Friday, February 25, 2011

Daily Light - February 25, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Let no fruit grow on you ever again."
Matthew 21:19

Jesus approaches a fig tree that was full of leaves and looked good in appearance, but as He drew near He found no fruit on it. With just His spoken word the tree began to wither and died. Some have thought this passage of Scripture is quite harsh, but you must realize that this is the Creator standing before one of His creations that had gone the way of this fallen world. Everything that He made was good, but the curse that was passed down because of sin had brought corruption. God is not pleased with those things that are not fulfilling their created purpose.
In John 15 Jesus tells His followers that they are branches that emanate from Himself, the vine. We are told that if we abide (continue, remain, dwell, endure) in Him then we will bear much fruit. However, if we do not abide in Christ, then we will most assuredly wither away. Notice that we do not have to be unattached from the vine in order to stop being fruitful. When a branch droops into the mud below or becomes hidden in the dark crevices of the things around it, that branch has lost its ability to produce fruit and begins to die. As believers we often allow the "mud" of this world to sully us, and we become spiritually sluggish. We might shrink away and hide from our spiritual responsibilities and therefore we cannot draw from the light of Jesus Christ. Fortunately, God the Father is the husbandmen and comes by to draw us back into the light and wash the mud of this world off with the washing of the water by the Word. He is truly the God of love and in His grace we receive multiple chances to be fruitful.
What happens, though, if we continually go back into the shadows and bear no fruit? It seems from Scripture that there is a time that Jesus declares over some branches what He said to the fig tree, "Let no fruit grow on you ever again." What a sad proclamation that is for any child of God! It is not that He does not love us, but there is a moment where our usefulness to the kingdom is finished. He cannot bear forever with those that are not fulfilling their created purpose. When does this happen in a life? Only God in His mercy knows that answer. We must realize our condition and continually call on the Father to come lift us up and bring us continually to the light so that we might bear fruit for Him.
May you be a fruitful branch for Christ today!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Daily Light - February 23, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Remember me, O my God, for good!"
Nehemiah 13:31

It seems that all of us have had that awkward moment in a store, park, or some other public place. That moment is the one where someone walks up to you and begins talking to you like they have known you all of their life, but you have absolutely no idea who they are. They are asking about your family and your job, but you cannot even recall their name and they look completely unfamiliar. Our pride won't let us ask them their name or tell them that we don't remember them, so instead we just go along with it and carry on a very confusing conversation.
One of the reasons that we do not tell people that we do not remember them is because we know what it feels like to be forgotten. It is not just embarrassing, but it is also a bit discouraging to realize that you left no impression on someone else's mind. You are just a face that is easy to forget. We want to be remembered and liked for all of the good characteristics which we display.
The encouragement from God's Word is that He doesn't forget us. Nehemiah asked God three times in this chapter to not forget him and all of the good that he had done for God's sake. As I studied that I wondered why he felt it so important to ask God to remember him several times. A study of the entire chapter will show that Nehemiah had felt the pain of people turning their back on him and essentially forgetting him. Some that had promised to work with him to build the wall became his main opposition to accomplishing the task. Many that were leaders of the nation forgot God whenever things began to go well and started abusing their position. Even the people whom Nehemiah led forgot the commandments of God and began to live in disobedience to what he had commanded them from the mouth of the Lord. It seemed as if every one was forgetting the fundamental things that they should be doing. So, with all of this in his mind, Nehemiah did not want God to forget him. It is an instinct in all of us.
The comfort is that God never forgets His children. The Bible tells us that the Good Shepherd knows those that are His. He remembers us in the dark watches of the night. Even when we are rowing in troublesome winds and facing the crashing waves, Jesus walks to us on the waters of our trials. You are not forgotten! God knows where you are, who you are, and what you mean to Him!
May you remember all that He is to you today!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Daily Light - February 22, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while."
Mark 6:31

