A Light for the Nations

A Light for the Nations

Do you realize that Jesus is the Light for all Nations, and as His disciples and followers, WE are called to shine His light into all of the earth?

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
  (Act 13:47 NIV)

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles . . .  (Isa 42:6 NIV)

For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”  (Lk 2:30-32)

How can you shine the light of God’s love and salvation into the world? 

  • By serving the Lord obediently and joyfully;
  • By sharing your testimonies of how you came to accept Christ as your Savior and about your answered prayers;
  • By praying for other people’s needs and asking God to bless them and to provide for them;
  • By testifying to the miracles, signs and wonders that God has performed for you; and
  • By living a holy lifestyle in obedience to the Scriptures.

Here is a passage from the Bible that gives us some answers:

Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.  (Phil 2:14-16, emphasis added)

God bless you!

Light Versus Darkness

Light Versus Darkness

Jesus warned His followers that they would have the light for only a little while longer.  We can judge for ourselves if we are living in the light or if we are living in darkness.  Let’s see what the Word of God says.   

If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness.  (1 Joh 2:9 NLT) 

If we catch ourselves disliking people or even hating them, we know that we’re operating in the dark.  May God give us His grace to walk in the Light of Jesus Christ.

But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.  (1 Joh 2:11 NLT) 

The verse above shows us what it’s like to have been blinded by darkness.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  (Tit 3:3 NIV)

The book of Titus, chapter 3 reminds us what we were like before we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior.  Titus urged his readers to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  And then, verse 3 tells us that we were at one time disobedient, deceived, enslaved in sin, and living in malice and hatred. 

Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  (Joh 12:35)

Jesus, our example and beloved Savior, reminds us to walk in the light while it is still available.  Those who walk in darkness don’t know where they’re going, and get off of the path of righteousness. 

One way to remain in the light is to read and to meditate upon the Word of God.  Another test of walking in the light is our obedience to the Scriptures:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  (Phil 4:8)  Let us be obedient to God by meditating upon these worthwhile and noble truths. Jesus told us:  “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (Joh 16:33)  Trust in His overcoming light even when darkness seems to surround everything.  God bless you.

We Beheld His Glory

We Beheld His Glory

What does the word glory mean?  It means:  splendor; wonder; brilliance; or exaltation. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  (Joh 1:14)  This verse is describing Jesus and His glory.  It says that “we beheld His glory” which means that we can see it and recognize it.

This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.  (Joh 2:11)  Any time that Jesus performed signs, wonders, and miracles, He manifested His glory clearly for all to see.

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  (Joh 11:4)  The only way that a sickness can be for the glory of God is when the sick person receives their complete healing by faith in Jesus Christ and they give all the glory, honor and praise to the Father God. 

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)  The “light” that was given to man was Jesus Christ, the light of the world.  (Joh 8:12) As we look into His face and accept Him as our Savior, He shares with us His own glory and relationship with the Father.

In Matthew 5:14 we are told that WE are the light of the world because we are the followers and disciples of Jesus, and we carry Him in us and with us wherever we go.

As we obediently follow Jesus, the Light of the World, we share His light and His life with others.  In His name, we pray for people to be saved, delivered, and healed. We are also privileged to see miracles and wonders done in the mighty name of Jesus.

We cannot hide our light, but rather we must allow it to shine brightly in the darkness for we are merely reflecting the glory of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to the world.

Choose Boldness & Endurance

Choose Boldness & Endurance

If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  (2 Tim 2:12)  We must sustain our faith throughout our lifetimes, and when we do, the Lord promises that we will one day reign with Him.

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33)  Let us be watchful that we never—in any way—deny the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It takes the grace of God to boldly and persistently pursue a life of faith in Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.  (Lk 9:26)

To deny Christ means to reject Him and His claim to be the Son of God and savior of all those who believe in Him.  This denial is a life-long denial, where there is no repentance and no acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To those whose lives deny the Lord, the Lord will also say to them one day, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” as we read in Matthew 7:23.    (Source:  http://answersfromthebook.net/jesus-said-that-if-you-deny-him-before-men-that-he-will-deny-you-before-his-father-peter-denied-the-lord-does-this-mean-that-jesus-will-now-deny-peter-before-his-father)

We need to be bold and brave in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We aren’t all called to be preachers, pastors, missionaries, or evangelists, but we are ALL called to let our light shine in a dark and pain-filled world.  One way to do that is through good works that bring glory to God.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:14-16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16)

Each one of us can be courageous in living our life as a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.  We may do that quietly and without fanfare, but all who know us should perceive that we have been with Jesus.  (See Acts 4:13) 

For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.  (Rev 19:10, emphasis added)

Another way to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel is through telling others about our own, personal testimonies of God’s goodness to each of us, and of His miracles and wonders.

