Soaking and Seeking

Matthew 2:2 “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

We are in a culture of soaking.

There are so many entertainment outlets that attract our time. Multiple streaming TV apps are seeking your attention. Social media takes away our actual social time in real life. People in restaurants and walking together are soaking their lives away with their phones. We are in danger of losing the benefits of seeking and searching using our minds and hearts that produce real personal growth and maturity. Today’s blog will focus on three scriptures that describe seeking and the outcome.

Wise men from the east

Matthew chapter two describes some wise men noticing a star. Probably a supernatural event. These men were in the process of seeking new leadership for their country. As astrologers, they were looking in the heavens for answers (this was forbidden by God in the Old Testament.) God sent a supernatural star to attract them. It cost them much effort to follow the star. They had to leave what was comfortable and easy to cast off for an unknown journey. But the star drew something in their hearts. No one recorded how long they traveled. We know there were times of discouragement. The Wise men, in their journey, lost sight of the star and were asking, “Where is the newborn king? We saw the star and have come to worship him.” Then a short time later, they once again found the star which led them to Christ. When they found Jesus, their lives were forever changed.

Is God placing a star in your heart? Is there some supernatural attraction in your everyday life that is shining and beckoning you to follow? I encourage you to carve out some of the soaking time and begin to seek this Godly attraction in your life. It will cost you time and patience…but when you find your revelation, it will change you forever.

Behold I stand at the door and knock  

Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

This verse speaks of Christ knocking at the doors of his people. It was written to the church of Laodicea. It was a church that was rebuked because of their soaking instead of seeking. They were neither hot nor cold. They thought of themselves as rich but did not realize they were poor. Jesus is trying to turn their soaking into seeking. Jesus is trying to restore their first love.

Jesus says, ” I stand at the door and knock.” Notice the progression that takes place to turn soaking into seeking. Jesus said, “If anyone hears my voice.” He did not say if anyone heard the knocking. The progression goes from noticing a knocking at our hearts. As we begin to listen more closely, we begin to hear His voice call us. That is still not enough to change from soaking to seeking. How often have I heard Christ talk to me, and I continued doing whatever I was doing? But to him who STOPS, STANDS UP, and WALKS TO THE DOOR, and OPENS THE DOOR, Christ will come in. In this busy holiday season, take time out of the busy day to stop and open the door to Christ. Join a group, seek an online Bible study. Take some time to open the door to Christ. He will come in and bring His blessings with Him.

Jeremiah 13:29 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Matthew 2:10-11 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

Rev 3:20  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Let us determine to increase our seeking time by daily prayer, bible reading, and meditating on Christ. You will be delighted by what you find as you seek God. Seeking will fuel your lightnside with the presence of Hope and Peace.

Jesus led captivity captive

 Ephesians 4:7-10 But to each one of us, grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:

“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”

(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions?  He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 

When Christ died on the cross, what the devil thought was a victory for darkness was instead its defeat. Christ gave his life as a sacrifice for all mankind, and through His sacrifice, a mighty victory took place in the supernatural that forever provided hope for all. This passage of Christ’s victory comes from a quote in the Old Testament. Psalms 68:17-19 A Praise of God’s power and victory. God took captivity captive.

What is this captivity in this scripture that Christ took captive?

Captivity of the Old Testament saints.

When the saints died before Christ’s perfect sacrifice, they did not go to heaven. They went to a place of peace and comfort, a holding place possibly in lower earth. The righteous would be sent to “Abraham’s Bosom or side. The evil was taken to Hades, where there was the torment of flames. Read about this in Luke 16:19-26, the story of Lazarus and the beggar who died and awoke in this place. In the Old Testament, as the saints died, it says they were “gathered to their fathers” or “slept with their people” When Christ died on the cross for all sins, His blood provided the perfect sacrifice to cleanse hearts for God. Jesus went down and took the saints who had died in Christ with him to heaven.

