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Archive for December, 2014

Let Your Light Shine Before Men

The Light Shines in the Darkness

<> The Light Shines in the Darkness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

(John 1:1-4)

<> He, himself, when He was with us, affirmed that …

“We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:4-5)

<> But now that He is gone we are called to do His works –  for He is in us and as long as we abide in Him, He says to us…

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”  (Matt. 5:13-16)

My fellow pilgrims in Christ Jesus,

As we enter a new year in our walk with Christ it is necessary that we become more observant of the “signs of the times” as Jesus would say. Not so much because we are attempting to foresee what is coming, and when, but mainly to be aware of the breakdown of our current culture and its turning away from God. The more our culture turns away from God and His Righteous principles the more we, humanity, become liable to His judgments and chastisements. And, of course, the more the need for the world to come to repentance in order to be restored to fellowship with Him, Praised be His Holy Name!

The role of Christians in these times, therefore, is not to entrench ourselves in fear of what is coming, but rather to put on the armor of light so that we may not only defend ourselves against the attacks of the evil one but also so that the Lord may use us as His envoys of His Light to proclaim the Gospel of Light with an even greater anointing and power to rescue as many in the world as possible from the Tsunami of darkness that is coming over the world. For we are called to let the light divine that is in us shine forth into the darkness that the world may see the power of God working in us and through us for the Glory od His Kingdom!

Unfortunately, many of us pew-dwellers do not wish to get involved but rather prefer to continue compliantly, passively and comfortably in our routine religious practices and devotions, thinking that, after all, we are just lay people and that it is the responsibility of our clergy, our missionaries and our evangelists to go out to the front lines and fight for the faith. After all, hasn’t the clergy told us, implicitly, that our only responsibility is to “pay. pray, and obey?”

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

Opened Your Gifts Yet?

In so doing, we leave unwrapped the spiritual gifts we all, laity and clergy, have available to us, the spiritual gifts that empower all of us to bring the Word of God that enlightens – the Word that activates and brings to life the spirits of those who are embedded in the darkness of this world. We, without understanding it, or knowing it are abdicating our calling to be communicators of the “Light of the world” to the world.

In a modern-day sense, we are not entirely to be blamed for such an attitude, because, in the past, the Lord did mainly use the clergy and missionaries to bring the Gospel to the entire world and while we, the laity, actively supported these outreaches, we pretty well concentrated on bringing up our children and mainlining our family life.

We were complacently thinking that the front lines for defending our faith and Christian traditions was mainly in Communist China, North Korea, Africa and the Middle East. The problem is that the front lines are no longer in some distant nation but in our own families, parishes, school districts and local governments.

Our own children are walking away from the Christian Faith and are being swallowed up in the spiritual darkness and immorality of the world system in which we are all embedded. Today it is easier to evangelize in skid row than in our own families. Because of the influence of their peers, and the liberal unbelieving public education system, our children place more faith in what the world says and announces than in what their parents or their churches are teaching and preaching.

Today, we, the laity have lost our “saltiness”, that is, the anointing of the Holy Spirit over our lives. We have come to believe that only the clergy and consecrated, can exercise any spiritual power in living out their lives. For example, I once prayed for a man who was offended when I prayed over him for a personal problem he was having. He asked me “who do you think you are, praying like this?, You are not a priest or minister – you are just a sinner just as I am”.

Of course, he was right, I am a sinner just as he is, but in Christ, I am “New Creation”, saved by grace, and I am anointed by Him to bring the good news of salvation and healing to all He places in my path. I can do nothing in my name – everything I do is in His Name, and it is through His Name and the anointing that is in Him that I act on His Word to perform His works in this world. This is the calling and legacy he has given to every believer …

Return to Jerusalem

Go into all the world …

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)

But what, we may ask is the Good News, the Gospel, that I am to proclaim not only with words but through my own consecration to that Gospel in my life.  The New Testament Scriptures make that gospel very clear and in fact summarizes it very concisely …

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  (John 3:16-17)

and,

“…[T]he word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” (Rom 10: 8-11)

Yes, like Jesus, who also was a lay person, if you proclaim this, the only true Gospel, you will be rejected, you will be despised. you will be asked, “who gave you this authority?”, but if you, acting in obedience to His command will continue to carry out the “Great Commission” in faith and love just as He ordained, you also will witness to the results that follow. By your obedience to His Word you will open and use the spiritual gifts he has accorded to each one of us who walk after Him in Faith! Praised Be His Holy Name!

And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.” (Mark 16:20)

So let it be with you, brethren, as you enter this New Year renewed in the Spirit of Christ that is in you.

In conclusion I pass on a compendium of the Apostle Paul’s prayers to the Ephesian community (see below), regarding being faithful to their calling (and ours), by acting on and taking into account all the revelation, anointing and graces that we have been given through Christ our Savior and Lord for the Glory of His Kingdom. To Him and to Him alone be Glory and Honor Forever. Amen and Amen!

Your fellow Pilgrim and brother in Christ Jesus … Bartimaeus

© B.R.Timeo and Bartimaeus’ Quiet Place, [2008-2014])

St. Paul’s Prayers for the Ephesians [and by implication for us]

Jesus receives the Anointing

Jesus Baptized in the Spirit

… [I] Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all. (Eph.1: 5-23)

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen”. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Related Links

Prayer to Receive the Holy Spirit

I stand at the Door and Knock

Pray to the Lord of the Harvest (part 2)

Reflection on the Beatitudes (part 4)

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