VIDEO Life…in the Words of Jesus: Let Your Light Shine

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Walk into a dark room in the middle of the night, and flip on a light switch. What happens? The darkness “flees.” Darkness is not a “thing.” Darkness is the natural state that exists in the absence of light.

The science of light was relatively unknown in the first century, but the practical aspects of light were definitely known. Just as light dispels darkness in the physical realm, so spiritual light dispels spiritual darkness. John 1:3-9 describes Jesus bringing light into the world; He later called Himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5). In preparation for leaving the earth, Jesus also declared His disciples to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). And He told them to let their light shine by virtue of their good works so others would recognize the light and life of God and glorify Him.

In an ever-darkening world, let your light shine brightly, pointing others to the Savior, the Light of the world!

The light of a holy example is the gospel’s main argument. R. L. Dabney


Matthew 5:5-16 – Skip Heitzig

Signs of Life

I will come to you and fulfill my good promise. Jeremiah 29:10

When my daughter received a pair of pet crabs as a gift, she filled a glass tank with sand so the creatures could climb and dig. She supplied water, protein, and vegetable scraps for their dining pleasure. They seemed happy, so it was shocking when they disappeared one day. We searched everywhere. Finally, we learned they were likely under the sand, and would be there for about two months as they shed their exoskeletons.

Two months passed, and then another month, and I had begun to worry that they’d died. The longer we waited, the more impatient I became. Then, finally, we saw signs of life, and the crabs emerged from the sand.

I wonder if Israel doubted that God’s prophecy for them would be fulfilled when they lived as exiles in Babylon. Did they feel despair? Did they worry they’d be there forever? Through Jeremiah, God had said, “I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to [Jerusalem]” (Jeremiah 29:10). Sure enough, seventy years later, God caused the Persian king Cyrus to allow the Jews to return and rebuild their temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1–4).

In seasons of waiting when it seems like nothing is happening, God hasn’t forgotten us. As the Holy Spirit helps us to develop patience, we can know that He’s the Hope-Giver, the Promise-Keeper, and the One who controls the future.

By:  Jennifer Benson Schuldt

Reflect & Pray

How does understanding God’s character help you when you’re waiting? What’s the relationship between doubt and faith?

Dear God, help me to have faith in You as I wait. Show me how to handle doubt and display faith instead.

How to Build True Friendships

Strong friendships require mutual respect, love, and commitment.

1 Samuel 18:1-4

We all long to have good, reliable friends who love us, but how do we go about making these relationships? The biblical account of David and Jonathan helps us learn how to foster genuine, close friendships (1 Samuel 18:1-301 Samuel 19:1-24 1 Samuel 20:1-42). Their story demonstrates that true companionship is built upon a foundation of mutual respect, love, and authentic commitment. 

Jonathan was the prince of Israel, while David started out as a lowly shepherd boy. Social status didn’t interfere with the cultivation of their friendship. When one experienced joy or sadness, the other did, too, because their hearts were knit together. Trying circumstances couldn’t weaken their commitment. Jonathan even risked his life and future kingship in order to save David from death.   

We were designed by God for true companionship. But developing this kind of relationship requires not only time and selfless devotion but also transparency, which means a willingness to reveal who we really are. Taking such a risk requires trust, but unwavering friendships are well worth the effort

The Creator’s WD-40

“Know ye that the LORD he is God: It is he that hath [created] us.” (Psalm 100:3)

A fix-it substance used today in most homes resides in a little blue can labeled WD-40. This liquid gold lubricates, preserves, and safeguards all kinds of stuff. But there’s a much more priceless spiritual liquid that all believers “in Christ” need to apply to protect their lives from this world’s evil influences.

Psalm 100 teaches that the prerequisite to proper Christian worship is knowing the God we worship. “It is he that hath [created] us, and not we ourselves” (v. 3). What are the implications of knowing Yahweh as our all-knowing Creator? Because He formed us in the womb (Psalm 139:15), He knows our inner workings and what’s required for us to live glorifying lives.

Peter unpacks this specifically. For you have been “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). First, we need to be transformed as new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Even after the new birth, believers are still prone to the rusting, degenerative effects of the Fall. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1 Peter 1:24).

