Today’s meditation

LETTING OUR LIGHT SHINE

Introduction

It’s taken from Matthew 5:16. The whole verse goes like this, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Let’s observe 3 things in this theme.

I. It’s a command.

A. A command is meant to be obeyed implicitly, explicitly and immediately.
B. A command is generally disliked by us. We have more taste for promises than commands. We are like children who go for jam and cream, and leave the bread slice uneaten.

II. It’s a command to let our light shine.

A. But the light can shine only if there is light.

1. We are the light of the world if have repented from our sins genuinely and believed on Lord Jesus Christ wholeheartedly.
2. We are the light of the world if we are truly born again and thoroughly saved.
3. In that case we are the children of light, not of darkness. As such, we are expected to live as children of light, and not participate in the deeds of darkness but expose them (Ephesians 5:8,10,11). We are expected to manifest the excellencies of the One who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light (1Peter 2:9).
4. But if we aren’t saved then we aren’t light but darkness. In that case there no light. There is no question of letting our light shine when it’s not there.

B. We can let our light shine through good works. V. 16

1. When we love God with all of our heart, mind and strength, we are letting our light shine before others (Deuteronomy 6:5).
2. When we love our neighbours, we are letting our light shine before others (Leviticus 19:18).
3. When we love our enemies, forgive them, bless them and pray for them, we are letting our light shine before others (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28).
4. When we are living an exemplary life in the light of God’s word, we are letting our light shine for the glory of God.
5. When we share the gospel of salvation with those who are sitting in the darkness and the shadow of death, we are letting our light shine on them. It says in Matthew 4:15, 16, “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles- the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

III. It’s a command, easily discarded.

A. We can hinder our light shining before others (Cf. Keeping our light under the basket).

1. Through hypocrisy.
2. Duplicity.
3. Dishonesty in finances.
4. False accounts.
5. False reports.
5. Sexual immorality, having illicit love affairs.
6. Deception.
7. Works of our sinful flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

Conclusion

Are we letting our light shine before others through our good works? Or, are we hindering it through our deeds of darkness?

Are people glorifying God because of us? Or, are we a hindrance in their coming to faith?

Is God’s name blessed or blasphemed because of us? Is our light shining?

By Richard Masih, New Delhi

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Amazing Grace

“That He (God) might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

John Newton the famous composer of the hymn ‘Amazing Grace” was once the captain of a slave ship carrying Africans as slaves to England in the eighteenth century. On March 10, 1748, his ship was caught in a terrible storm, and when nothing could be done, he was led to read ‘The Imitation of Christ’ by Thomas Kempis.

The Holy Spirit began working in his heart and he accepted the Lord Jesus as his Saviour. Realizing the depravation of the slave trade, he left the ship. The Lord guided him to do His work and encouraged by the eminent evangelist George Whitefield, he plunged into the ministry and became the pastor of a church near Cambridge.

In 1785, when he was the distinguished Pastor of St. Mary Woolnoth in London, he came into contact with William Wilberforce, a young brilliant politician of only 26 years, but already a member of the Parliament. Since he had recently experienced religious awakening, the born-again Wilberforce sought the 64 year old Rev, Newton for council. He wanted to know whether he should resign from Parliament and enter the ministry. Newton advised him not to resign but told him, “God can make you a blessing as a Christian and as a Statesman”.

Young Wilberforce took up the cause of slavery, which Rev. Newton preached against. He addressed the Privy Council which included Prime Minister William Pitt and said, “The slaves lie in two rows, one above the other, on each side of the ship like books upon the shelf. The poor creatures are in irons on both hands and feet. Every morning more instances than one are found of the living and the dead fastened together”. In March 1807, Parliament passed the Wilberforce Bill abolishing slavery. In December that year John Newton passed on to glory in his 82nd year with his last words, “l am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour”.

Amazing Grace, which brought people deliverance from human slavery in England is always abounding to bring deliverance from slavery under the devil and sin through the Saviour Jesus Christ.

Are you still a slave under sin? There is deliverance only in Christ Jesus.

“By Grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God… For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph, 2:8,10).

Taken from the book ‘Truths for the soul” by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj. Published by GLS Publishing.

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The Cost of Discipleship

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch:  You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’  (Jeremiah 45:2-3 NLT)

Baruch was the young scribe that wrote and read to the people Jeremiah’s prophecies.  Like Jeremiah, he got a lot of persecution for the prophet’s words. The Lord responded to the scribe’s pain with truth and loving kindness.  Baruch found out there is always a cost in following God.

Young disciples often become discouraged when they find out that serving God is not all fun and games. Discipleship, often involves God crossing our will with his. The Lord’s response to Baruch came in the form of correction and encouragement. “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people, but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (V.5) If we have our eyes focused on the things of this world, be it fame or fortune, we become impatient when difficulties arise.  We can develop a spiritualized entitlement mentality.  When trouble comes, we lose heart and our passion wanes. When desire diminishes, we can never fulfill our calling.

