“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV
What is light? The absence of darkness. God is the absence of darkness. There is no darkness in Him. In fact when the garden was new it was full of light because God walked in the garden with Adam. His presence and his glory filled that place. But since sin and death came into Adam and Eve they were banished from the garden and his light. We are all sinners and are full of darkness and the world we live in is a very dark place. Those of us who know the one who is the light have that spark of light in us. But we need to be connected to the source often to shine. Praying, reading the Bible, praising, devotionals, Christian movies, and Christian books are all good ways to be connected. Even fellowshipping with other Christians is a good source of power because their spirit connects with our spirit and edifies each of us. The more you are connected the brighter you shine. Have you ever met someone whose Spirit just draws you and something about them just glows? I have. Think about when Jesus walked on this earth. He drew people to him. They wanted to be around him. They wanted what he had to rub off on them. Jesus was with some of his disciples and “there he was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” He was full of his heavenly glory. This is what we should strive for. We will never get there till we are in heaven but we need to shine in the darkness.￼ That is the way others will get to know our God. We need to be like him. Full of love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance and Faith. These are some of Gods qualities that we need more of. He is perfect light and we need to get as close to that and that takes purpose. It won’t just happen. You really need to be deliberate. Another reason to want that light shining in your life is that it brings so much peace, strength, and joy. I know people who at one time had the joy of the Lord in their lives and they were on fire for the Lord. They had purpose and they were making a difference. They were drawing people to the love of the Lord, but the cares of this life and the daily grind wore on them. They stopped fellowshipping with other Christians who supported and lifted them up. That is important to your strength and joy. We lift each other without even knowing it. That love of God is flowing from our spirits and we can relate to each other and our challenges. These friends got very discouraged and lost that feeling of love and acceptance that being around God brings. Everyone needs that kind of love to help and encourage them. When they are around someone who is shining brightly for God it will rub off on them even if they are not seeking it.
Can you be that shining light in someone’s life?
“…you do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you have wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on pleasures.” James 4:2-3 NIV
Whenever you need something come before God. Even though he knows our needs before we ask him, does not mean that we don’t need to ask. The Lord loves to answer our prayers when we ask. If it is important to you, it’s important to God. Do not think that you are bothering God, or that it is too petty to bring to him. Everything that you tend to worry about or get anxious over is important to give to God. It is important to be specific with God. Tell him what’s wrong but you don’t need to tell him how to fix it. Remember his ways are not always ours. He may not do things exactly how you think it should be done, but his ways are best. He knows us because he designed us. Just because he doesn’t answer immediately or the way we prefer does not mean he isn’t listening. He will always answer. In his time, in his way, and always what is best for us. If it’s not for my best, I don’t want it. I trust him. I don’t always understand why someone isn’t healed, or they die, when I had been praying for them. Like when my grandson died before his fourth birthday. I wanted him healed so badly. I prayed for him every day, but he died. Sure it would have been great had he been healed. But was that the best thing for him? Or was that just best for me. Sure I miss him and his family misses him but, so many things tell me he is better off. He has a perfect body and no pain. All his Tay-Sachs friends are there with him and they are perfect too. His Grandpa, who always wanted grandkids, but died too soon, and his great grandpa are with him. He is with Jesus. There is something I have learned about prayer. I have always asked God if I can be a part of what he is doing in our world. I want to make a positive impact on our world. He showed me how I can do that by praying. Praying puts me in miracle territory. Whenever you pray for needs then you are apart of the miracle when those needs get met. In my prayer life I have seen so many prayers get answered in unique and special ways. This has brought boldness to my prayers. When I see great answers I get excited and want to pray more. It is a privilege to come before God and to see his answers.
Do you know someone who needs prayer today?
