Be the LIGHT
-God has freed me from brokenness, so for the most part.. the answer is YES! How could I not be?
“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!”
Ephesians 5:8 NLT
Full of darkness!
-Kid (parents divorcing)
-Teenager (looking for love in all the wrong places)
-Then God saved me and called me to be a light!
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Matthew 5:14-16 NLT
-If the answer is YES, then WHY? ( I HAVE FELT ALL OF THESE!)
-He says not to fear, He is with us.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
-Moses didn’t feel qualified either! Anytime I am called to speak and I feel unqualified to do so I remember this story.
“Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:10-11
-He says, YOU are chosen and YOU are his child!
“…for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
-We serve a God who looks beyond your mistakes, He looks beyond your qualifications. His word says you are CHOSEN, you are His CHILD!
-It is time to stop HIDING under the BASKET!
-What source are you plugged into? (WRONG source, your light will go out)
“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” Ephesians 3:16
God will give you unlimited resources and he will empower you and give you strength IF you are connected to HIM!
-Make sure you are connected to the God as your source, because the world will slowly burn you out and your light will fade.
-When I think of having childlike faith I think of this story about our youngest daughter Bella.
- But that’s one of the things I love so much about children! They believe BIG! They have BIG faith!! Can us adults have faith like a child? Actually God calls us to! Look at what he says!
“About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. 3 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. 4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4
-They will come. They have come for me. Joy has to come from Jesus NOT circumstances)
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Romans 5:3
-Endurance has developed in me. And through it all, I felt the closes to Jesus
-Jesus was the best example of being a light!
-Jesus was making friends every where he went.
-(Story of Matt not letting me go into gas stations)
-EVERYONE is important. Everyone matters. Everyone deserves a friend, and everyone deserves to see the light of Jesus.
Ask yourself this question: Are you hiding your light under a basket? Or are you making sure your light is out on a stand?
Fatherhood is of course for those men who actually have children through conception or adoption, but Fatherhood is actually the call of every man that is a part of the body of Christ. We are called to reflect the Nature of God which Jesus’ references God as in The Lords Prayer.
1950 4.7% of Children were born out of Wedlock
Today that number has risen by 1700%
NATIONAL CENTER OF DISEASE CONTROL STATISTICS
· 85% of children that show behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (20x the National Average)
· 90% of all American inmates are men
· Over 75% of said inmates grew up without a father
· 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (5x the National Average)
· 90% of homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes (32x the National Average)
· 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (9x the National Average)
When you remove fathers from a home society gets ill. We need to be fathers to a fatherless generation! I am going to say something that is definitely not PC in today's world, but a genderless world is dangerous! Men and women are different and different doesn't mean bad, but beneficial because we complete each other.
Genesis 2:18 NIV
The Hebrew word used here for “Helper” is found 17 times in the Bible. Referenced twice for women and 15 Times for God. “Suitable” in Hebrew really means something opposite of you that really completes you.
So they are joined as one. They are married and they complete each other. God created us specifically with a purpose which means our genders and biological makeups are on purpose and there are powerful qualities we each bring to complete each other!
Women are more natural when it comes to nurturing, with empathy, mercy, compassion, and peace. When a child typically gets hurt typically runs to mom and when they want protection or a display of strength they typically run to dad! Now dudes we need to strive for more empathy, mercy, compassion, and peace.
THE ROLE OF A FATHER
1. FATHER’S MUST PROTECT CHILDREN FROM DISCOURAGEMENT
The word implies losing heart, lack of motivation, spiritless, disinterested, with no purpose in life. Don’t be the kind of father who raises that kind of person. Instead, develop a style of fatherhood that produces the opposite of discouragement.
WE LEAD THEM TOWARDS HOPE
Psalms 20:7 TPT
WE LEAD THEM TOWARDS JOY OVER HAPPINESS
Happiness is fickle and fleeting it comes from the root word is from hap which means chance. Human happiness dependent on the chances and changes of life, something which life may give and which life may destroy. However, Joy is a heart thing… It is a mindset.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. - Viktor Frankl
Can we be the type of men that show our children our devotion to God even in difficult times that we are not slaves to emotions, but servants to our God and that even in the midst of extreme difficulties we know God will work all things together for those who love him! We know he gives us peace beyond understanding!
