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.”

Always Light

always-light

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.”

We all need a little sunshine in our life. No really, according to scientific and medical studies the human body needs the sun. It is vital to the production of vitamin D in the body. However, over the last several years with the sudden awareness of skin cancer the question is raised do we need the light or not? We do. In fact, the proper production of vitamin D is a cancer-fighter. It prevents the overproduction of cells that form certain slow-growing tumors. It is essential in the development of strong bones. A whopping 90% of our vitamin D comes from light in this world.

Light is also necessary to promote good mental health as well. Light is the very thing that keeps us in sync with the earth around us. Our biologic clock thrives on it. This is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hormone control center of the brain in the hypothalamus. When light enters our eye, it activates the control center and reduces the melatonin produced so we wake up. It also releases a variety of body functions including other hormones as well as affecting body temperature. God created us to live in sync with the light. It also impacts our emotional well-being as in the long, dark winter when depression and melancholy is notably higher. How do we keep the proper amount of light in our life?

Jesus said if you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness because you will have the light that leads to life. Funny, how God does things sometimes isn’t it? We need sunlight to live a healthy life body, mind and spirit. We need Jesus, the Light of the world, to thrive in our body, mind and spirit. The Word of God once again reminding us that all of creation points to God and His Son. There is always light. We do not always seek to walk in it. This is true naturally and spiritually.

John 1:6-12 (NLT)  God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

The Light of God’s Love is for everyone. God shines His Light on all mankind. He sends rain to the just and unjust. The message of the Gospel is for everyone but not everyone will choose it for themselves. Jesus is the One who is true light. This world is full of artificial light fueled by false prophets, false teachers, and full of religious doctrine. Light is not a complex endeavor. The sun rises each day. We have the opportunity to pursue it or hide from it. He gives us new mercy each day to do away with the darkness and step into the Light of His Love completely. Will we do it? Well not that is up to you? To believe and accept the Light of God’s Love, His Son Jesus, gives us the right to become the Children of God.

 

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.”

 

May I be so bold as to simplify the Gospel for you today? God sent His One and Only Son, Jesus to save a dying people. He sent Him clothed in Light. The people had one task in this endeavor. Will I choose the Light? Or remain in the dark? Why oh why do we make our choice in God so complex? God offers us light or darkness. Blessing or cursing. Life or death. It is not about anything or anyone else in this world. Family, friends, coworkers or brothers and sisters in God do not matter. It is the moment when you awaken and the sun (Son) is shining on your face. It is that second that you decide to live to know Him today. To trust Him for the next 24 hours. To soak Jesus in body, mind and spirit. To avoid sin so that no darkness may come close to that Light. Do you love the Light of God today that shines in your every moment? If I do not experience the Light of His Love in every single second of my existence, it is not because Jesus is not shining on me but rather those times that I chose the darkness instead. This is the only time that judgment comes close to me.

So often church becomes a circus filled with smoke and mirrors, elaborate productions, and trick pony shows. God doesn’t want all that. Jesus is the Light of the world. Just as the sun would be sorely missed, do we miss Him from our homes and churches? Have I become comfortable in the dark and stopped pursuing the Light? I was sitting in a youth service a few months back. The sanctuary lights were very low. It is how the young people seem to like them. A mighty saint of God leaned over and said, “Why are the lights off?” I didn’t think much about it. But now I wonder…has the church begun to let the darkness into our sanctuaries again? Do we lower the lights because others are comfortable in the dark? Have we stopped sharing the message of One True Light because it might expose the darkness hidden within? Why not live openly in the Light again? Lord, show us the places that I have drifted into darkness? Shine the Light of Your Love on my life, in my home, at my job and in my church chasing away any and all darkness that may be hidden there. I want the Light of Your Love always and forever to shine in my life, on me, for me, and through me until it shines forth from me as you intended.

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.”

Whatever time of day it is for you right now is the perfect time to reconnect with the Light of this world? To look into the corners and crevices of the heart and mind to remove any darkness that may be hidden there. Here’s a hint: light always overcomes darkness. Don’t believe me. Walk into a dark room and turn on the light. See darkness flees from the light. Get in that prayer closet and invite the Lord to permeate your life with His Light again. Open the door to your heart and window of your mind to let His Light shine inside of you. It will change your perspective completely. Guilt, shame, and remorse cannot live in the Light of His Love. Fear, doubt, insecurities and depression are washed away when bathed in His Light.

When we learn to trust God’s Love enough to walk in it every single day, our natural life will be changed for the better. Our spiritual life will begin to grow. We will one day live in His Light forever. We do not have forever. This world will one day pass away and the sun will go with it. Only Jesus the Light of the World will shine forever. Our message to the world must shine from us rather than becoming simply lip service…“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.” (Matthew 5:14-15) This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.

Revelation 21:22-24 (NLT)  I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory.

Lovers of Light

Loving the Light

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.”

