My Child

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Matthew 18 (MSG)

Whoever Becomes Simple Again

18 At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?”

2-5 For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.

I love the heart of my “adopted” Compassion child. Her name is Etsegenet and she is 6 years old. I send her one letter every month and I look forward to the letters I get from her.

I saw in my pile of mail yesterday that I had a new letter from her and was so excited to see what new information she had sent.

Let me tell you, man. Reading her letter cracked me up.

Last time she wrote to me she told me how she was praying for me to meet a handsome husband. PREACH child. Preach.

This time she reminded me that her family and her are both praying for my soulmate. Which is totally humbling. She lives in a village in Ethiopia and she is praying for ME. Still wild to think about.

She also surprised me by saying she is praying that one day I will have a beautiful daughter of my own. Wow. For now I am content to have her as my daughter.

She also wanted me to know she’s going to church and studying very hard and that her friends also send me their regards.

At this point I’m like “okay, my heart is full”. This little sweet girl is praying for me, and my future family, and that is more than enough.

BUT the funniest part is still to come.

If you have been following me for a while I’ve mentioned how I still struggle with my appearance. I think that’s partially just being a woman, partially because I struggled for some time with self-esteem after being cheated on, and partially because I’ve felt this way since I was a small girl. The last part is still hard for me to identify. Why have I always disliked my legs or my teeth for example. Why did this start so young? Did someone say something? You know? It’s hard to figure out.

Anyway, I don’t think I even mentioned that to my sponsored child. I’ll have to go through my online letters and see. But I literally laughed out loud, a literal LOL, when I reached the bottom of her letter.

Despite the fact that I don’t enjoy “selfies” or taking photos of myself, I’m trying to get more comfortable. And so, on occasion, I have shared from pictures of me at church with friends in my letters to my child.

Now brace yourself. If you look at the bottom of the picture I posted she said “I’ve not seen a beautiful lady like you on Earth.”

SAY WHAT?

I literally laughed. And as I’m writing this I still laugh. Because this is so funny! On one hand you can struggle with what you wish was more beautiful in yourself or how others see you and yet this cute little girl from halfway around the world is like, “hey lady, you’re the prettiest princess in all of the land.”

Am I right?

I’ve been the babysitter and nanny in my life, and let me tell you, children will tell you if you look like a mess that day. They are brutally honest. And yet this sweet girl is the apple of my eye. And for some odd reason thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the Earth.

I share this because:

  1. It’s a funny story.
  2. I recommend adopting a child through Compassion.
  3. You can often feel like you don’t believe something about yourself but God has a funny way of using a child in the middle of nowhere around the world to bring you joy and compliments and love.
  4. God sees you and loves you and wants you to be a Matthew 18 child.

I pray that you speak love and words of life to someone in your world this week and if you are in need of that, I hope it comes to you from an unexpected place.

Don’t Make Enemies of Friends

The title of my post today is completely credited to the teacher of the Evening College course at Hillsong NYC. Nathan said this one thing and it’s stuck with me. I don’t believe that’s by accident. We all at one point or another look at one body of Christ or Christian and disapprove of their behavior. We might disagree with the way they look or do church, or their gifts, or the fact that they do not do something we do. The possibilities are endless really.

I wasn’t planning on posting today but I awoke from an afternoon nap today and saw that there was somewhat of a social media battle online.

I like social media.

I also don’t like social media.

It’s this weird tension where I love the cool things and the breadth of reach you get from it, but I also don’t like the faceless hate and criticism that people use it for.

The point is, I saw a friend of mine made it into a public volunteer church photo today. And in the midst of the innocent and expected shout outs to her Instagram handle to let her know she was in the photo…there was one, still small voice. And it was judging the posture of what it appeared like she was doing in the photo.

Now in church, I’ve heard the pastors mention sometimes the level of bullying and hate they see on our official pages and personal pages. It really ranges depending on the day. Sometimes it’s an attack on physical appearance and sometimes it’s an accusation about their character and if our church is a cult.

The sad part to me in reading this back and forth conversation today is twofold:

  1. Seeing the girl explain herself in the photo i.e. the timing and angle of the snapshot and the accuser’s total disregard for that explanation.
  2. Seeing members of our church try to explain that we need not worry about what it looks like to the accuser. And see where along the way the tone could be misread and seen as mocking or mob mentality i.e. some ganging up on one.

The sad thing is, both sides are Christians. Now I can’t read hearts like Jesus can, but I am giving the person I do not know from church the benefit of the doubt.

I think at times like this we need to be careful what conclusions or judgements we make towards brothers and sisters in Christ.