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
As we leave 2019 behind it is a very good time to take a quick look to our past. Do we have regrets and disappointments we need to leave behind. Things we did or didn’t do. Things we don’t like about ourselves. Maybe I have been mean, negative, and angry. Have I had bad habits and behaviors that need to change. What can I do that will make life better? Sometimes we get so stuck beating ourselves up over what is already done and gone. We can’t change yesterday but today is a brand new day. We can start all over. You are never too far gone. Even when you are at the very bottom and things seem hopeless, you can look up and dream. What would make you better? Make life more fulfilling? Imagine that and what it looks like. I like what someone said the other day. Take a rubber ball and throw it as hard as you can at the ground. What happens? The harder you throw it the higher it bounces back. That’s us. When life slams you down bounce back. The harder you are slammed, the bigger your comeback can be. There is one large key. We can’t do it alone. But there is someone out there that wants to help. Will you let him? All you have to do is ask. You also need to be willing to try. Just one day at a time. I like lists so I write things down. At the end of the day what things did I do or not do. Just being able to check things off is my motivation. I take my list to God each morning. He is the one wise enough, rich enough, strong enough, and powerful enough to get it all done and he wants it more than me. He wants us to grow and be blessed. It might take work but who can not suck it up for one day. Tomorrow we can work on tomorrow. If this was your last day on earth wouldn’t you want to make it count? When you have regrets you need to take them to Jesus and ask him to forgive you. But don’t stop there. Leave them there. He has totally wiped the slate clean and it shines brightly. Don’t try to take that big black boulder back. That makes no sense. It doesn’t exist anymore. When Jesus hung on the cross the criminal next to him had many regrets. Some quite big. But he gave them all to Jesus. Jesus told him, “today you will be with me in paradise.” No chance to make any more mistakes. Just perfection and joy forever.
Do you want to accept the one who can help you?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV
Every day we are bombarded with decisions to make. But the first one we need to make is to have a good day. It is a choice we make every day. Whether we make it or let circumstances make it for us. You do have a choice to rejoice or not. If you decide that ahead of time it will be easier to keep. Let’s say you have to wait for breakfast or it’s cold. Or the weather is lousy and your hair won’t behave. Hey at least God woke me up and I have food to eat. All things I can thank God for. And should thank him for. Like that great cup of coffee. We can dwell on negative things, but they can harm us and others so think positive always. There are things all day long that God has done for you and given you. Do we thank him for them? There are people throughout the day that do things for us. Do we show them our appreciation? Every person we meet is someone God loves. Whom he has died for. They need to be treated with love and respect. Do special things for everyone you meet. Give compliments, and show you care. Set out every day to do positive things. We can always try to show love and help just like Jesus did. We need to get momentum going in our lives by being consistent in the ideals God is giving us. His wisdom can get us going. Start by saying positive words over your life and the lives of others around you. Lifting others up with our words. Avoiding useless words that don’t edify. Negative or destructive words should have no place in our vocabulary. If you need to say something harsh start with, “With all due respect,”. This gives you time to choose the best words you can. Encourage positive actions, positive change. Eat healthier, exercise more, and read your Bible and pray. Encourage others to join in your endeavors. Make this new year about being the best you can be. Don’t be tempted to quit. With God’s help you can do all things. Every day try new things to make your life better. New good habits started. Keep on keeping on. You can do it. Your life is what you make of it. Go for it and make positive changes. Be sure to run to God for wisdom and he will guide you.
Do you let God help you make wise decisions?
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you’ve heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the ‘Holy Spirit.'” Acts 1:4 NIV
God wants to be with his people. He went to great lengths to see this happen. Giving his one and only son to die an agonizing death on a cross, just so we could be justified before God. Now he can be around us 24/7. He is available to us every minute of every day. God wishes to have a relationship with us. The only kind of relationship that you can get spending much time with him. We need to spend time with him daily. Just talk to him like a best friend or your spouse. Thank him for all the wonderful things he does for you in your life. A bright new day! He woke you up, some didn’t. That safe comfortable bed, the food on your table, a loving family, good friends and everlasting life. There is so much to be thankful for. Praise him for all your blessings. My grandchildren, all nine of them are so important to me. And I’m always praying for their health and safety. They are such a joy in my life and I love to see them succeed. He has given me favor with so many people and good friends. In every walk of life, and all throughout my day I have chances to show his great love. He is available to guide me and direct me through his Holy Spirit. He will nudge me at times to do something or say something. I jump to it quickly because my spirit won’t rest until I do. It always feels so good doing his will. We can also spend time with him though his words. The Bible is a real good way to get to know him better. Get to know his character. John is a good place to start. Seeing how Jesus lived his life is a great example for us. Do read all the word over a period of time. It all has value and will give an overall character of the God we serve. There is a time and place to ask God for things. One of the greatest is for wisdom. He will always give that one. He can be a valuable friend and confidant. Share your dreams and desires with him. He probably put them in your heart if they really are best for you. He gives us dreams to help us get where he wants us to go. The Holy Spirit in us gives us so much.