There once was a man in the market for a donkey. After finding one that suited him, he decided to test the animal before purchasing him. He took the donkey home and put him in the field with his other donkeys. The new animal strayed from the others to join the one that was the laziest and the biggest eater of them all. So the man quickly took him back to his owner. The man inquired how he could have tested the creature in such a short time. He replied, “I didn’t even have to see how he worked. I knew he would be just like the one he chose to be his friend.” The moral of this old Aesop’s Fable is that you are known by the company you keep.

Another famous fable tells of a stork who gets caught in a farmer’s trap. The farmer carefully set out to catch the cranes and geese who are stealing the seeds he is sowing, but the stork gets caught, too. The stork pleads for his release as he has taken no part in the theft. The farmer replies that since he is caught in the company of thieves, it must suffer the same fate. Hence the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Jesus came to be the Light of the World. His Arrival meant that people no longer had to grope for God, but grace opened the Gate and made the Way for all who desire to walk in its way. A commitment to Christ and to follow Him is a choice. It is a daily decision to love the Light more than the darkness so prevalent around us.

Have you ever noticed that during twilight it sometimes is the hardest to see? The time of day when soft, diffused light from the sky is giving way to darkness or at the down as the sun rises to chase the night away. I believe that if we are not careful that rather than choosing to live in the light or in the dark too many times Christians like the twilight or gray areas of life. The place where it is comfortable and easy to be complacent. Unchallenged – it seems like a careful compromise that has just enough Light to save us but not enough to expose all that is hidden deep inside.

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.”

There is no judgment against anyone who “believes in Jesus Christ. Anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged and condemned. Is believing in Jesus Christ alone enough? For God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit it is more than enough because His Grace is sufficient. I think if we could get back to the basics of Christianity and discard traditional religion to pursue a full-blown relationship with Jesus Christ – it would be simple. God’s Light came into the world but the people loved the darkness more. Why? For their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light. The Light of the World is Jesus Christ. Now…do you love Jesus? Do your actions show it?

Before answering yes or no, it is important to understand that all one must do to be saved is accept Jesus as Savior. To have the inheritance and blessings associated with making Him one’s Savior requires deciding to make Jesus the Lord of our life. If we believe in Jesus and all He has to offer, no person in their right mind would not pursue His Prosperity and Blessing which becomes available by His Grace and evident in the avoidance of sin and darkness. Could it be that we entertain darkness which drives the light from us?

I Corinthians 15:33-34 (NLT) Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.

Bad company corrupts good character. What does this mean? Does it mean that we must avoid those who do not know Jesus? Are we supposed to exist on church cliques and dictating doctrine? Should we form sects? Are we not religious enough or too religious all together? I believe that we have stopped living in the Light of His Love and so now we cannot see clearly the fine lines between love and hate, good and evil, relationship and religion. I love what Paul says in the very next verse, “Think carefully about what is right and stop sinning.” Life lived in the Light of His Amazing Love is summed up in just one sentence. Will we do it?

I Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

One of the gifts of aging is that most people begin to care less and less what other people think about them. Call it mellowing or maturity either one may apply. As we grow in Jesus Christ, it should matter less and less to us what others think of us as well. If we embrace and embody the idea of “thinking carefully about what is right” – following Jesus becomes practical and logical rather than foreign and unattainable. I believe that this indeed means that Jesus wants us to look before we leap out in faith. He does not want rash promises or weak commitment so the Lord values our full consideration of His Word, His Will and His Way.

For those who take the time to move from random religion to a radical relationship with Jesus, these are the ones who will stop sinning. Those who think about their walk with Christ and consider Him each day. Love is a commitment. It is service that gives up our own way to be together. Paul says in his letter to the Church of Corinth, “Look, I don’t even trust my own judgment at this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t mean I am right.” We must learn to walk in the Light avoiding darkness even if it means walking alone. When it doesn’t make logical and rational sense, we must still choose to follow Jesus practically in all things. Avoiding evil.

The manifestation of spiritual demons is not surprising. There is a strong fascination in the world for things associated with darkness. I know I am being silly, after all it’s just entertainment. There have been some strange things coming about amongst our young people in our youth group as they have thought about and spoken of dark things. They are Christians. Yet even in the simplest acknowledgement of their existence invokes danger. The devil is real. His demons are dispatched. Why would we entertain such a hopeless and deadly realm when we have been given life in abundance? Consider the shows and movies that are watched without even thinking about spiritual ramifications. After all, it’s not real. Our fiction is very well someone else’s reality. Now the dramas on television encourage sympathy for the attacker rather than concern for the victims. There is a strong fascination with the occult and dead things. I do not understand how a man or woman filled with the Holy Spirit can watch something like The Walking Dead and not be stirred on the inside to turn it off. No judgment. No condemnation. I have my own struggles with staying in the Light and avoiding all darkness just like you – but shouldn’t we at least try?

Matthew 6:22-23 (NLT) “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

We must evaluate the contents of our heart and mind each day for genuine faith and hopeful credibility. No longer entertaining darkness but encouraging the Light of God’s Love in all things. Our eye is the lamp to our body that provides light for our body. Oh be careful little eyes what you see. Our ears are the gateway to our mind. The helmet of salvation covers our mind against spiritual attacks. We will not win the war until we decide to listen to those things that edify our soul. Our heart must be overwritten with God’s Word to change us from loving sin to loving our Savior. We have been given the Mind of Christ. His Spirit teaches us all things and guides us in Truth. But if we do not love the Light more than darkness…what’s the point?

