“You Are the Light of the World!”

Do you ever wonder why Christians have to deal with so much stuff from people?  Why does it seem the rights of everyone else are important all the while our rights are trying to be diminished by opposing forces?  Why does it seem that we are singled out to be somebody to mess with when the cut-ups of this world get by on a free pass.

I’ll tell you why.

Things are set in motion like that to try to discourage us from our walk with Christ; our belief.  The fact of the matter is our lives are convicting to those who fight against God and His plan for humanity.  God, through His Word, tells of a holy requirement He desires to see played out in the lives of each and every individual.  Those who seek after the flesh and revel in carnality and sin don’t want the same desires as He.  Rather, they fight vehemently against it and anything that resembles it (i.e. Christians).

Once Jesus taught, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid,” Matthew 5:14.  You shine for Him.  You magnify His brightness and glory in the midst of degradation and sin.  You are a beacon to show people the way to this wonderful life in Him through the darkness and disparity of this world.  As a Christian, you look like Him (in character), you talk like Him and that bothers those who oppose Him.

In a life that has been transformed by His renewing power, it becomes a living testimony to grace, mercy, and the power of salvation working itself out in humanity.  Although these wonderful things are available to all for the asking, few choose to look to Him for those wonderful gifts.  They would much rather pursue the things of the flesh than that of the Spirit causing war and contentions with those who walk and talk differently then them.

Nonetheless, I urge you brother and sister in Christ, keep walking the holy walk.  No matter the fighting.  No matter the contentions.  Keep showing this world, through the life you live, what a mighty God we serve.  Philippians tells us we are, “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world,” (2:15).  By the continual light of Christ beaming from your life, you are helping others to draw nearer to Him; you are helping others to see the hope that is available if they would but turn.

The life we live may cause us discomfort at times, but the reward of having others see Christ in us is immeasurable.  You and I can positively effect change in the lives of others for eternity.  I think, my friends, that far outweighs the opposition we may face today.

And, as we are living, let us always remember we have nothing to boast or be arrogant about.  We are saved today because somebody else stood up as a light for us showing us the way; somebody else’s lives were convicting, pricking our hearts to want to know Him more.  Our salvation is NEVER anything for us to glory in.  We can only glory in our Savior who gave His life that we might have new life in Him.  We are now vessels filled with His grace that we might positively pour into and shine in the lives of others.

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“Your Faith Speaks more than Your Words!”

 

What people witness in your life resounds more than the words that are coming out of your mouth.  Evidence of belief; proof of faith is the visual representation that most want.  Many mistake others as not wanting what we have or not wanting the faith, yet they haven’t seen enough of it in action to provoke them to seek after what we say we have.

So, the old phrase still rings true today: “Seeing is believing.”  To a world lost, who have not hope, they look for a ring of hope they can grab onto to prevent them from drowning in the deep abyss of the darkness of this world.  They want a way out.  Many don’t want to sink deeper into despair, deeper into the unknown where there is no light to guide the way.  They want to see what you say you see.  They want to feel what you say you feel.  They want what you say you have but do they see it currently active in you to propel them from wanting it to seeking it?

Your faith speaks louder than your words.  Paul told the church at Thessalonica, “Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything,” 1 Thessalonians 1:8b, NKJV.  If necessary I believe Paul would have testified on their behalf, he would have spoken up for them to assure others of their faith.  But, their faith was so active, their faith was so alive and in operation that he didn’t feel a need to speak at all.  Their faith did the talking for them.  Their faith is what people noticed, not the words they spoke from their mouth.

A lot of people do a lot of talking these days and sometimes it’s hard to decipher truth from fiction.  Jesus gave us a key that lines right up with what Paul wrote in his letter.  Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits,” Matthew 7:16.  If one comes upon a tree that has apples growing upon it then they are to assume it is an apple tree.  The same is true with a life of faith.  What they see coming out of you, or as Paul referred to as “gone out” is what matters the most.  You can say that you are an orange tree but if I see apples then I will classify you as an apple tree.  If you say that you have great faith but all I see is the opposite than I will not view you as having great faith.  I will mark you by what I see.

