Monthly Archives: December 2014

ASK for discernment and wisdom



Imagine reading an intriguing mystery, a complex novel, or a detailed how-to book. Now imagine having the author of that book right at your side so you could ask questions any time you wanted! That’s probably the best way I can imagine to read the bible. Before you read and as you read, ASK GOD to reveal what He desires you to know.


Ask God? The thought might conjure up a vision of young Oliver in the movie of the same name, cringing as he walked to the front of the workhouse meal room and asking, “Please sir, could I have more?” “More?!” Screamed the foreman who proceeded to belittle and threaten young Oliver who had been put up to the task by his cruel fellow inmates. It makes for an exciting movie scene, but it is not an accurate of our great God who loves to reveal Himself and his plan to us.
While teaching his followers how they should best live, Jesus said,”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:7-12
As you read the bible, ask God your Father in heaven. He desires to give good gifts to those who ask him. Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. I’ve never known this to be more true than when God’s children ask, seek and knock to find and receive understanding and discerning wisdom. God’s Word is about the revelation of who he is and what His plan is for us.


Look toward 2015 as a year of adventure as you let God’s Word unfold before your eyes. Ask him to reveal himself. Seek after the treasures of understanding and wisdom he offers. Knock at the door of mystery and have it opened before you!


How to read the bible for what it’s worth

Reading the bible can be overwhelming. The sheer size of it could be intimidating. Then there’s all those hard to pronounce names.


I think it is fascinating that God allowed His Word to be written on a level that a child can understand its value and yet scholars could never exhaust its meaning. It contains prose, poetry, history, law, and prophecy. And yet it is so much more than a collection of good stories. It contains the power to transform lives, even your life. But how do you get started?


You could read it cover to cover or read it as it historically unfolded (see yesterday’s link to various reading plans). However you read it, understand that it is the revelation of who God is and His very good plan for you! Let this be the backdrop of every page you read. You can ask yourself, “What does this reveal about God’s nature?” “And what does this reveal about me?”


Many people use the Inductive Study Method which asks three questions of each passage. It might be helpful to keep a journal of these questions and your responses as you read the bible. For example, consider the opening verses of the bible found in Genesis 1:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.


“What does it say?” Literally, what do the words say? Try to summarize the passage in your own words. For example, God created the heavens and the earth. He spoke and light was created.


“What does it mean?” This passage tells the story of how God, in awesome power, created the world from nothing. He is the source of creation.


“How do I apply this?” Y

think about the power of God to create the heavens and the earth, and can create light itself just by speaking. You might wonder at such a powerful God who created you, who knows you, and who loves you. Instead of fumbling through each day mindlessly, decide to spend some time every day pondering the wonder of God’s creation and who He is, and who you are in His sight. How might the God who created the universe move powerfully in the presence of the problems you face and the questions you have?


The point isn’t to understand everything that is written. Nobody ever has. The point is to read God’s love letter to you to help you draw closer to Him and to discover his plan and His power for your life. Reading his Word daily will do that. Enjoy the process of drawing near. You are on the adventure of your life!



Resolve to read a good book



New Year’s Eve is almost upon us and with it, the starting of making resolutions for the new year.  As always, losing weight and increasing exercises will top the lists of most people. Resolving to read a good book may make the resolution list too. What about reading THE good book?


Have you ever read the Bible? I mean the whole thing? You can get the job done in a year, reading only 15-30 minutes a day. Marcia and I have done this individually a number of times and last year did the reading together. It was a great experience. This year we’re going to concentrate on the New Testament, but still plan to work our way through the Old Testament again through daily devotions.


Why should you read the bible? Marek Zabriskie came up with a list of twenty reasons why. Here are some worth considering:

• It’s the No. 1 best-selling book of all time.

• No book has made a greater impact on the world than the Bible.

• The Bible magnifies our ability to love others and to love ourselves.

• No book reveals more about God than the Bible, and God rejoices when we read it.

• Daily Bible reading centers us spiritually.

• Taking time to read the Bible for 15 or 30 minutes each day transforms our lives, our marriages, our relationships and our families. It helps us to be better parents, spouses, neighbors, Christians, workers, citizens and human beings.

• The Bible is the best understanding that we have of Jesus — the person who has had the greatest impact on history.

• People constantly debate what they believe the Bible says without having read it. It’s worth reading it to find out what the Bible actually says.

• The Bible will speak to you in a different way each time you pick it up and read it.

• Reading the Bible will push you to explore what it means to be created in God’s image, and it will help you understand God, your life’s purpose and why you were put on earth.

• The Bible offers the most sustained and vital value system in history.

• The Bible is like a mirror. Reading it regularly develops our conscience, helps us to arrange our priorities and encourages us to make significant improvements in our lives.

