Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Forgive and “Forget?”….Not In My Lifetime

“I, even I, am He Who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Isaiah 43:25

“…it (love) keeps no record of wrongs.”  1 Corinthians 13:5b

“God helps those who help themselves” (I’ve always liked the corollary, “God help those caught helping themselves”), “The Sea of Forgetfulness (yes, there is a sea but it does not have a name), “Forgive and Forget” – these have all been quoted as alleged bible verses or biblical principles. They are not. Do I  hear the bellowing of a sacred cow that just got kicked? Opps, sorry…no I’m not.

We are often admonished to “forgive and forget” when we have been wronged. The forgive part of this axiom is absolutely mandatory; not for the benefit of the one who wronged us – sometimes they do not even care that they did. It is for our benefit that we forgive. Now I’d like to focus on the other half of the phrase – forget. This can be even more difficult to do.

When my husband, Joe, was in graduate school he took a class in Physiological Psychology. This branch of psychology is concerned with the relationship between the physical functioning of an organism with its behavior. One interesting fact he learned was our brain is constantly generating new cells and replacing the existing ones. Our bodies act as a storage facility for the old cells. Medical professionals have discovered that with the proper stimulation to a part of the body, memories that seem to be forgotten will emerge. This happens when surgical patients coming out from under anesthesia remember things from their past. When quizzed about this the patient is often surprised that something they had not thought of in a long time pops up “out of the blue”. Medical professionals also believe that this explains how people in life threatening, traumatic situations see their lives “pass before their eyes.” Unless a body part is lost to injury or removed surgically, all memories potentially remain intact. Wonder what I lost with my appendix and gallbladder?

Popular usages of the word forget imply that one is to simply never remember an incident or occasion. We compassionately and lovingly encourage people to do this by telling them “get over it!” Forgetting, however, is physiologically impossible. We are not designed to forget and this is a blessing. How much time would we spend relearning many of the things we take for granted?

Many of you may be heaving a sigh of relief or groaning with despair. To some, this may justify their stance to “never forget”; to others it explains why memories linger; and to still more it raises the dilemma that a thought will never go away. Take hope…..there is a solution. In the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy God specifically instructed the Israelites to “not forget” Him when they entered their Promised Land. Why would He tell them this if forgetting is impossible? Have you ever gotten so involved in something that you lost track of other things you needed to do? You became so focused on the task at hand that your mind blocked out any distracting thoughts that would have attempted to steal your attention. God realized that the Promise Land could be that catalyst that would cause the Israelites to become so engrossed with their new surroundings that they would forget the One Who gave it to them.

Memories that are highly charged emotionally seem to stick with us We have learned  that the less we pay attention to something, it eventually disappears from our conscious thought life. We don’t realize this has happened until the memory is triggered by some event and we say, “I completely forgot about that!” We are amazed at how much time has elapsed since we last remembered this bit of information. This is how “forgetting” works. Because we can remember a situation along with the corresponding emotional feelings, by choosing not to dwell on it when it does surface, we can over time diminish its ability to upset us. We make it a point to not relive the moment. If and when it does emerge we may or may not feel a twinge of regret but for the most part the sting and pain associated with it are gone. We may even be like a casual observer who now sees this as something that just happened in our past.

I have a friend, Chuck Martin, who is an avid hunter (and a great griller). Chuck got has a “man cave” or trophy room. Chuck has been able to hunt exotic game on specially designed preserves. He has encountered animals I have only seen from the safety of the pages of National Geographic. Many people who don’t hunt have trophy rooms also. These are meticulously kept and highly organized. I know I am being invited in to view their collection when their eyes glaze over; they turn a vivid shade of bitter and announce, “Let me tell you what so and so did to me.” They usually finish with, “I forgive them but I’ll NEVER forget!” Hopefully, I can extricate myself in enough time to miss the tour of the rest of the room.

