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Posts Tagged ‘shine’

A friend of mine posted a picture of how well her new solar lights worked in her yard.  When I saw it, the double meaning flashed across my brain.  So, I asked her if I could use it.

Solar lights work because they store up the sunlight during the day. It’s very easy to correlate the storing up of Christ’s Light through His word in us so we also can shine.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:6

But what was unique for me was how each lamp shined in a circular pattern.

We all have a circle of influence. First, are the people with whom we are in close contact. These are the people who see us day in and day out and with whom we have the most influence. Close friends, coworkers, family. It’s hard to hide our true self from these people. The more we have Christ’s Light in us, the more we will reflect Him in our day-to-day lives and shine into theirs as well.

Moving out in the spiral, are the people with whom we have casual contact. Notice the specks of light are further apart and do not touch. Perhaps these represent friends on social media or distant relatives. Friends we went to school with or old neighbors that moved away.  We occasionally keep in touch with them, especially if there is news to share.

Further out still may be the people on the peripheral edge of our lives. Perhaps those who benefit from our charitable donations, or the cashier who notices we actually smiled and called them by name. They get tiny snippets of light, but it can be enough to encourage them to draw closer to the Source.

Now, notice that each lamp has its own circle of influence, and the spiral they cast barely touch. It brought home to me that God has me planted where He wants me to be, and in touch with those I should be.  It’s my job to shine His grace and mercy, and to keep replenishing the Source so I can still be of use, lest I grow dim.

It’s a dark world out there, and it’s growing darker. Let’s all work harder at shining into other people’s lives, whether it is most of the time or a chance encounter. Let us never pass up an opportunity to shed a bit of God’s love.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.  2 Corinthians 4:6

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Do you ever feel nearly burned out? Can’t really hum This Little Light of Mine with fervor at that moment? Yeah, I know the feeling.

One of my duties at church is to make sure the candles on the altar are filled with  liquid wax/oil so they do not burn out during the service.  Because it is hard to determine the amount of influence the AC vents will have on the burn rate Sunday to Sunday, we always “top them off”… just in case.

Today, as I squirted the liquid inside the cylinders, God spoke to me. “You are running low, Julie. You need to be filled anew. Let Me refill you.”

And I have been. I admit it.  My light isn’t shining as brightly as it should because I have been dimmed by physical pain and a questioning of whether or not I have a secure employment future in this new year. Being a missionary is tough, especially when the funds don’t roll in.

Yes, I know…God provides. But lately my trust has slowly burned down to below normal levels. And that is when the devil can slip into the dark corners of the mind and begin to whisper doubts.

Today, my task at church reminded me of the parable of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25. The ones who kept their lamps primed with oil were the wise ones. They were always ready for the bridegroom.

As Christians, we should strive to always have our lamps filled so we are ready to shine when God calls upon us to do so– and to ward off the darkness where doubt, envy, and pouting lurks.When we shine our light brightly, it not only helps another to see the path but us as well. God illuminates us both, as well as others off to the side whom we may not notice are watching and wondering.

We can be refilled with the Holy Spirit through prayer and by meditating on His Word.  If we don’t do so regularly, our levels of faith will drop. We will shine brightly for a while, but slowly start to flicker and dim.  And when the time comes for God to use us, we  may not have enough in reserve.

So, if you don’t want to risk burnout think about how you can constantly be refilled…just in case. Then ask the Lord to help refill you so you are always ready to shine.

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  Psalm 18:28.

 

 

 


The internet is a vast mission field. At Campus Crusades of Canada’s  Power to Change, I edit and write for two websites that draw people closer to God:  Issues I Face  and The Life.   Our free articles and devotionals glean a readership of 500,000 plus a month. Some are believers, others don’t know what to believe. All are seeking. We help them know Jesus, one mouse click at a time.
But as with any missionary organization, we are funded solely through the donations of ministry partners. And at this moment, an anonymous beneficiary will match any and all donations up to one hundred thousand dollars. 
Find out more about my work as a writer and editor at  http://www.juliebcosgrove.com/missionary_support.html 

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I had to leave in five minutes. I looked down and gasped. During my showering and hair styling, my nail polish had chipped off on a few nails- ugh!

Now if you aren’t a gal, let me explain. This is equivalent to a button popped off or a mustard droplet on a necktie. Not the end of the world, but it definitely screams that you are not put together. Plus, all day you will be self-conscious and imagine everyone is giving you a wide berth and clicking their IMAG0225tongues.

Back to my plight: No time for a manicure. So I dabbed on some more polish to “smooth over” the rough spots. I knew better. With not quite dry nails I smudged two when I dug in my purse for my car keys. The newly applied coat actually revealed more of the “craters” rather than concealing it. Plus it adhered to the old, making the polish thicker and uneven in places, which made it chip off even more during the day. Now my nails really screamed “Mess!”  Sigh.

Well, God used this as a lesson. No, it’s not that I have a vanity thing, though there is that I suppose. But how often do we try to cover up our sins thinking the world will not see them?  We don’t have time to deal with it so we try a quick cover-up. I lost my temper so I will send her flowers.  I walked by without saying hello so I will text it later. I took home some copy paper from the office so tomorrow I’ll bring brownies. I used the Lord’s name in vain so I will put an extra dollar in the offering plate. Quick cover-ups never properly fix the problem.

To set things right, I needed to take the time to remove the old chipped-off stuff, apply a new coat or two of polish and then seal it. Or, at least remove the flaking color and leave my nails fresh and clean. However, that would leave them exposed. Polish and sealant help protect them from breaking. They also add a touch of attractive shine and glimmer.

IMAG0105Couldn’t the same be said of my soul? I need to take the time to remove sin by confessing to God, and perhaps another person, the wrong I’ve done which is chipping away at my relationship. Then I must reapply God’s polish–by reading His Word, colored with prayer and brushed on with a contrite heart–so I can again shine. Lastly, I need to once more be sealed by His merciful Spirit so I am protected. Otherwise, sin will just keep peeling off any attractiveness I present to the world. I will lose my attractiveness.

Thing is, if I’d called and apologized for running late due to a slight wardrobe malfunction, people would have understood. How much more difficult to say I’m going to be tardy because I need to get right with God and someone I’ve wronged,  and that is a process which can’t be rushed?

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

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IMAG0006A while back, my great-niece made me this rose. Rather ingenious, it is a silk flower and greenery glued around a tea light. She painstakingly hollowed out the rose, inserted the tea light, and then glued it all back together. You have to flip the switch underneath before it can softly glow from the inside out.

You see where my train of thought is going with this, right? You and I are that rose. When we ask Christ, the Light of the World, into our hearts He glows from within us and it oozes out of our countenance for the world to see. It enhances the beauty we were created to display because it comes from deep down within the center of our core. He has painstakingly glued us back together after we were broken and the world tore us apart. Now, we are a thing of beauty because we reflect Him as the center of our lives.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

But, here is the thing. Christ allows us the free will to turn His glowing presence in our lives on for others to see, or to turn it off. We are not so attractive when we are not glowing with His love and mercy. Each day, each situation, each encounter, we have the option to turn our attitude over and flip the switch– to be His Light shining into the darkened hearts of a hurting and bewildered world or not.

Who will you glow for today? Will it be a child in tears over a bully’s remark, a store clerk who is having an unappreciated, frazzled day, the homeless man with the cardboard sign, or your family member who just walked in the door and barked at you after a tough day?

 

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