These were my initial thoughts and I hope they serve as a reminder for me and for you, my sweet friends:

  1. Assume the best in people, not the worst.
  2. Realize that in judging another Christian in a public way, it makes non-believers feel like they are already out of the game. If you have no grace for your Christian family, why would an outsider think you would have any for them?
  3. As humans we do not know someone’s heart. Yes we can see one sound byte online or a photo that could be misinterpreted, but ultimately if someone explains themselves I believe we owe it to that person to accept it. We are called to love God and love people and the judgement is left for God. He has motive X-ray vision, He has heart night-vision goggles.
  4. Be mindful of how you could be misinterpreted in a quick online post. If you feel that you explained yourself in grace and your conscience is clear, let your reply stand, don’t go back and forth with them in an argument.
  5. Matthew 18 doesn’t always get used in an online forum but it should:

15-17 “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

If you are attacked online by another Christian I think you have two choices: to ignore it, or to respond Biblically to it. I fully believe that you can try to diffuse a situation by explaining yourself truthfully. If that is not received, I don’t think you need to take the rest of the scripture and spin it out of control. What I mean is you don’t go and talk trash to your other friends and have them gang up on that one person. I’m saying you can rely on their counsel and be at peace that they will tell you if you were wrong or to let the drama go. If a friend or pastor feels like at that point its ok to stand up in truth and defend you as well that’s ok too, but I think the mistake is turning one bad comment into a debate. It’s not a good look for anyone.

I’m not perfect. None of us will ever fully understand God or people on this Earth. We are only human and our thoughts are not high like God’s thoughts. There are still times when I wonder if someone is truly a believer because of their behavior. We all can feel justified to “fruit inspect”. I do think there’s a way to be respectful and concerned for someone instead of picking up their fruit and throwing it back at them.

It reminds me of that scene in Wizard of Oz. If you don’t know it here’s an excerpt:

Dorothy
Oh, apples! Oh – look! Oh!
Ouch!
Tree
What do you think you’re doing?
Dorothy
We’ve been walking a long way, and I was hungry and – did you say
– something?
First Tree
She was hungry!
Second Tree
She was hungry!
First Tree
Well, how would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?
Dorothy
Oh dear! I keep forgetting I’m not in Kansas.
Scarecrow
Come along, Dorothy – you don’t want any of those apples. Hmm!
First Tree
Are you hinting my apples aren’t what they ought to be?
Scarecrow
Oh, no! It’s just that she doesn’t like little green worms!

I think a lot of times we can be any of these three people.

We can be Dorothy. We saw an apple, a Christian, and were surprised that they scolded us. You thought we were all on the same journey and the same “team”, team Jesus.

We can be the Tree. Offended that we are being questioned. Defensive.

Or we can be the Scarecrow. We can be somewhat of the instigator. You don’t want to associate with THOSE apples. Or you’re one of THOSE Christians. Oh your picture isn’t honoring God. You should know what kind of person THAT is. Etc etc.

All of this to say, let’s just be kind to each other. None of us have this all figured out. We’re at different stages in our walk with God. We’re learning Biblical lessons at different times. We are getting revelations from God at different times. We are changed but we are changing still.

Have grace.

Commitment to God provokes persecution

Matthew 5 (MSG)

You’re Blessed

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

I’ve been struggling with a co-worker. This person over the past two months has gotten progressively more and more antagonistic towards me. I don’t know what to do about it other than to turn the other cheek as best I can and to bring it up to my boss when it has crossed a professional line.

This person sits right next to me which means I have a front row seat to various accusations and insults.

Over the past month these are some things that I have been told:

  • You look fatter
  • You are trying to play democratic games in the office
  • You are prejudice towards this client because they are from the same country as me
  • You are “Mother Mary”
  • Your college isn’t that great
  • You need to learn how to obey what I say
  • You are siding with this dept just by delegating internal work
  • You are trying to get me in trouble

All of these things are false and after speaking about this to my family and friends, I am reminded that sometimes just being a Christian makes people hate you. Being good at your job makes people hate you. Being sure of who you are makes people hate you.

It’s disheartening to know that this person speaks the above lies. It’s not even the fact that they are lies that hurt. It’s more of, hey, I’m trying to do my job, and so are you. Why do you have to be so spiteful? Why am I so interesting to you that you need to make up reasons to try to start an argument with me?

I don’t post this for attention. I’m posting this as a reminder, that sometimes we forget that this is the world we live in. As Christians you are looked at like dirt, like a clown, like a total fool. Sometimes even as a women you can be looked at as if you are drama, or not truthful. I’ve experienced all of these things and they have brought a heaviness to my heart some days. I listen to an entire worship CD every day on my way to work. I meditate and pray on my commute. I cling to God because my patience is thin for these attacks. I trust God.

