Shine Like Stars

Shine Like Stars

How can a believer learn to shine like a star for Jesus?  That’s our topic today.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.  (Phil 2:14-16)

This verse begins with an instruction that we should not grumble nor should we argue. 

 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!  (Jas 5:9)

You must let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for the building up of the one in need, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Eph 4:29 NET)

And do not complain, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroying angel.  (1 Cor 10:10)

It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.  (Pro 20:3)

An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.  (Pro 29:22)

But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient . . .  (2 Tim 2:23-24)

We all know that there are many quick-tempered, damaged, and unscrupulous people in the world today.  We truly live among a crooked generation. 

Believers are called to encourage other people; to expose them to the hope that exists in Jesus; and to share the Good News of Jesus with all.   As we live for God and obey the morals and guidelines of the Bible, the Lord compares His children to bright, shining stars in a dark, joyless and threatening world.  Praise His Name! 

Let’s look at what the Bible says:

Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.  (Dan 12:3)

Arise, shine; for your light has come!  And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.  (Isa 60:1)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:16)

Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!  (Mt 13:43)

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  (Joh 8:12)

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  (2 Cor 4:6)

“Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”  (Eph 5:14)

We are called “the righteous” by the Word of God because we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, and He has become our righteousness.  Now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2); it is time to SHINE LIKE THE STARS in the darkness of this world.   Allow the light of Christ in you, the hope of glory, to shine in all its beauty.

Be bold and courageous.  Go ahead and shine, brothers and sisters!

Share Your Testimony

Share Your Testimony

However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.”  (Mk 5:19)

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul.  (Ps 66:16)

“Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?”  (Joh 4:29)

These passages all have one thing in common—they pertain to sharing your own testimony of what God has done for you.  We need to remember that our testimony is important.  We each have a testimony of how we came to accept Christ as our Savior and Lord. 

We also have additional testimonies of answered prayer—some of which are clearly in the realm of signs, wonders, and miracles.  We must be bold to joyously share the great things that God has done for us.

Why?

  • Your testimony is unlike anyone else’s. The honesty and reality of it will be used by the Holy Spirit to move in people’s hearts.
  • The Bible tells us share our testimony. (1 Pet 3:15-16)
  • All people love to hear stories. This is the age of superheroes, so introduce people to a true Hero—their Savior.
  • Your testimony strengthens the faith of all those who hear it—and will even strengthen and encourage your own faith as you remember what God has done for you in the past.
  • It will encourage other people who may be going through a similar situation. In this way, you may be able to help them carry their burden.  (Gal 6:2) 
  • Every time you retell how you came to know Christ as your Savior, you revive your experience of it. It helps to keep you connected and plugged into your first Love.  (Rev 2:4)
  • Your testimony gives glory to God because it points people to the Savior Jesus.

I Will Not Fear

I Will Not Fear

Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  I call out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.  I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.  I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side.  (Ps 3:2-6 NIV, underlining added)

Have you faced situations in life where unsaved people who knew you thought that you were crazy to trust God to help you?  I know that I have, and I suspect that you have, too.

But we can see from the passage above, that the psalmist placed his faith and trust FIRMLY in the Lord.  He decided that he would not be shaken, no matter what the circumstances.  This is the commitment to faith in God and His Word that we all need to make. 

God has certainly told us in many ways, in many verses in His Word, that He will be with us (Josh 1:9; Deut 31:8; Heb 13:5 NIV). He also assures us that His Word will not fail.   (Josh 23:14; Rom 9:6 NKJV)

Believe God, dear saints!  He cannot lie.  (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Heb 6:18 NKJV)

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.  (Ps 55:22 ESV)

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs off deliverance.  (Ps 32:7 NIV)

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  (Ps 34:17 NIV)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds . . .   (2 Cor 10:3-4 NKJV, underscoring added) 

Read Psalm 91 entirely and see how strongly the Lord commits Himself to protecting and delivering His people.  He has not changed!  (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8 NKJV)

Familiarize yourself with the Scriptures concerning God’s help and deliverance, and meditate upon them.  It will strengthen your faith, and remind you that God is on your side!  God bless you. 

Reasoning with God

Reasoning with God

It is sometimes a shock to believers to realize that God wants us to respectfully argue with or debate with Him over answering our prayers!  He calls it “reasoning together.”  This is to be more in the manner of talking something over with a dear friend.  Let’s look at the Bible verses.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  (Isa 1:18)

Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.  (Isa 43:26)

Take words with you, and return to the Lord.  Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”  (Hos 14:2, emphasis added)

The Lord wants us to come to Him when we are in need.  He is pleased when we talk to Him and hold up His own Word to Him to remind Him of His promises.  He loves our attention to His Word, and He loves our trust in Him and in His Word.

