Friday, December 31, 2010

Daily Light - December 31, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"What is that in your hand?"
Exodus 4:2

A shepherd's rod was a very special part of his life. This was not just any ordinary stick that he found while walking one day. This rod had been crafted into what it was by his own hand. While it was still a little green, he would shape it so that he might form specific tasks with it. Any unnecessary knots or protrusions were carefully carved away so that it might be smooth to hold in his hand. Often there were notches put in the rod to mark certain events. Some say that looking at a shepherd's rod was like reading a time-line about his life. So, when God asked Moses what he had in his hand, Moses reply of a rod was essentially saying, "My life".
At the end of a year we have the opportunity to reflect back on all that has taken place in our own lives. This past year the rod of our lives has faced some crafting and cutting. There have been some knots that needed to be carved away and sanded down, and it was a painful process. As we look back there are some notches that have been engraved in our hearts of things that we will never forget. Some of them represent victories while others remind us of defeats. The time line of our lives up to this point has been established, and there is nothing that we can do about changing it. Therefore, like Moses, we need to do with our lives what God told him to do with his rod: "Throw it down."
Moses had to wonder why God asked him to do such a simple but strange thing. What good is throwing a rod down going to do? In obedience, however, he threw it down. Of course, we know that it became a serpent. Surely that was the last thing that Moses expected to happen. His trusty rod that has been a companion on many journeys is now slithering around on the ground. He did what any strong, brave-hearted man would do. He ran! God told him to come back and pick it up by the tail, which he eventually did. It once again became his rod, but he would never look at that rod the same way again.
God is calling on us to take our lives and cast them at His feet. When we throw the rods of our lives down, we are giving up control. We are declaring to God that there is nothing we can do about the past and that the future is in His hands. If we remain in control, we are going to miss out on the super-natural. God wants to do something with your life that can only be done by you letting go of it. The fear of the unknown and what God might do can be appeased with the fact that God does all things well. He longs for you to give Him your life so that you might be able to take it up again. Once God has started working in your life, you will never see it the same way again.
At the end of this year and the beginning of the next, lay your life at the feet of the Almighty God. The God who spoke from a burning bush to Moses is still the consuming fire that speaks to the heart of His children today. Listen to Him, and obey His voice.
May you experience a super-natural life today!
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Daily Light - December 29, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"For they had not understood about the loaves,
because their heart was hardened."
Mark 6:52

Blind eyes opened. Demons cast out. Lame men leaping and praising God. These are just a few of the miracles that the disciples were eyewitnesses to. Every where they went they saw the power of Jesus. Surely they never struggled in the area of faith. Obviously they did.
One dark night has turned into the next dark morning. The sun will not be shining through these dark clouds any time soon. The rain is so heavy and the wind so boisterous that even seasoned fishermen are afraid for their lives. They have worked all night to get this boat to shore, but they have finally resigned themselves to the mercy of the storm. Fear has gripped the bravest of hearts, and there is no relief in sight. The only thing in sight now is a shadowy figure that is becoming more transparent as the seconds roll by. Of course, sane, grown men don't believe in ghosts, right? You do when one is walking towards you on the water out in the middle of the sea! The fear of the storm has now been replaced by the fright of the paranormal. It is here in the middle of their fear that Jesus speaks, climbs into their boat, and calms the storm.
That is just like Jesus. He knows our anxieties and fears, and he desires greatly to bring us peace. Yet, He knows exactly when to come. It is from the outside of our boat, our troubles, that He encourages us to not be afraid. He knows what lies ahead, and He can see exactly where we are at. He then climbs into the boat of our problems and just His presence is enough to comfort us. The storm is still there, but being able to cling to Him brings so much comfort. Finally, in His time He speaks and stills the wind and waves of our trial. This is when we realize there is a greater lesson to learn of Him than He just calms storms.
Jesus was teaching the disciples a lesson that went beyond what they could see. He had just fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, but they still didn't wholeheartedly understand that He was the Almighty God and His power was over all things. The Bible tells us that they were hard-hearted. They had all of the proof they needed right in front of them, but their rational & reasonable minds could not fathom the power of God. So, God brought a storm into their life to teach them that there was nothing too hard for the Lord. It had to get personal. God had to get their attention. It could be that the storm you are going through is not just to show you that God can deliver you from this storm. It may be that God is trying to show you what He has been doing all along in your life, but you have failed to notice. Stop and look at the story of your life, and see the areas where God has been working all along.
May you be delivered from a hard heart today!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Daily Light - December 28, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Is there not a cause?"
1 Samuel 17:29

If you do a little research online, you will find there are thousands of charitable causes that want your money. Some are good legitimate charities that are working in fields to fund research for the cure of various diseases, or helping children of the members of our armed forces receive an education. Of course there are many that are not so legitimate. I found one foundation started by a guy who was very honest and upfront. He didn't want to work, so he was asking people to send him money to help him fulfill his life's goal. There are literally thousands of causes that are clamoring for our money, time, and attention.
Young David stood before a giant of a man who taunted the armies of Israel. His own brothers fled to their tents when they heard the giant speak. David knew that this was no ordinary warrior, and he was spellbound in the presence of this unusual soldier. Then, the giant made his fatal mistake. He spoke against the living God and His people. In the heart of this juvenile shepherd a fire burned, and it would only be quenched when the giant lay silent. David spoke from his heart and was rebuked by his brothers, but he could hold his tongue no longer.
David famously replied to those who would listen, "Is there not a cause?" That question still hangs in the air today. We have an enemy that is parading himself around this world like a giant. He is literally daring the people of God to stand up and do something in the name of the Almighty. Most believers have sought refuge in their tents (churches) and live in fear of the power of the enemy. All they can see are his weapons and the devastation that has been left in his wake. It is easier to be silent than to charge into battle, but God did not call us to be His children so that we could be silent. It is time for the people of God to stand up and cry, "Is there not a cause?"
There is most definitely a cause. There is the cause of the cross of Christ, the only place where this world will find deliverance from sin. There is the cause of the next generation that needs to know that He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world. There is the cause of the testimony of God's church, a people that must be salt and light in this dark world. We could go on and on listing what causes there are that are worth fighting for, but we have talked too much and for too long. It is time to fight! Let each of us humbly kneel in prayer at the brook and gather stones, then let us stand up and charge forward toward the enemy. The power of God behind us is always greater than the obstacles in front of us. There is a cause, and we must be willing to fight for all that it is worth.
May you stand boldly in front of your giant today!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Daily Light - December 27, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words."
Colossians 2:4

There are some people that just have the gift of gab. They can talk you into almost anything because they seem so confident in what they are selling or advertising. It is said that these gifted people could "sell ice to an Eskimo". Many of us have been victims to their slick tongues and now have some worthless item stored away in the attic. We end up buying the sales pitch or the salesmen instead of the product. There words were so convincing and persuasive that we could not pass up the deal that was before us. Now, however, we are living with buyer's remorse, and we feel foolish or maybe even cheated.
Unfortunately, the message of the Gospel is often sold in a nice little package of words. The eager believer has learned a sales pitch in which they present Jesus to others and make them an offer they can't refuse. They use techniques such as guilt, freedom from problems, or easy believism to "talk" some one into being saved. The new convert is so easily persuaded by the convincing words of the speaker that they make a decision for the offer and not for Christ. They have made a choice about religion or social change and not repentance and faith. Therefore, they now go through their life in a fog of confusion and many experience remorse about their decision and end up blaming God for how they feel.
As believers we must realize that we cannot "persuade" men to come to Christ. The Apostle Paul knows firsthand what it means to have someone be persuaded by words. When Paul stood at trial before the royal magistrates, Agrippa said, "You almost persuade me to become a Christian." Paul must have felt sadness in those words, because he knew that man cannot be persuaded by man to come to God. It is only a response to the leading of the Holy Spirit that draws men into a true relationship with Christ. We must speak boldly for Christ and the message of the Gospel, but all the results must be left in the hands of the Almighty. Before we speak to men about their souls, we must spend long hours in prayer speaking to God about the souls of men. The power of being a witness directly correlates to the power of prayer. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we are helpless in our efforts to lead men to God.
David Livingstone was a man that gave his life to reaching the "Dark Continent" of Africa. His exploits are often spoken of and written about in volumes of books. He is hailed as a pioneer, explorer, and missionary. His accomplishments are well-known and widely published. I have had the privilege of sitting in Westminster Abbey in London right next to the place where he is buried. He is truly a remarkable giant of God's kingdom, but all of his accomplishments had nothing to do with the man. David Livingstone accomplished great things for God, because he was surrendered to the Almighty and had learned to spend countless hours before God on his knees. Livingstone never persuaded Africans to come to Christ; he simply let God use him as a channel for the work of the Holy Spirit.
May you be bold in prayer so that you may bold in speech today!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Daily Light - December 24, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"And we have seen and testify that the Father
has sent the Son as the Savior of the world."
1 John 4:14

