Hallelujah! The Light Has Come!
DARKNESS: absence of light, moral or spiritual destitution.
I chose this definition of the word darkness because on some days, our world seems to be a pretty dark place. During Advent this year, we need to lift thanks and glory to God for the birth of His Son into this shattered world. What a difference Jesus’ birth has made.
Life has often been said to be a battle of Kingdoms…The Kingdom of the Earth and The Kingdom of God. Beth Moore’s says that Jesus knew in His time of temptation that if He gave into the Earthly Kingdom, He would never experience the Heavenly Kingdom. Praise God that the Light has pierced the darkness, “the people living in darkness have seen a great light!” Because Jesus rose from the grave, we don’t have to live in the darkness of the Kingdom of the Earth! Because Jesus is the light of the world, we can cling to Him in the storms, quoting my friend Sue, “we can hold Him tight and life will be glorious through it all!” Because Jesus’ light shines, with our arms around His neck, we can see our Jesus face to face!! Have you seen the Light lately?
The Light has come! “Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!” When you sang that familiar hymn on Easter, did you breathe in this incredible truth? Our National Minister, Rev. Jim Barnes, wrote, “As I sang that verse yesterday on Resurrection Sunday, I was reminded that not only has Christ been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, but one day, we who have died IN CHRIST will also rise – immortal, imperishable, incorruptible to live FOREVER with Him in the Kingdom over which He will rule eternally.” The joy and glory of Easter morning is really just a foretaste of the personal resurrection each one of us in Christ will enjoy! There is no darkness at all in this Heavenly Kingdom. Can you feel that amazing love?
Our EA Board Secretary, Rev. Dubbs, writes, “…and what a joy it is to be counted among those who are called the Children of Light.” Yes, folks, that’s us!! WE are the Children of Light…in OUR lives there is no darkness at all because Jesus, the light of the world, lives in us. Does your light shine SO brightly that folks can barely look at you? Beth Moore reminded us, that when we shine with the light of Jesus Christ, we shine like the stars and the angels in Heaven look down and see a great light.! Then, seven thousand women each turned on a small flashlight and in that stadium there was NO DARKNESS AT ALL. Hallelujah!
Brothers and Sisters, as we await His birth on Christmas Day, lets claim our light from Him and let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!
JESUS IS THE KEY
Our church in Easton, Pa., has been blessed with an amazing pastor, Rev. Blake Heffner, who continually inspires us to grow in our faith as he preaches the Word of God. Pastor Blake loves the Lord with all his heart as you will read in the passage below. He has given me permission to post this segment from his incredible message on Heaven. Be blessed as all glory and honor be unto our Savior, Jesus Christ.
“The only questions you and I will be asked at the pearly gates are: Do you have the Son? Is Jesus Christ your Savior and the Lord of your life? Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb? Do you have a personal relationship with the Good Shepherd?
Jesus himself prayed: “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). To know him is to know that he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – that he died so that we may live. He came to seek and to save the lost – that includes you and me, friends. On Good Friday, he appeared to tragically lose the struggle with the powers of this world, but on Sunday morning, he rose again in victory over death and sin and evil. And now he is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, just waiting for the right time to come again in ultimate triumph!
My friends, to know Jesus Christ is to love him. Do you love him? To love him is to obey him and serve him. Is that your aim in life? And when we serve him, when we suffer with those around us, we begin to long for him to come again and fix what is broken with this world. And, if we have the Son – that is trust him and love him and serve him, we are assured of sharing in his victory. When he comes, the Bible declares we shall see him and be like him, and we shall reign with him!
Is this your story? Is this your song? I love how it’s expressed in the old gospel hymn: “Blessed assurance Jesus is mine, O what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood.” Let’s sing the refrain together: This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.”
Rev. Dr. Blake R. Heffner
St. John’s Church on Morgan Hill
“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4 NIV
God’s word always seems to clarify life for me. It seems the older I get, the more I need that clarification! Do you find that when we believe His word as truth, events and journeys begin to make sense? So it is with holding on to our constant hope during times of testing. Perhaps you are in one of those seasons of life right now. I have to say that I have certainly been there and will be again and again. Situations raise questions in our hearts and an emptiness when we realize that the hopes of this world…for a raise, a job, healing…are quite empty when compared to the hope we have in Christ Jesus who has died so that we might live in Eternal Life! It’s a pretty clear message…wonder why we don’t get it all the time. Humanism, perhaps?
