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Light vs. Darkness

Billy Graham...

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Billy Graham...

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Billy Graham. He's had a huge impact on so many lives.  I remember listening to him on the old TV in our den. (that didn't have a remote back then and you had to actually GET UP off the couch to change the channel... yes I'm THAT old ;) I can't remember if I actually went to a Crusade, I think we did, but I know my parents went a couple times. But I was thinking about him the day before we all heard the news of his passing. (Which may be when he DID pass... that's kind of strange now that I think about it)  The reason he's been on my mind is because I have been really struggling with what my WORDS and my heart SPEAK forth.  This verse in Ecclesiastes 5:2 is what I honestly have to check myself ALL the time on:  "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart."  I think of Billy Graham as someone who had this as his prayer.  

This morning I watched as Billy Graham was honored by our President in the Capital Rotunda and I heard the story that started it all.  It moved be beyond tears because it was all about the POWER of Prayer.

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You see in 1934 Billy Graham's father let a group of business men from their town in NC use part of their farm (I'm going to believe it was their barn) as a GATHERING PLACE to come together for a day of prayer.  These business men prayed for their town, their businesses,

AND...

They prayed a powerful prayer that was an unbelievably BOLD prayer.

They prayed that the Lord would raise up someone to preach the GOSPEL to the ENDS OF THE WORLD from their town!!  

Wow.

Billy Graham was only 15 years old at that time.  

But it is safe to say that prayer was answered in a BIG way, through the son of the man who allowed that day of prayer to take place in a GATHERING PLACE on his land.

That may not get your waterworks going, but it does BIG TIME for me.

As you well know by now, if you come to my blog, we as a family are "pulling up roots" and moving to Colorado because we feel the Lord has called us to build a Gathering Place.  I can't help but hear that story and get on my knees. To pray that we pray BOLD prayers like that for this next generation! I WANT prayers spoken, lives moved, and hearts drawn near to the Lord on our land!

Let me back track a little though and be an open book with you.  I've been having little doubts creep in along the way about us moving.  How are we going to DO THIS? How are we going to AFFORD THIS? What is this really going to LOOK LIKE?

Yes,  we have definitely heard the voice of God through His Word, through people, through promptings.  Yes, doors have been opening all along the way.  It has been an INCREDIBLE time of hearing and seeing signs.  So I KNOW that He is truly moving us.  I guess I'm just having doubts about what this is supposed to look like?  What is this Gathering Place all about...

So what are these fears about? I'm not sure but I think I'm seeing that there are two reasons for these doubts.

#1 is FEAR.

The doubt is not that I think it's not the right path for us going forward.  It's the fear of rejection, the fear of failure, the fear of the unknown.  Yes, if I'm laying it all out there to see, it's fear that comes in and messes with me.

#2 is the enemy.

He doesn't want this to happen.  Plain and simple.  When we step out in faith to do the will of God, he doesn't like that. I'll share more on these two things in a coming blog post, so I will leave this here for now.   And as a side note:  If you have any words to speak on this I'd love to hear them.  I could use wisdom here...

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Lately I've been caught up on WORDS.  Oh... you already know that though... :)

It's just that in this social media day and age... words are everywhere!  Words of wisdom, words of hate.  Words of encouragement, words of pride.  More words that we can digest.  And in all of that, I wonder what are MY words saying? Will I follow the crowd, will I be fearful to  speak up for what I believe?  Will I hurt someone with my words or will I be an encourager?  

The last couple weeks we have been going through the "I AM" statements in church. It's made me think:

Do we follow the crowd or do we follow Jesus? 

John 6:68 says: "To whom shall we go?  You have the WORDS of eternal life."Like Peter says to Jesus... You are LIFE.  Why would we want to go anywhere else?  Why would we want to follow anyone else? Your WORDS are life. 

And it makes me think about Billy Graham.  The morning I found out about his passing I wrote this in my journal:

"Yesterday Billy Graham was called home.  What a giant of the faith and yet the most humble of men.  It reminds me of Jesus' words in Mark 10 where Jesus talks about serving others. "Whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as ransom for many."  

I think of how Billy lived his life... it's exactly what I've been trying to understand... How to live like THAT?  A humble servant of the Lord, going about the "business" of sharing God's LOVE:

TO ALL.  

