“Let your light shine.”

I have heard this phrase ALL my life, especially in my favorite children’s song. Yet it’s meaning has expanded for me.

Sometimes in certain circumstances, I spend the entire time feeling less than, uncomfortable in my skin, ugly, unworthy, etc. I do my best to fight against those lies with God’s grace, but I can’t always shake the feeling.

Today, for me, “let your light shine bright”, means be who God made you to be with no holding back.

Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.’

It struck me that Matthew uses the pronoun “you” and “your”, not “us” or “our”, or even “his” or “he”. The light we have,  comes from Christ and putting our faith in Him. However, we each are uniquely made to shine that light. It is when we let ourselves, our gifts, our personality shine the brightest that we see God glorified.

For me, that is motivating. If I remain insecure and hesitant, not fully seeing the beauty in who God made me to be,  I will be putting my light “under a bowl”. If I choose to confidently be me, then others will see my good deeds and I will glorify God.

So go forth, and let your light shine bright.

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Sow Bountifully

More blessed to give than to receive. I know Jesus says we’re free from the chains and constraints of money, time, performance, etc. When we give and give without any holding back, we are imaging what Christ did for us! He held back nothing from us, giving His own life on the cross. We only truly need to receive from Him, believing in His death, resurrection, and Lordship. Then, after that, we are called to give.

So when it says, we reap what we sow, or in that it says, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”, it’s not speaking in terms of earthly benefits. I look at those verses and think, look at all I am giving to others and where is my return? But God can’t promise us that humans will give back if we give to them. Humans are imperfect and oftentimes, the more you give to them, the more they will take. But, if we sow bountifully, freely, as though nothing we own, owns us, we will reap so many eternal rewards, whether that means the fruits of the Spirit, a closer walk with God, or seeing many saved, the Lord promises you will reap bountifully.

The Veil of Christ

Exodus 34:35 Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.

This verse makes me think: sometimes we veil ourselves from others, we put a mask on and hide. I know the Lord would have us be vulnerable with others and sincere, but I think we are only to be truly unveiled with Him.

The raw parts of ourselves would scare others. That’s the truth! We are human and no matter how hard we try, we will never love someone like God does.

I take comfort in the thought that I can be completely unveiled with God, holding nothing back. And yes, I put the veil up to go out into the world, but it’s the veil of Christ, His protection, His identity, and His spirit.

Minor Musings over Movies: A Dog’s Purpose

A dog’s purpose honestly reminded me of how I am meant to live for Christ. Despite the reincarnation theme, life seemed so short in this film. Bailey, the dog, sometimes lived long and sometimes short, but in a way, it all seemed to happen in a blink of an eye. Yet Bailey impacted lives, saving others, bringing joy, changing lives.

As silly as it sounds, the last line of the movie, the dog’s purpose, “be here now”, really resonates with me.

You may get in an accident, lose a loved one, be single for the rest of your life, but we only have this one life. Bailey saw how useless it was to be sad, to regret in his human owners.

Us Christians can take note. Whatever life throws us, we must keep the joy of Christ in our hearts. Whatever we don’t do, we can’t regret. We must live in the present because all our real treasures are in heaven. We may impact this world, but our true hope is beyond it.

Things Seem Worse

Exodus 5:23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.

Sometimes we can do things for Christ whether in ministry, with friends, at work, or in our personal walk, and rather than things feeling good or getting better, life or the situation becomes worst.

Nowhere does it say following Christ= an easy life. Yet, it says we reap what we sow! All I can say is,  it seems like I often reap very little of the good I sow.

My point is, many times when we do good in Christ’s name, following in obedience, things seem to go backwards or just stand still completely.

God promised Moses that the Israelites would be delivered out of Egypt. To Moses and the discouraged Israelites, that promise seems so distant or maybe even empty.

Thus far all God has managed to do is cause the Egyptians to work the Israelites harder and treat them with more cruelty.

I think we can experience this in our lives. I don’t exactly know why God let the Pharaoh say no so many times. I can’t begin to comprehend the timing and motivation of our sovereign Lord, but it seems He likes to work through calamities. He brings us to the end when we find ourselves hopeless and helpless. Then, our break through comes!

Perhaps you’ve been asking for something a long time; a spouse, healing, a job, etc., but the Lord hasn’t given you that yet.

Just as Moses, we are free to be honest with God about the progress we can’t see.

Don’t lose hope though. God delivered his people from Egypt. God mightily used Moses, and your breakthrough could be just around the corner.

Dear younger me, the Spark is Overrated

Dear Younger me,

Despite the numerous times I told my single self, relationships are not like the movies, they are not rom coms, somehow, that hope for something magical has never gone away.

I found this on a website recently, “Marriage isn’t as much about finding someone totally compatible, as it is about committing to someone despite difficulties and differences.”

Honestly, I thought it was about having that spark, finding someone you can’t take your eyes off of, but in reality, you’re simply looking for a dear friend who shares your values. They are not perfect, they will do small things that annoy you. Basically, it’s not like you’ll be 100 percent madly in love , but that’s not the point.

Marriage is an example of Christ’s love for us because it’s not easy. It’s 2 sinners giving each other grace and loving one another unconditionally.

Yes, the rom com, can’t eat-can’t sleep sounds exciting, but I think Christ’s version of marriage is much more powerful and beautiful.

Minor Musings over Movies: One More Step

We all have a desire for adventure within our hearts. Some of us embrace it and race out our doors to see exotic places or do thrilling activities. Others timidly step out, wondering what will happen when we leave the place we call home, the place we are comfortable in. And others still, gruffly abhor even the thought of adventure, like Dickens’ character Scrooge, they call “Bah Humbug!” at even the slightest mention of it.

Yet, if you are living your life for Jesus, you will be faced with the greatest adventures of your life.

If you are that timid first step taker, you are in good company. I have learned, and often times tell others, you can’t let the future overwhelm you, or allow the steps you will have to take drown you in fears. You must take one step at a time, knowing Jesus is with you in each one.

That’s what Samwise does in The Fellowship of the Ring. He has lived in the Shire his entire life, experiencing a peaceful routine existence. Who knows if an adventure ever even crossed his mind? In fact, he couldn’t even take the step to ask a girl to dance, let a lone go on a quest to save the world.

Yet, there he was, embarking on this journey, and he pauses, he hesitates. Fear, sadness, and insecurity seeps in. He looks ahead to an unfamiliar path, feet planted in the comfortable.

“If I take on more step, I’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”

It’s never been done! What lies ahead? How can he leave? I am sure in that minute, questions raced through Sam’s mind. However, with a small nudge, Sam takes that first step. As watchers and readers, we know the incredibly hard challenges that lay ahead for Sam. We may think he should have taken a step backwards, but once Sam said, “Yes”, and activated something in himself, no matter the challenges ahead, he continued to have the perseverance to take that “one more step”.

I’d say our Christian life is exactly the same. God leads us into situations we might find scary or uncomfortable. We’ll face that “farthest away form home” moment. Do I say yes to God’s leading or do I turn back and remain safe? Thankfully God will nudge us forward and  in response we should take that first step.

The rest of the journey, no matter how dangerous, should be lived “one more step” at a time. Because we activated our faith by stepping out, like Sam, we are more likely to respond in faith as challenges come along our journey.

If you are facing a scary and overwhelming list of challenges and/or tasks ahead, remember Sam and just take “one more step” until you are swept off your feet on the adventure of a lifetime with Christ.