Be the Light

But.

If there’s one word that irritates me, it’s the word ‘but’.

I want to donate to charity, but I can’t seem to part with anything.

Sure, I really want to go to church this Sunday, but I have to work and I’ll be too tired.

Yes, I know it’s a sin, but I can’t help it.

I’m sure the list could go on and on and on, but I think you’ve grasped where I’m going with this.

So many people today rely on that word like a lifeline. Humans tend to frequently visit excuses. We want to do all these things that God asks of us, yet it seems like we’re too preoccupied with other happenings to comply with even the smallest of tasks. Our worldly lives seem to take center stage, while we place God somewhere in the nose bleed section.

Notice I say we.

I am as guilty of doing this as any of you are. There are times when I know I should be doing my part in the church, but instead I seem to focus on mundane things like a new episode of my favorite show or a status update on social media that has everyone buzzing. Sometimes, I’m embarrassed by my actions. Here I am claiming to be on a journey with Jesus, yet I can’t find more than a few minutes a day to incorporate Him.

I’m a but person (no pun intended).

I’m that person who is too tired to get up Sunday morning after working a late shift the night before. I’m the one who looks through my things but somehow finds a reason to keep every single possession I come across. And sin, it still plays a part in my life no matter how hard I try to fight it. Or, perhaps, that’s just another excuse. Maybe I could fight harder, but I’m too tired to.

Excuses seem to be my forte sometimes. Actually, forte wouldn’t be an accurate word. A more fitting description? Chains. Excuses are more chains strapped to us by the devil himself. We cannot continue to let him hold us so.

How do we break free of these chains? It seems nearly impossible, but it isn’t. Thinking it’s impossible is only another excuse being whispered into our daily lives.

So, where do we start? How about with Mathew 5:16.

It says:

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Let your light shine.

Let your light shine, so that we can glorify our Father in heaven.

A perfect place to start.

So, beginning today, let us all kick our excuses to the curb and do what Jesus asks us to do: let our light shine by bathing in His presence.

Instead of going to our TV’s when we come home, let’s go to our Bibles. Let’s post scriptures on social media instead of seeking gossip. Spread His Word to those who may have never heard it before. Share what we have, don’t be hoarders. After all, we came into this world with nothing and so shall we leave with nothing.

Go to church, even if you only had a few hours of sleep last night and you’re exhausted. Volunteer when no one else will. Smile at strangers. Be kind. Pray for the lost and for the grieving and struggling. Do small things with great love.

Be the light. Don’t seek excuses, leave them behind you. Leave them with all the other chains the devil has tried to place on you. Allow Jesus to free you.

Let us all start 2017 bathed in the light from the Son, who gave His life so that we could live for Him.

-Tiffany

 

“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

–Romans 13:11-14

 

Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

–Ephesians 5:7-14

 

 

“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 underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

–Mathew 5:13-16

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Start it Right

January 1st, 2017

It’s officially a new year! Rejoice, we’re still alive and well all thanks to our Lord!

In light of a new beginning, I’d like to share a page from my devotional: God Calling by A.J. Russell, Editor.

 

Between The Years

Our Lord and our God. We joy in Thee. Without Thy Help we could not face the year before us.

 

I stand between the years. The Light of My Presence is flung across the year to come- the radiance of the Sun of the Righteousness. Backward, over the past year, is My Shadow thrown, hiding trouble and sorrow and disappointment.

Dwell not on the past- only on the present. Only use the past as the trees use My Sunlight to absorb it, to make from it in after days the warming fir-rays. So store only the blessings from Me, the Light of the World. Encourage yourselves by the thought of these.

Bury every  fear of the future, of poverty for those dear to you, of suffering, of loss. Bury all thoughts of unkindness and bitterness, all your dislikes, your resentments, your sense of failure, your disappointment in others and in yourself, your gloom, your despondency, and let us leave them all, buried, and go forward to a new and risen life.

Remember that you must not see as the world sees. I hold the year in My Hands- in trust for you. But I shall guide you one day at a time.

Leave the rest with Me. You must not anticipate the gift by fears or thoughts of the days ahead.

And for each day I shall supply the wisdom and the strength.

 

Blessings to you all! May God work for you and through you in this year to come!

-Tiffany

 

 

Anger: the Foothold

How many of you have been angry today?

It’s okay to be honest with yourself. Once? Two or three times? Maybe… more? If you have, I hope you continue to read this.