Jesus had sent His disciples out to serve and equipped them for their service. They went out from there and saw great miracles take place. They had the power over diseases and unclean spirits; signs and wonders took place every where they went. They boldly preached the message of repentance in every city they entered and saw people turn to faith in the living God. When they returned to tell Jesus all that they had seen and done, they were still overflowing with excitement and joy. You can almost imagine Jesus smiling much like a parent watching their children open Christmas presents.
It is interesting what Jesus does next. With these disciples so amped up and ecstatic it would almost seem appropriate if He sent them back out again to do more. They would have surely charged back out excitedly with great expectations of what else they might do for the glory of God. Jesus, however, tells them to go find a quiet place of rest and stay there for a while. Why would He do this when the fire was so hot? If they rest now, they might lose their edge.
It is called the wisdom of God. He knows His creation, and He knows that there is power and strength found in rest. He even gave us this example in Creation when He rested on the seventh day. The Old Testament law called for a Sabbath so that man might rest from all his labor. In our crazy and hectic society we act as if rest is for the weak. A newspaper article in the 1980s said that with the entrance of future technology that we would only work about the average of 30 hours per week. Instead, we have found other things to do to fill the time and are working well over 40 hours per week. Many married couples see little of each other because they are too busy. Parents pass their children like ships in the night with little or no interaction. Our personal time with God is set to a time limit because we have things to do and places to go. Perhaps God is looking down on our lives and calling us to get alone with Him and rest a while.
A few years back I received a new book, a magazine article, and a set of sermons on cd that were all on the same subject by three different sources. The subject was "Burn Out in the Ministry". People in every walk of life are giving up and quitting, because they have not heeded the great admonition given by our Lord, "Be still and know that I am God."
May you find time to rest a while very soon!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Daily Light - February 21, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Arise and stand here."
Luke 6:8

A man with a withered hand stands before Jesus as commanded. He was brought here as a pawn in a game to find some fault with Jesus. These scribes and Pharisees had told him to get out of the synagogue before because of his disability. Suddenly they all want him to come in and they make sure he gets one of the prime seats so that he will be noticed. He was not asking for attention but now he was the center of it. This man Jesus with a face full of compassion looked on him and told him to stand in front of him. There is obvious tension in the building, and he has no idea what is about to happen next but he knows it is going to be big. He has heard of Jesus and the miracles that He has performed, so now he stands with anticipation before Him.
Each of us are much like this man with a withered hand. We know very well what our disabilities are whether they be physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental. We are reminded every day of their presence, and we feel hurt and shame because of them. There is seemingly no answer to eradicate the problem, and we have tried every thing. So, in humility we come into the presence of Jesus with our obvious weakness, and we listen for His voice. As we stand in His presence we feel a great anticipation, because we know in this place miracles happen. We have heard of all that He has done for others, and in our hearts we know that all we have heard is true. Could He possibly do the miraculous in our lives? The anticipation in our hearts feels like joy and fear at the same time. The crowd of people that we were always so fearful of because we knew what they were thinking about us doesn't matter at this moment. It is as if Jesus is the only person in the room, and He is without a doubt the only person that matters.
How incredible it is to live in anticipation of what the Messiah can do! All things that He does are perfect and right, and we will most assuredly know a joy that comes from whatever decision He makes. There is no trial of any nature that cannot be overcome by the power of God, but we must first arise and stand in His presence. We must realize that it is only in His presence that we find fullness of joy. This man in the synagogue found Jesus to be all that He needed, and we will find the same when we obediently walk into His presence.
As a side note, isn't it interesting that we always call this man the "man with a withered hand"? I think that he would argue that he should be called the man whose hand was made whole.
May you live in anticipation in the presence of Jesus today!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Daily Light - February 18, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"So the sun stood still..."
Joshua 10:13

In many of our lives it seems that there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that needs to be done. We can always think of something else that needs to be done and wonder how we are going to get it done and when. It is not only our minds that are overwhelmed while thinking on these things, but our physical body is exhausted. The schedule is full, but we are empty.
Joshua understood this feeling very well. Imagine having to step into the role of the man of God, Moses, and lead this great group of Israel into the land of promise. Every where that Joshua took this people there was a battle to gain and maintain every step. God had given them the seemingly impossible task of conquering the pagan armies of the land and gaining what rightfully belonged to the Most High. This task would take two things that do not naturally come to most of us: great faith and inexhaustible patience.
As Joshua pursued the Amorites the sun was beginning to set. It would not be long before darkness would settle over the whole land and all of those that had not been captured or killed would be lost. Joshua had a desire to finish the job that lay before him, but the daylight hours were against him. So, he asked God to do the impossible. In prayer to the Almighty, Joshua asked for the sun to stand still and give them more daylight until the entire enemy was defeated. God in His power and mercy did as Joshua asked, and God's people ended the longest day ever victorious.
While I am sure that there are days that you would like the sun to stand still for you as well, I don't think that this is the main point of the passage. First, I believe we are being taught that our God is the God of the impossible. Think for a moment of all that Jehovah God has done for you. We read stories such as this from the Old Testament and ask, "Why doesn't God do things like this today?" If you will stop and consider all that God has done for you and hear the testimony of others, you will realize that God is doing the impossible all around us every day. We serve an amazing and mighty God! Second, just as God increased the hours of this particular day, we need Him to increase our faith and patience. True genuine faith has no limits. What a brash thing it was for Joshua to ask God to let the sun stand still, but it shows us much about his faith. There is no doubt that our patience has limits as well, but how glad we are that God's patience is unlimited with us. If we want to be truly like God in our lives, then we must exercise patience like He has.
May you have all the light that you need for today!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Daily Light - February 17, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
Matthew 14:16