Religion doesn’t matter. Going to church doesn’t save you. Crying at the altar can become a quick fix but there is a long-term solution. We must think about it. Stop being religious living in radical obedience to the Lord which means ridiculously loving all people. We love them most when we see them through the eyes of Jesus Christ. When I see videos of soldiers returning home from duty, I cry every single time. Why? I have welcomed a son home safely. I cry when my friends in the fight post praise reports during and after treatment. Why? I have had my share of bad ones. I cannot live this life for Jesus and avoid judgment if I love darkness or choose to live in it. It is in totally surrendering our life to the Light of His Love that we can see clearly the Gift of Grace that we are given and take full advantage of every blessing that the Father has promised.

Philippians 4:6-9 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

To live in God’s Peaceful Presence means that we must follow Jesus. Fixing our thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Thinking about the excellent and praiseworthy things rather than always griping and complaining. Keep putting into practice all that you learned and received from me. Jesus did not make up a bunch of complicated rules and religious opinions to bind us to a doctrine nor did He give us grace as an excuse to sin. It simple think about ways not to sin. Why can’t I sin? It separates me from Jesus. I will not leave darkness behind if I love it. I cannot follow Jesus wholeheartedly if I live a sinful life.

Our life cannot contradict our commitment to Christ and be valid. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. His Peace will guard our heart and mind when I live in Christ. Worry, stress, fear and doubt are all contrived from areas of unsurrendered space in our heart ready to be given to the Lord. The Lord is not looking for perfect people. Light will always drive darkness away. To allow darkness to remain in our heart, mind, soul or body is to live in rebellion against God and declare to love it more than Light who is Jesus. Look at the company you keep today are they Light Lovers or darkness dwellers – it matters. God is looking for those who are drawn to the Light or they will quickly be returned to their owner. Lord, examine my heart today for darkness. Jesus shine the Light on Your Love on anything that offends you are causing a separation in our relationship. Let my love for you be fully expressed from the depths of my soul! Amen.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NLT) Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

The Lampstand

The Lampstand

Luke 11:33-36 (NLT) “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. 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.”

We live in light. Relying on the sun, people become a bit dreary when it hides for too long. We live in homes filled with lights, but if a single bulb burns out its noticeable. Each ceiling fan in our house has four lightbulbs, if one is out the side of the room it faces immediately is dimmer. The light is not as bright. Replacing the broken bulb solves the problem and once again the room is well-lit. There are also new and improved options to the old incandescent lamp called compact fluorescent lamp or lights (CFL). The glow of these bulbs are different than the older versions. Giving off the same amount of visible light, the CFL is popular because it is more energy efficient using one-third of the electricity and lasting up to ten times longer than regular lightbulbs. The only setback is that the CFL bulb is more expensive. Many will not pay the price up front or go to the trouble of changing out all the old ones. To be completely honest, I really wasn’t thinking about lights or fixtures today but about my walk with Jesus.

I wonder if my light is shining today. I am challenged by the position of my lampstand in this life. Our purpose is to shine brightly as a beacon to people living in darkness, but am I successful in this endeavor? I will admit to you today that there are several bulbs in need of replacement in my home currently. As we pack and prepare to move, I keep overlooking these small details in an attempt to get us ready to go. I am considering making the switch to the new CFL bulbs in our new house once making the transition. In my busyness, I have placed a very low priority since there is plenty of light still burning. When I got up this morning, I felt tired. My body aches from lifting, bending, stretching, reaching and packing boxes. We have only just begun. My husband is out of town so there are additional responsibilities that he would do but I must maintain for a few more days. Stumbling through the dark, I turn on a few lights so I don’t trip over anything but the light is blinding to my tired eyes. Let’s face it, what good is a lamp if you don’t open your eyes, right? Crying out to the Lord for energy and strength – I find myself in the tabernacle of the Old Testament standing next to a lampstand. This is not where I expected to be.

Exodus 27:20-21 (NLT) “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. The lampstand will stand in the Tabernacle, in front of the inner curtain that shields the Ark of the Covenant. Aaron and his sons must keep the lamps burning in the Lord’s presence all night. This is a permanent law for the people of Israel, and it must be observed from generation to generation.

The most important thing to note about the lampstand is that it points to Jesus Christ. The lampstand is introduced in the Book of Exodus and referred to throughout the Bible into the Book of Revelation. It stood in the tabernacle. It was placed in front of the curtain shielded the Ark of the Covenant. The commandment was that it should remain burning at all times using the pure oil of pressed olives. It was to be maintained. This permanent law must be observed from generation to generation right into today.

