Monthly Archives: April 2012

Reflections of His Light

Before we knew God we lived in darkness (sinful nature), but when we follow Jesus we live in God’s Light. How can that be?

The Bible says that Jesus is the light of the world and those who follow Him will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life. (John 8:12) Light dispels darkness.

Jesus tells us that not only do believers have His light inside of us, but that we are called to be  the light of the world! (Matthew 5:14) This is a pretty difficult command since the world wallows in darkness—sin, greed, lust, and unbelief. Yet we are called to reflect the light of Jesus, the same way the moon reflects the sun’s light.

We become light reflectors by staying close to God, doing good works in Jesus’ name, and developing the character of Jesus. Even our suffering causes us to see the face of God more clearly so we can be better reflectors of His light. “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Our light shines brightest when our sins have been confessed and forgiven. Any unconfessed sin casts a shadow on our light, and if our sin remains we may return to the darkness. “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness.(1John 1:9)

Those who come to the light desire truth. In Jesus’ time many people did not respond to His light because their deeds were evil and they loved the darkness.

Making a decision to follow Christ is not easy. It will cost us something, just as it cost Jesus everything. But it’s worth it—isn’t it?  (Judy Whittaker)


I Can’t—–But God Can

“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain and his disciples came to him. And he taught them saying……” (Matthew Chapters 5,6,7)

In his sermon on the mount, Jesus shows us that His absolute standards are impossible to reach. The best people will always fall short. We can never measure up to God’s righteousness. Our behavior might be excellent but God knows the motive behind our actions.

The sermon on the mount sets goals toward which followers of Jesus Christ must strive to attain. It is not an ideal whereby we must be perfect and give up because we’re not, but the goal is to help us master a new way of life.

As we glimpse who we really are, we mourn. According to what is required in the sermon on the mount, we see ourselves as spiritually bankrupt, desperately in need of God’s forgiveness and grace.

And this is just where God wants us! He can’t use us if we are puffed up in our own glory. We need to be emptied,broken, humble–like clay in the Master Potter’s hand to be shaped into the likeness of Christ. When we realize we cannot live up to God’s standards, we also realize that we need God in our life. In fact the Bible describes our own righteousness as “filthy rags.”. We only become right with God because of what Jesus did on the cross for us. He took our sins, died in our place, and is now alive in heaven. He gives those who trust in Him the gift of eternal life and makes us right with God.

The sermon on the mount illustrates the need for God in our life. I wouldn’t want to be without Him for one minute!  Would you? (Judy Whittaker) 

Playing Church

“Nevertheless, I have something against you because you have lost your first love.” (Revelation 2:4)

What happened
  to the church with the impressive brick and ivy-draped exterior——but whose interior resembles “dry bones”?

On Sunday morning the preacher preaches to a captive audience, quoting bits and pieces from the Bible, skillfully averting any passages that may offend someone in the pews. Ears are tickled with funny stories and intellectual “aha!” moments, and the congregation is entertained. But where is the transforming power of the gospel? How did they lose their first love—-the passion of Jesus Christ?

There were so many programs and wonderful church picnics, something for everyone to get involved in. Why they even gave some of their offerings to feed the poor with enough money left over to pay for one of the best worship teams one could imagine! So many works done in the name of the church, but the name of Jesus was rarely mentioned. When did the church of Jesus Christ become the church of good works? When did they lose their first love?

In the book of Revelation Jesus reprimanded the church of Ephesus . Although they were doing good works in Jesus’ name, they lost their first love–the love of Jesus. He told them to repent or they would be excluded from future blessings in heaven. (Revelation 2:4-7)

Does this description fit your church? If it does, then do not be afraid to stand for the sake of the gospel. The apostle Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation….” (Romans 1:16)

The blood of Jesus must be preached (the cross), because the Bible tells us without the shed blood of Jesus there is no forgiveness of  sins. (Hebrews 9:22) And without the gospel being preached there is no power. When we get to heaven, I doubt if God will be asking us what works we did—only what works we did in His name.

This is serious, my friends.  Take a stand and make a difference in your church. Know your Bible and if a doctrine does not line up with the Word of God, lovingly challenge the preacher who misquotes it. Respect people of different faiths who do not agree that the Bible is their authority, but if someone is preaching untruths from the Bible, then it is time for the church of Jesus Christ to stand up. Will you be one of the first in line?  (Judy Whittaker)

Unforgiveness—The Enemy Within

“….forgiving one another even as Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Joseph was his father’s favorite son of his old age and was hated by his jealous brothers. So they decided to kill him. One of his brothers showed mercy and convinced the other brothers to spare his life and throw him in a pit with no water instead. Arab traders came along, rescued Joseph from the pit, and sold him to the pharaoh of Egypt’s captain of the guard.

Years passed and because Joseph loved the Lord, God raised him up through many trials to be second to the pharaoh in governing Egypt. Due to a harsh famine in Israel, Joseph’s brothers came to him to beg for food. They didn’t know he was Joseph but Joseph recognized his brothers. He forgave them for their cruel conspiracy against him, gave them food and land, and said, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” (Genesis 50:20)

Forgiveness is a process. We can’t forgive by ourselves, but with God working through us we can. Unforgiveness is like a cancer that attacks our spirit, generating hate, resentment, and bitterness in our soul. When we forgive, we are free from the bondage of sin. Yes, according to the Bible, unforgiveness is a sin. “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:26)

On the cross, after being brutally beaten, Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) If we want to be more like Jesus we must learn to forgive, even if the other person doesn’t apologize. When we do not forgive we hold something against someone—as if that person owes us something. Andy Stanley, a noted theologian, pastor, and author wrote, “The essence of forgiveness is a decision to cancel a debt.”

Forgiving someone does not mean that all the breaches in the broken down walls of the relationship have to be restored, setting ourselves up for possibly more hurts and disappointments. We don’t want to allow ourselves to be doormats either. It simply means letting go and moving on if necessary.

When we forgive, we are forgiven. It is as simple and as complex as that. (Judy Whittaker)