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!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Daily Light - November 2, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"That we may have boldness in the day of judgment..."
1 John 4:17

If I had to describe this first epistle of John in one word it would be this: confidence. It is amazing how many times he makes statements that declare his confidence in his salvation through Jesus Christ. In a world that believes there are no absolutes, it is awesome to read such a positive and affirming declaration from one of Christ's most ardent followers. Let me allow the Scripture to speak for itself today.

"We KNOW that we KNOW Him, if we keep His commandments." (2:3)
"You HAVE an anointing from the Holy One, and you KNOW all things." (2:20)
"Abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have CONFIDENCE and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." (2:28)
"Beloved, now WE ARE children of God...we KNOW that when He is revealed, we SHALL BE like Him, for we SHALL seem Him as He is." (3:2)
"By this we KNOW love, because He laid down His life for us." (3:16)
"Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have CONFIDENCE toward God." (3:21)
"By this we KNOW that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." (3:24)
"You ARE of God." (4:4)
"We ARE of God." (4:6)
"We have KNOWN and BELIEVED the love that God has for us." (4:16)
"He who has the Son HAS life." (5:12)

What an encouragement this letter from John is! There is no doubt in his heart that his faith in Christ has brought him hope and life for eternity. It must be noted that John's confidence had nothing to do with himself. It is all because of what Jesus Christ did for us. You can live in the knowledge of the fact that Christ is your boldness and confidence in this world today. Let me share one final passage with you.

"These things I have written to you who BELIEVE in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to BELIEVE in the name of the Son of God." (5:13)

May you be confident in Christ today!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Daily Light - November 1, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever."
Ecclesiastes 3:14

"Nothing lasts forever." "All good things must come to an end." You have probably heard those quotes a few times in your life. They are usually said whenever a situation goes from good to bad. We teach our children that this kind of reality is just a fact of life. Humanly speaking we are correct. The happiness of a moment will not last forever. The feeling of euphoria that we have whenever something good happens eventually fades. Most of this world lives trying to get that type of feeling back over and over again.
As believers of Christ in a fallen world, we are subject to this type of disappointment in our flesh as well. Time moves quickly, and it seems that it takes every thing with it. My four beautiful children seem to grow exponentially each day. They were once tiny infants that you could hold in your hand, but now they are growing into young ladies and men. Susan and I often discuss missing the times when they were little. It seemed to move by so rapidly.
Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, was expressing these same sentiments. It was all dawning on him that life was ebbing away, and he would one day be gone from this earth. It saddened him to think that all he had worked for and lived for would be placed into the hands of another. There was nothing that he had gained in this world that he could take with him. For a man that had every thing this was a bit unsettling. How humbling it must have been for a man who had lived his whole life in the palace as royalty to realize that the grave is no respecter of persons! Solomon had to stop and consider what really mattered.
This is what we must do. What do you have in your life that has eternal value? There are no things that you possess that matter in the eternal. It is only what you do with what God has given you and how you live according to your heart that matters. I am grateful to know that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ my Lord. He is my Savior, and there is nothing that can take that away. What Christ has done in my heart will last forever. I have been given a marriage by which I am to honor God. Susan and I prove a faithfulness and love for Christ by how we are faithful and loving to one another. I have been entrusted with children that need to be taught about life and about what happens at the end of life. I must teach them to know and live their lives for the sake of Christ, something far greater than this world can offer. There must be a conscious decision by each of us to live for the things that are eternal. What eternal value does the things that you are living for have?
May you see the eternal and everlasting God today!