Disciplemaking, Commands, Bible, Scripture, Direction, Light, Flesh, Darkness, Abiding

LOSS OF LIGHT

JOEL 3:15

The sun and moon have become dark, and the stars have lost their brightness.

I was in my hunting blind one morning recently very early. It was a cloudy morning, so there was no moonlight or stars shining. As I sat there in the pitch black, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. You could almost feel the darkness. And I thought to myself how trying it must be to be blind and not be able to see. My vision improved with the sunrise. For that I was thankful.

But in this scene which Joel describes, it’s a little different. Sure, the sun and moon will lose their light, and the stars will lose their brightness. But is that because it will be dark, like when Christ was crucified or because the light of God will be so bright that all other lights will be gone? One can speculate which it will be. The point is things will be very different on this day of the Lord.

APPLICATION

In the meantime, we are supposed to be shining our light. As believers, the light of Christ dwells within us. We are not supposed to hide it. Don’t you love that children’s song, This Little Light of Mine? We don’t hide it under a bushel. We don’t let Satan blow it out. We hold it high for the world to see.

Where is your light? Are you drawing others to Christ by your light? Our lights should be doing that. We should also be leading others with our light as we all walk down the path together. Together our lights are brighter. As followers of Christ, we should never have a loss of light. Why? Because He is the source. His light can never be distinguished. Praise the Lord.

I will have to admit that sometimes my light is not as bright as it should be. I let my flesh get in the way, and it dims my light. That’s my fault. That has nothing to do with the source. I confess that as sin. I truly want my light to shine so brightly that the sun, moon and stars seem dim in comparison. How about you?

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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Alone, Confidence, Darkness, Encouragement, Fear, Judgment, Light, Modeling, Scripture

WHO TURNED THE LIGHTS OUT

JOEL 2:10

“Before them the earth quakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and the moon become dark, and the stars lose their brightness.”

Have you ever been in a room when someone turned off the lights and left you in the dark? It can be frightening, can’t it? One moment you have light and the next you don’t. In one second, you go from seeing well to seeing nothing. In the 21st century we understand how all this works, but in Joel’s day it was a whole different story.

In today’s verse the locusts are described as so thick that they blot out the sun, moon and stars. The sky seems to shake at their presence (the vibration of their wings could cause that). The people of Judah would be in sunlight or moonlight one moment and suddenly darkness. For the people of this time, I am sure it was scary.

APPLICATION

Our Lord makes a reference in Luke 21:25-26 to a similar event. “‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,’” The Lord was saying this in reference to His return one day. I am not saying locust swarms indicate Christ’s return. But even He showed how God will use nature to tell a story.

The truth is there are signs all around us of Christ’s imminent return. So many prophecies have been fulfilled. It seems the world is teetering on the edge. Are you looking for Him? Are you aware of what is going on in our world that is preparing for that glorious day? You should be.

I believe He is coming soon. That may prove to be wrong. That’s okay. I am not building a bunker to hide in. I am okay with whatever happens because my trust is in Him, not the news. But I truly believe it’s near. I am okay with that as well. If the sun and moon are blotted out, I am trusting Him. Are you?

I will trust in the one who is my light. Though the sun and the moon fall, I will trust in Jesus.

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Accountability, Advice, Affliction, Bible, Darkness, Deceit, Deception, Judgment, Lies, Light, Obedience, Punishment, Satan, Scripture, Sin

STUMBLING

HOSEA 4:5

“So you will stumble by day, and the prophet also will stumble with you by night; And I will destroy your mother.”

Have you ever stumbled in the dark? Without a good light it is so easy. Since my chemotherapy I have developed pretty severe neuropathy in my feet. I can stumble so easily without shoes. I have to be very careful, whether I am walking in the dark or in the light. Stumbling is a real possibility.

Hosea is not referring to that kind of stumbling. He is talking about a spiritual stumbling. The Israelites had closed their eyes to God and were stumbling everywhere. Even the priests were stumbling. God warns them, through Hosea, that He was going to destroy their mother, referring to Jerusalem. That happened in the midst of their stumbling.

