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Archive for the category “Out of the Darkness”

A Fly In The Eye From The Rooftop

The title of the sermon was called “God Already Knows.”  Of course we all think well of course he does because he is God.  Yet we sometimes pray like God doesn’t know anything and we have to explain everything to him.  There was a story that happened to him that week that he was almost hesitant to tell us.  He was thinking that it was kind of gross and he let us know that he may or may not include it.  The sermon went on and the point kept coming back to however big or small our problems God already knows.  To add to that it was stated that not only does he know the problem he already has the solution.  Jesus instructed in the book of Matthew to not say vain Religious prayers repeating the same things over and over.  In Matthew 6:8 he states that “Our Father knows what we have need of before we ask him.

The sermon was concluding and my pastor had been waiting for the spirit to tell him whether to include the story.  The answer that he got was yes so he proceeded.  This past week he was riding his bike with his son.  He often rides his bike as a way of exercise and the fact that he just enjoys the process.  Suddenly without warning  he felt a sharp pain in his right eye.  Right away he knew what happened.  A fly had literally flew into his right eye.  Not only was there the initial pain but the fly was trying to get out but was trapped behind his eye.  They were not far from the church so they stopped there and he flooded his eye with water from the sink sprayer.  He tried repeatedly to wash the fly out but to no avail.  He was tempted to go to the emergency room but he felt that God had the answer.  He prayed “Lord, I don’t know why this has happened but I believe that it will work out for my good.”  He quoted Romans 8:28 which states that all things work for our good if we love him.  It took a couple of hours of waiting but suddenly little pieces of the dead fly began to come out of his eye. 

Finally all of the fly was gone but there was another problem and potential fear.  First of all his eye was swelled up like someone had punched him.  Secondly there was a thought that some damage to his eye had been caused.  Again he went into prayer.  “Lord”, he said “I ask you to take this swelling down and make this eye just like it was.”  A couple of days later all of the swelling was gone and his eye was perfectly normal.  I was glad that he told us this story.  It illustrated the point that God knows and he already has the solution to our problems.  Most of us would probably had gone to the Emergency Room and tried to solve our problem that way.  We might not even think about praying and trusting God.  I don’t know what the purpose of this happening to him was.  However I can tell you that it made a big impact on the congregation when he was able to give God the glory over his recent trial.  God looks down almost as if he were on a rooftop and see’s our needs!

This eye thing was kind of a big problem.  God is interested in our big problems and our smaller ones too.  Sometimes we might think that God is too busy to care about the smaller things and that we should only pray for bigger problems.  The fact is that God is interested in our whole lives, the little as well as the big.  The roof on our house was 25 years old.  It had not given us significant trouble but it was time for a new roof.  This spring I started exploring what the price of a roof would cost.  Naturally this was not a job that would be cheap.  Besides that we needed someone who would do a good job.  I made some phone calls and mostly got answering machines.  After leaving a few messages that morning I took my son out for lunch.  We stopped at a place called Taco Bob’s and as we were done ordering and had sat down Adam from our church walked in.  We were surprised to see him and quickly let him know that we were there.  He happened to be doing work in that area that day and was glad to sit down and eat lunch with us.  I asked him if he knew anyone that he would recommend doing my roof?  I told him I had been calling around this morning.  He said he had the perfect guy for us that did great work!Image result for rooftop worker picture

I ended up hiring this guy after I had gotten another quote from a bigger company that was far more expensive.  The guy did a fine job and even replaced face boards on our house that were rotting.   I was so happy with his work that I have been telling others  I took a picture of my new roof and let people see the before and the after.  It is truly an amazing difference!  Now I know that my situation wasn’t of the fly in the eye variety but it was important to me.  God truly wants to be a part of our lives whether it is a little thing or a big thing or nothing at all.