On purpose God elects not to recall our sins and even blots them out, not for our sake but for His! Wow, it is so not at all about us; it is for His benefit. John 21:25 tell us that Jesus did so many things that the world would not have enough room to contain all the books written to record them, and His ministry only lasted three years. If God was in the business of keeping permanent ledgers of all the sins that everyone ever committed, how big of a universe, galaxy or cosmos would be necessary to contain those volumes? While satan may come and try to drum up old memories to upset us, he is only doing to us on a smaller scale what he does to God. He is not called the Accuser of the Brethren without good reason. Revelation 12:10 says that he “accuses them before our God, day and night.” God gets a continuous earful from our enemy. His response, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” As Smith Wigglesworth would say, “That’s the way you have do the devil!”

If we decide not to forget, we need to examine if we have really forgiven. I am not trying to minimize the hurt or pain people experience. I recognize that it can take time to process what has happened and to heal. If we really want to move forward with our life and not be stuck in the prison of our memories, we have to let them go. A few have even used an event that has caused them heartache to promote changes that prevent others from having their experience. The organization MADD and the television show America’s Most Wanted were both birthed out of the pain of people who suffered the traumatic loss of a loved one. These are examples of turning a negative event into something positive.

The eighteenth chapter of Matthew’s gospel contains the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Here is the story of a servant who owes his master an exorbitant amount of money. Hearing his servant’s plea for mercy, the master completely “blots out” or cancels the debt. The servant is now totally free. The servant soon runs into a friend who owes him a very small amount but refuses to extend mercy to the man and has his friend thrown in jail. When the master hears of this, he revokes the debt cancellation of the first servant and has him throw in jail to be “delivered to the tormentors”. There is a high price to pay for refusing to forgive. This is why following our Father’s example of purposely not remembering wrongs committed against us, is so important

 Our memories will always be with us.  Unless we consistently decide to not concentrate on them, and not mentally re-hash situations over and over again, we will find ourselves in a perpetual state of uproar and turmoil. This negatively impacts us in ways we would never imagine. It robs us of our joy, our health and our peace and it can destroy our lives and the lives of those around us. As hard as it may be, we can elect to forgive and consciously not remember the hurt or offence. It takes concentrated effort on our part to neutralize memories that are powerful. We may have to do this repeatedly, day after day. If we remain consistent in our effort we will find that their suffocating grip will release its hold and we will be free. We forgive – give the offender the mercy they do not deserve and we forget – get peace with ourselves, with others and most importantly with God. We get our lives back and we get freedom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Are We Ever Satisfied?

As I approached, the smoky haze from the Altar, hung suspended in the air between the Cloud of God and the people below. It provided a thick, grey canopy for a half-hearted penitent to hide under and avoid the gaze of God. The rope in my hand went taunt and knocked me off my hurried stride. The lamb I was bringing had found a patch of grass and decided to stop and nibble. “Come along” I said, jerking the leash, forcing the poor, unsuspecting animal closer to its date with death.

Finally I reached the center of the camp where the Tabernacle and the Altar were erected. The place was packed, no surprise there. People and animals were everywhere jostling for position. The air had a sickly smell of burning wood, roasting flesh and grain, blood, body odor and fresh animal droppings (never a nice “surprise” to step into). It was noisy. Animals bellowed, people talked and even argued about their place in line and the long wait. And every so often, the bone chilling wails of a terrified lamb and a heartbroken child being separated rang out, making my stomach turn and my temper flare. Why would God require an offering that grieved an innocent child just to make up for the mistake of its parents? On more than one occasion I chose my child over God. I don’t know if it was my own guilt or if the priest somehow knew. His look told me that he was not fooled and neither was God.

Even with the Cloud of God above, there was no escaping the heat generated by so many people and animals in the contained space. Between the smells, the hot, humid air and the long wait, I felt nauseous. The very first time I had to slay the lamb I almost fainted. I kill livestock for food all the time, but this was different. Not any more. I go and do what needs to be done, messy, inconvenient and expensive as it is, and get it over with….til the next time. The number of people needing to make sacrifices never seems to get any smaller. If all the laws and regulations are supposed to make us a holy people, something is not working. Surely there has to be something better than this.

Fast-forward a few thousand years.