President Truman famously had a small plaque on his desk that said, "The buck stops here." This was a significant statement of recognizing and accepting responsibility for personal situations. We are very quick to "pass the buck" to other people and try to escape responsibilities. This behavior is often found in our spiritual lives as well, especially when it comes to helping others.
Jesus and the disciples had been ministering all day to those who were needy and hurting. You can almost picture Jesus looking on each and every soul with compassion as He touched them, healed them, and encouraged them. As the day turned to evening the disciples became concerned about the time and how this large group of people would return to find food at this late hour. They voiced their concerns to Jesus and received a response that they were not ready for: "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."
It seems that the thought had never entered into the minds of the disciples. They were ill prepared to feed such a crowd, and they didn't see it as their responsibility. So often in life we see the needs of individuals and say to ourselves, "Only if someone could help them." I believe that if we listen closely Jesus is speaking to our heart and saying, "Don' send them away. You do something about it." We like the disciples make excuses of why we can't instead of recognizing that through God's power we can. We often think that surely there is a government program that can handle that, but God didn't call the government to minister to people's needs, especially the spiritual. Maybe we say that there is a charitable organization that can help, but the Bible says that we are to have charity personally or we are nothing. Another answer that many have is that taking care of these people is the responsibility of the church, but we must realize that the church is not an organization. The church is God's people, and if you are one of His children then the responsibility is yours.
Let's quit sending people away and passing on our spiritual responsibility. Be like Christ and say that the need stops here.
May you accept your spiritual responsibility today!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Daily Light - February 16, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"But there was a spear in Saul's hand."
1 Samuel 18:10

David the shepherd boy has now become David the giant slayer and military hero. The entire nation is indebted to this young man with a great faith in God and a courage greater than the entire Israelite army combined. King Saul who sent the boy off to face the giant has grown sick of hearing about the young hero. To make matters worse for Saul, the imbalanced king could only be comforted by soothing music that was played by none other than the humble shepherd, David.
Jealousy and rage are often found deep within the soul. We only seem to notice it when it boils up to the surface. It is there that it becomes a frightful monster that is bent on destroying every one in its path, but it had a humble beginning somewhere in the heart. We understand this all too well, because we have seen it in others and if we are honest, we have felt it in our own hearts as well.
But, let us consider what to do when we become the targets of unjustified rage, jealousy, or anger. There was no reason for Saul to hate David; he had done him no harm. All that David did was accomplish the will of God for his life and for the nation of Israel. Now, he stands before Saul not as a mighty warrior but a humble servant bringing comfort to the king. With no provocation, Saul takes up a spear and throws it at David. His intent was not to harm David but to kill him, and David knew it. So, what did David do? He dodged the spear and kept playing. There was no retaliation in his spirit. The man who would be remembered by history as a mighty warrior seems to be a pacifist. David could have responded in fear for his life or even in arrogance of his position. Remember that David had already been secretly anointed to be the next king. He could have thrown that back in the face of Saul, but he chose simply to move out of the way of Saul's rage. If you study this passage, you will notice this same thing happened on multiple occasions.
In our lives there will always be people that throw spears at us. They will not look any thing like Saul's spear most likely, but they will most definitely be damaging and bring pain. These spears will more often than not be thrown by those you are trying to help. We will feel that is unjustified to be treated so, and we will have a desire to react in kind. Let us face the insults and accusations of others like David faced the spears of Saul. Move out of the way and never consider for a moment about picking up the spear and throwing it back. God knows your heart, and His opinion of your life is really what matters.
May you pray for those who desire to hurt you today!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Daily Light - February 15, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"The LORD said to him...put a mark on the foreheads of the men
who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it."
Ezekiel 9:4

