…the angels of God met him.

Genesis 32:1 Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

Jacob is a man in transition.

God is developing Jacob to become the leader of His people.
The process is long and takes work. Jacob finds himself cheated, just as he cheated his father when he stole Esau’s birthright.
Jacob faces his failures for others by going through similar situations against himself. He sees and feels what it felt like when he cheated and lied. Yet, in this transition, God sent His angels on his path to meet him.

Jacob is scared for his future.

God had spoken to Jacob and told him to return to his homeland.
Jacob remembered the hatred and strength of his brother Esau. Even though God had blessed Jacob over the years and had provided wealth, he still feared Esau. This fear Jacob had excelled to the point that he planned to send ahead of himself all that God had blessed him with to meet Esau instead of going first. This fear must have excelled over the nights of travel until God meets with Jacob alone. Still, in Jacobs’s fear and lack of faith in God, God sent His angels to meet with Jacob on the way back home.

God’s Angels

We are not told if God’s angels were supernatural so that Jacob would recognize them as from God. I believe they could have been real angels in human form coming across Jacob and sharing words of hope in God. They also might have been people led by God to speak words of faith and hope to Jacob that God had given them to say.

The path is as important as the destination.

God is interested in your growth and maturity as a Christian, father, mother, worker, counselor, student, child, and friend. There will be times of stress as you walk the road of transformation in your life. You will learn of God’s goodness and faithfulness but also deal with weaknesses in your own life that God is in the process of changing. As I read this scripture that I don’t remember reading before, of God sending His angels to Jacob on his way, I believe God has also sent me angels on my path in life.

Look out for angels.

Are you on a fearful path where you seem to be running toward a frightening future even though you know God has called you to go? Do you struggle with fear? Remember, God is invested in your maturing, but change is difficult, and the fear is real. You can be sure God is sending angels your way to encourage you. He is leading you to the time of a dramatic transformation, just as Jacob wrestled with God and his name was changed to Israel. Who knows, you just might meet an angel today!

May your lightnside be brightened by God’s angels as you travel toward God.

Hurting, Hiding, Healing

John 4:7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 

God always reaches out to us first.

Any interaction with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit always begins with them reaching out to us. The Holy Spirit brings an awareness of our need for God. Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts. God encounters Adam and Eve with the question, “Where are you?” Jesus asked the woman at the well, “Will you give me a drink?”  

This woman was alone because she was hiding and isolated from the other women in the city. She has been through five husbands and is now living with a man who was not her husband. This woman was hurting and hiding. Sin causes us to isolate ourselves. We begin to cover up some of the real issues that we are not proud of from others. Adam and Eve sinned, and the first thing they did was hide and cover themselves.  People everywhere are hiding the issues of sin and pain from family, church members, and society. They are hurting, and they are hiding.  

There are two steps to bringing hope and healing.

Know Truth

Jesus told the woman, “There is a fountain of living water that would satisfy your thirst for happiness. It is a well that can be planted in your heart that would not only bring relief from spiritual thirst but also cleanse and refresh. Jesus told the woman she could find temporary relief in this world, but it will not satisfy her and only deepen her pain. This woman understands that because she was married to five men who did not quench her pain, she deepened her sin by living with a man outside of marriage. It only deepened her pain. So she hides. 

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Honesty with God 

Jesus said to the woman, “Go, call your husband and come back.” This woman was honest with Jesus. She said, “I have no husband.” Jesus replied, “You are right when you say you have no husband. You have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” This woman’s honesty with God transformed her life. She was no longer hiding or hurting. Honesty with yourself and God is the path to freedom.  

Are you hurting and hiding?

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” As you read this, The Holy Spirit asks you to reach out to Jesus and be honest with your situation. Ask Jesus for help and be honest. He will send you a refreshing well of living water that will transform your life.

Being honest with God will allow your Lightnside to continually be refreshed with living water, all the way to heaven.

Creed – Jesus is the Light of Light and very God of very God

John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The Nicene Creed

This creed was created because there was a growing denial of the divinity of Christ. This creed was first stated in AD 325.  In our current generation, is Jesus known as one of the almighty God’s equal to God the Father? Let us remind ourselves that Jesus was not only a sinless man who died for our sins; he was also equal to God the Father and is eternal without beginning.

I love the phrase that calls Jesus the “Light of Light and very God of very God.” I challenge you to slowly read this creed and worship the very God Jesus Christ.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy universal and apostolic church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Let the Light of Light brighten your Lightnside as you worship Jesus, the very God of very God.

Take some time right now to acknowledge Christ as your God and your light.

The Apostles’ Creed

Grow strong in Biblical Truths in 2023

In a world where much distraction is attracting our eyes and ears, I would like to share some fundamental beliefs that people have memorized and quoted to keep their beliefs solid and Biblical.