My thoughts lately have been struggling with this... how do you speak God's truth to all?  How do you speak God's truths with love... without judgement?  How do you speak God's truths and show grace to people who have such opposing ideas/views on life?  How do you show kindness to those who laugh and mock you for your beliefs?

Billy Graham was able to do all those things!  He had the answer...

And I think I finally figured it out too. Luke 9 says it.  In verses 23-26 is says: "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses himself?"  We have to fight this FEAR (that is not from God) and live a life that IS only for God. Simply for Jesus.  I am not ashamed of the gospel.  So if we live without fear of rejection, fear of hate or fear of loss, we move into a space that says: "God has given us the answer to LIFE... through His Word and the Holy Spirit."  Why would we NOT want to help heal a hurting world?  Like Kathy Lee Gifford said this morning, "Would you keep the cure to cancer hidden if you found it?  No!  Then if we as believers have the answer to life everlasting, why would we keep it hidden?"

That I think is how Billy Graham was able to keep the foundation of a faithful life.  He didn't care if the people he humbly and simply shared his faith with were rich or poor, democrats or republicans, red, yellow, black or white, or even what religion they were raised up in.  

He had a cure for death... and it was simply Jesus and the Gospel message! 

Because it is such GOOD NEWS.

Last week was "I am the Light of the World" in our series at church.  There is SO much in that statement and it was so interesting to realize that God's first words spoken to man are about light. (Gen. 1:1-5 "Let there be Light")  All the way through the Bible is talks about the Light vs. the darkness.  It is a battle... Good vs. Evil.  (Just like all those movies we see with the superhero's saving the world)  All through the Bible we see God bringing Light into the darkness, Jesus coming to save us from the darkness.  Jesus BEING the Light of the World, and then calling those who believe to be the light of the world.  And then even to the very end in Revelations 21:23 where is says: "for the glory of God gives light..." 

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God's LOVE brings LIGHT to the whole WORLD.

John 3:16 "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him."

God LOVES you.  He sent His SON because of LOVE.  Not to condemn... but to show just how great and wide His LOVE is.

I hope you feel that today.  I hope you KNOW that today.  If not, please email me or message me because that's what I want to make sure you "get" from this blog post today! We have victory over the darkness in this world through Jesus, and we are called to shine that light.

It may be a tiny ember that you have...or a tiny mustard seed... and that is OK.  Like our pastor said at the end of the service, "Even if you're a tiny little ember, God is over here willing to stoke that fire and grow your flame." I love that.

So I guess all this has answered my questions.  (and I have to remind myself of this when the enemy tries to confuse me or tries to diminish what God is calling us to do)

Our GATHERING PLACE is to be a light to the world about the GOOD NEWS...

that God LOVES You.

Look at this barn below.  It's the beautiful barn that sits on Billy Graham's land.  I wonder how many BOLD prayers have been prayed right there?  How many people have been raised up to go spread the GOOD NEWS to the ends of the world...

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Look at this barn.  It's the beautiful barn that sits on Billy Graham's land.  I wonder how many BOLD prayers have been prayed right there?  How many people have been raised up to go spread the GOOD NEWS to the ends of the world...

Love the cross as a window to bring in the LIGHT.  

It reminds me of the stained glass you see in church windows letting the light in. Our pastor put it this way:

Jesus is like that light.  When He is inside of us we are like that stained glass and His beautiful glory shines through us.

We may need to have a stained glass window in our barn... 

I hope you have a great day and know how much God loves you.  Would love to hear any of your Billy Graham stories.  I'm sure he has impacted your life in some way.  And if not... go listen to him preach and then you will see why he touched so many lives.  I'm sure there's some on YouTube or you can find them here.

Hugs,

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From the Inside Out...

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From the Inside Out...

This thought has been swirling in my mind all week...

As a believer we have the Holy Spirit working in us, right?  But how often do we really think about this?  How often does that "LIGHT" show in our lives?  Once in a while... on a good day?  Hey, I'm doing pretty good because I helped someone last week with their groceries....  I just don't know how much I really think about the Holy Spirit and what it means to have Him working in my life.

Talking with a couple friends this week it brought me to this place where I am trying to think through a few things.

Light vs. Darkness

His light vs. our darkness

His light is supposed to shine forth in our life... but does His light also shine on the darkness in OUR lives?

