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Posts Tagged ‘light’

Your Story

July 31st, 2014

“We testify and announce to you that [Jesus] is the One who is eternal life.” 1 John 1:2 NLT.

Share your story with sincerity and authenticity.

My thoughts and comments today are about “your story.”

Some talk a lot, but say little that ultimately matters. Others can speak volumes in an economy of words. Treat your words as holding value not volume. Solomon observed, “A fool is full of words . . a truly wise person uses few words . . even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent . . wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites trouble.” Ecclesiastes 10:14KJV/ Proverbs 17:27-28 NLT/10:14 NLT. It doesn’t take much discernment to tell the difference between a fool and a wise person. People listen to those who have character, experience, and credibility.

I grow weary of the plethora of opinions offered 24 hour a day, now amplified by the Internet where anyone can find a platform and presence. There seem to be self-proclaimed experts with opinions about everything – world events, politics, personal investing, legal advice, health issues, marriage and relationships, parenting, fashion and culture, and of course, religion. As a follower of Jesus, you have a powerful, personal story to tell and it is truth, not opinion.

Don’t be intimidated into silence by people who have an opinion about everything, yet little to say of eternal consequence. Such people are why the message is sometimes not spoken, and other times not heard. You have the greatest truth in the world to share, which is your testimony of the redeeming power of God to save the soul and change a life. “If anyone is in Christ Jesus, he [or she] is a new creation; old things have passed away, and all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Your story has influence because it is the inarguable, personal testimony of your life that is changed and is lived accordingly. Such a life-giving story will be heard.

Someone near you needs to hear your story. They may not know they do, or even want to hear, but they need it nonetheless. That’s why John wrote, “We saw Him with our own eyes and touched Him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of life . . and now we testify and announce to you that [Jesus] is the One who is eternal life . . We are telling you about what we ourselves have actually seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3 NLT. The question is whether you will share your story with sincerity and authenticity, not whether others will receive it.

You need to realize that everything God has ever done in your life has one purpose – to make you His servant and witness. God spoke to Paul at his dramatic conversion, “Tell the world about this experience . . to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. They will receive forgiveness from their sins.” See Acts 26:16-18 NLT.

Today, my prayer for you is that the heart of your story is the mercy and majesty of Jesus.

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Live Selflessly

February 21st, 2014

“Let your good works shine out for all to see.” Matthew 5:16 NLT.

Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

My thoughts and comments today are that you “live selflessly.”

How you live everyday is important; why you live the way you choose to live is even more important. Summing up the eight character qualities of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus described the uniqueness of those who exemplify the Kingdom of God as being, “the salt of the earth and light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-16. Salt and light have distinctive purposes, only of use and value when fulfilling their purposes – an appropriate metaphor for us and our use and value to the Kingdom of God on earth. A Godly life offers an enticing flavor to the blandness of life apart from Christ and brilliant illumination dispelling the darkness in which others live.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 NLT. Your life and mine are unique only when accomplishing the eternal purpose for which God intends. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT. It is important that you understand the measurement by which your life succeeds. Your purpose is always for, “all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” The first part becomes irrelevant if the latter part doesn’t occur. In an exemplary life, God is the One who is seen and praised.

If your motive is to be seen and praised by men, every effort remains inconsequential. “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12 NIV. A meaningful and satisfying life is lived, “for the praise of His glory.” Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

I remember my Dad often quoting, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” (Harry Truman, 33rd president of the US 1884-1972). That is very true. “Having your conduct honorable among [others], that . . they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God . .” 1 Peter 2:12 NKJV. Your most successful achievements might well be the most noble, while you serve merely for His pleasure. But know this, nothing done in His name and for His glory will go unnoticed or unrewarded. “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19 NKJV.

Jesus had strong words about doing even the right things for the wrong reasons – to be seen of men. Matthew 23:5 NKJV. When the Pharisees gave, they did so for the applause of others; they prayed where others would hear and admire. Read Matthew 6:1-6 NIV. For their efforts, they received no reward from God. You live selflessly when you live for the applause and approval of One. See Colossians 1:9-14 NIV. This is a practical way that we can help ourselves and one another: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 NLT. Any outbursts lately?

My prayer for you today is that all you do is done in love and sincerity.

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Salt and Light

July 3rd, 2013

“You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13 NKJV

Your world is the reach of your example in the daily circle of influence given you.

My thoughts and comments today are about “salt and light.”

Life would be bland without salt. Who would ever imagine that something as simple and small as salt could be so essential? Our word, “salary,” derives from the word, “salt,” a derivative from the Latin word, “salarium,” when Roman soldiers were paid in salt signifying its essential importance as a daily necessity as well as a medium of barter. In my grandfather’s generation, a man whose work was reliable and valued was often described as, “worth his weight in salt.”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clarified the character of a true disciple. Out of all the examples He could have chosen to describe His followers, He said of them, “You are the salt of the earth . . you are the light of the world . . let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16 NKJV. Everyone who names the name of Christ, embraces Kingdom expectations from both God and man, being obliged to evidence character and conduct befitting a Christ-follower. In preceding verses, Kingdom character is defined in practical ways. Read Matthew 5:3-12 NKJV.

Unlike most other things, salt does not require vast measures to be effective; in fact, too much salt can be distasteful, even harmful. Salt interacts in meaningful ways with profound effect. The smallest sampling of salt contains potential for disproportionate effect. Whenever you feel a big, bad world needs something or someone with much more to contribute than you, remember Jesus’ words, “You are the salt of the earth.” Your world is, “the daily reach of your words and example in the circle of influence and opportunities the Lord gives you.” You make a difference disproportionate to your individual contribution, more than you know or may notice at any moment. Keep salting and shining. In the right measure, salt contributes its own beneficial taste while enhancing the flavor of other elements as well. When you are willing to be better, you will make everything around you better.

Salt is a preservative; it prevents decay. Before refrigeration was common, meat was preserved by being thoroughly salted, then hung to cure. Popular culture seems to be increasing darkness and worsening decadence, exactly where salt and light make the greatest difference. Paul was clear, “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, holding fast the Word of life . .” Philippians 2:15 NKJV. You have to be different from the world to make a difference in the world.

What was said to Esther can be just as true of you, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NKJV. Your being here is destiny, not coincidence. The fate of her nation depended on Esther’s Godly response; a generation may depend on yours. The Bible describes David as a man who, “served his generation by the will of God.” Acts 13:36 NKJV. That can be true of you. Many lives would be spiritually bland without your contribution.

Jesus also gave strong warnings about salt and light, “What good is salt if it has lost its flavor . . it will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless . . Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.” Matthew 5:13/15 NLT. God has placed you where you are in order to shine.

My prayer for you today is that you choose to live in a way that distinguishes Jesus.

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