I know what you are thinking. Jesus died for our sins so we no longer need a High Priest. No, Jesus is our High Priest. Jesus tore the veil in the Temple/Tabernacle so we don’t have to stand there anymore. No, when Jesus ripped the veil in two it gave us greater access. It did not eliminate the commandment of God concerning our lampstands. We are the lampstands that He refers to in Revelation 2 with the potential to be removed if our light is not shining. Reading about the lampstand today, it is clear that the Light within me is of far greater importance than it is given in my haste to complete tasks, maintain a routine, and mark off my to-do list.

John 1:4-5 (NLT) 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.

John 3:18-19 (NLT) 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.

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.”

John 12:46 (NLT) I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.

Matthew 17:2 (NLT) As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.

I Corinthians 6:19 (NLT) Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God?

All of these verses reference Jesus as the Light of the World. He came into darkness with a light that would be invested in us and lead others back to Him. Before Jesus in Exodus, the lampstand stood in the Tabernacle representing our relationship with God blocked by sin. When Jesus died the curtain was torn in half giving us direct access to God the Father. In this monumental step, God’s Temple became every man and woman who call on Jesus Christ to be saved. He gives us His Spirit filling us with life-giving light. Now people can choose to remain in darkness or walk in the Glorious Light of His Love. As a child, we would sing “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” How are we doing now that we are adults?

2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NLT) or 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. 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. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Let’s face it! Most people would not pursue Jesus Christ outside of the pressures of life. When things are good, the Bible goes on the shelf, prayer closet closed, and church a casual commitment. When we become “pressed on every side by troubles, perplexed, hunted or knocked down” and any other kind of suffering is when begin to push our way back into His Presence again. We have been given such a magnificent light, but left inside our fragile heart it is of no use. God loves us too much for our light to go out. He will fan the flame just as He instructs us to do. He will blow on us. He will stir us up. Whatever it takes to get the Light in us out of us. The Lord makes us uncomfortable so we will move up the mountain to be the light which becomes a city on a hill for all to see. But what might happen, if we followed simple instructions. The people were commanded to be pure oil of pressed olives daily to the Tabernacle. What about the Temple? Are we tending the light of our lampstand daily or just when we think it might go out?

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (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.

Did you know that satan can disguise himself as light? (2 Corinthians 11:14) In fact, there are many false prophets who do not preach the Word of God much less live by it. One encounter with the true light of the Love of Jesus changes everything, just ask Paul. He was on a mission when the “light” surrounded him, but not everyone in his group encounter Jesus like Paul did that day. It changed his life forever. He became committed to the Light – Jesus Christ. (Acts 26:12-19) In his conversation with King Agrippa, it is clear he is not entirely sure what happened other than Jesus happened. Our message is not complicated. It is very clear.

Light will always be a threat to darkness. We must desire a life of transparency living in the Light of His Love. Such a commitment requires a turning from sin. If you are avoiding the light, it is time to reach deeper and find out why? There are tragic results for those who do not fulfill their purpose in Christ. Light will always keep us on guard, rooting out the enemies diversion tactics and death traps along the way. His Light keeps us clearheaded so that we do not fall for the vague lies masked with a hint of truth. The Light exposes every lie and fallacy the enemy hurls against us. (I Thessalonians 5:4-6)

Philippians 2:12-16 (NLT) Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.

This weekend I will take an inventory of all the burned out lightbulbs in the house to replace them. I am beginning to think examining my heart for light might not be a bad idea either. I am called to be the Light of the World because Jesus who IS the Light of the World lives in me. I must do something with that investment or risk falling back into darkness again. I must keep my lampstand in His Presence. I must take the time to tend to it no matter now busy I think that I am.

In Luke 15:8-9, the Parable of the Lost Coin sums it up quite nicely. The woman lost a coin. She felt it was worth something and valuable to her. This being the case wouldn’t she “light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it?” The investment in our life is worth seeking out. It is worth allowing the Light of His Love to fill us even the darkest part. If only we valued our relationship with Jesus (the Light of the World) as much as lesser things, I wonder what it might like if everyone took the time to tend their lampstand.

Ephesians 1:18-20 (NLT) I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Just a fire left untended will certainly go out, so will we if we do not remain attentive to the Light of His Love burning deep within us. Our life is judged only by our choice to live in the Light of His Love leaving darkness behind. Once full of darkness, the Lord has filled me with light. What I do with it determines the outcome of my life and success in following Jesus. It is the Light of His Love provided by His Grace that allows good things and right things and true things to be produced in my life. (Ephesians 5:8-14) I must determine what pleases God and the Light of His Love makes it clear for me. The Light makes everything in my life visible for careful evaluation and thorough inspection. I have nothing to fear. His Grace is enough for me to rid my life of worthless things and continue my pursuit of perfection. Perfection has a name. His Name is Jesus. He is the Light of the World. He lives in me. I am His Lampstand.

Colossians 1:11-12 (NLT) We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.

