A Light Unto My Path

The following was written by Gladys in March, 2003.  It’s a comforting blessing to have these timeless truths she left with us ~

“Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a Light to my pathway” Psalm 119:105

lamp-light1

A lamp is needed in darkness so that we do not stumble or fall.  We live in dark days, and often question what is happening.  Has God left us without a light?  Not at all.

He has left us His Word, which Hebrews 4:10 tells us is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Sometimes when you are jarred out of life’s routines by dire circumstances and you cry to the Lord for help and understanding, let the Word of God be your Light so that you do not stumble or fall.  His Word will NEVER FAIL YOU.

~ Gladys Johnson ~ March, 2003

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JARS OF CLAY

God is our Creator and has made us in His likeness, according to the book of Genesis.

In biblical times pottery formed from clay was a necessary utensil that every home, rich or poor, had. It could have been ornately created by an artisan or simply formed by the hands of the local potter in each village.

The prophet Isaiah writes in chapter 64 verse 8, “Yet, O LORD, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Since God has formed us with His hands, and everyone in biblical days could identify with the necessity of owning clay pots, Paul again states what the prophet Isaiah had written on the scrolls so many years before…………”But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”

See…..we are identified as jars of clay. The outside of our vessel is not what is important….it’s what’s inside. We are breakable, but oh so useful in God’s Kingdom!!!

“We have this TREASURE in JARS OF CLAY to show that this all-surpassing POWER IS FROM GOD AND NOT FROM US.” And according to the previous verse,” THIS TREASURE IS THE LIGHT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF CHRIST.” II Corinthians 4:6-7

clay pots

So………..CARRY THE LIGHT in your jar of clay and recognize your insufficiency in God’s sufficiency!!!

Here are the words of verses one and two of a great old hymn written in 1902………

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!  Thou art the potter, I am the clay.  Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord!  Have Thine own way!  Hold o’er my being absolute sway!  Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see Christ only always, living in me.

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Let’s be Hilarious!

Today I would like to make a case for humor.

Have you ever met someone with no sense of humor? You know the type – those who find it difficult to laugh at themselves, at life, or at circumstances. I feel sorry for those people, for there are so many times in life when nothing helps quite like discovering the funny side of things.

There is nothing as infectious as the laughter of a child. The pure innocence of it! their laughter is not caused by innuendos or suggestions of vulgarity, but by their simple delight. How refreshing it is!

Photo: "Laughter" by Pete Stacey

Photo: “Laughter” by Pete Stacey

Jesus stated we must become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Could there be anything in his statement that has to do with the things that make us laugh? I wonder.

Some people laugh at other’s misfortunes; some at ethnic jokes; others over risque areas of life. It seems our society has lost its innocence. We are becoming a fierce people and our humor, vividly expressed in the media, graphically reflects the change. Gloom and sadness are prevalent.

But there is a special blessing in being around Christians who can find humor in the ordinary things of life. These believers follow the apostle Paul’s suggestion to think on the things that are of “good report.”

The scriptures never record Jesus laughing, yet they do inform us that little children loved Him and were drawn to Him. Our Lord must have had a quiet, pleasant, smiling demeanor. Jesus even said He came that our joy might be full. The Bible talks a lot about joy, and I have never seen it without a smile or a pleasant face, have you?

Nehemiah wrote, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Wouldn’t the opposite of that be, “A gloomy countenance (disposition) will rob you of strength?”

We are even told to be “hilarious” in our giving (2 Corinthians 9:7) Have you lost the joy of giving? It could be a key to gloominess in your life.

I AM NOT making a case for silliness. I AM making a case for joy and good laughter. Joy ought to bubble from our innermost beings like rivers of living water. As the surroundings become darker, let our hearts become arenas of light and joy, always looking for the blessed hope, the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Allow me to share this prayer with you:

The Lord bless you.

May you carry the glow of His presence with you. May He meet every need in your life. May He richly provide you with the abundance of his blessings.

May the Holy Spirit who comes alongside you be your Helper, and minister to you the things that are of God, for those things will not ever pass away.

May you walk in glorious victory. May there not be a day when you say, “It’s dark today,” but may there always be the light of Christ shining in and through you, brightening the lives of others.

AMEN!

(This post by Gladys was originally published in Foursquare Advance magazine, June, 1989)

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Let Your Light Shine

For a number of months I have been praying people see and feel a light when I simply walk pass them. The Holy Spirit lives inside of me, inside all who call Jesus their Savior. We are a light to the dark world. By following Jesus, we must represent him and allow him to use us as a light source. Christ followers are his light.

