The Light of the Righteous

The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.(Prov 13:9 NIV)


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.1 Christ is risen! You have received God’s mercy! You are God’s special possession so that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light!2 What a glorious privilege to have the light of life! What an amazing opportunity you have to be light in the corner of the world where God has placed you. May your light burn brightly fueled by God’s grace.

The wisdom of the light of Christ is a fountain of life that you can share with those around you. May your light always light the pathway to Christ, so that those around you may be opened to the truth of God’s word. Glorify God by shining his light of hope, so that people can see God is doing exceedingly more than we can ask or imagine.3 Heed your Heavenly Father’s instructions so that the light of Christ shining through you always burns brightly even in seemingly hopeless situations.

Ask the Lord to set a guard over your mouth and to keep watch over the doors of your lips.4 May your words be seasoned with grace bringing heavenly light into every situation.  As a faithful messenger of the Gospel trust the Holy Spirit to give you words that bring healing in the midst of conflict.

Examine your life regularly lest unfaithfulness, speaking rashly, laziness, wickedness, pretending to be somebody that you are not,pride, strife, dishonesty, or choosing friends poorly dims your light or worse yet snuffs out your light. It would be an eternal shame to be found without oil in your lamp when our Lord returns.

Diligently desire God so that your lamp is always filled with oil. May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our risen Lord.5

Prayer

Jesus we thank you that you are the light of the world; and that we no longer walk in darkness for you are the light of our life. Keep us from sin, pride, and anything else that might snuff out your light. Amen

(1) 1 Peter 1:3; (2) 2 Peter 2:9; (3) Eph 3:20-21; (4) Ps 141:3; (5) Phil 4:7


Scripture

“You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)

Because the Resurrection is Real

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. … Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:3, 8 NIV)


If in faith we believe that the resurrection is real then ….

  • We know we are sinners who have been forgiven;
  • We know we are loved;
  • We know we are God’s children;
  • We know we have infinite worth because we are created in God’s image;
  • We know the work we do has meaning because we are fulfilling our mandate as stewards of God’s creation;
  • We know that the work we do is not wasted and will be renewed. “It will last all the way into God’s new world. In fact, it will be enhanced there.”*
  • We can hear God’s wisdom calling out to us constantly where we work and live (Prov 1:20-21; 8:1-3);
  • We can see God in his righteousness walk daily through the streets of our city (Zeph 3:5);
  • We experience God’s grace resting on us;
  • We can bring God’s grace into every situation where we work and live (Prov 11:11, 25);
  • We have a personal relationship with the savior;
  • We don’t need to look to our manager, leader,pastor or politician to be our savior. Instead we trust the prefect, sinless righteous son of God to be our Savior;
  • We don’t need to look to systems, programs, or structures to be our savior for we know the risen Savior who gifted people with the talents and skills to design these;
  • We know that God knows our hearts (Lk 16:15);
  • We can come boldly to his throne of mercy to find grace to help us when we need it most (Heb 4:15);
  • We all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory(2 Cor 3:18);

Prayer

Lord, we thank you that our old selves were crucified with you, so that our bodies are no longer slaves to sin. Thank you that because you live, we too will live. Help us through your spirit to live righteously and pleasing in your sight. Amen


Scripture

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV)


* N.T. Wright Surprised by Hope, p. 220

The Way of Righteousness – Proverbs 12

In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. (Prov 12:28 NIV)

In the place where God has placed you, graciously accept your responsibility as a caretaker of this special corner of God’s wonderful creation. You are right where you are supposed to be. God didn’t made a mistake when he created you. Be the wonderful person that God created you to be. God has given you exactly the right mind, talents and skills so that you can faithfully build with gold, silver and precious metals a solid foundation for your life upon Christ the bedrock of you faith. There is no need to be building sand castles of deceit, lies or false pretenses.

Live a disciplined life, constantly desiring to know more of Christ, and to know more of his creation. Diligently perform every task assigned to you. In everything you do and in all your plans act justly and love mercy. Reflect God’s glory by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit and the virtues of Christ who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

As a peace maker, choose your words carefully to bring joy, healing and peace as far as it is possible. Choose words that are faithful and true, gentle and kind, uplifting and encouraging. Be known as one who is trustworthy. Choose your friends carefully.

If people praise you for your prudence, quietly acknowledge God as the source of your wisdom. When you are surrounded by schemers, trust the Lord to keep you safe. When you are surrounded by those who are unthankful, ungrateful, liars or fantasy chasers, quietly continue to do what you do with regards to God alone, so that you may be wholly acceptable in his sight. Remember that God’s eyes pierce the secrets of every soul.

