Sunday, May 30, 2010

Daily Light - May 30, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"This is the day the Lord has made; WE will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Don't even think about spending this day all by yourself! This is the Lord's Day. It is meant to be shared with others. It was given to us as a day to rejoice together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. WE need each other. WE need to come together to glorify God with one voice. WE need to fall on our knees as one and pray together to a holy God.
There is in some of us a maverick attitude when it comes to living the Christian life. WE get the mindset that WE don't need anybody else and that WE can live this Christian life alone. Let us be reminded of the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes: "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken." God never intended for His children to live the Christian life all by themselves. Not only did the Father give us the Holy Spirit as our constant companion, but He gave us other brothers and sisters in Christ to fellowship with and walk with. Even Jesus while He was on this earth chose out twelve men that He spent time with continually. Yes, He got alone for seasons of prayer, and WE should do the same. However, He shared His daily life and walk with His disciples. The Bible commands us to not forsake coming together in the Lord's name. WE are given a call and command to not just show up at church together, but a command to unite together under the banner of Christ and His righteousness. Jesus' prayer for us in John 17 was that WE may be one. Our unity was one of His great desires. He said that WE will not be like Christ until WE experience genuine unity. When Jesus was resurrected, He told Mary to tell the disciples that He would meet THEM in Galilee. He appeared to the disciples as a group in that upper room. He came to them while they were together fishing. The Holy Spirit flooded upon them on the day of Pentecost as they were gathered together. God will meet us individually, and He often does. However, He has chosen to work through His people together.
May WE worship Christ together today in the spirit of unity!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Daily Light - May 28, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love."
Song of Solomon 2:4

A banner of love. The word for banner in the Bible is translated either banner or more commonly standard. It is a military term describing the colors (the flag) that were carried by an army. There were several purposes for this banner.
1) The banner was a mark of identification. It clearly defined for everyone who you were. God's banner over us is love, because that is who He is. He is love. There is never any reason to doubt that. While the love of people may wax cold from time to time, God's love never does. It can't, because love is who and what He is. 2) The banner was a sign to let the enemy know of one's presence. Can you imagine how it must have felt in the midst of battle to see that standard on the horizon and know that the enemy was drawing closer? God's love and therefore His mercy and grace is a banner to let the enemy know that he is already a defeated foe. The Bible says that when the enemy comes in like a flood, God will raise up a standard against him. That standard is His unconditional love. 3) The banner gave instruction to the army. When it moved forward, you moved forward. When it stopped, you stopped. Soldiers were given instruction to not let the colors fall. If it meant dropping your weapon to pick it up, that is what you did for the good of the whole regiment. In the same way, Christ's love is an example for us. We are to follow His lead when it comes to loving others. We are to love how He loves. We are to love who He loves. We are to love when He loves. He is our example of everlasting and unconditional love. 4) The banner was where you would rally together. When it was time to reform the lines, you drew closer to the banner. It was what united every one. There could be no personal agendas. There was no room for a maverick. You ran to the banner and rallied together with your brothers in battle. There is such a great need for God's people to rally together in the love of God today. The Kingdom of God is not about any single one of us. It is not for our good. Our rallying is for the purpose of accomplishing the will of God together. It is God's love that will unite us. It is God's love that will encourage us. It is God's love that will strengthen us for the day of battle. Don't live your life alone. Live it in the love of God with those who love God.
I am reminded of the words of the great hymn entitled "The Love of God":

The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.
Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.
O love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure the saints and angels song.

May you not only know but may you also demonstrate the love of God today!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Daily Light - May 27, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience,
went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.
And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst."
John 8:9

