Friday, September 29, 2023

A Reflected Light

 Friday, September 29, 2023

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

People are watching you - what do they see? What they see has an influence on them. And it should. You see, Jesus told us that we would have an influence in this world, yet so many of us Christians are no different than the world. We all need the light of Jesus in our lives to flood the darkness of sin, fear, insecurity, and more.   

It is a Reflected Light 
Christ was light by His own nature and brilliance.  One of the greatest illustrations on this point that I have heard was often used by Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse. He used to say that when Christ was in the world He was a bit like the sun which is here by day and gone at night. But when the sun goes down the moon comes up, and the moon is a picture of the Church — of Christians. It shines, but it does not shine by its own light. It shines only because it reflects the light of the SON. 

Jesus said of Himself in John 8:12, "I am the light of the world." But when He was thinking of the fact that one day He would be taken out of the world He said, "You are the light of the world."  And that is why the world is in such darkness today. At times the Church is a full moon, in the midst of revival and at other times the Church is a new moon and you can barely see it. But whether it is a full moon or a new moon or only a waxing or a waning quarter it glows because of the sun. In the same way, you and I can show forth light only if we reflect the real light of the Lord Jesus - the son.  We have no light but that which we possess and reflect from Him.  

What You Feel Within…You Give Without
When I was a young girl, I was in a ballet class taught by an older German woman named Minta Boyce.  If there is one thing I remember that Mrs. Minta Boyce taught me it is that whatever you have inside comes out.  She always said “What you feel within, you give without”.  I can still hear her voice and it is true.  If we are angry, bitter, hateful, ungracious or any other array of negative feelings, we simply have a hard time hiding it.  We are human but sometimes we have to overcome.  That is our decision when we decide to be a Christian – to overcome through the power of Christ.  When we have “un-Christian” feelings, we need to take them to the cross and ask His help so we can overcome because the world will notice and they will be happy and quick to point a finger at a Christian who is acting “unchristian”.  I don’t believe in living a life where you are always pretending to be perfect.  I believe in authentic Christianity where we make mistakes and with the grace, mercy, and light of Jesus we can overcome and spread His light to the rest of the world.

Garbage In…Garbage Out
As Christians we also need to be careful with the “stuff” we let into our hearts and heads.  We "shine" whatever we reflect or stand before.  If the wisdom of men is what we receive then that is what we will reflect. The Christian will be as effective in shining as he is in maintaining his purity and cleanliness before God.  As a dirty mirror dulls any reflection, so will our sin dull our light before men. Our brilliance is not dependent on our knowledge, but our purity.  Fill your heart and head with the light of Christ so that you “shine” His love through your reflection.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Joy Comes in the Morning

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Joy Comes in the Morning – Psalm 30 Submitted by Kay Crumley

Many of us face challenges and discouragements only to have relief provided to us in unexpected waysIn Psalm 30 David is sure of the source of his deliveranceHe is celebrating the completion of his palaceIt is magnificent in its splendorHe is dedicating it to the Lord and giving Him all the honor and praiseDavid recalls some of the past challenges of his life and is crediting God with bringing him to the place in his life.   

1 I will exalt you, Lord, 
because you have lifted me up 
and have not allowed my enemies 
to triumph over me. 
2 Lord my God, 
I cried to you for help, and you healed me. 
3 Lord, you brought me up from Sheol; 
you spared me from among those 
going down to the Pit. 

4 Sing to the Lord, you his faithful ones, 
and praise his holy name. 


David is praising God for the fact that he has not been killed by his enemiesDavid knew that God established him as King of IsraelThe first King of Israel, King Saul, tried to have David killed yet God was ever present to guide David and give him victory over his enemiesDavid knew that the kingdom he ruled really belonged to GodDavid was just the overseer not the Master over the Kingdom of IsraelIn that capacity, David’s desire was to be used by God to bless God’s people.   

He recalls that God had lifted him out of the pit, the grave, and had healed himMany times, in David’s life, God protected him from certain destructionNow he is praising God for sparing him from deathNow, at this time of celebration and dedication of his palace, David is imploring those gathered around to join him is praising God’s Holy name.   

David is overcome but the outpouring of God’s love and protection to himWe must take time to review the circumstances of our lives and look back at ways God has intervened.  As we begin to recognize His hand of protection, guidance, and grace we need to take time to praise and thank Him.  That may cause us to be so full of gratitude that we will, like David, realize that our one voice isn’t enough to fully praise HimWe will be compelled to share the goodness of God in our own lives with others and implore them to join us in worshipping HimWhile we may not have the same dramatic history that we’ll fine as we study King David’s life that doesn’t mean we have not experienced His graceDon’t fail to miss His blessings in even the common course of our livesPerhaps being just a bit late to your destination has allowed you miss being in a wreckI try always to remember that God can, and does, use the circumstances that may aggravate me to turn it in to a blessing if I am only open to seeing His hand at work.   