Your faith matters in this world.  More importantly, your faith on display matters to those around you so much that one should not have to speak up or testify for you, all they should be able to do is look at your faith in action and mark you as a person of faith.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/StockSnap

“You Make a Difference to God!”

God is after you, dear friend, in a good way.  He loves the masses, but the individual heart He wants to hold as His own.

There are so many things in our culture that can evoke an inferiority complex in people.  The barrage of advertisements that make one feel less than if they don’t have what others are offering.  The seemingly picture-perfect life displayed on the feeds of social media, causing a longing for what they appear to have, making one feel they don’t measure up to some invisible criteria.  The comparison factor of success that is too much alive in this world which causes many to believe they will never be what another is.

That’s good because God created you and me to be us!  The masses that come to Him don’t negate the fact that He wants the individual heart – He wants the individual life – He wants the individual you!  You make a difference to God!  You are important to God!

God will leave the ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness to go after that one which is lost because that one is special to Him (Luke 15:1-7).  That one is cared about by Him.  That one is loved by Him and He wants that one with Him because to God, they make a difference.  God finds joy in just that one heart that will turn to Him, repent, and enter into blessed fellowship with Him.

When the individual heart turns to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, it puts a smile on God’s face and makes the angels rejoice (Luke 15:10) because despite what the world tries to make us believe or feel, each one of us makes a difference to God.  You are valuable to God and He loves you more than you could ever know.

Inspiration:

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  – Psalm 139:14

“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:31

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

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

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” – John 1:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

You are uniquely loved by God.  You make a difference to God!

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“Carry God’s Presence Today”

 

“Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai . . . Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him,” Exodus 34:29

No matter what you do today:

WORK ………………………………………………….

SCHOOL ………………………………………………

PLAY ……………………………………………………

SNOW ………………………………………………….

RAIN …………………………………………………….

SUN ……………………………………………………..

HARDNESS ………………………………………….

PEACE …………………………………………………

ADVERSITY ………………………………………….

SPOUSE ………………………………………………

CHILDREN ……………………………………………

FRIENDS ………………………………………………

MOM …………………………………………………….

POP ……………………………………………………..

VACATION ……………………………………………

DAY OFF ………………………………………………

PRAYER ……………………………………………….

BIBLE …………………………………………………..

CHURCH ………………………………………………

OUTREACH ………………………………………….

VISITATIONS ………………………………………..

WITNESSING ………………………………………..

TEACHING ……………………………………………

EXERCISING …………………………………………

GYM ……………………………………………………..

HOME …………………………………………………..

LAUNDRY …………………………………………….

DINNER ………………………………………………..

BEDTIME ………………………………………………

carry God’s presence with you!!!!  Let people know that you have been with Him!!!  Let your life reflect it!!!

When Moses met with God his face shone, carrying evidence of being in God’s presence. What kind of evidence do people see in us that lets them know that we have met with God. As we start this new day, are we carrying God’s presence with us no matter what we are doing? May we shine for Him and let His presence be magnified in us!

Photo: Pixabay

Familiarity Doesn’t Have to Breed Contempt

 

Image Credit: Pixabay/rawpixel

Daily routines and associations with those closest to us can sometimes cause us to downplay their strengths and pick apart little things about them. A surface of critiquing and criticizing seems easier to some than delving into what’s below the surface to focus on the greater good dwelling in an individual.

One prime example of this sort of relationship is within marriage.  Spouses who have been married for any considerable amount of time with the ins and outs of daily life can sometimes start to hone in on what bothers them the most about the other as opposed to purposefully looking to view them in light of all the positives they have to bring to the table.

Why is it so easy to see what doesn’t please us about people and harder to focus on their good attributes?  Why does it seem easier to dismiss the familiar just because they are, well, familiar?

Jesus knew exactly how it felt to be dishonored in such a way.  Once He is quoted as saying, “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house,” Mark 6:4.

Common sense would tell us to support and uphold those closest to us; to have their back and cheer them on when seeing them trying to get ahead or excel at life.  We have no problem when it comes to doing this on a national level, say for the Olympics.  We give that one competing for our country our support and we stand in front of the screens rooting them on to win so that nationally we gain a medal at the end.