Shame. Guilt. Terror. Anger. Hurt. Fear. These are just a few words that describe the emotions that surround our sin. The woman in our story was caught in the very act of adultery. She had been dragged through the streets with the shame of her sin completely exposed. There was no one that knew her guilt more than she did. This mob of accusers was terrifying enough, but now she stood in the holy place of the temple before the one some said was the Messiah. She had every right to be angry, because it was only her that they brought to Jesus. Where was the other party that was "caught in the very act"? It had to hurt to know that someone you had given yourself to emotionally and physically wouldn't stand with you during your greatest trial. Now, fearful and alone, she waited for the verdict.
Jesus told those that stood by to feel free to begin throwing stones, but only if they could say that they had not felt the guilt and shame of sin in their life as well. Can you imagine the mental inventory that each man begin to take? They stood with stones at the ready and a smirk on their face. They at least had this woman to judge, and they hoped in a few moments they would have Jesus as well. The blood coursed through their muscles and they gripped tightly to those stones. However, when Jesus confronted them with their own sins, the stones of judgment and accusation grew too heavy to hold. They were now no longer the accusers; they were the accused.
Jesus has a way of doing two things in our life: 1) making us understand our guilt, and 2) letting us experience His forgiveness. There is not a one of us that is not guilty. What you are guilty of may be different than what I am guilty of, but either way, we are both condemned men walking. We have felt the shame that accompanies our sin. We know the hurt that it has caused, and we desperately understand the need for forgiveness. Jesus never condones our sin, but He does offer forgiveness for it. You will always have accusers. There will always be people with stones at the ready. Satan himself is the accuser of the brethren. However, decide in your heart that you will no longer listen to those voices. Listen and follow the voice that says, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." Follow that sweet voice of forgiveness. Recognize that His voice is all that matters. Can you hear the thud of stones falling around you? Embrace forgiveness and live a changed life.
May you know the joy of forgiveness today!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Daily Light - May 26, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you."
Matthew 6:33

What is it that you want most in life? Maybe it is something internal: happiness, peace, joy, etc. Perhaps it is something external: possessions, wealth, notoriety, etc. It is a good idea to take some time to reevaluate what really matters in our lives. What things do we really need? What is most important?
In this passage Jesus was teaching His followers that, just like the rest of us, they were worried about things that really didn't matter in the light of eternity. There are many times in our life where the things of this world began to cloud our way of thinking. We get so wrapped up about areas over which we have no control. Jesus was trying to show us that He is in control and therefore our trust should be in Him alone. Some in the crowd that He is speaking to did not probably know where their next meal was going to come from. I don't know if you have ever been in this situation, but it is surely a desperate thought. Jesus chose to use the birds of the air to illustrate that He had put all things in order to supply for them. Beautifully, He tells us that we are the crowning achievement of His creation, and we are more important than the birds of the air. If we but trust Him, we will see the supply of an almighty God. Remember the children of Israel in the wilderness. Every morning they woke up with a fresh supply of food directly from the hand of God. Jesus also pointed out the ridiculousness of worrying about things that are completely out of our hands. He asked, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit (18 inches) to his stature?" Why did He use a cubit? He wanted to show us that whether it was one inch or eighteen inches there is nothing that we can do about certain things. Leave it all in the hands of God. He then followed up this with our clothing or our material needs. He exceptionally reminded us of the wild flowers that grow in the fields. He clothed them with their beauty which is above what any man could fashion with his own hands. Their beauty however is fleeting. Here today, gone tomorrow. God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us for eternity if we follow Him.
The answer is to seek spiritual things. Seek His heart. Seek His will. In the middle of all of our asking for things, have we stopped to ask Jesus for Himself? Or is that what we really want? Would we be more satisfied with all this world has to offer than we would with Jesus? I often hear people say that you can't have both: Jesus and things. According to this verse that is not true. Understand, however, that Jesus gives us what we need not necessarily all we want. If we seek Him with all of our heart, we will have His everlasting presence as well as our daily supply. God's supply is the benefit of having His righteousness. The psalmist said that even in his old age he had not seen the righteous forsaken nor having to beg for bread. What is it that you really want from God?
May you seek God's righteousness today!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Daily Light - May 25, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city."
Revelations 22:12-14

