Friday, November 29, 2013

Light versus Dark (Ephesians 5:11-14)

Today's scripture: Ephesians 5:11-14

I wrote Wednesday that dark and light cannot co-exist. When light is extinguished, dark wins. But when the tiniest flame is lit in a pitch-black room, it illuminates even the darkest corner.

We live in a dark world—a very dark world. Sin is rampant. Greed and corruption destroy. Lust and sensuality abounds. The enemy of our souls and his minions are waging warfare. As Paul wrote:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). Yes. A very dark world.

We can live with hope, however. If we truly believe in the grace of God, if we believe Jesus came to earth to save lost souls, if we desire to be salt and light, Jesus will shine on and through us. He’ll cast out darkness. He’ll conquer our enemies.

Because “He who is in [us] is greater than he who is in the world …” (1 John 4:4). And we already know Who wins the war: Jesus Himself said, “…i
n Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

So let Him shine in and through you.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, as you celebrate with family and friends,
I pray you take a moment to sit before God's throne and thank Him for His many blessings.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Take These Words to Heart (Ephesians 5:5-10)

Today's scripture: Ephesians 5:5-10

Paul gives several exhortations in these few verses … and we should take them to heart.

Let no one deceive you with empty words. This world is full of promises—for success, for prosperity, even for salvation. Living according to the world’s standards is beyond foolish. It’s risking “inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

“… do not be partakers …” with those who are immoral, impure, covetous … those who worship other idols. We just cannot, cannot, live like the world. We must live as God’s word commands us, dwelling on those things that are pure and true and lovely (see Philippians 4:8).

“… walk as children of Light …” Our Lord and Savior is Light (John 1:6-10) and He Himself called us to be “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Light and darkness cannot co-exist. Light casts out all darkness, and our light—the Light—should shine through us to cast out the darkness of this world.

“… learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” And how do we do that? By reading His word. By meditating on its truths. By surrendering ourselves to Him every day. By seeking His will in all things.

Strong exhortations … will you take them to heart?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tough Questions (Ephesians 5:3-4)

Today's scripture: Ephesians 5:3-4

I’ve asked similar questions before, but if someone who didn’t know you observed you for a day, would he know you were a follower of Christ? If he listened to your interactions at work, read your FaceBook posts, watched you converse with your friends, would he see someone who’s any different than someone who didn’t claim to be a Christian?

How often do you share the latest off-color joke? Are certain vulgarities (those words that would be “bleeped” from a live television show or on an airline movie) part of your regular vocabulary? Do you gossip? Or lie? Or pad the books?

Does your mouth, as James wrote,
“… bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so” (3:9-10).

Or would that observer see you spending time in God’s word. Praying. Helping others. Saying kind words. Edifying those around you.

I fear many of us wouldn’t stand up to that kind of scrutiny. I fear many of us have allowed the world to influence us rather than the other way around. I fear we love the world more than we love our Savior.

And “these things ought not to be so …”

Or as Jesus asked, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Monday, November 25, 2013

Walk in Love (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Today's scripture: Ephesians 5:1-2

Walk in love. A continual, deliberate action.

Love as Jesus loves, giving ourselves to others just as Jesus gave Himself for us.

And why?

Well, first, because we’re commanded to do so as God’s children. But there’s a better blessing for us when we love as Jesus does.

Our love for others is given as an offering to God. Sometimes it is a sacrifice. When we love as Jesus loves us, we offer a “fragrant aroma” to God, and He is well-pleased.

When we love, we “are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing …” (2 Corinthians 2:15). Others look at us and see how God’s love flows through us. A love that is kind and patient and forbearing. A love that doesn’t hold grudges and isn’t jealous. (See 1Corinthians 13:4-7.)

How many people might be attracted to Jesus because they see a sacrificial, other-serving love in us? Instead of judgment, they see mercy. Instead of anger, they see peace. Instead of hate, they see love.

As I wrote the other day, it could change the world.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Change Your World (Ephesians 4:32)

Today's scripture: Ephesians 4:32

Think of how different our world would be if we were all kind to one another. If we forgave each other as we have been forgiven.

No anger or bitterness. No grudges or desire for revenge.

No jealousy or coveting.

No putting others down.
Just a world full of people showing love. Looking out for each other. Treating each other with respect. Providing for those less fortunate.

All of us would “regard one another as more important than [ourselves]” (Philippians 2:3). We’d love our neighbors more than we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). We’d even be willing to lay down our lives for others (John 15:13).

Oh, what a world it would be.

Maybe we can’t change the entire world, but what about our own small circles of influence. What if each of us chose to be kind to those around us? If we were tender-hearted? If we forgave those closest to us?

It would be pretty amazing. So let’s try it. Let’s determine to accept Paul’s challenge and change—if not the whole world—our own “worlds.”