Shine Like Stars

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” -Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

When I first traveled into the countryside, what struck me was the amount of stars. Illuminating the night sky in all their resplendent glory, it was a wonderful sight to behold for one who has spent his life in the city and I spent a good amount of time trying to pick out the constellations I remembered from reading books on astronomy. Due to pollution, urban dwellers can only see a handful of stars and perhaps one constellation. But because rural areas are not as affected by the scourge of pollution, I could see the lights of numerous stars shine in the darkness. However, the stars in the city have one thing in common; they are so bright that we can see their light despite the pollution which tries to obstruct them.

When everything seems to be going our way it is easy to be witnesses for Christ. We can love, serve, and say all the right things when all is well, but what about when it is not? People and circumstances can often arouse our anger and frustration; leading us to react in ways that are not befitting to a child of Christ. If we have allowed situations around us to take control over our thoughts and actions, we have become bound by them and have permitted them to obscure the work that Christ is doing in our lives. Admittedly, it is hard for us on our own efforts to live up to the standards God has called us to and He knows this full well. That is why He gave us His Son, so that when we have allowed Him to dwell within us and carry out His redemptive work in our lives, He will by His Spirit help us shine for Him in this dark world. Only when we have allowed Him to take reign over our attitudes and reactions will we be able to display His love and righteousness being manifested in us regardless of what we may be facing. The world is watching, and when we let Christ shine His light through us, He will make us shine like stars in the sky, bearing His hope and love to a world in despair.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Nothing Escapes His Eyes

“But Peter said, ‘Annanias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of  the proceeds of the land?'”-Acts 5:4 (ESV)
A lot of countries claim that they are democratic societies. But upon closer inspection some prove themsleves to be anything but. While the governments of these countries might point out that they have the word “democratic” in the country’s name, have a constitution that guarantees the rights and freedoms of the people, and that they even hold elections, the experiences of the popuation under them show that these are all meaningless. The constitution is thrown out the window at the government’s convenience, the elections are tampered with to solidify the government’s hold, and the “democratic” tag is void of any truth. No matter what the rhetoric or propaganda of oppressive governments may claim, they cannot hide the truth from the rest of the world for it will alaways emerge to the surface and expose their deeds.
Annanias thought that he could convince the world of his piety by selling his land claiming to have given it all to God while keeping some of the proceeds for himself. Yet his intentions could not be hidden from God, nor from Peter who knew that something was amiss. Indeed, Peter knew immediately the moment Annanias laid the money at the apostle’s feet. It was the Holy Spirit who revealed to him Annanias’true intentions. Annanias paid the consequences of his deception with his life and he became an example to all showing that no subterfuge can escape the eyes of God. We are truly fools if we think we are capable of bending the truth and getting away with it. Though it may seem convinient at the time, we will reap the consequences of our lies and they will shame us as the truth is brought to light for God is a God of truth. Is it not better then to be honest in the first place? When we have allowed Christ to enter our lives and have submitted ourselves to the work of His Spirit, He will train us to uphold the truth in both our speech and intentions. He will give us the strength to tell the truth even when it is painful so that the consequences of dishonesty will not enslave us to an enduring misery, allowing us to live in the freedom that comes from living in integrity by the power of God.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Loving As A Body

“So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” -Romans 12:5 (NIV)

Our bodies are like finely tuned machines, with each part dependant on one another. Though they are diverse in appearance and function, they work together in order to carry out the many tasks the body requires. If even one part of the body was rendered unusable, the entire body would be affected. For example, the brain can send signals to the legs to move and run, but if the legs are paralyzed or some other part of the body is preventing the legs to move, then the body will not go anywhere. Or suppose if the eyes see trouble brewing yet the mouth refuses to speak. How then will our voice be able to call out for help in that critical moment? That is why we seek treatment from doctors when something is wrong with our bodies, so that all its members will be able to work together in an effective manner.

Whether we like it or not we are all connected together in the same way as one body. Thus our attitudes and actions affect those around us. If we think that our anger and pride only affects the person that these are directed to, we are sadly mistaken for everyone will suffer in some form or another. Our selfishness and hatred can do devastating damage in our lives and just as how a spider’s web can fall apart if one thread is cut, so too will our relationships crumble. At the root of the problem is our innate sinful nature. This is what propels us to give into harmful attitudes that will only cause us to become mired in unnecessary conflict and misery. It is only when we have allowed Christ to enter our hearts that He will break the hold sin has over us so that He can begin His restorative work in our lives. When we abide in His Spirit and allow His love to shine from within us, there is no room for sin to taint our relationships with others. We will move forward together in unity as Christ propels us to love so that He may impart life to the people around us.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.