In vs 5 David shows an important reason for praising God. 

5 For his anger lasts only a moment, 
but his favor, a lifetime. 
Weeping may stay overnight, 
but there is joy in the morning. 


God is our judge, and He must correct us for us to be molded into His imageHis anger for our disobedience is an indication that He cares for us and loves us enough to discipline usThe good news is that His anger is short lived but His favor, His grace, lasts a lifetime, it endures foreverWe experience times of remorse, deep sadness, and weeping when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, our disobedience to HimHowever, there is joy in the morning when we have experienced His forgivenessMorning always follows night, God’s comfort and joy is restored to His people who seek Him and repent of their sinThis is the image of the suffering of Christ as He died on the cross followed by the joy in the morning because of His resurrection.   

We can have the same confidence that David had that our Savior will bring joy to our lives as we seek His favor by spending time with Him in study, prayer, and obediently living by His precepts.   David ended this chapter the way he began it, vs 12b Lord my God, I will praise you foreverI pray that I will praise God forever, He is worthy of ALL our praise.   

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

What Real Worship Looks Like

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 

Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Hebrews 13:15

What Real Worship Looks Like

We all have a vision in our heads of what “worship” is supposed to look like. This vision can keep us from worshipping when we need to the most - in the midst of difficult circumstances. 

God knows us inside and out and He knows how hard it is for us to get through the tough days, and the tough days are not void of Sundays. So many of us come into church on Sunday carrying the weight of the world in burdens, and church is a great place to bring them. Do not leave them at the door - bring them right down to the feet of Jesus. 

Worship looks like what we can give. I think Jesus loves it when we can come to Him just as we are, hand our burdens over to Him, and worship Him - right in the middle of the tough times. When the walls are coming down, the medical diagnosis is not the one you want, you are going through a divorce or other relationship issues, the bank account is empty, praise may be the last thing you feel like doing. This is when personal sacrifice is required to worship. It takes an intentional action to lay it all on the altar, and praise Him, even when you don’t understand it.

Real worship looks like…

It may look like weeping.

It may look like singing.

It may look like a bowed head in silence. 

It may look like face down on the ground in the privacy of your living room. 

It may look like prayer at the altar. 

Whatever you have to give Him, as long as you still give it, is the worship He wants from you. It does not always have to look like a smile on your face, hands raised, singing loud and proud. The best worship, the kind that is a balm to your soul, is the kind that is given out of a broken heart. Real worship looks like praising God in the real truth of our lives. He does not want us to come in false pretenses of a seemingly all put together life. He wants us to bring it all to Him, failures and shortcomings, and everything. 

When we praise God in the middle of the storm, we are choosing to believe that even though things are not going the way we thought they would, and we don’t see our way through, God is still good and can be trusted. He is glorified and our faith will be strengthened. Real worship comes from a heart in good times and bad, regardless of circumstances. 

Our God is always good and always deserves to be worshipped and adored, even in the hard times and when we don’t understand. Our sacrifice of praise falls sweetly on the ears of a Heavenly Father who loves us, cares about us, and longs for us to bring our burdens to Him. So do not think that you cannot come to church because you cannot be the perfect worshipper today. Come as you are, give Him your burdens and worship with what you have. It is all He wants. 

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Reflecting His Glory

Tuesday, September 26, 2023
…but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Reflecting His Glory

We all have a veil covering our hearts - a veil of sin. That sin is a barrier that veils the glory of God and all His goodness and mercy when we don’t know Him. This veil separates us from seeing God and His love for us - and our need for Him. When we turn to Him, that veil is taken away in Jesus. Until then we are veiled to the knowledge and glory of Him. When we witness to others, they have this veil, and if they are not ready to receive His Gospel, they won’t hear it. Our prayer for the unsaved is that they will be ready to be unveiled, and to hear and receive. 

Even as Christians we can still have a veil over our hearts. Sin still finds its way in and creates the barrier between us and our Savior. It veils His glory, muffles His voice and dulls our awareness of the gap between us and Him that our sin creates. 

Jesus removes the barrier between us and God. Through His death on the cross, He made a way for us to ask for forgiveness and repent. He removes the veil from our hearts, bringing us into communion with God. Only then can we know and reflect His glory.  

Moses met with the Lord on Mount Sinai after the people of Israel committed idolatry. He met God face to face and he got to behold the full glory of God. After seeing the glory of God, we read what happened in Exodus 34:29-30; 33-35: As Moses descended from Mount Sinai—with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands as he descended the mountain—he did not realize that the skin of his face shone as a result of his speaking with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face shone! They were afraid to come near him… When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever Moses went before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil until he came out. After he came out, he would tell the Israelites what he had been commanded, and the Israelites would see that Moses’s face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil over his face again until he went to speak with the Lord.

