Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16: 33
“The clouds, which rise with thunder,
Slake our thirsty souls with rain;
The blow most dreaded falls to break
From off our limbs a chain;
And wrongs of man to man but make
The love of God more plain.
As through the shadowy lens of even
The eye looks farthest into heaven
On gleams of star and depths of blue
The glaring sunshine never knew!”
John Greenleaf Whittier
Today’s Study Texts:
“Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
Luke 24: 47, 48
“This Little Light of Mine"
“The life-saving strategy of Jesus is based on ordinary people showing and telling about Him in ordinary places.”
What is the story of my life and how Christ makes a difference in my world each day?
“To be a witness does not consist of engaging in propaganda or in stirring people up. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.”
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”
Matthew 5: 14,
Several months ago, as happens way too frequently in the area where we live, a lone hiker got stuck climbing high in the Red Rocks. As the darkness of night approached, I began to wonder how in the world the rescue team would be able to spot a person alone in the dark. It didn’t take very long for me to find out for all of a sudden, a helicopter with a huge spotlight, was able to shine that light right on the individual who needed to be helped.
I love the way Jesus, throughout His ministry here on earth, chose to use “light” in a very practical way, to help us better understand how illumination can be used as a tool to help those who have lost their way, find the pathway again.
The great evangelist Dwight L. Moody, whose life was a powerful light shining in the darkness, made this observation, “God has called us to shine! Let no one say that (they) cannot shine because (they) don’t have as much influence as some others may have. What God wants you to do is to use the influence you have.”
It was this statement which got me to thinking about an experience I had when I was about ten years old. As I’ve mentioned before, my grandmother was a deeply Spiritual woman. She always carried a rather large purse with her and as we joked, everything but the kitchen sink was in that handbag.
Grandma never left home to run errands without grabbing a handful of little “pamphlets” as they were called and putting them in her purse. Interestingly, these pocket-size booklets were not some type of material that focused on a complicated Biblical study. Instead, they contained texts of encouragement for times of despair. I’ll never forget stopping with grandma one day at a gas station. This was back in the day when the serviceman came out and filled up your gas tank and washed your windows. On this particular day, grandma wanted her little “granddaughter in training” to learn how to “witness” as she informed me. So I had to get out of the car and hand the serviceman the little booklet. Much to my surprise, he stood there looking through the pages. And then he looked down at me and said, “Thank you. I could really use this right now.” Let me say, that was a terrific lesson for me. Even at 10 years of age, I was able to recognize, much to my surprise, that encouragement can be a shared gift no matter your age.
Looking back on that experience, I think the “birth” of our Transformation Garden bookmarks began that day, although unknown to me at the time. Not too long ago, my dear friend Mary told me how she was at the doctor’s office and while waiting to be seen, she noticed the girl next to her who seemed so upset – even distraught. Mary is such a warm and kind individual and in a moment she had struck up a conversation and found out the reason for this young woman’s heartache. Mary asked if she could give her something and so she returned to her car to retrieve several bookmarks from the Garden and as she handed them to the girl, a transformative smile crossed the young lady’s face.
In a world where there are so many harsh words spoken, a kind encouragement, an uplifting smile and a simple “I’ll pray for you,” can lift another’s heavy burden in ways we could never imagine.
As I was preparing today’s devotional, I came upon a passage written by author and missionary Amy Carmichael. I’ve always felt a connection to this woman of God. She felt called to go to India as a missionary at the age of 28. She was not encouraged with this decision for a woman going alone seemed inappropriate at best. But for the next fifty-six years, Amy poured out her life taking care of others. She rescued young girls from “cult prostitution” and offered them a safe haven. Not only did she come under attack from non-Christians, but she was persecuted by Christians who didn’t care to understand the work she undertook, especially as a woman. And then, on one dark night, as she returned to her home, she found the outside gate locked and finally after searching, she found someone who had a key to give her entrance. What Amy didn’t know was that during that day, a deep pit had been dug just inside the gate and as Amy entered the compound, she fell and the subsequent internal injuries kept her in incapacitating pain for the rest of her life. As David Hazard notes in the preface to Amy’s book, I Come Quietly to Meet You, “even through constant pain – her ‘fetters of iron’ – Amy continued to pour forth devotional writings, brilliant in Spiritual passion and plain wisdom…Amy cites from numerous Bible versions and commentaries…she quotes from a procession of leading Christian voices that come to us down through the ages…At the bedrock of her faith lie these immovable principles:
· God is, first and always, a loving Father.
· Everything that comes to us is for our good, because it comes from a good Father, in whom there is no darkness.
· When we come to know our ‘Father of Lights’ – when we ‘tuck’ ourselves into God by trusting Him as little children – He will carry us through!
Make no mistake, I am not in any way comparing my daily writing to that of Amy Carmichael, however, when I started Transformation Garden, I had no idea that the year Amy Carmichael passed away, was the very year I was born. And I am now the age today when Amy began to write after the terrible accident that some thought would diminish her witness. Now on those days when I find the pain to be a bitter pill, I think of my precious friend Amy who left behind a treasure of encouragement, a witness to me on a daily basis, that when I am weak, God’s strength can be the only light I need to depend on.
I think it fitting that on a day when Jesus’ words call each one of us to be a light right where we are that we remember these words penned by Amy Carmichael:
“If I am afraid to speak the truth lest I lose affection, or lest the one concerned should say, ‘You do not understand,’ or because I fear to lose my reputation; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
In the words of evangelist D. L. Moody, “It is a great deal better to live a holy life than to talk about it. Lighthouses do not ring bells and fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine. Remember, a small light will do a great deal when it is in a very dark place. Put one little tallow candle in the middle of a large hall, and it will give a good deal of light.”
“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.
Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine.
All through the night, I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.
Let it shine.”
“Lord, I pray that You may be a lamp for me in the darkness. Touch my soul and kindle a fire within it, that it may burn brightly and give light to my life. Thus my body may truly become Your life. Thus my body may truly become Your temple, lit by Your perpetual flame …burning on the altar of my heart. And may the light within me shine on others that it may drive away darkness…Thus together let us be lights to the world, manifesting the bright beauty of Your gospel around us.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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