Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Daily Light - September 27, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid;
and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
Matthew 13:44

What do you have that is valuable? Perhaps there is a family heirloom that has been passed down over time that holds some value. Maybe you saved your money to buy something that you always have wanted. Whatever it may be, those things that we consider valuable are also thought of as precious. It holds a value that others may not immediately recognize or understand.
Jesus' simple parable about the kingdom of heaven in this passage is incredibly profound. A man finds a treasure so valuable to him that he is willing to sell every thing that he has in order to attain it. All that he owns cannot compare to this treasure that he has found. Obviously others know that the fields exists, but they do not understand the value contained in it. They see it as just any other field, but he knows something that they do not.
One can think of God's kingdom that eternally exists through this passage. We are told in other places that the kingdom of God is within us. Those who are in relationship with Jesus Christ are not waiting for a future kingdom, but they are in reality living in that kingdom at this very moment. The impact of what they do in the kingdom life here on earth will have an impact on their kingdom life for all of eternity.
Jesus is continually calling on us to give all that we have for His sake so that we mighty truly enjoy all that He has prepared for us. Stubbornly we hold on to the things of this world as if they had a value beyond what Christ has offered. Many are paupers clinging tightly to their rags of the flesh while the King is offering to robe them in His righteousness. Jesus told the one that we call the rich young ruler to give every thing that he had to the poor then come follow Him. Unfortunately, the young man saw what he had for himself as more valuable than what Christ could do for him.
There is nothing in this life that will bring you full joy! No amount of money, ease, wealth, fame, or possessions will begin to compare with the joy unspeakable and continual peace that you receive from God. You have a treasure in Christ. Let nothing keep you from experiencing the pleasure of God.
May you see what is really valuable in your life today!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Daily Light - September 23, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
blessed be the name of the LORD."
Job 1:21

I usually do not make the Daily Light personal, but I have to share with you something that the Lord has shown me this past week. Some of you may know that this past weekend our home was burglarized. Any of you that have faced such an experience knows the feelings of vulnerability, anger and even fear that come with such an experience. Unfortunately we lost a good deal of cash and some of Susan's jewelry which had as much sentimental value as monetary.
The back story is what could have been and what God has shown me through it. The burglary took place on Saturday evening. Our family was spread out in different places that night. Susan and I had gone with some friends out to dinner. The girls were at the church teen activity, and the boys were playing at a friend's house. Dinner went a little longer than we thought, so some of our friends graciously took the kids home. Our oldest daughter takes care of the kids when we are gone out normally, so it was no big deal. When they got home, the friend that took them home was kind enough to wait until they were inside with the doors closed before he left. We came home just a little while later.
To make a long story short, when we realized our home had been burglarized we thought that there was a possibility that the thieves could have been in the house when the kids came home. At that point the stuff didn't matter no matter how valuable it was. We were so grateful that our children were okay and that nothing had happened to them. That night we went to the Lord and thanked Him and gave Him glory for protecting our family. We even claimed the above verse. We told God Almighty how good He was in spite of all that had happened!
As I lay in bed that night, I felt a burning question in my heart. A question that I do not like to even consider, but one I must ask. "What if your children had been harmed, would God still be good? Would you still bless His name?" I found myself in a great crisis of faith. The one part of me wanted to say yes, but those words would not come so easy. There in the darkness of my room I cried out to God with my heart that no matter what was ever taken from me that I would bless His name. Years ago we gave our children and all that we had to the Lord to do as He pleases. We have surrendered ourselves and all that we have to His will. I am grateful today that my family is well and safe, but I am even more grateful that they are in the hands of the Almighty.
May you be able to say this day, "Blessed be the name of the LORD!"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daily Light - September 21, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"And do not be drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."
Ephesians 5:18

This is a powerful passage of Scripture that goes well beyond dealing with the subject and issues surrounding alcoholism. Drunkenness is an analogy to demonstrate the idea of control. When an individual has become drunk on wine, they have given themselves over to the control of that substance. It affects their walk, their speech, and every other area of behavior.
The call here is for believers to come under the control and influence of the power of the Holy Spirit. The term "filled with the Spirit" could be also stated as "controlled by the Spirit". At the moment of salvation the Holy Spirit takes residence in the life of a believer, but that does not mean that we have each given Him control over our lives. We must learn to yield to the Spirit of God on a daily basis. A life that is yielded to the Spirit and therefore controlled by the Spirit shows forth the indelible marks of Christ in each area. When the Spirit is in control, we live out the will of God and reflect the Father's glory.
What does this practically mean in the context of the passage? Paul is encouraging the believers in Ephesus to walk in the light. Therefore, if they are controlled by the Spirit they will walk in the light and not walk in darkness. Sin will not have dominion over any area of their lives. One pastor recently said, "There has never been a husband or wife that are each controlled by the Spirit of God that has gotten a divorce." How far can we carry that? Would it be safe to say the following as well: There has never been a man that is controlled by the Spirit of God that has committed adultery? There has never been a teenager that is controlled by the Spirit of God that has rebelled against their parents? There has never been a woman that is controlled by the Spirit of God that has allowed her tongue to become a tool of gossip and slander?
How much we need men and women in the church today to be filled with the Spirit of God and yielded to His control! The world desperately needs to see light in a dark world, and the children of God have within them that light from Jesus Christ. Let us not be controlled by the foolish and beggarly elements of this world. Let us instead yield ourselves to the power of the Almighty through His Spirit.
May you be filled with the Spirit today!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Daily Light - September 15, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Be opened."
Mark 7:34

