If we want to know

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

for you were at one time darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light -Ephesians 5.8

Darkness and light. Such a contrast. In true darkness, nothing can be seen. However, light makes everything visible and clear. Paul uses this contrast to describe the difference between the evil that exists where God is not present and light in the Lord. The child of God is a light in the Lord. Then the apostle commands that we walk as children of the light. He goes on to say in the following verses that the fruit of the light is: all goodness, righteousness, and truth – trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. We must be readers of God’s word if we want to know how to please him. God will not accept just any kind of worship. If that were so, he would not have left instructions on how to worship. He teaches us what is good. We might have differing opinions on the matter. Neither opinion has any value if it does not match what God has left in his word. Truth. If you stop to think about it, opposite positions cannot both be truth. Who determines what truth is? Again, my opinion is just as good as your opinion! Therefore we must return to the Bible for our answers and read, read, and read again. It is hard to understand, you say? God is just. How just would it be for him to leave instructions on how to live life pleasing to him in a language that could not be understood? Many times we do not want to take the time to read his word. We are too caught up in living life in the fast lane. Or it may be that reading his word will demand that we make changes in our lives. Sometimes that is hard to do. We do not like change. Walk as children of the light!

#risingjoy #Ephesians #light

Judged by this fact: John 3.19

“They are judged by this fact: The light has come into the world. But they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things.”

John 3.19 ERV

God’s light causes different reactions among people. Those reactions to God’s revelation in Christ are the basis of judgment. The judgment against those who refuse the light is condemnation.

Am I drawn toward God’s light? Do I welcome its presence in every part of my life? Am I willing for the light to expose my wrongs?

#votd #John #light

Total Eclipse

Not everywhere is light eclipsed:
A few believe that God exists,
Fewer still do all his will,
But human sight is short and dull,
The moon of ignorance is total—
Nearly—Christians must be ever vocal
With news of glory—darkness reigns;
To expel it, only the voice of saints.


#poetry #eclipse #light

Growing brighter: Proverbs 4.18 VOTD

“But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light, growing brighter and brighter until full day.”

Proverbs 4.18

This chapter on wisdom contrasts the way of the wicked and that of the righteous. Wisdom must be valued and pursued vigorously.

How does this verse speak to the righteous who find themselves under duress?

#wisdom #Proverbs #VOTD #light

VOTD: Ephesians 5.8-10 ‘Fruit of the light’

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”

Ephesians 5.8-10 NIV

The light produces nothing that is not good, righteous, and true, and all that is.

How does a person find out what pleases God?

#completeness, #fruit, #light, #please-god


3-22-2017 Light And Darkness

“And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:4-5 NKJV). Has anyone who believes in “Evolution” ever come up with an explanation for how “light” separated from “darkness?” Since “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5 NKJV), being in “darkness” spiritually describes lives without God’s influence and instruction. Solomon said, “the fool walks in darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13-14 NKJV). Jesus said: “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going’” (John 12:35 NKJV).  His Gospel calls sinners “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#darkness, #light, #sin

Remembering the real stars of 2016

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16)

About this time of year, the media, in various forms, will usually share a list of “celebrity-status” stars that they believe need to be remembered due to their passing from this world during the last calendar year.

With all due respect to the “stars” who make those afore-mentioned lists, I would like to say to my brothers and sisters in Christ who lost loved ones this year that if your loved one placed their faith in Jesus, and they served God’s kingdom through the church (Matthew 5:16), then remember that God has not, and will not, forget the life and contribution of the spiritual star whom you held so dear.

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Hebrews 6:10)

The world is not impressed with the small and unknown. To be a “star” of the world, you have to be a famous, big-time mover-and-shaker who knew how to make the headlines. But all such headlines and works will cease to be profitable once this life is done. But this is not so with the people of God.

God notices the “small and unknown.” When God’s stars pass from this world, they truly rest from their works (Revelation 14:13). But their works are seen in those who carry on by sharing the same light of God’s truth and righteousness which was so important to them. And in that light, which shines from one generation to the next, the real stars of this world will continually be remembered by God, and by those who knew them, until the return of the brightest light that humanity has ever seen (John 8:12).

