Let it shine!

John 1:9 (AMP)  There it was—the true Light [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] which, coming into the world, enlightens everyone.

Here we are two days after Christmas. The time of the year that we celebrate the true Light coming into the world. The way my chronological reading plan worked out is that I started the New Testament yesterday with Luke 1 and John 1. The past few weeks (December 1-24) I took a chapter in Luke per day and read it along with my other readings. Today I wanted to focus in on John’s perspective. He starts off with Christ is the Word and the Light.

John 1:1-8 (AMP) In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was [continually existing] in the beginning [co-eternally] with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without Him not even one thing was made that has come into being. In Him was life [and the power to bestow life], and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not understand it or overpower it or appropriate it or absorb it [and is unreceptive to it]. There came a man commissioned and sent from God, whose name was John. This man came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe [in Christ, the Light] through him. John was not the Light, but came to testify about the Light.

Christ came so that He could restore us to our rightful place with the Father. He came to be Savior to the world, but He is so much more than that. We begin our relationship with Him as our Savior. That moment that changes our life and we let the Light in. The Light is always going to point us to the Word. The Word should bring life to you. Do you dread reading the Word? Does it seem boring to you? Are you one who says that you read and get nothing out of it? The Holy Spirit can help with that.

Whenever a person tells me they want to grow more in their relationship with God, or they are ready to surrender entirely to Him, I ask them if they read their Bible and if they pray in the Spirit. If they have never received the baptism of the Holy Spirit then I encourage them to do so.

I remember my moment that I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was nineteen. I had been saved for a little over a year and attending seminary. Their was a missionary ministering at the church and she gave the invitation. I was engaged (to my husband) at the time and we had talked about how important it was for him that before we got married that I was spirit filled. Just a couple of weeks before the missionary had visited our church I had given him a box with his wedding band in it, letting him know that I was ready to take the next step in my relationship with God. We set our wedding date for nearly six months after that moment. Unlike others I know, this was not a manipulation tactic to marriage. This was genuine.

From that moment. The Light was brighter, the Word came alive. The zeal for everything to be reconciled to Christ was greater. Life does happen and if you do not charge your self in the Word and prayer then you will become dim again, but the Light is still somewhere there. So what am I rambling on about? Do not wait until January first to say I want to get in the Word more. Do it today! Why wait? Pray in the Spirit more. If you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit, message me and I can point you to some scriptures to help with that.

Now that we have our Word and our Light, go as John did and testify of Him. We do not draw people to ourselves, but point them to the Light.

Matthew 15:14-16 (AMP) You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Let your Light shine!!

My van overheated

This past week started off tough for me. It started off with stress and anxiety over getting items ready for a consignment sale, which were exasperated by how I was “tolerated” as a consignor by the new owner. Also, on Monday my van started to overheat. We had just gotten back from a trip to north Alabama, where the temperatures were still below freezing and they had gotten snow. We let the van run for longer periods of time in idle than we usually do. We added antifreeze to it as we found out it had none and by the next day it was low again.

On Wednesday I took my van for an oil change and asked them to look into the coolant issue. That I could smell it and that it was leaking somewhere. They gave me a quote and sent me on my way telling me to be very careful. I traveled from there about twenty miles to see my mother and have a visit. On the way back from my mother’s it started over heating again. I pulled it over to the shoulder and call a town truck.

Just that morning I had posted: Yesterday was rough. I was stressed and anxious for most of the afternoon. I spent the past two days hanging, tagging and preparing items for a local consignment sale (this will be my last time doing it). While doing it I binge watched an episode on Netflix. Really interesting and entertaining…I like a good crime series.Today I am reading and came across this nugget:“The Bible shows us that there is a direct relation between hearing and seeing Jesus, and the health of our bodies. The more we hear and see Jesus, the healthier and stronger we become! Our mortal bodies infused with His resurrection life and power! If we are constantly feeding on the news media, it is no wonder we feel weak and tired. There is just no nourishment for us there.” From “Unmerited Favor” by Joseph Prince. Now I don’t watch the news but I do like to get into a good series. It’s comforting, but then when I’m away from it I feel anxious. Hello! Doesn’t that seem like symptoms of an addiction? I read my Word every day. I spend time in worship. I know the Holy Spirit. Here is what He is trying to tell me: stop putting time limits on what is His time and what is my time. I do not have as much stress and anxiety when I give Him more of that “me time.” I had an amazing time in the Word and a really good visit with my mom. I had accomplished everything I needed to do on my checklist and now I am on the side of the road. I did not freak out, I did not get into an over anxious mess ball, I had peace.

I got my van home and called the one place I was trying to avoid, my service center. I had not had good experiences with them in the past. When we bought the van my husband also bought an extended warranty that is good as long as we own the van, no renewing required. It is bumper to bumper, but not for normal wear and tear (tires, oil changes, fluids, etc.). Since this was a leak in a hose I did not think this was covered, so that is why I was seeking elsewhere for the repairs. I get it to this service center and guess what…it is covered. What I was willing to pay over four hundred dollars to get fixed only cost me a hundred and fifty.

This is my take away from this. That extended warranty was put into our payments at the beginning of the purchase. It is one hundred percent paid for now. I would not have known the benefits of it completely if I did not get it checked by the service center. We can be just like that with our relationship with God. There are some benefits and blessings that we know are available to us because of the cross, but others we are not sure of so we go someplace else to get our resources. Then we know we should be blessed in an area and think if we make ourselves small and keep a good attitude that God will give us just enough to get us by.