Daniel 12:4 speaks of a class of people in the last days that will “run to and fro,” (looking and listening to all kinds of things that catch their attention.) The verse also says, “knowledge will increase.”  While knowledge has significantly increased in these recent generations, Biblical Truth has suffered. Let us not be the type of people who are always trying to find something to believe in without knowing the source of the truth. Even though man has increased their ability to expand knowledge and share information, let us keep our beliefs solid to the word of God.

You shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall SET YOU FREE.  John 8:32

For a few weeks, I will share some foundational Creeds and Confessions of past generations that have kept their beliefs in Biblical truth strong. As you read each Creed or confession, why not copy them and repeat them each morning for one week? These truths will keep your heart safe and free.

The Apostles Creed is one of the earliest known creeds to focus on the work of Christ in our lives. Jesus comes to rescue us and a second time to judge us.

I believe in God the Father Almighty,  Maker of heaven and earth. 

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only-begotten Son, our Lord;  who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there he shall come to judge the living and the dead. 

I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy universal church;  the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

May the truths of God keep your Lightnside strong in 2023.

They Enjoyed the Sweet Taste of Wickedness…

Job 20:12-14 “They enjoyed the sweet taste of wickedness, letting it melt under their tongue.  They savored it, holding it long in their mouths. But suddenly, the food in their bellies turns sour, a poison in their stomach.

Satan presents a golden cup but hides the poison inside.

You shall not surely die, but instead, you will become like God, wiser than you are now. Your eyes will be opened. These ideas were spoken to Adam and Eve in the paradise of Eden. Satan hid the consequences of their actions. Adam and Eve saw the tree looked good, and the fruit looked delicious. Surely just tasting the fruit would do no harm. How much our eyes are close to the tempter’s use. Adam and Eve traded their paradise for a bite of fruit!  

Do you know God’s laws?

Do you know what is right and wrong? You might say no one ever told me how to act. God, in His mercy, did you a favor. He placed in everyone a conscience that tells us right from wrong.  

Romans 2:14-15 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.

Some Remedies against Satan’s devices.

  1. Keep a great distance from sin. Romans 12:9 Hate what is evil, cling to what is good.
  2.  Know that sin is bittersweet. All sin has pleasure for a season. But know, it will not last. Consider the consequences others have gone through. You will also suffer.
  3.  Know that sin will birth your soul’s greatest loss of joy and peace. 
  4.   Consider sin is very deceitful, fascinating, and alluring. Sin always says, “Did God say…” or promises, “surely you will not suffer.”

Keep your eyes on God’s word.

Keep your heart and soul tuned to God. Forgive others. Consider what attracts your eyes. Satan loves to show you the bait and hides the painful hook. Some of the information in this blog came from the Puritan Book “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices” by Thomas Brooks.

Keep your LIGHTNSIDE tunes to God and follow His word and your conscious.

How to be “astonished” in God’s work.

Acts 10:45a “and those of the circumcision who believed were astonished”

This blog is really a rehash of an earlier blog concerning Peter and the vision of the sheet of unclean animals. God challenged Peter to trust him. Because of the vision, when the three men appeared asking for Peter, he followed them, going against everything he felt. Peter had the vision on his mind, and the Holy Spirit spoke to him and encouraged Peter to trust him. The first step is the hardest, but in verses 44-45, we see for the first time the Holy Spirit falling on the Gentiles. Peter and other Jews (the circumcised) were “astounded.” I want to be astounded in my ministry. Do you?

Are there scriptures that challenge you in your thinking or actions? Has God been dealing with you to change your thinking in an area that feels so comfortable? He is getting ready to lead you to your own”astonishment.”

Read over the earlier blog below about God’s words to Peter (Rise, Kill, Eat)

Acts 10:9 Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

God was planning on using Peter in a new way that would challenge some of his beliefs and traditions. God was opening the gospel to nations outside the Jews. But it was going to require a change in Peter’s thinking and traditions. God put Peter in a trance and lowered a sheet down that had many unclean animals by Peter’s standards. God said Rise, Kill, and Eat. Peter replied, “no, I have never eaten from unclean animals.” God said, “Do not call unclean what I have made clean.”

God was calling Peter to change a tradition and belief that was so ingrained that any thought of changing was unthinkable. Sometimes God will call us to change our daily patterns of activity and focus to be used by God. It may challenge us. God may want to use you in a new and fantastic way. To do that, He must give you a revelation, which will require you to change some habits and traditions in your life. After the vision, men from Cornelius arrived to ask for Peter. Peter went with them and followed God’s leading.

