The Light of Renewal

Jesus told His disciples, "You are the light of the world..." see Matthew5:14-15. He was speaking to them about carrying His light, the light of the gospel to the world. You know I love the idea of layers and I believe our God is a God of infinite layers. There are all sorts of lights. There are candles, flashlights, floor lamps, lava lamps, table lamps, tea lights and decorative strings of lights with all manner of cute displays like R2D2 and Minions. It may sound redundant, but lights bring light to the darkness. 

Photo Credit  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit Rebecca Trumbull

Life without light can be very difficult. Have you ever made the trip to the bathroom or downstairs in the middle of the night? Of course, most of us try to maneuver the darkness on our own. And what usually happens is a thump, followed by a string of curses intermixed with, "Who left that laying on the floor?" or "When did that chair get put there?" I know you all are smiling and nodding your heads. The simple truth is we need light. We would not be able to survive without it.

The thought I want to address today is not so much the light of the gospel for salvation, but the light of the gospel for encouragement. If we know Christ, we are lights, plain and simple. Some of us are candles and the glow we put off is soft and warm. Some of us are Mag Lights, pointing a piercing beam at specific things. Others of us are reading lamps. We stand by a comfy spot and give off a pleasant light that allows others to escape the harshness of the world. Still, there are others who are silly and lighthearted lights, much like a string of Minions who make their friends smile and laugh.

Photo Credit  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit Rebecca Trumbull

What sort of light are you? What sort of light do you want to be? Are you like the Son, who gives light to all the earth, chasing the darkness from every corner? Are you a candle? A person who reassures others that they are there, warm and comforting. Are you a Mag Light? Do you lead your friends from the darkness of self-doubt and discouragement? Are you a lovely table lamp? Do you offer hospitality in your home by inviting your friends to dinner? Are you a comfy reading lamp, set off in a cozy corner who helps their friends feel loved  by having them over for snacks and a movie.

Jesus said we are the light of the world. He didn't say we are all to be candles or flash lights or high beams on a car. We are all different. The goal is to recognize what sort of light we are and allow God to use us in other's lives. If we don't allow our light to shine we will burn out.

Photo Credit  Rebecca Trumbull

Photo Credit Rebecca Trumbull

Renewal happens in our relationships with our friends as we allow God to use us in their lives to bring light. You may not be the one who brings your unsaved friend to the Lord, but you may be the light that welcomes him/her into your home. Or you may be the light that leads a friend out of a dark place. Let God show you what sort of light you can be and with His Spirit as your fuel you will never burn out.

Forever Friend

It was in junior high that I met my BFF, Stacey. We hit it off immediately and had many things in common. We both loved rock music, swimming, playing guitars and talking about the end of the world and the book of Revelation in the Bible. I was raised in a Bible church and Stacey came from a Catholic background. We had sleepovers, went on bike rides, hung out at high school football games and just generally enjoyed being friends. As often happens, in high school, we drifted apart. Stacey wanted to explore the party scene and my faith in Christ left me standing alone in my decision to not walk that way.

However, I had developed a deep love for Stacey, so even though we didn't hang out much any more, I invited her to my church's youth group. I really wanted her to know Jesus, whether we remained friends or not. Stacey did accept my invite and eventually came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. God in his goodness to both of us has allowed our friendship to blossom and deepen. We married men who had common interests; had children who were similar ages and enjoyed hanging out together and in the last few years walked the bumpy path of raising those children to adulthood.

This is a picture of us, after a shopping trip where we bought the same scarf. Silly girls at heart!

This is a picture of us, after a shopping trip where we bought the same scarf. Silly girls at heart!

Our friendship is long distance. I am in Ohio and she, in the state of New York, but that has not changed our relationship. We email and get together about twice a year. Often it is just her and I, but sometimes our hubbies come along. When I go to visit my mom, Stacey lives only a couple miles away, so we always make time to shop, eat out and maybe see a movie. Once in awhile she and her husband will make the trip to Ohio to see us.

Stacey is a forever friend. Not everyone is blessed with one, but I cannot imagine how much poorer I would be if God had not placed Stacey in my life. We have sung, laughed, cried and prayed together. We share history and common faith. Every time we get together it is a time of sweet fellowship. 

Not every friend is a forever friend, but all of our friends are gifts from God and we should be thankful for each and every one.

In the comments section below, type the name or names of your forever friend(s).

 

True Friendship


True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ.
— Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest - January 7th

How many people can you call your "true" friends? According to Oswald Chambers a true friend must meet three requirements (or have three layers).

1. We must identify with them in thought.

2. We must identify with them in heart

3. We must identify with them in spirit.

Being able to identify with someone in thought is a fairly superficial layer and relatively easy. We encounter many people with which we have commonalities. For instance, I am a Trekkie...meaning I am a fan of Star Trek, especially the original series with James T. Kirk, Spock and so on. I might have meaningful conversations with other Trekkies and enjoy spending time with other Trekkies, but that does not make us true friends. We have common thoughts about a certain show and the characters in that show.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trumbull

Being able to identify with a person in heart is a layer below the surface. The heart is often a picture of our passions. This might include causes that we enjoy supporting, or political issues that we take a firm stand on. These areas of heart draw us together. The Right to Life Rally in Washington DC, draws bus loads of men and women who believe in the right of an unborn baby to live rather than be aborted. These friendships revolve around a passion of the heart.

The inner most layer and perhaps the cord that binds them all together is being able to identify with a person in spirit. The spirit was created by God. This part of us links us not only to each other, but to the Creator Himself. Having a common spirit adds a depth to friendship that the other two alone can not have. 

Our lives are filled with various layers of friendships. All of these are good, or at least they should be. Friendships that drag you down, suck the life out of you or cause you to do things that are dangerous or unhealthy are not friendships that identify with your thoughts, your heart or your spirit and most likely should not continue. 

And for those of you who have true friends, thank God for them. They are vessels used by Him to encourage us into the deeper layers of Jesus.