There are some benefits and blessings that we know are available to us because of the cross, but others we are not sure of so we go someplace else to get our resources.

Luke 12:22-24 (AMP) Jesus said to His disciples, “For this reason I tell you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; or about your body, as to what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow [seed] nor reap [the crop]; they have no storehouse or barn, and yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds!

Ephesians 3:20 (AMP) Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us

These are just two verses that should give us an assurance that we have the promise of favor, of abundant blessings and nothing in it tells us to make ourselves small. What about John 3:30 then, “He must increase, but I must decrease”? This is telling us that nothing should be more important in our lives than Christ. John the Baptist wanted to point others to Christ. When we take this verse out of context we start to put the smallness onto ourselves.

If I had stayed in my good attitude and went to the other place, the place where I knew they would not make me uncomfortable because I had never had a confrontation with them, then I would not have known all that was available to me. You know what else, this visit to the service center was the most pleasant experience I have ever had! Favor and blessings all around!!

I pray this blessed and encouraged you. If you need prayer or need to chat, message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Football and reflection

As I have said before we live in Alabama. My husband and I moved to Alabama when we married. I was raised in Columbus, Georgia…where we are is roughly thirty five miles from where I grew up. We love living in this small town! We are right in the middle of college football country!!

I did not grow up watching college football, but my husband did. He grew up in Belize, Central America. His parents were missionaries and they would come back to the United States to itinerate (raise money to go back and live on the mission field). On one such session it was Iron Bowl weekend and the host family were big Auburn fans. The Iron Bowl here is a rivalry game between Alabama University and Auburn University (two big college teams in the same state). My husband, not being raised in the states, did not get exposed to much college ball (he may have been eight at this time). The other family’s kids asked who he was going for Auburn or Alabama? Having been born in Alabama, he said Alabama (not realizing both teams were in Alabama). They won that year and he has been a lifelong fan since. It started a love for college football for him. Our boys have been raised on it.

I am telling you this because now my youngest has a passion for football. He has been playing full contact since he was five years old. He is now thirteen and plays travel ball with a team called the Opelika Dawg Pound. He opted out of his first year of middle school football because this would be his last year to be eligible to play with a team that he was there at the conception of. Our children know what loyalty is. This year has not been easy for him. He loves to be on the defensive line, he loves to hit!

This year he played center, that is an offensive line position that snaps the ball between their legs to the quarterback. This is a skilled position, that takes effort. Most of the time the guy across the other side of him is almost twice his size ready to knock through him to get to the quarterback. So not only does he have to make sure the snap is not crazy, he also has to push the other team’s player away from him to keep him from his quarterback to make the play.

This weekend were were in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Choo Choo Bowl. Our boys got up and on the road at five thirty in the morning, only to play their game at five thirty in the evening. This was along day for our boys. Eli had some high snaps that day (but he was not aware of it). It was not until the end of the game that one got a little wild and the quarterback missed it. The quarterback let him know then. We lost our first game and the chance to be in the championships. Eli got in the van defeated. He blamed himself for the loss. How heartbreaking for a mother to hear her son sobbing because he felt the weight of the team on his shoulders. His dad told him his snaps were a little high. Eli said no one told him…but he still took responsibility. So the next game Eli adjusted. His snaps were perfect. Our team dominated the next two games and we walked away in third place for the weekend. The first game was not lost because of bad snaps, but he knew he did not do his part. He adjusted!

How heartbreaking for a mother to hear her son sobbing because he felt the weight of the team on his shoulders.

I am a boy mom and when I read about sons being born in the Bible it makes me weep. I was reading Luke last week The first chapter talks about the conception of John the Baptist and Jesus. Elizabeth was Mary’s aunt. Elizabeth being greater in age, it was a miracle for her to be with child. Zachariah was in disbelief when the angel of the Lord came to him to tell him about this child that he was made mute until after his son was born. Actually it was eight days after he was born that he was able to speak again:

Luke 1:65-80 (MSG) A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone heard about it and took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his had in this.” Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, ‘Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel; he came and set his people free. He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant, just as he promised long ago through the preaching of the holy prophets: Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand; Mercy to our fathers, and he remembers to do what he said he’d do, What he swore to our father Abraham – a clean rescue from the enemy camp, so we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live. And you, my child, “Prophet of the Highest,” will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways, present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins. Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.’ The child grew up, healthy and spirited. He lived out in the desert until the day he made his prophetic debut in Israel.

When I read this I wept. This was a child born to proclaim and prepare the way for Jesus. Such a heavy weight for a child. I wept knowing how his life would end, his head placed on a platter for a snide and vengeful woman. No matter what the end was for John the Baptist, he was focused. It makes me think of Philippians 1:6 (AMP) I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will (continue to) perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (the time of His return).

What has this weekend taught me? Whatever part I play in the purpose God has for me is important. If I am not where God told me to be, doing what He called me to do, with the people God called me to do with, I am out of my place. This week starts Advent. It is a time to reflect of the birth of our Lord, Jesus. I remember the joy of holding my sons for the first time. They are teenagers now, I still wonder what God has in store for them. I look at their personalities. I take joy when I see characteristics that reflect Him. Take time today and look for things that reflect Him! Look for daddy moments. “Through the heartfelt mercies of God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us.” How wonderful!