Read Matthew 27:50-54, as the temple veil was torn, some of the dead saints who Christ had freed from Abraham’s Bosom, appeared to many and preached in the temples. Today, when Christians die, they are with God. 2 Corinthians 5:5-8 “ Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  For we live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

 Captivity – of death and the power of sin

When Christ died on the cross and paid the perfect sacrifice for all sin. Christ descended into all creation. Christ moved freely over all places Satan and his demons claimed. Colossians 2:15 “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Satan tried to kill Jesus at birth, wanted to kill him when preaching, tried to destroy Him in Gasthemene, tried to keep Him in the grave by a large rock and Roman guard. But Christ arose, and nothing could stop him. He went through all Satan’s domains of death, sin, hopelessness and defeated them by His blood.

Captivity – Personal bondages

Christ did ascend into heaven. But He also descended to us. The Blood of Christ and the Power of the Holy Spirit has descended from heaven to take captive what is captivating us. He has come to set us free. Christ wants to set us free and lift us to heavenly places, as described in Ephesians 1. 

Satans influence in the world and our desires puts us into bondage. We are captivated by anger, pride, unforgiveness, abuse, pain, depression, and other bondages. We are bound. If we could set ourselves free, we would. But the power of sin is too strong for us to overcome. Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected in power. He has ascended in great glory to the heavens, but he has also come down to you. He has come to offer to take captive what has captured you. 

Steps of freedom:

  1. Accept Jesus as Lord – Faith in him
  2. Learn about Jesus – Read about Jesus
  3. Trust in Him. Ask for strength.
  4. The Holy Spirit and the Blood of Christ will strengthen you and set you free.

Let Christ come a set you free so your lightnside can shine in victory.

Is Light special? Part 2

Genesis 1:1 …And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Thoughts from the book “Seeing is Believing” by Physicist Michael Guillen, PhD. If you like science or look up at the sky and wonder about the great creator, you may speak these words. ” Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. .. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,  what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

Light exists in a timeless world.

Not eternal, but timeless. 

Eternal means you are stuck within a timeline that goes on forever. Timeless means you exist outside of the timeline, outside time. Science says at the speed of light, time stops. Light, therefore, is not constrained by time. It is a timeless phenomenon. Christianity says God created time. He lives outside time and is not constrained by it. If you were to travel close to the speed of light, time would slow down. If you did travel at the speed of light, time for you would stop. You would be outside of time or timeless.

Light & God have a sacred status in the universe.

Light is the only created thing that can travel at 186,000 miles per second. Nothing else in the universe can match light. It stands alone and separated from all other creations. God first said, “Let there be light.”

God stands alone from all other creations. He is the alpha and omega. Isaiah 45:5 “I am the Lord, there is no other; apart from me, there is no God.

God is Light

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declares to you: God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all.

Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Psalms 89:15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.

Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

Light up your world

Call upon God and Jesus to shine the Light of Life into your heart. As you look at the stars and the heavens, let the light speak of the timeless, eternal God who spoke light into the world. Seek the Lord and let Him speak light into your life. There is a light from God through His Word to lighten our path in the dark world.

God, you are my light. You are my morning star. You are my lighthouse in life. Shine your presence through my life. You are my lightnside forever.

Is LIGHT special? Part 1

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

This blog and next week’s blog have information from a wonderful book called “Seeing is Believing” by Physicist Michael Guillen, PhD.  If you are a geek like me, you will love this book. If not, it is still a fantastic book where Michael records his story of a science-loving atheist finding his way to believing in Christ through curiosity and personal events. The book very clearly and simply takes you to the world of science and finds God through it. 

Everything on earth is either a particle or a wave. 

A rock, a car, your body all behave like particles. A particle holds its shape and travels only in one direction at a time. A ripple, a sound blast, all act like waves. A wave travels in all directions at one time. All scientists believed light was a wave until Einstein discovered light was also a particle.  Light is the only substance that is both a particle and a wave. It was like an even number could also be an odd number. There is no other substance like it.

Light does not obey the rules of ordinary matter.

In grade school, you would mix three primary colors with paint (matter), and it would produce the color black. On your TV and phones, the primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. When they are pointed together at one point (wave) they become white. The matter became black, and waves became white.

Jesus was totally man and totally God.

Jesus was born as a man (particle), and he traveled in one direction. His body was torn and beaten for all the world. Jesus died on the cross (particle) as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. When Jesus was resurrected, he was no longer an earthly man (particle); rather He became transformed into a presence like a (wave). He lives in our hearts. He is my light in side.  