Sitting at the Captain's Table

One of the clearest principles taught in the Word of God is responsibility. Luke 12:48 tells us that the one who has been given much, much will be required of him. This is truly especially in marriage. God has entrusted us with a unique relationship that has its great comparison Christ and His church. We will give account to God for what we did with our marriage and how we glorified Him through it. What a joy it will be to enter into God's presence knowing that we have honored Him by honoring our spouse.
There are four principles of marriage that are good to consider before we take our seat at the Captain's table in eternity.
1) Marriage is a testimony of our love for God. God is love and those who abide in God will live with a loving spirit (1 John 4:16). Our love for our spouse is very simply a reflection of our love for God. You cannot love one or the other. If we truly love God, then we will have no problem loving our spouse as we ought. It is only when we understand the love of God that has been given to us that we are able to love our spouse properly.
2) Marriage is a test of stewardship. The beautiful life of our spouse has been given to us as a trust. That person does not belong to us in a sense of ownership; they belong to almighty God. He has allowed us to demonstrate faithfulness (1 Corinthians 4:2) to Him by being faithful to this precious person. We must be faithful to our spouse recognizing marriage as both a responsibility and a privilege.
3) Marriage is an opportunity to experience God's pleasure. In a world where every one talks about marriage as a prison and a hindrance to really enjoying life, we must see that this is not God's perspective. God has given us the gift of marriage to enjoy life and even better, the abundant life. One day as we sit at the Captain's table, we will understand the words of 1 Corinthians 2:9: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." While we do not know what awaits us, in the present we are allowed to taste the joys that God has for us through our marriages.
4) Marriage is the opportunity to experience God's presence. We know that the Bible says that none will be given in marriage in Heaven (Matthew 22:30). I do believe however that we will still enjoy eternal life with those who God has given us to love here on this earth. God knew that it was not good for Adam to be alone in the garden. In our eternal home there will never be loneliness, we will be continually encompassed and enthralled by the presence of God. I thoroughly enjoy the presence of my wife. When we are not together, I am miserable. I look forward to seeing her face each morning, and when I come home during the day, I immediately seek her out. Her presence is both comforting and exhilarating. If she is that much to me, how much more is the presence of God? We enjoy now the companionship of marriage that will be played out for all eternity. I for one cannot wait.
May you look forward to that moment today!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Daily Light - May 24, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love." Proverbs 5:18-19

Enjoying the Journey Together

Have you ever looked at the beauty of the stars in the sky and asked yourself why God created all of them? I believe there are two answers to that question that apply to your marriage as well: 1) for His pleasure and 2) for you to enjoy and delight in.
When God saw fit to allow you to enter into the marriage covenant with your spouse, it was not simply a legal transaction that He had in mind. He created each of you to lovingly complete the other. God looked down on man in the Garden of Eden and said that it was not good for him to be alone. Whose good is He talking about? Obviously when God created Eve it was for Adam's good. Not only was he now not alone, but he had someone that he could delight in for the rest of his life.
As Solomon passed on wisdom to his son, he made sure to tell his son to enjoy life with the wife that God had given to him. There are a number of facets to the verses above but some of them are glaringly obvious.
1) Marriage is a blessing from God - Let your fountain be blessed.
2) It is God's intent that we enjoy life TOGETHER - rejoice with the wife of your youth.
3) Sexual intimacy is a beautiful pleasure to be carried out between a husband and wife - let her breasts satisfy thee at all times.
4) Marriage is a life-long commitment and joy - ALWAYS be enraptured with HER love.
Never let the world cheapen the joys of what God intended for a husband and wife to have together. He gave you your spouse to live with so that He might be glorified and so that you would experience joy here on earth. ENJOY what God has given the two of you in each other, and enjoy it TOGETHER.

Daily Light - May 23, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"This is the day the Lord HAS MADE; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

What a precious opportunity every Lord's day is! We have been given this day to glorify the King of kings and Lord of lords! It is an awesome though to realize that this day did not just come upon us by chance. God HAS MADE this day for Himself and for us. It is by His sovereign direction and will that this day HAS been MADE. God makes no mistakes, and the fact that we are alive today is not simply fate. He has a plan for each of us today.
The Bible teaches us that He HAS MADE this day so that we might glorify Him. That is first above all things. None of us have any idea what we will be confronted with today, but whatever may come, let us choose to glorify God in it. When we think of all that God HAS MADE, we learn two things. First, what God makes is always good. When God created this world, each time He looked at His creation and said it was good. It brought Him pleasure and glory. Our Heavenly Father knew that this date was going to be on our calendars before time even began. He knew every situation that we were going to face this day. By His will He has allowed it, and even now He says it is good. He knows that whatever happens today He can receive pleasure and glory from it. We must realize that there is a bigger divine plan swirling around our lives and that God has not left us to circumstance and chance. Second, even you and I are MADE by God and considered good. Of course we are fallen creatures that fall short of God's glory. However, the Bible tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We were knit together in the wombs of our mother. We were given everything that we need to live in this world and bring God praise. He HAS MADE each of us special in His eyes. You are beautiful and special because He HAS MADE you in His image. Don't let anyone keep you from recognizing your special place in the plan of God. I have no idea what today holds for any of us, but I do know Who holds today.
May this day God HAS MADE bring Him much glory!

