Children of Light

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“God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5). “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)

If we are the children of God (1John 3:1), and our Father is the “Father of Light,” then we must be “children of light.” And if He is so full of light that there is no variation or shadow in Him, then we, too, should be free of any shadows or darkness. How can we be so? By continually keeping ourselves in His light. As we focus fully on Him and His light, we are drawn into it more and more completely, and His light itself fills us more and more thoroughly, until we are like Him, and it can be said of us: “They are children of light, and in them there is no darkness at all.”

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( I originally posted this article about a year and a half ago, but the truth of it intruded on my thoughts again today, and I thought it deserved a second airing.)

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Prayers That Please God

MAN AND WOMAN PRAYINGOver the years, as a minister of the Gospel and teacher of God’s Word, I have spent countless hours studying prayer, formulating lessons on prayer, and — of course — praying. I have an entire curriculum on the subject that I use when I conduct Prayer Schools  throughout the year.  So, needless to say, I could write for hours and hours on the subject. But today I don’t want to write for hours. I want to share just one very important truth.  So here goes:

We pray for all kinds of reasons: worship, fellowship with the Lord, asking for blessings, asking for help, interceding for others. And the Lord is glad to hear from us and welcomes us as the dear children that we are. But there is one kind of prayer that pleases Him more than any others. One kind of prayer that thrills His own heart and, at the same time, opens the channel wide for His answer to get through to us. What kind of prayer always pleases the Father?

When we pray His Word, our prayers are a delight to His heart. No matter what the subject of our prayer is, when we pray the Word, we are praying in faith, because it’s His Word that has taught us His promises.  The Word tells us in Hebrews 11: 6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. So if we would please Him with our prayers, they must be prayers of faith. Not only that, but Jesus made it clear in Mark 11:22-24 — as well as multiple other scripture passages — that if we would get our prayers answered, they must be prayed in faith. Then in James, chapter one, the Lord reminds us again that if we would receive anything from the Lord, we must ask in faith — nothing wavering — and in chapter five of that same book, He says specifically that it is the “prayer of faith” that will get the sick well and get their sins forgiven.

So the prayers that please God the most are the prayers that He can answer — in other words, the prayers of faith. And He tells us clearly in Roman 10:17 that faith comes only one way — by the Word of God. No problem, no trial, and no crying/whining/begging will bring faith into our spirits. Only the Word can create faith. Why? Because only the Word shows  us the reality of those things the Lord wants to do for us. The Word tells us there is such a thing as a born again experience, and we believe it. The Word tell us that we have healing provided by the stripes of Jesus, and we believe it. The Word tells us that God puts angels around us for protection, and we believe it. The Word tells us that God will contend for our lost children, and we believe it.

The only things we can have solid faith for are the things we have God’s Word on. If we try to pray for something we don’t have God’ Word on, then we are praying without faith. We must have a Word in order to have the faith that Word creates. So the prayer in which we go before God and  present His own Word to Him, in confidence that He means what He says, are the prayers that we pray in true faith. And it is those prayers that thrill God’s heart. It’s His delight to fulfill His own Word, and it’s an even greater delight when His children honor Him by learning what His Word says and believing it enough to bring it to Him in full expectation of its fulfillment.

So let’s spend more and more and more time in His Word — until we know for sure what He has to say about every circumstance of life. Then we can take that precious Word to Him in prayers that thrill His heart — and that have a guaranteed answer.

 

 

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Special Message on Psalm 91

WHITE BIBLE - KNOW WORD LOGO

View a special live 90-minute message from pastor Joseph Prince. He will be teaching on Psalm 91.  Let this powerful Word from the Lord, through His anointed vessel, build your faith to believe God for protection from all evil. THIS LINK will take you to the page with all the information about the program, which will run for live streaming for 24 hours, beginning at 6:00 a.m. Singapore time on July 26.

 

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Sabbath Rest Invitational — Week 2

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11: 28  “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  And in Hebrews 4:9, the Lord says, “There remaineth, therefore, a Sabbath rest unto the people of God.” The only true rest comes from the Creator of all things, through His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Sometimes, we get so busy that we forget to spend time with Him in order to absorb His rest. Hopefully, this series of Sunday posts will help us focus on enjoying that rest He so lovingly wants us to have.