When we hit life’s uncertainties, we want them resolved so that we are comfortable and in control again. When we are lost, we want to be found and be secure again. When we are in new and even exciting circumstances, we think about and long for “the old days”…that old pair of slippers. Have you felt lost, uncertain, insecure? Our hope can only lie in the reliability of our God! We know that God’s power and goodness knows no end; His love for us never fails. Are we open to this magnificent source of strength and comfort when we are amidst the sufferings Paul mentions in our Scripture?
I am more and more convinced that through all of life’s transitions and trials, we will only reach an ultimate peace when our hope and trust is so totally in God and the matters of the Spirit that we no longer desire the shallow, fragile things of this world. Obviously, the crucial word here is TRUST…our mantra has to be “Thy will be done.” In the darkest hours, He is with us and He is in control. Hallelujah!
Over the years, I have had those flashes of sheer fright…cold and alone. One such time was when our daughter was in her mid-twenties and received a cancer diagnosis. How could this happen to someone so very precious to me? It took time, but it was only when I was able to truly say, “Thy will be done,” that I could find peace and strength to go on. Thanks be to God, our daughter is healed, but at the time, I had to accept whatever outcome it was God had in store.
This is why Paul says we are to rejoice in our sufferings. These dark moments make us grab onto that Hope in God and Trust in Him so that our faith grows and deepens to the point of knowing our real purpose in life: to grow closer to Him, to become one with Him, to put our hope in Him until we enter His Eternal Home.
In what area of your life do you need God’s hope that never fails? Our God can and will use our hope in His promises to guide us and empower us to live for Him each and every day. I encourage you to live your life in endless Hope as you grower closer and closer to Him. The Word of God is all about the promise of hope in Him. Devotionals share the words of folks whose hope in Jesus powers and drives their lives. Make time for reading, learning and praying about the amazing hope we have been given and receiving the joy of life with Jesus Christ.
Let’s pray together:
Father, we love you. We praise you and adore you. Please strengthen our hope in you so that we might ever grow in your sight. Let us shine with our Hope that Never Fails, thanks to you, Father. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.
God Bless You,
Barbara Duncan, Blessed Beyond Belief
“I love to laugh. It’s good for you. I enjoy nothing more than telling some silly story and laughing hysterically with my friends. It feels great! Humor has certainly helped me out of quite a few tough spots on my journey. With all the troubles that Satan kicks up, what a joy it is to laughs with friends!
Writing is my greatest passion, but cooking has to be a close second. I’m fascinated with all the different combinations of flavors, new techniques to learn and the joys of creating a dish without a recipe! My husband, Jack is certainly my biggest culinary fan and very bravely greets each new dish with a smile. He even tells me the bombs are good!! My favorite cooking activity is what I call “cleaning out the fridge.” I pull out the veggies, leftovers, etc. and think up something new for them which will always include the universal “bonding element” in every dish I make…cheese! (Occasionally, Jack will ask, “Can we have something without cheese tonight?”)
All that fun aside, I’d have to say that the most important words to define who I, Barbara, am, is a child of God who enjoys sharing my Christian faith with other folks. I am the wife of my husband, Jack, for 46 years, the mother of two amazing adult children and grandmother to six precious kiddos! I am also a licensed pastor serving in a small Pennsylvania church , a retired high school English teacher who has been researching, studying and preaching on the foundations of the Christian faith for well over 15 years. Precious Pearls of Faith, my second published work, was born out of my desire to share thoughts on faith with those who might have the same questions that I do and the same desires to explore our beliefs in Jesus Christ.
This All Glory and Honor Ministry has been on my heart for quite some time. As I was praying for God’s lead for my future writing, a friend referred me to a Christian Blog, and I was hooked. This is what I wanted to do…write short, strong devotional-type messages that busy folks could read, and hopefully, be blessed by God’s word. Why this ministry’s name? I have a more than dear Christian friend, and she and her husband are our true family in Jesus. I love when Ken prays before our meals together…such a heart for the Lord. Do you know how Ken begins every prayer? “Father. All glory and honor be unto You, oh Lord!” Hallelujah! There’s no better way to begin our journey in this ministry together. I am so anxious and blessed to be traveling with you! Hop on!
One of my recent blogs will be posted on Blogs By Christian Women on June 27, 2016. It’s a neat site. I’m enjoying writing for them as well a couple others!
The Bible Tells Me So
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
I have been asked,” who is this Jesus, anyway? Why do you bother with him? “ I looked him in the eye and answered quietly, “Life really is so very short, my friend. With Jesus, my life now has no end.” In mocking disbelief, he laughs, “Oh, really? How can you possibly know that?” Quoting a childhood song, I smile and answer, “The Bible tells me so!”