Rise

God showed Peter the trance to challenge his traditions and beliefs. Peter had to do more than just think about it. He had to put action toward this effort. It may not be an evil habit, but God may want you to change your life habits to open up more time for God. Today we have so many distractions surrounding us with streaming tv, social media, cell phone addiction, sports, and other activities. God may challenge you to change your daily focus. God told Peter to make a change, to do something outside his comfortable daily habits. Peter left with the gentiles. God may be calling you to spend more time with Him, to lead a small group, to change your thoughts about someone or a class of people. Reading more Godly books—volunteer for His purposes. You will need to rise from your normal life and make a change to follow God.

Kill

God was not only calling Peter to kill the animals (which he did not do). He called on Peter to kill some of his traditional beliefs. He knew it was God speaking to challenge him in a new way. To not call unclean what God has made clean. Peter was challenged to change his way of thinking. Peter was challenged not to let his past prejudice stop what God was doing. You may be challenged to kill some daily habits, things that would interfere with being used by God. Kill some addictive habits that keep you away from the Bible, prayer, and time to meditate on God and His word.

Eat

God was telling Peter this new journey was His plan. Peter was expected to follow God and the Holy Spirit by faith. When Peter later saw what God was doing, it changed his whole life.

God used Peter in powerful ways to grow His church in the Gentile world. God’s revelation to Peter that day on the roof challenged him to take action (Rise) in his life to trust God, to make changes (Kill) in his own traditions, and to walk in faith (Eat) and fellowship with God.

Following God is a challenge and requires changing elements of our own lives and habits. You never know what God will do with a person who, like Peter, will rise, kill, and eat their way to a powerful man or woman of God.


Let you lightnside be challenged by God this week and on to your own “astonishment.”

Be Strong in the Lord

Ephesians 6:10 Be strong in the Lord…

This world can beat you down. Your patience, your hopes, your plans, and your health can be challenging and abruptly changed. We can grow weak and disheartened as our plans and hopes break.

Paul says, “Be strong in the Lord…”

He makes this statement before he adds, “and in His mighty power.” The first part of this statement is to clarify who we are to focus on with our spirit and mind. Who are we to look to when life hits you hard? When dreams are dashed, expectations crumble around you. Paul says, “We are to be strong in the Lord.” ok, HOW?

Be strong by knowing God.

Read your Bible daily, along with times of prayer and meditation in His presence. You will begin to know the creator of the world and the God who loves you. Look at nature and the stars at night. Lift your eyes away from the screens, phones, and social media and observe the wonders of God’s creation and how all elements of His creation have continued since God created the world. The elements, the paths of planets, and the balance and care of nature are all signs of God’s greatness and majesty.

Be Strong by remembering God’s miracles.

When David had a troubled time, he wondered if God still cared. In Psalms 77:7-9 “Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Has His mercy ceased forever? Has His promise failed forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?” David then began to remember God’s deeds. Psalms 77:10-12 “But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all of your work.” 

 Be strong by knowing God’s interest in you.  

James 1:17″ Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Be strong by knowing God’s love.

John 3:16″ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Be strong by trusting God’s plan for you.

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Be strong by resting in His presence.

Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalms 91:1-2 “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,  my God, in whom I trust.”

Lift your eyes to the Lord. Be strong in the Lord.

Be strong as your mind and spirit are fixed on Him.

No matter what your situation is right now…your Lightnside can

“Be strong in the Lord!”

Who has bewitched you?

Galatians 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? 

Some of you may remember the old show Bewitched, about a husband who had a wife that was a witch. Of course, she is displayed as a “kind witch,” but she would say a spell and something supernatural would take place. The show was to bring laughter and entertainment. However, there is a real bewitching in this world. There is a real power of placing a spell on someone, and they become bewitched into believing a lie even if most of the world and the Bible opposes it. Paul reprimanded the Galatian church because evil leaders changed the message from Paul that salvation came through works and not faith.

Jim Jones

Remember the followers of Rev. Jim Jones. Jim created the People’s Temple in Indianapolis in 1955. Beginning in the late 1960s, reports of abuse began to surface as Jones became increasingly vocal in his rejection of traditional Christianity and began promoting a form of communism he called “Apostolic Socialism” and making claims of his own divinity. Jones became progressively more controlling of his followers in Peoples Temple, which at its peak had over 3,000 members. Jones’s followers engaged in a communal lifestyle in which many turned over all their income and property to Jones and Peoples Temple, who directed all aspects of community life. Jim was very charismatic and bold. He would work the people into a frenzy as he twisted the word of God. What was their outcome? In 1974 Jim moved his followers to Jonestown in Guyana, and tragically Jim Jones led his followers in a mass murder/suicide in 1978 by drinking a poison-laced drink. The phrase “don’t drink the Kool-Aid” came from this event.  

Several popular bewitching sermon teaching:

Christians should be wealthy – If you follow God, he will give you riches. No! God will bless you, but you are not guaranteed wealth. If you are blessed financially, it is for giving to missions and ministry.