Imagine being and eye-witness to the physical manifestation of Christ! John spoke of it many times firsthand. He stressed in his Gospel the fact that Jesus was the Messiah come to man. He begins his first epistle with testimony of how he saw, heard, and even touched Jesus. This is no empty religious jargon which is coming from his lips; he wants the world to know what he personally experienced.
The Christmas season has with it a spirit like no other time of year. Sure, it has been way too commercialized and we become much too concerned about getting all the things on our gift list. However, there is also something special, because it is a very humbling season. We have become very familiar with the message of Jesus on the cross. Each time we think of it our hearts are stirred, and we see His passion in a new way of hope on each occasion. We think upon Jesus' resurrection from that cold tomb with joy unspeakable; death and hell have been conquered and those chains no longer bind us. But, once a year we stop every thing and see an animal filled stable, two young adults, and a manger holding a tiny baby. Every time, we are amazed that the divinity and glory of Heaven is peacefully lying there as a helpless infant. Why? It just doesn't make sense.
John and the rest of Scripture tell us why. He came to be our Savior! Even today we do not understand how needy we are, but God in His love knew our need before time began. He knew that fallen man in his sin-sick condition would need to be delivered from this corrupt flesh and wicked world. He knew that those who would accept His call would need to see how to live this life in holiness and righteousness. Thank God that He came to be the Light in the middle of our darkness!
We are never instructed to celebrate the birth of Christ, but we follow the example of Mary. The Bible tells us that she pondered these things in her heart again and again. It would be good for us to put down the presents and the food to ponder upon the glory of God this Christmas.
May you personally know the Savior of the world!
From me and my family to all of you, Merry Christmas and God's greatest blessings upon your lives!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Daily Light - December 23, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?"
Matthew 2:2

Something is missing! You can't exactly put your finger on what it is, but you know something is missing. We have these experiences all the time in life. A musician listens to a score of music trying to find that certain note, harmony, or instrument that will complete the song. A cook tastes the food in an attempt to figure out that last ingredient that will change their creation into a culinary delight. An artist takes a step back from the canvas looking for what would change his painting into a masterpiece. It is obvious something is missing, but what?
There are many lives that are lived this way on the earth. People wander throughout this world and live in the busyness of this life. They scurry to their jobs and give a hard day's work. They have even found success at their place of employment, but at the end of the day something is missing. They are blessed to go home to a beautiful family. They have the privilege of sitting alongside of their spouse and laughing with their children. However, when they watch those beautiful faces sleep at night, this thought of a missing ingredient speaks to their heart once more. What is it that is missing from their otherwise successful lives? JESUS!
The Magi came into Jerusalem asking where is the King. They were searching for the answer to their life's quest; they were desperate to know Him. Where is Jesus? That question still rings in this world today. Those dissatisfied with life even at its peak of success are asking where Jesus is. The hungry and desperate that are looking for shelter and clothing are really seeking Jesus. The addict who has looked at the bottom of too many bottles has not found Jesus there. The wealthy that realize their riches are for this life only need the riches of God's kingdom found in Jesus. This King is the answer to all of life's problems, because He transcends this life. He is the only Person that can change one's life from despair to hope. He gives a peace that passes all understanding, because He is the Prince of Peace. He gives wisdom to the simple, because He is the wonderful Counselor. He comforts the crying child within each of us, because He is the everlasting Father. Where is Jesus? He is one lonely and repentant cry away from the most desperate of souls.
May you find Him today!

Daily Light - December 22, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
upon them a light has shined."
Isaiah 9:2

There is a fascinating thread in the Bible that surrounds this Christmas season. When we think of the characters involved in the Christmas story, we cannot leave out the shepherds. There were only a few people that were given heavenly announcements of the birth of the Messiah. Along with Mary and Joseph the shepherds were visited by the angels to tell them that God Himself had come to earth. God has spoken now to a young handmaiden, a carpenter, and shepherds. Simple people have always been used by God, especially shepherds.
When we survey the landscape of Scripture, there are shepherds at every turn. Abraham tended to flocks. Moses was watching sheep on the backside of the desert when God spoke to him. The prophet Amos had spent plenty of time with sheep. Even the mighty King David was once a young boy that learned his greatest lessons as a shepherd on the hillsides. David recalled these days as he spoke of his God in the familiar passage of Psalm 23. It was there that he rejoiced in the thought that "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me." David understood that every man is a sheep that needs a Shepherd.
Isaiah's prophesy of the coming Messiah played perfectly with these words, because Israel at that time and every man since has walked in the shadow of death. The fear and dread of it looms over our heads, and the penalty of sin is sure. That shadow reminds of what is to come, and it haunts those who recognize its dark and foreboding presence. Then, Jesus comes and shines the light of His love on our lives. In His presence the shadows have to flee; the darkness cannot dwell in the company of His glory! The Shepherd has come to take care of His sheep. He sweetly calls each one of them by name, and they hear His voice.
The shepherds on that Judean hillside may not have understood that they were being called in to the presence of their Shepherd, but God in His love reached out to them and shined in their darkness. For over 2,000 years God has been shepherding the lost and lonely sheep. He has been shining His light into our darkness so that the shadows have no choice but to submit to His glory.
May you hear the voice of the Shepherd today!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Daily Light - December 21, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus..."
Ephesians 2:10

There is a bit of an aspiring artist in all of us. We would love to be able to take the creative thoughts that swirl around in our minds and put them on to a canvas or some other medium. Some of the more ambitious and talented among us will actually accomplish this in our lifetime, while most of us will simply dream of what could have been. We are amazed to see the accomplishments of great artists and to recognize their immense talent and skill.
One of the most amazing forms of art is watching a sculptor practice his gift. His tools of hammer and chisel seem so simple, but it is not the tools that do the majority of the work. When a sculptor first finds the medium which he is going to use, his mind begins to create far before his hands. Most people simply see a large stone in front of them, but he sees something completely different. He already knows what lies underneath all of the rock that must be chiseled away. The large boulder and slab that lay before him has a beauty that only his mind can see, but after long and excruciating hours the world will see what he has seen all along.
Our life is just like that rock; it seems to be cumbersome and insignificant. It is more in the way than it is a work of art. When we look at our lives, we can only see the past and present. Our beauty is not apparent, but it is simply because we are not looking through the eyes of the Artist. The Bible tells us that God has a plan for our lives that is divinely directed. From the day that He created you, God began the process of taking His hammer and chisel to your life. There were days that He knocked away great portions of our rocky surroundings, but we did not even feel it because it was still so far from our hearts. He was just beginning.
We began to notice the sting of the chisel when it came much closer to the core of who we are. Perhaps there was a day that God chipped away on some sensitive areas of your life that you thought would never leave. He may have allowed a relationship to be removed that you thought you could never live without. Or, He took painstaking work around some sensitive areas of your life that you hoped He would leave so you simply wouldn't have to deal with them. His hammer got so close to your heart that you could hear the swing of the hammer and the coldness of the chisel on your heart. Please understand that He is the Artist and we are His workmanship. When His chiseling, scraping, and cutting is done, there will be exactly what He had in mind all along. You may look at your life and not see a beautiful sculpture and work of art, but Christ does. He knows what the final masterpiece looks like, and He can't wait to reveal it before His Father in Heaven!
May you allow the Master to work today!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Daily Light - December 17, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"That which has been is what will be;
that which is done is what will be done."
Ecclesiastes 1:9

"If only I would have..." "If I could do that over again,..." "I wish I could go back in time and..." Do any of those statements sound familiar? They seem to always refer to regrets that we have in our past. There are things that were done years ago that still haunt us to this day. It might have been some words that were said in anger that we know we can never get back. Perhaps our regrets are because of a decision that we made that cost us more than we ever wanted to pay. Regrets of the past take on many forms.
Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, recognized that the past is what it is: the past. You cannot change it, explain it away, or remove the consequences of its decisions. It is over. So what do you do with all of those regrets? How do you get rid of this baggage that you have been carrying around for so long? First, you follow the admonition of the Apostle Peter when he says, "Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." God in His infinite knowledge knows of the burdens that you carry and in His love He desires to lift them for you. There is not one weight upon your shoulders that He cannot carry. Think about it for just a moment. If you as mere man are carrying this weight, how much easier would it be for Almighty God to take it upon Himself?
Second, the Apostle Paul gave us some great advice about dealing with the past. "Forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead." God has prepared things for us that we cannot even imagine or think. He doesn't want you to live in the pains of regret, because when you live that way life is selfishly about you. He wants you to look forward to the things He has prepared and live your life accordingly. You have to be on the path for Christ each day, and you cannot allow the past to cause you to be constantly pulled back away from the prize that He has prepared.
Thirdly, listen to the wise words of the Apostle John. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." God lovingly forgives you when you come to Him in confession and repentance. You have agreed with God that those things that haunt you were not right, and He chose to cleanse you from that unrighteousness. Years ago I read this advice and it has stuck with me: "If a holy God is willing to forgive you of your past, you should follow His lead and forgive yourself." Today you can be released from these paper chains of the enemy. If God has forgiven you, there is no hold on your moving forward in His name.
May you be free today!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Daily Light - December 16, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor punished us according to our iniquities."
Psalm 103:10