I don’t call “Sabbath Rest” a challenge — rather an INVITATION. If you have a photo, a graphic, a favorite scripture passage, or a short quote that represents REST to you, please share it via this “Sabbath Rest” series.

Here’s How:  Simply post your photo or text on your own site; then hop over here to my “Sabbath Rest” post each week and paste the link to yours in the “Comments” box. That’s it. We’ll all get a chance to visit other sites and benefit from the “Rest” offered on each one.

My submission for week 2 is a little chorus the Lord gave me while in His presence one morning.

SUNSET - KEVIN BELL  BLUE- FOR BLOG

Color edited for this post.

I rest my soul
In the bosom of the Father.
I rest my soul
Deep within my God.
I rest my soul
In the Maker of creation,
And safe in Him,
I rest.

(photo: © Kevin Bell: courtesy of beautifulfreepictures.com

 

A Whale of a Tale

I originally wrote this poem on my “In Love With Words” blog as part of a poetry writing assignment in the Writing 201 course WordPress is currently running. The assignment was to write a concrete — or shaped — poem about an animal. The structure of the poem is not supposed to look like a normal poem, but should present a picture of the subject of the poem. So when you scroll down to the poem itself, stand way back, squint one eye, and imagine you see the big flippers of a whale as he goes down into the ocean of words. Then you can enjoy the story.

JONAH POEM WHALE IMAGE

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SMILING WHALE - WHITE ON MAUVE

 

The poem above has been approved and endorsed by the International Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Pink Whales.

 

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Two Trustworthy Acrostics

CROWN OF THORNS ULTRA MODERNTRUSTWORTHY

There is but One whose love and help are sure.
Renewed each day as surely as the sun.
Under His wings of grace I find the cure:
Sin and hate, sorrow, sickness – done.
‘Tis Jesus Christ, the sole trustworthy One.

PROVEN

Tiny babe: He took that form in Bethlehem.
Relinquishing Heaven’s privileges, became a man.
Upon Himself, He took my sin and all its curse.
Secure in Love’s omnipotence, He took the cross.
Then surely I can trust myself into His hands.

 

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Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah began at sunset yesterday.  As a Christian, I celebrate this holiday because the roots of my own faith are in Judaism.  Below, I’ve shared an article my dad wrote a few years ago concerning Hanukkah and how the Christian faith and Christmas exist because of the Jewish faith and the events that brought about the celebration of Hanukkah.  May you enjoy the blessings of God’s love and provision during this season of celebration. 

WITHOUT HANUKKAH, THERE WOULD BE NO CHRISTMAS
(by Ted Pavloff)

MENORAH -- BY CHESDOVI, DEC. 2006 - EDITED 2
I do not hesitate to say, or apologize for saying, that our Christian heritage is in Judaism. If you dig down into our foundations deeply enough, you discover the Jew. That is not only a spiritual truth, but also a historical fact. Jesus was a Jew—100%, full-blooded, full-fledged Hebrew. This was in God’s plan. That is why He called Abraham and, through him and his wife Sarah, established the Jewish nation. Through this Jewish bloodline would come the promised Messiah. No other nation or ethnic people on earth at that time were worthy of that honor. It had to be a brand new people living and worshiping under the law of Jehovah God.

From that point, everything should have run smoothly, but it didn’t. Israel had her problems with sin and idolatry; plus she had her national enemies who also were responsible in part for her sins. You see, Satan did not retire when God cast him out of Heaven. He knew something big lay up ahead, all of which would be to the glory of God. So he never missed an opportunity to try sidetracking every move he thought was God’s. And, without question, his special target throughout the Old Testament era was the Jewish people — the children of Israel. He didn’t want to merely harass them or make them suffer. He wanted desperately to annihilate them—wipe them off the face of the earth. He is still trying to do that today.

And that brings us to a special time in history when Satan almost succeeded. It was in the period between the Testaments, specifically 168 BC. Something happened that culminated into a celebration known as Hanukkah, an 8-day long holiday celebrated by the Jews to this day. And because of Hanukkah we have Christmas. And if there had never been a Hanukkah, there would be no Christmas!