Moses was in the presence of God for a limited time, and the glory of God faded. His face stopped glowing so brightly after a while. But we have the privilege of abiding in His presence. We never have to leave the mountaintop to come back down to the camp. He is always with us, wherever we are. When we abide in Him, His glory never fades from our lives. 

When we spend time with the Lord it shows all over us. It shows on our faces - our countenance. It shows in our actions and in our words. And when we have that intimacy with God, we have pure, unfiltered worship and adoration for Him. Unveiled - no barriers. Authentic worship. 

When we can see His glory - with unveiled hearts - He can be the object of our affections as He deserves. Abiding in Him gives us the reflection that we need to reflect to the rest of the world. When we abide in Him we see His glory and it shines all over us, and through us to those around us. This glory is reflected in our worship. When He is the object of our affections, and therefore our worship, we have pure, authentic worship.


Monday, September 25, 2023

Worship in Spirit and Truth

Monday, September 25, 2023

Jesus said to her, woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:21-24

Worship in Spirit and Truth

In this scripture, Jesus is talking to a woman He met at a well. Jesus knew this woman. He knew everything about her, all her sins and failures, how many times she had been married and that she was now living with a man she wasn't married to. When Jesus calls her out about the truth of her life, she tries to change the subject to religion.

The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that tin Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship. John 4:19-20

She used religion to divert the conversation away from the uncomfortable subject of her personal life. And Jesus answered…

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. 

Jesus tells her that true worship is in spirit and truth and that God seeks such people to worship Him. This woman had so many strikes against her. Not only did her reputation precede her, but she was a Samaritan, a nationality that Jews traditionally despised and disrespected.  She had been rejected, shamed and shunned by the other women of the area because of her immoral lifestyle and choices. She came to the well when the morning rush hour was over because she was embarrassed and ashamed.  She did not want to face the stares and hear the whispers.  So instead of coming in the cool of early morning, she comes in the heat of the day to avoid condemnation.  And who does she run into? The King of Kings Himself. The Messiah. Her Messiah. Jesus Himself - the only one who is even worthy of condemning her - did not offer condemnation. He offered her living water.

It is easy to show up in church, looking like you got it all together and your heart is in the right place to worship. But so many times we show up in church with our hearts bandaged and when the layers of bandages begin to get so overwhelming that we cannot figure out which one is even the newest one, it is easier to ignore it and keep going. Minimize the bleeding and smile. Hands raised in praise because we know all the things, and we pretend we are OK. But how can we even begin to feel His holiness and worship Him until we rip the bandages off, look at our lives in reality and lay it at His feet? We hobble into church so hindered by our lives and burdens that we cannot worship Him in Spirit and Truth. Dealing with the reality of what it is and giving it to Him frees us and leaves us wide open to witness His holiness and power in our lives, and to fully focus on worshipping Him in Spirit and Truth.

Worshipping in Spirit and in Truth is to intimately know the God you are worshipping and to focus your affections on Him in worship - not on the wounds we bear. He waits for you and me, just as he waited for the woman at the well. He longs to take the burden from us so we can be free and worship. 

This woman didn’t know who she was meeting at the well. She couldn’t hide the wounds of her life with ripped and worn bandages because He already knew everything beneath the surface. She went away free, in worshipping in spirit and truth and told many others about Him and their lives were changed too. We have this freedom when we come to Him - to give Him our burdens, and worship. Only then can we truly worship in spirit and truth. 

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The Heart of Worship

 The Heart of Worship

The Holy Spirit transforms us from the inside out.Worship represents the primary means of our transformation into the image of Almighty God.  We can’t be like Christ if we’re not reflecting Christ, and we can’t reflect Christ if we don’t first look to Christ. We will not look to Him unless worship becomes the foundation upon which we build our lives for the Lord. Worship is not about us! It’s about Him!

Key Truth: God is seeking people who will worship Him more than anyone or anything

1. Our Life’s Privilege Is to Receive Christ.

2. Our Life’s Purpose Is to Reflect Christ.

3. Our Life’s Priority Is to Resemble Christ.

Friday, September 22, 2023


Friday, September 22, 2023

Then Moses made Israel set out from the Red Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur.  They went three days into the wilderness and found no water.  Exodus 15:22