I was talking to Adam at church the other day.  I showed him the picture and told him how great of a job his friend did!  “You know”, Adam said “I never go there.  I just happened to be working in that area on that day.”  Could it be that he was placed there for my benefit without even knowing it?  Could it be that God had the answer to my problem before I asked?  When God blesses us we are to shout it from the rooftops.  In my case I haven’t been literally climbing up on the roof to do so but seeing the new roof every day reminds me of how much he loves us!

Matthew 10:27 (NAS) “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.
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Planted By The River

There are many mysteries in the Bible and one that comes to mind is found in Mark 8:21-26.

Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into[a] the village.”

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The question is Why didn’t Jesus heal the man right away or did he?  One of the answers that is interpreted is that he was healed gradually basically for his own good.  It was like going from total darkness to the bright sunlight.  Many times it is compared to salvation and how God let’s a little light in to draw sinners to the righteous path.  When they see some light he reveals more light as they seek him.

The other interpretation that I heard recently was that perhaps the man was given a vision in the spiritual realm.  We see things in the natural with our natural eyes but behind the scenes there is a spiritual world.  It’s like our computer system at work.  We are operating on what we see on our monitor.  Behind the scenes things are happening inside that computer that we don’t see.  Sometimes we concentrate so much on what we are seeing that we forget that there is the unseen world.  It’s only when things go awry with our computer that an expert has to manipulate things behind the scenes to make what we see go back to normal.

It is interesting that the man saw figures like trees but they were walking around.  We aren’t told how he lost his sight but he obviously could see at some earlier part of his life because he knew what trees looked like.  The Bible talks about trees many times and how we are like trees.

Jeremiah 17:5-8 New International Version (NIV)

This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
    who draws strength from mere flesh
    and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
    they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
    in a salt land where no one lives.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

Image result for picture of a tree by the water

We all know that to live trees need water and sunlight.  The sunlight part is usually the easy one.  Very rarely will a tree die from lack of the sun.  What could kill a tree is if it isn’t planted in the right place and is unable to be deep rooted/  Deep rooted trees can extracts water from the ground that it needs to live.  Ideally  a tree with deep roots that is planted by the water has everything it needs.  The verse mentions that these trees never fear the heat.  It’s leaves are always green.  Why?  Because it is drawing water from the water of life.  It also mentions that it has no worries in a year of drought.  Why?  Because the weather may be dry on the outside, but there is living water that it draws from!  It never fails to bear fruit.  Why?  Because the tree is lacking nothing.  It is operating as normal in good times and in bad because it is connected to that living water.  Like the computer example it is operating well behind the scenes.

Growing up we had a big tree in our front yard.  To this day that tree is there living a healthy life.  It is much bigger than it was back then and it was big then.  The reason I know it is even bigger is because we used to climb it as kids.  There was one branch maybe 5 or 6 feet off of the ground that we would jump up and grab and start our climb.  I know the tree is bigger because that branch is now about 12 feet off of the ground.  There is no way even now that I could i get started climbing that tree.  My sister and I would climb that tree all of the time.  Now kids are probably discouraged from climbing trees. This was before the video game rage.  Back then kid had to entertain themselves.  It never entered our minds the danger that was there.  That tree provided enormous pleasure and a lasting good memory of growing up.  One famous picture that we looked at for years was taken by my mom of the tree with both of us in it.  We were way up in the tree and that picture became a find the kids in the tree game.

That tree was definitely in the right place for us.  It was far enough away from the house where it could grow long roots to extract water deep in the ground.  Unlike our tree there are some trees that grow wild.  We have had many experiences around our house of trees that just start sprouting up.  It is important to keep these wild growing trees under control or they could cause damage to the house.  Trees can be a great benefit if they are planted in the right places for the health of the trees and the enjoyment they can provide.

I was reading about the benefit of trees.  Here are eight reasons we need well planted trees.

