SEND THE LIGHT, TAKE THE LIGHT, BE THE LIGHT

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 565 • September 23, 2020

SEND THE LIGHT, TAKE THE LIGHT, BE THE LIGHT

There was a time – I remember it well – not really all that long ago as we measure time, when the missionary journeys of apostle Paul were a favorite topic of study, when we looked forward to the visit of some missionary who would justify our support of his work with reports of the wonderful results being enjoyed in the places to which we sent him, and would stir our hearts with desire to “go and do likewise.” A once popular spiritual song, ubiquitous in mission-minded congregations, urged us to hear that “Macedonian call,” reminiscent of Paul’s experience (Acts 16:9-10), to feel that we too are “called” preach to the unevangelized people in every place – even in places that might be a threat to our peace and safety. We would sing, “Oh Lord, prepare me to be a missionary.” We would acknowledge hearing the call and would have some ephemeral dreams of going forth to conquer the world and win it for Christ. Remember those days? Remember how the thoughts of a “lost and dying world” tugged at our hearts? Remember how those visiting missionaries with their witness of souls being won would ignite a fire in us that had us digging deep into our pockets to make sure the Macedonian call could be and would be answered? Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #light

Punching holes in the darkness

GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 564 • September 20, 2020

PUNCHING HOLES IN THE DARKNESS
I am a hole in the darkness. Are you?

As a child Robert Louis Stevenson was looking intently through his window at dusk, watching a lamplighter lighting gas lamps one after another on the street. He exclaimed to his nurse, “Come here and look at this. There is a man who is punching holes in the darkness.” Punching holes in the darkness! That’s a provocative statement isn’t it? Stevenson was a poet even in childhood. Continue reading

#geraldcowan, #light

If your lightbulb is working

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6.14

You arrive home after dark. You unlock your door and walk into your home. What is the first thing that you are likely to do? Turn on the light! After you turn on the light, do you see a room filled with light or dark? Well, as long as your lightbulb is still working, you will see a room that is lighted. Light and darkness do not exist side by side.

Yet, many people who profess to be Christians (light) try to exist side by side with people in the world (darkness). Paul writes to the Corinthians using several opposites that express this contrast vividly in chapter 6, verses 14-16: righteousness, lawlessness; light, darkness; Christ, Beliar; believer, unbeliever; God, idols. When we look at these terms, we see that they have nothing in common.

However, in life, we fail many times to give these partnerships the concern and caution that they require. So often, the Christian’s faith is weakened by the daily barrage of Satan’s darts and the soul is lost eternally because of the partnerships that were unwisely formed here on earth.

#risingjoy #2-Corinthians #light #righteousness

Incredulous, ridiculous

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created by him, but the world did not recognize him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. But to all who have received him -those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children – children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God. John 1.9-13

Sometimes when I am reading a passage about Jesus that refers to the incredulous nature of the Jews during that time, I catch myself shaking my head. I think to myself how ridiculous it is that the Jews could not understand or catch their mistake. And yet, if I am not careful, I exhibit the same attitude.

There is only one of two choices to be made: either accept Jesus as the light, or not. There is not a third option. Jesus is the true light. He came to the very world that he helped to create before time began. The world certainly did not recognize him and never will. But the sad thing is that his own people did not recognize him for who he was. Why? He did not meet up to their expectations! He was not who they thought he would be.

Do I accept Jesus? Do I believe in his name? Do I obey his commands? For that is the only test to prove that I believe. Or do I refuse him because he does not meet my expectations of how he should be?

I need to tread carefully. For it is only through my belief and obedience in Jesus that I receive the precious right that only he gives. The right to become God’s child. Not everyone is. Are you?

#risingjoy #John #light

Incompatible

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1.5-10

When all around is dark, the one thing we want most is a light. When man is at the bottom of the blackest pit, God’s light can shine forth and dispel the darkness. All one needs to do is obey the gospel message.

There is no way that light and dark can exist side by side. They are not compatible. We cannot say that we have a relationship with God and continue to practice sin. We are lying to ourselves.

When we fall into sin, confession of such is necessary to receive the forgiveness that only God provides through the blood of Jesus. Let us never say that we have not sinned. For if we do, we make God a liar. That is not an act of which we want to be guilty.

#risingjoy #1-John #light

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.

JRMatheny

#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

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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

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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