As soon as I heard her voice, I cringed. The promise of a quiet Saturday morning spent washing and waxing my car dissolved at the sound of my neighbor, Mrs.
MacPherson’s voice. Elle, as she liked to be called, was a fixture in the neighborhood having lived here longer than most of the residents. Don’t misunderstand me, Elle is a great lady. An avid gardener, many yards on our block, including mine, have been the beneficiary of her generous contributions of plants and much needed advice. If you are sick, you can expect to receive a pot of delicious chicken soup along with a batch of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. If there is an upside to being ill, this is it. Elle is always up on current events and is able to carry on an intelligent conversation, not a one-way diatribe, on almost any subject. We’ve spent many hours talking over the side yard fence, sipping ice tea (another of her specialties) and solving the world’s problems from hunger, peace and where will Peyton Manning play football next year (she likes Tim Tebow). Here in lies the rub; as much as I enjoy our chats she ALWAYS finds a way to bring up one subject that gets on my nerves, religion. She is the only person I know who can weave Jesus and God seamlessly into a discussion about plants or anything else for that matter.

Elle calls herself a Christian. I think she is a fanatic. She is more concerned about where I am going when I die than I am; not that I like to give the subject that much thought. She never fails to invite me to church or to bible study and I always decline graciously, of course. I’ve told her repeated I am not into church. I do believe in the
“Man Upstairs”, at least I hope He exists. I’m just not as good a person as Elle and I know it. Now I’m no closet axe murderer or some sort of pervert. I am definitely not one of those Wall Street types who con people out of their hard earned money to finance their high living. I admit I am no angel. I have fudged figures on my taxes when I thought I could get away with it. I have used my company's equipment to run off the softball league schedules instead of going to the local copy center. On occasion I drink toooo much. I do lose my temper with my wife and kids every now and then. What do you expect, I am only human. I am hoping that when I die, God will find that I have done a least a little more good than bad, tipping the scales in my favor so I am not “weighed in the balance and found wanting”. Before I do “come to Jesus” I will get my act together and clean up my life. “God help me get through another round with Elle!” I whispered under my breath. Wait a minute, did I just ask God to help me avoid a conversation that will ultimately be about Him? What kind of hypocrite am I?

This post is not so much about looking at a portion of the bible or a principle of God as it is reflecting on the nature of people. What a bunch of weirdoes we are. No matter what God does or says, we are not satisfied. We are always trying to do things our way, hoping to get God to come around to our way of thinking.

Under the Law of the Old Testament, sacrifices were mandatory. One of these was the “Sin Offering”. Each sacrifice had specific guidelines to be followed and met in order to be acceptable. In the case of the Sin Offering, a certain type of animal had to be slain and then offered on the Altar. This did not absolve the person’s sin, it was a way of “fessing up” and publicly acknowledging what you had done. It was only on the Day of Atonement that any sins were covered when the High Priest sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat.

The whole purpose of the laws and regulations were to show people that no one based on their behavior met God’s standard for righteousness and holiness. The sacrifices were what we call “types and shadows”, sneak peeks so to speak, of what was necessary in order to get into God’s good graces. Going back to the first fictional character, he could have had the same dynamic relationship with God that Moses and Joshua experienced. David is a great example of this. David knew God so well that he had Divine insight into the meaning of the laws and sacrifices. He even took the bread from the Altar in the Tabernacle that was only for the priests and gave it to his men to eat without any fear of reprisals from God. He saw into the future to the crucifixion. Making sacrifices was not a burden or imposition for him. He gave lavishly, including a large portion of his personal fortune to build the temple under Solomon, his son. Because they either did not know or chose to ignore that they could know God like this too, people found ways to circumvent the system (as if God was clueless to their actions). Malachi 1:7-8 tells us that God knew all along that what was being offered was not always up to par, but was “blind, crippled and diseased.”

God, however, had a plan that would do away with the need for all this. He had His own perfect lamb that would die and its death would be all that would ever be needed to resolve the sin issue for once and for all. This was accomplished by Jesus’ death on the cross. All His anger and wrath was poured out on Jesus Who bore it for all of us. As far as God is concerned, the matter of sin is settled forever.

Under the New Testament, God through Jesus opened the door and invited us to “come as we are, warts and all.” You would think there would be a stampede of people rushing to take God up on this offer. The “not good enoughs” finally qualify. What is the typical response?  “I’m not good enough!” The Saturday morning car washer does not realize that it is not about religion or going to church. There is no need for him to clean up his act before he “comes to Jesus”. God wants him right now in whatever condition he is in.