Daily Light - May 22, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, 'Let us cross over to the other side.' Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?' Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, 'Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?' And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, 'Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!'"
Mark 4:35-41

Surviving on the Stormy Seas

Somewhere we have gotten in our minds that storms should not affect us quite like they do. However, the Scriptures are full of reminders that we will have trouble in our lives and even in our marriages (John 16:33; 1 Corinthians 7:28). It is obvious that people see the storms that arise in marriage and desperately want to do something about them. Women seem to notice it much more than men. Stormie Omartian's book The Power of a Praying Wife broke a record because it was #1 on the CBA best-seller's list for 27 consecutive months.
John and Stasi Eldredge say, "Marriage is a love story and a war story together. Marriage is hard. Bring together a man and a woman - two creatures who think, act, and feel so differently you would think they'd come from separate solar systems - and ask them to get along for the rest of their lives under the same roof. That is like taking Cinderella and Huck Finn, tossing them in a submarine, and closing the hatch. What did you think would happen?
Why do we have storms in our marriages?
We are still suffering from the effects of the fall.
Where do storms come from in our marriages?
Internal (a storm of our own making)
External (an outside influence in our life)
Eternal (God allows them to shape us)
What can we learn from the storms in our marriages?
Jesus is with us in the storm.
Jesus has power over the storm.
What we need is to ask God to change our mindset about storms! For example, storms are good for fisherman because they bring nutrients to the surface that would have otherwise settled to the bottom. In the same way, God can use the storms of our life to bring His good to the surface. May you experience the presence of God in your marriage today.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Daily Light - May 15, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Life is short. What a statement that is! We often take for granted the days that we have been given by our God. We fail to recognize the preciousness of each moment that we have to live. It would behoove us to see each day as a gift that is meant to be shared with others. How different would our days be if we saw each of them as an opportunity to do something of significance for Christ? Very soon each of us will stand before God and give account for what we have done with our lives. I read the following paragraph by Dr. James Dobson and thought it would be appropriate to share with you in this context.
"If we really grasped the numbering of our days, we would surely be motivated to invest ourselves in eternal values. Would a fifty-year-old man pursue an adulterous affair if he knew how quickly he would stand before his God? Would a woman make herself sick from in-law conflict or other petty frustrations if she knew how little time was left to her? Would men and women devote their lives to the pursuit of wealth and symbols of status if they realized how soon their possessions would be torn from their trembling hands? It is the illusion of permanence, you see, that distorts our perception and shapes our selfish behavior. When eternal values come in view, our greatest desire is to please the Lord and influence as many of our loved ones for Him as possible."
Let us take these words to heart. Never will you have this day again. Make the most of it for the sake of all that matters in your life. Do not fail to give God your best today. Don't miss out on the opportunity to express love to your family. See this day as a gift of God's grace and embrace it. Missionary C.T. Studd once said, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last."
May you experience the joy of God today!

Daily Light - May 21, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Embarking on a Life-long Journey

Have you ever noticed that the Bible begins and ends with marriage? It begins with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden being brought together as one flesh by the sovereignty of God. It ends with the bride of Christ (the church) entering into an eternal and holy matrimony with Christ. What a perfect picture of what God wants for marriages today! Unfortunately, one out of two marriages in the United States ends in divorce. We have failed to see that marriage is not simply a decision to live with someone else but rather it is a commitment to Christ to glorify Him through this God-ordained institution. There are four main things that we learn from God's Word about marriage.
1) Marriage is a picture of unity (Genesis 2:24; Deuteronomy 6:4). Just as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are united in purpose, the husband and wife must be united with God for the purpose of glorifying the Lord. Adam did not see Eve as another human being. He saw her as a part of himself. That is why we are encouraged to love our spouse as ourselves. We are literally in God's eyes one. 2) Marriage is a picture of diversity (Genesis 1:26). When we discuss the Trinity, we speak of God as one with three distinct personalities and functions. A husband and wife are not the same. God made us different for a purpose. One marriage author said that if a husband and wife were exactly alike one of them would be unnecessary. We each bring something different to the table of marriage. God meant for it to be that way. However, instead of focusing on our differences as something negative, we need to see that God wants to use us together to complete each other and His purpose for our lives. 3) Marriage is a journey together (Song of Solomon 2:11-13). When a couple says their vows in front of family, friends and the Father, they are simply taking the first step in a long journey together. There will most definitely be ups and downs along the way. The trip from the mountain top to the valley and back up again will be a difficult one. The storms that they will face will be treacherous at times. However, this journey is not meant to be traveled alone. You will make it together. 4) Marriage is the sanctuary of the heart (Proverbs 4:23; Galatians 6:9). The key to making this life-long journey joyous and prosperous is to not lose the heart of our marriage. It will only be the couple that intentionally works at keeping their hearts knit together that will find true success in life. No matter how long the journey may be at times, don't give up. See the journey as a God-given opportunity to spend quality time with your best friend and lover.
May your steps on the journey be lighter today!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Daily Light - May 14, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord."
Proverbs 18:22

