light of His Love radiating from me. My ability to project the perfect life does nothing for those who feel helpless, worthless and defeated. My acceptance of God’s Love through the Grace of Jesus Christ that shines bright even on the worst days of my life is attractive to others. Grace is completed in our willingness to say, “I am weak. He is my strength.” This is not fake faith. I will never say the words “faith it until you make it.” It is of the same concept as fake it until you make it. Nobody wants to come closer only to find our love is not real, joy superficial, and peace a façade. We have eternity in our heart. The substance of our faith provided in a measure must grow into an abundant overflow of trust. Trust is the radiance of our life that makes others come closer to see what it is all about. An authentic life bears fruit not a leafy cover that gives nothing of worth. Is the Lord your everlasting light?

Romans 15:13 (NLT) I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Part of our son’s cancer treatment included radiation. After a series of scans and images were taken to precisely pinpoint the location and dimensions of the tumor growing in his nasopharyngeal cavity, a mathematical engineer studied the coordinates to make direct the radiation beam to hit the tumor and avoid other areas. The tumor in his head was millimeters from his brain stem so it was imperative that they not miss the mark. Before the next treatment, a new scan was taken and the coordinates reevaluated for accuracy. With all this precision, there was still a fair amount of radiation that was in the aura that projected to surrounding tissue. I share this to say that as God’s Love begins to chip away at our heart to find its way in – certain things in our life will begin to change. As His Grace, the source of our hope, begins to penetrate the thick walls and hard sides of our heart – it begins to fill us with inexpressible joy and perfect peace that is unexplainable. Though it may be painful in the brokenness as His Love overthrows the insufficiencies in our life with His Grace, the power that takes over changes us from the inside out. As it makes its way out – God’s Glory fills our life. We must experience God’s Love by trusting Him and encountering the Lord one-on-one in an intimate and personal relationship before the radiance of His Love can shine through us. Do not take for granted your alone time with Jesus. Do not stop striving to make more time to spend in His Word and prayer. The Light emanating from our life will only be as strong as the source in us. The radiation was painful. It was damaging. It broke our son’s saliva glands. They don’t work anymore. It burned his skin but the Lord has healed him. It was a painful process that eradicated the tumor called cancer from his body. The Lord removes all impurity so the purity of His Love, Life and Light can show through us.

In her book, The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp shares “cancer is what refuses to die to self.” You know the part of you, as do I which seems to be the source of our struggle when it comes to trusting the Lord. It can be many things. Insecurity, doubt, fear, or even unforgiveness. All of these things are the point of unwillingness to change and may be the very thing that are keeping God’s Glory from radiating from our life. Total trust in the Lord and His Love which is defined by His Grace is the thing that causes us to shine the brightest. It requires an inspection of the heart where He lives. Are the windows a little cloudy? Have some weeds popped up? What is it that keeps God’s Glory from bursting forth in our life? Wake up Jerusalem. Wake up church. Wake up friend. Wake up me. Nothing I “do” or “don’t do” for the Lord amounts to anything without first being covered in His Love and Grace. I cannot project a clear picture of God and His Grace outside of unconditional love for all people. The culmination of faith and hope evidenced in my ability to trust the Lord begins with believing His Love is complete. To know the Lord and His Love is to break the notion that anything I am or ever hope to be is worthwhile unless His Love fills me to overflowing. It is the Christ in me that is attractive. It is the Love of God that captures the attention of people. His Glory will come when His Love finds its place in my very human heart.

Hebrews 1:3 (NLT) The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 

God’s Love is on the horizon shining on us. Jesus is the Source. He wants to shine through us. His Glory is for us. His Favor is ours for the taking. His Love never ends. It never fails. It is more than enough. We don’t add to it or take from it. It is there for us always to step in, live in, and radiate every day. Jesus is the Source of Hope. His hope never leads to disappointment. I will never know that for sure until I am willing to love and trust Him with my whole life. It is a process. It is going to take some time. Why not start today? I am off to clean some windows. To let the light shine in. My desire is to radiate God’s Love, His Light and His Glory in my life. How about you? By allowing the Lord to penetrate my heart with pinpoint precision to the part I am withholding and eradicate it with His Love and change me from the inside out produces a spark inside me. It is then and only then that the radiance of His Love will break through the earthen vessel and be fully expressed as light glorious light that leads to life glorious life.

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

Merry and Bright

merry-and-bright

Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

The holiday crush is on. Busyness and rushing around is inevitable. Planning and preparation in full swing. My daughter and I went to a store yesterday to pick out some new Christmas decorations. The place was a wreck. Deep discounts created a feeding frenzy with garland, ornaments and ribbon everywhere – kind of made me think of Santa’s Workshop on December 26th. You could not navigate the buggy through the place. Shameful. One more stop on the way home to another home store was much nicer. This store was dimly lit. The aroma of cinnamon and apples wafting through the air. No hurry just people strolling and browsing. When the clerk asked one group of ladies if she could assist them, they replied, “We just stopped because it was so pretty and inviting when we drove by and saw the warm lights.” Hmmm. Made me think…

People put a great deal of effort and money into Christmas. Creating the perfect holiday is really what they are after with memories to match. The stress and pressure of perfection robs of us the joy of Christmas so often. The need to perform and produce mounds of gifts causes great anxiety. Schedules overfilled and routine completely shattered, it is easy to become overwhelmed. In all our busyness, even as Christians who insist on “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays”, I wonder if in all the form and fashion – our light goes out. The Christmas pageant and production with all its extravagance means nothing if it does not project the Light of God’s Love to all those who come searching sitting in the crowd. We need the Light. We are carriers of His Light. We must learn to make this Christmas merry and bright or miss it altogether.