There is another side of the Christmas story that we don't seem to touch on too much. In some ways we have glorified the characters surrounding Jesus' birth and made them out to be sinless saints that God chose to be part of His plan based on their merit. That is the farthest thing from the truth.
Do we really think that Mary had not ever lied or shown any type of rebellion to her parents? She has been brought to the level of God by many, but we know based on Scripture that she was born with a nature of sin just like anyone else. Joseph, the hard-working carpenter, surely had some times of moral failure in his life. The shepherds, a rugged group of guys that faced incredible obstacles on their job, were not a cast of church choir boys. It would be interesting to know each of their stories. The wise men with all of their wealth and knowledge could have easily been an arrogant sort that thought too much of themselves. The point is very simple. There is only one perfect person in the story of Christmas and that is Jesus Christ.
God in His mercy and grace chose to use the others for His glory. He did not use them based on their merit and goodness, but He in His love gave grace and help in time of need. Thankfully, He does the same for us today. When we come to Him by faith, He gives us His free gift of salvation. Were He to reward us based on our sin and iniquity, we would each face eternal punishment separated from Him. There is not one man or woman that can claim to be any thing but a sinner with a heart that desires sin above God. However, God proved His love for us by sending His Son to be the substitutionary payment for our sin on the cross of Calvary. We can stand with Mary and Joseph and profess that we are also unworthy to have the Son of God live in our midst. It is often said how amazing it is that the God of glory and majesty would choose to be born in a stable surrounded by simple peasants. That is not the most amazing part of it all to me. I believe it is more astounding that a holy God would chose to live within my sin-sick soul and raise me up to heavenly places. Praise God for His birth, and praise Him that we can by His grace be born again!
May you praise Him for that new birth today!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Daily Light - December 14, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms."
James 5:13

One of the words that is commonly used during the Christmas season is "joy". You see it on decorations, and it is written on the majority of Christmas cards. There is plenty of encouragement during this holiday season to be joyful and rightly so. As a believer I can be joyful because I truly know the meaning of that old saying of "the reason for the season". I am thankful that God in His love sent His only and precious Son to this earth to become man, live a sinless life, die for the sins of the world on the cross of Calvary, and rise again the third day having conquered death and hell. There is joy in knowing that all of that is absolute truth.
How should I express this joy? Is there a limit on how joyful I can be? We are often too embarrassed to express our joy too much. The other day I was walking into a store with my wife, and we passed a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. Although it was cold outside and the wind was blowing, he was enthusiastically ringing the bell and shouting "Merry Christmas" with a full voice. You could hear him from across the parking lot. It made you smile to see his happiness and enthusiasm for what he was doing. This was not just a duty for him, but it was an opportunity to touch the lives of others by exuberantly expressing himself.
James tells us that if we are happy and cheerful then we should sing psalms. There is an encouragement to lift our voices to God in praise and adoration for all that He has done. We are blessed and happy because of the goodness that He has shown to us. As children of God we rejoice not only in the external pleasures of this world. We have been given life and life abundant with the promise of greater things to come. As we praise God others will hear our voices and wonder at those things that we say. Psalm 40 says that it was God that put a new song in our mouths and that song is praise to our God. Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. We should be full-voiced bell-ringers as members of God's "salvation army". We have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and given a sure hope of everlasting life. How can you not be happy about that?
Don't let the only joy of this Christmas season be words etched on ornaments and cards. Show that the joy of the Lord has been written on your heart by the pen of God's mercy and grace!
May you sing psalms today!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Daily Light - December 13, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation."
Isaiah 12:3

On Sunday mornings I go to the church quite early. It is a time for me to make sure there are not any last minute things that I need to do and a time to pray for God's power and presence to be with us. At some time during the morning I listen to a song that simply says, "I am saved!" It does not matter how many times I have listened to that song, but each time I get choked up with the thought that the God that created the universe had a desire to save my soul. It is literally mind-blowing to think that the Almighty cared enough about me to give His life as a ransom for my condemned life.
Isaiah was writing to the children of Israel to prophesy of the judgment of God that was sure to come. However, he also prophesied to them of the deliverance that would come through the Messiah. Although they had turned their back on God and would surely face judgment for it, there was a promise of hope that would rise up in their midst. This hope is described by Isaiah as a Rod, a Branch, and the Root of Jesse. God would lower Himself to become man for the salvation of many. The children of Israel in no way deserved an opportunity of salvation. They had forsaken God time after time, and yet He continued to show them mercy in spite of their rebellion. While they did face punishment for their sin and neglect, God never allowed them to be consumed by their enemies. He proved time and again that He was their God and that they were His people.
There is a natural parallel to those who today profess by God's grace to be His children. Jew or Gentile, we have received this gift of salvation by the divine will and love of God. Each of us are undeserving of this outpouring of love, but God reached down into our lives and made us alive in Him. The figurative language of Isaiah is beautiful as He instructs God's people to have joy in the fact that they can draw water from this inexhaustible well of God's salvation. There have been children that have drawn from this well. There are those who have lived a life of self-righteousness and self-worth that have seen that the resource of this well is only for the humble and repentant, and they have drawn from this well on their knees. There are those who have shaken their fist at God and lived lives that would curse His name, but they found Him to be their only answer and hope and fell on their face to draw from this well. It is truly a spring of life that is overflowing for those who come in faith believing!
May you rejoice in God's salvation today!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Daily Light - December 10, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Who can find a faithful man?"
Proverbs 20:6
"Who can find a virtuous woman?"
Proverbs 31:10

At this time of the year we seem to be all looking for something. Some are out in the malls looking for that perfect gift for the person that is hard to buy for. Others are looking for those much needed days off that await them during the holiday season. There are still others that are searching for the peace and good will that was promised to us at the birth of Christ. There is most definitely a never ending search for something.
I believe according to the Scriptures that God is searching for some particular things as well. He is not searching for any thing of external value as we are. God is looking for those things that would please Him and bring Him glory. The book of Proverbs seems to clue us in to the objects of God's pursuit. The particular phrase "who can find" is found twice in this book. In both instances it seems that there is a search for that which is pleasing to the Father.
First, there is the question of finding a "faithful man". The entirety of the passage shows us that most men will tell you that they are good and faithful, but God is not searching our words. He is looking into the deeper things of the heart. God does not listen to what we say and cannot be fooled by what we do, because He knows what is in the heart of each and every man. He knows if our religion is just an act or if we are truly surrendered to Him. God is searching for those who will be faithful in their devotion to His cause. There is no need for a servant that will only serve when he feels like it. God needs children that will be faithful to Him in the good times and the bad. Faithfulness is the great call of God for His children. He does not need us to accomplish great things; He can do that through us. He simply needs those who will live consistent lives for His purpose and His glory.
Second, God is searching for a "virtuous woman". There has been much said about this tremendous passage of Scripture. How many Mother's Day messages have had this as their text and rightly so? It is an illustration of what God desires for a Godly lady. We must look beyond the external, however, to get to the heart of why this woman is virtuous. Is she virtuous because her husband trusts her, because she provides food for her family, because she makes her children clothing, or because she is a hard worker? The reason that she does all of these virtuous things is because of the virtue that is in her heart. Verse 30 tells us that this woman fears the Lord. This reverence of the Almighty is what God is looking for. He can give her the wisdom, knowledge, and skill to do all of the things that she needs to do as a woman, wife, and mother. What God is searching for is a woman whose heart is right with Him and that gives Him all of the glory!
God is searching, but can He find what is looking for in you?
May you be the answer to God's search today!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Daily Light - December 9, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."
Matthew 5:45

