Friday, September 29, 2017
John 3:20-21 (NIV) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
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You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty [again]? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
~ Matthew 5:13 (NASB)
We see the image of light throughout the Bible, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22. God's first words in the Bible are, “Let there be light.”Christ's last words in the last chapter of the Bible are, “I am . . . the bright Morning Star.” We live in darkness if we do not know God and have not heard God's Word, and believed it. We do not know God because we see Him; we know God because He enables us to see. As C. S. Lewis put it, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
But we must be careful, as with any metaphor, not to take the notion of light too literally. When we talk about the light of God, we are not actually talking about the physical act of vision, nor even the broader notion of our array of sensory equipment. The light of God is not visible. We experience an invisible God in our invisible Spirit. Just as the visible light of the sun allows us to see trees and fingernails, the invisible light of God allows us to see truths that we would not otherwise know.
“Light, light, the visible reminder of invisible light.” (T. S. Eliot, from Choruses from the Rock) That's the mark of a great poet: Eliot says it better in eight words than I can in 800.
The quote about salt, from the Sermon on the Mount, is a bit harder to follow. It is somewhat dated; salt has nowhere near the importance today that it did in ancient times, before refrigeration, before tin cans and Mason jars. But even today, the only significance of salt is that it is salty. If that tablespoon of white crystals that comes out of your Morton’s package isn't salty, you'll throw it away. It looks and feels just the same, but it is worthless.
Salt and the “invisible light” share a close connection. People are metaphorically a pile of white crystals. They become “salty” if and when they perceive the invisible light of God. A person who knows God cannot be distinguished from a person who does not except by one thing: He witnesses (honestly) to the light. Mrs. X and Mrs. Y may look the same, talk the same, smell the same, even do the same good deeds and be faithful to their husbands. But if Mrs. X witnesses to Christ, and Mrs. Y does not, Mrs. Y becomes the precise person whom Christ is talking about when he says she has “lost her saltiness.”
When we witness to Christ, we become something special. Like a spoonful of salt in a bowl of stew, or a measure of yeast in a gallon of bread dough, we transform the world around us. This is God's plan for us. We should give to the poor; but many atheists give to the poor. We must give to the poor in the name of Christ and to His glory, not to our own credit and not simply because it is right. People are not blind to God; they only have their eyes closed, because they do not understand that the light exists. And if we, in our entire lives, convince one person to open his eyes — or if we never convince even one person, but die trying — our lives have enormous meaning.
Lord, let me always remember that I am your witness. Amen.
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Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Devotion shared by Mason Barge Editor, Daily Prayer
When we witness to Christ, we become something special.
Toda la Escritura es inspirada por Dios, y útil para enseñar [...] a fin de que el hombre de Dios sea perfecto, enteramente preparado para toda buena obra.
Si estás buscando un cambio en tu vida, y en especial le has pedido a Dios que te dé una oportunidad para cambiar, servir y cumplir con un llamado, piensa que Dios escucha con mucha seriedad tus peticiones. Por eso, va a empezar a dirigir tu vida de tal forma que te irá llevando a dejar cosas, a tomar decisiones muy duras para ti, pero que serán necesarias para los planes que tienes. Conozco personas que han hecho pactos con Dios y han dejado sus trabajos seculares que no honraban su nombre y han buscado algo que vaya de acuerdo a su estilo de vida.
¿Sabes lo que pasa a veces? Parecemos muy espirituales y nos dejamos llevar por las emociones. Le decimos al Señor: «Quiero ser misionero, quiero ser pastor y vivir para ti».
«Perfecto», dice Dios. «¿Estás dispuesto a dejarlo todo por mí? ¿Dejarías ese trabajo que te da buen dinero, pero te roba tiempo con tu familia? ¿O estás listo para ser misionero dejando tu familia y viajando a lugares en los que quizá no tengas una cama donde dormir y la comida no sea la más apetitosa?».
El servicio a Dios tiene un precio y sacrificios que enfrentar. Sin embargo, la gran verdad es que si Dios te llama, te capacita y te prepara. Creo que ya te lo dije, pero lo repito ahora: Así como los soldados van a la guerra, pero antes necesitan preparación física y entrenamientos muy fuertes, igual sucede con nosotros. Dios necesita prepararnos para darnos lo que anhelamos.
Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
~ Romans 8:17 (NIV)
At the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town in October 2010, North Korean Gyeong Ju Son shared her moving life story. Here is the conclusion.
While staying at the Korean Consulate in Beijing, waiting to go to South Korea, her life was dramatically and irrevocably changed when Jesus came to her in a dream. She says:
“He had tears in His eyes. He walked towards me and asked ‘Gyeong Ju, how much longer are you going to keep me waiting? Walk with me. Yes, you have lost your earthly father, but I am your heavenly Father and whatever has happened to you, was because I love you.’”