What is your personal reaction to sin? Sin and transgression are always before our eyes in this fallen world, and there is instinctively a response that wells up within our soul. What is that response? We have become somewhat conditioned to certain sins to the point that we don't even think about it that much any more. There are other sins that we are completely repulsed by. It seems that there is a large gap in our spiritual reaction to sin and abomination that is committed before a holy God.
God gave Ezekiel a vision of how much God despises sin. God's judgment and wrath are waiting to be poured out on the vileness and corruption of man. If it were not for God's mercy, no man could stand before the Almighty. How can a holy God who is perfect in all His ways tolerate a people that commit such open and blasphemous transgressions? It is of His mercies that we are not consumed. We perfectly understand through the light of Scripture how God feels about sin, but how do we as the children of God feel about it?
There is no place for us to make excuses for sin; man has become very good at that. We are permissive of our own sins and tolerate it in the lives of others around us as well. Others want to spend their lives shouting people down because of their sin. They feel that they have a responsibility to tell every one that they are wrong and correct all of their mistakes. That is a very easy trap to fall into, because self-righteousness merges well with our sin of pride. According to our passage God does not call on us to make excuses for sin, tolerate sin, or blast others because of their sin. God is looking for a people who will come before Him and this world with a broken heart because of sin. Where is the church that is weeping over the transgressions of our society? Why are God's people not groaning within their hearts for the souls of those that are lost?
The body of Christ today does not need better methods or more tools to reach this world. It desperately needs a broken heart for the souls of men!
May you learn to have compassion and make a difference today!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Daily Light - February 14, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Trying to define the word "love" is almost impossible. There are so many different views of what true love is. Some seem to condense it down to an emotion; others define it as a purposeful decision. Love has been blamed for wars and strife; love has been described as eternal bliss. How do you take a subject with so much meaning and define it with words? It is impossible!
Love can only be defined by its actions. That is how the Apostle Paul chose to define love in this passage. Anyone can say that they have love, but the evidence of their words is in how they express it. Love must be real and tangible; it cannot be a vague sentiment expressed only in certain situations or on certain days. When we begin to love like God loves, our lives reflect it continually.
John told us in one of his epistles that God is love. He is the embodiment of the word, because it is His very nature. We know love better when we see God and know Him personally. There is a way to know God and His nature better by using our passage above. Before each sentence in this verse, place God's name there. "God suffers long; God is kind...God never fails." We often sing and speak of God's amazing love, but I do not think that we will know how true that is until we stand in His glorious presence face to face. We only have a partial understanding of Him now as if we are looking in a mirror dimly, but can you imagine the enlightening moment when we appear before Him in all of His glory?
It is now our responsibility to define God for others around us in this world. We must be the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and the love of God. We cannot love by words without actions, because it will simply ring hollow. We must show God to this world through our actions. Many have heard of love but few have truly seen it!
May you love like God today!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Daily Light - February 9, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us."
Hebrews 11:40

Here at the end of this great chapter of the Bible, we have to step back and see the big picture of God's work. What has God been doing through His children on this earth since the Garden and better yet than before time as we know it began? How does the faith of these Old Testament saints work together with our faith today to form what is perfect?
Unfortunately, we live by time and dates. We like to place every thing in a neat little package of circumstances and events. Many like to take the whole of the Word of God and separate it out into certain distinctions and dispensations. While we may see different things in particular time frames, the work of God is an all encompassing power that cannot be contained. Think of it this way and see if it sounds powerful to you. The faith of Abraham and Moses is not complete without your faith. That sounds strange doesn't it, but in some way that is what the Bible teaches.
There is a verse in the book of Ephesians that sums it up this way: "I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." Hebrews 11 is not simply a history of great men and women of God; it is part of our history. God's work in the life of men and women is a continuing work that will last through all of eternity.
There is an argument that often ensues about when the church began. I would contend that in the heart of God it always has been. Maybe it wasn't visible in the sense of a local church until after Pentecost, but who would dare say that these men and women of faith listed here are not part of that church with us? Noah, Isaac, and Rahab are as much of the body of Christ as any of us are. We are a family under the headship of God the Father by the promise of Jesus Christ the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why in the very next chapter we see a great cloud of witnesses that has gone before us. That is our family in heaven that have had their faith become sight. As a believer you are part of a rich, spiritual heritage and part of a body that is greater than you could ever imagine. Praise be to God for placing in His family and calling us by His own name!
May you walk by faith today and always!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daily Light - February 8, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith,
did not receive the promise..."
Hebrews 11:39

