Shine God’s Light in the Darkness

Shine God's Light.png“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.” –  John 3:21

I’ve recently started a bible study to learn how shine god’s light in the darkness and attended a very inspiring sermon referencing scriptures about being a light. In the sermon, the pastor gave very basic examples of the darkness God is talking about in the scriptures. Although it can mean very scary and serious crimes, it also refers to those things we don’t think are sin.

Here’s the example he gave. He went to a party with very wealthy and beautiful people celebrating their success. Throughout the entire night, the guests were constantly boasting about how lucky they were. They bragged about their hard work and accomplishments – basically thanking themselves for their fruitful lives. When it came time to eat, all of the guests ate and drank merrily and applauded the host for the great meal.

As the pastor mingled with the guests, he couldn’t help but feel like something was off. Not one time did the guests truly reflect on who made their lives so enjoyable. It wasn’t by their own strength and grit. It was by God’s loving nature that he chose to bless them.

Can you relate to the guests in this story?

It’s easy to get distracted by own lives and forget to give the glory to God. As it says in the Bible “Every good and perfect thing comes from above.” When we choose not to give God the glory he deserves, we are cheating him and choosing the darkness. And he didn’t send his son to the cross for us to live for ourselves.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light  (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” Ephesians 5:8-14

This scripture encourages us to expose those deeds done in the darkness and bring them into God’s light. As a follower of Christ, we are expected to be transparent. Jesus hid nothing from his followers and remained sinless when he was tested far beyond what we could ever experience.

Living by the light is easier said than done sometimes. Our sinful nature encourages us to fulfill our fleshly desires instead of doing God’s will. I speak for myself first and foremost and some days, I just want everything to be about me. These are the moments when God calls me higher to live for him and not myself.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”- 1 Peter 2:9

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Discipleship One Day at Time

pslam 63Perfection in not in my vocabulary. Persistence, prayer and God’s timing are. Being a disciple doesn’t mean my life became simpler. Many times, I feel like I deal with a lot more complicated things now than I ever did before. Following Christ means my future in heaven is guaranteed because He died for me.

We recently started this study series at church about the real meaning of repentance. What many of us think repentance means (including myself) is falling to our knees begging for forgiveness or using our own strength to make a complete change. Neither of those are correct. Repentance is about joy. It’s about a mind change (AKA Metanoia) that helps reveal what God has been trying to tell us all along.

The other piece to this is that repentance doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t go to bed hating the world and wake up the next day throwing up sunshine and rainbows. This is where discipleship comes into full effect. God doesn’t expect us to do everything correct. He knows we will mess up A LOT. That’s why His son went to the cross. He forgives our sins before we even know where going to make them. But He does expect us to give our best effort (AKA first fruits – Proverbs 3:9).

When I look at my own journey, I couldn’t even imagine that this is what my life would look like. The day I got baptized, everything seemed perfect. No one could bring me down and I was ready to take on the world. And when reality set in that this life I chose would have rough patches, I learned to take this journey one day at a time.

Sure. I work hard to do what God calls me to do. Do I mess up? All the time. I can’t rely on my own strength. And when I do, I fail. But God never gives up on me. Just like He did to the Israelites in Nehemiah, He lets me make mistakes, but always responds when I cry out for Him. This doesn’t give me an excuse to keep sinning (Romans 6); it gives me motivation to repent from that way of thinking that got me in the jam in the first place.

That’s what discipleship is. It’s trying your best to love and obey God and let him mold you into the image of son. Jesus is the standard. He was the only human ever to walk this earth and never sin. I know I will never be perfect like him, but I will choose to follow his footsteps everyday. And God has blessed my life so abundantly that there are not enough words in the dictionary to describe how grateful I am. I literally owe EVERYTHING to God.

If you already know God, Amen. I pray that your disciple journey is filled with joy and blessings. If you don’t know God yet, Amen. I was in your shoes before. I pray that one day you will get to experience this splendid life and also make the decision to stop living for yourself and live for Christ. I made that choice almost four years ago and I’ve never looked back.

I can begin to optimize my Kingdom vision by…

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making tiny changes to my daily habits. Instead of shoving ear buds in while waiting for a drink at Starbucks, I can allow myself to be open to having conversations with people. Instead of vegging out on my couch, (although pregnancy has made this a must), I can get out of the house and work on relationships with friends and see what God is doing in their lives.

