After weeks of not having a light at the top of the stairwell, we finally replaced the light bulbs. It took so long to remember to buy the right light bulbs, and then to get the time when we could be together to take on the cringeworthy task of switching out bulbs at the top of the stairs. We wait until all three bulbs are out before we attempt the feat. I still do not understand why the light couldn’t be closer to the far side of the landing, instead of right at the edge of the stairs. We need Spiderman to simplify the task.
The Bible tells us that God is light. Jesus even says that He is the “light of the world.” When we look around the world during the daytime, though we can see all around us without the need of a flashlight, it is still filled with darkness. You see the world is filled with the darkness of the grave. God’s Word tells us that the wages of sin is death. We are all dead in the grave without Jesus. He is the One Who provides the light that leads to life—life-giving light. All around us, there is sin, brokenness, and chaos.
The world is a dark place but we are meant to live in it right now. God wants us to be light-bearers who point to Jesus. The illumination that shines comes from the presence of God. You see the presence of God is within us—the Holy Spirit. As we walk through this dark world, we can shine a light and share the Good News with those who are still in the dark. We can lead others to know the One Who is Light. Remember, it is His light that leads to life. Share the Life-Giving Light. Share Jesus.
“For You have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in Your presence, O God, in Your life-giving light.” – Psalm 56:13 [NLT]
“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’” – John 8:12 [NLT]
As I was printing envelopes today, the printer stopped working. It continued to say that there was a jam. I looked inside the printer and I did not see a jam. I closed the door but it still said there was a paper jam. I turned the printer off and on. I continued to pace around the machine, asking it when it would start doing its job. Finally I looked closer. I realized that there was a jam in a section I never even viewed because it is against the wall. There was never a jam in that area. After five minutes of pacing and thinking there was no jam, I realized it was something I couldn’t see.
In Romans 3:23, the Bible says that we all fall short—we all sin. Sometimes the sin is in the open. Sometimes the sin is easy to be seen. Sometimes people point it out to us. Sometimes we wear it on our sleeve. Sometimes it is something that we have struggled with for years. But then there is other sin that often seeps into our lives in the crevices we do not really look at or consider. Our sin can be right in front of our face but sometimes it has become part of our normalcy and we don’t realize what has grown over time.
Today ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any sin that you may have buried beneath other things in your life. Ask for your eyes to be open to anything that you may have overlooked. When the Spirit reveals these things, take the time to bring each item before God. Ask for repentance. Ask for strength. Ask for encouragement. May He shine a light on your darkness so you can bring more light into your life and shine the Light for others.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:5-9 [NIV]
When the prophet Elijah met with Ahab, there is an exchange that speaks volumes. Ahab says to Elijah, “So, my enemy, you have found me!” He is called an enemy. Elijah an enemy? He is a prophet of the Lord. He was used by God to raise someone from the dead. He predicted a drought. He is used by God to confront the prophets of Baal when God reigned down fire. God spoke to him outside a cave with a low whisper. Elijah is taken up to heaven with chariots of fire and horses of fire. Elijah an enemy?!?
The word Ahab spoke—enemy—in Hebrew means adversary, enemy, and foe. Why did Ahab use this word? Why did Ahab see Elijah as an enemy? Look at Elijah’s response; it says a lot. He said, “I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD’s sight.” Truth. Elijah spoke truth. That is what made him an enemy. Evil hates truth.
When we boldly stand for the truth, we will find ourselves to be seen as the enemy. It doesn’t mean we are in the wrong, but that we are shining a light—the Light—in a dark world, a world that hates the light. John 3:19-20 states: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” [ESV].
“’So, my enemy, you have found me!’ Ahab exclaimed to Elijah. ‘Yes,’ Elijah answered, ‘I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD’s sight.’” – 1 Kings 21:20 [NLT]
Every day the sun is out there shining. Sometimes it is hidden behind clouds but we know it’s there. We have light. It is daytime. But will the sun always shine? Will the sun always be there? In Revelation 21, it speaks of “the city (that) has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city” (v. 23 NLT).
One day we won’t need the sun to shine because God will be an “everlasting light.” The glory of God will be our light. Now that is light. Everlasting light.
Consider this great light. Consider the glory of God. Oh how wonderful! What a beautiful promise! Today the world is full of darkness but one day we will have the everlasting light of God—something stronger than the sun—and the darkness will be no more.
“No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” – Isaiah 60:19 [NLT]
I often get my dog Max soup bones. I cook them, allow them to cool, and then he has enjoyment that lasts for a long time. He has bones all over the house. We often have to collect them and put them back in his bin of toys. Sometimes he takes them and places them right in our pathway. The other night, I went to walk to the stairway so I could go downstairs and start my day. The problem was Max grabbed a bone after I had gone to bed and stuck it in the middle of my pathway. I walked right by the bone and the end of the bone cut my foot.
