The Light Shines in Darkness

The Light Shines in Darkness

We all know that in a dark place, even the tiniest light—say from a lit match—introduces light that is quite CONSPICUOUS.  In John 8:12, Jesus declared that He is the light of the world.  In the dark world that contains death, sin, and evil intentions, Jesus brought light and life and the precious gift of eternal salvation to mankind.  Glory to God!

Let’s see what the Bible says on this topic:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  (Joh 1:5 NIV)  Light will always win over darkness, thanks to our Creator God.

And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  (Joh 3:19-20 RSV)  Notice that a lot of evil deeds are done in the darkness and in the nighttime hours.  Criminals will often break lights on a street or in a hallway in order to hide their cruel activities.

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”  (Mt 4:16 NKJV)  Light dawned upon the earth in the form of baby Jesus, born in a manger in a stable.  Jesus brought us the gift of salvation.

For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.  (Ps 18:28 ESV)  The Lord “lights” the lamp of our soul within us.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer, the Holy Spirit makes His home within each one of us.  Hallelujah!

Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.”   (Joh 8:12 CEV)

Here is the same verse as above, but in a different translation:

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.”  (John 8:12 NKJV)

As we continue in our relationship with Jesus Christ, our light shines into the world.  Our interactions with every person that we meet, whether loved ones or strangers, makes an impact upon each one. 

When we follow the example of our Lord Jesus, then our interactions will reflect His love, forgiveness, and mercy.  We will extend a loving and helping hand to all who need it, and encouragement to others.  In this way, we shine the light of God’s eternal love into the earth.  Shine brightly, dear brothers and sisters!

We Know Love, Thanks to Jesus

We Know Love, Thanks to Jesus

The Scriptures teach us that humanity knows love and is acquainted with love because Jesus gave up His own life to reconcile us back to our Father God.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  (1 Joh 3:16 NKJV)

 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Rom 5:8 NIV)

 Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it . . . (Eph 5:25 NCV)

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  (Eph 5:2 ESV)

All of these Bible passages refer to the fact that Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice was an ACT OF LOVE.  The Lord tells us through the Word that we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Husbands are admonished to love their wives even as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed Himself on behalf of the Church. Husbands should want to protect their wives and children even as the Lord did.

And we’re encouraged to follow the example of Christ, and to become (as He did) a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  This gives us a reason to examine ourselves and to ask ourselves if we are demonstrating our love in ways that are spiritually and relationally significant to our nearest and dearest.  God bless you as you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you in showing love to everyone in your life!

Reject Anger

Reject Anger

As followers of the Lord Jesus, we have to make a decision to reject anger as an option in our dealings with one another and with the Lord.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm.  For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.  (Ps 37:8-9 NKJV)

Anger and wrath only cause harm and heartaches.  But all who wait upon the salvation of the Lord will inherit the earth. 

He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.  (Pro 14:29 NKJV)

A person who hardly ever gets angry is called understanding by the Word of God.

You know this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 20 for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.  (Jas 1:19-20 NASB)

Our human anger doesn’t bring about the righteousness of God, so it is a weapon that we need to abandon.  A person’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is to his credit that he ignores an offence.  (Pro 19:11 ISV)

In every way, it is best to seek the Lord and to rely upon Him to lead us and guide us in our responses and our reactions. Glory to God.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Jesus spoke about Himself as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11-18.

The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He causes me to lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
  (Ps 23:1-2 EHV)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.  (Joh 10:11 NKJV)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  (Mt 6:33 NIV)

 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:19 NASB)

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.  (1 Pet 5:4 ESV)

A shepherd is an overseer of his flock.  By identifying Himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures.

In Ezekiel 34:1-10, the Lord outlines what constitutes a bad shepherd.  Through Ezekiel 34:11-31, Jesus establishes Himself as the Savior and Messiah, and the new leader of the Israelites.  He is the Good Shepherd who protects, provides for and cares for His sheep. We are the sheep of His pasture!