These minor switches can turn my daily objective from selfish to selfless. And like anything, practice makes perfect. Of course meeting a friend after work for a devotional can seem exhausting after a long day. But when it’s over, we will both feel refreshed and hopefully more focused on God’s will and not ours.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20

@KelseaMoriah. leads these prompts. Join me as I explore a different daily theme that leads back to God. If you would like to jump in, click here.

I’m not optimizing my Kingdom vision when…

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I choose to go my way. In my previous post, I defined Kingdom Vision as the plans that God has for his Kingdom and people. When I set myself up for positions in which I am choosing God first, I am putting the Kingdom first as well. But when I choose the easy way out, my way, I’m forcing God to take a back seat on his own plan.

Imagine mapping out an intricate scavenger hunt. You specifically decide where the user will stop, what they will find, and the optimum path for them to get to each target. Now imagine going on this hunt with a player who decides to throw out your entire map and just wing it. How frustrated would you be? You spent hours finding the best path from point A to B, but the player thinks they’re smarter than the designer and messes everything up.

In life, God is the designer and we are the players who ignore the map. Our objective is to get from treasure to treasure our way. It doesn’t matter that our way may set us back years or make us miserable and lonely at times. To us, the path doesn’t matter. To God, the journey means everything.

Every step along the way, God puts us in situations to be molded and transformed to look more like Jesus. Each windy road collides us with people who challenge our character but also allow us to grow in our faith. Now, I’m no perfect follower. Many times, I see the treasure and sprint through a short cut. And in those moments, God takes that time to show me over and over again the vision for my life and His Kingdom.

@KelseaMoriah leads these prompts. Join me as I explore a different daily theme that leads back to God. If you would like to jump in, click here.

To me, Kingdom Vision means…

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the plans that God has for his Kingdom and people. In Jeremiah 29:11, God tells us “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Long before the creation, God mapped out individual plans for all of our lives. He created an intricate design of what our lives should look like. Then, He gave us the free will to choose to follow Him.

A Kingdom vision to me is living for God’s purpose. When I choose to follow Him and the ideal path He created, I am walking with the intention of prospering the Kingdom of God and helping others find Him along the way. A Kingdom vision is selfless. It’s about surrendering and putting God’s needs first. It’s about choosing to go where God calls you instead of staying where it’s comfortable.

Keeping a Kingdom vision at the forefront of my decisions means that I am constantly asking myself, how will this help God? How can my everyday interactions lead others back to God? How can my lifestyle show what God has done for me?

At first, the concept of a Kingdom vision seems daunting. But when you’re living for God, it becomes simple. As we’ve been discussing at my church, our purpose is to first love God, second love others and third make disciples that make disciples. Everything we are called to do grows God’s kingdom in so many ways.

Mark Lewis does a great job at breaking down even more of what Kingdom Vision is. Checkout his post here. 

@KelseaMoriah leads these daily prompts. Join me as I explore a different daily theme that leads back to God. If you would like to jump in, click here.

An aspect God has revealed to me about living boldly is…

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sharing the gospel and my life with more people. When I was going to UNLV, it was easy to walk up to a stranger and invite them to bible talk. I didn’t think twice about asking my classmates or sorority sisters to a volleyball or sports night.

As I graduated and moved into the working world, religion at work almost felt taboo. So many people I’ve worked around live lives completely opposite of a disciple. It’s uncomfortable to sit in a conversation and feel isolated because I cannot relate to their wild lifestyle. Although rebuking in those moments isn’t the right decision, I struggle with trying to find the right place and time to share the word.

One new married couple at my church gave a great example of how they are reaching out and sharing the word. In their neighborhood, they’ve made a deliberate decision to get to know their neighbors and invite them over to dinner. By sharing a simple meal, the couple had the ability to talk about their story and how God brought them together.

Now in Las Vegas, getting to know your neighbors is almost nonexistent. You may offer a wave here and there but block parties are a thing of the past. This couple’s boldness to break those barriers has inspired me to invite more people to do life with my husband and I. We may not agree with every lifestyle choice they make, but that’s for God to judge not us. The more opportunities we have to physically show our scars and how God has healed them, the more opportunities we give to God to bring them home.