But it can also be exhausting to continue to fortify yourself in the midst. Or to hear the buzzing of these “bees” around you. Sometimes its not the words themselves, its just the irritation of being stung over and over.

If you are experiencing something like this in your work or at home fill in your name below and be of good cheer. I am with you. God is with you.

Mine:

Not only that—Jessica is blessed every time people put her down or throw her out or speak lies about her to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. Jessica can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you, Jessica are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

For you:

Not only that—____ is blessed every time people put ___ down or throw ___ out or speak lies about ___ to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. ___ can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that ___ are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

You’re Blessed

I have so much to catch you all up on. I’m so excited to share some things I got out of conference! After work last night I was ready to dive in but it became a situation at home and there wasn’t time. Apparently my parents had gotten into a fight, and he had gone out for several hours. Now for context where I live, with my parents, there is a large parking lot, shared by our apartment, another apartment, and two businesses. One of the businesses uses our parking lot for their fire pit, seating area, and has loud drinking parties on the weekends or really, whenever they can, which God bless them, is more often an annoyance than anything else. But for the most part, I can have my headphones on, or tv on, or whatever and before you know it, it’s over. Or I’m so tired from work that I fall asleep and the rowdy noise doesn’t affect me.

However last night, I was ready for bed. I didn’t care in the moment that I didn’t post my blog, I didn’t care that my parents had gotten into a fight (even though my mom gave me all the details), I was just emotionally and physically spent and ready to go to bed early.

I heard my dad’s car pull in, and before you know it, he was joining in with the laughter, and chanting, and whatever else was happening outside. And honestly, in that moment, it bothered me.

For those of you who are new to my blog and some of my personal life, my dad growing up was a flagrant alcoholic and drug addict. It was not peaches and cream. I spent some time of my life sleeping in other people’s houses when my parents were separated, I saw my dad drunk and rowdy, I witnessed my dad escorted out by cops, the whole deal. Luckily he is done with drugs, but on occasion he still drinks. Not always to excess but it’s not exactly something he’s given up when he has a few glasses of wine every day. You get me?

Anyway, the one business downstairs loves the drama of my household. They know our dirt, they will spy on what we’re doing i.e. tell my dad “did you know they brought a piece of furniture in yesterday”, “did you see they had shopping bags with them?”, and basically things like that where they live to get a rise out of people. Where they hope it’ll rock the boat between my parents. I chalk it up at this point to just being a Christian. Like my dad, they pretty much think it’s hilarious that we believe in Jesus and have been going to church our entire lives.

So back to last night.

My dad comes home and joins right in. I don’t know what they were saying or doing but when you’re in your late 20s and you hear your own father sounding like he’s an immature teen boy, it’s not exciting. In that moment I felt embarrassed not entirely for him, but selfishly for myself. Like, “wonderful, that’s my dad”, “wonderful that’s my dad making fun of me with our neighbors”, etc.

As I’m getting older, I think God has gifted me with partial deafness. I’m dead serious. There are times where my dad is cursing, or saying something horrible, and I literally can tune him out. I hear nothing. And I think after hearing and seeing awful things, God finally was like, “yeah, no, my daughter doesn’t need to hear that anymore”.

But from the tone of it and the chanting, even though I was in my safety net of divine deafness, I still felt some degree of nakedness and shame. Like not only was this happening, but it was outside my bedroom, and I was aware of it. I think Satan loves this. If something terrible is going to happen to a Christian, he is more than happy to give you VIP seats to the event.

I am reminded this morning of this verse in Matthew (MSG):

Matthew 5 

You’re Blessed

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

I don’t know about you but sometimes reading that…can go one or two ways. Sometimes believe it or not it’s a comfort to know there’s not something wrong with you. People go through the same things and it’s not specific to you. But also there is the other way of, “God, this doesn’t sound like a blessing”. In the world we live in people write #blessed if they get to go on an international vacation, they #blessed if their husband surprised them with a Tiffany bracelet on their anniversary, people don’t #blessed when their dad is hanging out with drunks in your parking lot and making fun of you. Right? Haha. It’s a strange world sometimes isn’t it?

I didn’t write this to say, woe is me. I always aim to be as transparent as possible. I’ve found that in being open, you can speak into people’s darkness. I’m sure someone reading this has a similar parent, or both parents, or has mocked someone for being a Christian, or feels like they aren’t blessed because nothing is going right in their lives. But I’m realizing the less things are going right in your life, the better you are probably doing. Satan isn’t going to torment someone who isn’t fighting the fight, he’s going after those of us who are in it for the long haul.