Avoid the Well-Traveled Path

Avoid the Well-Traveled Path

Do you know what a “well-traveled path” is?  It’s a route or road that hundreds and even thousands of other people have used.  It may have indications of the fact by having a pothole or crack in the road, or a dented safety rail here or there.

There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.  (Pro 14:12 NIV)

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.  (Pro 16:25 NKJV)       

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.  (Lk 13:24 NKJV)

 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Mat 7:13-14 NKJV)

In spiritual terms, the well-traveled path is the “way that appears to be right, but in the end leads to death.”  (Pro 14:12 NIV)  This helps us to understand that following Christ as a disciple means that more often than not, we will be living our lives “against the flow.”  While the worldly, unsaved people are going in one direction, believers are going in a completely different direction and along a path that is narrow and difficult.

The verse from Luke 13 (above) reminds us that the narrow gate is the one intended for believers who love Jesus Christ.  But as Matthew 7:14 reminds us, difficult is the way which leads to life (eternal life).

Why is the path to eternal life difficult?  Because it has many challenges to our faith and to our self-control.  There are temptations to sin and also to unbelief, and they are placed in the path by the enemy of our souls.  1 Peter 5:8 says: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  We must be sober and vigilant to guard our relationship with Jesus, and to keep it vital and full of life.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  (Joh 14:6)

Jesus is the WAY into eternal life.  He is the person whose footsteps we believers follow.  The path that He traveled IS our roadmap and our path. (Ps 85:13)  We can understand, then, that following only the footsteps of Jesus will cause the trail to be understandably narrow. 

Remember that the Scriptures tell us that God’s Word is a lamp for our feet and a light upon our path.  (Ps 119:105)  His Word will reveal many things to us as we travel along the path of righteousness.

We have been given a promise from the Lord that as we travel the path of righteousness, we will find only life—and no death in any form.  In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.  (Pro 12:28)  This is a very valid and important reason to continue to follow Jesus throughout our lives.

God says that as we obey Him, He makes our paths straight.  
. . . in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Pro 3:6) 

The Lord makes our steps along the way stable and strong as we rejoice in Him and in our salvation.  The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him . . . (Ps 37:23 NIV)  What a promise!  Hallelujah!

Do You Not Care?

Do You Not Care?

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (Mk 4:37-39)

In this passage from the Scriptures, the companions of Jesus ask Him, “Don’t You care that we’re in danger of dying?”  Is it ever possible for God to NOT care about His sheep?  Decidedly NO—it is not possible!

Here are just several passages from the Bible to demonstrate my point.

Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.  (Deu 3:22 NIV)  God fights for you.

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.  (Deu 31:8)  The Lord never leaves you; don’t be fearful.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  (Ps 27:1)  The Lord will light our way and give us strength.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  (Lk 12:7)  God not only loves us but He also values us highly.

So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”  (Heb 13:6)  We may boldly declare that “God is my helper.”

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  (1 Joh 4:9-10)  God loved us first, and gave us His salvation.

Our salvation was designed by God the Father and paid for by Jesus Christ, our Savior.  What more proof do we need that God cares for us always, at all times, and in all circumstances? We are the objects of the unconditional and unending love of God.  Hallelujah!

Testing the Spirits

Testing the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.  (1 Joh 4:1-3a)

Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.  (1 Thes 5:20-21)

Only the Bible (the Word of God) is inspired and incapable of being wrong (inerrant).  Therefore, the way to test any spirit is to see if what is being shared or taught is in agreement with the clear teachings of God’s Word. 

In Acts 17:10-11 the Berean Jews were praised because, after they heard the teachings of Paul and Silas, they “examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” The Bereans were called “noble” for their desire to search the Scriptures for truth.  Notice that they searched DAILY for the truth; this shows the level of their hunger for spiritual reality, as well as their desire to use the Bible as their measuring rod. 

The idea in these passages (about testing the spirits) is to establish several truths:

  • That whoever is speaking confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior;
  • That the person (or spirit) acknowledges that Jesus came to earth in the flesh;
  • That everything that is shared or taught is based upon and agrees with the inerrant Word of God—the Bible. 

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  (2 Tim 2:15)

The reason for testing the spirits, for testing all religious teaching, is to see if it is truly from God or if it is a lie from Satan, the enemy of our souls.  The Word of God is to be “a lamp” and “a light” to our path (Ps 119:105). We must allow its light to shine on every teaching and doctrine to be sure that we remain on the path of righteousness.. 

The Bible alone is the standard by which all truth should be judged.  Be discerning and diligent about measuring what you hear (or read) against the Word of God.

