Thursday, April 14, 2016

Troublemakers

Remember being in your second grade classroom and the one kid in there who caused all the trouble made the teacher punish everyone? I would get so frustrated when my teacher didn't listen to me - only to the loudmouth. I was nothing like that troublemaker, but because he or she was in my group, I was punished and misunderstood. Their hateful, loud words did not represent my heart. But that was all my teacher could hear.

I think that troublemaker follows us in some form or fashion throughout our lives. They are the ones who make entire groups of people seem awful. They are the ones we hone in on when we "type-cast". They are the ones who stir up anger, start fights and misrepresent the entirety of the people. 

Unfortunately, they are the ones who get all the attention.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (MSG)

Here are six things God hates, and one more that He loathes with a passion: 
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies, 
hands that murder the innocent, 
a heart that hatches evil plots, 
feet that race down a wicked track, 
a mouth that lies under oath, 
a troublemaker in the family.

See. Even God "loathes them with a passion." Make no mistake, these people are no good. 

Perhaps it's time we stop focusing in on that troublemaker, sit down and really listen to the others - the ones who are genuinely trying to be and do better in life. The ones who are trying to be understood but continually get misunderstood. Otherwise, perhaps we will end up being the troublemaker.

Proverbs 22:10-12  (MSG)
Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down;
    you need a break from bickering and griping!
God loves the pure-hearted and well-spoken;
    good leaders also delight in their friendship.
God guards knowledge with a passion,
    but he’ll have nothing to do with deception.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Light and Darkness



"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."  
John 3:19-21


Light is a beautiful thing. It's warm, inviting, revealing, life-giving and we are naturally drawn to it in a dark room. If we even see a small speck of light, that is exactly where our eyes naturally go. Light makes the trees grow upward and outward, the flowers bloom and the birds sing! It's beautiful. God describes Himself as Light and He even says there is no darkness in Him at all. Jesus said, "I am the Light of the World". It makes sense we are drawn to the light.

 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12

Darkness, on the other hand is cold, secretive, frightening at times, and the only things that grow in the darkness are deadly things like mold, moss and fungus. Sin can also grow in the darkness. Just as life grows in light, 
death grows in darkness. 

The more we keep things hidden without sharing what our struggle is with a trusted friend or confidant, the more likely it is to grow. The moment you share something that you know is keeping you from God's best for your life with a trusted friend (who will pray with and for you and not gossip) is the moment it loses it's grip on your life. Yet, we keep things hidden anyway, usually out of fear of judgment or a desire to keep it hidden because we have convinced ourself that it is not destructive and we want to continue the behavior.

Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” John 11:9-10

May I suggest that if we want to keep something hidden, that is a clear indicator that the secret is destructive. Life grows in light. 
Death grows in darkness.

Darkness becomes very comfortable after awhile, though. It lulls us to sleep and gives us a false sense of "comfort". Think about how it feels after you've been asleep in a dark room and someone comes in and flips on a bright light. You immediately wince, cover your eyes and perhaps even get a bit angry at whomever it was that flipped on the light. Light is revealing. But after awhile, you begin to adjust and realize that if you want to live, you must be awake. You must walk in the Light.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

My prayer today is that if God is bringing something to "light" in your heart, you will embrace it and not run from it. Share your heart with a trusted friend who loves the Lord and seek God's best for your life. We think we know the right thing, but our hearts are desperately deceived. Painful as it may be, walking in the Light is truly the way to Life.

One last thing to remember in our journey: Mold can be deadly, but when it is processed it can also be medicinal. God can use the brokenness and difficulties in your life that came from a dark place to heal someone's heart once you go through His merciful process of healing. 
He is the Redeemer!  
He wastes nothing. 

What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear! -Matthew 10:27

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