***I’ve never had so much trouble writing a post. But Satan knows this message is meant to be shared and he tried everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING, he could to prevent me from writing this. But God wins. Every time, God wins.***
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16, NLT
What does it meant to be a light in the world?
As believers, we are called to be the light in the darkness of the world. But what does it mean?
Jesus is the light of the world. It says so in John 8:12! “Jesus spoke to the people once more and 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.”
Don’t hide your testimony or be ashamed to take your Bible to work. Don’t be afraid to pray over your lunch at school. Let others know that you love the Lord Jesus.
There is a movie called I’m Not Ashamed that I’ve mentioned before but it’s such a powerful movie that I want to talk about it again.
The movie is based on Rachel Joy Scott, the first victim in the Columbine shootings back in 1999. Her story is so uplifting and moving.
I don’t understand this but for some reason I’ve always been drawn to her story. Her legacy has brought so many people to Christ. I have a couple of books that were written based on her journals she kept. She kept many journals. And guess what? She struggled just like anyone else.
She wasn’t perfect, not even close. She had her share of struggles with all things that most teens struggle with. She just chose to stay close to Christ in order to fight her demons.
Rachel genuinely had a love for others and was so compassionate towards them despite the way they treated her. She showed her love in many aspects of her life and worked hard to be the person God created her to be.
Rachel made the decision to “love people with a heart of compassion and see and love people as Jesus does.
Colossians 3:12-13 says “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.” (ESV)
I want to live a life like that. A life devoted to Christ and serving His people. I want to be able to show compassion towards those that don’t necessarily show compassion towards me.
I don’t want to be ashamed. I want to be that light that shines so bright that makes people ask what is so different about me.
Living Like Jesus
There is a song called Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Casting Crowns that I absolutely love. I feel the lyrics say it all.
“The world is on their way to You But they’re tripping over me Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded A plank eyed saint with dirty hands”
How can we live like Jesus if we’re stumbling blocks to unbelievers? How will they see Jesus if we’re not living a life pleasing to Christ?
We must live like Jesus. Truly live for Him, living in such a way that oozes the love of Jesus and His light. So what does living like Jesus look like?
Romans 12:2 tells us “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)
By copying the behavior and customs of this world we aren’t living as a light in this world. We aren’t living like Christ. We are to let God transform us into a new person so that we can shine God’s light wherever we are.
Being a light in this hate filled world won’t always be easy but we owe it to unbelievers everywhere to live a life pleasing to the Lord.
Further in Romans 12 Paul tells us “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. When Gods’ people are in need be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (Romans 12:9-13 NLT)
People notice our actions, our words. And by living as a light we have a chance to speak God’s Word without even saying a single word. People will take notice of the way we are living our life and it’s going to make them question what exactly it is that makes us different.
We must love like Jesus.
The light of the world we share is Jesus. As they see glimpses of Him and His truth, they are drawn to Him.
One of my favorite songs at the moment is “I Know” by Big Daddy Weave. The message is great. It talks about how even though we don’t understand everything, we know that God is good. That God is kind. That He is so much more!
I think my favorite part of the song is the opening few lines, “You don’t answer all my questions…but You hear me when I speak. You don’t keep my heart from breaking…but when it does, You weep with me.”
I posted a blog post about a day or so ago regarding my beliefs and whether or not these beliefs were truly MY beliefs or just what was taught to me growing up. You can read it here: Are My Beliefs MY Beliefs?
I realize that in this world we are going to have doubts. That’s Satan’s area of expertise…getting us to doubt what in the past we have known to be true. He plants those seeds of doubt ever so subtly. God doesn’t love you. You’re not a Christian. Look at all your sin.
But we need to fight back against Satan when he pops those ideas into our heads. In Romans 8:1-2 it says,
There is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me FREE from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV)
In Ephesians 6:10-11 we are told to take up the armor of God.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil
As long as we live in this sin filled world, troubles are going to come. Doubts are going to rise. But if we cling to the One who created us, if we cling to His goodness, to His kindness…we will remain in Him.