The book The Veil by Blake Healy is about Blake who sees in the spiritual realm. He sees angels and demons. He said the spiritual realm is more real than the physical and we all have the ability to see it if we lift our veils. He described a time when a group of believers were walking down a street and as they walked they had a stream of light following them. Everywhere they walked the light followed and touched the people in their path. There was freshness in the atmosphere as they walked down the street. This is something I have been praying for. I want a light to follow me. When people see me, I want them to see Jesus and feel his presence. Jesus lives inside of me. In the Bible, as Paul walked down the street his shadow healed people because he has the power and authority of Jesus.

I was in Laos at a mini mart with my friend Erica. An older Swedish man came up to us and began a friendly conversation. Shortly after exchanging words and smiles he asked us if we were tourists. We told him yes and he couldn’t believe it. He responded with, “You can’t be tourists, you’re too nice!” He then wanted us to meet his friends, a young Lao family who were waiting outside for him. He wanted to introduce us and it seemed as though he wanted to show us off to his friends. He didn’t want us to leave. Erica and I were meeting up with our friends for dinner and this man wanted us to stay. He didn’t want our presence to be gone. But it wasn’t us at all; it was Jesus.

After we left this man, Erica and I looked at each other and began smiling and laughing. This was a confirmation and an answer to my prayer! He saw something different in us. Something that other people do not carry. He didn’t want us to leave. We carry Jesus with us. We carry a light with us and this man saw it and felt it. Whether he knows what it is or not, my prayer is that he looks for that feeling again. My prayer is he finds Jesus!

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

In order for a light to shine its brightest it must be in darkness. Embrace the darkness because in the dark times your light will shine.

Let your light shine. Do not hide it. Do not be afraid to let it out.

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(Sunrise at Ankgor Wat in Cambodia)

Shine BRIGHT like the sunrise lights up the sky

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(Buddha Park in Laos)

Shine BRIGHT in the darkness

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External Hard Drive

Do you back up all of your important files and pictures regularly? I do. Ever since I learned in 2003 what happens when you don’t. If your hard drive crashes, you lose everything. No problem to get a new PC or restore the old one. The problem is, if you don’t have all the data saved and organized, it costs A LOT for a Data Recovery center to search for it and recover it. It is possible, but it is costly.

What did I learn from this? To back up my data regularly and to keep it organized so that I know exactly how to access each file when I need it.

And such is our experience with computers on a day to day basis. We back things up. We save things in a way that makes sense to us, and we add to our files daily.  The document I am working in now, for this blog, is in a folder on my desktop. And that folder is inside another folder. It’s like a hierarchy or family tree sequence. This begat that, et cetera.

One of the best ways to keep important data and pictures is to back them up on an external hard drive.  Techopedia.com defines it like this:

An external hard drive is a storage device located outside of a computer that is connected through a USB cable or wireless connection. An external hard drive is usually used to store media that a user needs to be portable, and for backups. These devices have a high storage capacity and are mostly used for backing up numerous computer files or serving as a network drive to store shared content.

 External-Hard-Drive

Let’s say Jesus is like a PC and we are like external hard drives. Jesus IS The Living Word. We should be connected to Him so we can access His files and download them. We should each be a carbon copy of Jesus. A mirror image. Love, Joy, Self-control, Patience….all characteristics of Jesus that we should copy.

How do we do this? By spending time talking with Him, reading The Word, being in fellowship with other believers and singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to Him. We should add to our files daily by backing up everything on that Master PC.

Notice also in the definition above that part of the function of the external hard drive is to be portable. We are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth.  We must let the love and light of Jesus be etched into our minds and our spirits so that we can easily access it and share it everywhere we go as we travel through life.

1 John 2:5,6 “This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” NIV

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” NIV

Let’s go plug into Jesus and be the best copies we can be!!!

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Your Word is a Lamp to my Feet

“Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a Light to my pathway.” Psalm 119:105

A lamp is needed in darkness so that we do not stumble or fall..

We live in dark days, and often question what is happening. Has God left us without a light?

Not at all.

He has left us His Word, which Hebrews 4:10 tells us, “is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Thy Word

When you are jarred out of life’s routines by dire circumstances and you cry out to the Lord for help and understanding, let the Word of God be your Light so that you do not stumble or fall.

His Word will NEVER FAIL YOU.

This was written by Gladys on March 26, 2003.

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Don’t Overdrive Your Headlights

Have you ever been driving down a curvy two-lane road at night? Many times it is hard to see what is ahead of you. It is best to take it slower than you would on a well-lit straight road. Overdriving your headlights means not being able to stop safely within the illuminated area ahead.

