When I was little, I used to sleepwalk frequently. I remember one particular, terrifying instance in which I slept walked into a corner in my room. I woke up and began banging the walls thinking I was trapped somehow. Darkness enveloped me, and I was afraid. No matter where I moved or put my hands, all I felt were the walls around me. Until my dad came in and turned on the light.
When the light came on, I realized I was still in the comfort of my room, and I easily found my way out of the corner I had been stuck in. Heart racing, I could see that I had only traveled a few feet from my bed. But because I couldn’t see, I was afraid.
In my confusion and fear, all I knew was the darkness. My fear clouded my judgement and ability to think beyond my situation. If I had just felt along the wall a few more feet, I would’ve been able to flip the light switch on and see there was nothing to be afraid of. But instead, I allowed the darkness to overcome me.
There is something so amazing about even the tiniest bit of light when you’ve been in the darkness for a long time. Even the smallest flame can illuminate a room full of solid black. John 1:5 says “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
The Bible says that we have been called out of darkness. That means that because of our sin, we deserve death and eternal darkness. But, because of God’s great grace and love for us, we don’t have to wander in the darkness anymore. Jesus has opened our eyes and turned the light switch on.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
His marvelous light.
You see, Jesus called us out of the darkness into the light, to be the light. We have not been called out of the darkness and experienced the light just to wander back into the darkness. No, in fact, Jesus calls us the light of the world.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14).
You may not feel like much of a light to the world. Maybe you are going through a season of darkness and wonder how you can possibly shine the light of Jesus. Maybe you are experiencing health problems, a wayward child, marital strife, or depression. And things seem way dark.
Let me encourage you to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of the darkness” as it says in our key verse for today. Instead of focusing on your “dark:” try being light to someone today. To your husband, your children, co-workers, and friends, shine the light of Jesus.
What does light look like? It looks like serving others and honoring them. It looks like showing grace and saying “I love you” when a family member hurts you. It looks like giving the waitress with subpar service a really awesome tip. It looks like walking across the street to check on your elderly neighbor. Light looks like volunteering an hour of your time a week to serve at church.
Today, let’s choose to be the marvelous light that Jesus has called us to be. Thankful that He has called us out of the darkness to be light to those who need it. Who can you be light to today?
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Jesus, Thank you for calling me out of the darkness to be the light. Show me today who I can shine the light of Jesus on. Give me the courage to show grace and love to others so they may see your light in me. Amen.
Author: Emily Goss
Sunday afternoon I had the chance to sit on the ground near some flowers in our yard. The kids joined me as we watched a butterfly sipping on some nectar. The kids were fascinated by it's little "straw."
It was such a satisfying moment, to simply sit and take in His creation, His beauty, His peace. It refreshed me to sit full of wonder and to gaze at something so simple yet so divinely complex and intricate. A butterfly on a flower.
It occurred to me that butterflies have purpose, and that they know and fulfill their purpose with quiet dignity and grace.
Something may come at them—a gust of wind for instance—but they reset
their course and keep on flying, seemingly unscathed by the blast of air
that tries to push them off course.
They seek out a patch of flowers and get back to their purpose.
So often we step from a peaceful garden into the rush hour of life, which can be busy,polluted, and loud.
We allow our joy and peace to slowly be stripped away, and our purpose becomes clouded. All sorts of voices work to deceive and lure us into believing lies about ourselves, about God, about life.
The voices work to distract us from worship, from community, from
The moment we make a poor choice, the voices begin highlighting our
failure, suggesting the improbability that His grace will cover us,
reminding us of our history of screw ups. Then, in shame, we run from
freedom and into prison cells.
Sometimes, it's someone else's mistake that pushes us into the prison; the vehicle delivering us there is called unforgiveness.
Either way, prison is not the place for children of God to dwell.
It is not the intended lifestyle we were created to have. No,we were created for freedom, for abundant life, for love, and for great purpose.
Nevertheless, we end up duped into a life of bondage and numb ourselves to the pain and grief we feel at our separation from our Father.
We imagine Him angry, thinking our mistakes are too much for Him to handle—again. But He hasn't changed—we have. Out of pride or disbelief or blindness or apathy, we often sit imprisoned in a web of lies and hopelessness, rather than planting our two feet firmly on His foundation and accepting His forgiveness and grace and promises.
Do we believe the Word of God or don't we?
