Matthew 5:14-15 NKJV – Let your light shine

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

There are people who are called design engineers. My brother worked in that area of engineering for many years. I will tell you, these are some very gifted people. I can speak in absolute confidence that design engineers have very creative minds. But not only that, they can envision things that sometimes don’t even exist and with the help of sophisticated computer software, they can create things of function and beauty. My brother has even been awarded US Government Patents on some of his work to make our lives easier. (I’ll let you in on a secret) He helped the banking industry in the early stages of ATM machines with some of his design work. And you know how we depend on ATM banking. Am I talking to someone out there or am I the only one who drives up to get some quick cash?

Far better than design engineers, God also has designed us for His glory, created for good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV) Our Heavenly Father, before the foundations of the earth were laid, had a designed plan for all of us. He created us in His image to do good works according to His grace. God formed us in His beauty and for a specific function.

Now that we understand that, there comes with that some responsibility. God designed us to be lights of the world. As Jesus Christ calls Himself the “Light of the World” (John 8:12 NKJV). All Christians are “light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8 NKJV) and must shine as lights. We are all workers together with Christ. The world sits in darkness and Jesus Christ gives us His light to shine in the world.

What good is a lighted lamp to us if we keep it lit in a dark closet? Or as Scripture says above, “put it under a basket”. Jesus gives us His light for a reason; to push back the darkness of this world. As lights of the world, we should be illustrious and conspicuous. I like these words. Illustrious, as Webster’s defines, “Notably or brilliantly outstanding because of dignity or achievements or actions”. Whoa! Conspicuous, as Webster’s defines, “Very easy to see or notice”. God’s light should shine in us so brightly…I’ll just let God’s Word say it, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NKJV)

Let’s reel this in and get to how this is connected to Prayer. Prayer connects us with Jesus. Prayer completes the circuit with Jesus. Let’s go back to the lighted lamp. Lamps generally have a power cord, or at least mine do. This power cord needs to be connected to something to provide the electric energy to light up the light bulb. The light bulb in this illustration is you and I. The power cord is our prayers. The source of power is Jesus. When we connect our prayers to the power source, Jesus, the light comes on. The lamp is no longer dark. The problem we are facing is no longer dark. The healing we need is no longer dark. The restoration we desire is no longer dark. When we connect ourselves to Jesus in prayer, His POWER and His LIGHT shines in us and through us. It shines in our hearts, our minds, our thoughts, and our actions. Without our connection to Jesus and His Power in prayer, our prayers are simply just words. Glory to God!!!

Friend, I have to tell you that Power filled prayer from our source, Jesus Christ, can say to that mountain, “Be thou removed.” Through His Power, we can expect everything and nothing is too big. Whether you are crying out to Jesus for yourself or holding hands with someone else in need, you can believe that Jesus hears you and will answer you. That miracle you are waiting for may only be as close as “Plugging into Jesus”, the “author and finisher of our faith”. (Hebrews 12:2 NKJV)

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your light. You are the Light of the World and You give us Your light so that the world can see us as different. Help us Lord to be partakers of Your light and share that light with a lost and dying world. Guide and direct us Holy Spirit to encounters with others where we may allow Your light to shine brightly. There is nothing impossible for You Lord, so may our prayers be great big prayers to a great big God. May we connect with You and Your Power. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 18:28 NKJV – Pushing back the darkness

For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.

It occurred to me some time ago, that a very small light will illuminate a very large space. Where I live, it is a frequent occurrence that our power goes out. Now this is not a condemnation of our electric company, it’s just a reality. Something seems to happen on a regular basis that causes our lights to go out anywhere from an hour to about 4 hours. Some of the power outages are a result of storms, while others are not. In those instances, when I have called the electric company, they have told me that some driver hit a utility pole and knocked out a power transformer.