Today is a very special day for me. When I woke up this morning, two things came to my mind.
First, on this date my grandmother, Myra Head Hudson, was born. This lady was one of the most precious people to ever walk the face of the earth. She was an LA girl (LA standing for Lower Alabama). I don't know of many people that could work as hard as she worked. I have some tremendously fond memories of her life. Some of them are funny and some are inspiring. She demonstrated kindness continually. I remember coming in at midnight after we had driven from Atlanta to her home. She would be in bed asleep and wake up when we rang the door bell. The next thing you knew there was a spread of sandwich "stuff" on the table, and we were being fed a midnight supper. Of course, I never refused. Mostly, I remember how much she loved my grandfather. He was her life. They had a quiet love that did not need a lot of words. They took care of each other continually. I remember him saying in a simple southern Alabama tone, "She's a good woman!" I knew he meant that with more emotion than his voice expressed. I saw the reality of it after my grandmother went to be with the Lord. My grandfather was in the early stages of Alzheimer's and had no short term memory. Every day, when my father would visit him, he would ask where "mama" was. My father would have to explain once again that she had died. My grandfather would begin to cry and say how much he missed her. She was truly "good" for my grandfather and a gift from the Lord.
Second, I have my own reason to rejoice today. Sixteen years ago today I obtained favor from the Lord. My life was blessed by having Susana Palomino become my wife. We stood at an altar before family, friends, and our Father and committed our lives to one another. She promised me that day that she would be with me for better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death would us part. She has been committed to me, and I have been committed to her. There have been days that the strength of our bond has been tried. We have faced our share of storms. However, no matter what, we have faced them together. We have rejoiced over the great blessings we have experienced together. God has blessed our union with four beautiful children. He called us to minister together, and He has given us a church family to share Christ with. We are so grateful to God for the life that He has given us. I know personally that she is a gift of God's grace in my life. I would not be the man I am today if it were not for my precious wife. Susan and my grandmother are different in many ways, but there is one way in which they are very similar. They both were committed to God and committed to their husbands. My grandfather and I both found a good thing and obtained favor from the Lord.
May you know the joy of God's favor today in your personal life and if applicable in your marriage!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daily Light - May 13, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,
but who can find a faithful man?"
Proverbs 20:6

Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? They were challenged to race one another. Of course, everyone knows that a hare is much faster than a tortoise. The hare knew this more than any one. He had the race in the bag. The starting gun sounded for the race, and he took off like lightning. The tortoise just gradually left the line at a steady pace. The hare was so confident that he rested along the road at certain intervals, finally settling down for a nap. When he awoke, he saw the tortoise crossing the finish line ahead of him.
That is what this Scripture reminds me of. You see now how my deep theological mind works. Seriously though, there are plenty of people that at times of their life think of the Christian race as a sprint. They charge out of the gates seemingly "on fire" for God. They won't miss a service at their church. They will volunteer for any ministry that needs help. They are diligently serving God at a break neck speed. However, over time they get a little tired, bored, or burnt out. They sit down on the side lines and say that it is time to give somebody else a chance for a while. The next think you know they are almost out of the work of serving God entirely. We tend to notice the hare Christians a little more. They are exciting and emotionally stirring. We admire them for their speed and their actions. Unfortunately, when they fail, we become discouraged and think things like, "If they could fail, any one could." Maybe we need to get our eyes off of the hare Christians and realize that the heroes of the faith are tortoise Christians. They simply plod away a day at the time. When a volunteer is needed for a menial task, they are there. When there is a need for someone to serve in the shadows, they are there. They give of themselves and their resources without any fanfare. They are the very description of the word faithful. Most of us don't put the words heroic and faithful together, but where would any thing of value be without people that were faithful. Tortoise Christians have their eyes on the prize ahead of them. They are not looking at what position they are in the race. Determine in your life to be faithful. Sure, there may not be a lot of people that notice, but I can guarantee you that your Heavenly Father does.
May you run your race for Christ today!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Daily Light - May 12, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love,
just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love."
John 15:10

