Light and Darkness

The words Light and Darkness appear through our Bible many times. Symbolically in scriptures light usually represents God’s glory and His holiness; where darkness represents sin, spiritual blindness, and separation from God. In many psalms David talks about the dark place of sin, he writes in Psalm 38 of his remorse for the sin of which he had committed, he tells of the dark and lonely place it left him in. However, after repentance David tells of his joy and gratitude to God for rescuing him from that place of sin. In John 3, John talks about how “the world loved the darkness and the sin rather than the light because their works were evil”. But even though our world has forsaken the Light we are given the hope in John 1:5 that, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has and will not overcome it.” In Matthew 17: 1-13, Matthew tells his testimony of the transfiguration. He informs his listeners of the glorious light which shown upon Jesus, “and His face shown like the sun and His cloths became white as light.” (Matt. 17:2)

John 8:12 tells us that Jesus is the “Light of the world, whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” We must fulfill the command which Jesus gave to us in Matthew 5 where Jesus teaches us the we are the light to this dark world and we are to “Let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.”

Today we live in a world that has forsaken God and has embraced the darkness. They are the people who Jesus told us about in John 3:19, but we have the hope that Jesus is on our side and His Light will never burn out, He is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever. So be encouraged to go out and let your light shine and make a difference in this dark world!

Guest Blogger

Advertisements

Delighting in WHAT?!?

This month, I had the opportunity to attend a Special Olympics bowling event.  It was wonderful to see the great number of people who attended the event─ those who came to support the athletes and those who participated!  I met and cheered for some pretty remarkable people, and quite remarkable athletes too if I may add!

To commence the event, an athlete led her fellow participants and attending supporters in reciting the Special Olympics oath, which simply is: “Let me win.  But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”!  And it was undoubtedly evident that their optimism, genuine delight, and bravery are admirable strengths, albeit apparent difficulties.

This brought one of my absolute favorite passages of Scripture to mind.  The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “He [Christ] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (NIV84).

He delighted in what!?!  Weaknesses?  Insults?  It can’t be!  Hardships?  Come on now!  Persecutions?  Difficulties?  You’ve got to be kidding me!

I understand how it seems natural to ask, “who in their right mind would delight in such frightful things”?  But what about considering why he would delight in those things?

It is in those very things ─weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties─ where strength, peace, endurance, bravery, and abilities do not exist of oneself, God adequately supplies.  When our strength is not enough, His perfect strength is!  When we lack power to tackle challenges, His perfect power is abundant!

It seems odd that someone could be weak yet strong at the same time.  But this is exactly what Paul declared ─ he recognized that he was weak and any “strength” was graciously supplied by God.  God’s strength is way stronger than any “weaknesses” or “strengths” of any man.

I had to ask myself…Do I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties as Paul?  Can I say with assurance that I am weak, but because of Christ’s perfect power resting on me, I am strong?  Will others notice optimism, genuine delight, and bravery from me in the midst of weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, difficulties and know that all glory is due to God?

Victoria

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine”

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet  i t  d i d  n o t  f a l l  because it had its  f o u n d a t i o n   o n   t h e   r o c k.  But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house  o n  t h e  s a n d.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house and  i t  f e l l  with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine,”…but what are the words that Jesus was speaking about?    I believe the answer to this question can be found by going back a few verses to the blessings and commands that Jesus gave to His disciples.

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, his disciples came to Him.  He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the gentle for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” (Matthew 5:3-11)

Then, He went on to say (my paraphrasing here) that we are salt and light to the world…Don’t put your light under a basket and don’t lose your saltiness…Keep His commandments and teach others to keep them also…Do not be angry with your brother; do not murder him in your heart…Do not commit adultery in your heart…Stay committed to your spouse…Keep your oaths to the LORD.  Let your yes be yes and your no be no…Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, give to those who ask…Love your enemies…Give to the needy in secret…Pray and fast in your prayer closet…Forgive those who sin against you…Serve and love God and not money…Store up treasures in heaven…Do not worry about your necessities; seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness first…God will take care of all your needs…Do not judge, work out your own salvation…Ask, seek, and knock.  It will be given, you will find, and the door will be open…Stay on the straight and narrow road…Beware of false prophets, you will know them by their fruit.

When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching.  Then Jesus came down from the mountain.

Everyone who hears these words of Mine”─ with these words, Jesus tells the “hearers” the key to building their lives on a firm foundation.   He literally gives the principles by which the WISE live their lives.

These words were not only for Jesus’ disciples then, but these words  a r e  for us today!   Let us build our house on the Rock, JESUS CHRIST.   Examine your life.  Are these the principles by which you live your life?   If they are, then you are wise and are building your house on the rock!    If not…

Mary

what if…

It is not uncommon to hear the proposal, “What if you knew that you only had one last day to live, what would you do differently?”  Many would probably answer something along the lines of, “I’d contact so and so, and tell them such and such”.  Right?  But what if this was phrased from the other side of the coin to propose, “What if you knew that other individuals only had one last day to live, what would you do differently?”

There was a man whose daughter was deathly ill.  In recognizing the seriousness of the situation and the desperate need of revitalized-life for his daughter, the man came to Capernaum.  “Seeing Jesus, he fell at His feet and pleaded earnestly with Him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put Your hands on her so that she will be healed and live'” (Mark 5:22-23, NIV84).

The Bible often describes those without Christ as being dead in their sin.  “‘I [Jesus] Am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life’…’unless you believe that I Am He, you will die in your sins‘” (John 8:12, 24, NASB).  Put another way, unless we are in Christ we have no life in us (John 6:53).

Do we recognize the seriousness of the situation of those who are not in Christ?  Of those who are deathly ill in most desperate need of life─ life that only The Life, Jesus Christ Himself can give them?  Would we, alike the father of the dying girl, go to Jesus to earnestly pray that He go and touch them so that they might live?  Would we too be wholeheartedly willing, in genuine concern and true love, to bring Jesus to the dying soul?

So in closing, I’d like to re-propose the re-phrased proposal…

“What if you knew that Annie or Jeff or Jed or Fran or Emily or  _______ only had one last day to live, what would you do differently?”

Victoria