Imagine with me that there are two farmers in the heartland of our country that have their farmland right next to one another. The first farmer is a God-fearing man that is a believer in Jesus Christ. He is faithful to God in not only his words and actions but most of all his heart. The second farmer is an angry man that has no time for "religion" and despises God in his heart.
The region in which they live is going through a terrible drought. There has not been rain for months and the crops are beginning to deteriorate rapidly. If there is not rain in the next few weeks, all will be lost. Both men will lose every thing if things continue the way they are. They have watered their crops the best that they can but the shortage on water has put them at certain restrictions. The hot sun acts as a furnace on the tender plants below. There are no human answers for their plight.
The second farmer walks out into the field and feels the dry soil crack under his work boots. He leans over to inspect a withered plant and easily pulls it out of the ground. With the leaves of the plant clutched in his hand, he raises his fist at the sky and curses God. The first farmer understands his fear and frustration. He too has felt the dry soil under his feet and watched his plants shrivel up and die. He does something completely different though. In the middle of his field he falls to his knees and begs his Heavenly Father for rain. He calls on God for mercy, grace, and relief from this drought. He praises God for the many years that he has been sustained and asks God to come through once again.
The following week the two farmers are both in their fields for another sad inspection, but suddenly they feel something foreign fall on their heads. It started with just a small drip, but very soon it opens up into a beautiful steady shower. It seems as if the mist of Heaven has settled over their farmland and for several days this consistent shower waters their crops to the roots and below. The first farmer knelt once again in this field, and as the mud began to collect on his knees he praised God with a full voice. The second farmer mumbled "It's about time" and complained about having to walk all the way back to the farmhouse in the rain.
Why did God let both farmers have rain? Could he not have just let the rain fall on the first farmer's field to teach the second farmer a lesson? There are two reasons that come immediately to mind, and I am sure that we could think of more. First, God is merciful. Ask yourself this question: which farmer deserved the rain? The truth is neither one. Every thing that we receive from God is only out of His grace and mercy. You and I deserve nothing from a holy and righteous God, but He in His love chooses to bless us any way. Second, the first farmer is most definitely a minister of preservation for the second. The Bible says that God's children are the salt of the earth. If you remove the salt, there will only be spoil and rot. God's people are what keep God's hand of judgment from coming so swiftly on this world. They are also what keep God's hand of blessing on this world. That second farmer has no idea that God's love for His neighbor benefited him.
Continue to be the salt of the earth. You never know who it is around you that needs to see God's hand on their lives.
May you be the first farmer today!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Daily Light - December 8, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire."
Psalm 18:1

The world's population today is approximately 6.8 billion people. That number is hard to even fathom for the human mind. Some college football stadiums incredibly hold more than 100,000 people and that appears to be an enormous crowd, but it is just a drop in the bucket compared to the global population. There are approximately 6,800 known languages spoken by this massive population. Over 1,600 of these languages are spoken in the country of India alone. When you consider these numbers, it is staggering how big this world is and how much is going on around us that we are not even aware of.
Strangely, however, we foolishly get the idea that the world revolves around us. We become selfish people that think God created the world to make us personally happy, and anyone that gets in the way of our personal happiness is out of line. One of the main messages of Jesus was that we consider others and get our eyes off of self. As a matter of fact, the two great commandments given by Jesus taught us to love God and love others. It did not even say anything about loving ourselves. We are taught from Scripture that we are to love others as we love ourselves. Caring for yourself and your own things comes naturally and that is the way that we have to start looking at how we treat other people.
This passage in Proverbs gives us the instruction to think outside of ourselves. You cannot selfishly isolate your self from the world around you, but you must take others into consideration at all times. While some may be more introverted than others, this portion of Scripture has more to speak of than just our personality. Consider the child that is kicking and screaming on the floor because they did not get the toy they wanted. Who are they concerned about? Obviously they have isolated themselves from the rest of the world and can only think of their own desires. What about the teen that is in rebellion to the rules and regulations established by his parents? He hates the rules because they keep him from his own desires. Consider the man or woman that displays a poor attitude on the job because they don't like the new schedule. Every one else is working the same schedule, but they can only think of their own happiness. What about the believer who decides to neglect their devotional time with God because they have other things to do? They have selfishly put God on the back burner for their own sake.
We must see that to isolate ourselves from all other things is to be selfish and even arrogant. It is to consider all other things unimportant in the light of self.
May you consider others today!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Daily Light - December 7, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; cause Your face to shine,
and we shall be saved!"
Psalm 80:19

The prayer for revival and restoration can constantly be heard in the presence of God. There is something in this nature of ours that tends to stray from even that which we know is best. The hymn writer put it perfectly when he said, "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love." It doesn't seem to make any sense that man would wander away from a holy God which has given them the very breath of life, but it obviously occurs all too frequently.
This psalm is a prayer of restoration for the nation of Israel, but I believe that it could also be a prayer of restoration for our nation as well. This nation like the children of Israel had been led by a divine mandate at its beginning. There was no liberty or freedom apart from God Almighty, and every blessing of its inception was from the hand of God's will. However, also like the nation of Israel, this nation has all but forgotten the goodness of God. We have given ourselves over to greed and power to the detriment of our economy and more importantly to the morals of our nation. Most would think that this is the result of corrupt politicians, but I believe that the corruption started within the church and not Washington D.C. In many places the Word of God has been compromised by those who once called on His name. Power and prestige is even the desire of many in the pulpits of our nation.
If a restoration is to come to this nation, it must begin at the house of God. God's people must spend a sacrificial amount of time in prayer and fasting before God. There needs to be weeping heard between the porch and the altar once again. Many that stand in pulpits to preach need to acknowledge the words of Solomon when he said "let our words be few". We must spend more time in prayer than we do in preaching. Congregations need to desperately seek the face of God for a reviving of God's Holy Spirit within the body of Christ. A fresh breath of God's power is without any doubt most urgently needed. God can save and deliver us from this self-inflicted coldness of the soul, but we must earnestly seek Him while He may be found.
May you call on God for restoration today!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Daily Light - December 6, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

Have you ever wished that there were more than 24 hours in a day, because that particular day 24 was just not enough? Maybe you have needed a carbon copy of yourself to do the things that you couldn't get to. Often we find ourselves pulled in so many directions that we cannot even do the things that we would like to do. I know that I experience this on a regular basis. As a father with four children I feel like I cannot give them each the attention that they need when they need it. I want to be there for them at every moment of the day, but it is just physically impossible. Susan and I often comment on Sunday afternoons that we don't get a chance to speak to every one at church because of our own physical limitations. We miss even saying hello to people, because of everything else that we do. These limitations can be extremely frustrating.
It is then that I stop and think about God. This world has literally billions of people that are continually clamoring for God's attention. There are prayers that are always before the throne of God. Night and day the cries of men, women, boys, and girls can be heard in the sacred ears of the Almighty. Many of these prayers are not simply empty requests, but they are cries from broken and discouraged hearts, sick and pain ravaged bodies, and weak and sinful souls. There are those that need healing from the Great Physician while others desire only to hear the voice of God in the wilderness of their circumstances. Every second of the day there are literally countless millions that are calling on God at the same time. What does He do?
He hears and answers each one of them. There is not a penitent voice that calls on God that is not heard by the Comforter of souls. As a matter of fact, our passage shows us that He wants us to call on Him. God is not annoyed by our persistent coming, but instead He is thrilled by it and glorified in it. He knows that He is the only one that can truly answer your request. He desires to personally confront you and your situation with His presence. When you walk into the presence of God, there is a rest for not only your body but more importantly your soul. If you will sit still this morning during your prayer time and listen closely, in your heart you will hear a Voice that simply says "Come". Obey that voice, and find rest in the arms of Jesus.
May you lay your weary soul in Jesus' lap today!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Daily Light - December 3, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12

Have you ever had an expectation of something that you knew was certain to come, and it seemed to take forever for that day to arrive? If so, you understand better this passage of Scripture. The word "deferred" is a reference to something that is prolonged or something that seems to drag on. I cannot help but associate this verse with Titus 2:13 which says, "Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ."
This is fresh on my mind, because I found myself in a situation yesterday where the world's corruption was so obvious. Without going into any detail, I felt like I was having some "out of body" experience. While I use that expression figuratively, it seemed so surreal. I was caught in a place and situation where what was going on was obviously corrupt and sinful, but I felt as if I was alone in my thinking. I looked around at every one else waiting to see another face that was expressing surprise and disgust. Instead, I saw people cheering on those things which I thought would most definitely bring shame. I felt so alone, and these words played over and over again in my mind: "Even so, Lord, come quickly."
I realize that some of you have been in situations in this world like that, and the longing for the Lord to return was so great. This would be the perfect description of hope being deferred and making the heart sick. The Bible says that there is a groaning in the heart of the believer and even all of creation as it waits for the day of redemption and adoption. It is a yearning for all things to be made whole as God has ordained that they will be. While now my heart is craving that day, I am sure that it will come. It is not a "hope so" but a sure hope because it is in Christ. Our passage says that when that desire is fulfilled it will be as if we are eating from the tree of life. The fruit of a tree that satisfies the cravings of our spiritual desires. There will be life everlasting without the vileness of sin and degradation. There will be pure water of righteousness to drink from instead of the polluted ways of the flesh. There will be the eternal presence of Almighty God that will banish all darkness into the obscure shadows of hell.
We are told in Scripture that there will be a day when Jesus steps out onto the clouds so that every eye will see Him. The nations of the earth, those that have rejected Christ, will mourn on that day, because they will realize that their judgment has come. The writer however says this to believers, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." Let the words of the song writer ring in your hearts today: "What a day that will be when My Jesus I shall see. When I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace. When He takes me by the hand and leads me through the promised land, what a day, glorious day that will be!"
May you have hope in Christ today!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Daily Light - December 2, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"They shrugged their shoulders, stiffened their necks, and would not hear."
Nehemiah 9:29

