Sunday, August 27, 2017

August 28, 2017

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5:14-16

"A well-known Bible teacher has just finished speaking to a large class of business people on the Christians' responsibility to be light in the world. He had emphasized the as believers we all have the obligation to reflect the Light in the world, the Lord Jesus. 

The person relating the story said, "When I saw that, I thought, I may not a preacher or a teacher with the ability to expound Scripture, but a least I can be a copper kettle catching the rays of the S - O - N and reflect His light to someone."

It is instructive to realize when Jesus calls His disciples to be "the light of the world" He is not calling them to produce light but to reflect His light like the copper kettle did in the story.

Here are some practical truths that are illuminated by this shiny kettle:

Christians are called to be in the light. This kettle was hung near a basement window where it could be exposed to the light during the day.

You cannot be a follower of Christ unless you are in the light because He IS the light and He dwells in His believers.

Christians are to keep their lives clear and shiny. Though the kettle was positioned in the light, if it had been all tarnished and dull it would not have reflected sufficient light to give life to the potato.

Is your life dulled by the tarnish of sin and unable to reflect His light or is it pure and polished to brightly reflect God's light to others?

Christians are expected to be positioned between His light and the darkness of the world so they can strategically and effectively penetrate the darkness with God's light and life.

Are you remaining close enough to the darkness that you can impact it with the reflection of God's light?

When Jesus says, "You are the light of the world" He could have said, "I am the light and you are to be the reflector of My light into a dark and dying world."

August 27, 2017

Before I post the devotional thought this morning, I want to wish my youngest son, Marcus, a happy birthday. My baby boy turns 39 today. He is a great dad and hard-working young man. I am proud of him and love him very much!

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." James 5:16

Let me ask you a question. Is there something more important than healing in the church?

I guess it matters what your priorities are.

But, if I understand what James is telling us here, God values spiritual health above physical health. And if I am understanding the Scriptures correctly (and that's my job) God is saying that is easier for Him to heal your body than it is to give you spiritual health.

What are you talking about, Brad?

Let me explain it this way. Were I to ask, "How many of you would like physical healing?" I would imagine I would receive unanimous agreement.

Were I to ask, "How many of you want to be spiritually healthy" I am not so sure I would get such an enthusiastic response.

See, God can heal you physically because He is able and you are willing. But for you to be spiritually healthy you must surrender your will completely to Him and humbly obey Him. The same will that would allow Him to heal you physically might prevent Him from blessing you with spiritual health.

Spiritual health requires personal prayer. When you are troubled you share it with God in prayer. When you are happy, you praise Him with prayer and rejoicing. Essentially, what James is saying is that you and I must take personal responsibility for our personal spiritual health. Your spiritual and mental and emotional health is your responsibility (in cooperation with God).

Spiritual health also requires powerful prayer. What is powerful prayer? According to James, powerful prayer is the result of believers being completely honest before God and transparent with each other. Submitting to confession and accountability is the price for powerful prayer and spiritual health. Oh, by the way, something else happens too - physical healing!

Finally, spiritual health requires prevailing prayer. 

Prevailing prayer? James urges us to pray for those who are spiritually drifting and separated from God. You might call it intercessory prayer and you would be correct. But I want to tell you that when you combine personal prayer with powerful prayer you get prevailing prayer and God's Spirit moves on people! Especially, lost people!

So, physical healing is easier than spiritual health. They are related but they are not the same. Fortunately, you can have both!

If we can have both why then do churches often have neither?

Frankly, it is because we would rather be happy than holy. We would rather be comfortable than committed. We don't want to hold others accountable to be holy because their sins and shortcomings make us feel more comfortable with our own. Honestly, we are more comfortable with our sins than we are with His Spirit. We are more comfortable with our secrets than with His sanctifying presence.

So, you wonder why there are so many struggling Christians and unhealthy churches?

Go figure.....