APPLICATION

How can you prevent spiritually stumbling? Just like physical stumbling, a good source of light can prevent most accidents. We have to keep the light of the Word shining brightly in our lives. That means we have to study it daily. You cannot get by with just an occasional quiet time. You need the equivalent of a million lumens shining on you daily.

The light of the Word exposes the darkness. It lets you see the approaching enemy. The beam of His Word points out the dangers lurking in your path, set by the devil, that could bring you down. But when you shine the light on the path, God directs each step you take.

I know I need a daily dose of God’s Word to keep me walking safely. It is amazing how clear your path becomes when you are seeing it through the lense of God’s Word. God’s Word always clarifies. Stop the stumbling.

Lord, keep my feet safe. Shine Your light on my path so I can avoid the devil’s snares.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Encouragement, Faith, God's Will, Gospel, Light, Love, Manifested, Mentoring, Parenting, Salvation, Satan, Scripture

ILLUMINATED

1 JOHN 4:9

“By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”

How many of you have a nativity scene you set up outside? We had one growing up that I loved. It was life size and was lit up with spotlights. We even had an angel hanging on wire above the manger. It was so cool. I always loved it.

But my aunt and uncle had one that was lit from the inside. It had this awesome glow. Don’t get me wrong. I loved ours more. But their nativity had this awesome look because it was glowing instead of being lit from the outside. Hmmm, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

APPLICATION

The word “manifested” means to illuminate, to make known, to make plain in open view. Try this with your kids. Get some candles and light them. Cover them with different things like a box, a flowerpot and a glass. Let them tell you which candle can be seen. Of course, the only one is through the glass. The others are covered up.

Talk about the verse. God’s love is illuminated through us when we accept His Son as our Savior. John even partially quotes John 3:16, which he wrote. John knew Jesus personally. He knew He had been sent by His Father to indwell us. Our kids need to understand that. Jesus was sent to save us from ourselves, from our sins, from the world, from Satan. And when He lives in us, His light will shine. Our job is to get out of the way and let it shine.

Are you shining for Him? Are you letting His light illuminate your life? He wants you to shine for Him by loving others. Why? Because He sent His Son for us. If Jesus lives in you, you have the light of the world in you. Isn’t that amazing? Why wouldn’t you let the light shine through your love for others?

Lord, I praise You for illuminating me. You have given me the ability to love others. Help me do that daily.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Choices, Confession, Darkness, Following, Forgiveness, God's Will, Harmony, Hypocrisy, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Surrender

ARE YOU A HATER?

1 JOHN 2:9

“The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.”

People can say anything. They can claim to love others but just watch how they treat them. The word “hate” seems to imply a horrible action. But did you know the Greek word here can actually mean to love less. Now wait a minute, Carl. That seems a little harsh. Oh really? Do you think Jesus loves them less than you? He loves them all.

John tells us that if we hate, we are still in the darkness. We are walking in the darkness. We are stumbling. What happens when you stumble in the darkness? You hurt yourself. You could break your toe or leg or worse. It’s the same when we hate. We hurt ourselves.

APPLICATION

If your child hasn’t said it yet, they will. They will come home saying they hate someone for something they have done. I am sure you correct them for that. Try sharing this verse with them. Let them see what God says about hate. Ask them if they want to be in the darkness. I bet they don’t.

There are going to be people we don’t like in life. That’s just the truth. So, what do we do? We pray for those individuals. We ask the Lord to give us His love for them. Is that easy? No! It’s impossible by ourselves. But with Christ in us, we can do anything, including loving those we do not like.

Are you tired of stubbing your toe in the darkness because you refuse to stop hating? Come to the light. Stay in the light. Let Jesus direct your path, especially when others are trying to block it. Love them anyway. Jesus does.

Oh Father, I fall so short in this area. I can always justify my hate, but Your Word convicts me. Thank You.