Won’t you let him become your best friend?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NIV
These passages speak of the love God has for everyone. Not just when we are good or do what he wants. But everyone and all the time. He does not want anyone ever to perish. He gave his one and only son to be born so that he could die a humiliating, horrible death so that nobody would have to die. We all deserve death because we’ve all sinned. But he died for us. That is real love. He is a perfect and holy God who cannot dwell among sin. They made a way for us to be together with them for eternity in heaven. But they also gave us free will, to be able to choose just what we want. They have made it very clear what they want. They have given us their own words written just for us to help us know them. They have given us a gift. Just like every gift you have ever been given, it is free. You have to do nothing but accept it. It takes faith to accept it because it is not something you can see or feel. We have to believe we have it. With that gift comes the promises that they will help us. Once we believe, we need to practice what we believe. We will turn away from sin. We are no longer a slave to sin but are made new. Many people choose to believe the parts of the Bible they like. It is historically accurate and has been proven to be true. If it is true, it is to be believed. All of it. If we believe all the good things like how much God knows us and loves us, knowing our every thought and always wanting what is best for us. Then we ought to believe when he tells us not to do something. Sin is not just wrong, it is not good for us if it brings eternal death. He has warned us time and time again. But this is one thing he doesn’t have control over. We do though. So nobody can say that a righteous God would not send someone to hell. He doesn’t. But we do by not believing and obeying. We have the final say over our actions. We can use any excuse we want, but not doing his will puts it on us. He is a very loving and just God. He tells us in his word how to be blessed. He tells us he to have a full and abundant life. How to have fullness of joy bubbling over in our lives. He wants what every good father wants for his children. The best. Every parent will do everything they can to see their children happy, healthy, and safe and sometimes say ‘no’. If what they want is not best for them. Shouldn’t we be glad to do things that will bring joy, happiness, and blessings.
What can we do to have a good and abundant life?
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1John 7-8 NIV
It is very important to have fellowship with others. Some of the best relationships I have are with other Christians. I believe we can be real with each other and gain so much from each other. But the best thing we can do for any relationship is spend time with our Heavenly Father. I know that my relationship with God has grown so much in the last six years. I love to spend time with him. I can spend time lounging in bed in the mornings and just talking about everyone and everything that is important to me. I know I can spend over an hour because my mind wanders. That isn’t always bad. Sometimes I will think of things I need to do that particular morning, but sometimes God will give me something to write about or something I need to do. (A divine assignment ) I can have a physical problem that I’m worrying about and he will give me a great idea of something to try. Or something I can do for someone. I love these times. Everyone must think I’m lazy but curled up in bed with my best friend is the best part of my day. Then when I do get up I’m sharp and ready to go. I can hit the floor running, or rolling for me. Like this morning I saw several things I needed to do right off. Spending that quality time with God makes me a better person. The love God has for me is bubbling up inside of me and I know he has that same love for everyone else. That makes me want to have that same kind of love. Just because I read my Bible and the knowledge of Gods love is inside me, I didn’t really know it until my relationship grew. Now I see and feel his love because we are so close. Just like any relationship it takes time of talking about important issues. It is so easy to do the polite chit chat and not really know someone. But to me, everyone has the potential to be a new great friend. Even though I know I may never see them again I want them to know I care about them and wish them well. Even a couple well chosen words can say so much. It is hard for me to talk to some people because I don’t speak very loud or distinctly. But I try real hard to use gestures and emotions to help my words. My smile is a big thing I always want to give away. The more time I spend with God, the more I will be like him. I know myself, I still make judgments of others. Someone can do or say something and I assume. That is sin and I confess that one a lot. I do not know the shoes they’ve walked in and I want to be understanding but I need God’s help. We all do.
What can you do or who can you talk to today?