January 21, 2018

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.

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Has Come

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

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

 

Charlie Hall
written along with Matt Maher

Good tidings to the world around
To the weak and the broken down
In a small, poor, and dirty town
Light has come

A baby splits history,
Emmanuel, Savior, King
Come, sinner, let your eyes see
Light has come

In His name our chains will shatter,
for unto us is born
A Son, our God is with us, this Christmas morn

Angelic hymns singing now,
Heaven’s bright star is shining down
To us and for His renown,
Light has come

In His name our chains will shatter,
for unto us is born
A Son, our God is with us, this Christmas morn
Now the chains are torn asunder,
all oppression is undone
To the glory of our Father, this Christmas morn

Let this story be told to a world broken down
That God sent His Son, cradle cross to the crown
He stepped down from his throne to the world that He loves
Light has come, God with us

Oh Merry Christmas, Oh Merry Christmas, Oh Merry Christmas
Light has come, God with us

His Light

luke1.78-79adventlightBecause of the tender mercy of our God,
His Light from on high has visited us,
to shine on those who sit in darkness and in death’s shadow,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Luke 1:78-79

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His Light. God loved us enough to send us His only begotten Son to guide, teach, and lead us into a life of eternal happiness.  God had never intended for us to suffer and be in agony from our self-imposed guilt and shame.  Faith and trust in Him and in His Word is where our strength lies.

From the beginning of time God was very meticulous in creating our world. He took such care to speak the world into existence just so.  He created the animals, the trees, flowers, the fish, the grass, and the moon and stars.  Every little detail He thought of.  Imagine trying to create a world and thinking of everything—the oxygen, the gravity, the way things stay and grow in the ground.

How can we not be in awe of someone who is as thoughtful as our God?  He created the first man from the dirt of the earth and formed every little thing about him.  I mean, who thinks about the fact you need to blink in order that your eye would not dry out.  I am not sure I would have been so detailed.

If He can be that thoughtful, we should aspire to be there for our friends and family.  Forgiving as we go through life and not waiting for the right time, or until someone else apologizes first.  During this time of year, (and not just now but always), we should be the first to forgive and share the light God has created inside of us.  God knows our heart, He created us, He knew us when we were growing inside of our mothers.

When we were born, we came into the light. We were born into this world for a relationship with God and to tell others about Jesus, His Son, and how God wants us to live forever with Him.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.  You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14

Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to teach us about Your love and the good You wish to do for us.  Give us the courage to speak when we need to and be silent when we need to.  We want to share Your love with others…putting ourselves aside and loving those close to us with an unconditional love.  Thank You for Your blessings.  In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Shining Into the Darkness

luke1.78-79adventlight

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

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Luke 1:78-79 resonates loudly with me.  The part about “…to give light to those who sit in darkness…and to guide us to the path of peace,” hits home.  It reminds me to be so thankful for what God has done for me.

Without His “tender mercy” I don’t know where I would be.  Would my suicidal thoughts have gotten the best of me?  There are so many people that I would not have gotten to meet.  How different would their lives be? And my family’s?

Without Christ and the Holy Spirit I would be lost and possibly not alive, but thank God that He does not let leave us in darkness.  God never intended for us to dwell in darkness.  Any situation that is dark or detrimental to one’s mental or emotional well-being, or anything that is just dark—is not of God.  Jesus came so that we could have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

God may find us in the darkness—we may find our way there or life may just be plain mean to us—but God never wants us to stay there. God sent Jesus Christ, His only Son, to die for you and I.  He loves us this much!  And if He loves us this much, what makes you think that He doesn’t love us enough to want us to live in His light?  Don’t dwell in darkness unnecessarily.  God has made a way in, so that we can find a way out.

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Lord, thank You for the lighted path that you have provided and thank You for never wanting us to dwell in darkness.  Help me to never forget that when I can’t find my way, and it seems You are not near, that You ARE always near.  Always.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.