Have you ever been in a situation where you were involved in something that was really important with a group of people? It might have been a project at work, an athletic event, or a group school assignment. You were putting forward your best effort and trying to do well, and then you realize that you are the only one that is taking it serious. When you try to encourage others to pick up the slack and handle their part of the project, they just shrug their shoulders and express that it is not big deal. That leaves you on the border of being frustrated and infuriated. How can they be so indifferent to something that is so important?
It is called apathy, and many people suffer from this debilitating disease. Unfortunately, throughout history it seems to be the #1 killer of spiritual lives. After the wall was rebuilt around Jerusalem, the Levites of the children of Israel began to recall their past and confess the sins of their nation. There was no doubt that their ancestors knew better than to ignore the law of God, but they grew complacent in following God and neglected His Word. I notice in this passage before us a progression of spiritual apathy.
First, an apathetic personal clearly knows what he needs to do. There is no doubt about the objectives that are laid out before Him in the Word of God. He cannot plead to be ignorant to God's truth. Second, there creeps within the soul of man a "who cares" attitude. Does it really make that much of a difference how we live, what we do, or where we place our faith? When our heart begins to ask these questions, we can emotionally and intellectually shrug our shoulders at God. Third, we become hardened to the truth of God, because it is obvious that we don't take it very serious. Satan now has a foothold on our apathetic hearts, and we have given him a place in our lives to cause rebellion and defiance. Finally, we just stop listening to the truth altogether. We probably didn't mean for it to get this far, but this is the result of a simple shoulder shrug. It is not that God's truth has changed or is not being declared just as boldly; it is very simply that we no longer have spiritual ears with which to hear. We have started listening to our own opinion and the voice of the Deceiver, and therefore God's truth has been drowned out by all the other noise.
We must continually be on guard for apathy and root it out at the very first sign. It can be conquered by the power of Christ, but that is the very power that apathy rejects. We must listen to the still, small voice of God in our hearts and surrender to His Word and His way.
May you care about what God cares about today!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Daily Light - December 1, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2

Let me use this verse one more time, and I'll move on. Isn't it amazing though how many areas we could speak of that we need to be faithful in? It would be a great challenge to all of us to let God examine our lives and reveal to us where we are lacking in the area of stewardship. It is obvious that to condense stewardship down to just money is out of bounds with Scripture.
The final area that we need to consider stewardship is ministry. Just as we receive every good and perfect gift from above, we have each received a ministry from God. We first receive ministry through the local church. The New Testament has much to say about the expectations of God's people within in the local church. Each local church can only thrive if each part of the body is doing its part. There are no insignificant members within the body of Christ. Each one of us has a pivotal role to play. That is why we are taught to not neglect assembling together. When we are not present and doing our part, there is most definitely a void that cannot be filled by any one else. God has placed you within the church for such a time as this. Some consider church attendance to be an optional part of their Christian life, but you will not find that idea paralleled any where in Scripture. This is one of the baby steps in being faithful in our walk with Christ. If we cannot take this step, we will most assuredly stumble in other areas.
Ministry by definition is also our obedience to God in serving others. We must however see that in serving others we are actually serving God. If your focus is on others, you will eventually burn out and get discouraged. You will find that not every one appreciates your tireless work and multiple hours of service. That realization has caused many to quit and give up on ministry altogether. Each ministry that we are called to serve in has its own challenges, but we must accept those challenges as from the Lord and be faithful. If God has given you a place of service, no matter how great or small, He will equip you to carry out that work for His glory. You must determine to be faithful to Him and serve others as if you were serving the Lord Jesus Himself. In the book of Matthew we are told that those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, take care of the sick, and encourage the discouraged are actually doing this to Jesus. Notice that it says that we are doing it TO Him and not just for Him. Isn't it incredible that we get to feed, clothe, and nourish the King of kings and Lord of lords? This though encourages me to not only be faithful to my ministry but faithful to my God.
May you minister as unto the Lord today!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daily Light - November 30, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2

Stewardship is the wisdom and faith to use what God has given us for His glory. Over the last week we have seen a few areas in which this is vitally important, and it is both humbling and convicting to recognize my responsibility of being faithful to God. In a world that does not like to accept personal responsibility this is not a popular message. It seems today that many people want to pass the buck, but we as believers must realize that God holds each of us personally accountable for what we do with what He has entrusted to us.
One of the most important areas in which we must be faithful is in the home. There are two vital relationships in the home that I want to look at. First, there is the relationship between a husband and wife. When we talk of faithfulness in marriage, most just assume that we are speaking of not having a physical relationship with any one else but our spouse. While that is true, there is surely so much more to being faithful in marriage. There is one key word that can revolutionize our marriages, and that word is unconditional. Faithfulness to our spouses is dependent on nothing else than the commitment that we made to God to love, honor, and cherish that person until the way that we die. If this word unconditional could become ingrained in the heart of each couple, we would see the divorce rate dramatically fall in our nation. We often speak of love being unconditional, but we must also understand that respect is unconditional as well. To not love our spouse unconditionally is to show a lack of respect, and to not respect our spouse unconditionally is to show a lack of love. There are no perfect marriages, but there is a perfect God that has given us a pattern that we are to follow. He has loved us unconditionally, and He implores us to do the same as husband and wife.
Second, there is the relationship between parents and children. I am blessed to have four children. As they have gotten older and I have grown as a parent, I see how important it is for me to be a faithful and consistent example of Jesus Christ for their lives. The more I learn of God as my Father the more I see how I must be a father to them. Parents need to be faithful in their love, and children need to be able to hear, feel, and see love from their parents. This love is the yearning of every child's heart, because they long for someone to care not only about their welfare but more importantly just about them as an individual. Parents need to be faithful in their discipline. The Bible says that the parent that does not discipline their child hates their child. That is pretty stern language, but it is also absolute truth. God has entrusted a parent to instruct a child in the way that he should go, and a parent that will allow a child to run the course of life without proper discipline is condemning that child to a life of shame. Finally, a parent needs to be consistent in their walk with Christ. Some children are confused about what is right and wrong, because they have watched parents be blown about by their feelings and emotions. The old "do as I say and not as I do" argument just does not work. Our children are watching for us to show them the pattern by which they should make their lives. Every parent must be closely following Christ so that our children will surely be following Him as they follow us.
May you be faithful in your home today!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Daily Light - November 29, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2

When the word "stewardship" comes up, most people think about some kind of giving drive at their church. Actually, stewardship has nothing to do with giving. It is instead an act of faithfulness with what we have been given. It is the faith and wisdom to do with what we have been given as God would have us do. I am reminded of the model prayer that the Lord gave us. We are instructed to pray that God's will would be done on earth just as it is in Heaven. I think that this is an awesome definition of stewardship.
As mentioned above, one of the vital areas of stewardship is personal finances. Every possession that we own and every dime we have is a gift from God. In the tough economic times that we are going through right now, we understand the value of a dollar more than ever. Many have cut back their spending because they realize the tough economic times; while others have cut back because they have no other choice. (The only people that I know that haven't cut back work in Washington D.C.) We have to change our mindset about money both in the good times and in the lean times.
One of the greatest examples of financial stewardship is Joseph. If you remember, God allowed Joseph to interpret the dream of Egypt's king which predicted eventual famine. With God's help and wisdom, Joseph gathered the crops during the years of plenty to be prepared for the years of want. He was demonstrating that we must always think ahead and not eat tomorrow's food today. In our society today we know very little of that. As a matter of fact, we are doing just the opposite. We are going into such debt that we are actually eating tomorrow's food today. Debt is a crisis that we have decided to live with. It is also an area which God has much to say about. We are told in Proverbs that the borrower is a slave to the lender, but we gladly put on the shackles each and every day.
This past week we saw another "Black Friday" come and go. Millions of people packed out stores early in the morning to get in on the deals before Christmas. Unfortunately, when most of them got to the register, they swiped a credit card through the machine. They will have a Merry Christmas, but that January bill will not be so merry. To be in debt is to say that God can't take care of me tomorrow, so I am going to go ahead of His provision and find someone else's help.
Remember that stewardship is about wisdom as much as provision; we can and we must trust God with our finances. It is good to come to the end of our lives having trusted God and say, "I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread."
May God be your most valuable possession today!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Daily Light - November 23, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2