Simple words for such a complex problem. Here is a man that is deaf and mute. He has been in this condition for some time. The world that he knows is silence. The joy of hearing a child's laughter is foreign to him. He had never experienced the soothing sounds of the birds singing on a spring morning. He lived in a world where every thing buzzed around him and his inability to communicate was so incredibly frustrating.
For him there was no cure. This would be his reality for the rest of his life. There would always be limits to what he could and could not do. On a certain day however some friends took him by the hand and motioned to him that they were taking him to see someone. Perhaps they talked of Jesus on the way and recalled all that He had done for others, but the deaf-mute heard none of it. He was simply on the journey. One thing that he had learned in his affliction was how to use his other senses well. It was not long before he looked up and saw the face of Jesus. His eyes immediately told Him that this man was different. There was kindness, compassion, and mercy in the eyes of Jesus. The deaf-mute had never seen such glory.
It was then that Jesus put His fingers in the ears of the man and then He spat and reached to touch the tongue of the man. With that came the two simple words that would be the first that this man would ever hear, "Be opened." It was with astonishment that the sound of the streets, the gasps of his neighbors, and the laughter of Jesus filled his ears. He could hear! In response to this miracle of the healing of his deaf ears he began to cry out for joy. What was this? For the first time he along with his friends heard his voice. The words of the psalmist were being fulfilled: "Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord!"
In our own lives we have complex problems. Our conditions range from the physical to the emotional, mental, spiritual, etc. We have not known what joys there are because of what afflicts us. It is when we recognize these things that we must come to Jesus. Those areas that are closed off from hope and joy can be immediately opened by the power of a simple word from Jesus. There is no obstacle or difficulty that is beyond His touch or that can resist His word.
May your life "be opened" by the Divine Healer today!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Daily Light - September 14, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"A disciple is not above his teacher,
but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher."
Luke 6:40

So many individuals get discouraged in their Christian walk because they do not feel like they "measure up". The feeling of inadequacy can be as discouraging as having failed numerous times. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to meet the expectations of others or even expectations that we set for ourselves that may not be reasonable. When we don't meet those expectations, we often give up on trying to do what we know we need to do altogether.
Jesus desires greatly that His disciples live up to a standard of righteousness that exceeds those made by man. He wants the best for us, and He also expects the best from us. This great expectation is only matched by the training that we receive from Him. He is our Master Teacher, and all that He teaches us is needed and perfect. A good teacher always has the hope that their students will not only learn the facts but know how to apply those facts to their lives. The teacher also has the desire that students will surpass even them in their field. Obviously, there is not one of us that will exceed Christ and His righteousness. In these earthen vessels of humanity we will continually struggle with the flesh, but that is no excuse to say that we cannot succeed and live like Christ.
Jesus famously implores us in Matthew 11, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me." He is offering Himself as not only the Teacher but the example of how we should walk each day. This is why John the beloved disciple says, "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." We are to follow in His steps and learn what it means to live and abide in Christ. This path has areas of learning all along the way, and we are blessed to have the guide of Scripture to be a lamp to our feet and a light on the path. Paul told Timothy that the Scriptures were given to us by God so that we would be thoroughly equipped for the work to which we have been called. Also, Jesus told the disciples that not only do we learn from Him but He has given the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.
How awesome it is to know that Christ is personally interested in the success of my Christian walk, and He is taking charge of instructing me in the way that I should go!
May you walk after the example of the Teacher today!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Daily Light - September 13, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"And everyone who was in distress, everyone who was in debt,
and everyone who was discontented gathered to him."
1 Samuel 22:2

The greatest challenge of leadership is that you don't get to choose your followers. Imagine being in one of the most difficult days of your life. You know that God has anointed you to be a leader for His sake, but at this moment you are trying to simply stay alive. Perhaps you misunderstood God's direction. You thought that He had anointed you to do great things, but simply surviving is not what you think you were called to.
David sat alone in a cave with all of these thoughts racing through his mind as he paused to catch his breath from running for the last 24 hours. Suddenly, there is a sound at the mouth of the cave. Have they found him? Is he trapped? Someone calls his name, and he nervously answers. For the next several hours there are many more men that come to him looking for leadership. All is well now and he has an army, right? Well, not so fast. Look at the description of this group: a whole host of men who are stressed out, in debt up to their eyeballs, and angry with the government. Who wouldn't want to be the leader of this group?
Leadership is not about having a perfect group of people to lead. So many times leaders are looking for people that have a certain skill set, just the right amount of charisma, and a positive attitude. They want individuals that are creative thinkers with the financial backing to accomplish their dreams. What do you do however if the crowd behind you waiting for your orders and watching your example has none of these abilities? You do what every godly leader does. You follow Christ and demonstrate that to others.
A godly leader demonstrates love in such a way that people learn how to love like Christ. A godly leader lives by principles that are contained within the Word of God so that others turn to the Word for themselves. A godly leader walks by faith daily so that those watching him have a desire to pick up their cross daily and follow Jesus. No one can be a great leader of others until they have learned to be a great follower of Christ
May you follow Christ closely so that you might lead today!