Let Your Light Shine!

even-smaller-bug-light1

5  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it

​. – John 1:5 NLT

At first, this might seem like a strange comparison from a Christian perspective. Bear with me and let’s see if we can make it fit our discussion. If we think of Jesus looking over the earth to find sinners and compare that to us walking through a pumpkin patch to find a pumpkin to carve for our fall festival, we can go from there. We find the pumpkin we want, we pick it up out of the dirty field, clean it up, carve away the parts we don’t want and fill it with light. Jesus does the same thing to us, He finds us in our sinful condition, reaches down and lifts us up and washes us with His blood. Then He starts the process of carving away the thoughts and attitudes of which He doesn’t approve. Little by little His Light starts to shine through us and the world around us gets a glimpse of Jesus. Just like the original Irish carving of a turnip (there weren’t any pumpkins in Ireland), the light was put inside to chase away evil spirits. So do we, as we allow God’s light to shine through us and all around us. We were once dirty and walked in darkness, but now that we have Jesus inside us, we are the vessels that carry His Light into the world. Keep the vessel clean, inside and outside, so the Light can shine through and dispel the darkness.

****Not an original idea, I just don’t know who to give credit for the comparison


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 06-29-2017

What Does God See?

even-smaller-bug-light1

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

Society and the world wants us to “dress for success”. Commercial after commercial emphasizes how we should continue to try to look young and beautiful (or handsome). All those things are temporary and fleeting. Good looks, great physiques and great wealth can be gone over night. None of that is guaranteed, so why do we spend so much time and money on those things? The important thing is this: What does God see when He looks into our hearts? What is in our heart will determine where we spend eternity. It is much more important to please God than to please man. We need to ask God to “create in us a clean heart” and “renew a right Spirit within us”. What does God require of us?

Micah 6:6-8 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-20-2017

Keep Yourself Pure

even-smaller-bug-light1

21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.— 2 Timothy 2:21 NLT


We should always avoid any action that makes us appear to agree with sinful deeds. Rather, we should seek the guidance of God’s Spirit and live a life that shows love to our fellow man. We should not neglect to have regular companionship and worship with our fellow Christians. This will strengthen us and help us to follow after Jesus. We should never allow ourselves to be lured into arguments over doctrines and beliefs that go beyond what God requires for salvation. We need to show the love of Christ by showing patience in difficult situations. Don’t be the one to blow your horn in traffic or complain in the grocery line. Use those times to whisper prayers and praises to our Lord and Savior. Then you will find that God blesses those times and you are able to teach others by your actions and your words. Be humble, remembering that you used to live the same kind of lifestyle when you were held captive by satan. Lead a lifestyle that causes others to want to have the freedom and the attitude that you have.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 10-30-2016

Clean It Up!

even-smaller-bug-light1

12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. — 1 Cor. 5:12

A few generations ago, when someone in the church membership was known to be living a lifestyle of sin and that fact was affirmed by two or three witnesses, that person was first warned and counseled by the leaders of the church.  If he/she refused to change their ways, they were brought before the congregation for disciplining.  When they were found guilty and refused to repent, they were asked to leave the church.  It is not only scriptural for us to do that but it is our responsibility to do it.  First, we must make sure that there is no yeast in ourselves and then we can judge those of the household of faith.  It is not our responsibility or business to judge non-Christians, that is God’s business and He will take care of it in His own time.  A church body with sin in it is a weak body and it will not attract unbelievers to Christ.  In fact, outsiders will turn away from that body because of the hypocrisy.  We, as church bodies, don’t do this much anymore.  I believe that is one of the biggest reasons for the decline in church memberships and that fewer people attend church.  Let us be sure that we are not living a lifestyle of sin ourselves and then make sure that any yeast or leaven is removed from the church body.  No one wants to be around a body that is going through the process of putrefaction.  We need to clean it up and shine for our Lord and Savior, that light will attract others to Christ.

Post 08-24-2016

Don’t Complicate the Message

even-smaller-bug-light1

7 “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.
8 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” 
— Romans 4:7, 8 NLT
 
God, because of His great love, mercy and grace made the plan of salvation so simple that a child can understand it.  Because of the simplicity of the plan, it often brings the question, “Is that really all I need to do to be saved?’.  And the simple answer is yes.  So, we can just keep doing what we were doing?  No! and again No!  But now we are talking about sanctification which is a lifelong process.  The good works we do are not to gain a greater salvation.  If we could do enough good works to be saved then Jesus died in vain.  We might as well still be living under the law and all of its impossible requirements.  But Jesus did not die in vain. His death and resurrection fulfilled the law and opened the gate to heaven so that all that chose Him in faith could come in.  When Paul tells the Philippians to “work out your own salvation”, he is not telling them to look for another way to be saved.  He is telling them to do good works to show the world the results of their salvation.  Phil, 2:12-15 NLT   Jesus “went about doing good”.  He is our example of how we are to live our lives as His brothers and sisters.  As Christians, our response to certain things should be so different from the response of the worldly that it gets their attention. Our good works not only attract others to Jesus but they are also how we “lay up rewards in heaven”.
Post 08-04-2016

I Don’t Do Windows (or Bathrooms) – Really?