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Advice, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Comfort, Commands, Courage, Darkness, Encouragement, Following, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Promises, Scripture

I SEE A LIGHT

1 JOHN 2:8

“On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.”

If you have read many of my devotional blogs, then you know I like to hunt. In fact, today is opening day for archery season for white-tail deer. As you read this today, I am sitting in my blind in the woods waiting to harvest a deer. Now, before you judge me for being a hunter, just keep reading. Hunting is not the topic of this blog.

When I have been in the woods in the past in the early morning hours before daylight, it has been of extreme importance to have a good light. I always carry a backup light just in case the one I am using goes out as I am walking. There’s not much more of a helpless feeling than to be walking in the woods and lose your source of light. Ah hah! Here’s my point. If we are walking with Christ, we can never lose our light. Why? Because He is the source, which is eternal.

APPLICATION

Kids, for the most part, love using flashlights in the dark. It just gives a new sensation that we can’t experience in the daytime. Get some flashlights and put different strength batteries in them. (You will need to test these before you do this with your kids.) Get in a dark room and turn on these different flashlights one at a time, beginning with the weakest batteries. The room seems pretty lit up, even with the weakest batteries. But, as you go from the weakest to the strongest, they will see the difference.

Ask them which flashlight they would want to take with them into a dark room. Of course, they are going to pick the brightest one. Ask them why. We want the brightest light possible to keep us from stumbling. The same is true in our spiritual walk. We need the brightest light, which is Jesus. We can’t walk alone. We are destined to fall.

Are you trying to navigate the dark passages of life by yourself? Take up the light that is available to you right now. Let Jesus light your path. Let Him show you the right steps to take. Aren’t you tired of falling down? As John says, “the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.”

ThankYou, Lord, for lighting my path. Thank You for being my one and only dependable source of light.

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IF-THEN

1 JOHN 1:7

“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

Using the “If-Then” method of child-rearing is a good way of teaching them. If your child does his chores, then he can receive his allowance. If she cleans her room as promised, then you will take her to get ice cream. Now, you may not agree with rewarding children for doing their chores, but it is one method.

John is telling us here in today’s verse that we will receive a reward if we do a certain thing (If-Then). If we walk in the light, then we will have fellowship and Jesus’ blood cleanses us. We can’t expect to have either of those if we walk in darkness. Only by walking in the light are they possible.

APPLICATION

I’ve kind of already hinted at the application for your kids. Try one of those “If-Then” situations with your child. Then take them to this verse. You see, your own “If-Then” training is preparing them for their own “If-Then” decisions with the Lord. They are going to face a lot of those moments in life.

They will face crucial decisions with peers. If I do this, then this could happen. If I do this, how will it glorify God? If-then, if-then, if-then. All through life they will have to make those decisions. They need to understand your training of them now is preparing them for later.

How about you? Do you desire fellowship and forgiveness? Then it’s simple – walk in the light. That means to come to Christ and accept Him as your Savior. You can’t walk in light if you’re lost. You may think you’re in the light, but you aren’t. You are in the darkness. Come to the light.

I desire to stay in the light, Father. I desire fellowship with You and others. I know I am forgiven through the blood of Your Son.

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Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Disciplemaking, Encouragement, Eternity, Inspirational, Light, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture

GOD IS LIGHT

1 JOHN 1:5

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

I have to get a little technical to explain this verse. Do you mind? The phrase “we have heard” is in the Perfect tense. What does that mean? It means completed action with ongoing results. The word “announce” is in the Present tense which means ongoing action.

Thank you, Carl, that really blessed me. Now listen. John heard from Jesus that God is light and that He contains no darkness. That message changed his life, and he had to share it. We have heard that message ourselves. Are we sharing it?

APPLICATION

The next time you are planning a family vacation somewhere the kids are going to love (Disney World, the beach, etc), watch what happens. They are going to tell everyone. They are so excited about this message. This message has changed their lives.