But for those closest to us, when we see them talk of their dreams and make plans to forge ahead into the future unknown; when we see them start ministries, set goals, and go after where they feel God is leading them, is it easier to downplay that  than offer the support we so willingly give to others whom nationally we don’t even know?  Does our opinion of them, because we knew them way back when alter our perspective of their current work, hopes, and dreams?

In Luke 4, Jesus, quoting the same verse as above, also gave two examples from their history of people who received blessings although they were not of the Jewish people.  One was the widow of Zarephath in the region of Sidon and the other was Naaman the Syrian (vss. 26-27).  Both were Gentiles and not of the “familiar” countrymen of which Jesus spoke.

The widow received provision during the time of famine and Naaman received healing from a normally incurable disease.  They weren’t blinded by the familiar, rather they opened their hearts to the link that God had placed right in front of their faces to receive the blessing He had in store for them.

Don’t let the familiar cause you to miss out on the blessings found in the people that God has already placed in your life.  To you, they may seem like, “Oh, that just so and so.  No need to worry about them.”  But, they may be your connection to that blessing that God wants to pour into your life.  Don’t count your blessings out (like those whom Jesus was talking about) just because you know the source from which it flows.

And, what if you are the one being rejected like Jesus was; because people know you and don’t want to receive or accept the gift of God in you?  You press on anyhow.  You don’t dwell on people, but you dwell on the God who gave you the gift and has entrusted you to work His works in your life.

Even if a person doesn’t support you – God does.  He does not neglect the gifts that He has placed in you and don’t you do it either (see 1 Timothy 4:14).  Don’t cower at their rejection, rather you stir up that gift and let the flames be fanned (see 2 Timothy 1:6).

Jesus was rejected and He also warned in another verse, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you,” (John 15:18).  In other words, no matter who you are, and no matter what gift you have in you not everybody is going to be on board with you or supportive of the work of God in you.

What do you do?  How do you deal with that contemptuous familiarity then?  You do what Jesus did: “He passing through the midst of them went his way,” (Luke 4:30).  You keep on keeping on.  Jesus didn’t stand around and try to convince them to receive Him.  Life is too short for that; His time on earth would declare as some of us say today, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”  We have limited time here on earth and God needs our gifts and ministries up and running and being effective for His kingdom.

What do you do?  You follow the path of God for your life.  You continue to go forth working the works of God He placed in you, sowing seeds of ministry wherever He leads you.

Familiarity breeds contempt can work two ways: it causes us to miss out on the best of people that God has already placed in our lives, and it causes rejection of what you personally can bring to the table, seeking to hinder you, but it doesn’t have to.

With the love of God operating in us, we can look at those around us and be thankful for the familiar and the special things that each one brings to our lives.  And, with our faith in God we can march forth in the destiny He has in store for us regardless of who has our backs because, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).  We can stay positive in what He has called us to and not succumb to the negative because of the familiar.

For either end that one may find themselves on, we have Jesus as our prime example on how to deal with it.  Follow Him and you will never be led wrong.  Familiarity doesn’t have to breed contempt.  God may be doing something new in the midst of the ordinary and you don’t want to miss it.

Community of Believers | We are here for one another!

 

Races can take you through many terrains.  Running uphill, it’s hard.  The more you go, the steeper the incline, the harder it gets.  Breath after breath your chest heaves for relief.  Push after push your muscles cry out for mercy.  And, just when you thought you had no more in you; just when you thought you couldn’t go any farther, from behind there comes these hands out of nowhere that steadies your stride and helps propel you forward some more.  On the side of you comes smiling faces with encouraging words grabbing hold of your arms and help pull you up that incline that you might finish your race.  They want to help you make it.

The Apostle Paul often described our Christian life as a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  We run it.  We press for it.  But, sometimes the way gets hard and if it had not been for the grace of God, we would not have made it.

As the community of racers pushed and pulled the struggling runner uphill, so God will minister to us to help us go through our race.  Often this is done through the community of believers that will come alongside the one that needs support.

In this world the struggle is real.  May we, as a community of believers, recognize the support that each one needs.  May we join up with our fellow Christian race runners and offer the help and encouragement they need to make it.  May we see beyond our own race and allow God to use our hands and smiling faces to help bolster someone’s faith as they are striving to make it up the inclines of this life.