Jesus calls out to all people to (obey) His voice.  Glory to God!

To Attain Greatness, Serve!

To Attain Greatness, Serve!

Would you like to be called great someday?  The Bible tells us how to reach that goal!  But it would surprise most of us to know that the pathway to greatness is by serving others!

That’s not the way it should be among you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.  (Mt 20:26-27 ISV)

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.  (Mk 10:45 NKJV)  Even our Savior, Jesus Christ, came to earth to serve mankind—not to sit on His throne as King!

But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.  (Lk 22:26 ESV)

Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  (Mt 18:4 CEB)

The Bible has this to say about one of God’s servants:  Moses was faithful in all God’s house, as a servant. (Heb 3:5)

The more that we serve and help other people, the higher that we rise in God’s estimation.  In Matthew 20:28, Jesus said that He, Himself, came to serve and to be a ransom for many.  What a beautiful example to all of us who follow Him and serve Him! 

Here’s a short list of some great people who became famous because of their service to others:  Mother Teresa (Missionaries of Charity); Clara Barton (American Red Cross); William Booth (Salvation Army); Bill Wilson (Alcoholics Anonymous); and Cecil Jackson-Cole (Oxfam).  There are many, many others that I don’t have space to name.

Those who strive to be servants gain respect, success, and acclaim.  They also are noticed and rewarded by our God and Savior, whose opinion of us is the most important of all.  God bless you!

Persist in Faith for Christ is our Hope

Persist in Faith for Christ is our Hope

Because we have a living Hope who is Jesus Christ, the righteous One, we need to persevere in our faith.  We should also pray diligently for answers to our needs.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  (Rom 12:12 NIV)

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.  (Ps 62:8 NKJV) 

Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing . . .  (1 Thes 5:16-17 NKJV)

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col 1:27 NIV)

Glory to God!  God is our refuge—our safe haven and our protector. 

The tomb couldn’t hold the living and victorious body of our Savior.  Jesus lived a holy and sinless life on earth. 

He appeared to many people several days after He had been crucified bearing the wounds of the cross.  When He did, Jesus demonstrated power and victory over death.  Jesus is ALIVE.  Glory to God! Jesus is our hope because He is alive; He is almighty; and He has reconciled us to God the Father.

His Life in Us

His Life in Us

The Holy Spirit teaches each one of us about Jesus, so that we may see Him clearly and accurately.  The goal of our lives should be to know Him as He is, for only then can we represent Him faithfully.

As Jesus has dealt with each one of us in love and mercy, He desires us to reach out in that same manner to those who don’t yet know Him as their Savior.  In fact, Jesus’ very own love and mercy emanates from the Christ who lives within each one of us! 

Here are a few Scripture verses that support this concept:

But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness. (Rom 8:10)  This would be more accurately translated: “But since Christ is in you . . .”

I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.  (Gal 2:20)

Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col 1:27)

We cannot have spiritual life without the One who is Life—Jesus Christ.  Jesus told us that He is the Way, Truth, and Life.  (John 14:6)

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  (1 John 5:12)

Since we are so honored and blessed as to have the Source of Life living within, let’s share Him freely and unashamedly with everyone whom we meet—pouring out His love and mercy upon all.

Note:  This is a copy of our blog article dated 04/17/2017.

Set Apart

Set Apart

But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself:  the Lord will hear when I call unto Him.  (Ps 4:3 KJV)  We have been “set apart” by God.

Moreover, when you divide the land by lot into inheritance, you shall set apart a district for the Lord, a holy section of the land; its length shall be twenty-five thousand cubits, and the width ten thousand. It shall be holy throughout its territory all around.  (Ezek 45:1)  God instructed the Israelites to “set apart” land for Him that would be considered holy.  In present times, we believers have become His dwelling place—the “land” set apart for God!  (1 Cor 3:16, 17; 6:19)

What does it mean to be set apart for God? 