The report and testimony of these Old Testament saints are more than honorable. They are truly individuals that have stood through the trials and afflictions that challenge our faith. They lived their lives by faith, and they walked in obedience to the voice of God. They persevered through days where the doubts seemed to surpass the truth by multitudes. They did all of this without having ever seen what they were looking for.
Death came before any of them saw the fulfillment of the promised Messiah. The hundreds of times that they stood before the altar as a lamb was sacrificed was the only shadow that they saw of what was to come. They woke up wondering each day if that would be the day that God would come to personally deliver His people. Within their hearts and minds was a groaning for redemption and deliverance.
When Jesus appeared before the disciples the second time, He stood in front of the one we often call "Doubting" Thomas. Thomas had rejected the witness of his fellow disciples and claimed that he would only believe that Jesus had risen from the dead if he saw it for himself. Now, Jesus stood before him as the proof of resurrection. The Bible tells us that Thomas fell to his knees and proclaimed Jesus to be Lord. Jesus, however, makes an interesting statement to Thomas. He said, "Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Our faith has something in common with the faith of Enoch, Noah, Moses, Abraham, etc. We have not personally seen Jesus with our eyes or touched Him with our hands, but we believe. Like them we groan for the day of redemption and adoption to take place. We must continue to walk by faith with the knowledge the promise of Christ is real and all things are fulfilled just as He has said.
May you live looking for the promise today!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Daily Light - February 7, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Of whom the world was not worthy.
They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth."
Hebrews 11:38

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in a poem for The Lord of the Rings, "Not all those who wander are lost." How appropriate that quote is for this passage of Scripture. It makes you wonder if this passage was on the mind of Tolkien as he wrote that. These persecuted and tortured souls had no place in this world to lay their head, but they looked for a promise and a home that was not of this world.
The character of God's choice servants is most beautifully displayed in their days of suffering. It is there that you can see more clearly what they are on the inside. Just as gold must be tried in a furnace to be made more pure, so these children of God endure the crucible that tests their faith in the Almighty. Christ is alive in them, and they bear the mark of His cross on their lives. Therefore, this vile world is not worthy to have such men and women of godliness to abide in it. They are left as a remnant to preserve this world as salt from God's coming judgment and to shine as lights for the path that leads to everlasting life.
While the wicked take their ease and lie on beds of ivory in their palaces, these faithful children of the Most High live as animals in dens and caves. They seek rest for their bodies as they travel up and down the mountain pathways with their eyes fixed on their eternal home. There is no reason to build permanent structures for their shelter when God has provided them those places that are of good use for their temporary stay.
We would do well to follow the example of these dear brothers and sisters in Christ and not get so attached to the cares of this life. Our worries of comfort and convenience must be replaced with a desire to satisfy only the desires of our Lord. There is nothing in this world that will ever be of more value than the knowledge that the Father is pleased with us.
May you wander in the paths of God's grace today!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Daily Light - February 6, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword.
They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented..." Hebrews 11:37

This band of the faithful experienced all of the horrors that this world and hell could unleash on them. To read this passage is almost gut-wrenching, because you realize that these same afflictions face many in the world today. Why? It is simply because the name of Jesus is found on their lips and in their hearts. They believe that God is true no matter what the scoffers may think and say.
As each stone was hurled at these innocent victims, the air whispered the name of Jesus. The cry of those that had their bodies torn apart by the assailants of the enemy sounded like forgiveness and grace. No sword pierced into the bodies of these individuals deeper than God pierced their hearts and minds. In the midst of those who were persecuted yesterday and today, you can find what it is like to be in the presence of Jesus. Even in these moments of human desperation you will hear praise for Jehovah God and forgiveness for those who choose to reject Christ and persecute His followers.
These individuals clothed their naked bodies with whatever they could find. The real nakedness that was exposed was the lie of Satan and his followers. Their motives were to destroy the name of God, but they only brought greater attention and glory to that name. The sheepskins and goatskins were only a temporary covering. The true covering of these souls was the precious blood of Christ that could be seen only by the Father in Heaven. There is a day when they will stand robed in the brightness of God's righteousness before the throne of God.
How does one endure being destitute, afflicted, and tormented? They place their faith in the One who is peace and gives peace that is not of this world. Faith in God brings a hope that is sure that Christ will fulfill all that He has promised.
May you clothe yourself only in Christ today!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Daily Light - February 5, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings,
yes, and of chains and imprisonment."
Hebrews 11:36