We all have the same goal in mind: to finish the race.  We need each other to do it.  As a community of believers, our job goes beyond spreading the gospel and being a light in this dark world, and all the other spiritual stuff it entails.  Our job is also to seek the welfare of one another.  We need to be there for one another.  We need to be present and involved in the process of what they are going through “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it,” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).  

More encouraging verses and quotes:

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow . . .” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a

“God has chosen us to help one another.” Smith Wigglesworth

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo Source: Pixabay

“The God Who Touches Me…”

 

The God who touches me is the God who loves me.
Saved, my sins He has thrown into the deep sea.

He carries my soul in His hand day by day.
He wraps His strength around me; my fortress, my stay.

He covers me in light that shields from the dark.
He is the armor that protects from all fiery darts.

He’s my Shepherd and the Lamb, who leads and sacrifice.
My safety; my salvation came at His high price.

The God who touches me cares beyond what we know.
His love on display is the grandest show.

In it we see eternity play out.
His best became our rest; no reason to doubt.

On His throne He sits in heaven where we bow at the knee.
Never forsaking us, in His presence, till we are there home free.

The God who touches me, I reach out for Him too.
As the woman grabs His hem and is healed through and through.

To feel His virtue; His power; His love – it’s so real.
His Spirit overwhelms; on my heart is His seal.

Taking me to heights in heaven to know,
where for eternity I bask in His unimaginable glow.

Photo Credit: Pixabay/Screamenteagle

 

 

 

 

 

Confident in God!

There is always something about the stories where the underdog comes out on top, where the least of all becomes the greatest that sends chills of inspiration up the spine.

The story of David and Goliath has long evoked a sense awe at the victory won and the hope of possibility in the soul still in the fight facing his/her own giants. The fact of the matter is that many things in this life which we face day to day can at times seem too much to bear.  Our worries don’t necessarily have to be against the biggest guy around.  Just the struggle of making it one more day, another try at giving it your best shot, can make it really hard for some people.

That’s why this article is not going to focus on the beast Goliath was or how David brought him down with just a stone and slingshot.

Nope. I want us to focus on the confidence that David had in God.

To me, it doesn’t matter if what you face is big or small. Sometimes the hardest stuff is the routine, small stuff that gets on your nerves every single day and makes you want to throw in the towel and quit.

Yes, David did the impossible in the name of the Lord. But, what I have found out in my own life is when we evoke that same confidence in God in every area of our lives, big or small, God tends to step in and work it out for us.  And, you know it was Him because that very area in life that used to be a source of hardship and frustration now becomes a place of peace and productivity.

David, before confronting Goliath, declared, “The LORD delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17:37, NKJV. emphasis mine).  I want us to focus on “He will” of that statement.  David expressed in those two little words the amount of confidence he had in the God he served.

Confidence in God the key no matter what. Many of times we misplace our confidences in the things and the people we see around us, allowing them to become our focus and control, when God should be at the forefront of the battle with us.  Over and over again we are told in His Word, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man,” (Psalm 118:8, NKJV); yet, man seems to always get more of our attention and we wonder why we falter in the battle and don’t end up standing as victor over the giants and circumstances we face.

We have to rely more on God than anything else in this world. He truly is the only one who can get in there and fight with us and for us and bring us to a victorious end on the other side.

Below are some reminders to trust God and have confidence in Him no matter the size of anything we face. Knowing this will improve our day to day struggles in life and turn them into day to day victories.

  • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
  • “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” – Isaiah 26:4
  • “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” – Psalm 37:3
  • “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17
  • “Never be afraid to trust in unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom
  • “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther
  • “So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” – Oswald Chambers

“Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!”

Photo: Pixabay/limo23

“But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying Lord, save me,” Matthew 14:30

There was a point in Matthew 14 where the disciples were not sure if the image they were seeing was actually the Lord. Finding out that it was Him, in a move of boldness, Peter requested, “Bid me come unto thee on the water,” (vs. 28).  Jesus’ response – “Come!” (vs.29).

