Saturday, August 23, 2014

August 23, 2014 … Being Salt & Light

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 235

Devotional Song: Go to this link - PLEASE take the time to see a lyrical video of Chris Rice singing the poignant song … Go Light Your Wolrd, which encourages all Christians to live out the heavenly reality of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount … to shine the Light of Christ into this very dark world.

Highlight Passage: Matthew 5: 16… [NKJV] …
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 
Highlight Context - NKJV: Matthew 5: 11-16 [NKJV] … GO TO THIS LINK

Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23… [NKJV] …
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me. .. “ 

Reference Passage #2: Romans 12: 19 … [NKJV] …
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” [Deut. 32:35] says the Lord. 

Reference Passage #3: 1st Peter 2: 11-12… [NKJV] …
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Joe Stowell, related an incident from a popular book which has become a blockbuster film. He wrote …

  "In J. R. R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit, the wizard Gandalf explains why he has selected a small hobbit like Bilbo to accompany the dwarves to fight the enemy. He says, ‘Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.’ " 

What Stowell is trying to emphasize by Tolkien’s Wizard is the same sentiment which Jesus was teaching in His Sermon on the Mount, trying to get His followers to see that we should be living now as all true believers will live in heaven. And Jesus used the word pictures of Christians becoming salt and light [see attached photo] in a very unsalted and very darkened world (even more so now). And if you read the entire context of Matthew 5: 11-16, Jesus was commanding that His followers, now only do what he had commanded in Luke 9: 23 (referenced above); but also to do what is almost humanly impossible when we’re confronted by a world which wants to kill us. Jesus was teaching that we should love our enemies; and pray for them.

Just this past week, a group of Islamic terrorists, who’ve declared war against America and Judeo-Christian values, committed a public beheading of an American photojournalist, James Foley; and then they posted the beheading online. How does a Christian deal with that incident and reality in light of Jesus’ teaching and commands from the Sermon on the Mount as well as the teachings of Paul and Peter, referenced above?

Personally, in in my humanness, I wanted those "SOBs" who killed James Foley to be crushed by the airstrikes which had been ordered by our President in response to the terror being led by the ISIS group of terrorists in the MidEast recently. I wanted for America to take revenge for the senseless beheading of James Foley; … BUT … that’s not what Jesus wants from me in response to such acts of persecution. He wants me to go out in the world and repay such senseless acts of darkness by shining His light of kindness and love.

Jesus wants me to refrain from desiring vengeance; and, as Paul taught in Romans 12: 19, which was a replay of God’s commands in Deut. 32: 35, my Lord desires that I leave all vengeance to Him. And Jesus commanded His followers [yeah, that’s ME] to go out and shine His light of love into this dark world by my works of righteousness or kindness, … especially in the context of any persecution I experience from the world.

Can I do that? … I pray I (we) can!

My Prayer for Today … Lord, help me to leave all vengeance to You … and for me, today, to go out and shine Your light of love in some way today. … Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread [TGIF], distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you’ll find a link to read the Our Daily Bread blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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