A Light to the Darkness

I arrived in the darkness, just like every other winter Sunday night. The drive was so familiar – I’ve made the trip for many years of my life. There was no reason to expect anything new or different – none whatsoever.

I think that may be one of the things I appreciate most about God – that when He makes changes in our lives, old things – ones we’ve seen numerous times – can seem brand new!

I sat in the parking lot at the church waiting for my son to be done at youth group. The evening was completely dark except for a few lights inside the church.

Light drives out darkness – whether it’s a small candle flickering or a bright spotlight directing our focus. And we’re attracted to the light – we’re drawn to it in order to see through the darkness.

That night was not the first night I noticed the steeple light, but it was the first night I noticed the direction of the light.

How our lives can be a light to the world

The parking lot is on the opposite side of the church than the road. As I sat there, all I could see was the one light that shines in the steeple tower.

It reminded me of the house light that we put on when we’re waiting for a family member to come home.

Family knows where home is, and they know the light will be on waiting for them. They know how to get there and they don’t need anything other than the light to welcome them home. Wherever they go, they know that the porch light will be on, welcoming them.

Around the other side of the church, the side of the church that faces the road,
there is a bright spotlight that shines on the steeple.

There are many who travel through life, lost and unsure of where they are headed, or how to get there.

It is for those – the lost, the weary, the discouraged – that we need to give adequate directions. We need to be a light to the lost world.

And it’s for those that the church shines the spotlight on the steeple – pointing the world to the cross.

This Sunday, Easter, many of us will go to church as we usually do. We will gather with family and friends at our familiar place of worship. It’s our job to hear what God is saying to us, to take to heart what we are being taught.

Why?

Because there’s a whole world out there who needs to hear what we have to say. They need to know the way to come home. They need us to be the light that points them to the cross.

They need to know that Jesus came for our redemption, that He died, was buried and rose again on the third day. (Luke chapters 23 and 24)

That’s not the end of the story, though.

One day, He is coming back. That’s the hope of the story. That’s the reason for the light that shines onto the side of the steeple that faces the road. That’s the reason for us to share God’s Word, the story of Easter, with our friends and family.

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
from Casting Crowns’ song “Glorious Day

Happy Easter! May God bless you and your family as you celebrate the resurrection of our Savior!

Rebekah M. Hallberg

Rebekah has been completely overwhelmed by the grace and mercy of the Lord in her life. He has proven His faithfulness in every area of her life, especially in her marriage. She has come to understand the power of redemption and God’s work in her own marriage. Her goal is to be Sharing Redemption’s Stories – encouraging wives who are praying for redemption in their marriage.

The One Time You Want to Be a Fool

I have a little confession to make:  I am afraid to fail, to look a fool.

Recently I realized I’ve been afraid to get excited about our church plant opening in less than two weeks.  Yes, me, a church planter’s wife. Afraid.

It all sounded so exciting back in the beginning and even leading up to the planning for our opening Sunday. But as the time draws nearer, I feel that familiar fear creeping up on me. What if we fail?

You know that fear, don’t you, friend?

Often we fear to take important steps forward in God’s plan for our lives because we might end up looking foolish if things don’t work out the way we think they will.

So we remain paralyzed, stuck.

I believe it’s the enemy’s favorite tactic when God’s people set out to serve and obey Him.  If he can overwhelm us with fear, then maybe we’ll freeze in place or start stepping backwards instead of forwards. Maybe we’ll even turn around, tuck tail, and run like Jonah in the opposite direction.

Maybe we won’t want to be fools for Christ.

But what the enemy doesn’t want you to know is that no effort is wasted when it is done in the name of the Lord. There is no such thing as failure in God’s economy when we walk forward in obedience!

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. Gal. 6:9 NASB

Often the Lord asks us to do things that just don't make sense to the world or even fellow believers.  Throughout the Bible we see the evidence of such "fools for Christ." Are we willing to risk that label? And if so, what are the consequences? The One Time You Want to be a Fool

Consider these biblical “fools for Christ”:

Abraham sacrificed security and uprooted his entire family with no final destination in mind, then became the father of nations.

While building the ark, Noah preached for 100 years with zero converts, but his family was saved.

Daniel spent the night in the lions’ den, risking death rather than giving up prayer and changed the law of the land. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked into a fiery furnace rather than bow to an idol and influenced the heart of the King of Babylon.

Mary faced a world of scorn for the miraculous conception of the child within her, yet she gave birth to the Son of God.

And consider Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who had every right to strike his enemies dead rather than suffer on the cross for us.  Even as he strained for breath, those around him taunted:

And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”  Luke 23:35 NASB

If Christ Himself was willing to look the fool for laying down His own life, why are we so hesitant to do so when laying down ours?

Why am I afraid to look a fool for the sake of His call?

Pride.

My own stinkin’ pride.

I’m learning that I’ve got to get over that silly pride issue if I want to be an effective servant of the Lord.  And you need to, also, friend.

This quote from recently departed Justice Scalia really speaks to me:

“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and he has not been disappointed. … If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

Pride is the enemy of Courage.

If we want to be courageous, we must be willing to put our pride at risk, yes?

Listen, friends, maybe we can’t all have the influence of men like Abraham or Justice Scalia, or women like Mary, but we can all be everyday fools for Christ.

We can be fools for Christ by…

  • choosing forgiveness when the world would hold onto anger
  • raising children God’s way even if those around us scoff
  • remaining in a wounded marriage when friends advise divorce
  • sacrificing time to live on mission right where we are
  • following Christ into ministry even though we feel inadequate
  • packing up and moving when He says to go
  • writing when God says write or speaking when led to speak even if we’ve never done it before

We can be fools for Christ in a million other ways by simply following Him moment by moment, day by day.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” Jim Elliot

We can leave jobs, and homes, and families, and possessions, all for the sake of Christ and count it as gain! We can look naysayers in the eye and say with confidence, “I aim to follow the Lord – that’s the best I can do.”

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…” Phil. 3:7-8 NASB

Don’t be afraid to lay down your life like a fool no matter what anyone else has to say about it because the rewards are both now and for eternity.

What is it that the Lord wants you to do for Him?

Will you follow no matter the cost?

Be fools for Christ!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Wholehearted Wednesdays, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

12 Verses for Easter Meditations

Each year I see them peeking through the lingering snow – the red buds on the large tree outside my window – and I know Spring is near.  Not long after, the robins return to our backyard with their morning chirping, and soon the green tips of our tulips will push through the water-logged ground.

Spring equals new life here in the Midwest. And each year it seems as though Spring prepares the way for Easter Sunday, the celebration of a living Savior who came to bring us new life!

Yes, the free gift of salvation is well-celebrated during Lent and the Easter season, but how often do we forget the joy of our salvation in the busyness and mundane moments of everyday life? I know I’m guilty.  It’s easy to forget the miracle and power of our spiritual rebirth, isn’t it?

If we can’t be excited about our own faith, about God’s free gift that none of us deserve, then how can we expect others to be interested in it?

With those thoughts in mind, I’ve collected a dozen verses for Easter meditations.

12 Verses for Easter Meditations

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51

… I’m sharing the rest of these verses for Easter meditations over at my friend’s blog, Sharing Redemption’s Stories. Click the link or the image below to join us at her place!

Sometimes we grow so busy living on mission for Christ that we forget the joy of our salvation, and we begin to take it for granted. Here are 12 scriptures to meditate on this Easter that will remind you of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.