Pursuing the abundance of a closer walk with Christ

Posts tagged ‘humble’

Shine Your Light


cell-light

 

They say things come in three’s and for the third time in a few days, I’ve been impressed with specific illumination for the year 2017.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mathew 5:16 NIV)

What does that involve?  Are there specific things you must do so others will see your light? Is my light shining bright enough or does it flicker here and there? These are some of the questions I have thought about relating to the repeated theme.

I first heard the prompt to shine your light when a friend called my cell while I was in the grocery store on December 31st, 2016.  She announced that she was a great-grandmother of a baby boy and that she wanted to pray for me. She prayed specifically that I would be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to glorify God and added a request not normally used in her prayers for me:

That I would shine my light and point others to Jesus.

Would you believe within a half hour, I did exactly that?

I put the groceries in the trunk, entered my car, sat behind the wheel and prepared to head home when I noticed a young lady in the car parked in front of mine, was upset. She mumbled a few things and slammed a door, then proceeded to look on the ground for something she apparently dropped.

I said a prayer for her and looked over in her direction again before I started my car. She was shining a light from her phone that not only was dim but too small to see well enough to find the item she lost.

I reached for my cell phone, pulled it out of my purse and pressed the LED flashlight app on the home screen. I walked over and offered to help her search.

She seemed relieved to have some help and commented how bright it was as she continued to search for a key.

She explained her predicament, “It must have dropped off the key chain after I opened the car door. My grandmother is waiting for me to pick her up and I can’t do that until I find the key to start the car!”

I tried to reassure and comfort her with the fact that I had just prayed for her before I came to assist her with my light. I empathized with her plight of being in the middle of an anxious frantic search. I told her, “These situations don’t get any easier as you get older. I still have moments where I get upset when I misplace something that I need and have to stop and pray for help.”

She searched again on the ground and rummaged through the numerous bags laying on the front and back seats and rear floors. It wasn’t until the third time going over each step since losing the key, that she finally found it.

“Thank you, Lord”,  I exclaimed as I looked up. I then said to her, “He answered prayer!”

She replied, “Heaven knows.”

She thanked me as I returned to my car.

I wished her a Happy New Year and paused in prayer once more before starting for home.

There have been more occasions to shine my light since the encounter with the young lady who searched for a lost key. And there is more than just shining your light applications that come to mind when reflecting on this story.

Basically, I want to list additional suggestions that I have been challenged with and that we as Christians can do to shine our light for Jesus.

 

  1. Stay plugged into the source to become brighter. Loving God with all your heart mind, soul and strength is essential.
  2. Pray without ceasing. Pray for: our leaders, others in need, the sick, our military, our schools, family, loved ones, neighbors, missions, unsaved people and your own personal list.
  3. Meditate on God’s Word. Read a devotional, start a Bible reading plan or write a Devotional yourself.
  4. Avoid listening to or initiating Gossip.
  5. Be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger.
  6. Be who God created you to be and ask for His help to keep moving in the direction He is pointing you to go.
  7. Speak the Truth and balance it with love.
  8. Praise God for His answers to prayer and count your blessings.
  9. Do your good deed for the day as God opens an opportunity to help a stranger. Little random acts of kindness preceded by prayer cause you to glow outwardly and inwardly with His love.
  10. Eliminate complaining. If you find yourself falling short in this or another habit/s, as I have, ask forgiveness and begin again with items 1, 2 and 3.  God is merciful to forgive and help us grow into becoming more like Christ. Staying close through humble communication and obedient submission is key.

 

 

Maybe your list may look differently than what is posted above or you have a few things to add that would be helpful.

Be encouraged with the hope of a great new year filled with wonderful opportunities to connect with others and help them pursue a closer, abundant walk with Christ.