Praying to God for the very first time, she gave Him her heart, soul, mind and strength, asking that she would be used at His will. A deep love for the lost people of North Korea and the need to bring the love of Jesus to them has subsequently become her life purpose. She continues:
“I look back over my short life and I see God’s hand everywhere. Six years in North Korea, eleven in China and now in South Korea. Everything I suffered; all the sadness and grief, all that I have experienced and learned; I want to give it all to God and use my life for His Kingdom. In this way I also hope to bring honor to my father.”
Now a student, the intention of this young and vibrant follower of Christ is to go to university to study political science and diplomacy, and then work for the rights of the voiceless in North Korea. She concluded:
“Brothers and sisters here in this place, I humbly ask you to pray that the same light of God’s grace and mercy that reached my father and my mother and now me, will one day soon dawn upon the people of North Korea, my people!”
RESPONSE: Today I will continue to believe that God takes terrible situations and turns them into good.
PRAYER: Lord, we pray that you will call many youths like Gyeong Ju to minister among the needy people of North Korea.
His name means: "Yahweh Is Salvation"
His work: Although a member of the Holy Trinity who participated in the creation of the universe, his assignment was to come humbly to earth as a man to serve as Redeemer and Lord.
His character: Fully God, fully man; sinless perfection.
His sorrow: Taking upon himself the sins of every human being to satisfy the wrath of a holy God—the sins of those who lived before his birth, those who lived during his lifetime, and those who were to follow.
His triumph: The completion of his mission as the Savior of the world.
Key Scriptures: The Gospel of John
A Look at the Man
The first day of school, the first day on a new job—these are landmark moments, times to celebrate, to give your best, to set a pattern for the days to follow.
Jesus could have begun his public ministry with a healing service or a deliverance session. He could have gathered twice as many people as John the Baptist had and begun by excoriating the religious leaders for their sins. Instead, he performed a miracle, turning water into wine so that a bride and groom could avoid embarrassment, so that a party could continue.
Didn't Jesus have more important things to attend to? What was he thinking? What about all the hungry people who needed feeding, the blind who needed to see? What about restoring worship in the temple, freeing the demon-possessed, silencing gale-force winds, and walking on water?
Jesus knew the time would come for him to confront the ugliness in people's hearts. He knew about the suffering that lay ahead and the resistance he would face. But right now it was time for a party. True, the bridegroom hadn't been quite ready for the wedding, running out of wine before the celebration was half finished. Jesus wasn't quite ready either.
But three years later, as he hung on a Roman cross dying for our sins, it was a completely different story, because now the Bridegroom was ready. That day Jesus declared his work "finished," for the purpose of his life and ministry was to prepare his people to become his spotless bride.
At Cana he had changed water to expensive wine. On the night before he died, he lifted a cup of wine, saying to his friends: "This is my blood, shed for you." On the cross he turned the costly wine into his own precious blood.
After Jesus' resurrection, the Spirit of God moved on the disciples so powerfully that three thousand people became believers in one day. Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in his followers, was drawing people to himself, changing the course of history, giving us the best news we could ever hear, throwing the greatest party anyone had ever attended.
Reflect On: Matthew 26:36–46
Praise God: For his love.
Offer Thanks: For his Son—the child born of a virgin, the boy who grew in character, the one who lived a sinless life and died to redeem us—the groom who not only loved his bride but gave his life for her.
Confess: The temptation to forget who Jesus really is and to treat his life as only an example of right living rather than to fully embrace his purpose for coming to earth.
Ask God: To fill you with his Spirit, to live as a person who has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, to teach you to pray and to celebrate.
Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media. Coming this fall: watch for Wicked Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler.
As a Child in the Presence of a Loving Father
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,” the Bible says.”
~ Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
Friend to Friend
The second the bus stopped at the corner, my little girl climbed off and ran as fast as she could toward where I stood. Something wasn't right. She was crying. Immediately my mind jumped to worst-case scenarios.
Not quite so dramatic, someone told her they didn't like her anymore. In typical grade-school fashion, the mood of the relationship had turned sour on the playground. As a result, my girl fell out of the other girl's affection.
There on the street corner, I held her close while she cried. I was glad she told me. But what made me most proud is what she said next: "When we get home, can we cuddle?"
For years I've been working with my girl to learn how to ask for what she needs. It's hard for her, tough girl that she is. Typically she either guts it out or reverts to theatrics. Instead, we've discussed how to use words to communicate needs.
That day, on the street corner, she did just that.
If only I could learn to do the same.
Most days I'm glad to be an adult. I mean, really. Who wants to travel back to the days of diapers or pimples?
When I'm hurt or discouraged or afraid, however, my adult skin wears thin.
