Light of the World

“We can be the light of the world without leaving our high beams on and annoying everybody.”—Bob Goff.

Regardless of what you may have heard, I am still able to drive after dark. However, I must admit that I occasionally forget to dim my lights for oncoming drivers. Sometimes they will flash their bright lights at me to remind me to dim mine.

I think Bob Goff has a point. Sometimes we Christians can be abrasive in expressing our opinions about God. This can turn some people off and hamper our efforts to spread the gospel.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that our ultimate goal is to avoid annoying people. Jesus annoyed some people. You don’t get nailed to a cross because you got along with everybody!

However, we must always try to speak the truth with love. It only takes a little light to lead someone out of the darkness. Let us always strive to shine our light in the most effective way possible.

“…Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”—Matthew 5:16.

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Salt of the Earth

Remember the old saltshaker prank? Someone would loosen the top of a salt shaker in a restaurant. The next customer would unsuspectingly try to put a little salt on their food and end up dumping the entire contents of the shaker on their plate!

It doesn’t take a lot of salt to make a meal taste better. Just a pinch of salt can make the ingredients of a dish really come to life.

In the same way, we don’t have to dump everything we have on people all at once in order to be effective in spreading the gospel message. In fact, sometimes, in giving them too much all at once, it becomes overwhelming for them, like a dish with way too much salt.

We have to be discerning about how much to unload on people at one time. Let’s try to give them just enough salt to make the truth of salvation through Jesus palatable for them.

“You are the salt of the earth…”—Matthew 5:13.

 

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Maturing

Remember some of the ways our parents punished us for our misbehavior when we were children? You had to go to bed early. You were grounded and couldn’t leave the house. You couldn’t go to that party.

Go to bed early. Don’t leave the house. Don’t go to the party. I just realized that my childhood punishments have become my goals as an adult!

It is interesting to take note of how our priorities change as we grow up. Things that we thought were so important seem trivial now. Our goals have changed drastically. Our desires are much different than what they once were. It’s all part of the maturing process.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”—1 Corinthians 13:11.

 

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If You Can’t

Someone once said, “If you can’t stand to be with Christian people for a couple of hours each Sunday, never fear. Our loving God would never force you to be with them at all in eternity.”

Many people know that it says in the Bible that Christians should not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). Few people realize that the very next paragraph after that verse talks about facing the devastating judgement of God. Putting that in its context, it is obvious that God expects us to attend worship services on a regular basis, and he reserves the right to inflict the ultimate punishment on those who refuse to obey him in this regard.

See you in church this Sunday!

 

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Sad World View

I recently made a trip to the hospital to meet a newborn baby. As I made my way through the parking garage, I noticed a Darwin fish on the back of a car. If you don’t already know, the Darwin fish is a response to the Jesus fish that some Christians put on their cars. The Darwin fish has the name “Darwin” in the middle of the fish, and the fish has legs, suggesting that mankind is not a result of God’s creation, but a result of a spectacularly unlikely series of fortunate accidents that must have happened in order for molecules-to-man evolution to have taken place.

That is such a sad world view. Where is the hope in Darwinism? The thought that we are here by accident leads us to conclude that life has no real meaning, and that our future is uncertain. Christianity offers a much more hopeful outlook on life and eternity, and is also a more reasonable position to take.

I wondered why the owner of that vehicle was at the hospital. Most people were not there for a happy reason, like I was. Most were there to face a major health crisis—perhaps even an impending death—of someone they loved dearly. To face such a crisis without the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ is a tragedy!

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”—Genesis 1:1.

 

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Sober Mind

I just read that marijuana use is now legal in all of Canada. This has become somewhat of a trend in the U.S., with certain areas legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Parts of Colorado have made this their policy. When my wife and I were in Colorado a couple of months ago, we saw some cards for sale with a thimble-sized flower pot attached that said, “We bought you a little pot in Colorado”.

While some see the legalization of marijuana as a progressive step in the right direction, others are concerned about the overall mindset of the culture when it comes to staying sober. I saw a couple of teenagers at a high school football game wearing T-shirts that suggested this may be a problem. One was promoting the consumption of alcohol—the other was promoting the use of marijuana.

The Bible consistently urges us to avoid drunkenness. 1 Peter 4:7 says, “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”

Time is short, my friends! We have much to pray about. Let us do so with clear and sober minds.

 

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Deep Roots

Nearly three weeks ago, my family received some devastating news—my brother Bill had suddenly passed away at the age of 57. This unexpected tragedy was extremely difficult to handle. Only our faith in God and the support from the church enabled us to navigate this painful stretch of life’s journey.

A few days after learning of my brother’s death, I was walking along a stretch of highway near my home. I noticed that the recent rains had caused part of the hillside alongside the road to crumble. I also noticed that a small tree perched precariously on the side of the hill remained upright in spite of the collapsing hillside. Its roots had grown deep into the side of the hill, and it held on defiantly, in spite of the serious threat to its well-being.

The Bible says that we are to put our roots down deep into our faith in Jesus Christ. When we do, no circumstance in life, not even death, can move us!

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”—Colossians 2:6-7.

 

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Easy to Remember

George Foreman

Former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman famously named all of his sons George. Many people have wondered why he did this. Here is how Foreman explained it to CBS News: “You try getting hit in the head by Muhammad Ali and then see how many names you can remember!”

Life can be tough. Sometimes it seems like we get beaten up all the time. This constant pounding might cause us to forget something very important—that God loves us so much that he sent his son Jesus to die to pay for our sins!

In order to remember this most important event, Jesus gave us the Lord’s Supper. When we gather together for communion, we remember how blessed we are to be loved by God and to be called his children!

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’”—Luke 22:19.

 

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Tolerance or Love?

Josh McDowell has this to say about the difference between tolerance and love:

Which is harder? Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.” Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.”

Tolerance says, “You must agree with me.” Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced ‘the truth will set you free.’”

Tolerance says, “You must allow me to have my way.” Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.”

Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.

McDowell gives us a lot to think about. Many proclaim that tolerance is the greatest thing you can practice, but there were certain attitudes and actions that Jesus simply would not tolerate when he walked this earth. Sometimes the loving thing to do is to stand for what is right rather than tolerate any ungodly activity that is championed by the world. As always, we must allow Jesus to have the final word on everything, including tolerance and love.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”—1 Corinthians 13:6.

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The Wrong Stuff

In Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, Alan Alda talks about how he had a beloved pet dog when he was eight years old. When the dog died, Alda was so sad about burying it that his father decided to have the dog stuffed instead.

“We kept it on the porch and deliverymen were afraid to make deliveries,” Alda recalled in an interview with Newsweek. He then continued, “There are a lot of ways we stuff the dog, trying to avoid change, hanging on to a moment that’s passed.”

Churches seem to have a special affinity for “stuffing the dog”–maintaining programs, buildings, etc. in an attempt to forestall necessary change. In the short term, it’s sometimes much easier to stuff a church’s pets than to acknowledge their death, grieve their loss, and give them an appropriate burial.

Have you ever tried to “stuff the dog”?

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’…”—Revelation 21:5.

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