!.  Trees cool down neighborhoods

2. Trees fight air pollution

3. Trees and greenery may boost lifespan

4. Trees ease depression and stress

5. Tree loss hurts health

6. Trees reduce Asthma’s toll

7. Trees support better sleep

8. Trees offer heat stroke protection

When the blind man first got his sight could it be that he saw people the way God does in the spiritual realm?  Like a tree we need water to survive.  In the spiritual world that water is the Holy Spirit.  By being deeply rooted and well planted in him we get all of the nourishment we need.  Just like the trees when we are deeply rooted in the Holy Spirit there are benefits for our neighbors and people we come in contact with.  Our presence can cool down situations, fight evil ways of thinking,  help to give depression and stress relief,  give our neighbors peace of mind and help them see things in a different light.  The most important thing we can do is show them the reason for our health and hope.  We can show them how they too can be like trees planted by the water of love, strength, health, and happiness!

Image result for kids climbing a tree picture

Houston, We Have A Problem

“Houston, We have a problem” was originally uttered by Jack Swigert, an American astronaut, after he turned a switch on a routine procedure only to hear an explosion throughout the module.  On April 11, 1970 Apollo 13 launched.  It’s mission was to be the third time that men would land on the moon.  Interest in this particular mission waned as most thought it would be boring.  After all we’ve done this before and it was getting to be a routine after 2 successful trips.  All of that changed with one flick of a switch.

Jack Swigert.jpg

Originally Swigert wasn’t supposed to be on the mission at all.  He was a back up until Ken Mattingly was hurriedly replaced after he was unwittingly exposed to the German Measles.  Now seemingly something awful had gone wrong and Swigert was blaming himself that somehow he didn’t do the procedure right.  Mission Control was in a scramble as their controls were showing that the command modular was losing power.  They would have to act fast as not only the original mission was in danger but the lives of the three astronauts were suddenly at risk.  After putting their heads together Miission Control was guided by one of their top officers.  He persuaded the commander that instead of trying to land on the moon they needed to bring the astronauts home safely. The decision was based on the fact that they were losing oxygen and they had a limited amount of time before it would run out.

Everything was up in the air as they were making their decision of what to do next.  Meanwhile the interest on the ground was at a high level.  What had been originally thought of as a boring mission was now on the front pages.  It was decided that the original module would be discarded and the backup ship the undamaged Aquarius would be used even though it was only supposed to navigate the moon.  They would power it up as a lifeboat to get them home. Through the whole movie problems came up.  They had to power down all unnecessary conveniences so that they could have some power left.  That included the heating and they ended up in a very very cold place.  Through it all they solved problems.  One time the original ship was losing all kinds of oxygen.  Mission control had to simulate their situation.  Ken Mattingly who did not end up with the measles was called in.  He got in the simulator ship which was an exact model of what the astronauts were in.  The mission was to make something out of their supplies that they had to plug up the hole where oxygen was escaping.  Brilliantly they were able to do it on the ground and translate the information to the astronauts so they could make a similar piece.

Image result for apollo 13 movie pictures

All of the problems faced created an interesting and thrilling story.  When I watched the movie for the first time I tried to remember if things worked out.  Because it was based on the true story I knew they couldn’t wander too far from the truth.  I remembered one mission where they got killed at takeoff but obviously this wasn’t it. This particular mission did not stand out in my brain.  However I had a feeling that everything might turn out alright..  Of course I found myself cheering inside as problems that could have killed them all were conquered.  It was a story of guidance, love, and the spirit to survive.

Isn’t that the same spirit that we have as we live our lives on this earth?  There are going to be problems and we have to get through them.  The good news is that we can have communications with the Master of the Universe!  He knows how to get us through our problems and bring us home in victory!

At the end there was one final test.  Would the ship survive re-entry into earths atmosphere?  They always talked about the angle that the ship had to come in. The angle was a little off and it was feared that it could burn up.  That fear was kept from the astronauts because there was nothing they could do about it anyway.  They had it timed that once they lost communications they should gain it back in like 2 minutes.  If they didn’t hear from them by then the chances they wouldn’t increased.  Two minutes came and went and Mission Control was a somber place. They kept trying to communicate but no words were coming back.  There was fear all around as the time went over 3 minutes and ticking.  When everything seemed lost the static in the radio started to clear. “Houston, This is Aquarius”, Tom Hanks the actor said as he brilliantly portrayed Jim Lovell the astronaut.  Cheers rang up in Mission Control and all over the country!