When bills demand paying and parenting proves impossible. When marriage is hard, friendships struggle, and doctor's appointments fill a calendar.
Then I wish to travel back in time, when a girl's greatest fears could be soothed in a mama's arms. Held close, all was well. To a child, there's nothing greater than a parent's ability to comfort.
But comfort doesn't come so easily to us grownups.
Where do you and I go when relationships wound and the injustice of life stings?
We adults carry such responsibility, don't we? Such blunt knowledge of the unfairness and volatility of this life. Even if we avoid news and media, fear and pain still have a way of finding us. We can't escape them.
Ourselves, more often than not. We either erect a false front of strength or cave in to a pattern of complaining. But neither brings much relief.
There's a better way.
The Bible is rich with examples of men who voiced their needs and asked God for His comfort.
Even better, the Bible nearly explodes with examples of God's corresponding tireless affection. At times He comforted those He loved through their circumstances, and other times He comforted them in their circumstances:
- To the leader Joshua, overwhelmed by his new task: "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged" (Josh. 1:9).
- To the Israelites enslaved by ruthless Egyptians: "I am concerned about their suffering" (Ex. 3:7).
- To the widow who'd lost her only son: "Don't cry" (Luke7:13).
- To the adulteress caught in her shameful sin: "Neither do I condemn you" (John 8:11).
- To the blind man longing to see: "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you" (Luke 18:42).
- To the disciples, who ached because their friend would be leaving them, Jesus said: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matt. 28:20).
- And to those of us who wade through the deep waters of this modern life, longing for a world we've heard about but have not yet seen, Jesus promises: "I am going there to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2).
Regardless of your pain "whether physical, emotional, or spiritual” you don’t have to pretend to be strong, nor do you need to succumb to your tears. Become a child in the presence of a comforting Father.
Don’t be afraid to expose your need and ask God for comfort.
Then, count on Him to deliver.
Dear Lord, I come into Your presence with my broken heart. Instead of building walls and lashing out, I give my hurts and fears to You and seek Your comfort. As I read the scriptures, let me hear Your words through the ages, as words meant for me in my struggles.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
How has your human experience of comfort impacted your expectation (or lack thereof) of comfort from God? Allow the truth of the Bible to rewrite what you believe about God’s offer to comfort you.
More from the Girlfriends
It’s here! Michele’s new book, I Am: A 60-day Journey To Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is, is now available. If you’re tired of doubting your worth and feeling exhausted from all the effort at being “enough,” this daily journey may finally deliver the peace you crave. For short, inspirational devotional messages delivered right to your inbox, check out Michele’s FREE I Am Video Experience.
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.
Girlfriends in God
La verdad a medias
29 de Setiembre 2017
Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna.
Una cosa es la verdad... y otra cosa es la verdad A MEDIAS.
Un ejemplo interesante de una verdad A MEDIAS, es la Regla 46 de la muy exclusiva, lujosa, y llena de reglas Oxford Union en Londres. Con el fin de evitar que haya perros en sus instalaciones, la Regla 46 dice: "Todo miembro que entre a las instalaciones de la Sociedad con un perro, recibirá una multa de £1. Todo animal que guíe a una persona ciega será considerado como si fuera un gato".
Decir que un perro es un "gato" es una verdad A MEDIAS. En estos tiempos en que muchos creen que no existe la verdad absoluta y que nada está completamente equivocado, es común para las personas usar verdades A MEDIAS.
En contraste con lo que nosotros hacemos, Dios nunca usa verdades A MEDIAS. Dios odia el pecado, y así lo dice. Él quiere salvarnos de nuestro pecado a través de su Hijo Jesucristo, y así lo dice. Fijémonos nuevamente en el texto de esta devoción: Dios amó... Dios dio... Dios salva a quienes creen. Su lenguaje es muy simple y muy directo.
Siguiendo el ejemplo de Dios, y para ser honestos con nosotros mismos y con los demás, les aliento a que digan la VERDAD EN AMOR. Eso es lo que San Pablo dijo a la iglesia en la ciudad de Éfeso y también a todos nosotros, cuando escribió: "... hablando la verdad en amor, crezcamos en todos los aspectos en aquel que es la cabeza, es decir, Cristo" (Efesios 4:15 - LBLA).
Hablando la VERDAD EN AMOR. Eso es lo que Jesús siempre hizo. Eso es lo que nos alienta a hacer hoy.
ORACIÓN: Padre celestial, enséñame tus caminos. Ayúdame para que no actúe como quienes no te conocen, sino que hable la verdad en amor, para que los demás puedan verte y reconocerte como Señor y Salvador. En el nombre de tu hijo Jesús. Amén.
De una devoción escrita originalmente para "By the Way"
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