Attitude is a big part of dealing with adversity. It appears that Baruch had come to the point of blaming God for his predicament (“And now the Lord has added more! V.3). Our response when God crosses our will with his determines when discipleship starts and ends.  Discipleship has a cost but also a prize. “I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go” (v.5).

 By Ken Barnes

 

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Cheer Up

Jesus said in John 16:33 (NIV), “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”

Jesus had just finished telling His disciples some things that, at that time, they could not fully understand. But, He didn’t leave them clueless. He made a statement of fact: “In this world you will have trouble.” He doesn’t say our troubles will go away. He doesn’t say we will no longer be plagued by fear or doubt. Instead, our solution to a troubled heart, is to find peace in Him. But, He takes that a step further by saying something strange. He tells us to, “take heart,” or, “cheer up.”

So, when we are lonely or depressed, have doubts about our faith or feel the weight of the world pressing us down, we are to “cheer up”? This makes no sense until we read our Lord’s last statement: “I have overcome the world.”

We win our battles when we surrender to Jesus who has already fought them for us. We free ourselves from a bag full of burdens when we lay it at the cross and leave it there. We find peace, in the midst of life’s storms, when we rest in the One who walked upon the water and said, “Peace! Be still.”

He, who was rejected and despised of men, is now our Overcomer. That is definitely something we can all cheer about.

By Bob Valleau 

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Be Still

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Be still and know that I am God….  Psalms 46:10 (NIV)

Being “still” resonates in different ways with different people. Many perceive it to be a waste of time or unproductive. While this may seem true to the mind’s reasoning, the spirit’s understanding would beg to differ.

Jesus remained forty days in the desert. Most would agree that He probably didn’t have much to do to keep himself busy during that time. However, Jesus knew all too well that in the spirit realm, things were busier than ever! He knew that the way was being opened for God’s ultimate plan to come to pass – that He, the greatest sacrifice of love ever known to man, would conquer death, sin, and reconcile all of mankind to the heavenly Father by giving eternal life to whomever would believe. That is quite a feat for staying put forty days in no man’s land!

Stillness is a precious time in which we can lean on our Heavenly Father and experience the calm and peace of his wonderful healing presence. Know this, that while you are resting in the arms of the One who never sleeps or slumbers, heaven is getting busy on your behalf and accomplishing more for your life than you could ever dream or imagine for yourself.

…“Peace, be still!”    Jesus Christ.

By Kim Feeney

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The World to Come

AW-Tozer

 

It has been cited as a flaw in Christianity that it is more concerned with the world to come than with the world that now is, and some timid souls have been fluttering about trying to defend the faith of Christ against this accusation as a mother hen defends her chicks from the hawk.

Both the attack and the defense are wasted. No one who knows what the New Testament is about will worry over the charge that Christianity is otherworldly. Of course it is, and that is precisely where its power lies.

Christianity, which is faith in Christ, trust in His promises and obedience to His commandments, rests down squarely upon the Person of Christ. What He is, what He did and what He is doing — these provide a full guarantee that the Christian’s hopes are valid. Christianity is what Christ says it is. His power becomes operative toward us as we accept His words as final and yield our souls to believe and obey.

Christ is not on trial; He needs no character witnesses to establish His trustworthiness. He came as the Eternal God in time’s low tabernacle. He stands before no human tribunal, but all men stand before Him now and shall stand for judgment at the last. Let any man bring the faith of Christ to the bar of man’s opinion, let him try to prove that the teachings of Christ are in harmony with this philosophy or that religion, and he is in fact rejecting Christ while seeking to defend Him. lpse dixit, He has said it, is sufficient answer to all criticisms of Christ’s claims.

Christianity has over the last half century been badly shaken by the criticisms of certain social philosophers. These gentlemen have assumed the basic soundness of the present world system. With a few improvements here and there a prosperous, healthy and peaceful society could be established right here on this earth, and to do this, say they, is the whole duty of man.

These men were observant enough to see that their concept of a permanently peaceful world was contrary to the teachings of the New Testament, so they quite naturally turned impatiently from them. Unfortunately many influential Christian leaders were not astute enough to notice the contradiction between the ipse dixits of Christ and the doctrines of the social dreamers and, smarting under the charges hurled at them by the one-world thinkers, they retreated from their Christian position and ran after the social philosophers, crying  “Me too, me too,” in a frantic effort to prove that the world had misunderstood Christianity all along. In doing this they, of course surrendered all that is unique in the faith of Christ and adopted an emaciated Christianity which is little more than a ghost of the faith once delivered.

