April 28, 2017

Oh, Holy Night

adventwk4seekHimoholynight

In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened. but the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people. for this day in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (the Messiah).

And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find a Baby wrapped in [swaddling] cloths and lying in a manger.” Then suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (angelic army) praising God and saying, “glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well-pleased.

Luke 2:8-14

*   ♥   ~   ✝   ~   ★   *

Through Him

adventwk3seekHimlighthascome

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
all things were made through Him,
and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

If you have children you may know this song, “In the beginning, God created …”  It is sung by a character, Miss Patty Cake. Toddlers love her! She has an amazing ability to keep the children motivated and moving. She also shares her love of God with them.  She retells the stories of the Bible in ways they understand and come to know who God is to them, even at their young ages.  Our children need to be secure in knowing God loves them completely. They need to see it modeled in how we react to life and how we approach God.

Even when we get it wrong the children understand and they know. We can rest on the assurance of God for His forgiveness when we let life get in the way and speak harshly to our spouse or to our children. We are to repent and ask God to help take away our pain and show us how to turn away from our wrongs. God is faithful to do what is right.

When we do this, the children learn forgiveness. They know that it is acceptable to forgive and to love unconditionally. When we let God’s light shine in and through us, our children learn.

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Father, I thank You for Your gift of our children and grandchildren. You have entrusted their lives to us and we do not take the responsibility lightly. Help us to forgive the wrong done to us by those in authority.  Help us to demonstrate the right way to live, love, and to be a light to our children and grandchildren. Help us let Your light shine through, no matter what the situation is. In Jesus’ name, amen.

In The Beginning…

adventwk3seekHimlighthascome

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
all things were made through him,
and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1-5

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

The Light of Men

adventwk3seekHimlighthascome

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ),
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God Himself.
He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God
All things were made and came into existence through Him;
and without Him not one thing was made that has come into being.
In Him was life [and the power to bestow life],
and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines on in the darkness,
and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it
or appropriate it or absorb it 
[and is unreceptive to it].
John 1:1-5 AMP

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Darkness is defined as the absence of light.  The only thing that can make darkness disappear is light.  Think about it…at night a small light can be seen from very far away.  We see stars that are millions of miles away.  Makes sense, right?  As I was studying this Scripture, I had a “lightbulb” moment < pun intended 😉 >

Before I accepted Jesus, my soul was dark.  There was no light to dispel the darkness.  Life and light aren’t just in Jesus.  Jesus IS Life and Light.  Look at John 8:12 NASB:

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world;
he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness,
but will have the Light of life.”

Jesus IS the Light of men.  John 12:46 ESV reiterates this:

I have come into the world as Light,
so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.

We do not have to stay in darkness!  I love John 1:5.  Darkness does not understand, comprehend, or grasp the Light but must acknowledge it.  Darkness cannot overtake, overcome, overpower, extinguish, or absorb the Light but must reflect it.  Isn’t that amazing? What is the best way to deal with the darkness of this world?  Add more light.  Darkness cannot hide the Light!  2 Corinthians 4:6 NASB promises: “Light shall shine out of darkness.”  Jesus’ Light shines through us.  Jesus gives us life and light.  Out of the darkness of our soul, the Light of Jesus shines.  John MacArthur puts it like this:

The light in us is His light, the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit within us.

“…And the life was The Light of men” (John 1:4).  Heaven merged with humanity and was born in a manger to bring us the gift of Life and Light.  What a Gift we have been given!

(Hallelujah) Light Has Come

adventwk3seekHimlighthascome

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
all things were made through him,
and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1-5

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

 BarlowGirl
Alyssa, Lauren, and Rebecca Barlow

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Hmmm my Baby
Heaven sent You to me
All the worlds been praying
Who will Save
But who am I
That here tonight
I hold the One
Who’ll Bring us life

Hallelujah
We’ve been found
A Child is born
To save us now
Hallelujah
Light has come
A Savior who will set us free
The Promise for those who believe

Do you hear the angels
Sing for You, my Baby
Men and kings have come to
Bow to You
But here in my arms

So close to me
The Son of God
Now all can see

Hallelujah
We’ve been found
A Child is born to save us now
Jesus Hallelujah light has come
A Savior set us free
So praise to God on high
He has heard our cry

This Week…John 3:19-21

adventweek2lighthascomegraphic

…The light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light because their actions were evil.  Everyone who practices wickedness hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his actions may not be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may become evident that his actions have God’s approval.

John 3:19-21

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

How encouraging it has been to read the Seeking Him devotionals each day during this Advent season. This week we focused on the theme of Jesus being the Light of the world.  The Scriptures and the encouragement shared have helped me to prepare my heart for the celebration of Jesus’ birth.   Please click on the individual links to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Light Exposes the Darkness, Clella gave us an excellent example to compare being with or without THE Light…

“If you have ever visited a cave and the guide turned off all the lights, you know just how dark that cave is.  You literally can’t see your hand in front of your face.  To take even one step in that darkness could lead to you falling into an unseen pit, possibly even to your death…There are many people who prefer to walk in spiritual darkness because they are doing things that are wrong or their motive is wrong. They don’t want to have those things exposed by God’s Light—Jesus. They would rather take the chance of ‘falling into a pit’ than to give up their evil actions.”