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light . . . (1 Pet 2:9)

It means that we who have accepted Jesus as our Savior are God’s special people, and we are called to proclaim His praises and His good news of salvation to all people, everywhere.  We are Christ’s ambassadors on the earth.  (2 Cor 5:20)

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  (Ps 121:3)  This is a promise of God to His chosen people—those who are set apart for Him.  Every promise in the Bible is for us!  These promises are our inheritance. (Ps 119:111)

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  (2 Cor 7:1)  We who have Jesus as our Savior—and are set apart—are called to holiness.  (1 Pet 1:15, 16)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  (Eph 2:10)  What constitutes “good works”?  Good works are actions which are pleasing to the Lord.  Because we have accepted Jesus as our Savior (we are set apart), He becomes the origin or source of our actions.  Christ is the root cause of everything, and good works are the fruit!

In conclusion, we are set apart as special to God.  Because we are, we walk in holiness and good works to the glory of God.

Note:  This is a reprint of our blog article dated 03/20/2017.

Carrying Out the Will of God

Carrying Out the Will of God

Do you think that carrying out the will of God is very important to Jesus, our Savior?  Yes, indeed, it is!  The Bible has quite a bit to say on this subject. 

For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.  (Mt 12:50, underscoring added)  Accomplishing the will of God on this earth qualifies us to be members of the family of God.

But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”  (Lk 8:21)  Those who are members of the family of God, not only hear the word of God but we perform it.  Jesus says so.

You are my friends if you do what I command you.  (Joh 15:14)  I want to be a friend of Jesus and a friend of God.  There is only one way to be God’s friend, and that is to carry out the will of God.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  (1 Joh 2:17)  One of God’s precious promises to us is that all who do the will of God will live forever. 

Meditating upon the Bible, honoring the Word of God, and continuously executing the instructions found within its pages will make us people who “do the will of God” and earn God’s favor and His blessings.  Hallelujah!

Christ is the Arm of the Lord

Christ is the Arm of the Lord

Today, our meditation is upon the term used in the Bible, “the arm of the Lord.”  The arm of the Lord and the hand of the Lord have the same meaning in Old Testament Scriptures.

Wake up, wake up, O Lord! Clothe yourself with strength!  Flex your mighty right arm!
Rouse yourself as in the days of old when you slew Egypt, the dragon of the Nile.
  (Isa 51:9 NLT, underscoring added)

The Arm of the Lord refers to the Lords’ strength and ability to accomplish whatever He chooses to do. In other words, Jesus being referred to as “the Arm” signifies His Omnipotent and proactive nature.    

Another verse that explains why one of Jesus’ names is ‘The Arm of The Lord’ is John 14:13, which declares, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” Remember, when Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:6-15, He said, “pray to the Father.” Then He said, “I will do it.” Jesus is The Arm of The Lord. He is the One who gets things done.  (Source:  https://www.preaching.com/articles/jesus-is-the-arm-of-god)

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.  (Ps 73:23 ESV)

Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.  (Ps 139:10 ESV, underscoring added)

And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.  (Ac 11:21 ESV)

In the Prophets, we hear promises that the Lord would again save his people by his arm. And in Isaiah, in particular, the revealing of the arm in Isaiah 52:10 leads us in that section to see how God would save His people.

Isaiah 53 foretells of the Servant whose body would be offered as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin for his people. Moreover, Isaiah 59 informs us that no man was there to intercede and bring justice to the nations (v. 15). Therefore, God himself would bring salvation by his arm. Only now, in the fullness of this passage and in the fullness of time, we know that God did not send an arm. Rather, his arm is his Son.  (Source:  https://davidschrock.com/2017/12/13/the-arm-of-the-lord-from-moses-to-isaiah-to-christ/)

Because Jesus is the Arm of the Lord, we need never to be afraid.  Jesus promised that He would never leave us nor abandon us (Heb 13:5).  That means that the might, majesty, and power of God are perpetually with each one of His children.  His protection and His blessings are upon us at all times.  Hallelujah, holy God!