Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Daily Light - October 11, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Woe to you who are at ease in Zion!"
Amos 6:1

There is not a one of us that does not like to get comfortable every once in a while. For some there is nothing quite like laying in a hammock suspended by two palm trees while listening to the ocean waves crashing on the beach. Maybe others would describe comfortable as a warm bed on cold, rainy day. Whatever comfortable may sound like to us, we all enjoy it from time to time.
Comfortable however can be quite dangerous when it comes to our spiritual lives. When we get too comfortable, we tend to lose focus. The ease of our situation lulls us into a place where we don't look for any thing to challenge us. We settle for what we like or just simply what we know. It is even possible to get comfortable in a bad situation, because that is all that we know.
A highly respected man of God spoke of this subject and referred to how God's people can get so comfortable with their lukewarmness that they don't notice the tragedy that is going on around them. He spoke of how that even within the church we can excuse sin, hypocrisy, and lies because we are afraid that if we confront these things it will take us out of our comfort zone. The danger of ignoring this tragedy can be catastrophic, because we are sacrificing our relationship with God for our own comfort. This pastor said, "When these things happen, we have come near or crossed a line into a spiritual stupor that no amount of divine mercy can awaken."
It would do us well to follow the example of David and ask God to search us and know our hearts, to try us and know our thoughts, and reveal any thing contrary to His nature. Those things to which He is opposed that we have become comfortable in must be removed if we plan to move forward for His purpose.
May you allow God to move you outside of your comfort zone today!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Daily Light - October 5, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13

We live in a world full of "I can't" people. The number one excuse for why people do not do certain things is "I can't". We are so focused on our perceived limitations that we have let those views creep into our spiritual life. Granted, there are certain physical impossibilities in the natural man. Man has come to the conclusion that he cannot fly completely unassisted. The tragic results of gravity combined with the limitations of the human anatomy have taught us this. There are, however, many things that we say are physically impossible that are only impossible to us because we cannot fathom it. What if you were asked to run approximately 3,000 miles in 75 days? Impossible, right? Recently, a man named Dean Karanzes did just that. He ran from California to New York in 75 days! That is a mind-blowing feat, but here is the real question: Is it impossible? Obviously not.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Mary to tell her she would have a child, she said that it was impossible. She was a virgin, so there was no physical way possible for it to be so. What was the angel's response to her? With what I like to think was a smile on his face because he knew the power of the Almighty, he replied, "For with God nothing will be impossible." Each of us has different doubts about what we can do for God. Some of us cannot even understand His grace being so great that it would save our sinful souls. We, of course, are unworthy of this grace but through His love Christ has made us worthy. Others cannot imagine that God would use us to be a witness of His light to shine into the lives of others. Then, we are reminded that He has chosen to use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. There are those who cannot fathom that God would give them the ability and the privilege to minister in His name. However, we all along with the Apostle Paul recognize and "thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled [us], because He counted [us] faithful, putting [us] into the ministry.
It is true that when the possibilities within us come to an end, God's ability to do the impossible begins. When we allow the thought of impossibility to enter our mind, we doubt the power of Christ who strengthens us. He sees the impossible for us and joys in the fact that He can accomplish it through us.
May you do through Christ what you see as impossible today!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Daily Light - October 4, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Lord, do not charge them with this sin."
Acts 7:60

Dying words say much about the person who is speaking those words. The life, love, and character of Stephen are on full display as the rocks pile up around him. He is hated for doing nothing more than preaching the message of repentance and the love of Christ to a group of people that desperately needed to hear it. The description of unjust murder would certainly fit this scene. It would seem more appropriate for Stephen's last words to be "Why? Why?"
Instead, we see him model the very One that he openly proclaimed: Jesus. As Jesus hung on the cross after suffering from the cruelty of those who indicted Him and those who mercilessly beat Him, He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." It would seem clear that the greatest gift that we could ever give to others is forgiveness. It is also true that we are never more like Jesus than when we exercise this blessed gift of forgiveness.
It is true that for most of us it is not a natural impulse. The natural man within each of us wants vengeance. We live with a "how dare you" chip on our shoulder. We don't deserve to be treated the way we were treated, and those that have hurt us so greatly deserve to face the full justice of their transgression. We have turned Jesus' words of turning the other cheek into a byline or a joke, but Jesus was serious. He proved that on the cross of Calvary. Now, one of His closest followers is modeling it for us again.
Think about the stones that were piling up around Stephen. They were thrown by those who shouted insults. Their faces were gnarled with hate and disdain for Stephen and his faith. This was not a group of people looking for forgiveness; they were looking to kill with no remorse at all for their actions. Much of the confusion of forgiveness comes to the fact that so many have been taught that they can only forgive when the person who committed the offense seeks forgiveness. It is just the opposite that is true. A disciple of Christ learns to forgive far before the forgiveness is sought. A disciple is to carry no records of wrong done against them. Jesus taught that the forgiveness we receive is directly linked to the forgiveness that we give. If there is forgiveness that you need to give to someone, don't delay in freely giving it today. It may not feel natural, because it is not. It is super-natural.
May you breathe words of forgiveness today!