These prompts are led by @KelseaMoriah. Join me as I explore a different daily theme that leads back to God. If you would like to jump in, click here.

I can begin to live more boldly by…

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“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”  2 Timothy 1:7

In my walk with Christ, my boldness and confidence can be like a rollercoaster. Sometimes I feel so on fire I can’t contain myself. I can walk up to anyone anywhere and share the good news. Some days it’s easy to be an ambassador for God.

But then, there are the difficult days. Those are the days when I’m afraid to read my bible in public. Those are the conversations where I doubt all of my biblical knowledge. But as the scripture reads above, God did not put a spirit of fear in me but he gave me a powerful ally in the Holy Spirit to speak and act boldly.

I can live more boldly by throwing out fear, timidity and self-reliance. My boldness does not come from my own strength, but comes from the all-powerful Alpha Omega. I can share my faith more. I can stand up for what is right. I can choose to love other above all else.

“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Proverbs 28:1

I recently joined the Live a Life of Love February Journal Prompt lead by @KelseyMoriah. Join me as I explore a different daily theme that leads back to God. If you would like to jump in, click here.

Preparing for your heavenly bridegroom

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Being married has taught me many things. It’s taught me how to serve, to be patient and to let my husband lead. In Ephesians, Paul gives instructions to husbands and wives.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” – EPHESIANS 5:25-27

I’ve read this scripture many times. I studied out the book of Ephesians in preparing myself for marriage. But during my quiet time today, I looked at this scripture differently.

The idea of marriage is a holy union from God. The church is the bride and Jesus is the bridegroom. And as the scripture reads, the bridegroom prepares his bride to be holy and blameless. We see this process demonstrated through Jesus.

After death, Jesus goes to prepare a place for His bride (the church), and through the Holy Spirit, He sanctifies and purifies His beloved church through His Word. So, if Jesus is constantly working to prepare a place for our eternity while also cleansing us to enter the kingdom “holy and blameless” what are we doing during that waiting period?

As with any big wedding day, the bride gets her hair, makeup and nails done. She makes sure her dress is ironed, her shoes are pristine and she’s perfect for her groom. I remember taking such care to preparing myself to meet my husband at the end of the aisle. And this scripture makes me ask myself if I’m putting the same effort into preparing for the day I meet Jesus.

It is our responsibility to remain faithful – immersed in His Will and Word – and wait for Him to return and receive us. So, if today was the big day, would you be ready to meet your heavenly bridegroom?

Gossip is Never Truth

Gossip

Do you ever have those days where you just can’t get along with anyone? When it feels like the people around you are doing exactly what the Bible tells you NOT to do? Today has been a rough day.

When I get up for work in the morning, I realize that not everyone I come across doesn’t follow Jesus. I understand that the majority of people I will see have different morals. But today, it has been hard to accept that something so childish as gossip should be tolerated.

The bible says this about gossip.

“A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” – Proverbs 16:28

When someone gossips, you can almost see the division in the room. It’s apparent that rivalies are beginning, and FOR WHATt? So that one person can feel more accomplished than another. Gossip results to two things – arrogance and criticism. How could either of those be costructive?

“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” – Psalm 34:13

God wanted us to pay attention to everything we think and say. In the above scripture, it literally states that mean/negative words are evil. They don’t lead to prosperity, but instead to destruction of relationships and reputations.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8

Getting caught up in gossip is easy. But if we focus on the above scripture, there won’t be any room for it. Gratefully, my hope lies in the Lord and not the negative Nancys around me.

Can you relate to situations like these? How do you handle them in the moment?

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Tomorrow is Not Promised

Music news is buzzing today with the sudden suicide of Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington. Fans alike were shocked to hear the heart-breaking news. Even those who may not have known every lyric to every song, felt the sting.

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Bennington was a rock superstar who took his own life at 41. If you’ve ever under valued the importance of a single day, this shocking announcement will put life into perspective.

God doesn’t promise us tomorrow and doesn’t even promise that this life will be easy. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10

This scripture alone says that living for him and doing the right thing will be a struggle. Bennington may not have been a Christian living for God, but he felt the pain this world brings. He suffered from depression and couldn’t find his way out of the darkness.

But there is hope. God is life, love and everything you need. He will stand by your side no matter the circumstance. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

RIP Chester. You will be missed.

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