April 29, 2017

Shining

phssChristmasgraphic2014
The dawn of peace Christmas Eve
the final night the world would sleep 
Fearful of the dark
but there was a shining star leading
Wise men to a humble place
where they would find the Gift of Grace 
Laying before their eyes
hope had come to life

The Light of the world was shining
The Light of the world was shining 
He came just like He promised
His love would not be silent

Hearts would quake on Christmas Day
as they looked upon the Savior’s face 
God became a man
they could reach and touch His hands 
The hands that made the blind to see
that carried the weight of suffering 
That washed away our sins
so we could be born again

The world knows Christ is born
oh, the King of love has come
And our hearts will be His throne
it is known, Christ is born
Light of the world, leading us home
Shepherd of Hearts, come for His own

 Sanctus Real
Matt Hammitt, Chris Rohman, Mark Graalman, Jake Rye, Seth Huff

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

On November 3, 2015, the Taurid meteor shower and the Northern Lights were possibly going to be visible in our skies.  So at 10:00 at night (when I’m usually already in bed), Steve and I (and Muffin) drove out into the countryside in hopes of seeing them.  We immediately saw some falling stars which is always fun.  But I had never seen the Northern Lights so I was really hoping to see them, and felt somewhat disappointed as time crept by without a sighting.  Then suddenly the brightest falling star came coursing through the sky with a blazing tail…and it seemed that it came down right in front of us.  It was spectacular!  I did see a couple of moments of the Northern Lights but they were without color and brief.  All was amazing and we were praising God!

As we drove home, and even into the next day, neither of us could get our minds off of the meteor that had seemed to put on a show just for us.  Yes, it died out which was disappointing but expected.  But it caused me to think of The Light of the world, which will never die out.

His name is Jesus the Messiah, Emmanuel.

Leaving Nazareth, He (Jesus) went and lived in Capernaum,
which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali
—to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
Matthew 4:13-16 (Isaiah 9:1-2)

Jesus spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The true Light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
John 1:4 and 9

As the song says, “The world knows Christ is born.” People around the world celebrate Christmas because a special little baby was born. It’s a beautiful story that is retold over and over during this season. (Take time this season to read Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2).  The sad thing is that many people only see Jesus as that baby; they don’t see Him as The Light of the world.  They don’t see that He came as Emmanuel—God with us.

When the bright lights of the Christmas decorations are taken down, the world will seem dark again.  As Isaiah said, there are “…those living in the land of the shadow of death.”  For many this glimpse of Jesus will fade as well, and they will go on searching in the dark.  People everywhere are looking for peace, grace, hope, and life, just as the wise men were looking.  The good news is “a light has dawned!” During this season we have the opportunity to share Jesus, the True Light, with those around us who are looking for more than a month of celebration.

God loved the world (all of us) so much that He sent Jesus to light our way to Him (John 3:16-17).  And Jesus willingly came in obedience to His Father, knowing it was the only way to bring redemption to us, His creation.  Jesus said that He is that Light, and just as sunlight brings natural life to us, His Light brings spiritual life to us.

During this Christmas season, take the time to bask in Jesus, The True Light. He is God’s love and life extended to you.  Take advantage of this time of year when so many are celebrating, to share the Good News that there is one light that will not be turned off or fade away. His Name is Jesus.  He is not just a baby—He is the Savior of the world.  He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

If you personally are just learning about this truth, I pray that you will realize and accept that “the King of love has come,” and He, Jesus, wants to shine into your life and make your heart His throne.

God became a man…that washed away our sins so we could be born again.

The True Light of the world is shining and will never fade away.  Let Him shine into your life, and then share His Light with all around you.

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Dear Jesus, thank You for coming just as You promised.  As the song says Your love would not, could not, and will not be silent.  We are overwhelmed with the realization that You, our Great God and Creator, want to shine into our lives and lead us home to be with You eternally.  We pray for those who have not yet made their heart Your Throne.  May this be the time that they accept You, not just as the Christmas baby but as their Savior.  Please help us to be faithful to share You, The True Light, when we have the opportunity.  Shine, Jesus, shine in and through our lives!  In the precious Name of Jesus, Light of the world, we pray, Amen.

(For confirmation that this was God’s promised plan,
click  here  to read 44 of the Old Testament prophecies
about the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled.)

