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Archive for April, 2012

What can you see in total darkness?  Nothing!  You can’t see each other and you can’t see your surroundings.  If there is complete absence of light, you won’t even be able to see your own hand when held in front of your face!

 

If there is even the smallest amount of light, your eyes WILL capture it and adjust to be able to see.

 

The cornea provides the eye with much of its light focusing power. The iris is the colored part of your eye and is embedded with tiny muscles that dilate (widen) and constrict (narrow) the pupil to control the amount of light that enters the eye. (http://moderneyesoptometry.com)

 

If you were alone in  a room and shut off all the lights, chances are you will still be able to see a light coming from somewhere.   These days it’s hard to totally block out all light and your eyes will be drawn to any light, no matter how small.  It could even be a tiny red dot coming from something electronic.  If you lit a candle, your chances greatly increase at being able to see.  You can see people around you, your surroundings, and yourself (hands & legs, etc.)!

 

The Bible says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

 

How can you be the light?

 

  1. Pure living – Be something different than what people see in the rest of the world!  Last Sunday Pastor talked about how if we were “born again” we would hunger for what God wants, one of the things which is righteousness.

 

“so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”  —  Philippians 2:15

 

We can shine like stars!  When you look into the night sky, do you see the darkness, or do you see the stars?

 

Think back to what I said about the eye’s ability to focus in on light.  Remember what it was like in the dark room, with the candle?  You focused on the light, not the darkness.  You were drawn to the light, away from the darkness.  You couldn’t resist the light!  Your eyes were forced to the light like a magnet to metal.  You needed the light, you wanted more light, you were attracted to the light!

 

This is our job!  To be that light!  When we are the light, people will be drawn to us and ultimately to God, who is the SOURCE of light!

 

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – John 8:12

 

In order to be light to the world, we have to first accept the source of light.  Then we don’t have to walk in darkness!  What does it meant to walk in darkness?  Maybe it’s lack of sight (VISION).  God gives us that vision.  When we chose to follow Him, we start seeing the world for the first time through His eyes.  We see the beauty in all of His creation, His people, and His plans (which, by the way, are ALWAYS for good things for us, i.e. Jeremiah 29:11 — For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.)

 

  1. Be God’s hands – Bring something good into an evil world.  You can touch so many lives.  You can be a friend to someone who really needs it, you can help a neighbor who is suffering or just needs a hand with something, you can open your eyes (really open them wide!) and see the needs around you.

 

What would we do without light?  Imagine there were no stars, no moon, no sun, no lamps, no fire, no electricity or batteries to light anything up.  How could we function?  LIGHT IS SUPER IMPORTANT!  We need it to function.  We need it to be safe.  We need it to SEE!

 

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. – Proverbs 4:18

 

That’s us!  Shining ever brighter!

 

What does our light do?

 

  1. It brings hope — by breaking up the darkness.  There are a lot of things in this world that can bring a person down, cause pain or disappointment, and distract people from God’s love.  You can show them that God is real and loves people soooooooo much.
  2. It helps the lost – by pointing them to God.  Things don’t seem as scary when someone has a light and is pointing you in the right direction.  What’s it like to not know where you are?  What’s it like for a person to not know who they are?
  3. It brings beauty to darkness – because light is a beautiful thing!  God makes everything better when people find their way to Him.  We are gorgeous and sparkle (no, not like Edward) when we have His light.  We can show others how to find true happiness, joy, and peace no matter what is going on.  When you experience this, you can bring it to others.

 

Re-read the primary scripture and notice these words, “a city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl…”!

 

Don’t hide your light.  If you are a Christian and love God, don’t hide who you really are.  Put your light “on a stand” and let it bring light to everyone you come in contact with.  Be the kind of person that draws people to you, and turn their focus on GOD!  Let your light shine!

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AM-I-RIGHT?  Or AM-I-CRAZY?  Read this and tell me what you think!  I really want to know!