Well what generally happens is that my wife goes to the coat closet and pulls out our “Coleman” fluorescent lantern. The kind used for camping and such. Well, I have this little pocket flashlight. It’s rather small but it sure throws out the light. It has LED lights and it seems to last a very long time. This act of getting out my flashlight led me to some thinking one night when there were no lights. That little flashlight with its little bulbs pushes back the darkness in the room.

Think about that statement for a little bit – pushes back the darkness. I thought, “I bet that if I were in a very long tunnel that was completely dark, that little light could be seen for nearly the entire length of the tunnel.”

Now let’s think about this a little deeper. God’s Word says that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 1:8-9) and that night when my power was out, God revealed to me that when we pray, it too, pushes back the darkness. The darkness of the enemy. Prayer brings our need into God’s eternal light. Prayer brings the needs of others into God’s eternal light. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV)

As part of our church’s Prayer Ministry, my wife and I give out little LED flashlights and we share with those wanting to be a part that their prayers push back the darkness of the enemy. And every time they take out their little flashlight to use, it should remind them of that fact. Prayer brings God’s eternal light into any and all darkness. So go out to your toolbox or into your junk drawer and find your flashlight. Turn off all of the lights and see what transpires when you turn on the flashlight. Or better yet, go out to your local hardware store and pick up a little key-chain LED flashlight and keep it with you. Use it as a reference point to pray for whomever the Lord places on your heart. Keep the light shining for where there is light there cannot be any darkness. Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.” (Psalm 112:4)

Dear Lord, thank You that You are the Light of the World. Thank You that Your light surpasses all darkness and we find Your glory within it. Help us Lord to be a light in this dark world by pushing back the darkness in prayer. Hear our prayers Oh Lord. Enable us and strengthen us to remain steadfast in prayer each day. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 119:105 NKJV – The Lamp, the Light, the Path, the Way

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

I have always been a firm believer in having enough light to do whatever I need to do. What I mean to say is, enough light so that whatever you are working on is clearly illuminated OR there needs to be enough light in the room in the evening so that as you traverse between rooms there isn’t the spine tingling sound when someone has just stubbed their toe.

I remember when we first were married, my wife and I each tried to settle in and learn each other’s idiosyncrasies. We wanted to learn what made each of us “tick”. So we watched each other, listened to one another, and then finally gathered enough information so that we could feel somewhat comfortable in any circumstance together. But there is still one thing that I just can’t figure out. You see, my wife can work and walk and cook and do just about anything in the lowest light possible. She said when she was growing up, there wasn’t any light turned on that wasn’t absolutely necessary. I, on the other hand, believe the more light there is, the better. So one thing led to another, and we have night lights placed in strategic locations around the house to help ME see and to keep ME from having an accident. I know this may sound like a lot of joking around, but seriously, light is beneficial.

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God’s Word promises to be the lamp and light we need to clearly see. Clearly see what you may ask? It illuminates that which we cannot see by ourselves. God’s Word shows us what is amiss, it directs us in our work and in our way, and without it the world would even be darker. It is a lamp which we may take up ourselves and carry for our own use. It must not only be a light unto our eyes, but also a light unto our feet and our path to direct us.

The cool thing that came to my mind while writing this is that it’s God’s Light. His Word. The illumination coming from it cannot be measured. The Glory of God resides in it. Hallelujah!!! Now that’s what I call a well-lit path.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which brings light into a dark, dark world. Thank You that I can carry this Lamp and use this Light to instruct me, to guide me, to teach me, to restore me, to encourage me. Help me show others Your Light in my life so that they too, can follow the path that You have designed for them. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Matthew 5:14 NKJV – Walk in the light

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Scripture often uses light as a symbol of the people of God, and especially the manner in which believers are able to reflect the glory of God in a dark world of sin.  God is the source of the light.  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1 NKJV)

Believers are called to live in His light. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7 NKJV) We are able to walk in the light of Jesus because of the shedding of the blood of Christ; His voluntary substitutionary sacrifice that paid in full God’s penalty for sin.

