Light of the World: Let Him Be Light

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Earlier in the week we discussed how we all experience brokenness. And because we all experience brokenness, we all likely have an area of our lives that’s experiencing some level of spiritual darkness. Whether it’s unforgiveness, strife, or any other feelings of ill-will towards others or ourselves, there’s something within each of us that is experiencing spiritual darkness. The cure, of course, is Jesus. But each of us continues to have a responsibility in the process. 

What is your responsibility? In truth, the next for you may be different than the next step for others. It may be that you’re struggling to allow Jesus to shine light in this area of your life. Maybe you feel like you’ll be giving up a sense of control, so you hesitate to let Him work it out. Or maybe you’d prefer to try to “fix” the situation on your own, trusting in yourself more than in Him. Or maybe you feel like you’re not worthy to receive His help. You’ve made some unwise decisions that has led to this darkness, and the shame is keeping you from being able to receive from Him. Whatever it may be – Jesus is the Light of the World. So today, let Him be light in your life. 

READING & JOURNALING:

ISAIAH 58:8-9, PSALM 36:9

In what ways have you tried to “fix” (or maybe cover up) the spiritual darkness in your life on your own? Be specific. 

What is your responsibility in allowing Jesus to be light in this area of your life? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I admit there are times in which I try to resolve or fix a situation in my life without fully turning to You to restore, heal, and be the Light that is needed. Today, I simply pray that I give up trying to control this situation on my own, and allow You and You alone to be the Light that’s needed to help me take the next step forward. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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Light of the World: Jesus is the Light of the World

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John 15:6 (NLT) reads, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

John Lennox, a professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and an international speaker on Physics and Philosophy, once took the opportunity to share the gospel with a man on the subway. The man responded saying something like, “With all of your education, you still believe in all of that ‘God’ stuff? Haven’t the sciences proved that God doesn’t exist?” 

Professor Lennox just smiled and asked a simple question: “Tell me, do you have any hope?” In an instant, the man was left speechless. His only response was, “Well, I guess we all just have to muddle along in life, don’t we?” The door was open for Lennox to share, “No, we don’t. There is reason to have hope. Let me share it with you.” 

Some days, we may try to find hope in the strangest of places. Other times, we may feel like there is no hope at all. But Jesus came to the world in order to be Light. He came to provide hope. Not just for one situation or season in life, but to provide hope for all eternity.  

READING & JOURNALING:

JOHN 14:6, PHILIPPIANS 1:6

How would you respond to somebody who asked you, “Do you have any hope?”

How would you express to somebody else the reason as to why they can have hope? 

 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, all of my hope is in You and You alone. Today, I simply pray that the Light of who You are and the hope I have in You will be evident to all I interact with. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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Light of the World: Consistency

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It easy to compartmentalize all of the different areas of our lives. For example, it’s easy to think about marriage, family, friends, work, school, and/or church as separate areas of our lives. We often don’t need to think about how a simple decision at work may impact another area of life, because it usually doesn’t. 

But what happens when we’re faced with a seemingly simple decision that does impact our Christian faith? What happens when you have two colleagues who skirt some guidelines to make their monthly reports look better? And what happens when one of these two is a close friend, and the other is somebody you’ve struggled to relate with? Do you defend your friend while condemning the other? 

All throughout our lives, God invites us to be consistent in upholding godly values. We ought not compartmentalize our Christian life away from everything else. Instead, our faith impacts every other area in our lives, every day, in every way. In short, we are called to be consistent in upholding godly values in every area of our lives. 

READING & JOURNALING:

1 CORINTHIANS 15:58, COLOSSIANS 3:23

Are there currently any inconsistencies between what you say you believe, and the decisions you’re making? 

 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I recognize that there are some inconsistencies in my faith life. Today, my sincere desire is to see and understand where I may be inconsistent in what I say I believe and the decisions I make. And I simply pray for wisdom that You would provide me the wisdom to know what’s right, and the courage to do what’s right, even when it’s hard. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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Light of the World: A Light Will Shine

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Isaiah 9:2 (NLT) reads, The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.

Because we live in a broken world, we all experience brokenness. It doesn’t matter how strong somebody’s marriage, friendships, career, or any other area in life is – nobody is immune to experiencing some level of spiritual darkness. 

What is the cure? Many try to find a cure by ignoring the brokenness. We may binge a tv series, spend our money on something we think may change our lives, or numb it in other ways. But ignoring or numbing the reality of our brokenness doesn’t help much. In truth, it doesn’t help at all. 

The good news is that God still provides a cure. But God didn’t say, “follow these rules or laws and things will get better!” Instead, Jesus came to earth, and in John 8:12 said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”

READING & JOURNALING:

ISAIAH 8:20-9:6, JOHN 8:12

What is one area of your life that is currently in spiritual darkness? 

What are some ways you try to avoid thinking about this area of your life? Does avoiding it help much? 