Image result for apollo 13 astronauts getting rescued

I have watched this movie many times.  It is one that when I see it is on I get involved with again.  Each time it brings tears to my eyes as I see their struggles and ultimate victory!  I don’t think I would be so apt to watch it if it ended in disaster.  Since it is such a good ending I am always rapped up in seeing it again.  That is how it is with your life and mine.  We are going to have problems while we are here but rest assured God is bigger than our problems.  We can be comforted to know that our story will have a happy ending.  We can go through our problems knowing that they will come to pass and that we will make it through our fiery tests.  Are you going through trials and tribulations right now?  Remember that this is what is making your story interesting.  The saying goes “Without a test there is no testimony!”  Be joyous in your tests knowing that everything turns out all right.  How do we know?   We know because we have been told the glorious ending of our movie!

Image result for apollo 13 astronauts getting rescued

 

Thinking With Your Heart

When I was in Elementary School we had a gym teacher named Mrs. Remynse.  Each year one of the things that we needed for school was a pair of tennis shoes.  We would hang our tennis shoes on the bar that supported our seat on our desk.  It was with great pleasure that we put those  shoes on when we were told to do so before going to Mrs Remynse’s class.  I don’t remember anyone not liking gym class.  It was a time to get out of our seats and move around.  Mrs. Remynse was a short Indian lady with a strong accent.  She had many fun games for us to participate in but first we had to do our exercises.  Most of the time she had this record that she played and we did our exercises by what the record said.  I remember the record had a catchy tune with lyrics for pushups, sit ups, and other things.  This is a small part of the old lyrics.  If you are my age you might remember the song.  It is part of President Kennedy’s physical education program that he felt was so important for our youth.

“School Version”

Touch down
Every morning
Ten times!
Not just
Now and then.
Give that chicken fat
Back to the chicken,
And don’t be chicken again.
No, don’t be chicken again.

Push up
Every morning
Ten times.
Push up
Starting low.
Once more on the rise.
Nuts to the flabby guys!
Go, you chicken fat, go away!
Go, you chicken fat, go!

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Sometimes Mrs. Remynse wouldn’t play the record.  Instead she would line us up in a circle and do a game called “Do as I do.”  This game had us all take turns going into the middle of the circle.  There we were supposed to do an exercise and everyone making up the circle was supposed to do the same thing.  One kid might jump on one foot, another might do pushups, another might swing their legs awkwardly.  Whatever the middle person did we all had to do the same.  Being kids 7 or 8 years old there was always someone who hadn’t made up their mind what to do.  When entering the circle they might put their finger on their tooth as they contemplated what exercise to perform.  The kids making up the circle would invariably put their fingers on their tooth to  jokingly do exactly what the leader was doing.

From an early age we learn how to do things by copying other people.  Skills in the physical world are passed down from generation to generation.  Think about all of the things you can do now and things you don’t even think about the beginnings of.  Do you remember first learning how to tie your shoes?  Think about learning to walk or ride a bike.  Every day in life we are repeating things that we were showed how to do.  We learned that by doing exactly what someone else was doing we could acquire the exact skill that they have.  All of these new skills are brain things.  We finally succeed in doing them and we remember what we did.  We remember what our instructors (usually our parents or teacher) did as they were teaching us and try to copy them.  From our earliest memories we have continuously learned skills through demonstration. Think about learning to talk.  There is a continuous growth from words that we hear and  remember.  Then we learn what the words mean.  Finally we remember the words, their meaning, and how to form the words with our mouth.

Years ago a new bracelet came out.  A youth group leader at Calvary Reformed Church came up with the WWJD bracelet to help her group remember the phrase.  The movement spread and the bracelets became popular to wear.  With that bracelet on people might watch their actions.  Instead of just doing something because they wanted to it was now put to the question “What would Jesus do?”  It is an interesting question but it is the wrong question and here is why.  The disciples who lived with Jesus every day and observed everything that he did were told a truth by him one day.  In John 16:7 he said..Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  You see while Jesus was on this earth in human body form he could only be in one place at a  time.  With the Holy Spirit we can all have him in our hearts. 