He says that "as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our
transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:12). Let's take that to heart! He also
says "neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord"
(Romans 8:39). When we experience separation or distance from God, don't
look at Him as the culprit. Look no further than a mirror. We have to be
responsible with what He's given us. 2 Tim 1:14 says, "Guard the good
deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit
who lives in us." He has given us grace, mercy, love, purpose, and an
inheritance. He has commissioned us to go out and share the Good News, make
disciples, and heal those who haven't received from Him yet. We have what
it takes and are equipped with all we need.
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…" (2 Tim 1:6)
I'm speaking to my own spirit, body, and soul as I write this. It's time to
wake up! To fully engage in what God has in front of me right now. It may
not be the final position or place He has me in, but it's where I am now.
It's where I have authority and influence right now. Not tomorrow when I
get it all together. Not tomorrow when this or that lines up. Not when I
have more time. No,now. Lives are at stake all around us, souls bent on
destruction rather than salvation that need to hear from the Lord. He
desires to partner with us in His work. His Spirit beckons us…let's respond
with a resounding, YES, Lord!
Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”, so that none
of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in
Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very
end… “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in
the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:13-15)
Lord, give us strength to face our lives with determination and courage. Give us strength to embrace our season. Show us by Your Spirit what we need to see from Your perspective. Our help comes from You. You are mighty, and You are kind, and so our hearts rest in that. Thank You, God, for being our God!
Author: Kerri Barfield
One of my favorite parts of toddlerhood is the blossoming vocabulary. From cries and grunts, to syllables, then sentences. My almost fifteen-month-old now says over a dozen words, including her favorites:
“Daa-daa,” “ni-nite,” “kitty,” “juice,” “buh-bye” and, topping the list, “more.”
Several weeks ago my little talker was enjoying a feast of her favorite snacks at Nana’s house and, despite having two fists full of food, she looked straight at “her” box of goodies and said… you guessed it, “More! More!”
I looked on as my patient and wise mother-in-law tapped her finger on baby girl’s chubby hands and said, “Look—look at the “more” you already have!”
I chuckled, at first, but was taken aback by the sudden sting of conviction.
You see, like my little princess, I so often I find myself focusing on the things I feel that I lack, or that I deserve, instead of appreciating what I already possess— the “more” I already have.
While my kids are outspoken about their wishes and wants, to be honest, I sometimes hide mine under a guise of humility and contentment that doesn’t truly exist.
I think the struggle in this area is real for all of us. We say, “Jesus is enough!” and use #blessed, but inside we want, we wait…
For those new clothes, or nicer car (that product we feel will solve all our problems).
For the next child, or that next stage of life that, surely, is the answer to our restlessness.
For a bigger house or a bigger paycheck… because bigger is better, right?
Friends, let’s cut to the chase: I do believe that God truly desires to bless us. Abundantly.
But all the while I think he’s saying to me— to us, “Look at the ‘more’ you already have.” It’s convicting. It’s perspective-shifting.
I believe that the path to contentment begins when we shift our focus to what is already in our possession.
Let’s gaze at the photos on our walls and appreciate the beautiful, awesome family that God has hand-designed for us.
When we catch a glimpse of those dirty dishes in the sink, let’s send up a prayer of gratitude for the food that He has graciously provided, again.
And as we struggle to hide toys, clothes and other miscellaneous nick-knacks, moments before company arrives, let us thank Him for the excess we so often complain about.
When we practice intentional gratitude for the blessings we’ve been given, our voices drown out the greed that threatens to devour our contentment.
As we delight ourselves in the Lord, spending time in His presence, in joy and thanksgiving, our selfish desires will begin to mold to His perfect desire for our lives (which has a lot more to do with His mission than our heaping up for ourselves).
Friends, what is the “more” you already have today?
Think on that. Even more-- write them down.
I bet once you get started you won’t be able to stop!
Today, let your heart be overwhelmed by God’s grace, generosity and provision in your life—the “more” you already have.
Word of the Day:
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-21
Father, Thank you for all of the blessings you have lavishly given me— most of all, the gift of your Son, Jesus. You are so good, so generous and ever-faithful. Help me not to become tangled up in the web of “want,” but to find my delight and contentment in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Author: Katie Gibson
I am not always an awesome parent. I am going to be honest and say that there are many days when my only goal is that everyone makes it out alive.
Today, I am praying life over my three children who, ironically, I believe are trying to be the death of me.
My 20-year-old wants another year in El Salvador, and I want her stateside.
My 15-year-old wants to live in squalor; I am declaring his dwellings uninhabitable… oh, and he is currently sporting a rather large afro, sigh.
And the little one, well, today she is six going on 26, and believes she knows what’s best for her life… and my life too.
For those of you with babies, this may seem at the very least, exaggerated, but don’t judge me too quickly.