In Motivated by the Light, Ahmee asked some really good questions to help us recognize ‘why’ we choose to do good/right…

“When you decide to do good or right what dictates your decision?

  • Does knowing that you are doing good motivate you?
  • Does not wanting to do wrong motivate you?
  • Are you motivated by the benefit you may receive?

Why do we do good/right?  John 3:19 says that “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”  This makes me question how, even now today, people still reject God’s light.”

In God’s Love to the World, Ann gave honor and glory to God and reminded us of the depth of God’s love…

“God’s love to the world was so unique—not just any father could do it.  He gave us His only Son to die for the sins of the world; truly, what manner of God is He?  Can any man give up his son just like that?  (No!)  In this scripture I am seeing love that is beyond my imagination.  The heart and purpose of God is clearly revealed in this verse.  God’s love is wide enough to embrace all persons….”

In Our Actions, Tina compared our love as parents with the greatness of God’s love—shown through His giving His Son to be the Light of the world…

“Our children are our world.  Our lives revolve around them.  We nurture them, discipline them, love on them, and want to see them succeed in life.  If we do this, how much more will God our Father do this for His children?…”

Our Actions

adventweek2lighthascomegraphic

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his uniquely existing Son so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life.  Because God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s uniquely existing Son.  And this is the basis for judgment: the Light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the Light because their actions were evil.  Everyone who practices wickedness hates the Light and does not come to the Light, so that his actions may not be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the Light, so that it may become evident that his actions have God’s approval.

John 3:16-21

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Our children are our world.  Our lives revolve around them.  We nurture them, discipline them, love on them, and want to see them succeed in life.  If we do this, how much more will God our Father do this for His children?  As I walk through life, I am amazed at the wasted opportunities I have had to share God’s love with others.  Then when I do try, it seems to fall flat, like it is not believable.  I know God has a plan and a purpose.  I also know I should not listen to the negative self-talk I hear which tries to tell me I am a sinner and no one will believe what I have to say.  (Anyone feel this way?)

In an attempt to become encouraged, I listen to various speakers through podcasts who give encouraging talks about listening to the voice of God…being still…praying…and, ultimately, having the courage to be transparent with your life before others.  These all are good, and give many thought-provoking ways for me to rethink some of my wrong thinking.  The speakers are great in sharing their stories or allowing others to share, then I think, when is my opportunity to share?  And then, the Holy Spirit tells me ‘you need to practice telling your story.  You need to know your heavenly Father loves you completely, wholly, and purely.  You are worthy, you are a light, you have a purpose in MY plan for your life.  Pray and confess, confide in or with another believer so you can feel renewed, seeking wise counsel from those with more knowledge than you and you will be able to share your faith, your belief with others.’

I encourage you to practice your story with others.  Begin by writing it out. Be truthful. You may need to write several different versions, depending on your audience…and then practice. Become comfortable and confident in what the Holy Spirit leads you to share. You will be amazed at the outcome.

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Father, thank You for Your word.  Thank You for speakers who encourage and tell others of their walk through pain and trials.  Let us be a light for others and know You are in control.  All we have to do is allow Your might to be at the head of all that we do.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

God’s Love to the World

adventweek2lighthascomegraphic

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world,
and men loved the darkness rather than the Light,
for their deeds were evil.
For everyone who does evil hates the Light,
and does not come to the Light
for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
But he who practices the truth comes to the Light,
so that his deeds may be manifested
as having been wrought in God.
John 3:16, 19-21

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

God’s love to the world was so unique—not just any father could do it. He gave us His only Son to die for the sins of the world; truly, what manner of God is He?  Can any man give up his son just like that? (No!)  In this scripture I am seeing love that is beyond my imagination.  The heart and purpose of God is clearly revealed in this verse.  God’s love is wide enough to embrace all persons.

…Who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:4

God gave His son as THE offering for sin on the Cross.  This atonement for sin proceeds from the loving heart of God. It was not something forced on Him (Romans 8:32, 1 John 4:10).  All we need to do is to believe on the Son for us to have eternal life.  And, as we believe
• we are saying indeed that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and the only Savior for lost humanity.
• we are surrendering ourselves to obedience to Christ.
• we are fully assured and trust in Christ that He is both able and willing to bring us to final salvation and to fellowship with God in heaven.