Are our brains and bodies wired for the kind of constant “connection” this technological “information age” has us participating in?

I thought I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the latest thing, but now I’m slipping and can’t wrap my head around all the things out there:   Iphones, Ipods, Ipads, Tablets, Netbooks, Notebooks, Laptops, E-Readers with WiFi…  all equipped with Facebook, Facetime, Twitter, Tagged, Texting, Talkbox, Instagram, Viddy, Vimeo, Oovoo, Skype, Spotify, and many other things – too many to keep track of!  It gives me a headache just to think about!

It’s like this:  Every parent tries to teach their kid not to talk to strangers, knowing you’re either scaring the POO out of your kid or fighting a losing battle!  (I recently saw a promotional video for a show called “My Kid Would Never Do That!” where diligent parents watched in shock as their young kids got into an ice cream truck with a stranger, lured by how cool it was to see the inside and of course, to get free ice cream.  It happened over & over & over…)   SOMETIMES THE TEMPTATION IS JUST TOO GREAT for their little minds to comprehend, and they fall into the trap of the very thing you have always warned them against!

That’s how I feel right now!  You teach your child/preteen/teen how to handle technology responsibly, the things that are right and wrong, how to protect themselves or to just plain behave, but SOMETIMES THE TEMPTATION IS JUST TOO GREAT for them to handle.  Hey, as adults we can get sucked in, so why not them?  Can they handle technology any better?

Not only that, but in this person’s opinion (right or wrong)… don’t we need to give our minds a rest every now and then?  Probably more often than we think!  TEENS & ADULTS:  How many times has your night been ruined by a text or a post that you read from someone else?  It used to be that we would go to school or work and come home and be able to relax… NOW, everyone from school and work comes home with you!!!!!

Are we bringing up a generation that will be burdened with excessive anxiousness, nervousness, narcissism, insecurities (like we need help on that one!), insomnia, fear, worry, and who knows what else?!  Is there such a thing as being TOO connected or having TOO MUCH information?  How do we rest?  How do we teach our children to rest?  Can we spend one day of the week “UNPLUGGED” to stay sane and get our feet back on the ground?  Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically we might need to start doing this, right?

There is even the good old-fashioned television lure where we are getting our minds sucked into a box where we become oblivious to our loved ones sitting right next to us.  Isn’t this also damaging to real-life relationships?

Please comment, like I said at the beginning… I’m dying to know what you think & how everyone else is handling this overwhelming issue with their children (and themselves)…  AM-I-RIGHT?  Or AM-I-CRAZY?

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U R SALT! Do ya have Flava?

FOR THE TEENS WHO MISSED LAST NIGHT…

How many people put salt on their food?  A lot of salt?

How do some foods taste without salt?

Does salt make things taste better?

Why is salt important in baking?

In Bible times, before they had refrigerators & coolers & lunch boxes & ice packs…  What did they use salt for?  (Preserving food, prolonging putrefaction & destruction, and of course for taste!)

Now that you know how AWESOME salt is, guess what Jesus said…

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”  Matthew 5:13

  1. AS SALT… WE BRING FLAVOR TO THE WORLD!  Do you have flavor?
  2. AS SALT…  WE CAN PRESERVE PEOPLE FROM DESTRUCTION!  Do you share your faith?
  3. AS SALT…  WE CAN PREVENT PUTREFACTION (Decay, overall yuckiness)!  Do you influence lives by pointing them towards morality or do you bring them down with you (decay)?

What would happen to salt if it lost all flavor?  It would be useless!  Salt that is not fresh or is exposed to wind, rain, sunlight, and air loses its flavor.  Also, there is such a thing as rock salt.  The outer layer is useless and must be chipped off, but the closer you get to the “rock” or the “core” of it, the saltier it is!