I’ve been where you are, and today I want to share with you (and remind myself of!) a few simple tips on raising a child of the King, so that when you have a day like I am having, you are able to just stop and take a breath and remind yourself that it is just a part of the journey.
Give more hugs than rebukes
There is a Chinese proverb that states the reason that people shout when they are angry is because their hearts are far away from one another and they must shout to be heard. Try to intentionally keep your heart near your child’s (try to remember where she is) so that your love and compassion is heard through your words. And give twice as many hugs as rebukes (Proverbs 15:1-33, I Cor 13:4).
Fight the battles that need fighting
There are many lessons that they will find out on their own, whether they hear them from you or not. Perhaps the shoes don’t go with the blouse, but we will foster a stronger relationship by allowing them to make more of their own choices when we can. If the decision they are making doesn’t go against God’s direction for our lives, let it be, and be supportive. If you are anticipating a battle, stand back and ask yourself, is this a battle that I need to fight (Eph. 6:4)?
Love them with the love of Christ
I know that this seems obvious, but before you pass this one, take a moment and really take it in. We know that we love our kids, but we spend a lot of time attempting to create them in the image that we would have them to be because let’s face it, we want them to be better than us. Instead of simply loving them, I challenge you to love them with the love of Christ. Accept them as they are, for who they are, not for what they do or don’t do (John 15:9, Romans 15:7).
Above all things, mommas, remember that God’s got this. It is true that we have been entrusted with the most important job in the Kingdom: growing Christ followers. But remember that we are not expected to do this alone, so let go and place every worry, and every care, at His feet, every day, as you continue this important work for the Kingdom. And when things get challenging, remind yourself that the journey is as important as the destination and if we trust Him, He will get us all there in one piece.
Word of the Day:
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV
Father, thank you for these beautiful children that you have placed in my care. Even on the difficult days, the love that I feel for them goes deeper than anything I could ever explain, yet I know that you love them more-- with a greater, deeper, more encompassing love. Thank you for loving them more than I ever could. Today I ask that you guide my steps as I walk before them and please guide my hand as I raise them for your Kingdom, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Author: Kandice Adams
I always chuckle a little when I think about how many roles I have...
Graphic designer; publicist; writer; cook; housekeeper; then there’s “Mom”— a role encompassing about 37 smaller roles like nurse, chauffeur, teacher… the list goes on.
But lately I’ve been thinking about another, more forgotten, role: psalmist.
No, I’m not a song-writer, and I suspect that 97% of you reading this aren’t either.
But, you see, the Lord has been doing great things in my family’s life. Over the past couple of months we’ve seen miracles performed, promises fulfilled, and God’s faithfulness on full-display. It’s been quite a ride, and as I dwell on it, all I always think to myself is:
I don’t want to forget this.
I don’t want my kids to forget this.
I feel a strong tug in my heart, telling me that these are the seasons of life I need to take note of, so when life takes its toll and doubt rears its ugly head, my family can stand strong on a strong foundation of faith.
King David was great at this. In the book of Psalms, we read His beautiful recounts of God’s faithfulness to Him, personally, and to God’s people, the Israelites. He penned these inspired words to be sung every time God’s people gathered, so that they would remember.
The truth is that, as parents, one of our main roles is to tell our children over and over about the goodness and faithfulness of God. These words plant seeds in their fertile little hearts that, one day, bloom the fruit of faith.
In Psalm 78:4, David writes, “We will… tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done” (ESV).
I absolutely LOVE this verse.
Friends, if we don’t tell our children about the “glorious deeds of the Lord,” who will? In a world that draws their hearts towards “lesser things” we must give our children a firm foundation of faith to stand on.
Maybe you’re like me, and you don’t have a lot of “free time” (honestly, the idea is foreign, lately). Keep it simple: start a journal. Commit to write once a day, once a week, or even once a month. Any recollection of God’s work in your family will be a treasure to your children for years to come. Get your children their own journal too- you’ll be surprised at what unfolds!
Maybe you’re crafty and have some flexible time. Make a scrapbook or brainstorm another way to collect stories and memorabilia of God’s faithfulness. Get your children involved by letting them draw pictures, and write their own recounts.
You see, my friend, we are all Psalmists. Let’s glorify God through remembering His glorious deeds, His might, and His wonders today.
Word of the Day:
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. (Psalm 78:4 ESV)
Father, thank you for each and every person you have entrusted to my care. Thank you for every good thing you have bestowed upon me and my family. Help me to glorify your name by bringing remembrance to your goodness and faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Author: Katie Gibson