What does it mean to "abide in love"? Let me take this a completely different direction than you might expect. I have unfortunately been in marriage counseling sessions and heard a spouse say that they were no longer in love with the other person. They talk about how at one time they were madly in love with the other person but how now that spark is gone. It is just not the same as it used to be. Therefore, they choose to walk away from the marriage no matter how painful or difficult it might be.
This is a faulty mindset that does not understand the principle of "abiding in love". The word "abide" is from the Greek word "meno" which is also translated as "dwell, continue, endure, etc." It is not just about feelings or emotions. There are obviously feelings and emotions that are associated with love, but no true relationship can be built on those things alone. True love comes down to a personal choice that is made every single day of our lives. Paul instructed husbands to love their wives. This word love is an unconditional love. A love that is going to make a choice to stand through the difficult times. A love that is going to make a choice to endure the storms of life. A love that is going to make a choice to dwell with someone in peace and harmony. Love is an action word, because true love is an active pursuit of the object of that love. There is a simple principle that is played out in the passage for today. If we will diligently keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, we will find it to be much more natural to stay close to Him and abide in His love. It is when we have purposed to do our own thing that we slip away from this fellowship with God because of our shame or our pride. However, if we are simply obedient, we find our love for Him to be more natural and complete. When my love for God is what it should be, it also becomes easier for me to love others. I recognize how patient He is with me, and I simply now emulate what He is doing in my life. None of us will ever know a greater love than the love that Christ has for us. It is this love that we are to pour out of our lives into the lives of others.
May you love the people in your life today as Christ loves you today!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Daily Light - May 11, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him,
for he who is not against us is on our side."
Luke 9:50

Were you ever part of a club when you were a kid? Do you remember trying to form an exclusive club that only let in those people that you liked? It was usually made up of the circle of friends that had interests that were similar to yours. They were people that you would have gotten along with even if there were no "club" for you to be in together. Having worked with teenagers for several years, I have seen how young people do this without an official club name. We call them cliques. The definition of a clique is "an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose." I tried to discourage teens from forming these groups, because I found that it wasn't so much about coming together with people as it was about excluding people.
The above passage shows that this attitude is nothing new, and unfortunately the mindset that John had is still alive and well today in Christian circles. Today Christians call them "camps", "fellowships", or "denominations". They expect everyone in their group to become a carbon copy of what they are. Their desire is to have cookie cutter Christians that all talk alike, walk alike, act alike, and dress alike. Any one who is a little bit different is shunned from their group. If they didn't go to the "right" college, then we can't fellowship with them. If they don't dress or look a certain way (mind you, we are not talking about modesty just style here), then they are to be criticized publicly. If their music style does not meet our approval, then they are to be castigated until they "get right with God." None of these areas are as important as their doctrinal beliefs, but that doesn't seem to faze us. We feel like we are doing God a favor by dismissing these individuals as not right with God. John came to Jesus and told Him that he had rebuked an individual for casting out demons. Why? His answer was because he wasn't in their group. Jesus' response to John was exactly the attitude that we need to develop. Those who are naming the name of Christ and preaching salvation through Him are on our side. Better yet, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ that we will spend eternity with. We need to tear down some man-made walls and march together with Christ against the gates of hell. We have allowed our pride to hinder us from being the army of God for way too long. I realize that there are many different personalities and many agendas, but there is only one Person that matters. The agenda of our Lord and Savior is more important than our desire for a personal kingdom. Let's rise up together and carry the blood-stained banner of the cross to a world that needs to see God's children united for His cause. Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples, not because of the great things that we do, but by the love that we have for one another.
May you join together with others for the hope of Christ today.