Then sit the kids down and read them this verse. Explain to them that the message about vacation is awesome. But…it could change. It could get cancelled. Or it could happen and then be over. God’s message can’t be cancelled. It is never over. It won’t come and go. It’s eternal.

Are you living for the temporal or eternal? God’s message of light in a dark world is incredible. We hold the power source for the universe in our hearts. His light can shine through us, if we let it. His light can permeate the darkest heart if we will share it. Shine on.

Your light has changed my life. Thank You for shining it on me. Help me shine it on others.

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Accountability, Advice, Bible, Blameless, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Completeness, Deception, Encouragement, Inspirational, Lies, Light, Mentoring, Modeling, Parenting, Scripture, Sincerity

ARE YOU SINCERE?

2 PETER 3:1

“This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder,” 

Peter is winding down his second letter to the scattered believers throughout Asia Minor by “stirring up” their “sincere mind.” I read those words and wondered what he meant by that. Didn’t you? The Greek word for “stirring up” was used back in 2 Peter 1:13. It means to wake up, to rouse from sleep.

But I want to look at the Greek word for “sincere.” It means to be rightly judged in the light. Back in the days this epistle was written, you could go to the market and buy a clay pot for your home. But a smart shopper would hold that pot up to the light to make sure there were no cracks in it that had been filled by wax. If that was the case, when you poured a hot liquid in it, it would begin to leak. Our minds must have no cracks in it. It must be sincere and easily judged by The Light.

APPLICATION

This would be a fun experiment at home with your kids. Buy two identical little clay pots. Break one of them and carefully put it back together with candle wax, not glue. Once it is firm again, pour some boiling water into both pots. Let them sit and watch what happens. Over time, the one sealed with the wax will begin to leak. It may even fall apart.

What a lesson for our kids. Our minds must be sincere and pure in regards to Christ. If we allow anything else to take root, cracks begin to develop. We can try to seal those cracks with our justifications and explanations, but those cracks still remain. Leaks will happen. We will break down.

How sincere is your mind? Are there “cracks” in it? So, the question is how do you prevent those cracks from happening? By staying in the Word. By spending time in prayer. By shunning those things which draw you to your flesh. It’s not that complicated. Just surrender daily. Allow the Lord to point the way.

O God, I don’t want any cracks in my mind. I want a sincere and pure mind focused only on You.

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Angels, Bible, Child Raising, Child Rearing, Courage, Deceit, Demons, Devil, Evil, Following, Heaven, Hell, Light, Mentoring, Parenting, Satan, Scripture

FALLEN ANGELS

2 PETER 2:4

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;”

Did you ever wonder where demons come from? Well, here you have it. When Satan rebelled in heaven, he was cast out along with the angels he had convinced to follow him. Their punishment was swift and just. God could not and would not tolerate sin.

Why do you think the devil and his demons hate us? Because they know what they have lost. They know they are doomed forever to those pits of darkness. They know once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are destined for the place they were cast from. So, their intent is to keep as many as possible from making that choice.

APPLICATION

Pretty heavy subject for the kiddos, right? But we shouldn’t shy away from the subject of hell around our kids. We don’t hesitate to talk about heaven, do we? Of course not. Hell is just as real, so they need to know about those who dwell there. Demons are real and are still being used in the spiritual realm in which we live.

The last thing you want, however, is for your children to be looking for a demon around every corner. We have to teach them to live for Jesus and trust Him to fight for them in these battles. They are no match for Jesus. He will defend His children. Evil exists in this world. Make sure your children know no matter how dark the evil, Christ’s light shines brighter.

Are you a demon watcher or a Jesus watcher? The devil wants your attention on the demons. By doing that your eyes are off of Jesus. Keep your eyes on Jesus and demons are of no concern to you. When you are walking in the light, the demons are exposed. They can’t stand that. Stay in the light.

I choose to walk in the light, Lord. May Your beams of light drive any evil away from me. Help me walk securely holding Your hand.

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