Let no one apologize for the powerful emphasis Christianity lays upon the doctrine of the world to some. Right there lies its immense superiority to everything else within the whole sphere of human thought of experience. When Christ arose from death and ascended into heaven and established forever three important facts: namely, that this world has been condemned to ultimate dissolution, that the human spirit persists beyond the grave and that there is indeed a world to come.

Taken from the book ‘Of God and Men’ by AW Tozer

Published by Gospel Literature Service.

 

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Counterfeit Coins

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Many people are deceived in India by counterfeit coins. Those who make or possess counterfeit coins mix them up with genuine coins while buying things from the market. New and inexperienced shopkeepers are deceived, and take counterfeit coins with the genuine. But merchants and shopkeepers who are experienced pick out such counterfeit coins immediately and refuse to accept them. Not only so, they quickly hand over such deceivers to the police. The Devil subtly and crookedly has raised up his agents, false Christians, side by side with real Christians throughout the world. These false Christians are members of the churches, pray in the name of Christ, sing Christian hymns, attend the Sunday meetings, celebrate Christmas, Good Friday and Easter and do many social works in the name d Christ. But, as the tares when eaten are found bitter in taste, so are the practical lives of these so-called Christians found to be full of pollution, corruption and wickedness. As the experienced merchants and shopkeepers discover counterfeit coins mixed up with genuine coins, so false Christians, who are deceivers mixed up with real Christians, will one day be exposed, judged and condemned for ever. As the tares are gathered and burnt in the fire, so shall the false and deceiving Christians, “the children of the wicked one”, who do iniquity, be cast into the lake of fire. (Matt. 13:40-42).

Taken from the book ‘In Christianity or In Christ’ by Jordan C. Khan.

Published by GLS Publishing

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Providence

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“Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear  not, therefore: Ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12 7).

During World War ll, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was in the Air Force. On one of the missions across the Pacific, his plane went down, and along with his crew he scrambled into a life raft and remained floating for days on the rough waters. Eventually, their food and water ran out. They had a prayer together that afternoon pleading to the Almighty to do a miracle for them. Ed, exhausted, leaned on the raft for a nap, pulling his military cap over his nose.  After sometime, Ed felt something landing on the top of his cap. It was a sea-gull; he caught the bird. Wringing its neck he dressed it and the raw meat was their frugal meal. The intestines of the bird they used as bait for catching fish and hence, more food. The offal of the fishes they used for additional bait. Thus they drifted on the sea for days until they were found and rescued.
Ed lived many years after this ordeal and never forgot the miracle of the sea-gull immediately after their united prayer.  PS. 57:1; 15. 15:4; 1Kin. 17:6, 16; 2Kin. 3:20;  7 8.

Taken from the book ‘Light for the soul’ by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj

Published by GLS Publishing

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The Finest Substance

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“Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives…so the lamps may be kept burning” (Exodus 27:20 NIV).

Olive oil is a very precious commodity to many countries. Many centuries ago, a very important lifeline was given to the people of Israel: the oil produced from their olive trees.

My husband David and I had traveled with a tour group to Israel. On a few acres of ground near Nazareth, we were shown a reproduction of a village-like setting that depicted how people lived in Jesus’ day so that visitors could connect the biblical stories and visualize the shepherd’s life.

The olive press they displayed was indispensable for living in former times. We were told that they would press ripe olives three times. The first expressed oil yielded the finest substance. God’s temple received the first and best oil for its lamps and other religious purposes.

The finest oil was reserved for where God’s presence dwelt. After the exodus from Egypt and while they were still tramping in the desert, Moses gave this command. “This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come” (Exodus 27:20 NIV).

God requires the first oil from us. That would consist of the first of our strength, the first of our day to seek Him, or the best of our abilities and talents. If we give Him our first, we will find that He will provide the rest.

By  Florence Simmons

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A Spectacular Ministry

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Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. (2 Corinthians 5:12 NLT).

The Apostle Paul had many critics in his day, both inside and outside the Church.  From his statement above, we can ascertain that it is possible to have a spectacular ministry without a sincere heart.

By the sheer power of personality, it is possible to do significant things, even while using the name of Christ.  When the Bible speaks of a sincere heart, it is not just about right actions, but about right motives.  To glorify Christ always has to be our chief motivation. How can we recoginse that our motivation may be flawed?  It’s when we have to build ourselves up and tear others down, such as Paul’s  detractors were doing.  We start doing things that will impress man rather than God.  Impressive things, as the world sees them, based on selfish motives, are always destined to fall. What is a sincere heart?  It’s one that seeks first to glorify God and not ourselves.  Paul’s answer to his critics was that they were trying to have prominent ministries without Christ being foremost in their hearts.  They were doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.

Remember, it not the height or even the breadth of your ministry, but the depth of your love for Christ that motivates you, that impresses God.  It is not possible to be a man pleaser and a servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10 NLT). There is nothing wrong with having a spectacular ministry, as long as a sincere heart accompanies it.

 By Ken Barnes

 

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