What is the spiritual antidote to these decaying elements? “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Peter 1:25). God’s Word is the believer’s priceless spiritual lubricant, coupled with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2).

Believer, are you being transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2) and by God’s clearly written and communicated Word? This liquid gold is able to safeguard your fragile being. CM

Saved to Worship

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit…and have no confidence in the flesh.Philippians 3:3

Even in our Christian circles we are prone to depend upon techniques and methods in the work that Christ has given us to do. Without a complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit we can only fail. If we have been misled to believe that we can do Christ’s work ourselves, it will never be done.

The man whom God will use must be undone. He must be a man who has seen the King in His beauty. Let us never take anything for granted about ourselves, my brother or sister….

I tell you again that God has saved us to be worshipers. May God show us a vision of ourselves that will disvalue us to the point of total devaluation. From there He can raise us up to worship Him and to praise Him and to witness. WHT077-078

There is no part of our existence which [God] cannot touch. There is no place in our varied experience where He cannot meet us. His humanity is as broad as ours….This is the secret of all-sufficiencythe friendship of Jesus, the indwelling life of Christ, our union heart to heart with One who, as no other friend could possibly do, lives out His very life in ours. PSP098-099

In the Right Direction

We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.Colossians 1:28

In the Spirit-controlled life, self is still there, but now it is not self-centered but God-centered, and therefore, rhythmic and harmonious. “Perfect function,” said a famous doctor, “is perfect health.” The self functions perfectly and is, therefore, perfectly healthy; it is a self you can live with. The sex drive is still there, but now, being God-centered, it functions as God intended it to function. If one is married, then it can be expressed in a physical relationship, but if one is unmarried, then it can be refined and channeled into creativity in other directions. The herd instinct is still there, but now it is fastened on the kingdom of God, and one moves with the rest of the church toward the unity of the faith and of the Spirit.

The life of the Spirit is not one of asceticism but one of assertion. We get rid of unacceptable desires in the only way possible, by replacing them with higher desires. We get rid of self-centeredness by God-centeredness, through surrender. We get rid of sex domination by surrendering the drive to God and the controls He places upon it, so that sex serves us and makes us creative in the whole of life—not just within the physical relationship of marriage. We get rid of the herd dominance by surrender to God and, when surrendered, we love people more because we are no longer dominated or intimidated by them. The expulsive power of a new affection casts out “lower loves” by focusing them on higher objectives.

Prayer

Holy Spirit, I am beginning to learn that when You have control, everything is a perfect cosmos; when I have control, it is chaos. As life is for living, I want to live it to the brim. Help me not just to surrender, but to stay surrendered. Amen.

Further Study

Heb 6; Mt 5:48; 2Co 13:11

What did Paul mean by “perfection”?

What was Paul’s desire?

Discouragement

“I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts,” he replied, “but the Israelites have abandoned Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they’re looking for me to take my life.”1 Kings 19:14

Kingdom work can be challenging! You can give everything you have to God’s service and come away exhausted. This is what happened to Elijah. God had just used Elijah to call down fire from heaven in a spectacular display of divine power. But Elijah’s exhilaration was soon replaced by strenuous work followed by death threats, causing him to flee for his life. Now he was alone, exhausted, and discouraged.

Again, God came to Elijah. This time, He came not in fire or in a loud, spectacular way, but in a still, small voice. God’s servant was tired, and God brought him comfort. Elijah’s focus had shifted from God to God’s enemies. He had allowed his circumstances to overwhelm him, leaving him disoriented to God and feeling alone. So God encouraged him. God provided Elisha for him as a helper, friend, and companion.

God removed Elijah from the activity for a time, so that he could rest and spend time with God. When the nation next saw Elijah, he was rejuvenated and refocused on God and His assignment.

If you are overwhelmed by kingdom work so that your focus is no longer on God but on all that there is to do, let Him comfort you. Listen to His gentle voice. He will encourage you and provide exactly what you need to prepare you for what comes next. If He needs to remove you from your work for a time, He will. He may place a friend or colaborer beside you to help carry the load. God knows exactly how to encourage you. Let Him do so.