• Reading the Bible keeps our heads and our hearts in the right place, develops compassion and good judgment within us and prepares us to spend eternity with God.


Isn’t time to see what God has to reveal to you through his Word?
For a bible reading plan that suits you:



Don’t leave Jesus in the manger


Christmas is over. The decorations are being packed away, the nativity set carefully wrapped and put back in its box. But wait.


Before you close the lid, ask yourself, “What will I do with baby Jesus?” As we’ve pondered the wonder of God sending His Son to appear as a baby this season, let’s also hold in our heart the truth that this baby grew up!


The Christmas story is more than a sweet lullaby. It is a rescue mission from heaven to free the slaves and those taken hostage by the trappings of this world. Instead of military swat teams, God uses His transcending peace to change hearts and transform lives, to set the captives free.


Don’t leave Jesus in the manger.

Let him grow up in your heart.

Follow Him to the cross and beyond the grave.
Wait for Him in the sorrows of your life.

Experience the power of His resurrection in your life.

Rejoice in this truth: He chose you before you chose Him.

He isn’t just the reason for the season. Let Him be the reason for your life.


Embrace the baby, love The Lord.



Marked by generosity



They say the world is made up of givers and takers. We all like to think of ourselves as givers, but do you really like to give?  I think giving people are the best people I know. They love to give. More than their monetary gifts, they are defined by how they give encouragement, their time, and the way they value others.


I think people who have learned the lesson of generosity are happier than others. Research says they generally live longer and are less depressed than folks who don’t give. They are happy year round because they are generous year round. Generosity is their lifestyle.


The very best giving is not an obligation or duty. The gospel commands us to give out of joy, not compulsion. Generous people know that giving blesses the heart.


Giving isn’t a just monetary act. It’s a conviction of the heart. Generosity marks our character. It becomes who we are. Think about this: how would your day be different if you purposely and intentionally made it your goal to look for ways to live generously? Perhaps being generous is the very reason we were created, to give everything we have, our very life dedicated to something other than ourselves.


Think about the giving people in your life. Think about how they value you and value others. Think about the impact they make in the world around them.


The purpose of Go Light Our WorldTM is to help others realize how much God gave and to inspire others to develop the habit of giving in a way that brings more people to Him. We are so thankful for the one-time and recurring gifts that help us carry out our mission to reach the lost and disadvantaged, the poor and the oppressed. If you haven’t made a year-end tax-deductible gift we invite you to visit our giving page. We pledge to use your funds wisely to bring the practical love of Jesus to those in greatest need. We also welcome you to join our daily prayer team!


Beyond that, we hope you will be inspired to dedicate your life to giving, not only monetarily but in the attitude of your heart. It’s said we make a living by what we earn but we make a life by what we give.


Be blessed in bearing the mark of generosity.



The Christmas gift of eternal love


“For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ The Lord!” Luke 2:11



Our most urgent prayers have been answered, our waiting has been fulfilled. A Son has been born and He will rule forever as our mighty God, our wonderful counselor, our prince of peace. We hope you enjoy unwrapping the most precious gift of Christmas, the gift of Jesus who was given “unto you.”


Did you know that the most known bible verse is all about Christmas? “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17


The Christmas story is the fulfillment of that promise, God sending us a Savior. It is the mark of His love for us. I hope you’ve responded to that love by accepting His gift and setting Him on the throne of your life.


We’ve made Christmas about giving presents. But the best Christmas gift is sharing the presence of God in your life. And we do this by letting our lives be marked by His unending love, especially at Christmas and always:


Love is patient. Don’t let the hustle and bustle of Christmas ruin your celebration. Practice patience. Don’t give in to judging others or get upset by trivial things. Let your love be patient.


Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Be happy for others and be happy with what you have. Whatever your lot in life, chances are many others would be glad to exchange their troubles for yours. Everyone is fighting a hard battle. Let your love be kind.


Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. An important lesson in life is learning “It is not all about me.” The best way of seeing others is through God’s eyes. Let your love known as a peacemaker who values others.


Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. The job of truth is to protect our trust and our hope. Truth pushes us to persevere to reach the prize. Let your love be truthful, honest, hopeful, and persevering, a beacon to others.


Love never fails. We fail but God’s love is enduring. Don’t give up when you goof up. Let His perfect love speak consistently through you.


And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Let God’s unending love be the best present you give to yourself and others this Christmas!


A very blessed Christmas to all our readers.



The Christmas gift of peace



And he will be called “The Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 9:6


I love Christmas Eve. I love it when work stops, the presents are wrapped, preparations are completed, and the hectic pace of the holiday part of Christmas slows down. And for a moment, there is peace.


Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright.