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The What Would Jesus Do bracelet sends the message that we are to think about what Jesus would do in a situation and make our decision accordingly.  The truth is we don’t have to think of what Jesus would do.  It is already in our hearts if we have been born again.  As a result of us accepting him as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes in and lives in our being.  He discerns what is right or wrong in our heart.  If we listen to his small voice he will lead us through the spirit.  It is no longer a brain thing.  Many times we do not go down the road that gets us into trouble.  We do not have to think about what Jesus would do in given situations.  One thing that Jesus always did however was to never do anything without an agreement in his spirit.  He was always led by the spirit in everything he did.  Like us he was in a human body.  That body had hurts and temptations just like ours does.  For instance Jesus had a struggle with going to the cross.  He knew that was the reason he was here but when it came time he struggled with completing the mission.  He overcame by relying on the spirit that was within him.  That is what we must do as Christians.  We need to get out of that thinking with our brain in spiritual things.  God may call you to do something that makes no sense in our traditional way of thinking.  The Bible asks us Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? I Corinthians 1:20.

At an early age we learned to do as I do.   Unlike the exercises we used to do as kids we are all not supposed to do the same thing.  The spirit might be telling you to do something completely different than me.  God uses what we have to offer for his glory.  When we are led by the spirit we take our hands off the the wheel and let him drive.  We do that by not thinking with our brain but thinking with our heart.  Thinking with our heart works because we are led by the spirit in all things.  It is time everywhere for Christians to walk in the spirit and obey his voice in all things.  If you want to know what Jesus would do that is it!

#2 Dane’s Pain and Gain

This is a story about Dane.  Dane grew up in my neighborhood and had a very different experience after high school than most of the rest of us.

https://lightenload.wordpress.com/2018/05/27/danes-pain-and-gain/

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#4 In The Silence

In the silence is when we hear from God.  Read about the astronaut who was truly in the silence!

https://lightenload.wordpress.com/2018/11/11/in-the-silence/

#9 Peace In The Storm

It’s nice to know that the storm is here to strengthen us!  https://lightenload.wordpress.com/2018/06/07/peace-in-the-storm/

https://i1.wp.com/mypages.iit.edu/~ahutches/images/thunderstorm.jpg

Days Of The Living Dead

In 1978 I got a call from my sister.  Apparently my cousin had two tickets she wasn’t going to use for a movie called Dawn Of The Dead.  My girlfriend and future wife ended up going to the movie which proved to be a chilling experience.  This was actually a continuation of a story that was written in 1968 called Night Of The Living Dead.  Anyway they are both movies about dead people coming back to life and becoming flesh eating Zombies.  Apparently the only way these Zombies could keep living was to eat living people or to put it simply people who were not Zombies.  Of course these Zombies were hard to kill probably because they were already dead.  They moved around slowly in a very deliberate and snail like zombie walk shuffling in a forward path.  They had no purpose except to find people who were alive and eat them.

Painted theatrical release that includes various credits, an ominous zombie looking over the horizon, and the words "Dawn of the Dead" in military print below.

These movies were stories of surviving created by George A. Romero.  The first one Night Of The Living Dead followed living people taking refuge in an old farmhouse trying to stay safe from the blood thirsty Zombies that had caused panic throughout the nation.  The one we saw Dawn Of The Dead had the same theme except we followed people who took refuge in a mall that had been abandoned probably because of the Zombie dilemma.  So we are placed in the middle of the Zombie invasion.  We don’t really know why it is happening we just see the results.  There is plenty of time to speculate as we are taking refuge in these buildings.  Let’s make no mistake about it.  When watching these movies we become the living characters in the movie.  What would we do in these situations they find themselves in?  This is the intended feeling that Romero wants to portray.  This is why they are called horror films.  They don’t really have to make sense.  There is really no explanation needed for why the Zombies exist.  Although there is a lot of speculation the fact is they are there and they are threatening our lives and our survival.

