God: the light of the world

Have you ever waited for the morning light? Sometimes the night can seem so long, especially when we are going through difficult times. With what intense longing, have many waited for the morning light. With the morning light comes hope and relief. Other times, we may wait for the morning with great anticipation rather than with despair. What a great joy it can be to see a beautiful sunrise.
Just as the sun shines its beautiful life-giving light upon the earth, so God shines into our hearts the light of His glory and His love. We were meant to have that light shining into and through our lives.
“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 God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

If we look at the natural world around us we see the trees of the woods, the grass and crops of the fields, and all the beautiful flowers. What do they do to keep the sun shining on them? They do nothing; they simply bask in the sunshine when it comes. The sun is millions of miles away, but over all that distance it comes, bringing light and joy. We depend on the sun, with its life-giving light. We need it for our very existence. Do we do anything for it? No, we simply count on it, and receive it, and enjoy it.
The only difference between nature and grace is this, that what the trees and the flowers do unconsciously, as they drink in the blessing of the light; is for us, through faith, to be a willing and open vessel for accepting His love and grace. God’s light is infinitely brighter and more beautiful than the sun.
Faith, simple faith in God’s word and love, is to be the opening of the eyes, the opening of the heart, to receive and enjoy the unspeakable glory of His grace.
Just as the trees and the flowers day after day stand soaking up the sunshine, growing in beauty and fruitfulness, so it should be with our Christian life just to abide in the light of God, letting it fill us with Love. You may ask, can it really be that simple to bask in the light of our Lord’s love? Yes, it can be when we open the shutters of our hearts to God. God’s light will dispel the darkness in our lives. The light of God in our lives will be an unceasing source of joy and gladness. Through His light, His grace, we will blossom and bear fruit.
We are all very familiar with the physical light and darkness of this world. But the spiritual darkness is just as real. Many are living in spiritual darkness with no hope in eternity. Jesus is the only hope for those living in spiritual darkness. Jesus is the light of the world.
“Then again Jesus said to them, I am the light of the world; he who comes with me will not be walking in the dark but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Satan’s Greatest Tool

One of Satan’s primary tools to use against us is discouragement.

Bill Anderson told the story about the day the devil decided to go out of business. He decided to have a sale in which he would sell off the tools of his trade.

“On the night of the sale, the devil’s tools were all attractively displayed. Malice, hate, jealousy, greed, sensuality, and deceit were among them. To the side lay a harmless wedge-shaped tool, which had been used much more than any of the rest.

Someone asked the devil, What’s that? Its priced so high.
The devil answered, That’s discouragement.

But why is it priced so much higher than all the other tools? the onlooker persisted.

Because, replied the devil, with that tool I can pry open and get inside a person’s consciousness when I couldn’t get near him with any of the others. Once discouragement gets inside, I can let all the other tools do their work.”

    How do we fight against the devil’s tactics? By being aware of his attempts to discourage us and refusing to accept them. Whether we are discouraged in our church, our job or in our own personal lives, it is never a good thing, and we can be certain Satan is probably behind it. I’m not saying that every time you get discouraged Satan is behind it, but the odds are very good that he is. The next time you’re discouraged; examine the reason you’re discouraged, you might be surprised.

Discouragement comes from the devil.
Discouragement never comes from God. Continue reading

Can I be Sure I am going to Heaven When I Die?

Yes, we can know without a doubt that we will spend eternity in heaven.

First, we must understand that we are all sinners and none of us deserve heaven. The Bible tells us that because Adam sinned; sin and death entered the world. Because of that man’s sin, we are all born in sin. (Romans 5:12) 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

We will not go to heaven simply because we live a good life. That is a very popular view for obvious reasons and one that is even being taught in some churches. However, the Bible makes it very clear that any sin in our lives will keep us from having eternal salvation.

As humans, it is impossible for us not to sin. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). 

Unkind thoughts, envy, pride, prejudice, resentment, and jealousy are just a few of the things that we battle. It is not possible to live sin-free under our own power, but with Christ all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

We view sin on different levels. For instance, a little lie is not nearly as bad as murder, which it isn’t. This is a worldview of sin, not God’s view. To God, any sin is still sin regardless of how small it is. It is either sin or it’s not. It is either black and white. There are no gray areas.

Billy Graham gave an excellent example of how sin works.

 “Suppose you had a barrel of water and it had been filtered and distilled until no impurities remained. If someone asked you to drink it, you wouldn’t hesitate. But suppose someone put a single drop of raw sewage in it. Would you drink it? Of course not. The same is true with sin.” Continue reading

How Big is your God?

What is your perception of God? Your perception of God determines the foundation you will build your life on. It determines how you view everything else in life.

To our ancestors, the universe consisted of the sun, the moon and the stars. Astronomers tell us that it is possible to see about 1000 stars with the naked eye. The earth was the center of the universe and was much bigger than the sun and moon, which appear to be about the same size. Today we know this is not true, but to them that was the universe and that’s how big God needed to be. Big enough to create their idea of the universe.

From the time man first began studying the stars, he has tried to figure how big the universe is. As better telescopes evolved and then finally the Hubble telescope and satellites sent towards the outer limits of space, astronomers have had to keep enlarging their view of the universe. Today they claim that the observable universe is about 93 billion light-years in diameter and they have no idea how big it actually is. A light year is how far light travels in a year of course. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second which would mean that in a year it travels 5.88 trillion miles. Now multiply 5.88 trillion times 93 billions and we have man’s idea of how big the universe is at this time. That’s the observable universe, not the entire universe. I love to use the universe as an example of God’s greatness. Continue reading

Proof of the Resurrection of Christ

Our belief as Christians is based on the fact that Christ died to pay for our sins, was buried and rose the third day and is alive today. The apostle Paul stated that if Christ is not risen from the dead then our preaching is in vain.

The body of Jesus, in accordance with Jewish burial customs, was wrapped in linen cloth and covered with spices. The body was placed in a solid rock tomb. This tomb was owned by Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin, an important and well known man in Jerusalem.  An extremely large rock was rolled by means of levers against the entrance of the tomb. Roman guards were stationed to guard the tomb. A normal Roman guard unit was made up of 16 men, with 4 on alert at all times. This guard affixed on the tomb the Roman seal. The situation at the tomb after the resurrection is significant. The Roman seal was broken, which meant automatic crucifixion upside down for those who did it. The large stone was moved up and away from not just the entrance but from the entire sepulcher, as if it had been picked up and carried away. The guard unit had fled, an offense punishable by death.

   A.M. Ramsey in his book “God, Christ and the Tomb” “states that the empty tomb was too notorious to be denied. The resurrection could not have been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day or even for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned.” Remember this was the big news item at that time. This was front page stuff. A  minute walk from the center of Jerusalem would confirm the empty tomb. No one denied that the tomb was empty.   Continue reading