One of the keys to this verse is the word "required". There is no doubt that all that we have has been given to us as a trust by God. Therefore, we know who the owner of every thing is. We are stewards of what belongs to God. He requires of us that we take care of what we have been given and use it in a way that would bring Him honor and glory. The requirement to be faithful comes in when we recognize that this stewardship responsibility is a daily task. Let's look at one of these areas.
We are responsible to take care of our bodies and our health. Many times we only think of our health when something is wrong, then we expect the doctor to fix the damage that we have already done. As Americans we eat too much and exercise too little. I know that this is probably not a good thing to talk about the week of Thanksgiving, but it is still true. I love good food like anyone else, and I am thankful for all that we have. However, we must learn moderation in every area of our lives. It is essential that we recognize that habits such as excessive eating, unhealthy eating, smoking, drinking, and others are damaging the temple of God. Paul emphasized to the church of Corinth that this body is not ours but the Lord's. This is the point of stewardship. If it belongs to the Lord, why would we do that which would be damaging and detrimental to it?
Also, we must exercise to keep this body that God has given to us healthy. The Bible speaks many times of walking, running, and other physical activities. In many cultures physical activity is a way of life. In our culture we are known more for sitting at desks all day then going home to spend the evening in the recliner. No wonder we are leading the world in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. A pastor that I deeply respect is an avid runner. He runs several miles a day and has done that for years. I assumed that he was just an active person and that is the reason that he ran so much. However, one day he gave his personal testimony and told why he exercises so much. He suffers from severe diabetes; he gives himself several shots of insulin a day. The doctor told him that if he did not eat right and exercise regularly that he would die. He took the doctors words seriously and started doing what was necessary to be healthy.
His testimony went beyond the physical however. He testified that the reason that he did what he did was because God gave him responsibilities that he could not abandon. God had entrusted him with a wife and children. God had entrusted him to be the pastor of a ministry. He ran every day with the thought that he wanted to prolong his life to take care of his family and serve the Lord in the ministry to which he was called. His desire to exercise was as much spiritual as it was physical. He had decided to be a good steward of all that was given to him.
May you surrender your body to the Lord today!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Daily Light - November 22, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
"Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful."
1 Corinthians 4:2
What does God expect from you? Many people have some ideas about God's expectations for our lives that are not Biblical and surely not practical. As a pastor I encounter people that feel like they cannot serve God or live for God because they are not worthy to do so. They are correct in the fact that in our natural flesh we are not worthy, but when we have come to Christ and trusted Him as Savior, He makes us worthy. We are living this Christian life based on not how valuable we are in ourselves, but solely on how valuable what we have in Christ is.
The Bible calls believers "stewards". A steward is one who takes that which he has been given by a higher authority and does with it what the higher authority would have him do. As a believer, our higher authority is without any doubt the Lord, Jesus Christ. We have been given an inheritance by the Father through His Son; everything that we own and possess is given as a trust from the hand of the Almighty. It is now imperative that we use those things as God would have them to be used. Stop for a moment and consider literally every thing in your life. Your health, family, possessions, ministry, and all that you can think of belong to the Lord. He has called you to be a steward of those things.
It is important that you realize that God never called any one to be miraculous or amazing. It was never stated any where in Scripture that a steward needed to be extraordinary. There is no prerequisite of the Christian that he be incredibly, gifted, talented, or brilliant. God's only requirement for a steward of His goodness is that he be faithful. Any one can be faithful, but that is the one thing that Jesus asked if He would find when He returns.
For the next several days I would like to challenge you to consider these areas for your life and ask yourself if you are truly being a God-honoring steward in them. I would like to encourage you today to stop during this first day of the Thanksgiving week, and praise God for all with which He has blessed you. It might even be a good idea this week to make a list of everything that God has bestowed upon your life. At the end of the week you will probably have a greater understanding of the words of the hymn writer that stated, "Count your blessings; name them one by one. It will surprise you what the Lord has done."
May you be found faithful today!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daily Light - November 19, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"The Lord...saw that there was no man,
and wondered that there was no intercessor;
therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him."
Isaiah 59:16

I love this portion of Scripture, because it reveals the two most consistent truths found in the Word of God. First, man is completely sinful and has no righteousness found in himself. Some will balk at that comment, because they will point to their morality and acts of kindness as a degree of righteousness. We must always understand that the Bible does not declare us to be sinners because we commit sin. That is the common misconception about man. We are declared to be sinners by a holy God, because we were each born with a sin nature and that nature separates us from God. Even if we lived completely moral lives and did not commit any transgressions, by our very nature we would fall short of the standard of God's holiness.
Isaiah declared in this passage the facts of man's unrighteousness. If we listen closely, we can hear that the things that he says about his day are true in ours as well. Listen to verse 14: "Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter." The line that truth is fallen in the street is gripping. It seems that he is saying that men have made up their own truth and have ignored God's. They have decided that they know what is best and have chosen to do what they feel that they can justify. Now, this may not seem very encouraging, and it is not supposed to be. It is a dose of reality in a world that likes to believe in fiction. We are sinners that have been separated from a holy and righteous God. Without Him we are lost and will be that way for eternity.
Here is the second consistent truth found in God's Word. God in His love has reached down to man to give Him hope, life, peace and joy. It was a choice of God to do this that had no basis of man's merit at all. God in His sovereign grace extended His hand of love for man to be saved. Hallelujah, what a Savior! I heard a pastor preaching on the internet. He made a statement that I completely disagree with. He said that man does not come to God until he gets desperate for God. He tried to find some illustrations to back up his point, but I don't think he realized how badly they backfired on him. One of his illustrations was the woman at the well. May I point out the obvious? This woman did not come to Jesus; He came to her. He came out of no obligation but only by His choice and His love. Praise God that He did the same for you and me. The cross of Calvary was not a place of sacrifice because we deserved it; it was instead a divine appointment set up by the Father Himself to redeem His people. Without any doubt our sin is costly, but thank God that the price has been paid by the loving-kindness of God.
May you shout a shout of thanks to the Lord today!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Daily Light - November 18, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"
Philippians 4:4

"Gloom, despair, and agony on me; Deep, dark depression, excessive misery." Some of you remember those words from an old television program. It was part of a song that was to poke fun at how pitiful we think we are. I always loved the line of the song that said, "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all." If ever there was a song of discouragement, this is it. I feel, however, that I'd rather hear a song of discouragement than watch a life of discouragement. It seems that some are trying to live out the lyrics to the song.
Unfortunately, many of those walking around with despair clearly on their faces are people who claim to be children of God. Now, I understand that difficulty comes into all of our lives, but surely life as a believer is not so bad that we should be walking around with sad or disgruntled faces. Some "believers" just look angry all of the time; they have a continually sour disposition. Some are always aching and moaning about their circumstances, finances, or health. If you stay still for too long when you are around them, you will get the whole story of their present calamity and those that they predict for the future.
I believe that it is time to recognize that we are children of the Most High God and start acting like it. We are blessed and privileged to be in God's family, and we have a hope that is sure. God saved us by giving us the most precious gift of His Son, and with that He has also given us the benefit of joy unspeakable and full of glory! It is there to claim for every follower of Christ, but you cannot hold on to your self-pity and joy at the same time. The anger that seethes up into your life is not from God but the enemy; it is a bitterness that can be overcome by the pleasant grace of God. As the bride of Christ you have experienced this grace, and it is now imperative that it flows out of you into the lives of others.
Paul said that he was going to always rejoice in the Lord. Always is a big word, because it means not only an amount of time but through all things. Then, to get his point across further, after he has told us to rejoice always, he gives the call once again to rejoice. There should be rejoicing on top of my rejoicing! Hallelujah, praise the Lamb for who He is and all that He has done! I am today without any doubt free from the guilt of the past and the judgment of my sin in the future. If you are with me, then we have much to rejoice about!
May you rejoice in God your Savior today!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Daily Light - November 16, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Without faith it is impossible to please Him."
Hebrews 11:6