You will be tossed about by storms, trials, tribulation and affliction (we all are). Since you have sunk your roots deeply into Christ you will be safe in his almighty hand from all the rages of earth and hell. Sometimes you will sin (we all do), so welcome correction, so that you can continue to know the favor of the Lord. In all things and at all times lean on God rather than trusting in your own judgement.

Should it please God to extrude you out of the place where you are, then you will have a solid foundation for where ever He will take you next. In the meantime patiently and quietly continue to abide in Christ. Then you will hear our Savior say, ‘my child, well done good and faithful servant’ and you will know the smile of the Lord upon you.

Prayer

Almighty God, we praise you that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We ask for your wisdom today that we may build wisely upon Christ the bedrock of our faith. Keep us safe in your hand and lead us in the paths of life. Amen

 

Working with Integrity – Proverbs 11

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the one who is wise saves lives. (Prov 11:30)

Throughout our day, we are all faced with thousands of small decisions about how we should live. Do we choose to cheat in some small way, or do we maintain our integrity in everything we do? Are our behavior and attitudes motivated by pride or humility? Are we faithful in our relationships with our co-workers? Do we pursue wealth at all costs, or do we pursue righteousness? Do people know us at work for our blameless, impeccable character? Do we place our hope in other people, or do we fully hope in God? What about what we say, can we be trusted to keep secrets and to hold our tongue or are we known as the office gossip. Do people say we are ruthless, cruel, deceptive, or back stabbers? Or are we known for being kindhearted, and desiring good things for our co-workers and our company? Are we known for our generosity with our time and abilities?

Thanks be to God, through Christ Jesus, it is possible to escape these temptations, to resist the devil and for our lives to be transformed. Yes, Jesus understands our temptations, for he was tempted in every way we are, yet he did not sin. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can live a life of integrity. God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. And when we are tempted God will provide a way out so that we can endure it. (1 Cor 10:13).

Today choose to do your work with integrity, humbly pursuing righteousness with your hope firmly placed in God. May you be known as one who holds your tongue, as kind-hearted, generous, spreading seeds of righteousness and seeking the good of your co-workers and employer. Then you will know the favor of the Lord. Your paths will be straight, even when faced with difficult choices. You will be like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in season and bringing shade and beauty where you live and work.

Prayer                                                                                    

Almighty God, we come to you knowing that you understand the temptations we face today. We ask for your mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. Don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the Evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Gracious Words

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
and lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel (Prov 10:20; 20:15).

Wisdom in our everyday conversations

In the beginning, out of love, God spoke words of life creating this world. Shortly thereafter, wanting to deceive, Satan spoke words that led to death and destruction. Centuries later, motivated by arrogant egotism, to make a name for themselves by building the Tower of Babel, God confused languages so that people would not understand each other. Thousands of years later, out of his great love for us, God sent his son, Jesus, to this world, to speak words of life to those who would hear and understand. Through his death and resurrection Jesus not only offers us redemption, but also offers redemption for communication and conversations with a simple language of grace, love and forgiveness.

One would think it should be easy for us who are Christians to speak wise words, to always speak the truth in love. But it isn’t. As Paul reminds us in Romans that the right we want to say, we do not say, and what we hate to say we often say . We have learned patterns of wise speech, and foolish speaking from our families, from our co-workers and from the media. These patterns shape what we say. In addition as finite human beings, we are not able to see every facet of a situation, only God does hence we constantly need to seek his perspective and not lean on our own understanding.

Solomon, the wisest man on earth, recognized that right speech was something that was very challenging. He wrote over a hundred proverbs about communication. These proverbs are written in the context of God calling out to us in wisdom where we work and live – the very places where we struggle with our conversations. Just as there is a black and white contrast between Satan’s words of deception bringing death, and God’s loving words that bring life and redemption, so also Solomon paints a black and white contrast between the words of the wise and the fool. There is no middle ground. The words of the wise bring blessing, the words of the fool bring violence and evil.

God’s grace can transform your tongue into an instrument of righteousness. Through God’s power, your words can rescue people. God has blessed you with discernment which you can share from a pure heart. Through the Holy Spirit you have wisdom which can be a fountain of life that can turn a person from the snares of death.

Treasure the words that you say today. Hold your tongue, weigh your answers carefully, and remain even tempered. Speak gracious words that promote instruction. Your words have the power of life and death, so choose to speak life into every conversation. Picture your words like a honeycomb that is sweet to the soul bringing healing to weary bones and sustaining the life of your workplace, your family, and your community.

Prayer
Almighty God, who speaks with love and compassion to each of us, set a guard over our mouths, and keep watch over the doors of our lips. May our words be gracious, sweet to the soul, and bring healing through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.