Walk Circumspectly

Walk Circumspectly

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise . . . (Eph 5:15)

What does it mean to walk circumspectly?  Circumspectly means:  cautiously, warily, vigilantly, watchfully, guardedly, and with awareness. 

So about what should we be so cautious and wary?

  • Do not call upon other gods or let their names be heard on your lips. (Ex 23:13)
  • Be shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. (Mt 10:16)  Shrewd means wise.
  • Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. (1 Cor 14:20)
  • Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (Phil 1:27)
  • Continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. (Col 1:9)
  • Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. (Col 4:5)
  • Walk worthy of your calling. (Eph 4:1)
  • Be a light in the world. (Mt 5:16)
  • Allow the love of God for you, and for mankind [collectively and individually] to guide your life.

It is by faith that we see spiritual realities (Heb 11:1); but if we’re too tied into earthly or material things, it can dim our spiritual vision. 

Allow your “spiritual spectacles” to stay firmly in place as you make every decision in your life, whether it’s a physical, financial, or relational matter with which you’re dealing.  Trust God to lead you and guide you, and to provide grace in every season, department, and sphere of your life. 

He has promised that He’ll never leave us.  (Heb 13:5)  He will never fail us!  (Ps 89:33; Zeph 3:5) 

Love never fails.  (1 Cor 13:8)

Being a Witness Where You Are

Being a Witness Where You Are

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (Mk 16:15)

Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.  (Ps 96:3)

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.  (Mt 24:14)

The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that the Lord is not willing that any should perish.  Jesus obediently fulfilled His assignment to the fullest, and has purchased our salvation.  We are instructed by the Scriptures to share our Good News with others! 

We don’t need to embark on a mission field in some far-flung country to do this.  We’re called to be witnesses of God’s goodness right where we are!  We may do that in a variety of ways:  by serving our neighbors through acts of kindness and mercy; by being helpful and considerate; by sending a card, making a meal, or visiting someone who is not feeling well.  God has made us to be creative, and every individual can think of creative ways to be a light in this world—thereby bringing glory to God.

Sharing the Good News isn’t about preaching at someone or beating them over the head with verses from the Bible.  It’s not about condemnation, but love.  It’s about lovingly reaching out to those we know, and interacting with them in ways that are meaningful to them.  And while we’re doing that, we take opportunities to share our own life experiences with them.  We may quote a succinct Scripture to support a comment, or share a brief testimony of answered prayer.

Being an effective witness for the Kingdom of God means connecting with our friends and neighbors during good and bad times. (Eccl 3:4)  As a witness, we should also strive to be a good citizen and neighbor—a good example.  (2 Cor 5:20)  We need to speak from our hearts, and show respect and sympathy towards others.

Witnessing means being genuine with our friends and neighbors, and even admitting when we may be struggling with something.  (2 Tim 1:8)  As we are open with others and allow them to see God resolve our circumstances for us, our life becomes a window into how the Kingdom of God operates.  This style of candid testimony affirms our authenticity.  Other people can sense how deeply we honor Christ and value our relationship with Him as they see us trust Him to work out the difficulties that we encounter in life.  (1 Pet 3:15)

As we live this way, the Lord will faithfully open the ears, minds, and hearts of those with whom we interact.  He will allow others to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, and His Spirit will then be able to move upon them to minister to them. 

All we need to understand is that the Lord will draw the unsaved to Himself through us—if we’ll cooperate with Him.  Praise God!

We Are Servants

We Are Servants

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.  (! Cor 4:1-2)

James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad . . .  (Jas 1:1)

“These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”  (Act 16:17)

. . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Mt 20:28)

As shown in Matthew chapter 20, Jesus came to serve humanity—He came as a servant.  Jesus came to reconcile mankind to His loving Father, and how thankful we are for His completed work. 

The Bible tells us that Jesus is our example.  (1 Pet 2:21)  Since He lived to serve humanity (which means people), so also should we!   Let’s admit that God saved us to empower us to serve others. 

How may we serve other people in meaningful ways which bring glory to God?

  • Hold onto and teach others sound doctrine. (Tit 1:9; 2:1)
  • Perform good works/deeds for other people so that people will give glory to God for them. (Mt 5:16; Eph 2:10)
  • Be LIGHT in the world. (Mt 5:14)  Jesus says in John 8:12 that He is the light of the world.  As believers, we are to allow the light of Christ within us to shine forth to all.
  • Live honorably. (1 Pet 2:12)
  • Be faithful. (Mt 25:23)
  • Use your gifts, skills, and passions to serve within the body of Christ. (Rom 12:4-6; 1 Cor 12:27-28)

Living our lives as an offering and a sacrifice to the Lord—in service to others—is not only honorable; it is very satisfying.  God bless you.