WE LEAD THEM TOWARDS THEIR GOD-GIVEN CALLING
We need to teach young people that they are not accidents or afterthoughts. They are not less important, but they have been given a God-given calling to make an eternal difference in the Body of Christ. That they have been given spiritual gifts to make a heavenly difference a part of Gods community! We need to build their confidence not in themselves, but in their God and the identity God has for them!
2. FATHER’S MUST NOT MISUSE THEIR AUTHORITY
You ever heard the statement “Do what I say not what I do”? They are going to do what you do despite what you say and the biggest misuse of our authority is we don’t model the things of God we just mouth them! Our kids look at us and they see that we make everything a bigger priority over God in our lives. If God is an afterthought to you then most likely He will be of no thought to your children when they grow up!
WE CAN EITHER BE A GREAT EXAMPLE OR A HORRIBLE WARNING
Men who go to church, read the bible and pray statistically in this nation have the lowest divorce rate, the lowest adultery rate, and the lowest abuse rate. Also, have the happiest life and best intimacy in a relationship.
The Highest divorce rate people practice 2 different religions. Lowest both serve and active in the same religion.
Men who are Active believers. Surveys by sociologist
More expressive with their kids
More emotionally engaged in marriage
Desire to have a healthy legacy
Religious attendance associated with more empathetic behavior towards spouse and kids because they Understand there is sin and implement more grace to their spouses and children.
➡ WE HAVE TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE WITH A KINGDOM MENTALITY
We find Paul, here he's a little bit older and he's been through some “stuff”. By this point, he's like, hey, look, I figured some things out. This brings me to my first point:
I am not a hostage to my environment.
Listen to what Paul says in verse 12,
"I want you to know, dear ones, about what happened to me…"
Phil. 1:12 (a)
Listen to what he says to close out that verse:
"I want you know, dear ones, what has happened to me has not hindered, but helped my ministry of preaching the gospel, causing it to expand and spread to many people."
And the word that he uses for expand is the word that actually means to move forward and to make progress in spite of severe opposition. What if God is more interested in changing YOU than changing your situation? Sometimes God will use the very situations that we would pray away to do the things that can only be done in situations that we would not choose.
I am not a hostage to my circumstances.
Paul says in verse 13:
“For now the elite Roman guards an government officials overseeing my imprisonment have plainly recognized that I am here because of my love for the Anointed One.”
"I'm in chains for Christ. "I know it looks like I'm chained to these guards, "but actually, these guards are chained to me." This chain goes both ways, so I've been preaching in this prison, and don't worry about Paul, and don't circulate a petition to get Paul outta prison, 'cause I'm doing work up in here. can you say the same thing about the situation that you're in today that you feel stuck in? Are you so busy asking God to get you out that you miss the fact that God is trying to get in? Because Paul has reached that point in his life. He's got his priorities straight. He says, "I am put here," verse 16. I'm put here not by Caesar, not by the people who threw in this prison for preaching. I'm put here, I'm not a hostage to how I feel, I'm not a hostage to what I want.
“because they know I’ve been destined for the purpose of defending the revelation of God.”
Even if people mean it for evil, God will use it for good. So I'm not a hostage to what people think about me. You know how you can tell Paul has reached that point that he's no longer a hostage is because of what he says
"…what does it matter…?"
Paul said, "I'm not a hostage to my expectations. "I'm not a hostage to my plans "because I'm committed to God's purpose."And Paul said,
"For what does it matter as long as Christ is being preached?”
Paul said, "as long as Christ is being preached." So even if I'm in this prison, I don't feel sorry for myself because God is using this too. It is in your weakness that his strength is made perfect. So if the situation doesn't change, God, change me, and use me, and "I'm in these chains right now," Paul said. But if God can use these chains of my situation to change somebody else's life, then God, use the chains.
I’m not a hostage to this world.
Paul's saying in the letter, I'm already out. I'm not outta prison yet, but I'm already free. My situation hasn't changed yet, but my spirit is free.Then he makes a shift. And it's weird because he doesn't know what's gonna happen next. I'm not a hostage. God's gonna use me here, God's gonna use me there. If he leaves me, he has something for me to do. If he takes me, he's done with me. I'm good either way.
