Light of the World

by Don Merritt at Life Reference–  14 Comments

Low Lying Mist Over River Spey, Strathspey, Scotland

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. Matthew 5:14-16

You and I: We are the light of the world!

Our light however doesn’t simply come from our own ‘greatness’ but rather, it is the reflected light of the truth of God.  If we fill ourselves with Christ, if we fill ourselves with His love, His righteousness and His attitude of service, then we reflect these attributes to a world that is desperate for them.  But wait… isn’t that easier said than done?

The answer to that question is a definite “maybe”.

If we are willing to put self aside, to serve others and to immerse ourselves in His Word, then it isn’t so difficult; in fact it will come naturally.  On the other hand, if we can’t get over looking out for number one, or always putting self first… or if we are simply too busy to pray and study God’s Word, then we will never grow enough.

With that said, the choice is ours.  Will we commit ourselves to something greater than self, or will we live in a small world dominated by the unholy trinity: Me, Myself and I?

Would you like to live a happy, full and satisfied life?  If so, reflect the light of God’s love.

 

No Distasteful Duty: Rejoicing in the Lord Always

by Mike Riccardi at TheCripplegate

Rejoice in the Lord Always 2

Last week I shared some passages about the centrality that joy has in the Christian life. Today, I’d like to think more about the nature of joy so that we know precisely what it is we are to pursue in our walk with Christ.

Joy is a Duty

First, we must recognize that we are commanded to rejoice. Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4; cf. 1 Thess 5:16). He is not making a request, nor merely offering a suggestion as if to say, “If you’d really like to make progress in your Christian life, if you really want to be a mature Christian, you might consider diligently pursuing your joy in God.” No! He’s speaking to all the Christians at the church of Philippi (1:1), and by extension to all Christians today. He is informing us of our duty. It is a present imperative, and so even if he didn’t include the word “always,” the original language would still have the force of: “Be continually rejoicing.”

And Paul is not innovating here. There are numerous other places in Scripture where God’s people are commanded to rejoice.

Psalm 33:1 – “Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones.”
Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the LORD…”
Psalm 97:12 – “Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones, and give thanks to His holy name.”
In Matthew 5:12, the Lord Jesus Himself commands us to “Rejoice and be glad” when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
And in a very similar fashion, the Apostle Peter commands the churches under his care, “…to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing.” (1 Pet 4:13).

Scripture makes it emphatically clear that joy is a duty of the people of God. But in spite of that crystal clear emphasis, so many Christians continue to believe that joy is some sort of ancillary, incidental footnote to the Christian life. And I’m sure that response was as old as the commands themselves, because Paul feels the need to repeat himself before the end of the verse! It’s as if, as he sits there and pens this command, he can already anticipate the objections. “Well, surely he can’t mean rejoice in the Lord always! Doesn’t he know what we’re going through?!” And so he repeats himself: “Again I will say, Rejoice!”

I love the comment Spurgeon makes on this:

“Do you not think that this [repetition] was intended also to impress upon them the importance of the duty? ‘Again I say, Rejoice.’ Some of you will go and say, ‘I do not think that it matters much whether I am happy or not, I shall get to heaven, however gloomy I am, if I am sincere.’ ‘No,’ says Paul, ‘that kind of talk will not do; I cannot have you speak like that. Come, I must have you rejoice, I do really conceive it to be a Christian’s bounden duty, and so, ‘Again, I say, Rejoice!’”

Well, if Scripture is so clear that joy is a Christian duty, we need to clearly understand thenature of true, Christian joy. What is it that the Word demands from us here?

The Emmaus story

I just read the last of Luke in my devotions this morning. Like you I almost always still find a new insight as I go over these stories I have read many times. As I thought about this story of two dejected guys heading home rather beaten down and discouraged, I see Jesus saddling up to them. I sense a grin and almost a chuckle in his heart.

I know many always see him stern and rebuking of the disciples’ problems with understanding and faith, but I often sense he has a great winsomeness about him. I don’t picture him ranting and raving at them – and especially these two. Instead of a stern rebuke, I think he came across as a totally upbeat companion who got to give an incredible special uplift to two otherwise defeated individuals. I think he found this contact to be one of great joy to him as he picked out these two out and changed their down hearts to exploding joy as they raced all the way back to share with the others. He didn’t just happen upon them. He went out of his way to pick them out for this experience.