If you are familiar with the YouVersion app, you’ll know that they have different mini devotional plans you can follow. Currently I am reading the plan by Skip Heitzig called “What’s Next? Revelation Series” that takes me through the book of Revelation.
(Going through this plan has also made me want to reread the Left Behind series. So I’ve started book 1 once again. )
While we don’t know the day or the hour that the rapture will occur, (Matthew 24:36) it’s something I like to imagine will happen in my lifetime. (Though I’m probably wrong….) I would love to be alive when that trumpet sounds!
It’s like the lyrics from the song “Fly Away” by FFH says,
Okay you win, you caught me day dreaming again
About our sudden evacuation
Okay I give in, I can’t help but wondering
But it seems I can’t get enough information
Curiosity has got a hold of me
Tell me how it’s gonna be-when
One day I’ll see you coming back for me
And all together we’ll fly away yeah
One day I’ll hear that trumpet loud and clear
And all together we’ll fly away
Oh how I long for the day
When we’ll fly away
I can’t WAIT for the day when we get to meet our Savior face to face!
Matthew 24:44 tells us to be ready!
You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
In 1 Thessalonians 4 (NLT) we read that the Lord will come down from Heaven with a commanding shout!
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God. First the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
Our lives here on earth are temporary! Our citizenship, our permanent dwelling place will be in Heaven, with the Lord God Almighty!
Paul tells us this in Philippians 3:20-21 (NLT)
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
Always be ready for Christ’s return! It will happen in a “twinkling of an eye!”
But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.
23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
2 Timothy 2:23-24
I have so many thoughts racing through my mind right now. I’m struggling with fits of anger over a situation and I want so badly to open my mouth and voice my thoughts but I know I shouldn’t.
For those of you who have read my posts over the past year you know that I am a part of Prevail Church, formerly Hyde Park Free Will Baptist. Our pastor, Jonathan, was unanimously voted in to be our new pastor. However, once Jonathan started making changes, many members became upset and left the church.
We had to find another location for our church unfortunately because the building we were meeting in started deteriorating and the roof had so many leaks and repairs that it would cost more to fix it up than it was worth. So the building was put up for sale.
Well now, these former members are taking us to court over the sale of the building. They believe the money should go to them. They are actually trying to “reform” Hyde Park.
*takes a deep breath* THEY LEFT THE CHURCH!
You guys, this whole mess has me heartbroken. I grew up in this church.
Tomorrow there is a hearing at 2pm. It’s a public hearing so all are welcome. My mom and I will be there to support Prevail and Jonathan. If you don’t mind, say a little prayer that God’s will is done and that we can all remain civil around one another.
**This post was previously published in 2017 as “Being Jesus Online” and I thought I’d tweak it a little and add some more thoughts.**
So yesterday in the mail I received some booklets I had requested from the Discovery Series on various topics. (They’re FREE!)
One of them was: Being Jesus Online, Biblical Wisdom for a Wired World.
The topics discussed in this particular booklet were:
What Would Jesus Tweet?
The Heart of the Matter
Turning on the Right Filters
I’m just going to discuss a couple of them but this topic was very eye-opening and really made me think about the things I post online. Is what I’m posting bringing glory to the Lord? Or are my words tearing someone down?
In “What Would Jesus Tweet”, the author shares his thoughts on whether Jesus would have a social media account in today’s age. What would He share? What would He tweet? How would He relate to His “friends” and “followers” and to those who disagreed with Him?
This thinking, in turn, led to thoughts about his own personal tweets, posts and comments. According to Dennis Moles, the author, “If Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God then shouldn’t His actions and attitudes serve as a guide and example for every area of my life–even my use of social media?”
In “Turning on the Right Filters” Moles makes a good point by saying that “not all moments that can be shared should be shared.” Some thoughts should just be left off social media and kept to ourselves.