It is important that believers bear witness to Jesus Christ in the world.  The world needs to see the light of Christ in us.  The world needs to see that believers are different; that we are set apart and carry with us the love of Christ who gave His life for us.  It’s important to remember, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NKJV)

Jesus Christ’s total giving of Himself, shown supremely in His obedient suffering and death on the cross, reveals God’s amazing love for sinners.  And the world needs to see the love of Christ in us in order to push back the darkness of the world so that the light of Christ is illuminated.  I know and have known people of faith that when they enter a room, the light of Jesus Christ causes everyone to stop.  My eyes are immediately fixed upon them.  They walk in the fullness of God’s light.

Friend, the power and the fullness of God rests in all of us as believers.  We possess the light of Jesus Christ and God desires that this light shine brightly.  The responsibility of every believer is to represent Jesus Christ in the world.  So in our times of prayer and intimacy with God, let’s seek ways for the light of Jesus Christ to shine brightly in our lives.  Let’s ask God to show us where His light can touch others around us.  Let’s ask God to guide us to those who He desires for the love and the light of Jesus to impact them.  Let’s ask God to fill our days with opportunities to demonstrate that Jesus is alive in us and we are a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hidden.

Dear Lord, thank You that Your light pushes back the darkness of this world.  Thank You that You gave Your life for us so that we too can carry that light in our lives.  Lord, we pray that Your light would shine brightly in us and touch a world.  Open opportunities for us to reach those who are lost.  May Your love and light catch their attention.  May we be obedient and share Your love and light with them.  Help us to always walk in the light as You are in the light.  In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 22:31 NKJV – We will be sifted – Part 2

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.”

“We will be sifted – Part 1” dealt with how the enemy likes to shake us up or sift us to distract, discourage and otherwise take our focus away from the Lord.  Today I write about how the Lord uses sifting for His glory and honor.

To recap, the term “sifting” is an agricultural one and its meaning is based on the knowledge of how grain is threshed.  A sieve was used to separate the kernels of grain from the trash and junk they had mingled with in the threshing: pebbles, twigs, etc.  The farmer would have to shake the sieve back and forth to complete this process.  What would remain in the sieve were the most useful kernels.

The Lord sometimes sifts us so the trash and junk can be discarded or winnowed away and what remains can be used for His glory.  Winnowing is exposing the grain to the air by threshing (either tossing or fanning) so that the loose outer part is blown away.  The outer part is known as chaff.  This chaff must be taken away to expose the useful grain.

When the day came that I called upon the Lord and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior, there was a lot of trash and junk that needed sifting.  In other words, I needed to be shaken.  The life I led was not a life that glorified God.  It was a life hidden in darkness.  But when I called on Jesus, He took that life and shook it.  The world had hardened my heart to the things of God.  I knew the name of Jesus but I didn’t know the Savior Jesus.  The Lord needed to take me to a place where the inner core of my heart (the useful grain) would be exposed to His glorious light.  “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NKJV)  The chaff covering my heart was removed the instant I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.  I was now out of darkness and into His glorious light.

Friend, there are times when the Lord will shake us, sift us, and thresh us to discard the trash, junk, and outer layers of our hearts so that the inner and useful layers of our heart can be exposed to His glory.  There are a lot of things that try to come between us and our relationship with Jesus and sometimes because of our stubbornness, He needs to step in and give us a good shaking.  Glory to God that He loves us so much that He takes the time to do this.  His everlasting love will not change and His desire to spend eternity with all of us will remain.

Precious Lord, thank You for shaking us up when our hearts get hardened.   Thank You for loving us so much that You step in and sift us like wheat.  We need this Lord because sometimes we fall and place our trust in the things of the world.  Forgive us, Lord.  Lord please expose our hearts to Your glorious light so that we may be restored.  In Jesus Name.  AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV – King’s Castle

Prayer Fortress at King's Castle International Training Center

Prayer Fortress at King’s Castle International Training Center

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.   For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Today we read an excerpt from an article of a missionary team who keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking 24/7/365 days for almost 15 years.  This article was written to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.