Start A Fire

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

This world can be cold and bitter
Feels like we’re in the dead of winter
Waiting on something better
But am I really gonna hide forever

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
Let Your light shine, let Your light shine for all to see

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

You only need a spark to start a whole blaze
It only takes a little faith
Let it start right here in this city
So these old walls will never be the same

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
They need to know
I need to go
Spirit won’t You fall on my heart now

You are the Light on the darkest day
We have the hope, we bear Your name
We carry the news that You have come to save
Only You can save

Writer(s): Jon Lowry / Chad Mattson / Seth Mosley

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

I’m not a New Year’s resolution-type of person, due to the fact that I forget the next day.  So instead, I make lists of how good my God is and all that He has done for me. And in return, I want to tell all the world of His goodness and mercy and grace.  I want to be the light that shines for Him, so that when people see me, they see all that God has redeemed and restored.  Oh, I’m not perfect nor am I always the Jesus-follower I should be, but I keep following.

In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in Heaven.
Matthew 5:16

I don’t think it means that we are to do all this good all for the world to see—just to shine the light on ourselves.  It means that all we do and say should reflect the One Who created us and glorify Him—Jesus!!!—so that all will want what we have.  And what a perfect time to ask for a fresh start…a rekindled fire…so that there is no doubt that it is God that we need.

As the song says, He is the Light on the darkest day and we cannot keep this hope to ourselves!  It’s just too good to keep in.  We live in such a dark, hurting world that is full of so much pain.  There are so many sad people that truly need a Savior and we need to share what we have with all the world!  Love, love His people by reaching out to them.  Not just people you don’t know but also those you work with, go to church with, live with…shine no matter where you are.

The place that seems to be the hardest is home, anyone agree?  We tend to let our light fizzle a bit here.  We think, “they know us, they know we love Jesus,” so we lose patience with the ones closest to us and we forget that they, too, need to see the light of Jesus in us.  And moms…our children will imitate us and talk like us to each other.  I know that is something to really think about and pray about.  So before your feet hit the floor, ask Jesus to fill you up  each day so that His light spills over to those you come in contact with!  Let’s pray for each other, shall we?  And look up those verses in His Word today that give hope and write them on cards and put them to memory.  Teach them to your children and watch your world get a little brighter…and carry that light with you wherever you go.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14

And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness cannot comprehend it.
John 1:5

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Let us pray: Dear God, thank You for walking with us into this new year of 2015.  You are our light in this dark world, our hope that we hold onto when all is falling apart, and our song that we sing when the world is so loud.  Thank You for Your grace and mercy and love.  I pray that we can be that light to all Your children, ones that are walking in darkness and need You so much.  Nothing is wasted, Lord; You make good out of everything. and the way we handle the hard will glorify You if we keep You at the center.  Help us to keep shining for You and to not keep this awesome joy and this peace (that only You can give) to ourselves.  Start a fire in us and keep it burning until You come again.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Girls with Swords: Chapter 9 – “Sword of Harvest” (pgs 139-141)

 

Lisa opens this chapter with the fact that there is only one native, North American, all-purpose sword.  The machete is widely used for very practical purposes.  It isn’t pretty, or delicate.  It is made to be used for hard work, for clearing a path to walk on, to insure safety, as a tool for many purposes, and even food preparation.

With this sword in mind, it made me think of our sWord.  It isn’t pretty or delicate.  It takes hard work to apply the truth inside to our lives.  It will put us on a clear path, insure our safety and serves many purposes.  Did you know there are even food preparation instructions in our sWord?

As I began preparing for this lesson, I began thinking about my childhood, growing up in the country in East Tennessee.  We lived on a gravel/dirt road.  We lived on a hill in the middle of other bigger hills and the woods were our playground.  The flatland was farmed for vegetables or hay.  We looked for paths to guide us through the woods, up safe places in the banks to get home (shortcuts), to see where other people had walked before us.  We found all kinds of treasure along the way.

Some of the paths we cleared ourselves, mostly we followed the path other people had mashed down before us.  The path led to an adventure others had walked before us.  Sometimes we encountered snakes and critters, but always plants and berries and flowers…and bugs.  These paths were meant to be walked on and enjoyed.

