Putting God's Word into Practice…

Philippians 2:12-30 ~ SHINE ~

In case you didn’t know it, we live in a dark world.  By dark, I don’t necessarily mean violent crimes and hatred, but a world that doesn’t recognize the True Light–Jesus Christ–or acknowledge Him as Lord.  This gives those of us who do a great opportunity to shine His light.  Unfortunately, most Christians are barely flickering–“asleep in the Light,” as Keith Green would sing.

So how can we shine?

  1. Obedience to God–not doing what is right in our own eyes. (12-13)  This is a divine gift from having God in us giving us the desire and ability to make choices that please Him.
  2. Doing all things without grumbling, complaining and questioning! (14)  It was funny to me that when I read this verse, the first thing I heard in my head was the voice of a child whining, “Why? Do I have to?”  And in the next verse Paul refers to us as children.  I don’t want to sound like a whiny child or a a griping, murmuring adult for that matter.  
  3. Holding fast to the Word of life (16).  Knowing, clinging to and standing up for truth will make us stand out in a dark world for sure! 
  4. Gladly rejoicing in each other’s spiritual successes (17-18).
  5. Seeking Jesus’ interests (21).  This may sound funny at first, but thinking about it in light of marriage helps.  If I didn’t seek my husband’s interests, I wouldn’t be a very good wife!  I now love baseball and rustic barns and Josh Garrels–things I would not follow or find if I didn’t do it for his sake.  Seeking Jesus’ interests, makes them our interests!

In Isaiah and Matthew, God promises that he will not extinguish a flickering candle.  No matter how dim your light is, it is still not darkness!  Only by letting God work in us for His good purposes will our lights grow brighter.  When my boys go out without us, I usually tell them to, “Shine their light.”  That is my challenge to myself and anyone who reads this today.

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1 Corinthians 10:1-13 ~ Overthrown

Paul just finished writing about how easy it is to be disqualified spiritually by losing self-control.  He goes on to remind us that God graciously gave us in His Word the history of the Israelites as our example and instruction.  Excuse (or enjoy) the alliteration!  The Israelites encountered the presence of God, His power and protection.  They were partakers of His promises to Moses.  And they experienced His perfect provision for their hunger and thirst. YET, they displeased God and were overthrown in the wilderness.

How were they overthrown?  They became idolaters, indulged in sexual immorality, they tested the Lord by not believing He is who He says and does what He promises, and they grumbled.  (Wait a minute, what was that last one?!)

Paul went on to remind us that we are ALL capable of falling in those ways.  When we think we are standing strong, we are more prone to fall into temptation. Paul also assured us that GOD IS FAITHFUL in temptation!  He provides a way out!  Will we decide to fix our eyes on the Lord and trust His promises, or will we make our own way?  Will we joyfully surrender to His way-trusting His goodness and perfect plan for us, or will we complain, grumble and doubt?  God allowed the Israelites to escape the Egyptian army by passing through the Red Sea on dry land.  Could He not also move them through the wilderness and into the Promised Land by His powerful protection and provision?

For me personally, I get up early and go to into our spare bedroom to meet with God through prayer and reading His Word.  Then my family wakes up and the demands of the day start pressing in on me seemingly from all directions, and I am overthrown!  I don’t respond in a way that pleases God and it is as though I have forgotten who He is, the promises He has made, and the past provision He has given.  He is and has all I need to pass through my days without falling into temptation–especially for me in the area of grumbling!  I can endure each day with grace and joy because my God is faithful!

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