Shine the Light

Well, it’s Monday. I don’t know when you read this. It could be early in the morning before you leave for work or school. You could be reading in the drop off line on your phone. Perhaps from your computer at work. Or maybe even tonight before bed.

I don’t know when you read it. But I know that whenever you do read it, you have some sort of task ahead of ahead of you. Something you have to do; something you have to face.

And sometimes we just need a little extra kick to get over the hump. Well, this morning I was reading in Philippians 2: 14-16. Listen to what it says:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

flat,550x550,075,f.u3Through your actions, through your words, through your faith, you are going to be a light. You are going to shine for all to see. In a world full of darkness, you are going to be a light to someone today.

You are. Really, you are. You are going to be a light today. You are going to shine for Jesus today. You are going to point someone to Jesus today.

Now, you may not be perfect; you may not do it perfect, but you have that chance. And you know what else?

God has confidence in you. He does. That’s He’s sending you out. That’s why He’s putting you where He’s putting you. That’s why you are where you are. Not just for “you” but for “Him.”

You can do it. Really, you can. You can do it. You can shine for Him. You can point to Him. You can be that light in the darkness today.

You can change someone’s world today.

Someone changed your life. Today, you have the shot, through Jesus, to change someone’s life yourself. Today, let Jesus shine through you.

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Let the Light Shine

light1One of the things that we can be tempted to do as Christians is keep the light of Christ to ourselves.  It can be a lot easier to stay around, to hang around, to be around only Christians.

Because when we only stay around Christians, we know that people will share our values. They will share our desires. We know that they will like to do what we do, and will, in most ways, think like we think.

Only being around other Christians is safe.  It is comfortable.  It is more peaceful for us. And, truth be told, we really do need to make sure that our closest, most trusted friend are people that we can count on, and that will help us be the people that God wants us to be.

But, that said, if we only are around Christians, then how will people know the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Listen to what Paul says today in 2 Corinthians 4: 4-6:

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Let the light shine in the darkness.  We have to take the light of Christ into the world, if we want to make a difference.  Let me say that again.  We have to take the light of Christ into the world if we want to make a difference. We have to form relationships. We have to become friends. We have to go where “they” are, and take Jesus with us.

That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to go and start preaching.  What it does mean is this. We have to go and form relationships.  We have to go and be friendly.   We have to go and take that love of Jesus, that’s inside of us, and love them in the same way.

Today, no matter where you are, or where you find yourself, let that light of Christ shine through you.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Shine Bright

Today you have a chance to make a difference.  Today, you have a chance to shine bright the love of Christ.  Today, with His spirit within you, you have the chance, the moment, the ability to make a huge difference for the kingdom.

Today, you can shine bright the light of Christ with all that you do.

Listen to what it says today in Luke 8: 16-18:

“No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

6568967-bright-light-bulb-standing-isolated-over-a-black-backgroundIt says here, no one, when they have this light, will hide it. They won’t put in a jar or under the bed, but they will put it out for everyone to see.  The will place this light in a place where everyone can see it and live into it.

So is it with the light of Christ within us.  If we know His grace, have tasted His mercy, felt His power, experienced His love in our souls, we can’t hide it.  We can’t ignore it. We can’t pretend like it’s not there.  We can’t.

Don’t hide that light.  Let it shine in your hearts and let it shine in your lives.

Let His light shine today in our words.  In our actions.  In our relationships.  In all that we are, all that we do.  Let it shine.

For His life in our lives, it will make all difference in our life, and in the life of others.

Today, you’ve been give life, been given light.  Let it shine.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

A Light has Come

lightI’ve been reading and talking a lot about darkness recently. Part of was the text that I preached from Sunday was John 1, which talked about The Light coming, and how it shines in the darkness.

And the darkness has not overcome it.

Remember y’all, that darkness will not overcome the light. It’s not going to happen. Light will win in the end.

With all that’s happened in the world in the last week, it’s easy to think that the darkness is going to win.

It’s not. Light wins.

Today, we see this passage that we all know so well from Isaiah. Listen to what it says in Isaiah 9:2, 6-7:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The people in darkness have seen a great light. Light has shown on them.

The darkness has fled. It is gone. It has vanished.

Light has come.

Well, what is this light?

Isaiah continues. To us, a child is born. A son is given. He is wonderful counselor, might God.

Prince of Peace.

He is the Lord.

He is Jesus.

No matter what darkness you are waking in today, let His light shine on you. And in you.

Maybe it’s the darkness of sadness over Newton.

Maybe it’s the darkness of worry over your own children.

Maybe it’s the darkness of depression.

Of fear.

Of worry.

Of brokenness.

No matter what darkness you are in right now, a light has come. A light as shown.
Let it shine in your life. Let it shine through your life.

Let it drive out the darkness in you. Let it shine out the darkness through you.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Questions

We should live our lives in a way that raise questions.

We should live our lives in a way that people that aren’t Christian wonder, what’s the deal with them? Why do they live the way that they live? Why do they do what they do? Why do they act the way that they act?

Today, in 1 Peter 3:15, we are told that our lives should raise these questions in others:

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

The light of Jesus should shine though us in such a way that it makes a difference. The grace of Jesus should just radiate out of us. The power of God should be apparent in our lives for all to see.

We shouldn’t have to go around announcing to people that we are Christians.

Our clothes shouldn’t be the the only thing that proclaims that we are Christian. Our music shouldn’t be the the only thing that proclaims that we are Christian. The symbols on our cars shouldn’t be the the only thing that proclaims that we are Christian.

Our lives must proclaim that we are Christians.

Our lives must produce questions in others.

And, we should always be ready to answer these questions; with hope, with gentleness; with respect.

Today, may our lives raise questions in others. And may give an answer to those questions – Jesus.

