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