I’ve been angry before, who hasn’t? In fact, I’ve been more than my fair share of angry. I’ve been so angry that words came out of my mouth before my mind had time to process what they were, what kind of pain they would inflict or damage they would cause. In other words, in my anger I was selfish. My goal in such heated moments was one: win the fight at all costs. Why? Because anger told me that I was always in the right.

I did a lot of that fighting when I was younger. When anger knocked, I opened the door without the slightest idea of what would be waiting on the other side. An annoying person aggravated me, anger came. A friend ditched me? Yeah, you could bet I was boiling. A family member told me I’d never amount to anything… man, those words really had me fired up. There are deeper things, but I’m not ready to share those. It seemed like there was an infinite list that hit my buttons.

So, in a nutshell, everything made me mad. Everything would make me want to fight. I wanted to be angry, but then, at the same time, I didn’t. A part of me knew there was more to life than just the on-edge one I was living, I just couldn’t seem to find it and not a soul seemed to want to help me. The fight, the anger, the outbursts were cries, but I was lost in a world that didn’t even notice I was there.

Then something happened.

When I was eleven, a group called The Power Team (men that body-build for Christ) visited a local theater in my town. At the time, I lived with my mother. No one was much on the church scene in my house. Of course I had heard about God and Jesus, about Heaven and Hell, but that’s as far as that went. When my mother suggested the idea of going, it surprised me.

We went. The theater was packed. People with their families, people alone, church vans and even those obnoxious kids I knew from school. We all walked into the theater, and it wasn’t long after we slipped into our seats that the show began.

For the next hour or so these muscled men ripped phone books in half, smashed bats, lifted logs that must have quadrupled their weights, bent frying pans, busted cans with their bare hands, balloons with nothing but the air in their lungs… I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the image. The best part? The hulk like men did these things all while sharing The Gospel. 

The Gospel. That’s where I grew interested.While the crowd roared like they were the most amazing people they had ever seen – some even running to try and catch the pieces of splintered wood and balloon remains as they hit the bottom of the stage – my ears tuned in, my eyes never left the stage. It was like for the first time, someone was finally talking to me and what I was going through. I felt, in a way, like the Grinch on the day his heart grew all those sizes. Somehow, someone had heard my heart crying out in the world and they decided to answer my silent plea to have more than the life I’d been living.

When they called for people to come to the stage, to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, I went without thought. Jesus had been the one to hear me, and he had answered! I would answer Him right back. I wasn’t alone either. It felt as if the whole auditorium had made their way to the small stage as well, no one caring if they bumped into another or stepped on a foot in the midst – something that would have made me angry before – but it didn’t. I was too enraptured by the speaker, to consumed with all the things he was saying.

Saying those words, that well known sinners prayer, was as simple as breathing. Finally, finally, things started to change. They told us to drop our hurts and worries and burdens and whatever else we were dealing with at the Cross, and to leave them. Jesus didn’t want us to carry them any longer, He wanted to exchange them for freedom. For our freedom.

For me it meant the anger.

I walked out of that theater changed, free indeed. I could then see with a clear mind what anger had been doing to those around me and to myself. It was suffocating me. It was holding me back. It was drowning me. And I was letting it. But no longer would I let it chain me. No longer would I be the victim to a deadly killer.

Ephesians 4:26-27 tells us: “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Do not let the devil have a foothold. Anger is a foothold, and a mighty big one. Anger is also a sin people of today tend to overlook. Over the years since the day I accepted Jesus, I have seen that foothold in work. It’s torn my family apart, ruined marriages, and even caused lives to be lost in the fray. It’s a silent killer that not many people talk about. I left it behind, sure, but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t try and break in every once in awhile.

But, friends, we must evict anger and not allow it back. If we let anger inside, even the slightest fragment, it will grow until it can no longer be contained. It will grow until it has nowhere else to go but into another.

When anger shows, meet it with patience. Meet it with prayer, with love. Do not let it destroy your life. Do not let the devil acquire that stronghold. And if you have anger, take it to the Cross. Give Jesus that anger and don’t pick it back up. While you’re there at the bottom of the Cross, forgive yourself and accept His forgiveness. If you haven’t accepted Him, I pray that you do. No matter your mistakes, your past, your pains, hurts, struggles, He is there and He has been waiting for you since before you were ever born.

“For all have fallen short of the glory of God.” –Romans 3:23

Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” –Isaiah 1:18

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear,slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  –James 1:19-20

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” –Ephesians 4:31

 

-Tiffany