Our Lives Are Mirrors

Our lives are a mirror.  They reflect.

They reflect what we believe. They reflect what we believe about God, His grace, His mercy and His salvation.

Our lives are a refection. Our lives aren’t lived in a vacuum.  Our lives show the reality of what we believe.  Not what we say we believe. But, what we really, actually believe.

Our lives show the way to the truth that lies in our hearts.

Today, listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 5:

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Our lives are like that candle. They shine a light for all to see.

So our Lord tells us to shine out light for the world to see, so they will praise our Heavenly Father. Our lives should be lived in such a way that people thank God after dealing with us.

Not to thank God that we are awesome. Or kind.  Or good.  Or sweet. But to thank God that He is kind. And good. And loving.

We don’t live this life to reflect upon ourselves. We live this life to reflect upon God.

Today, what light is you life reflecting?  What does your life say about God? What does your life show that you believe about God?

Today, does the light of your life cause others to glorify God after an interaction with you?  Or does your life cause others to wonder if you really are a Christian.

Our lives are mirrors. What are they reflecting?

Into the Night

I tell folks when they read the Bible to read it slowly. Don’t rush through. It’s not a race.

Read slowly.  Listen.  Pay attention.  See what God may be saying to you through the words you are reading.  Something will jump out to you. Something will grab you. Something will say – look there!  That’s important!

I was reading this morning in John on this Wednesday of Holy Week went something jumped out to me.  I was reading the text where Judas left to betray, when I saw something I’d never really noticed before. Listen to John’s Gospel:

Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when he had dipped it, he gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. When Judas had eaten the bread, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus told him, “Hurry and do what you’re going to do.” None of the others at the table knew what Jesus meant. Since Judas was their treasurer, some thought Jesus was telling him to go and pay for the food or to give some money to the poor. So Judas left at once, going out into the night.

Lots of stuff there, but what got me was that last sentence – “Judas left at once, going into the night.”

In John’s Gospel, light and darkness are big deals.  Jesus is the light.  He is the light of the world.  He is called light over and over and over again.  He is the light that has come forth into the world to shine God’s goodness and mercy and salvation.

And, likewise, where there is no light, there is darkness. And darkness is where we don’t want to be.  Darkness is apart from Jesus.  Darkness is sin and evil and destruction. Listen to what John says in chapter 3:19, “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.”

Light has come.  But people loved the dark more than the light. They loved their sin more than His life. They loved their way more than His way.

So, today, what did Judas do – He left Jesus and went into the night.  Into the darkness.  To betray.

Today, you will have choices to make. Will you leave Jesus and go into the darkness?  Into the darkness of sin?  Of lust?  Hate?  Pride?  Greed?  Anger?  Judgement?  Rage?  Will you leave the side of your savior and walk into the night?

We are called to be the children of light, not of darkness.  May we not go chasing after the dark places.  May we stick by Jesus’ side. May we not wander into the night.

Light versus Dark

As those of you that have heard me preach on the subject know, I’m just fascinated by the concept of light and darkness.  Maybe that comes from my background in chemistry.  Maybe I’m just a geek. Who knows?

But, we do know this. There is no such thing as darkness.  Darkness doesn’t exist. It is simply the absence of light.

So, when light enters in, the darkness vanishes.  It doesn’t have a choice. When there is light, there simply is no darkness. It cannot abide where there is light.

So, when we realize that, listen to the words of John 1:

5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.

He is talking about Jesus.  Jesus is the Light from God. And His light drives out all the darkness.

And I’m not just talking about darkness in a big picture sense. We know He will win the battle over evil one day. I’m talking about darkness on an individual level.

When His light enters in to the darkness, it drive the darkness out of the areas of our lives.

So, in that, where is there darkness in our lives? Where is that area of our lives, of our souls where darkness reigns?

Where is there hate. . . . pride. . . . .lust. . . . .whatever. . . . .

And in these areas, have we let the light of Christ enter in?

When we let that light of Christ into these areas, He drives out the darkness.  Darkness cannot remain where light is.  And He is the Light of the world.

Have we let His light into our lives?  Have we let it shine?  Have we given it to Him?

His light will drive out the darkness.

May He do so in our lives.

This Little Light

One of the few things I remember from all the science I had to take while I was in college is this – There is no such thing as darkness.

Now, you’re thinking – Andy, you work up too early this morning.  Sure there’s darkness. Didn’t you see it?  It was dark this morning, and it will be dark tonight.

You though you saw darkness.  But you didn’t.

Darkness does not exist.  Darkness isn’t a “thing.”  What darkness “is” is the absence of light.

Darkness is simply there being no light. When light enters, darkness vanishes.  Because darkness is not a “thing.”  It is the absence of light.

Darkness cannot be there when light is.  It is physically impossible.

Listen to the words of Jesus today from Luke:

33 “No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

Today, by taking His light with you, everywhere you go – you are going to drive out the darkness.

By taking His light everywhere you go – good is going to triumph over evil.  Light will win over dark.

Every time you show His love.  His mercy.  His truth.  His compassion.  His life.  His righteousness.  His live.

Light wins.

Every time.

The darkness is driven out.

You are a bearer of the light of Christ today.  You are His witness today. You shine His light today.

And darkness simply cannot triumph over that light.  It’s just impossible.

Today, know that light is going to win.  And you are part of that victory.

Live in the victory, the power, and light of Christ today!

August 8, 2010 Podcast is Up

Today’s sermon podcast is is up on Asbury Church’s website. This sermon is the first in my series “Being Salt” which walks us through the Sermon on the Mount.  It entitled Being Salt. The text is Matthew 5: 13-16. Click the to our website to stream it there, or you can listen to it through my blog. You can also click here to subscribe through iTunes.