Even though it feels disappointing, and defeating at times, I feel calm after posting this knowing that in some small way I am honoring my Father in Heaven. I was His before I was my dad’s. I was His before I was my mom’s. Be of good cheer today knowing that in your battle “all of Heaven cheers” as you honor God. You might not see me but I’m running that race alongside you.

Innerancy vs Infallibility

Hey guys,
Last week I started my first night class through my church, Hillsong NYC: “Theology: Faith Foundations”. I’m pretty excited to learn more about the Bible, my faith, and basically how to be a better more well-informed Christian. After we were done with our class we were given some homework. The assignment was to define the terms Innerancy and Infallibility and decide which one we agree with. I thought I would challenge you guys to look these terms up too, and see what you think. I’m going to share my thoughts on the assignment below:
The word inerrant means to be incapable of being wrong and the word infallible takes the same idea a step further to me by adding a relationship aspect to it. By using synonyms to define it like trustworthy, accurate, etc. it seems to me that infallible is much more relational than the cut and dry right/wrong of inerrancy. In a lot of ways they seem like two sides of of the same coin. 
 
I believe the Bible is infallible meaning it is trustworthy. It runs the scope of many different well-respected authors and the accounts of historical events and miracles are similar. It’s not like the Bible argues and conflicts with itself and authors had vastly different accounts of how an event happened. I am comfortable with the relationship of a person to their Bible because it is still speaking to us and teaching us through the Holy Spirit. We aren’t solely relying on our own knowledge or view of what we are reading, we have help from God himself and in that sense it is trustworthy. We aren’t relying on what people said years ago to teach us but we are allowing the Helper/the Holy Spirit to minister to us and reveal knowledge to us through the Bible. I think it is possible that there could be errors in details like, perhaps, geography, but these are not crucial facts to the Christ’s teachings. I recall hearing years ago in Church that there is primary and secondary doctrine. I think this is somewhat the same thing. Meaning, there are things that are fundamental to Christ in the Bible i.e. virgin birth, salvation through Christ alone, the Trinity, Christ’s death and resurrection, etc. These things are incapable of being wrong because it would rip apart our whole belief system if any of these things aren’t true. And then there are other things like what version of the Bible you read or if you believe in being dunked in Baptism or sprinkled. 
 
The Bible even says in Matt 23 that there is a sort of distinction between matters in levels of importance:
 
“23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”
 
I still find the comparison a little confusing but based on the definition alone I think I lean more towards infallibility. 

Karrueche Tran

“Dear God, Please keep me strong. To keep me strong, keep my head up and to put my best foot forward and to love regardless of whatever situation I go through. You know always love and be kind. To stay strong and keep the faith.” – Karrueche Tran

I don’t follow much in Hollywood and the Entertainment Industry when it comes to celebrity gossip. I work in a field where I so see a lot of headlines, but I don’t catch everything that’s out there or follow everything that’s out there.

Someone on my Facebook page posted an article about this girl Karrueche Tran and since she usually posts good articles I clicked on it. Long story short Karrueche Tran dated the singer Chris Brown who after some time, cheated on her. Through the power of the internet I was able to see that she did an interview and it inspired me to post today.

I don’t know much of anything about Karrueche Tran which I think is a good thing because I can be objective. I feel bad for this girl. I feel bad because I can relate. In my past I dated a guy who totally destroyed my trust through his use of drugs and other women while we were together. You suffer sometimes silently as a result. And sometimes you break down publicly whether it’s at work or school or grocery shopping. It’s truly sad in her case to have to go through something so painful with everyone in America watching you crumble. It’s even worse when social media enables people to heckle you in the midst of your suffering.

I hope this is a reminder to us all that we are not all that different from celebrities. It’s easy to thumb through a tabloid in line at the airport or laugh at snarky Tweets while watching our favorite show. But I think all of this has eroded our humanity. This isn’t all entertainment. This is still real people and their real problems in their real lives. I hope by extending grace in all aspects of social media–that it will no longer be acceptable to harshly judge and mock people from the comfort of our personal computers and cell phones. Proverbs 12 tells us that our words have the power to build up and the power to destroy. I don’t want to ever fall into the trap of destroying someone else with my judgmental words because it’s “funny”. I encourage you to build up someone you see is being torn down, even if it’s a celebrity you see being bullied on social media.

So as silly as this is. I wanted to make a comment on this especially after reading people’s horrible comments under the YouTube videos and seeing particular comments highlighted during the video that were extracted from Twitter.