Enlightened

Enlightened

John 1:1-5 (NIV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. We have been enlightened. God has filled us with the Light of His Love. His Son, Jesus, who was the Word wrapped in human flesh came to ignite the Light of God’s Love within us. (John 1:14) The Word of God has been present from the beginning. The Word has been with God. The Word is God. The Word has a gender – He which gives the Word a person. His Name is Jesus. In Jesus all things are made and without Him nothing has been or can be created. Jesus is life. He is the life that enlightens all mankind. The Light shines in the darkness as a beacon drawing those lost or hidden there into Grace that offers freedom to stand boldly and brilliantly in the Light of His Love again. This kind of Light cannot ever be overtaken by darkness again. See the Light was put to the test and this world tried to extinguish it. Take it off. Remove it. Death tried to rob it. The grave suffocate it but in just three long and dark days the Light remained triumphant. Are you living in the Light today?

 

The Light is life. How is life treating you? Jesus told us that He came to set the world on fire and how He wished it was already burning. (Luke 12:49) What did He mean? I believe that the Light of His Love burns with a passionate flame for His People. It ignites those who come in contact with it and dare to draw near to Him. Natural light is produced by the sun. Scientists say that it is a series of nuclear reactions that keep the sun shining. They deem the sun to be a star. Though it appears to be burning, it is not but rather glows because of the nuclear process called fusion constantly occurring within its core. Supernatural light is produced by Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son, who has always been and always will be making Him a perfect source. The process of salvation sets off a process inside of us as we draw near to Christ. It is a type of fusion which is the result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity. I love how the Lord uses nature and everything around us to reveal His Glory if we will just look for Him in life. It is the ongoing process of working out one’s salvation and moving our existence into the Presence of God that completes the process so our life will become enlightened, too. The Lord has specified us, Christians, believers, disciples, followers of Christ to be the light of the world. It is the Light of His Love – Jesus that allows us to be so.

 

A light bulb is a controlled light source. We buy a new package, rip it open, and screw in the bulb. Voila there is light. But that light has a life expectancy. It will not live forever. Those who depend on this controlled and contained light source should keep a backup available because one day it will be needed. Christians do not live according to a limited light source. We do not have to worry each day if there will be enough light to keep the darkness away. I do not need other sources to keep my life enlightened. I only need Jesus. Is He enough? Many times, we forget that the Light of the Word came to give us life. Our life never has to fear darkness or death again. We must live enlightened.

 

John 1:14 (NIV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

Jesus is the Word of God wrapped in flesh who came and lived among us. We beheld His Glory but not everyone recognized it. Some were actually blinded by His Light which seemed too perfect, too good, and too true. Nevertheless Jesus the Glory of God came filled with Grace and Truth. This Grace and Truth were for us. They are the sparks that ignite our heart, mind, soul and body to pursue Jesus Christ. We desire His Love because it is full of grace. We long for it to be true. I think sometimes we allow our light to go dim in the midst of life. We become so consumed with doing something for God that we forget the Light of His Love burning within us. It is enough to accomplish and fulfill God’s Purpose and Plan for us. We burn with a light not contained or controllable. Yet we cover it, stifle it, hinder it and even hid it sometimes. Life is found in the Light of His Love. We must be enlightened.

 

Psalm 119:105 (NIV) Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

 

According to Dictionary.com, to be enlightened means to give intellectual or spiritual light to; instruct; impart knowledge to. Who knew? God did. He knew that the Word was pivotal to our passion for Him. He knew that His People would need illumination in their life even warning that without knowledge made to become wisdom that His People would perish. (Hosea 4:6) Are you feeding your passion with the Word of God today? You need it. I need it. We all need it to live in the Light of His Love. The original meaning of the word “enlighten” is to remove dimness or blindness from one’s eyes or heart. God wants His Love to burn so brightly within us that there is never a dark day again.

 

2 Timothy 1:6 (NIV)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

 

Fan into flame the Gift of God. The Gift acknowledged in this passage is the Holy Spirit. I know this can be a controversial subject but I must confirm and attest that until I received the Holy Spirit and acknowledged His Presence in my life, none of this made any sense. My belief did not go beyond my words. I read the Word of God but it did not seem applicable to my life. I wanted His Promises but the divide called Impossible just seemed too wide. No matter how hard I tried to live for the Lord and follow Jesus – I could never get past myself. Since I received the Holy Spirit, I cannot stop seeking the Lord. I have a desire. A passion. A fire in my heart and soul that seeks more and more of Him each and every day. I cannot explain it other than to say His Love consumes me. The Holy Spirit is the same that was in Jesus – the Word of God. These are the two elements that create illuminating light in our life. We are Children of the Light. We have been designated to be the Light of the Word. Are you shining?

