You are the light of the world. A city on the hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
About a month ago, there was a commercial on TV for Bring Your Bible to School Day. It showed a group of teenagers wearing a basket on their heads as they went about their day. It was funny and a little bit silly too, but it conveyed the message clearly that our light cannot shine when it is hidden under a bushel.
Sometimes we find ourselves figuratively wearing a basket over our heads. Maybe we’re afraid of what people will think of us if we share our faith with them. Or we mistakenly assume that everyone has already heard the good news of Jesus. Satan would like for us to believe these lies and keep our faith to ourselves.
But Jesus has called Christians to be the light of world and to put our light up on a lampstand for everyone to see. It is our job to reflect the glowing light of Jesus and to be bold enough to take the basket off of our heads and let our light shine bright. When we do, these three things will happen…
#1 Opportunities to share our faith will open up.
How can someone ask us about our faith if they don’t know we have it to begin with? When people see us, they can tell that there is something different about our lives. And they want to know what that difference is. With each person we meet and with every question they ask, God opens up a new opportunity for us to share our faith. A seemingly chance encounter in the grocery store checkout line, or a random meeting at the DMV just might be the perfect time for us to share our faith with someone who needs the light of Christ in their lives. My pastor likes to call these “chance” encounters divine appointments. God loves to give them to us, especially when we least expect them. So, let’s be on the lookout for our next divine appointment and take every opportunity God gives us to let our light so shine before men.
#2 We will show the path to Jesus.
A lighthouse points the way to safety. It stands tall and shines brightly to keep a ship from crashing into the shore. And just like a lighthouse, we point the way to safety. Our light stands tall above the darkness of this world and shows the path to Jesus. It is a shining beacon of hope that keeps the unsaved of the world from crashing and burning into the despair of Satan’s lies and guides them into the loving arms of the Savior.
#3 We give God the glory!
Most importantly our light gives God the glory for what He has done, for us and for everyone else. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and be raised again to save us! And our lives have forever been changed because of it. We no longer have to live in guilt and shame because we have been forgiven. By letting our light shine, we are showing the world what Jesus has done for us and for them. And we give God the glory that rightfully belongs to Him.
Christians are the light of the world! The city on the hill and a shining beacon of hope. We point the way to Jesus by reflecting His radiant light for everyone to see. His light cannot be overshadowed or hidden from view. So, today I pray that we will be the light of the world and give glory to God for what He has done. May God bless you!
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Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt.
Jeremiah was in a pickle. God had given him the unenviable task of telling the people that they had failed God and He was about to unleash His wrath upon them. Ouch!
Judah was in a covenant relationship with God. They were His chosen people, yet they chose to worship the pagan god Baal. The king of Judah had been defeated in battle and now the people were the subject of Egypt. Soon, God would allow brutal Babylon to rule over them for seventy years. Yes, tough times were on the horizon for the people of Judah. But instead of turning to God for help, they chose to continue worshiping their false gods and idols.
So, God sent Jeremiah to call Judah out on their wicked ways and tell them to turn back to Him before it was too late. But they ignored Jeremiah’s warning of God’s coming judgement.
Faced with the people’s indifference to his message, Jeremiah had his own choice to make. He could go with the flow and follow the people’s lead, or he could remain faithful to God and His will. In the face of adversity and a growing defiance from the people, Jeremiah chose faith over popularity.
God remained faithful to Judah, in spite of their disobedience. He remembered His promise to restore His blessing. And because of His everlasting love, God showed His mercy on a faithless people and gave them a new covenant.
This story from Jeremiah isn’t just a piece of history from long ago. It is meant for us right here, right now! Just like Judah, sometimes we find ourselves facing tough times. And just like Jeremiah we might be in a pickle.
When tragedy strikes us close to home, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain is too close and the struggle is too difficult. It’s almost impossible to see how anything in our lives can ever be right again. We’re at the crossroads and we have a choice to make. We can decide to turn our backs on God like the people of Judah. Or we can turn to God for help and rely on His promises during the tough times to come.
The Bible is filled with so many blessings and promises from God! Each one of them meant to give us hope for a better tomorrow. Within Jeremiah 31:3-4, there are three promises from God to help us in our time of need. Once we understand them, we can face any hardship with a new perspective and resolve.
#1 An everlasting love…
God loved us before time began and He still loves us now in the midst of the storm we are facing. God’s love for us is an everlasting love. It has no beginning and it has no end.
But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…
God showed His mercy and demonstrated His great love for us by sending His Son to save us and give us everlasting life. Through the sacrifice of Jesus we have the ability to experience this everlasting and unending love of God.
#2 I have drawn you…
Because of God’s lovingkindness, He stretches out His hand to us and draws us to Himself. Even when trouble surrounds us and all seems lost, God has not forgotten us. He draws close to us in our need.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
#3 Again I will build you…
Whatever hardship we have endured, whatever sin we have committed, God has promised to rebuild our relationship with Him.
You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Christ Jesus. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no
means be put to shame.
1 Peter 2:5-6
As Christians, we are the building project of God. He is the contractor, building a spiritual house for us to dwell in. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the building, keeping our spiritual house from crumbling and falling to pieces. God has formed us into “living stones” to be set upon the cornerstone of Christ. Each stone is carefully and deliberately placed, making us the walls of the house firmly set on the foundation of our faith. But our sin tears down the house God is building for us. So, He forgives our sins and builds the house back up again. We are imperfect so, the building goes on and on. It is a continually building and rebuilding of our lives. And it will only be completed once we are in heaven with Him.