All religions send people to heaven. The path to heaven is only through Jesus Christ. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me. John 14:6

WHO has bewitched you?

Much of the bewitching is by the gifting of the speaker. They are usually a very dynamic, immensely likable person. They are someone who makes people happy to be around them. They are great salesmen and speak well or can create a very spiritual atmosphere. They are people you like being around. You will probably be complimented and made to feel very smart and important to their ministry. But understand this, there is a supernatural side to their power. The evil enemy of your soul helps their influence over you to be magnified supernaturally. Your eyes become blind to the truth. You are in a dangerous place.

Warning signs:  

Their truths do not match up with scripture.  

If scripture is used, it is twisted to mean something out of context.

There are not large portions of scripture condoning this truth.

Their teaching is not widely accepted.  

The teaching makes you feel powerful, and only you can understand the truth.

Bible versions of Galatians 3:1

New Living Translation – Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you?

New Life Version – You foolish Galatians! What strange powers are trying to lead you from the way…

New Century Version – But you were foolish; you let someone trick you.

A dear friend spoke biblical truth to me concerning this issue. Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors, there is safety.

Keep your lightnside free of bewitched truths and live in safety.

Giving and receiving, and receiving.

Proverbs 11:24  One person gives freely yet gains even more; another withholds unduly but comes to poverty.

The verse in Proverbs states a person who freely gives will not only receive back what he has given, but he will also receive even more

This verse is not for frugal financial planners who see a way to earn more money to put away. The verse is not a financial contract. It is God’s reaction to those with a heart to give to God, organizations, and people in need. As you give from your heart, beyond the tithe, to give to the needs of others, you are getting God’s attention. He will bring blessings back into your life.

The blessings you receive may not always be financial. It can be through relationships, healing, and benefits in the families. God sees and is also a giver. He loves a cheerful heart of giving.

Cornelius

Acts 10:1- 4 “At Caesarea, there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing.” ( Devotion to following God meant he already gave the church tithe 10% of his income.) “he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” Cornelius also gave to those in need and the poor. He was a giver in his heart.

GOD’S RESPONSE

 One day, at about three in the afternoon, he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”  Notice the angel did not say his tithe giving came up as a memorial to the Lord; it was his prayers and gifts to the poor that got God’s attention. Continue reading in Acts 12 how God brought Cornelius and his family the gift of receiving the Holy Spirit. 

Building Barns

Luke 12: 16-21 “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

There is nothing wrong with enjoying your money. But when you choose to supply yourself with larger and larger things while others are suffering around you, God also notices. God says about this man, “Who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This man came to poverty in his heart even as he hordes all his wealth.

Become a giver. 

Give God the portion He requires and see the blessings. Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 

Give to people and organizations dedicated to helping those who need help. This Thursday, Grace House has its banquet. The other centers in Indiana will also begin to have their banquets and fundraisers. 

I challenge you to give as I am and expect God to notice and respond in your life.

To give now, click Indiana-atc.org

Let your Lightnside glow brighter by giving to the needs around you.

Blessed be the storms of life

Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers. 

Jeremiah 17:8 They will be like a tree planted by the water…

What makes a strong tree?

Not the sunshine or easy weather. The strong trees are not grouped in the thick forest and packed in with others. No, the strong trees are open to nature’s force. The strong trees face nature head-on. The winds beat it and try to twist it. Storms bend it one way and then another.  The tree almost breaks from the storm. Almost…but it straightens back upright as the storm goes away. What bad luck to be out in the storms of life…or is it a blessing? How cruel the storm is to beat upon the tree…or is it…love? 

We cannot grow without storms

The storms cause the soil around the tree to loosen. Cracks in the ground open up, exposing elements to nature. Deep wounds may appear, then in the calm, they heal. In the calm, the loosened roots push down deeper for a more excellent grip. The gaps and wounds heal and strengthen. The sun appears, and new growth bursts forth. The tree is growing both upward and downward deeper into the soil. 

Do you feel the storm in your life?

Are you bowed over by the wind and fierceness of life’s storm? Do you feel like it is hate or cruelty? It may be the love of the kind that brings growth, and maturity. Resist the power of the storm, grow roots deeper, stand tall in the sunlight and grow in the knowledge of Christ and the Power of His might. 

Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now, hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

We are the trees of Thy planting,  O God, We are the trees of Thy wood.  

Now let the life-sap run, Clean through our every vein,

 Perfect what Thou hast began, God of the sun and rain.

Thou who dost measure the weight of wind,  Fit us for stress and strain!

A. W. C.

Be a tree planted by the waters that grow strong in the storms.

Your fruit will be sweet, and your choices will be productive.

Let your lightnside grow through the storm of life.