Dear Karrueche,

I saw your interview online and I was proud to hear that you are owning your mistakes and being honest with yourself and your own brokenness. You said it many times and you are correct. We are human. I think after my own relationship’s demise years ago I began a new journey with God. I didn’t realize that through my Father’s own inadequacy in my life and bullying from peers growing up that I had very low self-esteem. I don’t say this to belittle your feelings but to merely acknowledge that I’ve been there too. When you are finally given attention and believe that you have found love you are willing to endure anything to keep it. As a romantic myself you can get lost in the fiction of it all. I love Jane Austen and Shakespeare and it seems so poetic to have such pain when you’re in love because it seems to validate that your love is real. That your love is passionate. That your love is unique. I would be lying to myself if I were to tell you that I am completely over it. There are still days even years later that it fills me with sadness. There are even more shameful days where I miss that relationship. It is important to remember whether you are at your best or at your worst when reflecting on your past that God loves you not only infinitely more than a man could, but loves you more than you even love yourself. In the times where I mourn my past relationship I am quickly reminded that I love myself less. Meaning, I don’t love myself completely yet. I am still healing. I am still in a small way, saying that my past hurt wasn’t bad enough and I could reunite with my ex. I tell myself that it is still a love worth missing. The greatness of God is that He will always listen to my cries and my prayers but His will for my life will be done. Not in a a controlling way, but in a gracious way. If my past relationship is full of pain and feelings of unworthiness He is not going to give me what I ask. As a healthy loving dad would, He desires more.

The Bible says it best in Matthew 7:9-11 NLT ““You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

You see? In essence we have settled for snakes and God wants to give us a fish. We have settled for tainted love when God wants to give us His true love and because of His true love He wants to give us a man who is worthy of His daughter. I pray that you continue to go to church and realize how much God loves you. I pray that you continue to heal. I pray that you will always be loving and kind. I pray that you guard your heart from those who would bring it harm. I pray that you will be strong and keep the faith. Last but not least I pray that you will (if you haven’t already) surrendered your life and all of your hopes and ambitions to Christ. I can honestly say that I regret nothing in my past. Over the course of the past few years I’ve felt happy and loved by God as I wait for His many blessings to unfold. I declare Isaiah 62 MSG over your life from this day onward as not only a verse you can hold to but a hope and a promise from God:

You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand, a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God. 4 No more will anyone call you Rejected, and your country will no more be called Ruined. You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight), and your land Beulah (Married), Because God delights in you.

Love,

Jessica

Be the Light

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I saw someone post this online and it must have been the Holy Spirit but this verse came to mind and I wrote it in the comments:

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve 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.
So what does this mean to me?
1. I’m here on Earth to shine the light—the light being Christ. He is our true north. He is the reason for everything. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He came here to show me the way Home. And because of Him, I’ll never be the same, and if you want to, you will never be the same either.
2. I am special to God. You are special to God. If we are bearers of Jesus’s light, we will be on display. Not because that is something we should aspire to—fame, but because He is famous. He is wonderful. He is miraculous. People will look at us because we are bearers of His light. And it’s hard not to notice light, when so much of the world is shrouded in darkness. Right?
3. I don’t have to be ashamed. I don’t have to feel like I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, not popular enough, not talented enough, etc. God simply calls us to “be the light”. This is a simple thing guys. Just be. Be because of what He already did. Shine because He brought us out of darkness into light. Our entire human composition is different because we are spiritually alive. We are called to be light. To show people the way home. To invite people to find out what God thinks of them. To eliminate fear, guilt, shame, pain, etc.
Thinking upon this verse I got an image of when you’re in a concert and people use their phones in the stadium to light up the arena:
But imagine that in a global way. One of those lights is me. One of those lights is you. Not everyone turned their light on at the same time. I turned mine on so to speak, and maybe that encouraged a total stranger to look for their light. In this life there will be times where you are the only one holding a light. It can be daunting to stand there alone and surrounded by darkness. We all have seasons on loneliness, despair, sadness, grief, loss, and that’s why it’s so important to be around people who will keep your light on. Will speak life into you. Will support you. It’s always important to also keep your own light on through God’s Word and through constant communication with Him. God desires to see the whole Earth find their light, but they need to see mine and yours to know what that looks like.
God I love you. God I’m thankful for you and humbled by you. God I am the light-stand. It doesn’t matter if I am metal, or modern, contemporary, or wooden. All that matters is you are the bulb on top. I exist to support You. I exist to hold You up. To shout your name in the darkness. Help me to live for you. Help me to not look at my own ordinary human life and instead see myself as essential to Your plan for the Earth. Lead people to You through me. In Your beautiful name, Amen.

Photo credit: Unknown – found on Pinterest and source listed as “Facebook”