Do you ever notice small crosses, signs, flowers and even teddy bears placed as memorials to those lost in deadly crashes along those same roads? Sadly, those were most likely the ones who overdrove their headlights. They were traveling too fast to steer or stop safely, and their joyride or haste in getting to their destination ended in tragedy.

According to securitydriver.com, there are three factors to consider: vehicle stopping distance, headlight illumination distance, and driver reaction time. This site gives actual statistics using these factors while driving on a poorly lit road at night. There is not much room for error, and if one is traveling too fast, the possibility for a tragic accident increases exponentially.

This principal is one of the best things my parents taught me when I was learning to drive as a teenager. Understanding the limitations of my brakes versus the weight of my car, my own reaction time, and the average visibility of 180 feet with low beams has helped me to make better decisions while driving, and has helped to keep me from overdriving my headlights into potential danger.

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Consider this in a spiritual sense. Do you ever get “ahead of God?” Perhaps you tend to make snap decisions at times when you should be more patient and deliberate about seeking God’s plan?

I know I am guilty of this at times, both with God and with others.

Sometimes I get impatient with a person for whom I have high expectations and I give them some “lip” or attitude too quickly without considering the obstacles they may be facing in life. I end up causing myself and that person undue stress and have to make amends to repair a relationship that I should have had more confidence in to begin with.

Sometimes I jump ahead of God with a “good idea” rather than talking with Him about it patiently first. Then I find that if I had just waited, His steps would have been superior to the ones I already took. His Provision would have made my path smoother and more successful if I had just slowed down.

We may even completely miss a blessing if we act hastily. 1 Samuel 13 recounts the time when Saul offered up a burnt offering in haste, rather than waiting until the time God appointed. “You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure….”

Overdriving your headlights can be harmful and potentially deadly. Not only to you, but maybe even to those riding with you.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Notice the importance of knowing the Word to give light to your life. And notice that He only illuminates the path at your feet, at the point where you are actually walking. This is where faith comes in. He knows everything that lies ahead on your path. Trust Him, follow Him, and don’t try to sprint up ahead. Time seems so “pressing” to us, but to the Creator of the Universe, it is just a tool He gave us so that our human brains could measure our existence. He is not bound by it. He created it. And you are safely in His hands.

Slow down. Don’t drive too fast. Enjoy your journey.

Trust the One who gave you life.

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DARKNESS vs LIGHT

During the last six months I have been living in North Central Florida at a Christian Retirement Community. I wholeheartedly became an active member of the 50-voice choir at The Village Church. We started preparing for the Christmas cantata in September since our director requires everyone to memorize the music. We had three final dress rehearsals for our 80-minute program which has always been well attended by the surrounding towns, to the three performances.

We were ready and excited to present the story of Christ’s coming to us; with music and drama. Saturday night, the auditorium was filled with people, some who had traveled an hour to be there.

The handbell choir played the beginning of their fourth and last song before the choir was to come in. THE LIGHTS WENT OUT!  A thunder and lightning storm had hit, and we later learned that a tree had fallen on a transformer, and the entire 1200-acre Village was DARK! It took 45-minutes to get everyone out safely in the dark and rain to their cars. As disappointed as we all were, the next two performances were great.

Though there was darkness without warning that night, it was repairable. But there is darkness all around us all the time. I’m not talking about the darkness causes by a transformer that has been downed by a falling tree. I’m talking about the darkness of sin and evil.

But there are no levels of sin in God’s eyes….sin is sin. One type of sin is not greater than another, even though we put them in categories. The only one ever born without sin is God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He is THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.

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When the Apostle Paul wrote the Letter to the Ephesians, he was reminding them not to be caught up in the wealth of the area. Ephesus was a commercial center because it was at an intersection of major trade routes. Many people groups came through with their wares and also brought their pagan gods and philosophies. The church in Ephesus was in danger of being persuaded by the wealth and false gods of these travelers. So Paul wrote the following to encourage them to LIVE AS CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT.

Ephesians 5:8-14 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.”

Stay in THE LIGHT…..it’s more fun than groping in the dark!!!

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A Light for Your Dark Path

The following was written by Gladys in March, 2003.  It’s a comforting blessing to have these timeless truths she left with us ~

“Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a Light to my pathway” Psalm 119:105

lamp-light1

A lamp is needed in darkness so that we do not stumble or fall.  We live in dark days, and often question what is happening.  Has God left us without a light?  Not at all.

He has left us His Word, which Hebrews 4:10 tells us is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Sometimes when you are jarred out of life’s routines by dire circumstances and you cry to the Lord for help and understanding, let the Word of God be your Light so that you do not stumble or fall.  His Word will NEVER FAIL YOU.

~ Gladys Johnson ~ March, 2003

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