So here is the conundrum (that’s a nice five dollar word that means puzzle). When God required a sacrifice that had to be perfect, man responded with something substandard and defective. So, God solved that problem by giving His own Son as the ultimate perfect, once and for all offering, which opened the door for all of us to come in no matter what our lives were like (which are never going to be perfect). God is happy to receive us with all our shortcoming and deficiencies and how do we respond. Just like the car washer, “I’m not good enough!”

It seems that no matter what God does we have a way of complicating things and making a very simple matter complex. God took down the barriers and we built them right back up again. Why? I suspect we think we know what our lives will be like if we give it to Him…boring, no fun, drudgery. Who would want a life like that? We are so wrong. Jesus said that He came so we can have an “abundant life”. He also said, “EVERYTHING (emphasis mine) is possible to him who believes.” Does that sound dull and uninteresting? Not to me.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, why don’t we just do things God’s way? He is not looking to create a bunch of mindless zombies who parrot a consistent line and act like robots. He is offering an opportunity to live a life without limitations, if we only believe. Why not take Him up on that offer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Obscurity…Breakfast of Champions

“A voice of one calling in the desert…” Matthew 3:3

Obscurity. Just the thought of the word leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Obscurity is the condition of being unknown. It is the state or quality of being obscure; darkness; dimness or indistinctness. It is being an unknown or unimportant person or being. How often has someone caught a glimpse of their future, a goal, a dream or a vision and, in a desire to pursue this, took a giant step of faith and walked right into Obscurity?

Ugh, what a bitter pill that is to swallow. This is what happened to John the Baptist. Luke 1:80 tells us this about John: “and the child grew and became strong in spirit: and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.” (emphasis mine)

Living a relatively uneventful life may seem normal, but John was no ordinary person. In the same vein of Abraham and Sarah, John’s parents Zechariah and Elizabeth were old,  childless and had an extraordinary supernatural encounter before conceiving their son. Through an angelic visitation, Zechariah learned that he and Elizabeth would be the parents of one who would: “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” In our modern vernacular, John would be the Messiah’s “advance man”.

It would seem logical, given this child’s destiny, that the finest of education and career development would have been a top priority. That was not the case. If left up to some of us, we would have seen to it that lessons in public speaking (You need a catchier phrase than REPENT”), dressing for success (“Ditch the camel hair and go with something in a nice linen.”), networking to gain a wider audience and broader appeal (“You’re not going to reach the masses out here in the wilderness, gotta move to the big city.”), and maybe even a copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People (“Did you have to call the Pharisees a brood of vipers? For Heaven’s sake, leave Herod and his wife-stealing to the tabloids!”) would have been in order. The Messiah would need a slick, smooth front man and we would have just the right tools to produce one. Somehow, John sidestepped the opportunities to be groomed for his upcoming public ministry by the experts of his day, and instead, spent years of preparation out of the public eye, in the desert.

For me, Obscurity has all the appeal of eating lima beans. Ok you lima lovers skip this portion, you will not be able to relate to my analogy. Lima beans make me gag! Eating them is akin to chewing on little bags of wet sand that taste nasty. I would rather go hungry than eat limas. That said, Obscurity is not one of my favorite dishes either. When one takes on the pursuit of a dream, Obscurity is not what you would pick to sustain you through the process. God, however, often has a different menu than what we would choose. John was not the only person who spent long years being an unknown. Moses, David, Joseph, Paul and even Jesus Himself feasted at Obscurity’s table for extended periods of time. Why does God have a penchant for putting people that He desires to use on the “back burner” where no one (and to some degree even themselves) knows who they really are?

Let me share with you a few “ingredients” of Obscurity that could just make it the “breakfast of champions”.

First – Obscurity is a place where one can privately begin the process of counting the cost of pursuing one’s goal or vision and discovering how willing one is to expend the “blood, sweat and tears” necessary to bring this to fruition. Are you willing to work at what you believe is your mission even when no one else can see what you see and believe it is possible?

Second – Obscurity can afford you an opportunity (if you choose to take it) to know God more intimately and to learn to depend on Him completely; recognizing that if He does not lead the way, you are going nowhere. Learn this lesson now while you have or are nothing of note. When your dream becomes reality your foundation will be secure because you know firsthand Who led you out of Obscurity and into Notoriety.