We are both privileged and blessed to partner with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Shine Your Light!

candle-lit-glow

Perseverance to Harvesting Hope


Not only so, but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5: 3-5 (NIV)
   We all need encouraging.
   I think the Lord may have wanted to encourage me this morning as I opened my Bible to the book of Romans.
“You’re encouraging me to persevere? Haven’t I been persevering? Or do I need to grow beyond the recurring challenges in my life?”
   The Lord sees what is in my heart. He sees what is hidden from my eyes, and what may be hidden from the view of others as well.
   Life can be both beautiful and difficult.
   Each day is filled with wonderful blessings from God. There are also days that include hardships. Hardships as tall as brick walls that you run into and they can become discouraging road blocks. Have you had struggles in your  journey that lasted way longer than you expected? Have you been hindered or delayed from reaching your goals, calling or duty?
   In 2001, an automobile accident interrupted the lives of our family. In fact, it more than interrupted, it changed our lives forever. My husband, Jerry, was knocked unconscious and suffered whiplash. Eight years later, the effects of the untreated whiplash progressed to spinal stenosis in his neck and required surgery to correct it. The surgery went well, but tragically, a blood clot caused his death two weeks later.
   The detour of our automobile crash occurred just two weeks before my daughter Rachel’s fifteenth birthday. She suffered much more than my husband or I. Her head injury quite severe. She needed an emergency last-ditch brain surgery to save her life.  Afterwards, she remained in the hospital five months to relearn how to swallow, eat, speak, dress and eventually walk.  The near fatal accident impacted her emotionally, mentally, and physically.
   It has been a challenge balancing the responsibilities of a full-time caregiver, mother, and guardian throughout her miraculous recovery these past fifteen years. More so has been widowhood these last seven years. I have struggled to care for an older home set in beautiful park-like surroundings as I’ve juggled the special care she requires long-term.
   Sometimes I’m able to accomplish what I need and/or want during the week within the few hours she is away at a supervised work or recreational care facility.  Others times, the reality of living with the effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury break-up that much-needed respite. I should be used to the setbacks. I should be a pro by now, right?
   Recently, I hit a “chuck-hole” in my journey and discovered I needed more perseverance. Last week, I bought paint for the exterior window trim. The next day, I re-injured my foot and strained the tendons in the back of my knee as I reached out to help some one.  Really?!  I waited a year as my foot healed and gradually returned to physical activity. It had only been a month since I was able to walk on the soft cushion of the lawn and ride my bike up and down the road for 20 minutes.
    The hobbling saga aside, the windows needed attention three or four years ago. The neglected wood trim was weathered and had dry rot in places. The caulking was cracked and falling off. The scraping, repair and painting of the window trim I planned to get done, was pushed aside while I attempted to manage the bump in the road consisting of phone calls from nurses and staff regarding the “seizure-quo” activity occurring in the last few days. My daughter began to grieve the loss of her step-dad with the onset of seizures.
   Thank God the reality of our ongoing circumstances have been wonderfully sustained with the abundance of his strength and grace. For the next couple of weeks, I continued with the management of her care by: talking with the doctors via phone, consulting with staff who care for her during the day, scheduling and attending appointments with specialists, transporting her to counseling and testing, making extra pharmacy trips for new seizure meds, providing home skill requirements and recreation, and dealing with the red-tape of tedious paperwork. (“Jesus, take me away!”)
   I tend to drive myself hard in order to finish tasks, and as a result, at times I’ve become burned out, depleted of joy, discouraged and parched. This detailed explanation sheds light on the poem, “Listen to the Rain” previously posted on A Beautiful Life website.
   I need to grow spiritually, grow more into Christ likeness, instead of complaining about my circumstances. I need to consistently praise God because, He is aware of all that goes on in my life. He doesn’t give me more than I can bear, after-all, he bears my burdens. His yoke is easy and his burden light. Matthew 11:28-30 (ref.) I need to respond with the power that is available to me through close communication with him. With his power, I’m able to have a mature attitude. Not an attitude with a capital A. Not a ranting, crying out to God for help in a dysfunctional way, as I try to cope with the challenges.
   My response of humble repentance has yielded a quiet character that hopes. My heart is renewed and filled with love poured out from God through the Holy Spirit.
   From perseverance to harvesting hope.
   It’s harvest time. When we harvest hope, others can also hope to grow into the person God intended them to be. Beautiful inside and out, because God desires to make something beautiful out of our lives.
   Let us be an encouragement to one another. Have you been challenged recently with road blocks in your life? Have you repaired any windows lately? Perhaps you’ve a story to share of how God closed one door and opened a window of opportunity.
   Incidentally, I finished most of the front windows of the house without breaking them or falling. Praise the Lord!

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