 

Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

God is called an all-consuming fire. Jesus said that He came to set the world on fire. We are the vessel to house this light. The Light of God’s Love to enlighten the world. I am challenged today to erase the religious approach of works and deeds labeling them secondary. The first thing we must do as believers each day is to feed the fiery passion to love and pursue the Lord. His Word adds fuel to the fire and to fan into flame the Holy Spirit. These two actions will produce the Light of His Love in our life if we do not say a thing about Him or do anything in His Name. Hang on. Don’t be offended. Open your heart. In and of ourselves we can do nothing for the Lord. We are imperfect and sin-filled vessels. When we allow His Love to overtake us, His Grace to cover us and Obedience to drive us – it is all Jesus in us. Nothing of ourselves is worthy and therefore will be consumed. Now, when our purpose and passion in life is to keep this love alive, passionate and burning it makes its way out of our heart and into our life. (2 Corinthians 4:6) What happens next is miraculous? It is often labeled as “revival”. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” (Acts 5:15-16) The Light of His Love illuminated from one enlightened man would radiate healing and delivering those in his midst. It was not Peter but his total consummation of passion for Jesus that radiated from his life. It is said that when the great evangelist, Kathryn Kuhlman would stay in hotels during her many travels that believers would book the rooms all around her because there are many testimonies of healings taking place above and below her hotel room. Stop it. I want that to be me so fully consumed by the Love of God that His Power exudes from my life impacting others in such a way. The only thing I can do or attempt to participate in this process is to allow His Love to consume every part of me until a raging passion and burning desire for Jesus overtakes me. All to Jesus I surrender. All to thee I freely give.

 

John 3:19-21 (NIV)

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.  

 

Today if we read past the part that says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son…” If we delve deeper moving past condemnation to find freedom, it is found in one choice. Do we love the Light? Do we desire Him? Those who love the Light live by Truth. In one simple term it means to “obey”. The Word of God is not a suggestion. It is not just another option. It is a guide to perfection. It is a guide to total consumption by God’s Love and absolute fulfillment by His Grace. Jesus told that woman at the well that the day was coming that true worshippers would do so in Spirit and Truth. Does the Holy Spirit have a place in your life today? Your passion for Jesus doesn’t stand a chance without His Careful Assistance and Presence in life. To be the Light the Word requires the ongoing process of fusing our life to Jesus Christ. It is to be completing consumed with Passion for His Presence. A spark burns out quickly. A candle reliant on its source. A light bulb is limited in illumination. Those who are set on fire will not be consumed because their source has overcome darkness. Jesus came to set the world on fire – one heart at a time. Now we are enlightened to illuminate the world. Are we already burning? Feed the fire today. Fan the flame. Burn with passion. Let His Love consume you all over again!

 

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 (NIV)

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.

 

 

This Little Light – A Devotion

This Little Light

Isaiah 60:19-22 (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. Your sun will never set; your moon will not 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. The smallest family will become a thousand people, and the tiniest group will become a mighty nation. At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.”

 

I love my children. I find that I am constantly thinking about them. Sometimes one or other times all five and just how very blessed I am to have been given the privilege to be their mom. They are a lot of work. My kids are not perfect. But the joy that they bring to my life is exceeding and abundantly more than any effort it has taken to raise them. I will not bore you with the many ways that they are amazing today. They are all my little lights though. Our sons have become men and moved on to fulfill their life callings. One the adventurer always on a new mission. While our silent, intellectual guy fights to finish his mechanical engineering degree. Our oldest daughter has been married one month. We now only have two not-so-little people at home. The house is growing quiet. The rooms are getting bigger. The little lights are leaving. Now what?

Last I spent the evening cleaning house preparing for the weekend, it was a whirlwind of activity and when I was finally ready to settle down I realized that it was only a few minutes before our youngest child’s bedtime. Our teenager long since in bed, she was now snuggling down for the night and mommy was sad. I wasn’t ready for her to go to bed. I was exhausted, too. As she lay in bed, I wrapped my arms around her and began kissing her little face and chubby cheeks. I held her tight and smelled her hair. I am not ready for her to grow up either but she is right before my eyes become an independent and opinionated your woman very much like her oldest sister. I find that these children the Lord has so graciously given me are a light in my life. They bring joy in just being even when they are too much to handle at times. They are a constant source of love. God is speaking to my heart today about the little lights in our life that He has placed there. How many times we have taken our light for granted? It is not a ministry. It is not a mission. It is not a mandate even though it resembles a commandment. We are the Glory of God. What is God’s Glory? It is a reflection of God’s Love.

Matthew 5:14-16 (Message)

“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.”

 

Our acknowledgement of God does not make Him who He is. Our acceptance of Him does not make Him Lord of our life. See Jesus is our Savior through repentance but His Lordship is unquestionable that at His Name every knee will bow and tongue confess who He is. We are in this world but not of this world. Repentance is turning to face our Creator, admitting our wrongdoing and shortcomings to accept His Great Grace. By doing so, we begin to reflect the Love of the Father if we hold this position of righteousness. It is in that moment we become godly or god-like. The Light of His Love shines on us. It begins to permeate our heart, mind and soul until we begin to reflect His Love and project it to others. Not in the words that we speak but how we live, what we do and how we love. A true reflection cannot be seen through dirty glass. You must clean the glass to see through it much like a mirror. You are a Child of God. He created us all. We abandoned His Love to do our own thing. Upon returning, He adopts us back into the family and we are one with God again through the sacrifice of His Son – Jesus. Where is the pride in that – there really is nothing else to boast about except God’s Love. The closer we live in step with God following the example of Jesus – the greater the reflection. We simply fan the flames of faith until our passion for Christ exceeds are lust for the world. The more generous we are with our life, the greater our reflection of His Love that will prompt others to want to know and love the God who we serve.