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

#death, #light, #remembering, #stars


12-29-2016 Another Year Of Darkness

“Then God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:3-5 NKJV).  From the first day of the Creation, God wants us to know the difference between Day and Night, darkness and light.  The prophet Daniel said, God “knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:22 NKJV).  Solomon said, “The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble” (Proverbs 4:19 NKJV).  There are some people who stumbled into 2016, through 2016, and are planning to stumble into 2017.  They haven’t figured out yet, “what makes them stumble.”  Don’t waste another year in darkness!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#darkness, #day, #light, #night, #stumble

Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem, right?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and such a saying becomes spiritually personified throughout the scriptures. One place where this is evident is found in Matthew 2 when the light of an uncommon star leads the way unto an uncommon child.

To one group the star symbolized a reason to hope while to another it symbolized a reason to hate.

To one group the star symbolized a reason to rejoice while to another it symbolized a reason to be remorseful.

To one group the star symbolized a reason to praise while to another it symbolized a reason to plot.

To one group the star symbolized a reason to give worship while to another it symbolized a reason to show wrath.

One light caused opposite reactions within the hearts of men, but such a small light would only be a shadow of sorts to the behavior that was on the horizon in regards to this child of Bethlehem (John 3:19-21).

For now we must decide how we will react to God’s leading light and we must choose carefully for the way we see beauty may not necessarily reflect the awe that this former child will produce one day when the star from a distance gives way to the star that will dawn in an up-close and personal way. Even then the “star” will produce different reactions, but this time it won’t be within the power of man to reject what they see!

For when we gave you news of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, our teaching was not based on stories put together by art, but we were eye-witnesses of his glory. For God the Father gave him honour and glory, when such a voice came to him out of the great glory, saying, This is my dearly loved Son, with whom I am well pleased. And this voice came from heaven even to our ears, when we were with him on the holy mountain. And so the words of the prophets are made more certain; and it is well for you to give attention to them as to a light shining in a dark place, till the dawn comes and the morning star is seen in your hearts;” (2 Peter 1:16-19 – BBE)

#darkness, #jesus-christ, #jesus-birth, #jesus-return, #light

The Beauty of the Web

It was early in the morning, and the sun was just coming over the horizon; dawn was breaking with all her quiet grace. During the night, the temperature had dropped enough that the grass was covered with tiny beads of moisture. Peering out through the glass patio doors in the dining room, I saw in my back yard something that I would like to share with you.

In the sunlight, I could see that the entire yard (I mean all of it!) was covered with spider webs. Their white strands appeared to form a large, complete net over the whole back yard. Evidently, the webs had caught some of the moisture from the air, for they sparkled, first here, and then there, as the sun was reflected in these drops of moisture. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

As I stood at the patio doors, wondering at the simple beauty of the sight, it dawned on me (no pun intended) that, despite the beauty of the scene, the picture had a sinister element. I had been looking from the viewpoint of a human who could destroy any spider’s web with the most casual movement of limbs. But those webs had not been spun for me; they were created in anticipation of catching some of the numerous small insects that venture out at night and in the early morning hours. From a “bug’s eye view,” these webs, regardless how beautiful they might be to the human eye, represented a danger that could easily be fatal.

A spider is a predator, a very clever one too! He carefully prepares a trap and waits for his prey to become ensnared in the extremely strong, sticky strands of his web. His victims come to him; he does not have to pursue them. When they have fatigued themselves by their struggle to escape the web, which holds them, he quietly kills and devours them. As I thought further about this web, it occurred to me that Satan is quite similar to the spider!

(1) Like the spider, Satan is also a predator; he preys on human beings. The apostle Peter indicated that Satan is a predator when he likened him to a roaring lion, one of the most fear-inspiring predators on earth. The Devil is our adversary, and his object is to “devour us,” to destroy us in an eternal hell. It is for that very reason that Peter also counseled his readers to be vigilant, watchful for the danger that Satan presents (1 Peter 5:8).

(2) Satan lays his snares in much the same fashion as the spider. When the spider spins his web, he frequently places it in such a way as to intercept the natural path of his prey. Of course, his presence is a warning, so he hides himself, or lurks near the edge of the web where he is less evident. Satan has studied his prey and knows the weaknesses common to men. He knows how to lay his snares so that men will encounter them. And, like the spider, he doesn’t advertise his presence so that his victims often do not suspect his work is their demise. Only after they have been enslaved by the sin, which was so tempting, do they realize whose purpose the trap serves. Edward M. Bounds wrote, “The devil’s great device, his masterpiece of temptation is to destroy faith in his own existence.”

