“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. ” John 8.12
The time has come for the followers of Christ to do more than give mental assent to the words of Christ. We live in a world that is blackened by the six thousand year effects of sin. The darkness will overwhelm us if we allow it. In this verse, Jesus makes a statement about Himself that requires something from us, His followers. He said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness …” Waling in darkness creates a sphere around us that will cause us to stumble, unless there is One who will guide us around and through the obstacles in our path. Jesus has said that He is that One. But we still stumble as long as we insist on “doing it our way.” Isaiah sheds some light on this truth in Isaiah 50.10-11: “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. (11) Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.”
What is Isaiah saying? We have two choices: (1) we can trust God in the dark – knowing He knows the path we must take and He will guide us. Or (2) we can build our own fire and go as far as that fire will take us – which, by the way, will not be very far. God says, “This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Choose today how you will protect yourself from stumbling. You already have the Light. Use Him. Just my thoughts …
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. (22) It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (23)They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. ” Lamentations 3.21-23
Ever have one of those days when everything that COULD go wrong DID? Every time I read the book of Lamentations, my heart breaks again for Jeremiah as he recounts the consequences of the disobedience of God’s people. His city – blessed Jerusalem – has been destroyed and he is sitting down, looking around at all the destruction and weeping. Then when I get to 3.21-23, I marvel at his faith and confidence that he has placed in God. He took a historical look backward; “This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope.” WOW – he just kicked despair out the door. THEN he continues with such insight into the character of God: “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, BECAUSE his compassions fail not.” God did not forget His servant who was struggling with what he could see. Then Jeremiah speaks again with confidence as he recalls: “They (mercies and compassions) are NEW every morning …” Every day when Jeremiah awoke, he EXPECTED to see a manifestation of God’s mercies and compassions. Finally, he concludes: “GREAT is thy faithfulness.”
Let’s extrapolate a truth from this passage for us today. While life throws many of God’s children a wicked curve, not many, if any, have been in a situation like Jeremiah. Can we, will we, do what he did? Take a historical look at what God has ALREADY done for us. Remember that God has not forgotten WHO we are or WHERE we are. Are your expectations of what God will do for you today based on your confidence in His great love for you? Finally, will you conclude, as Jeremiah did, that God is ALWAYS faithful? That is my prayer for you today. Just my thoughts …
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. ” Hebrews 6.10
I’m sure there are times when we wonder, “Does God really notice what I am doing, or am I just serving in a vacuum, to please others around me?” The writer of Hebrews lays our fears to rest about what God really notices. God is personally concerned about your “work and labor of love.” Look at the qualifying factor here – it must be a labor of love, not a labor of duty. When our service, ministry, whatever you choose to call it, is done “toward (for) His name” that gets His attention. He is especially mindful when we “have ministered to the saints.” You and I can NEVER do too much for another child of God. I do not mean to say by that we should enable them to continue doing wrong in any given area of life. I am speaking about the “labor of love” that ministers in the realm of spiritual need, emotional stability, and physical need when we do those things “for His name.”
The last phrase is critical: “and do minister.” So many of God’s people boast proudly of that which they “used to do.” But when you observe their “labor of love” today, it is non-existent. As long as there is breath in the body, we can minister to others – if only through prayer. Do you have a prayer list? Is it updated? Do you go to it often? When you pray do you ask the Spirit HOW to pray for that particular need? Let’s KEEP ON ministering to the saints. Our encouragement to another saint of God today may be just what they need to keep them from wanting to quit. Just my thoughts …
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 John 1.7
Does it seem to you that John is overstating the obvious here? I think not. What does it mean to “walk in the light”? In the gospel of John 1.4 we find these words: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” This is a reference to Christ – He IS the light. Since He is the light, what does it look like to “walk in the light? It is a deliberate choice for each one of us to walk in a manner that reflects the life of Christ that is within us. A dirty surface cannot reflect anything. If you can envision a light house that has all of its glass, through the light must shine, tarnished by some substance that will not allow the light to be reflected. That lighthouse is useless to any vessel looking in its direction for some light to guide its way.