I woke up during the night with an acrostic that I have heard many times going through my mind. FAITH = Forsaking All I Take Him. This play on words for faith is an accurate picture of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. There is a call to each believer to be a follower of Christ. It may sound odd to say it that way, but I believe that there are many "believers" who are not necessarily "followers" of Christ. They believe on Him as the Savior of their soul, but they have never come to that place of decision that they have made Him the Lord of their life. Why?
It is quite simply because they do not like the first two words in the acrostic that I gave you above: Forsaking All. This is absolutely the most difficult thing to do, but it is also the most necessary requirement to be a follower of Jesus. When Jesus called His disciples, He simply said to each of them, "Follow me." They understood very clearly that this command and invitation was predicated on the fact that they would leave everything else behind in order to carry it out. Therefore, some of them left their nets with fish flopping around inside of them. Matthew left his seat with his former god, money, still on the table. The one we call "Doubting" Thomas was sure enough to walk away from his former life in order to be a disciple. On the other hand, the rich young ruler went away disappointed, because he could not forsake all and carry His cross.
Discipleship is not a course that you take at church; it is instead a course that you must walk each and every day of your life. It is a life of devotion to the Almighty which has nothing to do with your own merit, talents, or abilities. Discipleship is simply a life surrendered to God and the decision to follow wherever and however the Spirit leads. It will lead you through pain, into the presence of your enemies, and even through the shadow of death. There is no promise of ease or comfort just as those would be followers of Jesus were told that there would be no place to lay their head. If you are looking for personal and physical satisfaction, this is not the life for you. However, if you are willing to endure the cross that is set before you and suffer with Christ, there is in the midst of His heart a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
May you forsake all and take Him today!

Daily Light - November 15, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"They forgot God their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt."
Psalm 106:21

Have you ever said something like, "I'll never forget that as long as I live"? This statement would obviously follow something that was exciting, shocking, or life-changing. That moment made such an impression in your mind and heart that you felt as if it would be indelibly pressed on your soul for the rest of your life. Wouldn't it be interesting to go back to all the times that we said that and see if we truly remembered what happened in that situation?
The children of Israel had experienced for many years the torment of slavery in Egypt. They had endured unbelievable suffering and an attempted holocaust of their people. In God's mercy He sent Moses to be the deliverer of His people. Moses challenged Pharaoh in the name of the Almighty, and God brought great plagues upon the whole nation of Egypt. The children of Israel saw the frogs, the flies, and all of the other things that came about according to God's Word. Finally, on the night of Passover, they placed the blood of a lamb on their doorposts and were delivered from death. It was after all of these things that Pharaoh let them go, and they marched out all the way to the Red Sea. However, they were now pressed between two impossible situations: the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. It is here that we first see the complaining of God's people. Once again, God in His mercy opened up the sea so that they might cross and then allowed it to collapse upon their enemies.
If you do even a brief study of the book of Exodus, you will find a pattern of deliverance by God followed by the complaints of God's people. Each time that they faced any type of hardship or difficulty they turned their hearts and minds back to Egypt. At one point they longed for the good food that they had in Egypt and the luxuries that they could not find in the wilderness. The reality of the situation was that Egypt was a place of bondage with suffering and pain, but they were walking toward a place of deliverance with hope and promise.
How often in a much similar fashion do we forget God's goodness on our own lives? It is because of His mercies that we are not consumed, but if things are not going our way who do we blame? Somewhere along the way we got the idea that God's purpose for existence is to make us happy. We think that He is obligated to make sure that we are comfortably blessed. The problem is that we have it all upside down. We are here to accomplish His purpose, to make Him happy, and to bless Him with our lives. Yes, we are beneficiaries to His love and kindness, but when we start focusing on ourselves we forget God. Let's go to the Father and beg forgiveness for this selfish attitude and be reminded of the great things that He has done in our lives. Let it not ever be said of us that we forgot God our Savior.
May you thank God for His loving kindness today!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Daily Light - November 12, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry."
2 Timothy 4:11

What is the heaviest thing that you can carry? I was never one of the strongest guys on the football team in high school. I used to watch with amazement as friends would bench press enormous amounts of weight while the bar was bending underneath the strain. Recently I had to help move a piano. Is there anything heavier or more awkward than moving a piano? I offered to just carry the bench all by myself, but I had to pull my weight on the piano too. There is only one thing that I know of that even the physically weakest among us carries that is heavier and more awkward: a grudge.
Most people that are carrying a grudge often do one of two things when you bring up the subject. They either deny that they are carrying this grudge, or they get defensive about why they are carrying it. Those in denial are often in more dangerous territory, because they haven't even dealt with the root of the bitterness that is destroying their lives. Those who get defensive about it try to justify their behavior based on the other individual's behavior. Neither argument stands up when it comes into the light of God's grace and forgiveness. When we are encouraged to be like Christ, all grudges must be eradicated and forgiveness, mercy, and grace must rule the day.
Paul had an occasion where a major disagreement came between him and his friend Barnabas. They had gone out on a successful missionary journey. They were used of God in mighty ways to point people to the saving power of Jesus Christ. The only hiccup along the way was that Barnabas' nephew Mark had quit on them during the journey. After they returned home for a while, Paul and Barnabas felt compelled to strike out again into other regions. Barnabas insisted on Mark coming along, but Paul refused to hear of it. They could not come to an agreement and chose to part ways. Surely Paul would never want to have any thing to do with Mark ever again, because he had been the primary reason for Paul's loss of a best friend. In our passage, however, we see him telling Timothy to bring Mark back, because he would be useful in the ministry.
What had transpired to cause this change of heart? The Bible is quite silent on the subject, but I can venture a guess. If anyone knew of the changing power of God, it was Paul. He recognized that holding someone accountable for their past for the rest of their lives is not profitable to any one, especially Christ. If there is someone that you have any sort of grudge toward today, realize that you are not only hurting yourself, but your resentment is also hurting the cause of Christ in your life. God cannot use a vessel filled with bitterness. It must be emptied and washed clean with the agent of God's forgiveness before it is useful. Let God do a cleansing in your heart and then offer the gentle hand of God's forgiveness.
May you be free from the bondage of others today!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Daily Light - November 11, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all."
Proverbs 31:29

I have been blessed to have some very Godly ladies be an influence over my life. While each of them are very different, they have all played very important roles in my life. If you were to examine my spiritual DNA, you would recognize that every individual lady has left an impression upon my heart that has been an important part of the shaping and molding of my life. The lessons that I have learned from them could in no way be recorded in a small section such as this, but I can give you an overview of how God has used all of them to personally influence me.
As almost anyone would, I could begin with my mother. Angie Hudson taught me lessons of loyalty and sacrifice. As a teenage boy my father felt impressed by God to serve in the country of England as a missionary. In all honesty I had no desire to go. I felt as if I was going to miss out on some things in life if I was forced to go all the way across the ocean. I watched my mom, however, make that same sacrifice. She could have balked at the life change, but instead I saw her embrace the decision of my father and most importantly God's will for our lives. She left behind a newly married daughter and everything that was normal, but I know that all of these years later part of her still calls England home. Thanks, Mom, for following Christ and not your own will.
My grandmother, Myra Hudson, taught me what it meant to work. This little lady of less than 5' could work harder than most men twice her size. From early in the morning until it was time to go to bed, she labored diligently and fervently. She also taught me what kindness and tenderness is. She treated my grandfather and each one of us grandchildren as if we were made of porcelain, taking care of our every little need. There are days where I would give any thing to drive to Enterprise, Alabama, and sit at her table just one more time.
I have also been blessed with a Godly mother-in-law. Yes, I said mother-in-law! It seems that there is a pattern of short women in my life. Julia Palomino has loved me from the first day that I walked into her home. As the mother of seven children, she has embraced the heart of burden for each child and now for her over 20 grandchildren. Julia has taught me the meaning of the word faith. She trusts God day by day to be her provision and her help. Many of us would say that she extends herself too far, but I don't think that she knows to be any different. Her love and faith mix together to do her best for God and for others, sometimes at the great sacrifice of self.
My wife's grandmother, Kathy Rose, is a powerful reflection and shadow of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This lady with enormous talents and tremendous beauty in her face and heart gave her life to the people of South America. She surrendered all for the sake of God's kingdom. I honestly feel privileged just to have been in her presence. She also taught me what it means to love your spouse with all of your heart. Even after 50 years of marriage, she loved her husband like they had just gone on their very first date. She was enthralled by his presence. When he passed away suddenly, it was as if a light in the midst of her heart went out. She lived faithfully to the Lord for a couple of years, but her longing was to be with the two people that she loved the most: Jesus Christ and Gerald.
Finally, over 20 years ago I met a 17 year old girl named Susan Palomino. Little did I know at that moment in Houston, Texas, how big an impact that girl would have on my life. I have said this to her privately, and I mean it with all of my heart: There is not a man or woman that I know that I respect more than her. When we got married, I was in ministry, but my heart was far from God. She tried to plead with me often to get my heart right with the Lord, but it was to no avail. I had justified my behavior in the fact that I was in ministry. So, she quit talking and started praying. There is nothing more heart rending than to see your wife's face wet with tears as she prays for your life and soul! I can say today that God heard her prayers and has answered them. Susan's tremendous beauty is only surpassed by the beauty of her heart. I am eternally grateful to God for giving to me the precious jewel of Susan that was born this day 38 years ago in the Andes Mountains of Peru. How amazed I am at God that He had planned for our lives to come together from such a great distance! Susan, I love you, and I am thankful for all that you are to me and our precious children!
May you see the gifts that God has given you today!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daily Light - November 10, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you."
Acts 3:6