even-smaller-bug-light1

21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work..
— 2 Tim. 2:21 NLT
 
In First Corinthians, Paul uses the human body to describe the relationship and the function of each individual member of the Church.  Here in his second letter to Timothy, he uses the analogy of a wealthy home with many utensils.  We can assume that a wealthy home would have all the utensils needed for every task, from the lowest to the highest.  That home would also have a full staff of servants with one of those designated as the chief of all of the servants.  This person would be responsible for making sure that each person was assigned a specific task or tasks and also that that person would be given the exact utensils he needed to complete the task.  Some will tutor the kids, some will do windows and yes, some will do the bathrooms.  All of the utensils and servants are there to care for the home, the master and his family.  In this analogy, God would be the Master, Jesus would be the heir and the Holy Spirit would be the taskmaster assigning the tasks and giving out the utensils necessary to perform the tasks.   The home is the Kingdom of God here on earth.  The Holy Spirit knows who He has gifted to perform each task and no one can do it better than that person.  We are to spend our time, not in foolish discussions about temporary things of little or no consequence, here or later, but in doing the tasks that the Holy Spirit has given us to do.  If we do not, the Kingdom will not function as well as it should and the world around us will grow more evil as satan moves in to take the territory that we give up.  I think we can see the proof of that all around us today.
Post 05-23-2016

Wordless Sermons

even-smaller-bug-light11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Look, I have specifically chosen Bezalel son of Uri, grandson of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. 4 He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. 5 He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a master at every craft!  6 “And I have personally appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be his assistant. Moreover, I have given special skill to all the gifted craftsmen so they can make all the things I have commanded you to make: — Exodus 31:1-6 NLT

Not only did God choose these specific men to make all the things needed to fulfill the laws of worshipping Him, but He gave each a special skill.  God is still doing the same thing with those He has chosen.  He has called each one of us and filled us with the Holy Spirit.  Not to sit on the sidelines but to accomplish a specific task for His glory.  If we are unwilling to do that task, whether it be cleaning the bathrooms or preaching the sermon, then the worship service is incomplete.  Most of our sins are those of omission rather than commission.  Our choices of what we do and/or don’t do and the attitude with which we do them preaches a message that is louder than words. That message is seen and heard by everyone we pass by each day.  Does our message draw people closer to Jesus or does it leave them wondering if they even want to be a part of His Kingdom? As we go along life’s journey, are we more like the priest, the temple assistant or the good Samaritan?  Do we soothe and bandage wounds or do we cross the street rather than taking the time and effort to help those who are hurting? (Parable of the good Samaritan- Luke 10:30-37)
Post 02-02-2016

Swept But Not Kept Clean

even-smaller-bug-light110  Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10 NKJV

What is a clean heart, how do we get it and why is it important to be sure that we have clean hearts?  An unclean heart is a heart that contains bitterness, hatred, deciet, lust, envy, coveteousness and the list goes on and on to including anything that would cause us to sin.  The opposite of that would be a heart that contains only love. It is impossible for us to clean our hearts.  We need the Holy Spirit, who is love, to do that for us.  We can make all the resolutions and follow all the self-help programs we can find, but in the end, without the Holy Spirit, we will still have unclean hearts.  Those programs may remove the filth from the heart but they will leave it empty.  An empty heart is what the evil spirits are searching for.

24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”– Luke 11:24-26 NLT
Our hearts must be filled with love and that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Jesus and His Spirit abides within us, He will keep our hearts clean, if we allow Him to do so.  Clean hearts are necessary because it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks”.  It is also where our thoughts come from, so we must be sure that the source is clean or our thoughts, words and actions will be displeasing to God. 
Post 02-02-2016

Keeping the Temple Clean

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.–Gal. 5:19-21 (NIV)
​If we continually persist in committing any of the actions listed above, we are walking by the flesh. Our flesh is in control of our thoughts and therefore our actions. If we are having problems in any of these areas we need to do some heart-searching. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to have control of our thoughts before they become actions. Just as surely as dust enters our homes and settles on our fixtures, so do evil thoughts enter our minds and try to take up residence in our brains. We can choose to wipe the dust away or let it build up. The choice is ours. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and He certainly does not want any of the world’s junk living with Him. He is there to help us keep the temple clean.
18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”–Matt. 15:18-20 (NIV)
–Post 04-15-2015

Got Fruit?

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 “I am the true vine; my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. And he trims and cleans every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in me.​ ​5 “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing.—John 15:1-5 (NCV)
​Jesus is the true vine. He has fulfilled the law and now we are branches grown from a new and different vine. We are in Christ Jesus once we accept the words Jesus has spoken. Jesus has removed all the old fruit from us and has made us clean. But we still need something more if we are going to produce good fruit. The flesh cannot of itself produce love, joy, kindness, long-suffering, or any of the other fruits listed in Galatians. There is no goodness in our flesh. For us to produce Holy Spirit fruit, we must have that Holy Spirit flowing through us just as a branch must have the sap from the tree flowing through it to be productive. When Jesus was here in the flesh, He could not physically be inside us, but the Holy Spirit can and does abide in us. That is why Jesus said that He must go to the Father so God could send His Spirit. As we we meditate on the word, the more fruit we produce and the fruit that we produce will be more like the vine.
*​****​*In yesterday’s blog, I used the word “interceder” which is really not a word, it should have been “Jesus the Intercessor”. My apologies.​****​
Post 02-04-2015