The children of faith have often been led into places where they never thought they would be. Why should a child of God be subjected to cruelty and torture? What right does a "child of hell" have to imprison a join-heir of the promises of God? Don't we have our rights? The easy answer is "no".
A child of the Most High does not go around demanding his rights and fighting for his own will. He instead surrenders to the Father with a desire to be conformed to the image of His Son by being transformed through the renewing of the spiritual mind. The heroes of faith both of yesterday and today are joyful to be counted worthy to suffer for Christ. In our human mind this does not make sense, and that is why the mind must be transformed to be like Christ's.
Many over the years have endured trials that were a kangaroo court meant only to find them guilty of man's petty opinions. These trials resulted in their name being dragged through the mud, their families being ridiculed and ostracized, and their places of worship being torn to the ground. Many of these individuals have experienced incredible pain and suffering at the hand of their captors. With the civil government looking on, these torturers put these heroes through great pains and torment. If you were to ask each of them how they endured the mocking and scourging, they would each tell you that it is in that moment that they understood Christ even more.
What should those of us do that are now presently suffering in this way? We believe the truth of Christ as our brothers and sisters in chains do, but we live in a world where at this time we are not feeling the pain of their suffering. We cannot and must not sit idly by. There are many organizations like Voice of the Martyrs that give us an opportunity to get involved in some way. We can spend time in fasting and prayer for these brothers and sisters that we may never meet on this side of eternity. We can confront our own government about the atrocities that are committed abroad. There is much that can be done, and there is much that we must do. Proverbs 31:8 says, "Open your mouth for the speechless in the cause of all who are appointed to die."
May you speak up for the cause of Christ today!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Daily Light - February 4, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Women received their dead raised to life again.
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance,
that they might obtain a better resurrection."
Hebrews 11:35

Faith in God has its eyes always on what it cannot see through the will of the Father. There are times when deliverance does not seem to be an option, but we trust God that He will bring it about according to His will. Our human mind cannot fathom resurrection, yet we and all of creation groan for it as we wait for that day of adoption.
The Bible gives us multiple illustrations of those that received their dead raised to life again. The godly woman that took care of God's prophet rejoiced at the resurrection of her son. A widow who met Jesus during the funeral procession of her son experienced a joy unspeakable as her son was raised to live again. Mary and Martha stood in amazement as their brother who had been entombed for four days emerged from the tomb breathing new air. God is the giver of life, and in His will He gives healing and brings resurrection.
However, for every story that we recall where someone received their love one back from the grave, there are hundreds of stories of those who tasted only the bitter tears of grief. Their loved one did not rise again. Their bodies stayed locked away in that cold tomb. What is the hope that these individuals have? The writer of Hebrews tells us that they did not accept deliverance. The word "accept" literally means that they did not expect or look for resurrection in this life. The eyes of their faith were on something far better than breathing this earthly air again. They wanted for their loved ones and themselves to know the joy of breathing celestial air in the presence of God. They yearned in their spirit and their body to be absent from this body and present with the Lord.
These individuals agreed with Paul that the sufferings of this present world could not even compare to the glory that would be revealed to them when they stepped out of this life into the arms of the Almighty. If God should choose to leave them here in this world, they would rejoice and serve Him wholeheartedly. However, if God should choose to call them to enter into the joy of the Lord, they were most ready. How greatly we need to be prepared to live here in this world and the next!
May you desire only the will of the Father today!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Daily Light - February 3, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword,
out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle,
turned to flight the armies of the aliens."
Hebrews 11:34