  1. WE LOSE OUR SALTINESS… When we are exposed to too much of the elements of this world!  What or WHO do you allow into your life?  Relationships, what you listen to, what you watch, places you go, things you do…  Are you EXPOSED to negativity, sin, materialism, etc.?
  2. WE LOSE OUR SALTINESS…  When we are not FRESH!  Every day we need to get closer to “the rock”, meaning Christ!  Stale salt is useless salt!

I was thinking about some other cool things salt is used for:

  1. SALT CAN MELT ICE…  God can use you to soften a heart that’s hardened towards Him.
  2. SALT CAN KILL WEEDS…  God can use you to cut through some things that threaten to strangle people in their Christian walk.
  3. SALT CAN CAUSE A CHEMICAL REACTION…  When mixed with ice, salt can lower the temperature to as much as -21 degrees…  God can use you to cause a Spiritual Reaction… you know, you can push others closer to God by your life, love, and example.
  4. SALT HEALS…  Ever rinsed your mouth out with salt water?  God can use you to bring healing to someone else!  It could be the emotional healing of sharing your testimony to help someone else through a hard time or even in the miraculous of physical healing!

Here is another place it talks about salt in the Bible:

“Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.”  Leviticus 2:13

The previous and next verses talk about being a pleasing aroma to God as they offered their sacrifices.

How does this apply to us?  Well…

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”  Romans 12:1

What does this mean?  WE are that sacrifice, meaning OUR lives!  Are we a pleasing aroma to God?  Or do we stink???

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It’s your life
Whatcha gonna do
The world is watching you
Everyday the choices you make…

…You can live the way you believe
This is your opportunity
To let your life be one that lights the way  —  Francesca Battistelli

This song came on when I was grumpy and unhappy with everyone. It was like a wake-up call, “It’s YOUR life, whatcha gonna do?” Am I going to sit around and wish for someone else’s life or try to be someone I’m not? Or am I just going to GET ON WITH IT and start living?

I was recently at my son’s track meet. I was watching the hurdles event, and the girls were first. They all lined up, waiting for the pop of the gun. They had practiced and were ready to go! One of the girls from our school had an amazing leap and speed to back it up. She was ahead and doing great! Then, just before the last hurdle she looked back to see how close the others were. She tripped over the last hurdle, knocking it over and ended up coming in third. I said out loud, “That’s crazy! She was doing so well! She would have come in first if she hadn’t looked back!”

Guess what?! Some of us do that same thing in our lives all the time! We are so caught up in what should’ve, would’ve, or could’ve been that we can’t move forward. We can be so overcome by past issues that we don’t recognize that our future is still a book yet to be written!

Probably not so different from you, I have been hurt by others before, many times. And over the course of my life there have been times that a path was chosen for me, a path I wouldn’t have taken myself. There are always things I would go back and change if I could, but of course, none of us have that power!

For a while now I have let frustration take over my thoughts and actions. My life has changed so much in the past year in ways I weren’t prepared for that had me feeling a little lost.   This has led to a sense of having no purpose, feeling useless, and an overwhelming uncertainty of my next step.  I’m still wondering today what on earth I’m supposed to be doing now!

Like I said earlier, I could sit here and wish things were different, but that doesn’t help! I CAN’T be like that girl looking back, because I will stumble and not come through with a strong finish!

Philippians 3: 13-14 — Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Remember this verse whenever you get stuck in the past or even wallowing in present unhappy circumstances! YOU are in charge of your life – move forward! Just put one foot in front of the other and start doing stuff again, even if you have to start small or start over. Don’t look back to see what everyone else is doing, just focus on doing what YOU are created to do!

I am me and you are you, for a reason! Don’t let insecurity or jealousy or frustration turn you into someone you’re not (speaking from experience here!). We ALL have a special gift given to us that only we can use! Each of our lives fit together like the pieces of a beautiful puzzle and we need each other. Don’t be someone else, because that would be like trying to jam a puzzle piece in that doesn’t fit. JUST BE YOU. Because you are pretty terrific!

Back to the song one more time… “It’s your life, whatcha gonna do?”

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