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Archive for November, 2013

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:14-16

Jesus called it as He saw it.  He was straight forward and straight up about many things.

Yeah, He oftentimes used parables to teach the people.  What He was doing was using something that people were familiar with or understood well to share a life lesson in a subtle manner.

But He was usually straight out about things.

Ye are the light of the world. . .

The light of the world is a twofold metaphor.

The Light is Seen by Others

If we are the light of the world, then we should be shining as the light.  That’s the nature of light.  Light shines.  Jesus shared for us to live as the light and not hide our light under a bushel.

The Light Helps Others to See

. . . it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Others can see when you act as the light.  Others can see when you live as the light.  Others can see when you let your light so shine.

When you living as the light of the world, you can shine brightly and help others see the Truth and the Way.

 

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I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. – Psalm 69:30

I can publish praise of God openly with my voice.  However, I begin to wonder about the effectiveness of that praise in light of good works that reflect in the shadow of His wondrous works.  My works, no matter how much good that they actually do for God or others, are totally eclipsed and overshadowed by His great works.

This Thanksgiving say a prayer for those who seek to do good works.  Many will feed the homeless.  Some will offer them clothing and shelter.  Others will open their homes to them.  Some will go and spend volunteer time with wounded veterans while others will read to children in the cancer unit of the local hospital or wash feet at the neighborhood hospice.

Offer a prayer for those who offer their service.  Join the ranks of men and women who make Christ come alive for some people who will never set foot in a church’s sanctuary or crack open a Bible to find an inspirational passage.

Thank God as you give the world a glimpse of Him in action.  Remember, He could choose anyone.

It did not have to be you.  The least becomes greatest and the last becomes first in God’s economy and on His balance sheet.  We should be thankful to have been chosen and in a position to give back.

 


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When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.– 1 Corinthians 13:11, NKJV

I started to realize that I had not changed much.

No, I had aged somewhat.

Years had been added to my span of life.

But I had not changed much.

Childish things that Paul wrote about in Corinthians were still present in my life.  Childish ways still were part of my very nature and being.  Childish words escaped from my lips as if I had to filter and the Holy Spirit had never come upon me, or even dwelled within me.

I had not left the old man behind.

I had come to realization that I had simply dragged him along, bringing him with me to the foot of the cross and walking away from the cross with him still attached as apart of me.

I needed to live in the newness of of Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV

If I simply learned to live in Christ, I had a chance to live as a new creation in Paul’s words.  I could begin to leave that old man behind and live as something new, different and changed in Christ.

I have begun to make those changes.  I have already started on my way.

Pray for soul’s struggles.

Pray for my victory over trials, tests and temptations.

Pray that God be glorified, even in my down times, and that praise for Him continually be in my mouth.

God is making a new me out of me, out of all the wretchedness of the filthy rag that I brought to Him when I accepted Him.

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If It Had,Not, Been For The Lord, On My Side / Where Would I Be?, Where Would I Be? /

The classic gospel song that is derived from the Scriptures in Psalm 124.  It stems from a personal reflection amid the call for a collection reflection.  Each heart and every soul is to ponder and think deeply about the ways that the Lord has done miraculous things in their own lives as well as those both near and dear to them.  They would collectively look back upon how God had enhanced and enriched the lives of men and women throughout the ages.  In particular, the collective reflection would collide and combine with the personal reflection, bringing about a response from among people.

Think about what your response would be amid such a song of ascents.

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Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”- Mark 10:21

Jesus offers some straightforward advice to a rich young man who thought he had it together.  We see that Jesus looked on him and loved him before He laid it on him.  Jesus put it out there in simple terms.

Go and give what you own away, then come back and take up your cross to follow Me.(paraphrase)

We cannot let what we have hold us ao firmly that we fear letting go of it.  It cannot grip us so tightly that we have no freedom to do what we should do for the Lord.  If we lose sight or perspective, we run the risk of making ourselves into materialistic people with little spiritual substance.

How do I figure that?

The young walked away.  He was disturbed and distraught.  He was disheartened and discouraged.  He felt defeated.

Jesus went on to say that such a sad situation was like trying ro get a camel through the eye of a needle.  His disciples asked how anyone could be saved if such a man couldn’t get into heaven.  The Lord’s reply is sufficient: the impossible is made possible by God who created all things.

Free yourself of the junk and the clutter.  Rid yourself of the extra baggage you keep dragging along.  Get yourself freed up.

Once you are free, take up your cross.  Take up that cross and serve faithfully.  Then you are going to sow seeds that have no earthly reward.  Heaven will hold all the treasure that you will need.

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I am writing to you, little children,because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.- 1 John 2:12 (ESV)

We are called Christians.

That is how we are identified.  It is a label that has meaning for us.  It means that we are part of of the Family.  It means that we are part of the Fellowship.  It means that we part of the Faithful.

Most of all, it means that we are FORGIVEN.

How do we know that we are forgiven?

John said so in this epistleIf we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness(1 John 1:9, NKJV).

Paul said so in Colossians.  And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:13, NKJV).

Jesus said so in the Gospels.  Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men (Matthew 12:31, NKJV).  Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.(Luke 6:37, NKJV).  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained (John 20:30, NKJV).

Ultimately, we have to learn to live differently as being forgiven for his name’s sake (1 John 2:12).  We have to learn that we are forgiven, and then we can learn how to live in the knowledge of our forgiveness.  Finally, we must learn to live and forgive, so that we can live in freedom among the forgiven.

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.
8 Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

– Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV)

As Christians, we say that we follow Christ.  If you can recall some early church history, prior to the label Christian being placed us at Antioch, Christians were called people of the Way.  We were all about the Way, the new thing that God would do among us as He had spoken of through the prophet Isaiah.  It was not until many had been martyred, tortured and persecuted for the sake of Christ that the name Christian  had become acceptable.

We see others suffering and we refuse to sit by silently.

We hear about torture of women and children who abandon the faith of their ancestors to become Christians and our hearts weigh heavily with compassion and sympathy for the Christ-like suffering of these modern day martyrs.  Yet, we refuse to let it go on without our voices speaking against such atrocities.

We see men and women turn their lives around and turn their entire lives over to Christ in rehab centers, halfway houses, homeless shelters, street missions, prison chapels and on street corners.  We praise God for His mercy, grace and forgiveness right along with them.  Yet, we speak out against the temptations and other ills that sucked the life out of them throughout their addiction, imprisonment and other ordeals.

We speak loudly.  Speak through bull horns.  We speak into microphones at press conferences and from pulpits as well as behind podiums and on top of city hall steps.

We speak boldly in public spaces.  Just as Elijah called out the king of his prophetic days, we stand boldly before leaders and hold them accountable for justice, equity and liberty among the citizens.  We spoke boldly of the truth being covered up for greed and gain.  We speak boldly about the crimes and corruption of the scoundrels and scam artists.  

We let our voices ring as loud as church bells.  We let our voices sound out like sirens.  We lift our voices and uphold our fellow man for the sake of common good regardless of his or her station in life.

Let your voice be heard.

Let people remember that you have a voice and that you are not afraid to use it.

Speak up.  Speak out.

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