It is amazing to read this list of events that happened to the children of God and recognize the spiritual warfare that has always taken place. Living a life for God is without any doubt not for the faint hearted. There are most definitely times that the enemy will come against you with all that he has.
We often forget to consider that what we are going through physically may very well be an attack on our lives spiritually. The book of Hebrews was of course written to the children of Israel who had then and has today a long history of being hated by other nations. Why would such a small and seemingly insignificant nation compared to the size of those around them be disdained so greatly? This has of course been the history of the Jews throughout the Old Testament until today. From the Babylonian Empire to the Roman Empire to Nazi Germany, the Jewish people have been the target of hatred and persecution. This has been true for mainly one reason and that is because God chose to put His name on them and call them His people. It is not so much that other nations hate Israel as much as it is that these nations hate the one, true God.
Now for several centuries we have seen a new group of people that have endured persecution, and that is the church of Jesus Christ. The body of Christ in the church has been the object of scorn, ridicule, and hatred all because it professes that Jesus Christ is Lord. There is no other name or subject as controversial as Jesus. Millions have faced the fire and the sword for their faith.
The astounding thing to consider when comparing the church of Christ and Israel is that in spite of the persecution that both have suffered they continue to be strong even today. The small nation of Israel still stands in spite of the opposition that they have faced for several millennia. The church of Jesus Christ and the living God seems to prosper more in the face of persecution than in any other place. It does not matter what Satan tries; God has set His mark on these chosen people, and He will have His victory.
May you endure until the end!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Daily Light - February 2, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness,
obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions..."
Hebrews 11:33

When you read this list of accomplishments, you cannot help but be amazed by the power on display. It captures the mind of the warrior within us to think of those who subdued kingdoms. How incredible is that? Can you imagine always being known in history as the person who was powerful enough to conquer a kingdom?
The thought of stopping the mouth of a lion is quite incredible as well. Samson tore a lion apart with his bare hands. Most of us have trouble opening a bottle or jar with our hands. David as a young shepherd caught a lion by the mane and killed it before it was able to kill his sheep. Not only is it incredible to think of their strength but to imagine the fortitude to tackle such an animal. These men and women were most definitely heroes of the faith.
However, if we look closely, we will recognize who the true "hero" is in each one of these stories. Ask yourself these questions realistically: Who can subdue a kingdom all by themselves? Who can kill a fierce lion with his bare hands? There are other accomplishments listed in this passage. Some worked righteousness. Others obtained promises. If we examine the Scriptures, we find that there is none of us that are righteous. So how can people without any righteousness work righteously? Can a man fulfill a promise from someone else by himself? Each one of these accomplishments needed the supernatural hand of God. It was God working in and through these individuals that allowed them to accomplish all that they did.
Daniel would be a great example of all four of these accomplishments. He as a captive rose to the highest position in the kingdom and therefore subdued it. He lived so righteously before others that they knew that he served his God continually. He was given the ability to interpret dreams and the opportunity to see many of these promises fulfilled in his lifetime. He spent all night with a group of hungry lions who could not do him any harm. In every one of these instances, it was God doing the work through Daniel.
The Bible uses a word "imputed" which means "put toward our account". God amazingly works in our lives and allows us to enjoy the benefit of His blessing. He shows Himself strong on our behalf, and we have the privilege of being identified as accomplishing great things. Truly, whatever we accomplish in this life should bring us to say, "To God be the glory; great things He has done."
May you return the glory of your accomplishments to the One who has worked in you today!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Daily Light - February 1, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"And what more shall I say?
For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah,
also of David and Samuel and the prophets..."
Hebrews 11:32

Have you ever read one of the "Who's Who?" lists? It is published to list college graduates, young professionals, etc. To be on this list is considered to be an honor, because those individuals are being recognized for their accomplishments. They have excelled in a certain area or accomplished certain things that make them special and set them apart from others in their field.
What you don't see in that list are the many failures that those same people have had in their lives? Such a list would not be sought out by as many people. This passage of Scripture is a list of the "Who's Who" of the faithful, and it does not take very long to see their failures. Gideon had trouble taking God at His word that he had been chosen to be the leader of the nation of Israel. Barak refused to go to war after being called to go by God unless a woman went with him (no offense, ladies). Samson let his lust deceive him into thinking that he could handle things without God's help. Jephthah was like a lot of us; he spoke first and thought second. David, a man after God's own heart, was at times in his life a prideful, adultering murderer. Samuel was caught up with appearance when he stood before Jesse's sons.
In spite of their failures, one by one God used each of them to accomplish something great for His glory. They had to see that really living for God was not all about them. Until they faced their failures and saw how much they needed God, they were not completely committed to the will of the Lord. Often we try to hide our shortcomings from people and make them see only the picture of ourselves that we want them to see. We need to remember that God chose to use the foolish things of this world to show His wisdom. The disciples were considered men of lesser education, but it was obvious that they had been with Jesus.
It is encouraging to know that God can use us in spite of our past. It is also thrilling to know that He is not looking for perfect people but people that will give Him their lives and follow by faith.
May you be on the "Who's Who" of faith list today!