John 1:1 In the beginning was the word…and the word became flesh.

Jesus was with God and was part of the Trinity, creating the universe. Then through love and obedience, Jesus became flesh. Wave to Particle. God to man, but yet still God. Jesus is today the light of the world and my own personal light. People who do not have Christ in them walk in darkness.  

Just like the author of “Seeing is Believing” followed the signs and truths of creation and the Bible to find the LIGHT OF THE WORLD,  so can you.  You cannot have a lightnside without the source of all light.

The brook dried up.

And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up. (1 Kings 17:7)

This week I am sharing a devotion and poem that touched my heart. It’s about those times of dryness or difficulty. While those days and times are unpleasant, we have the opportunity to grow closer to God than at any other time. The long night, the quiet heaven, the lonely road; when our souls are seeking an answer, but none comes. We are challenged to put our feelings aside and trust in God. Faith grows stronger through endurance and patience. Allow this devotion from “Springs in the Valley” to minister to you.

God sent Elijah to the brook and it dried up.

It did not prove equal to the need of the prophet. It failed; God knew it would; He made it to fail. “The brook dried up.” This is an aspect of the Divine providence that sorely perplexes our minds and tries our faith. God knows that there are heavenly whispers that men cannot hear till the drought of trouble and perhaps weariness has silenced the babbling brooks of joy. And He is not satisfied until we have learned to depend, not upon His gifts, but upon Himself. PERCY AINSWORTH

Poem by J. DANSON SMITH

His camp was pitched where Cherith’s stream was flowing— The man of God!
‘Twas God’s appointed spot!
When it might fail, he knew not; only knowing That God cared for his lot.

Full many days on Cherith’s bank he camped him, And from its cool refreshing, drew his share; And foolish fears of failing streams ne’er damped him; Was he not God’s own care?

Yet, lo, at length, the prospect strangely altered; The drought e’en Cherith’s fountain had assailed;
Slowly but sure, the flowing waters faltered Until, at last, they failed!

Then came the word from One whose eye beholding Saw that the stream, the living stream had dried,
Sending him forth, to find by new unfolding, None of his needs denied.

Perchance thou, too, hath camped by such sweet waters. And quenched with joy thy weary, parched soul’s thirst;
To find, as time goes on, thy streamlet alters from what it was at first.

Hearts that have cheered, or soothed, or blest, or strengthened,
Loves that have lavished so unstintedly, Joys, treasured joys—have passed, as time hath lengthened,

Into obscurity.

If thus, ah soul, the brook thy heart hath cherished Doth fail thee now—no more thy thirst assuage—
If its once glad, refreshing streams have perished, Let HIM thy heart engage.

He will not fail, nor mock, nor disappoint thee; His consolations change not with the years;
With oil of joy He surely will anoint thee, And wipe away thy tears.

Dear Lord, You give us blessings then you allow us to grow in faith by allowing the blessings to dry up. Holy Spirit, remind us to trust God. Remind us to look beyond the present and our feelings. Help us to look at Your blessings in the past and Your promises. We will trust you and be patient with our lightnside glowing brighter even as the brook runs dry.

Patience- unity of Spirit (3)

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble, gentle. Be PATIENT, bearing with one another in love.

As I was thinking about patience, the Holy Spirit placed Psalms 23 on my mind. All the verses can help me see the value and blessing of being patient in things of this world and patient for God’s work and direction in my life.

Patience in Ephesians 4:2 is being calm and non-reactive when mistreated. I believe Psalms 23 will cover the situations we find ourselves in as we walk this troubled world.

Psalm 23:1-6 NIV

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Patience – God loves and cares for me. He knows my needs and supplies what I need. I can have patience for God’s promises. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit give me what I need in my life. Even if it’s not what I would choose, with God, I lack nothing.

[2] He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

 Patience – Sometimes the Lord steps into the path I am walking and stops me cold. He makes things slow down and sometimes stops. I am not happy about it, and I may be frustrated that I am not going where I need to go…but I look at my surroundings, I begin to notice the beauty around me. God’s creation and wonder are on display. Over thousands of years, He has managed nature, and it is in perfect harmony. I notice I am beginning to be calm and peaceful. As I am patient, He quiets me in a safe place.

