Thursday, October 4, 2012

How To SHINE When Life Tries to Blow Out My Flame

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:14-16 The Message

If God has called us to to SHINE, why is it so hard?  

Well, life has a way of trying to blow out our flame, doesn't it?  And then we believe the lie that if our light isn't shining like a bonfire, then our flame must not be good enough.  

But our life is be faithful and burning HOT for God until we die, much like the coals at the bottom of a wood-burning fire.  They might look like they are no longer useful and covered in ashes, but the moment that a fresh wind blows on them, they light up & catch the new wood on fire quickly!

With that analogy in mind, here are the main points of my recent message at our OPENING NIGHT on things we can do to SHINE even when the darkness feels like it is closing in around us! 

1.  Have a close relationship with God.  

  • Set aside time to START your day with God in prayer.  Even 5 minutes can dramatically change your course for the day.
  • Establish a Bible reading plan--start with 15 minutes/day!  The Bible is NOT an instruction manual but a autobiography of WHO God is!  You can't SHINE unless you are reflecting who God is in YOU b/c you know who He is!
 APPLICATION:  What time will you start your day in prayer & reading your Bible?

2.  Give God and your family your best!  (everyone else gets the leftovers)

       "My only responsibility is to have a faithful & sincere heart to God.  NOT to please everyone" Lori Wilhite, Founder of Leading & Loving It

    • Honestly evaluate what you give your time and energy to
    • Set your calendar based on Godly priorities
      • Time with God (worship, prayer, Bible, etc)
      • Marriage (if you are single then family)
      • Children (if you are single, Christian friends)
      • Work/School--RESPONSIBILITIES
      • everything else comes after these 
    • Put "margin" into your life instead of writing your story to the edge of the page
APPLICATION:  What do you need to say "no" to so that  you can give your best to God and your family?

3.  Choose relationships that protect your flame 

  • Relationships either push closer to God or they pull you away from Him--there is no middle ground
  • Even Godly friendships can negatively impact your flame if you take on their troubles or frustrations.  
APPLICATION: What relationship(s) will protect your flame this week?

4.  What you think on & talk about matters.  

A recent blog post by Lysa TerKeurst as part of her promotion re: Unglued book.
"At the end of the day, my struggles with feeling unglued come down to this–the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart.
What I say. What I ponder.
Both matter.
Remember the words from Psalm 19:14, “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
If I’m speaking words that honor the Lord and yet my heart is pondering bitter, ugly, resentful thoughts…I need to address this.
APPLICATION: What can be your "light" during dark moments of the day? 

IDEA:  Choose a candle in your home that can be your "I WILL SHINE" candle.  Light it daily (in a dark room) to remind you of  these truths: 

  • the darkness does NOT overcome the light (John 1:4-5)
  • the flame is much more beautiful in the darkness than in the daylight.  
  • the darkness you are walking through is the time your light shines the brightest!
  • by joining other Christians (specifically WCW Connect ladies) in choosing to "shine in this dark world", we light up our world and the darkness fades away!  
  • listen our theme song--"We Are" by Kari Jobe--and let it keep your flame bright


Jennifer Pendleton said...

Thank you, Angela! I enjoyed getting to read all of that and listen to our theme song. Appreciate the hard work :-) Jennifer

Jen Baierl said...

I needed this refresher! Somewhere in bullet point number 2, I need to find true balance & I just can't put my finger on it.

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