Isaiah 58:10-11 (NLT)

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

 

Any woman who has ever been pregnant gets unwarranted advice? The horror stories that other woman share are ridiculous. I can’t believe how many woman almost died in childbirth or so they think. I had three very easy deliveries and two slightly difficult ones. The crazy thing is the less medical intervention that I had the easier the delivery was. God obviously knew what He was doing when He designed a woman’s body to bear children. However, I remember around baby number four thinking of horrible things to say back to those people. My all-time favorite comment is “have you figured out how that happens yet?” My response, “Yes, and apparently I am pretty good at it.” Was this the right response? No. Was it spoken in love? Absolutely not. Did it open the conversation to something else? I didn’t want it, too. Am I the Light of the World? Yes, but I have failed miserably many, many times. If we are the Light of the World, then God has placed a beacon in us that attracts others to us. The more we walk in the Love of God the more we will encounter. God will use you to reach out to others. He promises that when we give of ourselves in such a way that He will “guide us continually, giving us water when we are dry and restoring our strength.” My love for my kids allows me to give to them when I think that I have nothing left to give. God loves me. I am His Child. He gives to me from His Abundance. When I live in close proximity to Him, this is an endless overflowing of love and adoration that infuses my heart to overflow to others.

Psalm 97:11 (Message)

Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.

 

Being the light of the world as Jesus intended was not meant to drain us of energy and power but to infuse our life with light-seeds. We will prosper basking in the Light of His Love and it will grow into a surplus we share with others. I love to tell people how God has healed our son of cancer. I love to tell them how He healed our youngest daughter of asthma. I love to tell them how He took a single man, a single mom and three rambunctious kids making a beautiful family out of our obvious mess. I love to tell people of all the near misses that turned out to be miracles. God has been good to us. His Love for us obvious and ridiculous. In the beginning of my walk with Jesus, I would forget my blessings and become obsessed with our mess. But after all we have been through and I mean through…how can I not tell others about my God, my Father and His Love? It is undeniable because the outcomes in our life are not natural. Those light-seeds blossom into joy-seeds and soon I am happy for no reason at all or at least that’s how it feels. Faith comes alive. Hope is real. I don’t need good days, happen endings and no problems to be happy, joyful, peaceful and loving. I can love because I know that I am loved. No matter how things look today – I know that God is working all the details out to perfection. As faith becomes confident hope, joy and peace are the true reflection of our love affair with God the Father through Jesus His Son.

Psalm 112:4 (NLT)

Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

 

The Light of God’s Love gives us faith and confident hope that allows us to see past the circumstances we face and the people who seem to be the problem. All we know is that God’s Love is up ahead and I will not let anything stop me from getting closer to Him. To be god-like or godly requires us to live in love with others as God is in love with us. When I got in bed last night after tucking our daughter in, all I wanted to do was go and scoop her up again. I wanted to hold her tight, snuggle with her, and just let her sleep close to me. But she is becoming a young woman and probably would not appreciate the sleep interruption so I forced my eyes shut and held the covers tightly over me to keep myself from giving in. Why? I love her. I love her with all my heart just like her siblings. I miss them each day I don’t see them or talk to them. The fill my heart with light and love. If my husband and children fill me with such love and joy even in their imperfection, what about a God who loves me perfectly? I want His Light to shine in my life. It begins by accepting His Love. Living in it, basking in it, choosing it, wanting it, desiring it and walking in it every day. I cannot imagine the Father’s Love for me when I consider how much I love my children. It is incomprehensible. All I can do is hold my life close to Him and attempt to reflect the Love that can light a universe.

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.

 

Driving past houses this holiday season, there are Christmas trees in almost every window and lights on many of the homes. I wonder if God is not asking us to accept His Light in our heart so it shines just as brightly. The Light of His Love reflected in our attitudes and actions can change another person’s life forever. Do not take for granted the power of kind words, a smile, holding a door or allowing someone to go ahead of you. Hugs are helpful. Taking the time to listen to another person speak is truly a gift rather than considering your own response while they are talking. Time is the greatest gift of all. Don’t bother getting all wrapped up in creating the “perfect” Christmas party or packaging presents if there is no love offered by sharing time then what’s the point? God’s Love came down to rescue us on Christmas. It is my profound privilege to honor Christ on His Birthday by allowing His Light to light up my life like a candle on His Cake. This little light of mine…it is up to me to let Him shine!

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (NLT)

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. 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.