He even beat them back. I bet their trip back was faster. Instead of scraping the dusty  road, they probably hardly touched the ground. I can’t imagine Jesus not smiling or even laughing as he watched their joy – I think that brought him joy, too.

Their experience was so incredible, they couldn’t contain themselves – they had to share. Would that I, too, would have such a revelation of him.

I bet this wasn’t the last time they shared that experience.

Living in an Imperfect World

Interestingly, I came across this blog and the one following this morning – one after the other. Wonder if God is saying something to me this morning – maybe you, too. This is by IAmFashioned.

We are imperfect living in an imperfect world; mistakes are simply part of the price we pay for being here. But, even though mistakes are an inevitable part of life’s journey, repeated mistakes should not be. When we commit the inevitable blunders of life, we must correct them, learn from them, and pray to God for the wisdom not to repeat them. And then, if we are successful, our mistakes become lessons, and our lives become adventures in growth, not stagnation.

If you have made a mistake, even serious mistakes, there is always another chance for you because this thing called “failure” is not falling down, but the staying down. -Mary Pickford

mistakes

Lord, I know that i am imperfect and that I fail You in many ways. Thank You for Your forgiveness and for Your unconditional love. Show me the error of my ways, Lord, that I might confess my wrongdoing and correct my mistakes. And, let me grow each day in wisdom, in faith, and in my love for You.

Amen!

Be Kind To Yourself

Sometimes we really need to back off and realize we are not perfect and will stumble, fail others and our false expectations of ourselves.  Fortuantely for all of us we have a Godknows us and extends great mercy to us as this thought by 

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

It’s another crazy week. (shock face) No worries, because all is right in my world. I am walking by faith, trusting my Lord and Savior. Still working on breathing calmly, because I have another button that I didn’t know existed. (gritted teeth smile) I’ll tell you later. (smile)

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It’s a beautiful thing when we can end a bad day and be kind to ourself. (smile) It has become my new habit on challenging days!

Replaying where we stumbled and why we stumbled gains nothing. (shock face) Thanking God that we survived is cause to smile and be kind to ourself and enjoy a peaceful night’s rest. (smile)

Learn from it and move on! Mercy and grace. We have God’s mercy and grace! Praise The Lord!

I am hanging in there with things and stuff, by faith, because this too shall pass. (smile)

Be blessed and roll with it. (smile) Remember to keep your sense of humor. (smile)

 

Quotables ~ Repentance

from Heavenly Raindrops

Heavenly Raindrops ~ Images

REPENTANCE:
It is not something you do to make yourself feel better before God,
It is something you do to make your obedience better before God.

by Sue Nash © 2014

Proverbs 28:13
He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

Crosses along the highway ~ photo taken while we drove past.

Feel free to share or use on other websites ~ no fee.  Just don’t use for commercial purposes or monetary gain.
Attribution back to this site would be nice, but not required.

 

The Difference Between Believing the Gospels and Trusting the Gospel

A blog and videos by J Warner Wallace of Cold Case Christianity

The Difference Between Believing the Gospels and Trusting the Gospel

I leaned over and said, “I think it may be true.” “What may be true?” asked Susie. “Christianity,” I responded. “The more I look at the Gospels, the more I think they look like real eyewitness accounts.” I spent months examining the claims of the Gospels, evaluating them with the template I typically apply to eyewitnesses in my criminal investigations. At the end of my examination, I was confident in their reliability. I believed the Gospels were telling me the truth about Jesus. But I wasn’t yet a Christian. I had what I often refer to as “belief that”. I examined what the Gospels had to say about Jesus, and after testing them rigorously, I came away with confidence in their accuracy, early datingreliable transmission and lack of bias. But I still had a profoundly important question: “What is the cross all about? Why did Jesus have to die that way?” My wife, Susie, had been raised as a cultural Catholic, and although she was familiar with the language and doctrines of Catholicism, her answer was simply, “I don’t really know.” After months of investigation, I believed what the Gospels told me about Jesus, but I wasn’t yet ready to accept the Gospel of Salvation.

Yesterday, CBN posted the story of my journey from “belief that” to “belief in”. It’s really the first time I’ve told the story this completely, and I hope it will help you see the role evidence can play in moving someone from intellectual assent to volitional submission:

See the rest and videos at his blog: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/the-difference-between-believing-the-gospels-and-trusting-the-gospel/#sthash.v1YvKDGC.dpuf