As followers of Christ, we must represent Him in everything we say and do…and whatever we share online. Whether we remember it or not, “we are always representing Jesus.” Moles reminds us that just like the first disciples “we have been sent out into the world to spread God’s message of hope and life…and “because the world sees our lives and doesn’t just hear our words it is our responsibility to think twice before hitting send.”
Moles goes on to say that representing Jesus in digital space is “difficult” “What may be common sense, self-evident, funny or helpful to us, may be frightening, rude, offensive, or confusing to someone else.”
This booklet was really helpful and really opened my eyes. If you want to check this one out and read up on other topics visit the Discovery Series site.
As Christian bloggers we are digital missionaries. We have the opportunity to spread the Gospel to the other side of the world all while sitting behind a computer screen.
What we say and do on social media has the opportunity to either build someone up or tear someone down. How can we show Christ to the world if we are tearing someone down? Be careful what you say on social media.
I Corinthians 10:31 says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Candace Cameron Bure came out with this book, “Kind Is the New Classy” back in 2018. I found it today at Ollies for $4.99!! I haven’t started it yet but it looks really good!
Here’s a synopsis:
As a woman in today’s world, you know what it’s like to feel pressure on all sides from clashing cultural expectations. How can you stay true to who God has uniquely created you to be in the face of the script you’ve been given? What’s more, how can you stand your ground with grace?
The classy confidence you know and love—whether it’s on set at Full House or Fuller House, Dancing with the Stars, The View, or Candace’s Hallmark films—is no act. But it hasn’t come easy. In fact, learning to stay true to herself with grace has been one of the biggest fights of Candace’s life.
The secret, she has learned, is kindness: it’s classy, unexpected, even counter-cultural, and ultimately wins the day.
In Kind Is the New Classy, Candace reveals the thought patterns and practices that have empowered her to stay centered in who she is while practicing radical graciousness toward others. Whether you’re navigating major life choices, questions of calling and career, relationships, or personal goals, this book will show you how to:
Keep your cool under pressure
Respond to criticism with grace
Stay grounded yet go places in life
Stay true to who you are despite the expectations of others
Stay centered in what ultimately matters the most
Kind Is the New Classy is your permission to go off-script, to say goodbye to society’s “should’s” and to step into a new way to flourish as a woman today.
I’m really looking forward to reading this! I’ve always admired Candace and the way she lives for Jesus. She’s not ashamed to stand up for her beliefs.
Groeschel opens up the chapter with a story from his past regarding the time he met a young woman in college. As he got to know her, he grew more attracted to her and did what he could to impress her. Six months after meeting her, he proposed and 19 years later they are still together and happy as can be.
He uses that story to talk to us about how they know each other. However,
…despite how completely we know each other–even after nearly two decades–our intimacy continues to grow. We’re constantly learning how to connect and communicate deeply.
Believing Versus Knowing
Belief isn’t the same as personal knowledge
Groeschel continues by explaining the different levels of intimacy when it comes to knowing God.
“Some of us know God by reputation”
We know a little bit about God–we’ve gone to church a few times, heard the Bible stories. We may even have a favorite Bible verse.
This knowledge is only secondhand, however
“Some of us know God in our memories.”
“We’ve experienced his goodness, grace and love in the past.
“Some of us know God intimately.”
Right here, right now. It is THIS kind of loving knowledge that “God promises when we seek Him”
As we continue to seek God, we’ll grow to know him more and more intimately. When we hear God’s voice, we’ll recognize it instantly.
Not Knowing God
Believing God isn’t all He wants from us
In the book of James, it tells us that even the “demons believe in God, and yet they tremble because they know that they’re relationally separated from Him.”
Groeschel tells us there is more to being a Christian than just believing in God. We must experience God’s love. We must know him intimately.