 

Keep Walking – A Devotion

Keep Walking

Micah 6:8 (NLT)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

 

If only life were as simple as doing what I right, loving mercy and walking humbly with My God. Life is that easy, but I choose to complicate it. I had an appointment yesterday afternoon. Of course, moments prior to my departure an administrator called me to task which delayed my leaving five or so minutes. Not a problem, I still had plenty of time to make it across town or so I thought. On my way, I encountered an unusual amount of traffic for this time of day along this particular road. I checked the time and then scanned my brain in case I had forgotten something. Nope, couldn’t think of a reason. The flashing lights another mile or so down the road told the store, there had been an accident. Two cars collided, nothing major just a fender bender. However, everyone driving along felt the need to slow down and survey the damage for themselves creating a horrible traffic jam along the way. There was no reason to stop as both vehicles had been moved into a parking lot. The officers were working with both parties as one man stood on the side of the road waving cars along and urging them to keep going. How many times do you see other accidents occur because people do not keep their eyes on the road but another accident along the way? This only creates more of a bottleneck along the way. The Lord is clear in His Expectation for us. Do what is right. Love mercy. Walk humbly with Your God. Life can be just that simple if we could only get over ourselves.

Deuteronomy 11:22 (NLT)

“Be careful to obey all these commands I am giving you. Show love to the Lord your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him.

 

The world is constantly changing but not for the better. We are in a state of transformation by the Power of God in our life which is a good thing. The only constant unchangeable factor in our life is God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit – the Triune God. The problem is that we cannot seem to keep our concentration on Him but shift our sights all around at any given time according the circumstances that we face. As Paul said, “I want to do what is right, but find I continue to do the wrong thing.” (Romans 7:21) The struggle is real for every man and woman even those who walk by faith.

Matthew 14:27-31 (NLT)

 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

 

The walk of faith is the process by which we learn to love and trust the Lord more and more. We sing about faith. Step out on faith. Sometimes we fall in our faith. It is all part of the process and I believe why we are granted new mercy each day. Peter jumped out of the boat as believers we need faith every time we get out of bed to carry us back to the solitude of rest. This is not always an easy endeavor. Peter walked on water with Jesus Christ right there with him and still failed to totally trust the Lord so is our endeavor to learn to trust the Lord in every single step that we take. If God recorded every moment of our life before we were born (Psalm 139:16) this surely includes every single step that we take each day as we learn to live our life moment to moment with Jesus. This is how we walk in righteousness. This is the ONLY WAY to remain in right standing with God!

Acts 3:2-6 (NLT)

As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!”

 

People have taken up two crutches in life hoping that they will carry them through. Human confidence and self-confidence rest under each arm. Both are equally dangerous and lead us to a fall. The Word of God warns that putting our confidence in unreliable people is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot. (Proverbs 25:19) To qualify this statement every person who you know is unreliable compared to the One you have found in Jesus Christ. He will never leave you or forsake you. He does not have bad days. His Sacrifice indicates that He ALWAYS has had your best interest in mind. So to put our trust in anyone other than Jesus Christ is misplaced trust and confidence. We should not be surprised when they fall or let us down because they are only human and plagued by sin just like us. There is NO ONE like the Lord so we have no right to expect them to be or it is clearly our fault.

The second crutch is self-confidence. We must live in the Light of God’s Love and not the light of self-love. (Isaiah 50:10-11) This is promoted by pride. Even the righteous grab hold of it sometimes calling it the Power of God when it is nothing more than mindset and willpower. Your strength will fail you. I promise it will. You will become weak and weary. You know the Lord wants you to keep walking by faith but the wind and rain are hammering you so you begin to sink. Our confident hope is only as strong as its basis who is Jesus Christ. He is the best beneficiary of all of our love and trust. We must learn to hold nothing back investing every single step we talk in following Christ even when others let us down or we let ourselves down. It is time to get up and walk in the Name of Jesus!

I John 2:10-12 (NLT)

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. I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.

To do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God will always require love which always requires forgiveness. Forgiveness is probably the biggest obstacle that keeps us from walking in the Light of His Love. Love always requires forgiveness beginning with Jesus Christ. He forgave us of every sin that we ever committed on that Cross enabling us to enter the Presence of God once more and enjoy a right relationship with God the Father once more. We must forgive to love. Forgive those who left us. Forgive those who let us down. Forgive those who just don’t understand. Forgive all the users and abusers. Forgive ourselves. This opens the roadways of love in our life so we are free to walk in the Light of His Love every day and in every step. To keep walking in love will require that we love Jesus more than anyone else and that we love everyone else more than we love us. This creates and promote the fullness of joy and peace that passes all understanding in our life. We no longer are interrupted by what goes along the side of the road but remain focused on the Highway of Holiness that leads us home day by day and step by step.

John 13:34-35 (NLT)

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

 

To be disciples of Jesus Christ and prove to be Children of God – we must walk in love. Every single day in all our ways with each step and every single breath, we must be love at all times.

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.”

 

To find live and have abundant life requires that we become Children of the Light no longer walking in darkness again. God’s Word is a light for our feet. (Psalm 119:105) Faith becomes confident hope when His Word proves to be true in our life. Do not be distracted by what is going on to the right or the left but get focused on what lies ahead for you that God has planned and prepared for those who seek Him wholeheartedly. (Jeremiah 29:1-13) It is a good plan with a future and hope reserved for those who get up and walk. It remains the hope of those who keep walking through the wind, rain and storms of life never once taking their eyes off Jesus Christ. Walk in His Love today. Walk in the Light. Do what is good. Love mercy. Walk humbly with our God!

Hosea 14:9 (NLT)

Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.