I am not just a Christian because I was raised in a church, attended Sunday school and go to church on Christmas and Easter. I am a Christian because I believe that The Bible is the inspired word of God written to me. Jesus is in God so when Jesus speaks, God speaks. Jesus tells us this directly, “…The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John 14:10) This passage means that when Jesus tells us in John 3:16 that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” that promise is from God!
In my life, when God speaks, I want to hear what He has to say! I want to hear Him tell me how to love that annoying co-worker: I want to hear Him tell me how to forgive that loved one who has pierced my heart; I want to hear Him tell me which path to take and for whom to pray. When I gave my life to Jesus and accepted His forgiveness and His victory over death, I had to make definite commitments in my thinking. The major one is that the Bible is the word of God.
What about you? Why bother with Jesus? Why not? When we use the Bible as our compass directing our lives, we have the answers to the mysteries of life through our faith. There is something God has to say to us each and everyday, whether it be in a devotional writing, a verse of the Bible we read or during a quiet time with Him. He is so anxious to hear from you! I find a new fullness and clarity in my day when I check in with God first thing. Just feeling the affirmation of His love for me in devotionals and in fellowship with other Christian women, puts a peace and confidence in my heart. Do you want that kind of peace every morning? Ask God over for breakfast. He’ll bring the best food ever!
Gaze Upon Jesus
“Behold! The Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” John 1:29
Last year I was honored to speak at a Women’s Breakfast at our former church in Connecticut. After moving to Pennsylvania eight years earlier, it was great to see my sisters up in Connecticut again. They enjoyed my story of fretting over what I was to wear to the event, (I NEVER worry about clothes), my finally settling on one outfit, only to discover halfway up, that it never got into the car. It was hanging in the kitchen doorway. (You know how you never want to get picky in marriage, but…I’m sure I heard my husband, Jack, say he put it in the car!) Anyway…he was wonderful to drive me around to buy a new outfit and I ended up with TWO…so it’s not all bad. I know it was God’s sense of humor since I had worked myself up over what I was wearing and not enough about what HE wanted me to say!
During my preparation for the breakfast, one of the passages I read that really struck me was on “Beholding Jesus.” Beholding. Beholding’s basic meanings are to see; to gaze upon; to observe. Have you ever thought about beholding Jesus? Look at those three verbs: see, gaze upon, observe…which one would you use for being with Jesus, the lamb of God who has taken away all our sins? Interestingly, the NIV Bible translation of this verse uses “See!” (I had to use the King James because “see” is in no way strong enough for me when I’m looking at Jesus.) BEHOLD! I choose “Gaze Upon”…THAT’S what we will do when we see Jesus! We love to sing, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look (GAZE) at His wonderful face…” Wow. Imagine, right now, you are “gazing upon” the face of our Jesus. The face of our Lord and Savior radiates the love of God through the Holy Spirit all over you. “The world around will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace!”
Do you and I have to wait to behold the face of Jesus? Bob Sorge doesn’t think so! We can, indeed, behold the living Jesus right now, in a sanctuary, in our own home, anywhere we choose. How? The Living Word of God, written through the power of the Holy Spirit, has always been intended to direct our hearts to a person…the person of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God. BEHOLD! He waits for you behind the veil; He waits for you with a tiny breath of His Spirit on a single word to get your heart racing in knowing His glory; He waits for you to come gaze upon the majesty and mystery of the Lovely One who has captured your heart. He waits for you to come to the Word of God in order to have a dynamic and living encounter with the person of Lord Jesus Christ. BEHOLD! The lamb of God waits for you and He waits for me. Hallelujah!
I’m excited. This is really great stuff! Spend some time in the scriptures with me in the next few weeks. Do you think we will “behold” Jesus in there? What a neat idea. I’d love to hear in which passages you found Jesus looking at you, speaking to you. Please write your experience down and share it with me. so I can learn from you and hear the faith in your heart…THAT’S when we will truly BEHOLD the lamb of God. God Bless You!
Welcome, Indeed. I am so glad you are here! I look forward to us exploring the scriptures, messages and Bible Studies which have touched our lives, as well as quietly growing together in our faith. I will be sharing ideas, scriptures and thoughts that the Lord has put on my heart in hopes that you may hear Him speak to you and your life. I encourage you to reply to these writings so that you and I may share our love for the Lord. This is part of my vision to give all the glory and honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
God Bless You,
Licensed Pastor (EA), Easton, PA.