“On October 31, 1998, a nonstop prayer and fasting vigil planned for the remainder of the 20th century began in the Prayer Fortress at King’s Castle International Training Center camp in El Salvador.  But when the new millennium arrived, it seemed a natural conclusion to keep praying, so day after day, and year after year, the vigil continued. And on October 31, 2008, many people from around the world gathered at the Prayer Fortress to celebrate 10 years of unceasing prayer.  “After two years, we had developed the habit, and we couldn’t imagine stopping it. So many people had been called into ministry, and so many people had witnessed miracles,” says missionary to El Salvador Terri Triplett, who founded King’s Castle Ministries with her husband Don in 1989.

Since its inception, the main prayer focus has been for revival and a modern day Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit in El Salvador and other nations.  Although the number of Prayer Fortress participants varies from week to week, there is always a minimum of six intercessors on duty who cover a pair of two and a half hour shifts each day. The Tripletts estimate that approximately 12,000 people have participated in prayer over the years.
Ten years of continuous prayer and fasting have had tremendous impact in El Salvador. Thousands of people have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and hundreds have experienced a call to ministry. The Tripletts say the Prayer Fortress has become a spiritual refuge for many in their country.  “Young people who are now pastors and young people from churches will make a pilgrimage and spend one or two days in the Prayer Fortress,” Terri explains. “When they have a problem or if they want to shut out the world and focus on God, they come to pray.”

But the Prayer Fortress’ impact is by no means limited to El Salvador.  “Through the prayer focus, young people have gone as missionaries to other countries,” Don reports, adding that powerful ministry movements have occurred in Venezuela and Nicaragua as a result God’s work in the Prayer Fortress.

In addition to the young Salvadorans who have been called into ministry, many students from the U.S. have received a call to missions while working with King’s Castle Ministries.

Stories of Prayer Fortress-related miracles abound. The Tripletts can recall many instances of healing, deliverance and divine protection.

Maintaining nonstop prayer for 10 years has not been without its challenges. On October 1, 2005, Don and Terri left El Salvador to speak at services in the U.S. A half-hour after they left, the country’s highest volcano exploded, only five miles from the Prayer Fortress.  At the time, the Tripletts’ daughter Michelle and her husband Jon were serving as missionary associates in El Salvador. After the eruption, Michelle learned that the man in charge of the Prayer Fortress had decided to suspend prayer because the entire zone was being evacuated due to the rising threat.  Believing that the prayer should not cease, Michelle called a local Master’s Commission leader and explained the situation. When the leader heard the news, she said she would go to the Prayer Fortress with a group of Salvadoran Master’s Commission students who agreed that they should persist in prayer. Michelle drove the group to the Prayer Fortress, traveling “against the tide” as others evacuated the area.  Never wavering in their commitment to prayer, the Master’s Commission group stayed in the Prayer Fortress for a little over a month, until the crisis was over. During that time, the students believe an angel stood guard between the center and the erupting volcano. Terri reports that when the rest of the area was covered with ash and sulfur, those at the Prayer Fortress were not affected by it.”

In September of 2006, I was blessed to be able to pray at the King’s Castle Prayer Fortress feeling the overwhelming Power of God during a mission trip to El Salvador.  I was changed forever.

Our dear and precious Lord.  I thank You for your hand the Prayer Fortress and over the countless servants who have given themselves daily to the ministry of prayer.  I praise You, Lord, for almost 15 years of continued prayer for revival and for the lost of this world.  Lord God, I pray that You would continue to provide, protect and direct Missionaries Don and Terri Triplett and those that minister with them so that the world revival would come and the lost would be reached with the saving knowledge of Jesus.  In Your Holy Name, Jesus.  AMEN