Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Let's Be the Light!

"You are the light of the world. 
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket,
 but on a stand,
 and it gives light to all in the house. 
In the same way, let your light shine before others, 
so that they may see your good works 
and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16

Last week my husband and I took our daughter Delaney to a Kari Jobe/Chris Tomlin concert. As we worshipped, one song Kari sang really hit me deep. "We are the light of the world. We are the city on a hill. We are the light of the world so we've got to let our light shine." I felt the presence of God so strongly and a powerful awareness that we MUST encourage each other to be the light to the world around us! The truth is that Jesus is the light in us, without Him there is no life changing light. We have to be humble and be willing to be emptied of ourselves so that His light can shine!

We adopted our son Noah when he was 10 months old. He came to us from Florida on a ventilator and with a medical file that literally scared the mess out of our pediatrician. On paper every one told us there wasn't much promise. Yes, we were scared. This was all new to us. We were already in the process of bringing our daughter Lilly home from eastern europe and the timing seemed ridiculous. But God. He knew we needed Noah as much as he needed us!

{With Lilly and Noah at the hospital soon after his arrival }

When he arrived at the local children's hospital via medical flight we waited in the ER as they prepared the room he would stay in for the next seven weeks while we trained on his equipment. The nurse who was checking us in started the conversation with these words, "You are crazy." Now, this wasn't a light-hearted "Oh, you crazy people.....what are you getting yourselves into?" She was serious and her words went right to my heart. (I am a big believer that words give life or they bring death, but that is for another posting!) We often had to fight the fear that came from words spoken by others. BUT, Noah's story fascinated people. We had doctors and nurses come to our room to hear it...and honestly to stare at the crazy people with 7 kids! Now, I wish that I could say that in all of our telling of his story (which we love to do) that I put God center stage, that I emptied myself of myself and shared the love of Jesus with boldness. But the truth is that I didn't do that faithfully. It grieves me to admit that I worried about offending people. How gracious that He continues to give us second, third, and fourth chances! I don't want to waste any more opportunities to shine His light. To share His story! May we encourage each other to share with boldness of the Great Love that drives us to love those who society pushes to the margins!

In his small booklet, "Risk is Right",  John Piper writes about the first three centuries of the Christian church who faced persecution under the Roman Empire. Every Christian who believed faced the very real threat and possibility of death. Yet the church grew. That always amazes me!

Piper writes, "In fact, it was the Christ-exalting love that the Christians showed in spite of the risk that stunned the pagan world. The Roman emperor Julian (AD 332-363) wanted to breathe new life into the ancient pagan religion but saw more and more people drawn to Christianity. He wrote with frustration against these "atheists" (who did not believe in the Roman gods, but in Christ):
'Atheism [i.e., Christian faith] has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal there is not a single Jew who is a beggar, and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for our as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them.'
It is costly to follow Christ. There is risk everywhere. But this very risk is the means by which the value of Christ shines more brightly."

May God allow us to be part of such a scandal! Let us show the world the love of Jesus by the way we love......and when people ask us why we would do such things may we share our stories with boldness.......leading with the God parts and NEVER listening to the counsel of fear to leave them out, otherwise our stories become merely interesting......and cease to be life changing!

Our Noah today! We LOVE to share his miracle story!!

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