Lighting The Path

Have you ever gone camping?  Hiking through the woods?  Have you been on a retreat with your kids as a counselor or chaperone?  Did you ever walk the ocean shoreline at night?

Lighting the Path

I bet you got your  flashlight and shown it ahead of you to light the path, right?  Remember how pitch dark it was everywhere except right in front of you, in the beam of light?  If you shown it way ahead you might fall over something right in front of you.  If you show it to the side you could not see what was right before you.  There was no point in showing it behind you because you had come from there, it was behind you; you were going forward.  The flashlight went ahead of you just enough to light your path.

That is the way of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life. We live in a world darkened by sin.  Some areas of life are darker than others.   He is your light for your path.  He does not want you looking way ahead, to the side or behind.  He is the Light for your day, showing you His way.  Guiding you safely through the path, helping you navigate what would cause you to stumble.  Jesus died on the cross and, if you will, is the “batteries” for the “flashlight”.  You have all you need to navigate the path of life.

Do not walk through life in the dark.  Pick up your Light, allow Him to show you the way.

Psalm 119:105 (NASB)
“Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Daniel 2:22 (ESV)
“He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.”

Myths, Urban Legends, Mom Said …

Working in a Christian Bookstore you hear so many interesting “truths”.  People come in wanting to find a plaque, or a bookmark, or maybe a book containing certain sayings or facts.  I often want to say, “well, if it is in the Bible, why not find it there?”.  The truth is, most do not know what is really in the Bible.  It is just something they heard someone tell them and that made it so.

This past week a woman came in and wanted a plaque that said, “when God closes a door, He opens a window.”  She was shocked we did not carry someone like that.  Of course you know me, I jumped right in with my “take” on the subject of God and His using only the FRONT DOOR (previous blog).  It is surprising how many times we say we only want to get to know Him better.  We want to know His will.  Yet, somehow, we never look to the obvious source for that information.

I have a grandson named Noah and working in a Christian bookstore, we have plenty of books and items with Noah depicted.  Through the ages people have taken what God’s word says  about Noah and the animals in the ark, and changed it to say only two of every animal entered the ark (2×2).  But, look at what God’s word really says:

Genesis 7:2-3 (NASB) “2 You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female;    3 also of the birds of the sky,by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.”

That is FOURTEEN, not two!

Growing up I remember that when there was a freak storm someone would say it was getting close to the end times because that is when the seasons would swap.  That myth came from Padre Pio, a Roman Catholic priest who was quoted as saying,  “You will know when that time is approaching because the seasons will change so the only way you will know the seasons is by the leaves on the trees.”  The Bible actually says the exact opposite in God’s promise to Noah saying He would never destroy the earth by flood again.

Genesis 8:22 “While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease.”

Now you have all heard, “cleanliness is next to Godliness” right?  Not in there – you will not find it in the Bible.   How about, “God helps those who help themselves?”  Not in the Bible.  How many tribes were there?  13, not 12.  People say 12 because the Levites were not given land, but the tribes were made up of Jacob’s 11 sons and Joseph’s 2.

How many of you believe Mary rode to Bethlehem on a donkey or other animal?  Luke 2 Three Wise Men? Matthew 2  Or, how about the unicorns mentioned in the Bible?  The actual Hebrew word referred to a two-horned animal, but King James people thought one horn and put in unicorn (nine times in the O.T.).  Contrary to popular myth, they did not “miss the boat” (Ark).  What about the popular Mizpah jewelry symbolizing love and friendship and quoting Genesis 8:49“The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” ?   Actually, it was a covenant between Jacob and Laban based on their past differences, a warning that God was keeping an eye on their actions.

So my point is that we have a bad habit of listening to what others say, preach, teach, and take it as “gospel” when in actuality it is not IN THE GOSPEL.   As Christians  you need to know what the Bible actually says, teach and walk what it says, and not just keep passing on misinformation.  Make a point of knowing what you are talking about and not just being a puppet or minor bird , repeating what others say.  Make sure your kids are raised with what the Bible actually says.   I tell others to study APOLOGETICS – be prepared to give the reasons for what you believe.   In other words, know what you believe and why with NO APOLOGIES.   Make sure God’s word really said it, before you repeat it.

Just DO IT!

A popular logo on sportswear/equipment uses the slogan,

The world sets standards and we push to prove ourselves to the world.  We think nothing of it as we strive to be better than the next person.  Our ego wants us to be better than them in all ways imaginable:  better car, better house, better looking, better kids, better at this and better at that.  The media pushes it at us from every direction; clothing, billboards, commercials.  It is subliminal sometimes and we buy into the mindset.

Yet, when it comes to our spiritual life we become wimps, milk-toast, wall-flowers.  Scared about what His word tells us to do.  Scared to take a stand.  We buy into satan’s* lies and hide.  We cannot DO IT!  We do not know how to DO IT!  Excuses, we have plenty.  The Holy Spirit urges you to spend more time with your family in His word, in worship.  You see a need and you think, “next time”.  That hurting homeless person on the side of the street you see gets a “quickie” prayer, “Lord help them.”  Your child’s classmates need shoes.  The elderly neighbor just wants someone to take time to talk with them.  The Spirit nudges and you keep moving, in the opposite direction … too busy to JUST DO IT.

We are so prone to talk about the things we are going to do when we have time.  A mission trip, the soup kitchen, the coat drive…. making up handouts for the homeless**. Jesus’ first miracle recorded  in John 2, tells of His mother asking for help.  She told the others, “do what He tells you to do”.  And they simply did as they were told.  It would be so wonderful if we would simply do as we are led.   Our cups overflow with His love through His gift of salvation.  He wants you to share His love.  JUST DO IT.

Start each day asking the Lord to use you in His will.  When He shows you a need JUST DO IT.  Do not stop and think you are not capable.

ROMANS 8:26-28  26 In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. 27 And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.

He has a plan for your day.  Open yourself up to the possibilities.  As a parent, grandparent, co-worker, spouse … God uses each of us each day IF we allow Him.  We are not puppets and He is not a puppet master.  It is our choice.  Do not think about it, JUST DO IT!  No matter what He is asking you to do today, no matter what obstacles and trials He allows you to go through, it is for a reason.  He is there through it all, working it for GOOD.

NEVER forget that the day ahead of you carries no task or trial that is greater than the POWER behind you as a Christian.

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

** Homeless handouts: NEVER give cash, but you can carry several 1 gallon zip lock bags (something they can use later when it is empty) filled with: Tuna packet, crackers, snack size nuts, etc..  Include: package of  tissues, comb, trial sizes of hand sanitizer, soap, shampoo, toothbrush, etc.  You can put a New Testament or Christian track in there as well.