It is true that we often do not realize how valuable something is when it is in our possession. I enjoy watching the Antique Roadshow for the same reason that most do. The items that people bring to the show are often very unique, and it is amazing how much the experts know about their particular subjects. I would imagine though that most of us wait to hear the value of the item. These seemingly worthless items that were once stuck in an attic, bought in a garage sale, or handed down by a family member are suddenly valuable relics. It makes you want to go digging through the junk in your own attic.
Peter and John had a possession that was absolutely priceless, but they knew it. When they approached this lame man, all the crippled man saw was two men that could possibly give him enough to buy his next meal. They did not look any more "valuable" than the rest of those entering the temple. They seemed outwardly typical, but maybe they had a coin or two that they could spare. Little did this man know of the valuable asset which they possessed. When Peter and John told the man to look on them, he expected either a donation or a verbal thrashing. As Peter said that they did not have any silver or gold, I am sure that the lame man's heart dropped. This was just another wasted conversation. However, Peter offered to him something greater than silver or gold. Peter offered to him the power of Almighty God. This lame man received the healing power of God, and he felt it flow through his body into his legs. His thin, weak limbs suddenly received strength, and he did what he had not done before. He bounded to his feet walking, leaping, and praising God.
There is within each of us this idea that we are of little value. I am convinced that this is a lie from the enemy that he tries to plant in the hearts and minds of men, women, boys, and girls. We consider people valuable only if they possess a certain amount of wealth or talent or beauty. The believer, however, has a value that has nothing to do with himself. Inside each of us who name the name of Christ, there is a well-spring of the power of God. It is unfortunate that we often talk as if we are poor because of our financial status, and we do not recognize how rich we are in Christ. You today are the precious possession of a holy God, and He has allowed you to possess the kingdom of God within you. You have more than you could ever ask or think. That is most definitely cause to rejoice! What God wants you to do with that wealth is to pour it out into the lives of others. Offer them the very best that you have: Jesus Christ.
May you distribute the wealth of God today!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Daily Light - November 9, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
Philippians 2:12

They tell us that we have more gyms and work-out facilities in our nation than ever in history. There is an emphasis in many parts of our society on staying fit. Some stay fit for reasons concerning their health while others do it for the sake of appearance. It is also said that more than half of the people with memberships to a gym hardly ever go. They pay their monthly dues and tell every one that they are a member, but they do not ever take advantage of the benefits that await them.
The average Christian can be much like these individuals. In Jesus Christ we have all of the benefits of salvation at our disposal. God has saved us to accomplish His will for His pleasure. There is nothing that God does that is not good. Many believers, however, miss out on those things, because we are spiritually sitting on the sidelines. To me, there is nothing more boring than sitting on the sidelines during a ball game. I desperately want to be involved in some way. I want to be active. I pray that my spiritual life is always the same way. Why would I want to just sit back and watch every one else serve God and live for Him. Let me be on the front lines of what God is doing.
This passage of Scripture is not teaching that we work for our salvation, as some have interpreted it. In the context, Paul beautifully illustrated what Christ did for us by becoming man and being obedient to death, the death of the cross. With this illustrated, Paul is stressing to the church at Philippi that our obedience should be no less than His. What Christ has put in you by the salvation of your soul, must be active and real. James said it this way, "Faith without works is dead." What if Peter would have believed that he could walk on the water by the power of God but never got out of the boat? His faith would have been dead and insufficient. I would argue that it would not truly be faith. You cannot separate faith from the act of obedience. They go hand in hand.
If you are an individual that proclaims faith in Christ, then today "work out" that faith. Display that faith by a life lived for the sake of Christ. Let nothing hinder a life that is active and fruitful for the kingdom of God.
May you enjoy your work out today!

Daily Light - November 8, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem,
and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh
and cry over all the abominations that are done within it...
do not come near anyone on whom is the mark."
Ezekiel 9:4, 6

It is an encouragement to the believer that God knows those who belong to Him. He knows His sheep, and His sheep know His voice. What a joy it is to be a child of God! God knows His children so well that according to Scripture He places a mark upon their lives. It is a mark that cannot be seen by the human eye, and I am even convinced that Satan, who is not all-knowing like God, does not have the ability to see the mark either. God's mark is an indelible impression upon the soul of the redeemed that was forged by the power of God through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
There are however some outward characteristics described throughout Scripture that accompany this mark. When the day of judgment comes, these characteristics will prominently stand out against the backdrop of wickedness and darkness. One such characteristic is given in this passage from Ezekiel. The prophet was being told of the judgment that would come to Jerusalem. He was told that those with the mark of God on their life would not be slain. It is also very interesting that as you study this passage you find that God's judgment started in the sanctuary of God. We often think of judgment being on those outside of God's house, but we must remember that God is no respecter of persons. Sin is sin whether it is inside or outside the temple of God. Even the New Testament tells us that judgment must begin at the house of God.
God instructed the angels of judgment and destruction to not touch those who had His mark on their lives. Therefore, we can conclude that there were those inside the temple that did not have God's mark on their lives. What was the characteristic that they were missing? Very simply, God said that those with the mark were those who sigh and cry over sin. They saw what was going on around them inside and outside the temple, and they were grieved and broken-hearted over the transgressions that they saw. Let's leave the world out of this for today and just deal with the church. Is today's church broken-hearted over the sin that is found within it? Yes, there is too often found sin in the church today. In my years of ministry I have seen sin covered by church leaders for a variety of reasons. Some have covered it to try to save their jobs. Some have swept things under the rug to save someone's reputation. Others have declared that they didn't expose sin for the "good of the church". Dear God, where is the grief and anguish over sin before a holy God? Who cares what man thinks about our sin? Why are we not broken over it for the sake of Christ?
Let me encourage you today to examine several areas of your life to see if there is sin. Examine your own heart. Examine your marriage and family. Examine the church in which God has placed you. If there is sin in any of these areas, fall before a holy God and repent. Call others to repentance with the knowledge that judgment is coming. God desires a pure bride for His Son without spot or wrinkle.
May we be that spotless bride today!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Daily Light - November 3, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes."
Proverbs 21:1

My wife loves politics. Almost every election cycle she loves to sit in front of the television and watch as the results pour in. Last night was no exception. She sat and eagerly watched as candidates won and lost. She could tell you who was favored, what races were expected be close, and how each race effected the balance of power in the country. She is most definitely well informed. As an American citizen with the freedom to vote that is an awesome privilege and responsibility. I commend her and others for being so eagerly involved in the process. I too enjoy being informed and knowing that my vote can make a difference in the preserving of our freedom and the molding of this country as it goes forward.
As I watched the coverage during this election cycle and listened to the public comments of people, there is one thing that made me take a step back and reevaluate our way of thinking. There are many in the church of Jesus Christ that seem to think that if a certain political party gains power then all of our problems will be solved. I believe we need to back up and take a deep breath before we start thinking in such a way. Politically I would call myself a thinking conservative. I agree with most of the conservative principles espoused by many of the politicians on that side of the aisle. I must say, however, that I have learned that my trust cannot and must not be in a man. There is only one person that I trust with my future and that is Jesus Christ. He is the only one that has ever kept His Word and can be counted on as completely trustworthy. His agenda is absolutely holy and righteous and that is a platform that I would like to stand on.
The Bible is full of illustrations where God raised men up and brought men down. He can use any individual to accomplish His purpose, because His power is not limited by the foolishness or wisdom of man. How marvelous it is to know that God can at any time turn the heart of any king to the direction that He would have them go. The best response that we can have to our current government is what we should be during for every government leader at all times. The church needs to fall on its face before a holy God and ask for His will to be done. Paul tells us to pray for all that are in authority that we might be able to lead peaceable lives. That peace only comes from the Almighty Prince of Peace!
May Christ be your King today!