Paul described covetousness (greed) as a snare, indicating that it led to destruction (1 Timothy 6:8-10). Satan is a schemer; the traps he uses look so innocent and inviting that he fools many men into thinking they are harmless. The anticipation of pleasure invites men to drink alcohol, take drugs, steal, commit fornication and adultery, etc., – all snares used by Satan. Just like the spider, Satan cannot force his prey into the web of sin, but his victims commit themselves to its traps (James 1:13-15).

(3) Light benefits neither Satan or the spider. It was the rising sun that revealed the spider webs to me. The spider thrives on anonymity. He wishes his web to be invisible to his prey, and so darkness is his intimate friend. Satan also loves darkness. He wishes for men to be ignorant of his machinations so that he may take them captive at his will. If he appears as wholesome, it is a disguise (2 Corinthians 11:14,15). Fortunately, the light of God’s word exposes Satan’s wiles for what they are, and the careful bible student may discern and avoid being ensnared.

One significant difference between the two predators is that when a fly becomes entangled in the spider’s web, he usually does not escape. God offers a way of escape to the man who has been entangled in Satan’s web of sin. It is frequently difficult, once the strands of worldliness tighten around a man, but in Christ there is freedom! Beware of our spiritual predator! – Allen S. Dvorak

via the Good News Email sent by Dave Hart 

#light, #satan, #sin, #spider-webs, #spiders, #spiritual-analogies, #spiritual-freedom

When lights don’t work

After this last week I have learned one of the most frustrating things is a light that won’t work.

I spent the first part of the week trying to get one of the low beam headlights on our jeep to work. I replaced bulbs and fuses, but nothing seemed to work.

Then, we decided to get the Christmas decorations down and started going through the Christmas lights. Our pre-lit trees, purchased because the box claimed they would “never go out,” have not lived up to their promise. I checked all the fuses and went through all 2,000 little lights with no success. Needless to say, I was more than just a little frustrated.

I wonder how God feels when one of his lights refuses to shine. Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, tells his followers they are light of the world and to let their lights shine before others so they may see their good works and to give glory to God. But how many people out there claim to be followers of Christ and yet are not doing any good works in His name?

After lots of frustration, I ended up just throwing away the lights on our Christmas tree. If I couldn’t get them to shine, then they were not good for anything.

In the same sermon Jesus tells his followers, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet” (Matthew 5:13).

So as followers of Christ, let’s make sure we are letting our lights shine. Let’s be the people Christ called us to be.

Luke Bower, Baker Heights bulletin, Abilene TX

#evangelism, #light


(#102) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:30-How Are Things Looking Today?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 15:30: “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, And a good report makes the bones healthy.”

Like Job, life can make everything look dim: “My eye has also grown dim because of sorrow” (Job 17:7). But when youthful David was chosen by God to be king, he was described as having “bright eyes” (1 Samuel 16:12). The world looks to us as we see it! It’s either a good day to be alive, or the next step to the grave!  Before life’s cataracts form, the world is beautiful, colorful, fascinating, lively, in short, spectacular! It is a wonderful blessing to keep that P. O.V. (point of view) throughout life. God gives everyone the ability to see His blessings: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The LORD has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12). Eyes are made to spark curiosity: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing” (Ecclesiastes 1:8). Our eyes give our hearts the opportunity to respond to needs: “He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9); “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22). What the heart “sees” is up to the individual. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10).

Christians should “walk properly toward those who are outside” (1 Thessalonians 4:12), but unfortunately, those outside of the churches of Christ are taught to focus on the sins of some Christians, and overlook entirely their own need to obey the Gospel It’s too bad that Christians, also, oftentimes dwell on the sins of some brethren and ignore the marvelous work the Lord has done with the majority in the churches of Christ. In spite of the “antichrists” from the church of Christ who had forsaken the Lord, and Diotrephes who had ruined one church, the Apostle John could still see the good in the churches of Christ, which is more than some brethren seem to be able to do today! “I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father” (2 John 4); “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles” (3 John 3-7). What we see is determined by what we want to see, and the rejoicing of the heart is determined by what we see!