In the period I referred to between the Testaments, the children of Israel were under the iron rule of the Syrian king named Antiochus. Not only did Antiochus subject the Jews to a life of suffering, but he was also openly determined to destroy the very foundation and unique identity of Judaism. He prevented the Jews from ever using the Temple, but he didn’t stop there. He forced them to abandon every phase of their religion. He banned Sabbath, circumcisions, all worship of Jehovah God, and all traditions that dated back to Moses. He destroyed all of the writings of the scribes that he could locate. He erected idols all over the Temple, including in the Holy of Holies. Then as the ultimate act of desecration of God’s temple, he sacrificed a pig on the altar of God.

The Jews were totally defeated and demoralized. This was one unique time in Jewish history when the enemy came within a fraction of destroying all traces of a recognizable Jewish culture. And any chance for a promised Messiah to be born into Judaism would have vanished.

But in 168 BC, at the height of the reign of Antiochus, there was an aged Jewish priest named Mattathias who one day struck down and killed one of Antiochus’ commissioners and an apostate Jew, who were in the process of offering up heathen sacrifices in the temple. Then he leveled the altar and escaped with his five sons into the wilderness. He organized a guerrilla band to oppose Antiochus. Two of his sons were killed in the process, and Mattathias died shortly thereafter.

But the eldest son, Judas, took over. Judas and his guerrilla band defeated every military unit Antiochus sent against them. During this time Judas won the name “Macabbee,” which means “the hammerer.” Within three years, Judas Maccabee and his band of Jewish guerrillas miraculously recaptured the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

They promptly set about destroying every semblance of heathen presence. They thoroughly cleansed the temple and rededicated it to Jehovah God and to the worship of Him alone.

The temple was rededicated on the 25th day of the Jewish month of “Kislev,” which corresponds exactly to our month of December. The name Hanukkah means “dedication.” The celebration is also referred to as “The Feast of Dedication,” and the “Festival of Lights.” The common Hebrew phrase connected with Hanukkah is “Nes Gadoy Haya Sham,” which means: “A great miracle happened here.” Truly, it was a great miracle: Judaism was saved from oblivion.

In actual fact, there are two miracles that link Hanukkah and Christmas, and understanding them will raise your joyful appreciation of both. First, there was the preservation of the Jewish people. Had Antiochus been successful, the Jews and Judaism would have gone the route of all the other nations that are today nothing more than archeological history. (e.g. Philistines, Amalakites, etc.) There would not have been a chosen nation for Christ to be born into. So whenever you are tempted to doubt God’s saving power, remember Hanukkah and His loving power for the Maccabees: all odds against them, yet they miraculously prevailed. He is the same God, who today delivers His people, Jew and Gentile.

The second miracle of Hanukkah is the miracle of lights. Antiochus and his thugs had extinguished the Seven-branch Menorah that was to burn in the temple continuously. The victorious Jews searched for oil to rekindle this sacred flame. They found only enough for one day, and it would take eight days to get more. In their excitement to rekindle the flame, they didn’t wait. They lit it with only one day’s supply of oil. Miraculously it burned continually for eight days. This is why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight full days, and why a nine branch candelabra is used in the celebration. The “Shamash,” or servant candle is lit first; then it lights all the other candles one at a time each night for the eight nights. On the eighth night the full candelabra is brilliantly aglow.

John 10 tells us that Jesus went up to the temple at the Feast of Dedication. Isn’t it appropriate that He would choose that moment to declare, “I am the light of the world. He that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”? (John 8:12.)

Like the “Shamash,” the Servant Candle (Jesus) lights our way and sends His Holy Spirit to ignite us, to fire us up, so we can shine His light into a dark world.

So the miracle of preservation made Christmas possible, and the miracle of light reminds us of the prophet’s voice: “He shall be a light unto the Gentiles … and His salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6).

Finally, there is the common theme that links Hanukkah and Christmas, and it is that of “God with us – Immanuel.” There is a traditional Hanukkah hymn that reads like this: “Rock of ages, let our song praise thy saving power; thou amidst the raging foe, were our sheltering tower; furious they assailed us; by thy arm you availed us; and thy word broke their sword when our own strength failed us!”

God has promised to be with us, His people, in every endeavor of our lives, and this promise was forever sealed in the Name the prophets chose to call Messiah. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call His name Immanuel.”  (Isaiah 7:14).

Jesus was born to die and then rise up victoriously. Born to light our way and make us lights. Born to be worshiped and adored by Jews and Gentiles alike. He is the Hope of Hanukkah and the Christ of Christmas.

These two holidays share their significance in the person of Y’shua, Jesus, our Rock of Ages.

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