'…If they preach him with mixed motives or with genuine love, the message of Christ is still being preached. And I will (1) continue to rejoice because I know that the lavish supply of the Spirit of Jesus, the Anointed One, and your intercession for me will (2) bring about my deliverance. No matter what, I will (3) continue to hope and passionately cling to Christ, so that he will (4) be openly revealed through me before everyone’s eyes. So I will (5) not be ashamed! In my life or in my death, Christ will (6) be magnified in me. My true life is the Anointed One, and dying means gaining more of him. So here’s my dilemma : Each day I live means bearing more fruit in my ministry; yet I fervently long to be liberated from this body and joined fully to Christ. That would suit me fine, but the greatest advantage to you would be that I remain alive. So you can see why I’m torn between the two—I don’t know which I prefer. Yet deep in my heart I’m confident that I will (7) be spared so I can add to your joy and further strengthen and mature your faith. When I am freed to come to you, my deliverance will (8) give you a reason to boast even more in Jesus Christ.'
8 times. Some of us have a faith that is held hostage to the outcome and if we see our progress and sense our progress, then we press in and press on. Paul said, "I'm not a hostage to that outcome. "I trust God in the process.We have to remember, God is there through the highs and lows of our lives. Which brings me to my take-home:
Trust the process
There is a sticky question many Christians struggle with: Is depression a sin?
This particular question is posed to me by more people than perhaps any other when trying to understand what is going on emotionally with themselves or with someone close to them. The situation isn't helped by well-meaning Christians who don't understand depression saying things like: "You just need to have more faith," or "There must be sin in your life, or you wouldn't feel like this," or even "If you'd pray harder (read the Bible more, have a deeper walk with the Lord), you wouldn't have this problem." To someone who already feels guilty about everything, this just piles on even more guilt.
I have found that sometimes it’s pastors who are most likely to suffer with depression. That’s because often times they are much more sensitive to sin and to evil in themselves and their world. They are also the ones most overcommitted in their service of the Lord, which makes them special targets for satanic attacks.
But are they right? Is depression a sin, or a picture of sin in our life? I answer that with an unequivocal no!
Where does this idea come from? We can trace this idea all the way back to John 9:3 where Jesus heals a blind man.
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
The man was thrown out after the Pharisees questioned him. Jesus replied,
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
Many people will ask this question, “What sin have I committed that has brought me depression?” We need to remember the word’s of Jesus. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned. This happened so that the power of God might be displayed in your life.
While sins in the past can contribute to depression, suffering from depression and its effects are not. Viewing depression as sin in and of itself prevents individuals from seeking treatment. There is a huge GUILT that comes into play. It also ignores the fact that many Christians may respond to depression in unhealthy ways.
Just because someone is feeling spiritually dark, does not necessarily bean there is a spiritual cause of these feelings. There are physiological components that come into play. Continue in ministry.
How do we deal with depression?
My favorite scripture. 1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Who is chosen? Who is a royal priesthood? Who is a holy nation? Who is God’s special possession?
Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. Jesus knows your suffering. He experienced more suffering than any of us will ever know. I want to give you hope. Hope that the Church has suffered from this and come out on the other side. Hope that your story will bring others hope in their lowest times. Hope that they can bring God glory in the darkness. I want to pray over you today.
The light is coming.
The weight is being lifted.
Our true identity is being revealed.
Our purpose is being revealed.
We are starting to feel strength rise up in us.
The fog is being lifted.
Chains are breaking.
Freedom is yours.
Victory is in reach.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?
Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:35-37
IF YOUR FAITH IS TIED TO THE REWARD OF THE PROMISE INSTEAD OF THE LOVE OF THE PROMISE, THEN YOUR FAITH WILL BE SURFACE, AND YOUR FAITHFULNESS WILL BE TEMPORARY!
MOST BELIEVERS NEVER WALK IN THE PROMISES OF GOD BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BYPASS THE REFINEMENT OF GOD!
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:7
HE CANNOT BE A GOD THAT LOVES AND A GOD THAT IGNORES BECAUSE THEY CONTRADICT THEMSELVES.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3-4
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Psalms 51:7-10
WE ARE FAITHFUL NO MATTER OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28
Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. Philippians 4:11-14
2. WE ARE FAITHFUL BECAUSE WE STAY PERSISTENT WHEN NOTHING CHANGES.
hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment. Romans 8:24-25 TPT
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! Luke 1-8
3. FAITHFULNESS STARTS SMALL AND BECOMES MONUMENTAL.
Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.” The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.” Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm. 1 Kings 18:42-45
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39
· GOD DOESN’T EXPECT PERFECTION, BUT HE DOES DESIRE PROGRESSION.
Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. James 2:26
When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you… Philippians 2:12-13 MSG
TAKE YOUR FAITH ONE DAY AT A TIME.
TODAY LET ME HONOR GOD BY THE WAY I LIVE.
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