Jeremiah’s story is a testament of a faithful servant who endured many hardships yet followed God anyway. Today, his story stands as a reminder to us that tough times will come, but we have a loving Father who is always faithful to the end. We may make bad choices or get knocked down, but when we make Jesus the cornerstone and main focus of our lives, we will never fail. God will honor His promises to us. He will show us everlasting love, draw us with lovingkindness and pick us up and build us again.
If you are facing tough times, I pray that you will turn to God and be encouraged by these promises. God loves you, He will draw you to Himself and He will build you again.
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It’s easy to be a Christian on Sunday. We go to church and we are around other people who believe as we do. We sing and worship together, and we listen to the sermon to find inspiration for the week ahead. The challenge comes when we leave that church building. Waiting for us outside those doors is a world filled with people who oppose our beliefs and want us to be silent. In their eyes, it’s okay if we believe our silly little thoughts as long as we don’t talk about them or try to persuade anyone else to believe them. Have you ever had someone tell you that you shouldn’t talk about your faith? I know I have! And it always takes me by surprise. Yes, they want us to be silent. But our faith is bigger than them and it’s bigger than us too. Jesus said “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32. We have the truth because we have Jesus. We know who we serve and we know what has been done for us. So it’s our job and our privilege to share our faith with the people around us. To stand up and tell them the good news so that they can have the same assurance and freedom in Jesus Christ that we have.
Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about this challenge that every Christian faces.
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NKJV)
Within these two verses there are five distinct commands for us to follow. Let’s explore each one together.
As women we are taught to watch what is going on around us when we’re in a public place. Our parents teach us when we are young girls not to talk to strangers. When we get a little older, we’re told not to park our car in a dark parking structure or next to a van. They say don’t go on long walks alone in a neighborhood park or on a blind date with someone we just met online. We are taught all of this in order to keep us safe from someone who may want to harm us physically. But this command, “Watch” is directed at our spiritual wellbeing. There are people out there who are against our faith. And they would like nothing more than to cause us to doubt our beliefs. So, we should take this warning seriously. Be on alert and be aware of who we surround ourselves with and what their agenda may be.
#2 Stand fast in the faith
As we just talked about there are unsaved people out there who would like to put doubt in our minds. But there are also many false teachers and so much confusion, not only in other religions, but within our own. These false teachers have a watered down view of Christianity or what I like to call the “rose colored glasses” version of the Bible. They are not doing us any favors by misleading us about what the Bibles says! It is up to us to know what the Bible teaches and to stand fast in our faith, or as the NIV translation puts it, stand firm in the faith. I love that word, “firm”. It makes me think about Jesus being my firm foundation and the rock that I can stand on no matter what circumstance I face. I hope that when you hear the word firm, you will have a similar image in your mind. Because our faith is built on the firm foundation and truth of Jesus Christ. But it is our job to stand fast in the faith. We are responsible for knowing the truth of God’s word for ourselves, to understand what is in it and to not allow false teachers to lead us astray.
#3 Be brave
It’s never fun to be called out and have to defend yourself. I get it, and I feel the same way. I don’t like confrontation either, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. But we live in a world where our faith will be tested. We will be challenged and we will be asked questions. So when this happens, we have to be brave enough to face the challenge head on. We can be ready with an answer and be willing to share our faith with an unbelieving world because we know the truth of God’s word.
#4 Be strong
Our society tells us that we are supposed to be politically correct. We shouldn’t say anything that might offend someone else. If we don’t agree, then we should just be polite and keep our mouth shut. But God has not called Christians to be silent, He has called us to be strong. Instead of silence, we should speak openly and plainly about our faith with those people who hold different beliefs and have questions about ours. And we should be mindful that our words are always grounded in biblical truth. If they are, then we should be strong enough to speak these truths with confidence knowing that God’s word never returns void. (Isaiah 55:11)
#5 With Love
The four previous commands are forceful, maybe more forceful than we feel we should be sometimes. But our Christian love for other people is the most important part of this equation. Love is what binds us together and our love for the unsaved should be what motivates us to share our faith. God doesn’t ask us to be judgmental or to beat people over the head with a Bible. Our kindness and love for our fellow man will go a lot farther than browbeating them ever could. God wants us to show His love to an unbelieving world so that when they look at us they can see Him. Together we can show the love of Christ to those who need Him the most. With our love, we can be the beacon of light that shines the way to Jesus.
Sundays are a great day for us get fired up for Jesus, and to connect with other Christians. But our challenge is to live our life for Jesus every day of the week. It’s true that actions speak louder than words. And our actions are important because the world is watching us. What will they see? Will they see someone who loves them with the love of Christ? Will they see someone who is living out their faith every day? Or are we just casual Christians going to church on Sunday and living our lives as we see fit the rest of the week? I hope that I am not, that I will have the courage to live for Jesus every day. So, my prayer today, is that I will be able to stand firm in the faith. And that I will have love for those people that God puts in my life in order to share Jesus with them.
How about you? Will you stand firm in the faith? Will you shine the way to Jesus today? I pray that you will join me in taking up this challenge to live for Jesus today and every day! As always, May God bless you!
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About the Artist
Connie Rowland is the Artist and Blogger behind Master's Hand Collection, a series of Christian artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Check out the About page for more info on Master's Hand Collection and Connie.
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