Jesus is the Prince of Peace. We know that He came to the world to bring us peace, a peace that transcends all understanding. He offers a peace that is different from what the world offers, a peace that overcomes our troubles. It’s the calm that remains in us even when the storm rages around us. It’s the confidence that our circumstances don’t define who we are. It isn’t the false peace of this world but a real peace that permeates our life and overflows onto others around us.


Jesus brings us peace so that we can bring peace to others. He calls us to be peacemakers in a world of warring relationships.


Sometimes Christmas gatherings are anything but peaceful. Too often they are marked by the busyness of preparations, the chaos of excitement or sadly, the bitterness of conflict. How can we be peacemakers in these and other situations?


Exhibit humility and gentleness. (Ephesians 4:2)


Put others first (Philippians 2:3-4). This sometimes means overlooking when others are inconsiderate to us.


Be patient and wise. (Proverbs 19:11) Strive to maintain relationships more than differences of opinion.


Avoid unnecessary quarrels. (Proverbs 17:14) Learn to appreciate others who think differently from you. It’s not your job to change everyone to think just like you. Our job is to shine a helping light, not to blind them with our insisting ways. It’s God’s job to change people.


Let love be your guide. (1 Peter 4:8) Love covers a multitude of sins.


“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32).


Don’t let annoyances and conflicts ruin your Christmas. Receive the Christmas gift of peace that the Prince of Peace offers you and BE the gift of peace to others.



The everlasting Christmas gift of hope



Everlasting Father

Everlasting. Eternal. Never changing. Forever the same.


Just as you and I like to take snapshots of our children when they are born, so the birth of baby Jesus is a snapshot in his life. But what is different about Jesus is that he has always existed. He was with God the Father when the worlds were created (and before). He lived on earth fully God and yet fully man. He lives forever, sitting at the right hand of His Heavenly Father, forever, for everlasting. This is the Jesus we worship at Christmas.


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8  God’s love endures forever.


The everlasting nature of Jesus conveys stability, confidence, trust. Life brings turmoil and trouble. It shakes us. We are tempted to worry and despair. But our foundation and our refuge and strength is everlasting. God doesn’t change. When something is everlasting we can depend on it, trust it. We don’t have any frame of reference for this on earth. I think of mountains as being everlasting, but even they are sometimes shaken and moved. Only the Everlasting Father is unchanging. In him we can safely and securely place our hope.


We may hope for safe travels to a reunion. We may hope for a nice time with family and friends. We may hope for a nice present. We may hope for peace on earth.  But the children of the one true everlasting God, those who trust in his son, have “the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time.” (Titus 1:2) It is the Christmas gift of everlasting hope that is found at the feet of Jesus.


May Christmas fill you with such everlasting hope.



The Christmas gift of strength



Mighty God

For unto us a child is born. To us a son is given. And the government will be upon His shoulders. And His name will be called Wonderful counselor,  mighty God, everlasting Father,  Prince of Peace.”  – Isaiah 9:6


The birth of Jesus is not only about the arrival of a baby. It is the fulfillment of his reign as “mighty God”. Jesus “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3). He is our “mighty God”. What a mighty God we serve! Jeremiah 10:6 says, “No one is like you, LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.”


The strength of the Lord is OUR strength too.


We think we can be strong, but there come trials that test our resolve and find us wanting. We are not the captains of our own destiny. We don’t control the forces that surround us. We aren’t strong enough to bear the pressures that weigh on us. BUT… we do have strength available to us and it comes from God.


Psalm 46 proclaims “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”   The psalmist sings, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)


The truth of Christmas is that this fragile baby lying in a manger is the source of our strength. What a mighty God we serve! Unwrap the Christmas gift of his strength and discover the full power of Christmas alive in you.



The Christmas gift of guidance



Wonderful Counselor

“For unto us a child is born. To us a son is given. And the government will be upon His shoulders. And His name will be called Wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  – Isaiah 9:6


It’s what we all need throughout life: guidance. We may think we have everything planned out and under control. But life has a way of revealing unexpected turns in our path and circumstances that confound us. Where do you turn when you find yourself in a circumstance you’ve never been before? How do you find your way out of problems that confound you?


Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” John 14:6. And He promises, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” John 14:16 other versions say helper, advocate, comforter. This is not only someone you can trust but someone you need to guide your life in the path it was intended.


The wise men followed a star to find Jesus. We follow the one who created the stars and everything else. God’s gift to us is this child Jesus who grew up and became a man, and who gave us His very Spirit to be our wonderful counselor. Whatever you face this Christmas, you are not alone. You have a wonderful counselor who cares for you and who will speak to you all about God’s most wonderful gift. Receive the gift of the Christmas Counselor, the Spirit of Jesus.