In like manner, if our lives are somehow tarnished with behavior that does not allow the light of God’s Son to be reflected in us, we are useless to the kingdom. If that is the case, then we are not going to want to “have fellowship one with another” because we are out of fellowship with God. Since the blood of Christ has cleansed us from all sin, we need to maintain the vessel in a manner worthy of our task – reflecting the light of Christ to a darkened world. Let’s make certain that nothing tarnishes our vessel as we live for Him today. Let’s “walk in the light” and allow that light to shine! Just my thoughts …
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2.13-14
As I read these verses this morning, several things literally jumped off the page and spoke to me. Look with me: (1) We have a “blessed hope.” (2) Jesus Christ is coming back again. (3) He gave Himself for us so that He might redeem us.
Right now we are in a world that offers little or no hope to anyone – much less a Christian. So, for us to have not just hope, but a “blessed hope” speaks volumes to us of a God Who chose not to leave us “hopeless” in this world. And then to realize that Jesus Christ IS coming back to GET us. There are times when I can hardly wait. I echo the words of the Apostle John in Revelation when he says, “even so, come Lord Jesus.” Then to be reminded that He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us” adds icing to the cake (so to speak). I cannot fathom such great love – a love that would transcend time for the sake of eternity on behalf of a wretched sinner like me. But I have claimed it. Now look at the closing words. In light of ALL that He has done, we have a unique responsibility … we need to be a “peculiar people” (that doesn’t mean weird – it does mean different), who are “zealous of good works.” How dare we take lightly all that God has done for us to prepare us for eternity, and simply let the world go by with no compassion for lost, broken people who desperately need a Savior. I cannot – and neither can you! Just my thoughts …
“ I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. (2) Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.” Psalm 116.1-2
The psalmist begins this psalm with a rather simple phrase: “I love the LORD, because …” How would YOU finish that phrase? The psalmist leaves no question in our minds as to why he loves the LORD. (1) He has heard my voice. (2) He has heard my supplications (my cry for mercy). (3) He has inclined His ear unto me.
Have you ever tried to get someone’s attention – you call their name and they act like they don’t hear you? You call again – and still no response. This time you SHOUT – and they look at you like, “WHAT?” Guess what? That NEVER happens with God – NEVER! I heard or read this phrase some years ago and I have never forgotten it: “Every time I speak His name, I have His ear!” THAT is ONE reason I love the Lord. But look again: “He has heard my cry for mercy …” He doesn’t just hear my voice, He hears the trembling in my voice – I need mercy! One of the problems with texting is that you cannot hear the tone of voice of the one who sent the text. A great misunderstanding can occur quickly. But He hears my cry for mercy. THAT is another reason I love the Lord. Finally, He bends down with His ear close to my mouth so He can HEAR everything I have to say – He doesn’t want to miss a single word. Can you picture that in your mind? And THAT is one more reason I love the Lord. The psalmist’s conclusion and mine is this: “Therefore will I call upon Him AS LONG AS I LIVE.” It really is not difficult to answer the question: ‘Why do you love the Lord?” A genuine prayer life gives reason enough! Just my thoughts …
“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” 1 Thessalonians 4.7
The very thought of “uncleanness” ought to be disconcerting to every child of God. God placed such great emphasis on “cleanness” in the Old Testament when He gave instructions to build the Tabernacle and to have a laver for cleansing. The issue of being ceremonially unclean was addressed over and over. But somehow some of God’s children may want to think that since all of that was under “the Law” it doesn’t apply to us. I readily admit that under grace, our lives are much easier to live than under “law.”