When we have a need for finances and we hold up His Word to Him concerning His promises to supply all of our needs (Phil 4:19), and remind Him that He said that hard-working people gain riches (Pro 10:4; 13:4), the Lord is happy with the manner of our approach to the throne of grace.  Glory to God!

The “words” that the Lord wants us to bring with us (Hos 14:2) to His throne are His own words.  He is giving us a spiritual key to effective prayer, so we should pay attention to it.

In the same way, when we have any need—regardless of the nature of the need—it is good to find Bible verses to stand upon in faith.  These are the words or promises of blessing that we would bring to the Lord in our prayer for our needs.

We must ask Him for what we need.  Here are Scripture references for you to check out on this topic:  John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24, 26; Eph 6:18; 1 Thes 5:17. 

We bring God’s Word to Him when we ask Him to answer our prayers because He tells us to do so.  We are being obedient, and He said that obedience is better than sacrifice.  (1 Sam 15:22)

When we go to Him and reason with Him, we are communicating.  This is something that all people do who are in relationship with each other.  As we reveal our hearts to God, we are offering ourselves freely to Him which is the best gift that we can ever give to Him!  Blessings upon you.

Believers, Renounce Guilt!

Believers, Renounce Guilt!

Did you realize that guilt is a weapon of our spiritual enemy, the devil?  It’s designed to destroy the faith of Christians. 

Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.   (Rom 8:33-34)

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.  (Ps 32:1-2)

 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 Joh 1:9)

The enemy’s plan is to bring about such condemnation upon a person that they will abandon faith in God.  That happens gradually, as the person battling guilt begins to question the very Word of God.  As the person slides into self-doubt, He may begin to question God’s faithfulness.  Will He really give the victory?  They begin to feel alone in the battle.

ALL of these things are from the pit of hell.  The Lord says that He has made a way of escape!  (1 Cor 10:13)  When temptation knocks, actively LOOK FOR the blessed way of escape.  It is hidden in your heart in the form of Bible verses.  Here are some very helpful and spiritually powerful verses to memorize and to review daily.

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.  (Isa 54:17)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  (Rom 8:1) 

. . . even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe . . . (Rom 3:22)

. . . so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (Rom 5:21)

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—  (1 Cor 1:30)

. . . having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  (Col 2:14)

Fill your mind and heart with these truths from God’s Word, and focus on studying the Bible.  Memorizing Scriptures will give you strength against temptation.

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  (Ps 119:11)

Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer; He is our righteousness.  He loves His children and surrounds us with His presence and His grace.  Begin to appreciate these precious truths, and your faith will be strengthened as well as your Christian walk.

Unjust Suffering

Unjust Suffering

The Bible gives us notice in numerous passages that followers of Jesus Christ will experience unjust suffering.  We are told that any suffering that we go through is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us!  (Rom 8:18)

Christ suffered for us, and He left us this as an example, so that we would follow in His steps—being forewarned.  (1 Pet 2:21)

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.  (1 Pet 2:19 NIV)

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.  (1 Pet 3:14a)

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  (2 Tim 3:12)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  (Joh 16:33)

In all situations of life, we can never be separated from the love of God for us.  (Rom 8:35)  God promises to comfort us in all of our troubles.  (1 Cor 1:3-4)  These passages of the Scripture are meant to support us and to encourage us when we suffer.

Our perseverance in suffering, holding on to our faith in Christ, proves the genuineness of our faith according to the Word of God.  (1 Pet 1:6-7) 

We are told to count it a joy when we face many and various types of trials. (Jas 1:2-4, see also Rom 5:3-5) 

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Mt 5:10-12)

Prepare your heart, mind, and will to follow Jesus in every circumstance; and when you arrive in eternity, you will be filled with rejoicing and extreme thankfulness that you did.

Walk Worthy of God

Walk Worthy of God

The Bible calls us, as believers, to “walk worthy” of God and of our calling.  Here are some examples:

. . .  who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well . . . (3 Joh 6)

. . . that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.  (1 Thes 2:12)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called . . . (Eph 4:1)

. . . that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God . . . (Col 1:10)

We are called to walk in a way that corresponds to and is in harmony with the glorious nature of our Savior God, whom we serve.  He is loving, kind, merciful and forgiving.  We must use His nature as our example.  We must see the blessings of our salvation and realize that our calling is to share them with as many people as we possibly can.

Our own value is not in question here due to the fact that the Lord has already demonstrated our extreme value by sending His own, beloved Son to be our Savior.  Jesus came to suffer, die, and to be resurrected in order to reconcile each one of us to God, the Father.  We have already been reconciled to God!  Hallelujah!

Here is a wonderful insight into this topic by Ed Elliott:

“Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus while he sat in a Roman prison. He didn’t identify with being a prisoner of Rome. He saw himself as a prisoner of the Lord. He was locked in God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Paul walked worthy of the Lord by knowing whose prisoner he really was.” – Ed Elliott (referring to Ephesians 4:1)