Dawn of the Dead original VHS box cover art.

In each of the films the Zombie invasion is a growing enemy.  You see when the Zombie bites a living person that person eventually dies and in a little while becomes one of the Zombies.  I’m not really sure how long it takes.  We see people getting attacked by Zombies and later those same people are Zombies themselves.  So obviously it is a growing problem.  If the Zombie invasion was a few random Zombies they could be destroyed and the movie would end.  However with this growing problem it is almost hard to keep track of if we saw a person die first before they became a Zombie.

It’s interesting to analyze the characteristics of the Zombies in each of the first two movies.  The Zombies have no purpose other than to eat living people.  They move slowly but are able to keep moving and never tire out.  They are devoid of any real personality although they can think.  They can keep going even after being gravely injured as long as their brain remains intact.  They never quit in their pursuit of the living.  They have learning experiences similar to that of a toddler.  They only show emotions after a long period of experience and training.  The other thing about Zombies in the first two movies was that they feared fire.  It was never really explained why they feared the flame but it was a way to make them retreat.  Most of all they could only live at the expense of others.  By tearing living people down they got stronger as they destroyed the living and converted them into Zombies like them.  The movie ends with the two main living characters escaping in a partially fueled helicopter to an uncertain future.

George A. Romero

Did you know that most people in the world today are Zombies?  Oh you might think I have jumped off the deep end but let me explain.  Of course we don’t see them moving in the Zombie walk physically but what about spiritually?  John 10:10 states (and this is Jesus talking) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I John 5:12 tells us Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  Jesus said in John 7:37 “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2 verses 1-10 states  As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

So what can we learn from the Bible verses above?  We see that Jesus is the giver of life and apart from him we are dead.  We see that if we drink of the living water (Jesus) we will thirst no more.  That thirst he is talking about is something in every person.  It is a desire to have purpose in life and a reason to exist.  Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  John 18:12.  John 3:19 tells us that “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  The same is true today.  Like the Zombies fear of fire many don’t want anything to do with the light of the world that Jesus is.  They would rather reject the light and walk in darkness.  Instead of living in the darkness there is a way to escape.  Unlike the helicopter escape the characters in the movie did this escape instantly transforms us from dead to living.  This escape gives us peace and takes us to a certain future.  That future is eventually a heavenly home full of love!

If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior you are literally spiritually dead.  You are walking around with no deep purpose in life.   If you would be honest you would admit that you are totally empty.  You would admit that spiritually you are dead and are a walking Zombie.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Jesus came to give life and give it more abundantly.  Accept him into your heart today with this simple prayer.

Lord Jesus, Come into my heart and save me.  Forgive me of my sins and be my Lord and Savior.   Amen  It’s a simple prayer but if you are sincere he will come into your being and give you life and purpose!  Your escape from a dead meaningless life will be propelled by the God of the Universe who has the power to set you free and give you victory and peace forever and ever!

Peace In The Storm

We’ve all been through big storms.  The rain comes down hard, the thunder is loud and darkness is all around.  The sun is nowhere to be found and the only light that we see is periodic lightening brightening the sky.  If the electricity is still working we hear news of thunderstorm or tornado warnings.  We may be directed to enter a safe place in our home until the system passes us by.  All of these factors can be very alarming.  Yet I have been through numerous storm warnings in my life and I am sure you have too.  The best way to get through the storms is to get to a safe place, and stay there until the storm passes.  The main thing we must remember is to stay calm because then we can think straight.  We won’t panic and make decisions based on our panic state.  Knowing that we have been through hundreds of storms before and each one went away helps us to live through yet another one.

https://i1.wp.com/mypages.iit.edu/~ahutches/images/thunderstorm.jpg

In our Christian walk we are going to go through storms.  Nobody said that once we become a Christian storms will automatically pass us by.  The disciples of Jesus were in a boat one time and a sudden storm hit.  All of the sudden they were fearing for their lives.  The waves were beating heavily on the boat and the boat was rocking from side to side.  In the midst of the storm Jesus was in the back room of the boat sleeping.  Scared out of their mind the disciples woke Jesus.  “Jesus”, they said “Don’t you care that we are going to parish?”  Jesus got up and the first thing he did was admonish them.  “Oh ye of little faith”, he said.  Then he commanded the storm to calm and the storm was no more.