Daily Light - May 10, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"And David said, 'What have I done now? Is there not a cause?'"
1 Samuel 17:29

Why is it that we are intimidated to speak up for what we believe to be right? Have you noticed that the world is not afraid to speak up for their agenda? For way too long, whether Christians were the majority or the minority, we have been silent. I read a book years ago by Tom Minnery entitled Why You Can't Stay Silent. It implored believers to quit complaining about the world's agenda while hiding in the shadows. To be effective, we must step into the light and speak the truth in love.
Let me just share one example. Recently I have noticed a pattern in movies that are being produced. Their target is adults from their 20's to 40's. These movies use extremely crude humor and subject matter as the basis for their plot. The lifestyle that they put on display is overtly sinful. Perversion is presented as normal. The name of Jesus Christ (that name which is above every name) is mixed with vile language and cursed numerous times. However, Christians are responding by doing one of two things: 1)not speaking up about its wickedness for fear of seeming narrow minded, or 2)watching the movies and trying to excuse away the filth. As I have seen this pattern in several areas of our society, I have understood David's words in our above passage. If you try to speak up for righteousness, many will try to shout you down. However, let us say as David said, "Is there not a cause?" In Hebrew the idea behind this phrase has to do with speaking up, proclaiming something. David was shocked that he was being criticized for speaking against the enemy of God. He was not being criticized by the pagans on the other side of the valley. He was being criticized by his own brothers. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who had just rather you keep silent and not rock the boat. Whatever their motive may be for this kind of thinking, you cannot be silent. You have a mandate from God to speak the truth in love. Boldly say the truth knowing that the God of Heaven supports you in your very efforts. Anything that violates Scripture is sin and should be called such. We are children of the King; therefore we must speak with the royalty of His Word on our lips.
May you find the boldness to speak the Words of Christ today!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Daily Light - May 9, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"This is the day THE LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

As we arise to worship together today, let us not for one moment fail to recognize who we are to worship. This is not just any other day. This is THE LORD's day: THE LORD of glory, THE LORD of creation, THE LORD of hosts, and THE LORD of lords. God declares "I am THE LORD" 162 times in the Bible.
This beautiful name THE LORD means "the existing One". In other words, He always has been, He is today, and He always will be. He is THE LORD of your past, your present, and your future. However, we cannot perceive the fathom of time as He can. We can only live in the present. That is why there is such an emphasis on this day. "This is the day THE LORD has made." Don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Rejoice in THE LORD today and serve Him this day with your whole heart. Recognize the beauty of THE LORD's holiness today and worship Him because of it. Fall on your face before THE LORD for yourself. Recognize your unworthiness and embrace the grace that flows down His hands and feet. Seek THE LORD while He may be found. Call on Him while He is near. We are desperate for His love, His wisdom, and His power. This name is sacred, "hallowed be Thy name". Let us not mistreat it or abuse it, but let us reverence it with a sacred trust. There are others that despise this name. Do not worry about what those who would mock this precious Name do. THE LORD is love, but He is also a righteous Judge. He will repay. What will you do with the name of THE LORD this day? Will it be reverenced and honored not only in your words but more importantly your actions? The expression of the name of THE LORD literally means that He is the owner and ruler of everything. You are His. All you claim as yours belongs to God. He bought you with a price, therefore glorify THE LORD in your body.
May you feel the presence of THE LORD in your life today.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Daily Light - May 7, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us."
Ephesians 3:20