2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (NLT) If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

Jesus tells me, in Matthew 5, that I am the Light of the world. See it. “You are the Light of the world.” Got it. Or do I truly understand the origin or importance of the Light that God has given me along with His Grace. I must know the Light to appreciate what I have and effectively express it to other people The Gospel is no good without the light. It becomes do as I say not as I do which we all know never works on people. Just saying.

We are first introduced to light in Genesis 1 the first few moments of existence that we are privy to thanks to God’s Word. The earth was formless and empty. It was covered in darkness over deep waters. The Spirit of God (Jesus) hovered over the water. The God said, “Let there be light.” There was light and the light was good. Jesus illuminated the world at God’s Command. God was pleased.

Moving into the New Testament, God has sent His Son to redeem His People. At the baptism of Jesus, the skies opened and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove so people could see that this indeed was God’s Son… the Messiah. (Matthew 3) Anyone who spent any time in church can usually recite John 3:16, “For God so loved the world: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” Woo Hoo! We are saved. We win. My life will be perfect because my Savior has come…but wait there is more. Jesus did not come to judge us but that we may be saved through Him. Okay, I get that commence celebration again. No wait…keep reading there is more.

John 3:18-21 (NLT) “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

Jesus is the reason for the season. I am sure every believer concurs with this familiar sentiment. However, there is a house in our neighborhood with a sign in their yard with this slogan on it. Nothing more. Nothing less. There is no Christmas tree by the window. Not a string of lights on a limb. The porch light of the house is off and all the blinds closed. No light just a yard sign stuck in the ground. Now I do not know the situation or the traditions of the family who live there and I am certainly not challenging anyone’s convictions, but here is what I am saying: We are the Light of the world. Have we our lights go out? God’s Light came into the world. His Name is Jesus. He did not come to judge or to condemn but make a Way to the Father. He did that and then put the Light that lives in Him in us to light the way for others. The merry message of this season is not “turn or burn” but come and see what the Lord has done for me.

Can we keep it simple? My mission in this life is to be light. Jesus illuminated unconditional love and never ending grace for those who flock to the Light. Is my light even shining? Is it the Light of His Love? Our “good deeds” should relay the Truth of God’s Love who was present in the beginning and filled this world with light. The One who came down as a baby born in a manager to bring hope to the hopeless and ignite the Light of God’s Love in our hearts. Jesus was quite frank when He said, “I am the Light of the world.” (John 8:12) He told us that we are the light of the world as His Followers. When Jesus was transformed during his transfiguration, He was covered in bright light. Our flesh covers a light that attracts others to God’s Love. Can we take a moment to get us out of the way so the Light makes its way to the darkness?

There is no question that a momentary experience with Christ can change everything. Just ask Paul who as Saul encountered a bright light from Heaven. When he asked who was speaking, the voice said, “Jesus.” Do not every downplay the power of the Light that lives in you but strive to let it emanate from your life. Perfect Christmas’s should be merry and bright. The Light of His Love is the brightest light of all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT) We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

Our family missed out on adopting a family for Christmas this year. When the opportunity to take some children who had not received anything came about – I was ecstatic that God allowed us to participate. I love to give. It is my favorite part of Christmas though this has not always been my favorite time of year. I struggled with Christmas for many years for many reasons. Not the meaning of Christmas, of course not. Some may be able to relate, as a child it was a power struggle between parents. A stressful time of having Christmas and dinner at one house and then at noon doing it all again which to a child of divorce only exemplifies the painful stress of loving two parents who don’t love each other. So when my own children were born, I became militant about staying at home for Christmas. I became overwrought with doing all the “things” and making all the “traditions” to make it like a Christmas card. I hated decorating our house, putting up the tree, planning the menus, organizing events and all the parts of making it a successful holiday season. The only part I truly enjoyed was giving. Can you relate?

For some Christmas only makes the loneliness and depression they live in more prominent. Others become anxious in their inability to meet the expectations of others. I could go on and on. Yet a whole lot of people pretend it is the most wonderful time of the year when deep down inside they are only enduring its passage.

The light given to us is placed in fragile clay jars. God knows what we are made of for He is after all our Creator. He put the Light of His Love into broken vessels so it could make its way into a waiting and watching world. The same place that is filled with darkness and death. You are the Light of His Love. I am the Light of His Love. We are the Light of the World. What if for a moment our mission became uniting as one light and making this season merry and bright together. Admitting that our flaws and weaknesses are real but sharing the Message of Love and Grace that has been given.

John 12:35-36 (NLT) Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”

Do you trust in the Light of His Love today? Do you trust it enough to let Him change your holiday tradition into a Christmas Experience? Tear up the list. Stop fussing over the tree. It doesn’t matter if there is one light or a whole strand out on the house. He says, “Come to me all who weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” Jesus wants to ignite a spark in your heart today so that we can have a merry and bright Christmas. It doesn’t matter if the Christmas play is not perfect. Truthfully it is all the mistakes and miscues that keep it real. What would happen if rather than trying to make Christmas perfect, we focused on the One who perfected it? Jesus is the reason for this season. He is the only one who really matters. What difference does it make if we create the perfect Christmas but do not experience the Living Light that is within us trying to make His Way out of us so others will come to know our Savior, too?

Like our neighbor with the simple statement posted in their yard, what good is the Truth without the Light that comes with it. I can tell people that God loves them. I can even tell them all the ways that He has blessed me. But until I become like the Light and immerse my words in the Light of love and good deeds, the words continue to fall on cold, untrusting hearts. The Light of His Love is the warmth that melts hard hearts and attracts weary souls. We must walk in the Light even when it makes us a little uncomfortable. Through us, Jesus will make this season merry and bright for those who we choose to share the Light of His Love with and in the process will change our hearts and minds, too. Lord, make my light shine before others so they will experience the Light of Your Love today, too.

John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”