In addition, when we believe we know we are not going to perish. ‘Perish’ in verse 16 points not just to physical death but to the dreadful reality of eternal punishment (Matthew 10:28).  Eternal life is a gift bestowed on us when we are born again. Are you born again?  ‘Eternal’  (in the same verse) not only expresses perpetuity but also quality of life—a divine type of life—a life that frees us from the power of sin and Satan, and removes us from what is merely earthly things in order to begin to know God.

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Dear Lord, we thank You and we give You all the glory and honor for Who You are and for all that You are able to do in our lives.  We thank You for the word at the right time when we are able to meditate and reflect on Your greatness and goodness to Your people.  Thank You that You had loved us and looked in our hearts and compassionately allowed Your son to pay the highest price for us.  We bless You for You are still speaking to us daily.  And we thank You for the ministration of your Word always.  May we find favor in Your eyes, Lord.  May we have Your grace so that we will see You one day in Your Kingdom. May You be blessed and be glorified in all the earth; in Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Motivated By The Light

adventweek2lighthascomegraphic

And the judgment is based on this fact:
God’s Light came into the world,
but people loved the darkness more than the light,
for their actions were evil.
All who do evil hate the light and refused to go near it
for fear their sins will be exposed.
But those who do what is right come to the light
so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

John 3:19-21

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

When you decide to do good or right what dictates your decision?

  • Does knowing that you are doing good motivate you?
  • Does not wanting to do wrong motivate you?
  • Are you motivated by the benefit you may receive?

Why do we do good/right?  John 3:19 says that “God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.”  This makes me question how, even now today, people still reject God’s light.  When it’s all said and done, it’s much more easier to do wrong than good.  It’s much more easier to be selfish than selfless.  It’s easier to be thoughtless than it is to be thoughtful.  (Given this might not apply to everyone because being nice does seem to come easily to some.)

The next part says that “all who do evil hate the light and refused to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.”  Many people who do wrong feel that they can’t come to God because somehow they feel exposed. God shows us the Truth.  That doesn’t mean He shares our truth with others.  God may push us to share, but we still choose.

The last part states, “…those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”  We are examples of what can happen when we bring our “junk” to God.  We show the world that it’s worth it.  We lead by example. Does God need us to do this?  No.  But others do, because we are humans and the “proof is in the pudding.”  It’s easier to believe something we can see.  Thank God that He cares enough to give us visible things to help us.

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

Lord, thank You for the Light that You sent.  It shines light on all that we are.  Without the Light we wouldn’t even have the chance to come out of our darkness. Help us to continually strive to walk in and toward the light.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Light Exposes the Darkness

adventweek2lighthascomegraphic

And the judgment is based on this fact:
God’s Light came into the world,
but people loved the darkness more than the light,
for their actions were evil.
All who do evil hate the Light
and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
But those who do what is right come to the Light
so others can see that they are doing what God wants.
John 3:19-21 NLT

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

If you had the choice to walk through a dark cave with a flashlight or without a flashlight, which would you choose?  If you have ever visited a cave and the guide turned off all the lights, you know just how dark that cave is.  You literally can’t see your hand in front of your face.  To take even one step in that darkness could lead to you falling into an unseen pit, possibly even to your death.  You need the light from the flashlight to find your way safely out of the cave.

There are many people who prefer to walk in spiritual darkness because they are doing things that are wrong or their motive is wrong. They don’t want to have those things exposed by God’s Light—Jesus. They would rather take the chance of ‘falling into a pit’ than to give up their evil actions.  Ultimately, unless they repent and turn from their sinful ways, they will stand before God and He will judge them for their deeds and they will go to the pit of hell. That’s not what God wants, that’s what people choose.

But the way of the wicked is like total darkness.
They have no idea what they are stumbling over.
Proverbs 4:19

God sent Jesus, The Light, to the world to rid the world of the darkness of sin.  When evil is exposed and a person sees their sin, repents, and asks forgiveness, they can walk in the Light, and they will begin to do “what is right.”

The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and His life brought light to everyone.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1:4-5

For once you were full of darkness,
but now you have light from the Lord.
So live as people of light!
Ephesians 5:8

The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.
Proverbs 4:18

As followers of Jesus, you and I walk in His Light.  We want to do what is right because that is what God wants.  When we sin, His Light will show us and He will forgive us when we ask (1 John 1:7-9).  When our actions please God, others will see and be exposed to His Light and be drawn to Him. As God sent out Paul, so He sends us:

Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes,
so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.
Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins
and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.
Acts 26:18

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, 
God of glory, Lord of love; 
hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, 
opening to the sun above. 
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; 
drive the dark of doubt away. 
Giver of immortal gladness, 
fill us with the Light of day!

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Father God, I pray that our hearts will open like an ‘unfolding flower’ to Your Son, Jesus, The True Light.  May Your Light shining through us drive the “clouds of sin and sadness, and the dark of doubt away.” Fill us, Lord, with Your Light so that others will be drawn to You.  We adore You, God of glory, Lord of love, Light Everlasting!  In Jesus’ Precious Name, we pray. Amen, It Is So!