July 9, 2014
“THEN, your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
THEN, your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
THEN, you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say, ‘Here am I.’
THEN, your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like noonday.”
New International Version
Let Your Light Shine
“Light” – Illumination. Spiritual awareness.
How can I let God’s light radiate through my life?
“If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.”
“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world…I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I have put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in Heaven.”
Matthew 5: 14-16
The Message Bible
A few days ago, I heard a fantastic rendition of a song I learned when I was a kid, “This Little Light of Mine,” sung by a gospel choir – whom I might add really knew how to sing – this unique arrangement put new fire into the song. I got up out of a chair and was moving and swaying and clapping and singing along with them. It was that inspiring.
Over the last few days, we have studied about bringing light to the world. And as we have read in Isaiah 58 – specifically the verses where God enlightens us to what He has chosen for us to do when we are filled with His righteousness. We find God asks us, out of the walls of His graciousness, to pour out His love into the lives of others by seeking to loose the chains of injustice; by feeding the hungry; by providing shelter to the homeless; by clothing the naked; and by taking care of our own families.
But He doesn’t stop there. He uses the “THEN” word. It’s a word that says to you and me, “If you will serve others as I have asked you to do, “THEN” something is going to happen in your life.”
Believe me, if we serve God, there’s going to be an explosion of good things in our lives. And get this straight, “good things” aren’t going to occur because I have to do what God says. Instead, “good things” are going to occur because it’s the natural result of serving God. When you and I choose service to God and others over self-serving desires – good things come our way. We can’t help it or change it. It’s like a river flowing freely toward you carrying you along.
And here are the four “THENS” that God promises will sweep you away in the river of His blessings.
Why does all this good come flooding our way? It’s simple – when God says let me light the candle of service in your life, we say, “Yes!” God may call you to feed millions –- I don’t know; however, in the insightful words of Mother Teresa, “If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
Let me give you a tangible way to understand what is meant by this quote. Recently, I read a powerful book by Megan McKenna called Blessings and Woes. This book provides wonderful insights on the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke.
In Chapter 4, which deals with the Beatitude – Blessed are the Hungry – the author states:
“We talk much these days about a global village…But if you were to reduce the population of the world to 100 people, this is what the Human Global Village would look like:
14 from the Western Hemisphere
51 Female/ 49 Male
70 Non-White/ 30 White
70 Non-Christian/ 30 Christian
50% of the entire world’s wealth would be in the hands of 6 people and all 6 would be citizens of the United States
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer malnutrition
1 would have a college education”
I want to add these statistics are now 13 years old. And I’m sad to say, things haven’t improved. If anything, they are worse.
Let’s go back to Mother Teresa’s statement for a minute. She was not only spiritual – she was brilliant. Look at the fact that 50% or ½ of the 100 people in our Global Village suffer from malnutrition. This means ½ of the people on planet earth suffer from malnutrition right now. But before you throw up your hands and say, “What can I do?” just think if the other half took care of “one person each.” One taking care of one would eliminate the problem of hunger. It sounds unbelievable – but it’s not!
As the song says, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” One candle lights another and another and another and…!
I want to end our devotional with a poem by Joy Cowley who lives in New Zealand. I’m not just a fan of her writing – I’m a “super” fan. And this poem, from her book Psalms for the Road, is perfect for our study today:
“Jesus spoke of little lights, candles, lamps,
not great bonfires, just small steady flames
to brighten some dark corner of the house.
Come to think of it, Jesus always preached little –
children, flowers, sparrows, the widow’s mite,
mustard seeds, loaves and fishes. He didn’t
expect people to make great gestures.
I guess he knew that little is the currency
of every day living.
So let’s thank God for little lights,
the warm smile, the hug, the phone call,
a wave from a passing car, a cup of tea,
an open door, a talent freely shared.
How often when my own candle has gone out,
has someone relit it from their lamp of kindness.
That can’t happen with a big light.
I mean, how close can you get
to a supernova.”
“May God bless you with the discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you will live deep in your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people and the earth so that you will work for justice, equity, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer so you will reach out your hands to comfort them and change their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world, so you will do the things which others say cannot be done.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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