How difficult, had we not known this familiar story, would it have been for us to get out of that boat and venture to do the impossible?  I mean – really?!  People are not known for walking on water, which is one of the reasons, they originally thought Jesus was a spirit (vs. 26).  Watching Jesus take command over what normally cannot be subdued, moved something inside of Peter to do what Jesus did.

What would that have been like?  Awesome, indeed!  I love to swim so the idea of being able to physically walk on water would make me downright giddy.  Another thing that appeals to me about this story is the courage to at least try.  To see what it was like to break away from the normal and to do something extraordinary.

Extraordinary living!  Isn’t that what being in Christ is all about?  It’s a whole lot of faith mixed with a whole lot of stepping out that produces the results of one who has chosen to see and do life differently than those around him.  The rest stayed in the boat.  They were content with the status quo.  But, Peter felt a special draw to see what it was like to step out of the boat – to see what it was like to stand where Jesus stood.

As Peter found out, the road to extraordinary living can get rough.  A lot of stuff can and will rise up against us as those waves did, and seek to toss about our faith.  What Peter “saw” side-tracked him from getting to where Jesus was.  The truth of Peter’s experience in this story unfolds the same way for many of us.  If only the sea would be calm then we would be alright.  If only the waves of adversity would stop trying to slam you, then would you be able to walk on water, too.

Jesus never promised calm seas all the time.  But, what He did promise was, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” (Matthew 28:20).  It is hard to try to live an extraordinary life when one takes their eyes off of Jesus and what He promised.  It’s one thing to recognize Jesus, but then we have the individual responsibility to stay focused on Him.  No matter what the seas are doing in our life, He promised to be there with us.  Always!

“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31).  In essence, He was stating that He was right there with Peter, so why did Peter take his eyes off of Jesus?

Sinking in life doesn’t always happen that fast.  Little by little one begins to predominantly focus on the problems of life instead of the Life Preserver, who promised to be there for you.  God wants us to step out into extraordinary living.  By keeping our eyes on Jesus we can do the impossible.  We can walk on water, too!  He is with you, always!

“When the Father speaks…”

There is a lot of inner dialogue that goes on and there is a lot of outer dialoguing that goes on.  The inner dialogue comes from the person within.  It talks to oneself sometimes words of encouragement, and that’s okay.  But, when it begins to express doubt, confusion and rehearses hurt repeatedly, it becomes a dangerous voice causing one to lose out on some of the best stuff God has for them.

The outer dialogues we hear daily comes from the voices all around.  Again, sometimes one may hear words of love, but when these voices speak criticism, discouragement, and put-downs, their words need to be silenced and replaced because they are not doing anything to one up or to help along the way.

Any voice, inner or outer, which speaks contrary to the words of the Father, must be made to shut up.  When the Father speaks, His is a heavenly dialogue, and what He has to say far outweighs any word on earth.

When the Father speaks His words are power.  “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God,” (Psalm 62:11).  Every other speech will fail and grow weak when it meets up against the strength of what He has to say.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12).

When the Father speaks His words are fulfilling.  “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11).  In the sea of worthless words that drown the hearing of this world, God’s Word can be trusted to do what He said He would do.  It will succeed at everything spoken of it.

When the Father speaks His words are truth.  False speech seems to dominate this world.  Whatever the platform, people are careless and deceitful with the words that they throw around.  But God’s words are dependable and faithful.  They are “truth” (John 17:17) and His words don’t lie (Numbers 23:19).  “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth,” (Psalm 33:4).

When the Father speaks His words are life.  Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63).  Not only are His words filled with life-giving power in the here and now, but when He speaks they are words of eternal life (John 6:68).  For those who believe in His Word, it will provide them with everything they need to live.

And, when the Father speaks, it is forever.  “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” (Isaiah 40:8; see also Matthew 24:35).  There will never be a time when His Word will not be.  All the inner and outer dialogues that take place daily will eventually pass away.  But, everything declared in His Word, shall be forever.  It’s not going anywhere.  Therefore, we can stake our very lives on it, live by it, and hope in it.  Because, when the Father speaks, His Word will always be there for us through it all.

Today, when the Father speaks, let His voice be louder than all others and let His words be the strength for your day.