He explains that growing up, he and his family were what you would call “cultural Christians.” They would go to church on Christmas and Easter. They’d help people in need. They donated canned goods to food drives. They’d pray at Thanksgiving meals.
But that was the extent of it. They knew about God. They didn’t know Him. And because Groeschel didn’t know God, he lived according to his own rules. He did what he wanted, not what God wanted. He didn’t have an intimate relationship with God.
In 1 John 2:3-4, it says,
We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says “I know him” but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.”
Harsh, right? Not according to Groeschel. He prefers to think of it as “straightforward and honest.” It is “truthfully spoken by someone who truly cares and wants what’s best for us.
We are created to be living examples of God’s love to a hurting world.
Knowing God can lead to positive lifestyle, but the reverse isn’t true.
Our outward actions alone don’t prove that we enjoy an inward relationship with God.
Groeschel urges us to make an effort to get to know God.
“God is interested not only in our actions but also in our hearts–in particular our attitude toward him.”
We can look good on the outside, make is seem like we love God but if our hearts aren’t there, if our hearts aren’t in the right place then when life is over, Jesus will say to us “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers.” (Matthew 7:23)
Not Knowing God Well
In this section, Groeschel writes about when Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians. They had experienced the real, living God but had “recently become trapped in legalism.”
In other words they fell back into their old ways. “They knew God but not well enough to avoid getting sucked back into a life based in the law, rather than in love. In Galatians 4:8-9, it says “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning aback to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again.”
“In the 21st century, we would be wise to ask ourselves, ‘Is this us too?'”
Do you “sort of” know God?
Knowing God Intimately
Then there are those who “know God intimately and serve Him with their whole hearts.”
The psalmist, David, describes in Psalm 63:1-4 his relationship with God. In fact, he says that his experience of knowing the personal God creates a deeper longing for even more intimate knowledge of God.
David writes in the psalm “O God, you are my God” Did you catch that? David calls God “HIS God.” David continues to write, “Earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you.
What is David saying? He’s saying that there is absolutely nothing in this world that can satisfy him. Only GOD can totally satisfy.
Groeschel poses the question, “Have you ever felt that kind of love for someone? Now imagine that with God. Imagine that kind of love
Verse 3 says, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Better than life? He’s saying ‘If I had the choice–either keep God’s love and see my mortal body die, or lose His love and live–I would choose to die.
Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
Or how about Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
What kind of love do you have for God?
It’s All in the Name
What do you call God?
If you know God, you are likely to be far more specific with him and the words you use will reflect your accurate understanding of him.
There are many, many, many names for God.
He’s known as Savior, Healer, Comforter, Fortress, Rock, Strength, Provider, Friend, etc. The list can go on and on.
The Best is Ahead
Groeschel writes that it’s time to “be honest with yourself and with God.
“Do you know Him? If so, how well?
“Has God transformed you? Are you different because of Him? If not, perhaps you’re a Christian Atheist.”
But guess what? God loves you so much and earnestly wants a relationship with you.
If you don’t know Him, you can! “Getting to know God is not difficult and it isn’t about a bunch of rules. Yes, God wants your obedience, but he wants your heart even more.
He says over and over again that if you seek Him, you will find Him.
How do you find God? By reading your Bible. He’s there. Pray. He’s there.
“As you get to know him better, you will change……Instead of living for yourself and for the moment, you’ll live for Christ and for eternity. Your heart will begin to break for the reasons and causes that break God’s heart.
“Get to know God. When you do, you will never be the same.
JUST kidding! I’ll be back May 8th. I’m leaving tomorrow to head to California to see my dad for a week.
I may or may not have time to really check in with you all so I just wanted to let you know!
Verse of the Day: Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Trying to figure out what God’s will for our lives can be difficult sometimes. But the more we draw close to Him, the more we lean on Him and turn to Him for answers, He WILL make His will clear. We just need to “be still.”
Being still can be hard but in the end it’s worth it!