Reigniting Faith

It was the Fourth of July. Sparklers were held lighting up the darkness surrounding us. Then we looked up. We marveled at the colossal versions of what we held quietly in our hands. Fireworks. Colorful, noisy, captivating fun. We were celebrating freedom, passionately.

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It made me wonder, What if God’s children believed, loved, hoped, trusted … and made His light shine like that? You know, the kind of display igniting the sky and Heavens that no one can miss and everyone stops to take notice of. In wonder. Captivated.

Recognize this song sung in Sunday schools everywhere? “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…” It’s been around since 1920! The words are simple, yet strong. Composer Harry Dixon followed the theme found in Matthew 5:16:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

Not only does this song tell the world that God’s children should want to make His love shine, it goes on to say, “Won’t let Satan blow it out, I’m going to let it shine.” And later… “Everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine… let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

But how do we keep God’s love shining? I think we need to keep it ignited by believing. Sometimes this means reigniting it. Especially in our world today where there is so much darkness displayed by lies, hopelessness, doubt, indifference, anger, and hate.

Perhaps we need to display His love by rekindling it instead of focusing on the world’s attempt to extinguish God. In case you’re wondering, our Heavenly Father is omnipresent and powerful — and will never be extinguished. Still, as His children we need to let others know how much He loves each one of us, because we all need love. Showing it to others makes that little spark turn into a light that authentically shines. Bright.

Let us not extinguish God’s presence, let’s ignite it, sharing who God is. Everywhere. With everyone. If we all made our Light shine, more people would come to know our Father. And more people would understand how much He loves them.

How do we let our light shine? 

Ignite truth. 

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6). Now this is freedom. Freedom everlasting. Through His loving sacrifice we are forgiven and made new. In Him we can find hope, redemption and grace. Unmerited yet everlasting.

Ignite hope.

Hope begins with a prayer. When hopeless, pray more. If you want to quit, by God’s grace quit giving up! Remember, God can take shattered moments and create blessed ones when we let Him handle the restoration. Look up and let God’s love captivate. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

Ignite trust. 

Trusting God with your all, means letting go. Giving it up. Letting Him take your burdens and self-imposed control. When you do, recognize that you’ve just given your all to the Almighty! Stand back amazed, because you just ignited trusting Him. That is faith unleashed. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  (Proverbs 3:5).

Ignite bold faith. 

Choose to believe. Igniting your faith boldly reveals something different. Something captivating. Someone different — because He is love.  A love found in no one else. It’s that contagious faith destined and determined to make a difference. It brings joy to the joyless. It’s compassionate faith not just talked about but walked. Ignite it! Share it. “Now faith is the confidence of what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see.”  (Hebrews 11:1).

Ignite prayer. 

Hope and faith begin with a prayer. Prayer means talking with God. And you know what is so amazing about your Heavenly Father? He listens, all  the time! In fact, He already knows what you’re going ask or talk to Him about, before you even open your mouth! He may not answer everything exactly the way you want Him to. He doesn’t work like that. He is wise. But He never closes His ear to you. So keep on praying. “Pray without ceasing.”                    (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Ignite compassion. 

Help others. Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). Time to remove the spotlight focused on ourselves and reach out to someone else. Generosity will come back to you ten-fold. Promise. Give big. Give what you can. A smile, time to listen, buy the groceries for the person in front of you or behind you in line. You never know if you’ll need it yourself someday. But if you can now, go out of your way and do something kind for someone else. Watch how good it will make you feel. Especially when you expect nothing in return.

Ignite peace. 

Ever had a moment when you got angry or grumpy and someone loved you in spite of your momentary reckless behavior? It softens it right? This world needs peace. Attaining it will likely take strong and powerful God-driven leadership. But for many of us, we don’t have that kind of influence or commanding authority. We can only ignite peace in small portions. But I think peace has a contagious and beautiful component. So ignite it and know that authentic peace comes from Jesus. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Ignite love. 

The Bible says, “Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14).  Wow! Love is contagious and if we all ignited love and followed this instruction, do you have any idea what a change we could all bring to this world? I’m jumping up and down just thinking about it!

Ignite joy. 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).This isn’t always simple because at times life isn’t easy. But even in the midst of anxiety, sorrow, challenges, and adversity, we can find a glimmer of hope — a little sparkle. Bring God into that dark place and ignite joy! “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19).

Ignite gratitude. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”                    (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Complaining is contagious but so is the opposite including thankfulness and gratitude. Time to ignite thankfulness, recognizing everything He has done and will do for you and His children.

I could keep going on with igniting so many different areas of our lives… but this article is running out of room. And I need you to get off your computer, stop reading this, and start igniting your own life.

Before you go, sing to yourself, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine….” And if you don’t have a good voice, no worries. Sing it anyhow. Sing it loud and ignite the presence of our Father our Light in this dark world.

Hope in Him,

Helo

 

What Gives Us Peace and Joy – If we feel like hope is hidden?

Jesus promised peace. He appeared to His followers, the disciples, after His resurrection. He explained the Gospel to them, and told them to go and make more disciples. He reminded them of the “Greatest Commandment” — love God wholeheartedly — then gave the “Great Commission” to preach the good news and to serve people lovingly (Matthew 22:34-40).

Jesus explained, “I have told you these things, so that in me, you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). But if Jesus promised to leave behind peace and joy, then why do we still experience so much pain? 

He wasn’t necessarily promising “world peace” — the absence of war — or “peace and quiet” — the absence of noisy distractions. He was promising to be present with us.

His presence is our peace. His presence is our joy. Hope is found in Him.

His presence is a gift that gives us peace.

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I can only imagine the joy God feels when He welcomes us into a relationship with Him. We get to accept his Grace — His immeasurable hope, peace, and joy. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t deserve to receive this gift.

And I don’t. But that’s the very definition of Grace: unmerited favor. God’s love is so great that He generously grants us peace and joy.

Jesus is called “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He expects His people to be peacemakers, too. For example, in the famous “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus was teaching people about who God is, what He does, and how we should live if we love and follow God. He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

This is joyful news! We get to be part of God’s mission to rescue, redeem, and restore.

So, we should pursue peace and joy. But that’s hard to do sometimes, right? Think of a conflict that you had this week, or even today — a hard or hopeless conversation with a loved one, a friend, or a co-worker, perhaps.

You had to try to “get on the same page” and see things from the other’s “point of view” while still communicating your opinions, dreams, and aspirations. You didn’t want to disregard the dreams and hopes of the one in front of you. Communicating, collaborating — that’s a type of peacemaking. And it can be hard.

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When it’s hard… when it feels painful to seek peace and joy … why should we keep trying? 

Jesus gave us a mission. He’s on mission with us. He is present, and His peace gets poured into us and then conveyed to others. We might not “feel” peaceful, but let us not lose heart! Jesus is present with you, and His presence is the only true peace and authentic joy.

Picture this: Jesus is near. Accept His love and trust that He is with you.

Oh, how He loves us!

Hope in Him, Helo