It’s interesting the words ye of little faith that he used.  In our daily lives when the storms hit us we tend to panic like the disciples did.  Just like in their case where Jesus was in the boat he is in our boat too if we have asked him into our heart.  With Jesus on board there is no reason to fear no matter how scary the storm is.

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So I ask you this question today.  Do you have little faith or big faith?  Little faith is faith that everything is OK as long as everything is going well.  Big faith is faith that everything is OK no matter what the circumstances are.

When Jesus comes into our hearts he gives us a peace that passes all understanding.  The problem that we have is that we don’t always live in that peace.  We can be like ten of the twelve spies in the Bible who came back and reported that the enemy was too big.  They were looking at the problems instead of the promise.  Isn’t that what we do when we get all upset because all we see is the obstacles?  So how do we keep the peace even through the tough times?  How do we go through the storms with big faith?

We will keep the peace if we are honest with everyone.  We cannot be at peace inside when we are not truthful.  II Corinthians 10 verses 4 and 5 tell us to Cast down imaginations and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.  When we don’t believe that God will get us through a situation aren’t we not casting down these imaginations?  Have you ever heard that 95% of the things we worry about never happen?

When you are in the storm remember who is on the boat with you.  Remember all of the storms that you have been through in the past with his help.  Find the peace that only he can give.  Lean on the Lord and seek his peace above all else.  Remember that whatever you are going through will pass.  After it is over you will have a story to tell.  You see without a test we have no testimony.  The weather in our heart can be sunny and warm even when the storms on the outside are at their worst.  Always remember who is the center of our peace with this saying “No Jesus, No Peace—Know Jesus, Know Peace!”

The Weather of My Heart

by Lewis Hamilton c 1997 From the book “The Gardener and My Garden”

We call the weather line
it’s such a big concern
will rain ruin our weekend
or will the weather turn?

Is there a storm brewing?
It’s very important to me
Turn the TV on right now
and switch to channel three

The weather alert is flashing
there’s a “W” on the screen
The “W” stands for warning
what kind of warning could it be?

We plan our daily activities
from data we have found
wanting to make good decisions
from information that is sound

Do you ignore the weather
that goes on inside?
Is the river of your heart at peace
or is there a high tide?

Are your insides dark and cloudy
and is there always strife
from winds racing out of control
every day of your life?

You can see the forecast on your TV
the screen’s within your eyes
Are they raging from tornado winds
and seas about to rise?

Do you ignore the inside storm
denying that it’s there,
or should you take some action
to show you really care

The Lord saw my stormy inside
and said he’d calm my sea
He’d make my sun shine all the time
his peace he’d give to me

Now my inside weather’s peaceful
although outside it may rain
I’ve discovered who can control
my inside weather vane

I know now just as I’m concerned
what the weather report will be,
It’s more important what the weather is
deep inside of me

For Jesus spoke to my sea that day
He called, Peace be still
There is sunshine every day for me
as I live now in his will

Let There Be Light

You may be surprised to know that Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb.  Edison came out with his patents in 1878 and 1879 but the light bulb was in the works since 1802.  Many inventors sought to improve the light bulb.  The trick was to make a bulb that would light and also last.  While many attempted this feat through the years it was Edison who came up with just the right combination.  He had to find the right filament and have it vacuumed just right so that it would sustain light.  Edison’s pursuit of making the light bulb work was looked at as strange.  Someone once asked him “Aren’t you discouraged that you tried 1,000 different times to make the light bulb work and each time you failed?”  Edison’s answer was on the contrary.  He found one thousand combinations that didn’t work.  In his mind it was a process of eliminating what wouldn’t work which led him to what would.  So Edison did not create the light bulb but he did create the first one that would shine brightly for a long period of time. Original Edison Bulb