I would have seen the bone if I had turned on the lights, but I did not want to wake up my children. The problem is that things hide in the darkness. We cannot always see what is lingering about when it is dark. Sometimes we do things that we should not and we like to keep people in the dark. Darkness is usually linked with evil. But when there is darkness, there’s always some light—even if it is only a flicker of light.
I love Zechariah’s song. Consider this “morning light from heaven.” He noted that it would “break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness” (NLT). There are still so many sitting in the dark—so many who need to see the Light. Today, be a beacon of Light. Shine the Light. This world can be a dark, dark place; however, with each one of us shining Light, we are able to pour out the grace and mercy that God has poured out to us.
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79 [NLT]
I am doing a lesson on Genesis 1 – Creation. I am going to start off showing the children the cross paper and discuss how God knew at the very beginning that we would need a Savior. Then I am going to transition into a discussion on Creation and we are going to cut out our crosses. I am going to read from Genesis 1 and review Creation. As we progress through each day, we will fill in a box on the cross by drawing something that represents what God created on that particular day. After the 6th day, we will fold our cross into a cube and tape it together. Then we will finish with Day 7. Finally, we will split into groups and take turns rolling our cube and sharing something amazing about that day of creation. Afterward, we will gather together and review.
For the cross pattern, simply measure 8 inches by 2 inches rectangular on a vertical sheet of paper. Then draw a line every two inches so that the squares are 2″ x 2″. Then at the second square from the top, put a square (2″ x 2″) on both the left and right side.
When you cut out the cross, fold up the sides at the mid square section and then fold the extra square (the bottom square) up. Use tape to hold the sides together.
This lesson allows the children to use their creativity while learning about Creation.
At some point in life we begin to question if we are making an impact in the lives of others. We go through periods where we doubt or wonder if we are making a difference at all. The problem is that with having such a huge social media network and newspapers and television programs all over the globe, we see others that are doing such grand things and we might not be building a children’s hospital in a third world country or speaking about Jesus at a large conference in a huge stadium.
We need to be mindful of the fact that every single thing that we do for the Lord, whether it is something our human minds see as large or small, to God, it is a great thing. I do not see anywhere in the Bible where it says that God will rate what we do on the attention it gets on the 6 o’clock news or the grand nature of a project. Every single thing that God calls us to do matters to God—it’s not about the job itself but the heart of the person doing the job. Being fruitful can result from being a door holder to a housekeeper to a pastor to a truck driver who shares the Gospel along his route.
On a recent trip, I was waiting in line to use the restroom when I got in a conversation with a lady waiting in line behind me. We did not say much but we shared for a bit. The conversation lasted only a few minutes. Two hours later, we arrive at our hotel and checked into our room. As we begin unloading the car, the same lady I spoke with earlier was outside in the parking lot asking me if I was following her because both our families ended up at the same hotel hours later. I’m not sure why God had us meet up again but I’m sure He had a good reason. But I do know that she likely would not have remembered me if I would have kept facing front, not said hello, and walked out like I was never there at that gas station.
Today I challenge you to connect with people. Don’t walk through the grocery store while on your cell phone. If you are doing business with a bank teller or a cashier, smile and address them by their name. If you are taking your dog for a walk, say “hello” to those you pass. With these simple gestures, we can share Christ. Remember that God uses everything you give Him.
Don’t forget that you are part of “a chosen people.” You are special to God and if you give Him something, He will take it and use it for His glory.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
Every time I reach my hands into the kitchen drawer with the cooking utensils, it seems like I am pulling out the wrong item. I want the metal tongs but pull out a metal spoon because I focus only on grabbing something metal. I want a heavy duty plastic spoon but instead retrieve the heavy duty plastic spatula. Often we quickly reach for the item, see something that closely resembles what we want, and we make the grab not realizing until it is too late that our eyes have played tricks on us.
This happens in life all of the time, but sometimes it occurs in areas that are more detrimental than simply selecting cooking utensils while preparing a meal. We see something that isn’t the Truth, but it appears to sound like the truth so we support it. Sometimes we find ourselves out in the world of social media and there’s a photo shared with some description. Everything looks to be true. We start commenting on the injustice we see in the photo or we share the photo with others, helping to assist in the lie, not realizing that it is in fact a lie. Some photos are photo shopped or taken out of context, but we have already shared them with our co-workers, family and friends. They have shared the same photos and stories because they trust you. Later it is found that the photos were doctored, the story isn’t even true, and the Truth itself is in question. You went from trying to be a compassionate person showing the injustice or bad situation, only to finding yourself in a bad situation. Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that there is both life and death in our words.
God calls us to be watchful of our steps and of our words. We are to be careful with the words we speak so that we do not tread on the ground of slandering others. Instead we are to be encouraging, speaking love, and being a light for the Truth. It is so easy to get caught up in sharing something as simple as a photo. It doesn’t seem so dangerous, but still there are dangers. If we expect people to believe the Truth when we present it, we want to guarantee that we are not sharing lies with others—we want to protect our moral authority.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29 [ESV]
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1 [ESV]