Third – Obscurity give you the place to gain experience without the burdens and pressures of a high profile. For me, starting out as a teacher, I could do a lot less damage teaching a class of fifth and sixth grade girls, using a preprinted Sunday School lesson, than I could have taking on a packed auditorium of adults and using my own developed message. The ability to do that has taken time. I still have not had that latter type of opportunity…but, if and when the time comes, I am prepared. I have learned the value of continuously working on my skills even when the audience is small to nonexistent.

Fourth – Obscurity has a measure of safety attached to it. John was not in danger of losing his head when he was out in the desert. No one was looking to crucify Jesus when He was just a local carpenter. No assassination plots were formed against Paul when he was out in the Arabian desert. When recognition comes, after laboring for what seems like an eternity, remember this…the spotlight that highlights and showcases you also illuminates the target on your back that your enemies and critics will be aiming for. Don’t let that fact frighten you or cause you to give up. Use your time in Obscurity wisely and prepare for this aspect of promotion.

Fifth – Obscurity is not all about you. It is also about God and His perfect timing. He had a master plan laid out before we even existed and at last check, He isn’t looking for our input or approval, just our co-operation. Jesus Himself experienced this very thing. At twelve, He was in the temple confounding the teachers of the Law. He had come to the understanding that He had to “be about His Father’s business”. He then spent eighteen more years as a carpenter, just a local guy, no one special, before God released Him into His ministry.

Back to John the Baptist. When he finally burst on the scene to begin what was a very brief stint of ministry, John was focused and singleminded. He referred to himself as “the voice of one” (emphasis mine). He had only one goal and purpose in mind, to prepare the people to experience God. He deflected any claims to fame or celebrity status. When Jesus appeared, John proceeded to point the people and his own disciples away from himself and to the Lamb of God. John’s own admission about himself: “He (Jesus) must become greater and greater and I must become less and less.” John knew his mission and stuck with it until it was accomplished.

Nutritionists and dieticians have for years stressed the importance of a good breakfast. This should be the largest meal of the day because it provides our bodies with the fuel needed to operate at peak performance. We should intake the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, etc. to give our systems everything necessary to operate efficiently. Perhaps, that is how Obscurity can be the “breakfast of champions”. Being in the background for an extended period of preparation gives us the chance to develop a solid foundation that we can build and operate upon. We see God using this very thing in the lives of Moses, Joseph, David, John the Baptist, Paul and even Jesus. Each one went through a protracted period of being set aside to simmer, so to speak, only to emerge in God’s timing, strong and fully equipped for the task at hand.

Perhaps you have found yourself in a place where you have big dreams and visions and no one seems to know you even exist. You continue to work toward your goal, but it is like eating the same old “mush” for breakfast everyday. Eat heartily. The place where you are can be the very thing, that with God’s help, takes you from being just a dreamer to a doer. Don’t give up, persist, be content and follow what God has placed in your heart. Pick up your spoon for another bite and you may just find that this time the “mush” has now “mushroomed” and you are living your dream. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

This “little?” light of mine…I don’t think so.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. Matthew 5:16

Oops! I missed that one. When I read this passage early last week, the verse jumped
right off the page. This is one way God speaks to me. When this happens, it is in my
best interest to go back and focus on what I’ve read. God is trying to tell me something.
As I did I realized, that in spite of all the times I had read this portion of scripture, I had
missed the key issue. Uh oh.

Perhaps you spotted it right away. I suggest you read verse again and then ask yourself the question: “What is Jesus emphasizing here?” Have your answer? Let me share with you mine, and where I feel I missed it.

Jesus did not say that our “good works” would bring God glory automatically. He did say that the light He put in us, shining out from us, would illuminate these acts in such a way that they would showcase the glory and goodness of God. My mistake, I thought that good works, and not the light, were the important things.

As I thought this through, it made perfect sense. Many people, organizations, companies, etc. do great works to help people. This is a really good thing. Individuals in desperate situations are assisted because of the generosity of others. However, for the most part, God receives no glory or recognition at all, except from those who are sensitive to His hand working behind the scenes.