 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that there are times I try to numb or ignore the darkness in my life. Or there may be times when I don’t ignore the darkness, but I try to find the solution somewhere other in than in You. This week, I simply pray for wisdom and strength and turn to Jesus. To look at His life, His teachings, His grace, and His love, and to know that all spiritual darkness has already been defeated by Him. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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Light of the World: Hiding from God

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Psalm 139:11-12a reads, 

I could ask the darkness to hide me; and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

Think about a time when you just wanted to be alone. You were tired, depressed, anxious, and/or lonely, yet being around other people was the last thing on your mind. Maybe you were so emotionally exhausted that you didn’t even want to be in the presence of God. 

In Psalm 139, David, referred to my many as the greatest of the kings of Israel, confesses that he is in a dark place. Yet he also acknowledges that even if he allows the darkness to completely surround him, he cannot hide from God. As the Psalm continues, he even comes to recognize that he shouldn’t even want to hide from God, but should instead allow God to shape him into the person God made him to be. 

The Psalm ends with: Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

READING & JOURNALING:

PSALM 139:1-24

Which verse(s) in this Psalm speak the most to you today? Why do you think that is?

 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that I don’t like to think that I’m trying to hide from You. But I recognize that there are times when I’m doing just that. Today, I’m simply grateful for the reminder that I cannot hide from You. And I pray the same prayer David prayed; Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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Light of the World: Understanding God’s Word

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Psalm 119:130:

The teaching of your word gives light,

so even the simple can understand.

In 2005, author and teacher Beth Moore talked to a group of over 15,000 college students. As she talked through the impact the gospel has had on her life, she said, “Christianity is not a stupid man’s religion, but it is a simple man’s religion.” 

This was her way of noting that wisdom and intelligence aren’t always aligned. Somebody may not have a high IQ, but this doesn’t mean they cannot understand the gospel and choose to be a follower of Christ. 

Similarly, Jesus’ disciples were not selected by other teachers to continue their education. But Jesus knew that if He took them as His students and opened their eyes to the wonders of God as they lived life with Him, they would see light. He knew they would come to understand God more fully. He knew they would come to understand the Scriptures more clearly. And He knew they would give up everything to help others know God more fully. 

READING & JOURNALING:

PSALM 119:130

Do you sometimes feel like you don’t understand some aspects of the Scriptures? If so, what steps can you take to better understand God’s Word? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I recognize there may be some aspects of Your Word that I may not fully comprehend in this lifetime, but the simple truths of Your love and grace can – and will –  continue to permeate deep into my soul. Today, I simply pray that the truth of your love will not only shine on me, but will shine through me for others to see as well. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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Light of the World: Why Be Afraid

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Psalm 27:1:

The Lord is my light and my salvation—

so why should I be afraid?

In his book Everybody Always, Bob Goff shares a story about his neighbor being diagnosed with cancer. While the diagnosis was heavy on her heart, Bob did something a little unusual – he purchase a pair of walkie talkies, keeping one in his house and one by her bed at all times. His plan was a success. At the push of a button she could talk with her trusted neighbors. No longer did she feel isolated and alone. No longer did she feel afraid. 

Our world gives us many reasons to be afraid. Companies use FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in advertisements by saying things like, “This product will change your life!” News Media outlets use fear in their broadcasting, “If so-and-so is elected, here are all the horrible things that will happen!” We may not even recognize how many messages we hear every day that are based in fear. 

It’s no wonder the most issued command in all of Jesus’ teachings is this — Be not afraid. 

READING & JOURNALING:

PSALM 27:1, 1 JOHN 4:18

If you had to guess, how many “fear-based” messages do you think you hear every day? 

What can you do today (this week, this month, this year) to better limit the amount of fear-based messages you hear every day? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I recognize that there are probably more fear-based messages I hear every day than I may realize. Help me to recognize unhealthy, ungodly fears, and instead keep my focus fixated on You. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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Light of the World: God is Light

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1 John 1:5 (NLT): This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.

Have you seen the popular Star Wars show The Mandalorian on Disney+? For those who may be unfamiliar with the series, all of the Mandalorian people live by a certain code. They each affirm this code by declaring, “This is the way.” This statement is affirmed over and over again to testify that a Mandalorian cannot deviate from this code and forge his own path. There is only one way – one path to follow. 

Use of this phrase, “the way,” has its place in many ancient cultures. In Jesus’ day, many teachers would say, “Follow me, and I will show you the way.” 

Jesus, however, shocked his disciples by declaring, “I am the way…”(John 14:6). This was Jesus’ way of saying, “There is no other code or decree to follow. There is no other path to take. If you really want to know what it means to be holy, righteous, good, and true…if you really want to see that God is light, then follow me.”

READING & JOURNALING:

1 JOHN 1:5-10, JOHN 14:6

How would you explain to somebody what it means to be a follower of Jesus? Be specific. 

What’s one way you’re planning to live as a follower of Jesus today? 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I’m simply thankful for the reminder that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and my primary purpose in life is to follow Him. May you continue to provide me wisdom and discernment to fulfill this purpose well. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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