If we did not walk those paths often, they became overgrown and we would have to clear them again.  We would have to break the intrusive branches and beat down the growth blocking our path.  Sometimes trees fell across our path and we would have to get very creative to clear it, or jump over.  That tree became a signpost at that point.  Even the fallen trees can be used as something good in the woods.

The paths in the hay fields led me to another thought.  These paths often had tractors or trucks on them to help haul the baled hay out of the field.  We walked on the path, the machines drove on our paths.  These paths ended up with deep ruts in them.  Ruts will cause you to stumble and fall.  They will keep you in the groove of the tire track much longer than you would like to be.  It is much harder to get out of a rut than walk a smooth path or even forge your own new path.

If we ever went on these deeply rutted paths, we were there for a specific purpose.  We were headed out for work and we planned appropriately.  We put on sturdy shoes, wore long sleeves and pants, took water jugs and food,  gloves for our hands, hats for our heads and knew we were about to encounter some hard work.  We were there to harvest the hay.    We had to take care of ourselves and make good choices or we would end up scratched up, hurt, and dehydrated.

Much like these work days from my youth, I have to prepare for special days when I know I am going to have to negotiate the “ruts” in my life.  There are especially hard “work days” when it is time to cultivate, plant, tend, or harvest areas of my life.  If I truly want a harvest, I have to do the hard work first.  Lazy bones do not lead to a bountiful harvest.

This week in our reading, we are going to address finding our paths, staying on our paths, re-opening old, neglected paths, changing our environments, and managing a harvest.  There will even be talk about identifying and managing the dangers that pop up in our lives.  The Word of God addresses these very things for us.  If we choose God’s path for our lives, He will lead us to a journey of adventure like no other.

I can’t start the week off without Scripture, so here are a few of the “path” references I found:

Deuteronomy 5:33            Stay on the path … (Then a promise from God)

Psalms 1:6                          The Lord watches over the path of the godly, the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

2 Samuel 22:29                 God, your light floods my path, God drives out the darkness

Proverbs 3:6                        In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths

1 Kings 2:1-4 MSG            Do what God tells you.  Walk in the paths He shows you. 

There are many other instances in the Bible where the writers talk of their path and God’s path.  Please take some time to look them up and really think about them.  God provided a dry path for the Israelite’s to cross an active river, Job talked about his path a LOT, the Psalms are full of guidance about being on the right path (especially Psalm 32).

Lisa tells us, “According to Psalms and Proverbs, there are ultimately only two paths in this course of life:  one that ascends to light and life, and another that descends to darkness and death.  There is no middle way.  The choice seems obvious…choose God’s way to light and life.  But there are seasons in life when we need some extra light in order to choose the right path” (page 142).

At some point in your life, you will find yourself with a choice.  Which path will you take?  I urge you to get to know the Leader, follow His path, and enjoy the journey.  Everything you experience may not be easy, but when you reach your destination, you will be amazed at what the Father has brought you through.  Some of us were on the right path and wandered off into the rough.  Don’t give up!  Find your way back to the path God laid out for you and continue walking.  Maybe you were never on a godly path.  Stop now and ask God to put you on His path, and direct you in the direction He wants you to go.

At this stage in my life, I am appreciating additional light when I need to read small print.  God’s Word says He will shine a light for us to see.   Jesus 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.  Jesus is the best Leader you will ever follow.  Let Him carry the machete and clear your path.  He has a plan that is best for you.  Ask Jesus to prove Himself.  He wants to LOVE you.

http://youtu.be/WsM5lt9tCFo

Let’s Pray:

Father God,  You know the plans You have for us.  You know the path for me.  I am submitting my will to Yours.  Place my feet on that path and teach me to walk in Your ways.  As I learn to live for You, may my light shine brightly for all to see and lead them to You, Lord.  Thank You for the Light of the World.  We no longer have to walk in darkness.  You promised us the Light that leads to LIFE.  Thank You for the women walking this path with me.  Let me ever be an encourager to a friend, a stranger, or a fellow human who needs help up out of the rut.  We are following the LEADER.  AMEN.

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you would like to join us for the “Girls with Swords” Online Bible/Book study, click HERE to be taken to our sign-up page.  Once you complete the enrollment process, we will email you further details.  We hope you will join us!