Happy 4th of July!
I care about the United States of America.
I care about the condition of our country and strive to pray for our leaders on a regular basis, but I care about people’s souls much more. I also care deeply about how well Christians are displaying the character of Christ, particularly as it influences our ability to introduce people to Jesus.
These things will always exist.
Yes, some media outlets seem to be out to get “us,” meaning Christians. Yes, our faith is often misunderstood. Sure, the name of Jesus can be offensive even when we are loving. These three scenarios are to be expected and we have no control over them occurring. My greater concern is about the health of the church at large, something we can control.
These things don’t have to exist quite so much.
I grieve over are the factions within the body of Christ, the strife, broken relationships, fallen pastors, celebrity status of leaders, and hateful Tweets and IG posts. The church is to be a reflection of God’s nature to a watching world, but there are parts of our witness that have caused a rightful response of confusion and consternation. Truth can be communicated in a hateful, unfruitful manner as indicated in 1 Corinthians 13:1: If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
Do you know Jesus prayed for you and me in John 17:20-23?
[Jesus is speaking] My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
- This prayer includes every Christian, you and I who now believe in Jesus through the message of those who brought it to you.
that all of them may be one,
- not some of them, all.
Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
- Does the world believe God sent Jesus because Christians are so unified?
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.
- Are we unified to the extent God and Jesus are unified?
Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
- For the second time in four verses, does the world know God sent Jesus because they see our unity?
Jesus described you and me in Matthew 5:14-16, too!
“You are the light of the world.
- Notice that, collectively, we are already the light of the world. This title has already been ascribed to us and each of us contributes to this role. We Christians have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of us. We can decide today whether to let Him shine, or ourselves.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
- If we would live in unity and let our faith show, then we would not be hidden. God’s nature would be evident through us and would be high and lifted up, on display for the world to see.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
- Hiding a light is illogical, but possible. Are any of us keeping Jesus a secret? Do people in our lives know we are Christians, or attend church, or are people of faith? Anything at all? Or are we just nice people? Worse yet, do we have the reputation of being unkind?
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.(Matthew 5:14-16)
- When we live with God’s light on a stand for all to see, the response is never, “Wow, she is amazing,’ but rather, “Wow, God is amazing!”
As we hear and see fireworks today in celebration of our nation’s birthday, let’s pray and re-commit to living as the light of the world God says we are.
May God bring healing to the church, then to everyone else in the nation as we walk rightly with Him out in the open and offer the gift of Jesus to the world through our lives. We are beautiful lights of the world against the canvas of a dark world. Let’s be unified and walk closely with God so the world can see His beauty.
Let’s be gloriously beautiful!
A thank you note: Thank you to the people in my life that reflect the love of God to me and others. You not only bless me, but you also bless the watching world and God Himself. You are a reflection of God’s nature to a watching world. Oh, how I love you! I pray that my ability to do the same increases every day I live.
© 2021 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
Laurie, the bright light of Jesus that shines through you has meant so much to me over the years! Your love for Jesus has made my love for Jesus grow stronger, and your light for Jesus has made me want my light to be brighter! Thank you for the example of your life. I am so thankful for your friendship! Happy Birthday this week!
I am thankful for our friendship too. I just returned from a fireworks show, best in many years. I want to shine brightly, but even more I want all of us to shine brightly together! Lord, make to so.
You are truly a gift from God. Your words always get my mind thinking deep. Always absorbing and marinating the words that you write. I pray that the smile I give or the words I speak show others that it is all because of Jesus in my life. Bless you and your family on this fourth of July!
I can absolutely say with confidence that the smile you give and the words you speak show others that Jesus is in your life! I adore you and miss seeing you. May God’s blessings be pouring out on you.
Thank you, Laurie, for reminding us that each of us is a bright single firework in God’s firework show! I pray this 4th of July is truly special for you! I love you!
It is a privilege to be one who reminds that we are lights of the world!
My light’s waving to your light, sister! Love you! Happy birthday week!!
That made me smile. Have a great July.