Today we take the light for granted.  We walk into a room and without thinking we turn on the light.  Only when the light does not come on because of an electricity outage or a burnt out bulb do we give it a second thought.  It’s not like it was when the electric light was experienced for the first time.  Can you imagine the first time someone attempted to read a book under their new electric light?  I’ll bet they were used to reading under a kerosene lamp.  You’ve probably seen them in old movies and how the light would flicker.  It had to be just a little better than reading in semi-darkness.  “What a miracle”, they must have thought.

In the same way Edison was a miracle for bringing physical light God wants us to be spiritual light to all we see.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:15-16 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.  We may ask How we can be a light to others? 

I have a friend who stopped to buy gas a couple of weeks ago.  He went into the gas station after pumping his gas to pay.  There was a feeling in his heart that he should talk to the lady behind the counter about Jesus.  Right away doubt started to creep in to his mind.  The lady will probably think I am weird, he thought.  Still he decided to listen to that small voice within him.  He started talking small talk to the lady and then asked her if she liked to talk about spiritual things?  When she commented that she did he went further.  He asked her if she were a Christian?  He got her to talk about what she thought a Christian was and found out that she had not actually asked Jesus into her heart.  He led her in prayer to receive Jesus Christ as her personal savior.  When they finished praying the lady surprised my friend.  He was happy that she came to know Jesus but what she said made him do a double take.  “You are a miracle!”, she exclaimed.   “For the longest time I have been so depressed and down”, she admitted.  “Then you came in and brought light to my life”.  “You are truly a miracle!”  Image result for gas station worker

Like Edison we have something to share with the world.  However our gift is far more valuable than his.  He only made light in a physical sense.  We have the power through Jesus to give people light for their soul.  That lady that my friend talked to is not an isolated case.  There are millions of people out there who do not know Jesus.  The Bible states in 1 John 5 verse 12 “Whoever has the son has life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

I’m afraid that many of us take God’s miracle in our lives for granted.  We have lost our excitement and desire to share our light.  We don’t even think about people living in darkness.  We’re glad that we are in the light and condemn others who aren’t.  God is calling us to be a light in the darkness.  He is calling us to be that miracle that enters someones life and brings hope.  We can only be that miracle if we are connected to the power source and desire to share his light.

When Edison and his team finished the first light bulb he asked a young boy to carry the bulb up the stairs.  The boy was super careful knowing how precious the bulb was.  The boy was too cautious as he climbed the stairs.  As you probably guessed he tripped and dropped the bulb and it tumbled down the steps and smashed.  It took Edison’s team 24 hours to re-make the lighting miracle.  When they finished Edison asked the same boy to take the new bulb upstairs.  That is the kind of forgiveness God has for us.  If we mess up he is always willing to give another chance.  Too often we don’t do anything because we don’t want to take a chance.  In the spiritual realm if we follow the Holy Spirit’s voice we always carry  a bright light.  The light he gives to us shines on forever and instantaneously replenished if we get tripped by the enemy.

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As we begin this new year I challenge you to do something different.  Instead of making New Years resolutions that soon will be broken try this.  Pray every day for an opportunity to spread his light to a dark world.  Look for opportunities and ask God to lead you.  Listen to his still small voice within you.  The Holy Spirit will speak to you if you are willing to take the time to listen. This will feel strange just as Edison was looked at for being strange.  However, if we are persistent we will realize that we are not alone.  The Holy Spirit will be working with us.  Edison’s gift of lighting up a room was rewarding, but God has a reward far greater to those who are willing to shine his light in someone’s inner darkness.  Don’t hide his light, let it shine, let it spread, and become a miracle in someone’s life today!

2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Genesis 1:3-4…Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.…

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