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]
My daughter went out to eat for her first sit down dinner with a group, where she was then required to take care of her own bill and tip accordingly. She was well prepared for the trip and was excited to have some time to spend with her friends dining out. When it was time to pay the bill, my daughter figured out the tip like I taught her using a simple math trick. She rounded up as well, something else I taught her. Hey, I like my kids to be equipped.
My daughter was ready to pay, but then a few people questioned the tip she was leaving. You aren’t leaving that amount are you?!? That’s too much. A few gasped at the thought. But she was determined to bless the person with a good tip like she saw in action so many times. Nonetheless, there were more gasps and some people telling her it was too much to give. Just an FYI, it was only $5 for a $15 meal; it wasn’t something outrageous. Even so, she didn’t give the tip she planned. She listened to her friends who told her it was too much, and followed their instructions to get change and leave precisely the exact percentage down to the penny as best she could get.
Often during tip time, people do what reminds me of doing a duty, giving what had to be given by society’s terms. Like paying union dues or a gas bill. My daughter felt bad that she caved in. I told her that for the next meal, she can say she wishes to bless the person and just give what is placed on her heart. This was the first time she was in this situation, and with her innocent eyes, she hasn’t witnessed people trying to tip the minimum. All she sees is an outpouring of generosity. Today, stand bold. Don’t allow the people around you to dictate your actions. God is generous, more generous than anyone. You will never out give God. Truth. If the Spirit leads you to bless someone, whether it be a nice tip, some cash, a gift card, some manual labor, etc., listen. We are blessed to be a blessing. And it’s such a blessing to be a blessing. This world is a dark place. We are called to be the light. Don’t hide it. Shine it. Be the difference. Show the love.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7 [NIV]
“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” – Acts 20:35 [NLT]
Paul gives specific instructions for women. This passage is a difficult one for many women to swallow. Many times it is misunderstood. Contemporary readers typically shut their ears to the truth in these words. It is important, whether you are a man or woman, to understand what Paul is referencing in these verses.
The reason for “women to be modest in their appearance,” is because women should “not draw attention to themselves.” The attention should always be God’s. This is why Paul is addressing the issue of women fixing their hair and wearing jewelry. It has to do with attention. We are never to do anything to draw attention away from Jesus Christ.
Paul notes that the attractive woman is one who does good things. When doing these good things, we shine the Light—we point to Christ. Remember friends, the world tells you to do what you can to get attention. However, in Kingdom life, we know He alone deserves all the honor, glory and praise. It doesn’t mean we cannot wear makeup or jewelry, that our clothing doesn’t matter. It means nothing can take His glory. Fix your eyes on Him and in everything you do, point to Him.
“And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.” – 1 Timothy 2:9-10 [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]
I love to paint and I love to take photographs. I love capturing a lot of different colors, especially bright colors and colors that are not seen so often. I remember when I was in Australia there were many times when I tried to capture the sky at a particular time in the afternoon. My camera could not quite capture what my eyes could see. Again and again I failed with my attempts. I am always amazed at God’s paintbrush. I often say, “Wow, You really outdid Yourself today.” He is awesome.
Matthew tells us to be the light of the world. The Message says, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” God colors. Wow. God has some amazing colors. Just think about all those awesome brilliant skylines I saw in Australia. I couldn’t capture them with my digital camera. And we are to be God colors in the world? Wow.
Each one of us is a different bright color of God that can shine for others. We are the salt of the earth. More and more we see the darkness of the world. We see a lot of things God never intended for His Creation. Too much darkness. Too much gloom. But God uses His God colors to shine through the world, to shine a bright light, for His glory. May you be a God color today and always. Never hide the Light. God is not a secret to be kept. Shine on.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.”
-Matthew 5:14 [MSG]
I like to keep an open house. When someone comes over, they see us as we are—nothing gets tossed in a closet or swept under the rug. I do not need an advance notice to prepare. The kids’ friends walk in and out as they wish, and they know that they are welcome to anything to eat or drink.
The Bible says to let your light shine before people because God will get the glory and people will take notice. The Message says, “Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God.” As you welcome others into your home, into your life, as you let them see the real you, there is a great testimony presented without you even saying a word.
I am blessed with some very special people in my life. They say their house is my house. I can go to visit and walk in and sit down like it is my own home. It is great. You feel wanted. You feel loved. You feel “at home.” I can only think of how it will be one day when we will all be at home—with our Father. Be generous with your lives. Show people love. Show people Jesus. You don’t have to make it difficult. Simply invite people in and watch how God uses the simple gestures to open doors you never saw coming.
“Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
-Matthew 5:16 [MSG]
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]
As I drove down the street, I noticed that the sidewalk that was recently redone to allow pedestrians safer travel was being changed. It made no sense to me why there was any need to do more work to the area. When I peered closer, I noticed that the sidewalk was constructed to purposely block people from easy access to the church that was located in the same area. There was a barrier making it more difficult for someone to enter the church.
I thought to myself about this barrier and how it reminded me of the barriers that are all around us when it comes to church. There are some people who are kept from going to church. There are others who are turned away from the church. There are others who do not feel welcomed at church. Of course, there are others who want nothing to do with church or with God. From my vantage point, so many people are unable to pass one of these barriers.
During the Christmas season, more people walk through the church doors; some people have not entered since last year and for others it is their first time in a church. I encourage you to be welcoming to all as Christ was loving and caring for the needs of all people. The church is not a building. We are the church. We are called to be a holy people, set apart for God. Let us remember this special calling and act upon it. Let us reach out and hold the door open to all who wish to enter, and even go the extra mile to invite those who have never entered and who aren’t very interested in coming. Shine the Light.
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
– Romans 15:7 [ESV]