Our outlook on life is a key to good health. “A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). The best way to stay strong and healthy is to focus on the Word of God, let it be the “apple of your eye.” “Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye” (Proverbs 7:2). Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness” (Luke 11:34). Do you see Jesus’ statement to the world as good or bad? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #brethren, #curiosity, #eye, #good-health, #good-report, #light, #outside-the-churches-of-christ, #p-o-v, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #rejoices

Let there be light

by Ronald Bartanen THE SOWER, SEPT. 22

When God created the heavens and the earth, Genesis 1:1-3 tells us that all was enshrouded in darkness until “God said, Let there be light, and there was light.” In Scripture, light is portrayed as the antithesis of darkness spiritually. There is no substance to darkness; it is simply the absence of light. The realm of darkness is the realm of demonic hosts spoken of as “the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12), of whom Satan is prince (2:2). His is the kingdom of darkness. Believers in Christ are spoken of as being “delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of His (God’s) dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). As the new creation in Christ, God has spoken His light into our hearts, as Paul declared: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

The kingdom of darkness is ever about us. It is evident to all as we view the violence and carnage in a world that will not acknowledge God, or His Son. We find ourselves bombarded daily with both the lure and the frightful consequences of what the Bible speaks of as “the works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11). God’s judgment on such a world is described graphically in Zephaniah 1:15 as “a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.” While the prophet spoke of God’s judgment of Judah for their transgressions, can anything less be expected for God’s judgment of any nation or of the world? Dark days are ahead for any people who will forsake Him.

During the second World War a song of hope sung countless times was, “When the Lights Go on Again All Over the World.” When the threat of air raids was no more, lights did eventually come on again, bringing great joy. Blackouts became a thing of the past. No longer would Europe huddle in the darkness of their homes, as they heard the terrifying explosion of bombs all around them. Darkness gave way to light In the darkness of spiritual ignorance and evil in the world, we can yet have hope. The central message of the Bible is that God sent His Son, who declared, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). But some refuse the light, preferring darkness. Jesus said, “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Having chosen the realm of darkness rather than the light of Christ, for such is “reserved the blackness of darkness forever” (Jude 13). Ever how much darkness envelops this world before Christ returns, the believer anticipates that day when His creation will again radiate the light of His glory. John was given a vision of the heavenly city which “had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb (Christ) is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there” (Revelation 21:23-25). Again it will be said, “Let there be light.”

In Christ, Steve Preston



My mother the light of the world

“You are the light of the world …” Matthew 5:14.

Jesus is, of course, the light of the world, and, with all the authority in heaven and on earth given to Him, He tells us to go … and be lights of the world. Our job? To illuminate the darkness around us with the light that Jesus is because we have obeyed His gospel.

The story goes that a little boy was supposed to recite a Scripture he had memorized in Bible class. Even though his classmates were with him, he got nervous in front of so many people and forgot what he was going to say. So, his mother in one of the first few rows began mouthing the words, “I am the light of the world.” Encouraged by her help, the boy declared, “My mother is the light of the world.”

There’s much truth in this as in one way or another we all who have been baptized into Christ have clothed ourselves with Christ and so influence everyone around us with the light of Christ. How much so mothers, whom God has placed in a special place of influence over her children to train them in the way they should go.

The faith of the young evangelist, Timothy, was an example of this that Paul credits the light of Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice.

If you are in Christ, you are the light of someone’s world.

How are you illuminating?

Doug Kashorek

Plattsburgh church of Christ


author of Kin of Cain

a Christian historical fantasy


#light, #mothers-day, #mothers

A Line Has Been Drawn

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:19-29)

When Jesus said“this is the condemnation” the Bible uses the Greek word “krisis” (kree-sis). Krisis means that a separating, a sundering, a trial or a selection has taken place. You can hear our English word “crisis” in that. The technical meaning (which is important because we often only think of it emotionally) of crisis according to Webster is, “a turning point in the course of anything; decisive or crucial time, stage, or event.” Sound similar to you?

In the context, Jesus is telling Nicodemus that a “krisis” has come – a point in time had come that was separating or drawing a line between the righteous and the wicked, and it’s not turning back.

Why is this so important for Nicodemus to hear? Because the Pharisees (a group of whom Nicodemus was a member) had chosen their own works in place of God’s works. They had rejected John’s message and baptism! And to whom did John’s message and baptism point toward? The very Light that was being used to draw the line between the wrong and the right:

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:6-9)

To reject John was to reject Jesus, to reject Jesus was to reject God, and to reject God was truly a “krisis” in one’s life that would have great consequences!

Jesus is God’s dividing line, not because Christianity says so, but because God says so. So what side of the line are we going to stand on?

#christianity, #god, #gospel-according-to-john, #john-the-baptist, #light, #nicodemus, #pharisee