Be the Light in the Darkness

Refuse the dark.

Fight against the dim.

Resist to blow out the match.

Keep the light shining into the darkness.

Keep the torch burning, thrice if you have to.

Never surrender.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

Your Tribe

There’s not a whole lot to add to this statement.

Just know your tribe and embrace them.

You may not all be exactly the same,

But if you’re going in the same direction,

And your focus is similar,

And your destination is the same,

You will get there together,

And you’ll be stronger and better for it.

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 1:1-2

Be The Light

Someone shared a great thought with me this other day, and I thought I’d pass it along.

Maybe it will be one you’ll come back to throughout the week…

If we, as Christians, are the light, and we have the Light shining through us, then, we are much like a flashlight shining into a darkened place.

In a darkened space where there is no other light, when you are holding the flashlight,

You can see the light.

But you can also see the darkness all around you.

All of it.

When you are holding the light, you don’t see the light as brightly as when you are standing in front of the light.

When you’re standing in front of the light, it can almost blind you,

Nothing is hidden.

So, keep shining even when it feels the darkness is crowding in around you.

The Light within you cannot be snuffed out unless you turn it out.

The Light within you will shine brightly no matter who or what attempts to destroy it.

The Light within you is eternal and has eternal impact on all who see it.

Keep shining the light even when all you see is utter darkness with the tiniest light.

Keep shining.

Be the Light to a darkened world.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

John 1:4-5 NKJV

In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:4-5 NIV

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is never easy.

It doesn’t matter if it’s to a human or to a pet.

Honestly, some would disagree, but I’d have to say the goodbyes to our pets aren’t half as difficult as saying goodbye to our closest family members.

But truly, I do understand if you’d like to argue that point because they are like family, too.

Yet, I’m not prepared today to argue.

I’m not ready today to put up a fight, even in jest.

My heart is broken as I say goodbye.

Our little friend was a good and gentle creature.

He was the most docile cat I’d ever met in my life.

And our son had practically taught him to be a dog. (Lol)

Every time you’d come home, he’d be there to greet you, and as soon as you stepped on the walkway, he’d plop over to get a belly rub.

He was quite the character, meowing in protest if you left him out too long or maybe didn’t get him in before the rain.

He was like an old man on cold, misty days, not wanting to get up and go beyond his warm bed.

He was like a small child, ready to come to you, yet skittish if your boots were too loud or had rustling papers in hand when you reached to pet him.

I felt almost silly crying over a cat this morning, but goodbyes are never easy, no matter who you are.

And I do believe his brother will miss him, too…

To everything there is a season, time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Keep Growing

Said to possibly be the oldest oak in Florida (Tampa area).

When you stop growing, you start dying

No matter your age, no matter your limitations

No matter your intelligence or your pedigree

Life and death is a choice we have

Growth or stagnation is our decision

What will you decide today?

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rootedand built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7

Where Does Your Heart Go?

When you’re lonely and feel no one cares, where does your heart go?

When you’re afraid and search every corner for harm, where does your heart hide?

When you’re broken and believe not one could mend a shattered piece, where does your heart reach?

Run to the Only One who can love unconditionally.

Hide in the Shadow of the One who can defend.

Take comfort in the Only One who can heal a ravaged soul.

He is looking, and He sees the child He created.

He is lingering, and He adores you.

He is waiting, and He loves you.

One touch, one word, one moment in His presence…

Your heart will never be the same.

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

Psalm 84:10-11

The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

Psalm 18:2-6

Tell the Truth

When you are a truth speaker, you may not always be liked.

When you are a truth seeker, you may not always be loved.

But if truth is your cross to bear, it will always carry your weight.

The weight of your pain.

The weight of your burden.

The weight of your purpose.

It will not fail you. It will not falter.

Even when all assault you and leave you for dead.

Truth will pick you up, bind your wounds, heal your heart and set you free.

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:32

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6

What does it mean to be Tempered??

Being in the church culture these days, I hear much said about what a Christian should or shouldn’t say, how a Christian should or shouldn’t respond.

There’s always a new vantage point, a new opinion they needs to be heard, and typically, there will be two or three in oration at various times, even if these are in opposition to one another.

So, who is right and who is wrong?

Who are we to listen to?

Who are we to follow?

Well, for Jesus followers, the answer is abundantly clear, or at least, it would be argued that it “should be.”

Yet, even in the Church Body, there are varying opinions, beliefs and denominations that cause us all to land at various points of standards concerning any one given “biblical rule.”

So again, who is right and who is wrong?

Who are we to listen to?

Who are we to follow?

We definitely need to start in the Word of God. If you claim to be a Jesus follower, that truly should be your book of preference for daily living and lifestyle.

And then, we definitely should start with the life of Christ. If He’s your main guy, then mirroring His examples will definitely be helpful.

And finally, starting with the specific things God loves (there are seven actually listed in specificity), and maybe the greatest commandments of which Jesus Himself spoke might be great beginning.

By the time I do these three suggestions to their fullness, it’s usually bedtime, and I don’t have a lot more time to add more opinions or fingers to point toward all the things everyone might be getting wrong.

Maybe we should all take a step back and begin again.

Maybe we should all take a moment in front of the mirror and take a really long, hard look inside.

Maybe we should grab His love letter to us and begin reading for what it has for US and to convince US instead of all it doesn’t have for THEM and has to condemn THEM.

And maybe, just maybe, by the time we do these three things, we will have given enough time for Him to begin to change us from the inside out.

And then, maybe there will begin to be a whole lot less wrong AMONG US, and we can become a whole lot more effective FOR HIM…

But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lordyour God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:34-40

And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:3-5

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:15-20

Flame Walker, Fire Journey

There are moments in life when reality settles in. When the hard work of living pauses for just a moment, and you’re able to look back and recognize where you’ve been, what’s been accomplished, and where you’re going.

There comes a time when you realize some sacrifices were necessary to carry on; some were foolish, and still more were simply necessary for survival.

Then, there’s that season of recognition when the fear of the pain is passed, the apathy of the seared feelings has diminished, and all that is left is the confidence of your preservation.

When you’ve walked through the flames of life, innocence may be lost and intimidation may be vanquished, but the growth and strength that rises cannot be denied.

So, walk on, my friend. Walk on.

Be a flame walker. Take the fiery journey.

You can endure.

And then, go and rescue someone from that same inferno.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Jude 1:20-23

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.

Jude 1:24-25

Knee Deep Waters

There’s a song by Kathy Mattae, “Standing Knee Deep In A River.” She talks about friendships that we take for granted, and we let them slip on by.

As I grow older, I realize this is a hard truth that many of us either recognize early enough to rescue the few that may remain, or we acknowledge way too late that they’re already gone.

Friendships that are found to be easy and never have “a bump in the road,” a confrontation, or a season where questions arise if it’s really worth it to keep going, are truthfully, not those knee deep waters.

Knee deep water is when you can still jump around and splash, but one slip, and you’ll be under water fast.

Knee deep water is when you can still feel secure in your footing, but let the current get a little faster, and that footing will be tested and reevaluated.

Knee deep water is when you can choose to go a little deeper, explore a little more, or you can choose to step back in the shallow, safer waters and not take the risk.

Knee deep waters is when real friendships learn to survive.

Friendships that are made to last will be found more valuable and cherished when those waters rise.

What kind of friendships are you keeping today?

It might be one that will be a lifeline to your survival tomorrow…

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24