[3] he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Patience – God sends truth and peace to my heart as He begins to guide me on the right path. His presence refreshes me. I seek Him and wait for His guidance. Suddenly His path is revealed. I walk as Christ leads me. He, and His word, is a light to my path. Psalms 119:105.

 [4] Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

Patience – Life has its unexpected moments of difficulty and pain. The phone call, the doctor’s words, family issues. We walk through difficult times. We are mistreated and sometimes slandered. Sometimes we are accused of lies. I choose to be patient because I am not alone. We walk “through” them to the other side because God’s grace and His presence never left us. He is there sustaining you. In difficult times you can show the character of Christ to others through your patience with God’s presence. (I have more work to do in this area!!)

 Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Patience – Healthy kids enjoy structure and loving parents that believe in discipline. There is safety in fences. God’s word sets boundaries in my life. When I decide to cross that boundary, I know I will feel God’s rod and staff.  It is the love of God to bring correction in my life. He uses other people and situations to bring me back into His loving arms. Be patient in the punishments. When it’s done its work in your heart and life, you will be blessed and stronger.

 [5] You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Patience – Even in struggling times, we can be patient with God to bring help. Even in dark times, God brings incredible blessings to us, and in painful times the Holy Spirit anoints us with His presence. “God, help me to be patient and trust in you. Help me to look and enjoy your goodness and presence even in painful times. My heart overflows. It is the peace that passes all understanding. It’s the joy in the morning. It’s Jesus entering my storming ship to bring peace.”

[6] Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  

Patience – Lord, you are so good to me. I stand amazed as I look back and see Your goodness and love following me, covering me, and healing me. I am patient on this earth until the trumpet sounds, and I am called up to You to dwell forever in Your presence. 

Allow your patient Lightnside to glorify God this week.

Gentleness – Unity of Spirit (3)

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and GENTLE…

Where does gentleness start?

Gentleness is an inward trait that is not common to man in his lost state. A baby begins to understand the world revolves around them and is subject to them. The child starts to fight for dominance as they grow. If unchecked, the child will grow up selfish, manipulative, mean, and disrespectful to all. If the parents have a gentle spirit, they teach the child to grow in obedience, sharing, and kindness. It is a learned trait. Gentleness comes from teaching and an example.

Matthew 11:29 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

A change of perspective

The more we grow in the knowledge of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit in our character, the more like Christ we become. It is a change of our perspective of the world. Growing in Christ means looking at the world and others differently. We see situations more as Christ saw them. We begin to see people who earlier in our Christian walk we might profile them as rude and mean. Now we see them as broken people in search of hope. Instead of us reacting to their behavior, we respond out of our hearts. The trigger is love for others.  We become more gentle because our perspective about the world has changed. We begin to pray for our enemies. We begin to treat others with kindness because of our heart’s view. Our prayers in the morning are for people God has put in our lives and our hearts. We begin to love the world with a taste of God’s love. Our gentleness is not natural. It is a transformation from God’s Word, Christ’s cleaning power, and a gift of the Holy Spirit.

 Gentle Scriptures

Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience”

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”

1 Timothy 6:11 “But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness”.

Galatians 6:1 “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted”.

Titus 3:1-2 “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone”.

Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger” .

Proverbs 15:4 “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit”.

Let your lightnside reflect the gentleness God is giving you this week.

“I am Third” – Unity of Spirit (2)

I am third was posted on the wall of a well-known pastor. It was a constant reminder of his place in the world.

God is first, others are second, and I am third.

I bought this t-shirt at Zazzle.com

Our World

This concept is opposite to this world’s identity. We want to be known and appreciated. We want the most laughs, the most FaceBook likes, and friends. Most of us have some pride issues.

Eph 4:3 begins the instructions to us for keeping the unity of the Spirit. It begins with the requirements for “living a life, or walking, worthy of your calling. Ephesians 4:3 begins with “be completely humble.”
Humility’s definition is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance. ” Confession time, “I wrestle with this. “

Philippians 2:3-4 NIV Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Our Biblical example is Christ.