I'm currently sitting on my bed on Halloween night. (in a darkened house b/c we have no candy to pass out... we were all supposed to be gone :)-   While Lance & the girls are having fun with friends and at a church festival.  No fun for me because I have some major pain on my right side that is keeping me down.  But I really don't like Halloween.  I know that I am in the minority here... what's not to like about dressing up and getting candy?  But there is a darkness on this night that I have always been aware of.  I didn't like going to Knott's Scary Farm as a teenager, (and only did it once) I don't watch scary movies, (and only did when I was forced to at a sleepover... with my eyes covered most of the time) and I don't like creepy costumes that come to my house and ask for candy!  When our girls were little we would take them out to some of the houses on our streets and they would also get scared of the decorations some people would have and so we ended up just going to church or school festivals on this night.

I LIKE the LIGHT.

John 8:12 "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The Lord is saying (if I can try to paraphrase in my own head... "Look, there IS darkness out there.  There is SIN in this world.  You know it, you can't get around it, you are not perfect.  But I AM the solution!  I am the LIGHT!  Follow me!  Trust in ME!  I died for you.. WHILE you were sinners!  

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8

I LOVE the saying on this bible journaling page...  I loved you at your darkest...  That is paraphrasing Romans 5:8.  But it's talking about the LIGHT and the darkness.  He LOVED US before we ever made a decision to trust in Him.  To love HIM back.  When we were in the muck of it... the mire.  He loved us and wanted us to see how much He loved and STILL loves us!  That is a love you will NEVER find in ANY. OTHER. PERSON, PLACE OR THING.  People please see that.

So when we accept Jesus into our lives, he sends the Holy Spirit to live in us.  He is our helper, our comforter, our counselor.  the Holy Spirit works in us.  He IS in us if we have asked the Lord into our hearts.  So he is working in us and shining His light through us.   What I was thinking of last week is how His light is kind of a "two way" light...

1. If we have Him in our lives, in our hearts... we should be shining HIS light to the world.  That's one way of seeing His light.

2. But the other way is back towards us... His light shines on the darkness.  The darkness in OUR lives... our sin.  Oh, He still LOVES us and we are FORGIVEN...

Ezekiel 18: 30 “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”

But, He doesn't want us to live in sin!   He wants us to turn AWAY from sin.  AND THAT FOLKS,  that's where the Holy Spirit helps us!  

Romans 8:26 says "26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for uswith groanings which cannot be uttered.

That's awesome isn't it!?  I take GREAT comfort in that!  Because I screw up.  I AM weak.  Just today I lost it with Isabella TWO TIMES!  Now granted she did some stupid stuff, (Example... she painted her HANDS with red nail polish to look like blood and then lied that she spilled it... ugh) but I know I need more patience and grace giving skills!  

That's where the Holy Spirit comes in and "leads us"... I want to say convicts us but I think that's too harsh of a word for the Holy Spirit.  Yes, we feel convicted, hopefully... but I think the Holy Spirit is more of a helper, leader and counselor.  Directing us to make the right choices,  helping us pray and interceding for us. AMEN to that!  I don't know about you, but I can use all the help I can get! lol

What is He shining a light on in your life?  

1 John 1:5 "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

This is a tough one. Am I right? Oh, the Lord is SO patient with us!  But He IS shining His light on us to reveal what He wants to CHANGE in us.  We need to be aware of that and I think that IS the Holy Spirit gently tugging at our heart or conscience or whatever you want to call it.  But He wants us to see WHERE the focus needs to be.  He is revealing His TRUTHS to us.  

So that we CAN shine HIS LIGHT to a dark world! 

That is my prayer for each and every one of you.  My prayer for my family, myself... I don't want to claim I am a Christ Follower and show darkness... I want to have people SEE me as a light!  See that I am different before I even utter a word! Let us ALL be that light He is wanting us to shine.  Especially right now in this world we live in!  So much is dark... there is so much evil and hurt and despair.  I pray the Lord is calling YOU to let your light shine before others. I know He is.

Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

So lets pray.  That is ALWAYS the key to getting right where He wants us.  In His word, on our knees, in prayer.

And Oh how the Lord gives us SO much GRACE.  Don't ever forget that.  And if you start to forget that... listen to this song by Hillsong.

 

Be blessed this week...And SHINE HIS LIGHT.  Go give 'em some Jesus!

Hugs to all,

Laura

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