The wilderness can be a beautiful place when you are prepared and headed there on purpose for an adventure.  Some wildernesses have life – plants and animals and water. Some are barren and dry like a dessert.  The wildernesses in life are usually dry, desolate, and lonely. Our time in the Wilderness can be devastating but it can also be transforming. 
The Wilderness Can Cause Hopelessness
Every direction you look is the same and the path that leads you to freedom is completely buried in the sands of hopelessness.  There is no water for a scorched and withered body and soul.  No way out.  No hope for survival because you cannot possibly go on.  
Only God Can Bring Hope to the Wilderness
God can provide hope in the wilderness, but it will probably not be in the direction you are looking.  He provided manna for the Children of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness after their escape from Egypt.  But it came from the sky, dropping like raindrops. He provided them with water too, but not from a beautiful clear stream.  It came from a rock when He commanded Moses to strike the rock with his staff.  I am sure no one expected that.  The bible tells us in Isaiah For my thoughts are not your thoughts,  neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8 God’s ways are not our ways.  He always knows the best way of doing everything, and often it is nothing like we have imagined. Do not let those examples of His sovereignty be wasted.  Recognize that God is in control even in the wilderness, when it feels like He is not near. He is always with us, watching us, and bringing us hope if we are willing to see it. 
Lessons from the Wilderness:
  • TRUST HIM – you will never know trust until you have to trust Him in the wilderness!  The Children of Israel did not trust, and they stayed in the wilderness a much longer time because of it.  We may never feel more out of control of our lives than in the wilderness, where wild is the norm.  Total reliance on Him is required for every step along the way. 
  • Rain is a Gift -Or Perspective is Everything.  The healing rain of Jesus on your dried-out life will feel amazing.  Rain can be a little thing you have taken for granted but in and after the wilderness, you will see rain differently, extra appreciative of it, as well as the tress, grass, mountaintops, and green pastures. The wilderness will change your perspective.
  • It Refines You – Reveals your true identity.  Time in the wilderness will wear you down.  Stress, hopelessness, despair, it will all wear you down.  But if you keep going, you will be left with your true identity.  We tend to see who we really are and what we are really made of when we get worn down in the wilderness. We see what is really underneath and we emerge with a new identity.
The Children of Israel were in the wilderness a long time but on the other side of the wilderness – the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  The only way to the Promised Land is through the wilderness. Would we ever choose the wilderness?  No. But God will meet us there, transform us there, and lead us through.  He makes a way out of the wilderness when the path is gone.Scripture to Claim: Behold, I will do something new.  Now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.  Isaiah 43:19

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Walk Rightly with God

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Walk Rightly with God – Proverbs 3:5-8 Submitted by Kay Crumley

Most of Proverbs was written by Solomon, son of King David, and the third and last king of the United Kingdom of Israel.  When Solomon was made King, he recognized his weaknesses and asked God for a discerning heart to govern His people and to distinguish between right and wrong, 1 King 3:9.  God was pleased with that request and granted him what he requested and more.  1 Kings 3:12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. He also granted him wealth and honor.  Solomon’s instruction to his son, Proverbs 1-9, is instruction we can trust and put into practice as disciples of Jesus.   

Proverbs 3:5-8 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding; 

in all your ways submit to him, 
and he will make your paths straight. 

Do not be wise in your own eyes; 
fear the Lord and shun evil. 
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones. 


We have heard as well as memorized the first half of that passage.  However, the last section is one that is necessary as we learn to submit to Him.  


Trust in the Lord.  The definition of the word translated trust is to ‘lie helpless, facedown’ at the feet of the master.  That is putting complete confidence in another to do whatever is right or best.  That can only be achieved if we trust wholeheartedly, completely.  We should endeavor to give God all our conscious trust.  The opposite of that wholehearted trust is too ‘lean’ on or rely on our own human understanding.  To claim self-sufficiency is like leaning on a broken crutch.  A broken crutch isn’t trustworthy, it isn’t reliable, nor is it to be trusted to support us in time of need.  The consequence of self-dependence is sin and separation from God.  IF you trust fully in Him, submit to Him and not self, Him will direct your path.  THEN He will make you way straight.  He will guide us into what is right before Him and pleasing to us.  Our responsibility is to surrender our lives to Him.  He, through Jesus, has made a way to know Him and live a life pleasing to Him.  It requires our submission to His will over our own.   


Do not be wise in your own eyes. Do not regard our own wisdom as better than God’s.  We see in the conceited, arrogant, or puffed-up personalities we encounter.  Those who will not take anyone else’s advice or even consider their opinion as potentially valid.  We have all met, been related to, or worked with those who believe themselves to be wise beyond all others.  That is not the attitude we are to have with God. Again, Solomon presents the opposite attitude for us to follow.  Rather than putting self-opinions first, fear the Lord.  Give Him the deserved reverence and awe as we trust Him. Fear of the Lord can be defined as “the continual awareness that our loving Father is watching and evaluating everything we think, say, and do.” Proverbs 9:10 says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” When we acknowledge that we cannot hide our sins from Him we should change our behaviors.  As we draw closer to Him, we turn away from, shun, evil.  IF we fear the Lord and turn away from evil because of our fear or awe of Him, THEN we have better health and a greater sense of strength than one who is separated from God.  That does not mean we will not face illness or disease.  It does mean we are spiritually whole, healthy, and strong. You can’t just talk about trusting God without walking the talk. 



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