Philippians 2:5-8 NIV In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Jesus did not use His position as totally God to gain any advantage on earth. Instead, Jesus accepted servanthood and obedience to God and earthly parents who were far from perfect. Even to the cross, He humbled himself to die as an innocent sacrifice for our proud sins.

The test

Look back one week and evaluate your humility. From 1 being very humble to 10 being very self-centered, where would you stand? If you are like me, I need to repent and take on the mind of Christ to understand “I am third.” Join me as we journey toward being more humble. The Holy Spirit is needed to remind us and advise us how to be humble when we want the focus to be on ourselves.

Matthew 23:12 NIV For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

Let your lightnside shine out to others and Christ.

OUCH!

Romans 9:20 “Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

During my devotions this week I read from “Springs in the Valley” the words below that touched my heart.  You may find yourself in a difficult situation.  Maybe you have pain in your body, relationships, or other difficulties.  As I read the words below I thought of Joseph, Daniel, David, Paul, Peter, and of course Christ.  If you are in pain,  let the words below bless you as they did me.

The Wood Complained

A piece of wood once bitterly complained because it was being cut and filled with rifts and holes; but he who held the wood and whose knife was cutting into it so remorselessly did not listen to the sore complaining. He was making a flute out of the wood he held, and was too wise to desist when entreated to do so. He said: “Oh, thou foolish piece of wood, without these rifts and holes thou wouldst be only a mere stick forever—a bit of hard black ebony with no power to make music or to be of any use. These rifts that I am making, which seem to be destroying thee, will change thee into a flute, and thy sweet music then shall charm the souls of men.

The Wood Blessed the World

My cutting thee is the making of thee, for then thou shalt be precious and valuable, and a blessing in the world.”

Not till life is broken is it ready for the Master’s use.

David could never have sung his sweetest songs had he not been sorely afflicted. His afflictions made his life an instrument on which God could breathe the music of His love to charm and soothe the hearts of men.

Let your lightnside burn bright as you are prepared by the Master for His use.

Unity of the Spirit (1)

Ephesians 4:2 I urge you to live a life worthy of your calling.

Paul recognizes the first three chapters of Ephesians as a beautiful section of promises, purposes, blessings, and revelations God has for us. We are a part of the eternal church filled with the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The first three chapters are like being on the Mt of Transfiguration. All is wonderful and over whelping.

Then we come down the mountain into a demonic and fallen world.
The realities of our sinfulness and Satan’s attempts to destroy unity comes to us in full power.

Since we are prisoners of God by choice, Paul knew we must set some guidelines for our daily lives. So he begins with this suggestion: “I urge you to live a life worthy of your calling.”

I urge you (niv), beg you (nlt), beech you (nkjv)

The beginning words of verse 2 would say what is to follow would not happen automatically. Paul is speaking of a passion or effort that is not a natural reaction in life. Paul is stating the desired responses in life will demand a focused, determined, and thoughtful action.

Live a life (niv), lead a life (nlt), walk in a manor (nkjv)

These words have time and movement in them. We all are on a continuous road from birth to death. We will walk from youth to senior life. We will walk through various stages in life, each with its challenges to overcome. You will face great joys along with great pain. There will be times of comfort and time, especially of fear.

Worthy of the calling (niv), worthy of your calling (nlt), worthy of the calling (nkjv)

God’s calling to us and our accepting Jesus as our savior is a calling to live life at a higher level than we were without Christ. With God bringing life into our once dead spirit, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts to help us raise our standards in relationships, desires, and goals.
How many people do you see claiming to be a Christian, but their choices, language, and emotions seem very ungodly. A worthy life is not to put to shame Christ’s name through our actions. Walking worthy is a lifelong process, and we cannot do it without help from the Holy Spirit.

You have received (niv), You have been called by God (nlt), in which you have received (nkjv).

God has called you to be a vessel of His glory. To be a light in a dark world. To stand out from the darkness with a holy light in your path.

Paul’s urging is a hint. Your calling to live a holy life will not be natural. It won’t be easy at times. Everything inside you will vote against being worthy when you are in pain, when you are challenged, when the crowd promotes a different direction than your calling. See God, pray, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and strength. Your life will be transformed into a life worthy of your calling.

Let your lightnside shine a life worthy of your calling…for God has called you.