But when I think of uncleanness over against holiness, I am reminded that my life is to be one of “intentional” holiness. That is not a call to perfection – none of us can qualify for that. But we can be intentional about holiness in our lives. None of us “intentionally” comes to the table to eat a meal with unclean hands. No surgeon goes into a surgical suite without spending several minutes washing his hands before putting on his gloves for surgery. He knows that he must remove any possibility of something going wrong because he is unclean. Paul declares that God has called us “unto holiness.” Holiness is a life that is “set apart” to God and for God. Is it time for us to reevaluate how intentional we are about this call to holiness? Just my thought …
“But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.” Psalm 59.16
If someone were to ask you, “Tell me something special about your god”; how would you respond? Here in Psalm 59, the psalmist gives us some interesting attributes of His God that he is delighted to tell us about. Take note: (1) I will sing of your power; (2) I will sing aloud of your mercy; (3) you have been my defense; and (4) you have been my refuge in the day of my trouble.
When you think of God’s power, what kind of picture comes to mind? For me, I think of God’s power in the light of His response to needs that have existed in my life that I certainly could not fix – but He could and He did. When I think of God’s mercy, my mind goes to the many times in my life when I am thankful that I did not get what I deserved, but God showed great mercy to me. When I think of God as my defender, I can not number the times that He has protected me when I found myself in a difficult place brought about by my own poor decisions. When I think of God as my refuge, I remember the times when He has allowed me to crawl up into His arms and dared Satan to come one step closer. It is a good exercise for us to take inventory of our lives in light of God’s power, His mercy, His protection, and His place of refuge that we find in Him. Such a practice will encourage us to look to our future with great confidence because of God’s faithfulness to us in the past. Just my thoughts …
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5.1
Paul addresses some very real issues that were crippling some believers in the churches of Galatia. When you read the phrase that begins this verse, you get some idea of the problems that existed in the church – both then and now. “Stand fast … in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” A very real question that must be asked today is this: “Am I living my life in accordance with God’s will revealed for me in His Word, or am I TRYING to live my life according to the preferences of others who want to influence me?” Some believers have no idea of the freedom that is found in a life of grace, because they are trying to please someone else who has constructed a “set of rules” that are required to please God. Paul described it this way: “Be not ENTANGLED again with the yoke of bondage.” There is no bondage in grace. There is great bondage in a life of man-made rules that have nothing to do with grace. Jesus had some pretty severe words for the Pharisees of His day who were “all about the rules.” “Liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” is not a carte blanche ticket to live anyway we please. The liberty we find in Christ keeps us from being “entangled” with anyone’s yoke of bondage. Today, I choose to live my life in that “liberty wherewith Christ has made (me) free.” If my life is pleasing to Him, everyone else will simply have to take me as I am. He sent me to serve the body of Christ down here on earth and I am honored to do that, but the body of Christ down here on earth is NOT my master – He is! Just my thoughts …
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3.36
What does it mean to “believe on the Son”? It is more than historical acknowledgement that Jesus lived, died, and was resurrected. To believe “on” the Son is to cast ourselves completely on Him by faith, and accept His payment for our sins, because we could never do enough to pay for our own sins. The result of believing on the Son is that we receive “everlasting” life. This life is the gift of God to one who deserves nothing but God’s “wrath.” But because of His great love, He chooses to accept the payment of His Son – through the shedding of His blood – as payment for sins past, present, and future. When we realize our great NEED and His great LOVE, we begin to have some small measure of understanding of God’s gift.
The latter part of this verse gives purpose and direction to our lives after we receive Christ. Those in this world who do not KNOW God’s Son and who have not RECEIVED God’s Son “shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on (them).” When God saved us, it then becomes our sacred responsibility to tell what we know of God’s love and to implore the lost to turn from sin to salvation. Whether we are simply a Christ-follower, or one who serves God on some foreign field of this world, or we are engaged in a full-time ministry here in our own land, the weight of these words give us purpose for TODAY and every day to follow. We must ACKNOWLEDGE God’s gift of eternal life and then SHARE God’s gift of eternal life. Just my thoughts …