If you are around me very long, you will hear me use this verse at some point. I think it is pivotal to our understanding of God and His power. Most of us believe, or say we believe, that God is all powerful (omnipotent). We declare with resolve that He can do all things, and we are right. When we read this passage, we cannot wait until Heaven to see al of these things fulfilled. However, in the context Paul is not saying that we have to wait until we get to Heaven to see God's power manifest in our lives.
Most of us have a very grand view of Heaven. Most of us also have a very confused view of Heaven. The old image of saints sitting on clouds and playing harps while they flap their golden wings comes to mind. I hope and believe that there is more to it than that. However, I also believe we have a very confused view of life. Many believers are sitting around waiting on Heaven and missing out on all that God has for them here. God wants to use us now. He desires to do great things in our lives today. Notice that the passage says "according to the power that works in us." It does not say the power that will work in us. He longs to do something in our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls while we are living on this earth. How do we see these things fulfilled? At some time read the verses surrounding this text. You will find that it is the person that is surrendered to the Spirit of God that is strengthened to do what they never thought they could do. It is by faith in His power not ours that we come to know what it means to live in the presence of God. As we learn to love like Christ, we are able to minister as He would. This ministry makes us more like Him and draws us into deeper relationship with Him and His children. If you were supernaturally empowered by God to accomplish His will, living in the hope and joy of His presence on a daily basis, and regularly ministering to people as Christ would, wouldn't that be "exceeding abundantly above" what you ever thought possible?
May you come to know Christ in a more personal way today!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Daily Light - May 6, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses,
commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:2

The Gospel message is generational. The message itself is the same from generation to generation. However, how or whether it is passed down is what is generational. There is a great obligation and responsibility for one generation to pass down what they have learned and been taught to those coming behind them. A verse that I have claimed as my life's challenge is Psalm 71:18 which says, "Now also when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come."
Paul was challenging Timothy in this passage to not fail to do his part in blazing a trail of spiritual legacy. He knew that if one generation did not do their job the results could be devastating. You can see five groups in this passage: 1)me, 2)witnesses, 3)you, 4)faithful men, and 5)others. Everyone in the chain of Biblical instruction must do their part. This is why Jesus Himself told the disciples to not discourage the children from coming. If we do not reach the next generation with the Gospel of Christ, we have doomed the generations that will follow. I have seen the devastating effects first hand. My parents were missionaries in England for several years. If you study the country's history, you will find that most of our nation's spiritual leaders either came from or were influenced by England. There are literally hundreds of men and women that we could list that are known as spiritual giants from this great country. Yet today, less than 10% of the population attends any kind of church. Why? You can trace back the tragic losses during the world wars and see that a generation faded off the scene without being able to instruct the next. To give one illustration of the great loss, the city my parents worked in was Leicester. There was a hall built in this city in honor of the great missionary to India, William Carey. Today William Carey Hall has been used as a Hindu temple. This is a call for us to wake up and realize that this next generation desperately needs to hear the message of Christ. This is a call for us to take young believers and disciple them in the truth. Let us not fail to do our part for fear that the generation after them will not hear of the joy of life in Jesus Christ.
May you be an influence for Christ in someone's life today.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Daily Light - May 5, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness."
Psalm 84:10

Have you ever just sat back and realized how crazy our lives are? If your schedule is anything like the schedule of most people, it is insanely busy. We wake up in the morning with a list of things that have to get done running through our mind. You probably spent part of the night thinking about it as well. Many times our schedules keep us from sleeping soundly. It also keeps us from doing the things that bring us real joy and pleasure. We never have any time for ourselves. I think "stay-at-home" moms have some of the most difficult responsibilities. They wear so many hats during the day. Of course, those of us that head off to work outside the home find our day to be filled with everyone else's agenda pressing against us. It is in a simple word "madness".
Gratefully and amazingly, we find something completely different in God. This passage speaks of not madness and busyness but simplicity. Yes, simplicity can be found in God. Of course, many would argue that God is not simple. He is very complex. While theologically that might be true, there has never been a child that thought so. The Bible talks about the faith of a child. There are no agnostic or atheistic children. Why? Psalm 19 and Romans 1 are very clear that God has revealed Himself to us. Children believe in the simplicity of God. They trust Him that He is and that He can and will do what He says. The psalmist is expressing a return to child-like faith. Wouldn't it be better to trade just one day of peace in the presence of God than live in the madness of a thousand days anywhere else? We live in a society that pushes every one to accomplish what the rest of the world says is important. There is nothing wrong with achieving great things, and we ought to strive to do great things for the glory of God. However, our motivation to do those things is too often for selfish ambition. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know that God is pleased with your life as just a doorkeeper in His house? He loves you as a person. He sees beyond what we do and recognizes who we are. Maybe it would be good for all of us to stop somewhere in the middle of our madness and obey the admonition of Scripture: Be still and know that I am God. He didn't call on us to figure Him out or understand exactly what it is that He is doing. No, just be still and know that He is God.May you see the simplicity of God today and may it be personally encouraging.