Matthew 6:3 contains an often quoted statement Jesus once made: “… do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Found in the first three verses of this chapter is the biblical principal for truly, successful giving.

A few years ago I worked for a large company. Our division was not meeting company’s expectations. My office manager called in a few of us to discuss a possible public relations promotion he was contemplating. The school year was fast approaching and his idea was to put together school supplies for needy children in the areas that our office covered. The parent company was normally very enthusiastic about programs that benefited the community, with the caveat that they received lots of recognition. As we discussed this concept, that important element of the company’s philosophy was developing into a potential stumbling block to the success of this program. The office manager polled those of us in the meeting for our thoughts and ideas. When asked, my response was, “Let’s just do it. This is the right thing to do even if the company does not get the publicity it desires.” The manager was floored. With the exception of one other co-worker, everyone in the room thought I was crazy…and I was. Crazy like a fox! My co-worker and I understood the principle laid out in Matthew 6 and we knew it would work for anyone who applied it. If we, as a company, would be willing to give, without receiving any fanfare or hoopla, God would add His “super” to our “natural” and He would see to it that the company was rewarded in ways that no public relations campaign could generate. Ultimately, the idea was scrapped and nothing happened. What a wasted opportunity.

Why does God want the glory when we do good works? Is He an egotist and in desperate need of always getting top billing? No. God knows most people, including some who call themselves Christians, do not know that He is good. Back in his prime, Oral Roberts was criticized by church leaders for saying that “God is a good God” and for telling people “something good is going to happen to you”. God is blamed for many things He has no part in. People will say that God makes you sick in order to test you or to teach you a lesson. If that is true, wouldn’t it be disobedient to go to a doctor and try to get well? Insurance companies label natural disasters and catastrophic events as “acts of God”, but in reality, they are “acts of the devil”. God is also accused of killing children because He “needs another angel”. Humans are created as a higher and entirely separate class of being than the angels.  With that in mind, why would God demote an innocent child? Why would He need another angel; He already has the majority of them? God wants His glory to be shown so that people will see His goodness and not because He has this insatiable need to be on center stage and to be the main attraction.

This brings us back to Jesus emphasizing our need to let our lights shine FIRST. When we lived in Florida I worked for Z Music. This was the original, Contemporary Christian Music video channel that was aired on television. Among my responsibilities was assisting in designing sets and setting up for production shoots. On several occasion I found myself atop a fifteen foot ladder hanging spots or “cans” on the lighting grid suspended from the studio ceiling. The director knew exactly where each light needed to be placed and what angle it was to be set to. This is the way God works with us. He knows where He needs to put us in order to achieve His desired end result.

Stage lighting is always painted matte, not shiny, black. It is designed to “disappear” when the house lights go down. The equipment does not distract the audiences’ attention from where the action is taking place. When we “cans” let our lights shine we should also disappear into the background.

Anyone on stage cannot look directly into the spotlights; they are are blinding. The source of the light again is not visible because of the brightness they emit. The normal field of vision is reduced to just a few feet. Even the audience can be swallowed up in the brilliant glow, removing potential distractions and restricting one’s visibility. Our good works should be so strongly illuminated by the light we emit that the person experiencing this sees the good we have done and comes to the conclusion, “this must be God!”

So here is our challenge; we cannot be “in the limelight” AND be a “spotlight” at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way. This does not have to be a dilemma. James 1:17 tell us “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights…” When we do “good works”, at the Father’s direction, we are simply taking what He gave us and redirecting it according to His plans and purposes. It was never our to begin with. As for the light we give off, that comes from Him also for He is the Father of Light. We are His instruments, used by Him to illuminate what He orchestrates, so that those in the dark can really see Him.

In church we used to sing: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” However, in Matthew 5:14, Jesus said: “You are the light of the world, like a city on the hilltop that cannot be hidden.” That doesn’t sound like a “little light” to me. Maybe we have underestimated the strength of the light that God has put in us.

I do not wish to shine like a match, a candle, a lighter, or even a flashlight. I don’t want to be in the limelight either. I want to be the spotlight that shines so brightly that I disappear from view and God’s goodness and glory shines forth clearly in the works He gives me to do.

Time to get lit up!