Light for Revelation

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

Light for Revelation
January 22, 2020

Read: Luke 2:25-35

My eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel. (vv. 30-32)

Simeon, who spoke these words over the infant Jesus, was a very spiritual man. Luke called him “righteous,” and “devout,” and said, “the Holy Spirit was upon him” (v. 25). The Spirit revealed to Simeon that he would not die until he had seen the Christ—an event that Simeon longs for with his whole heart—and this particular morning, he comes to the temple “in the Spirit” (v. 27) and his longings are answered when Mary and Joseph arrive.

Two things happen in me when I dwell with this story. First, I long to walk in step with the Spirit of God like Simeon, to hear revelation from the Spirit, to desire Jesus deeply and find my desires fulfilled. Second, I find myself ready to trust the words of a man described in these terms.

The truth he hears and speaks is that Jesus is God’s final answer to salvation for all people, light for those who have forgotten God’s story, and glory for those who remember. In Simeon’s final words to Mary and Joseph that day we learn that Jesus’ light exposes. “The deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed” (v. 35 NLT), Simeon says—and I trust that word too. Jesus is able to expose the contents of every heart, bringing revelation and glory to all who believe. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, ask for more of the light that brings revelation, glory, and good exposure.

 

Secrets Come to Light

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

Secrets Come to Light
January 21, 2020

Read: Mark 4:21-25

For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. (v. 22)

We live in an age of incredible scientific discovery. While quantum physics describes nature at the smallest scales of energy, and molecular biology pulls apart DNA, both sciences unraveling mysteries of light and life. Sometimes it feels like all the secrets of the universe are being revealed, and human progress is limitless. But in the midst of all this discovery, the darkness of the human heart persists. What humans have discovered doesn’t necessarily lead to human flourishing.

Jesus teaches that hidden things will eventually be revealed, and his own life offered proof. He came “to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things” (Ephesians 3:9). Our Creator wanted to show up in a way that unraveled mystery and was available to everyone.

Jesus revealed the heart of God, but he also revealed the hearts of men and women. His penetrating observations went straight to the truth of the matter. So much so that it was said of him, “but Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew . . . what was in man” (John 2:24-25). God will continue revealing the contents of hearts, piercing to the marrow with light. May we welcome it into our deepest places so that human flourishing doesn’t get lost in the midst of “progress.” —Amy Clemens

As you pray, ask God where your own heart needs Jesus’ truth telling and spiritual insight.

Monday Ministerial Musings By Rev. Mark William Ennis Blog Number 03 January 20, 2020 Baptismal Entrance or Exit?

Monday Ministerial Musings

By Rev. Mark William Ennis

Blog Number 03

January 20, 2020

Baptismal Entrance or Exit?

 

It was a joy to participate in my grandson’s baptism this past Sunday. I remembered the joy that I felt more than thirty years ago when I baptized my daughters. Now, I participated and watched my daughter baptize her son.

I don’t know how many baptisms I have done in thirty-five years of ministry. It is the entrance into the church of Jesus. Parents, in our tradition, must be members of the congregation in order to have their children baptized. They make promises to God that they will participate in church activities and bring their baptized children also. All too often I have seen parents and children disappear after baptism, never to be seen again. Their promises to God, to the congregation, and to their children become dishonored. Do I dare to say that they are lying to God when they make such promises and do not keep them?

Ministerial colleagues tell me that I take the disappearance of such families too personally. They tell me that every congregation faces these same issues. Yet, I can’t help but take these broken promises personally.  When parents assure me that they will be there, and don’t, it seems a bit personal to me.

I don’t know, in twenty years, if my grandson will be part of the church or not. I rejoiced that he was baptized and will do everything I can to mentor him in the faith. Yet, I don’t know what his Christian future will be. Some things I can’t control. I will pray that he will, indeed, become a disciple of Jesus. While I am praying for him I will be praying for the families whose children I have baptized and who then disappeared. I will continue to pray that they will see baptism as an entrance, not an exit, and keep the vows that they made to God.

May God make disciples of him and those I have baptized in the name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #Baptism

#ChristianDisciples                                                  #PromisesToGod

To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:

https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

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Lunes De lunes Reflexiones Ministeriales  Por el reverendo Mark William Ennis  Blog Número 03  20 de enero de 2020  Entrada o Salida de Bautismo?

Lunes De lunes Reflexiones Ministeriales
Por el reverendo Mark William Ennis
Blog Número 03
20 de enero de 2020
Entrada o Salida de Bautismo?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fue un gozo participar en el bautismo de mi nieto el domingo pasado. Recordé el gozo que sentí hace más de treinta años cuando bauticé a mis hijas. Participé y vi a mi hija bautizar a su hijo.

No sé cuántos bautismos he hecho en treinta y cinco años de ministerio. Es la entrada a la iglesia de Jesús. Los padres, en nuestra tradición, deben ser miembros de la congregación para que sus hijos sean bautizados. Hacen promesas a Dios de que participarán en las actividades de la Iglesia y traerán también a sus hijos bautizados. Con demasiada frecuencia he visto a padres e hijos desaparecer después del bautismo, para no volver a ser vistos. Sus promesas a Dios, a la congregación y a sus hijos se vuelven deshonradas. ¿Me atrevo a decir que le mienten a Dios cuando hacen tales promesas y no las cumplen?

Los colegas ministeriales me dicen que tomo la desaparición de esas familias demasiado personalmente. Me dicen que todas las congregaciones se enfrentan a estos mismos problemas. Sin embargo, no puedo evitar tomar estas promesas incumplidas personalmente. Cuando los padres me aseguran que estarán allí, y no lo están, me parece un poco personal.

No sé, en veinte años, si mi nieto será parte de la iglesia o no. Me alegré de que se bautizara y que hiciera todo lo posible para guiarlo en la fe. Sin embargo, no sé cuál será su futuro cristiano. Hay cosas que no puedo controlar. Rezaré para que, de hecho, se convierta en discípulo de Jesús. Mientras rezo por él, estaré orando por las familias cuyos hijos he bautizado y que luego desaparecieron. Continuaré orando para que vean el bautismo como una entrada, no como una salida, y guardar los votos que hicieron a Dios.

Que Dios haga discípulos de él y de los que he bautizado en el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo.

#ReformedChurchInAmerica                                 #ClintonAvenueReformedChurch

#PastorMarkAuthordotcom                                    #BergenfieldNJ

#BergenCountyNJ                                                   #Baptism

#ChristianDisciples                                                  #PromisesToGod

Para leer más de los escritos del Pastor Mark, por favor ordene una copia de su libro:

https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/

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How Great the Darkness

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

How Great the Darkness
January 20, 2020

Read: Matthew 6:22-23

If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (v. 23)

Jesus speaks about the absurdity of lighting a lamp then covering it up; a few moments later he takes his metaphor “out of the basket.” His listeners are invited from visual imagination to visceral reality. Jesus is no longer talking about a lamp on a stand somewhere—he is talking about them. Your eyes are lamps; you can shine or pull the shades, but if you hoard the light for yourself, you’re in a world of hurt, he says.

One paraphrase says, “If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!” (v. 23 MSG). If I covet my earnings, my spending habits will be selfish, not giving light to the world. If what I own owns me, I will be consumed with protecting it, not using it to further God’s kingdom. If I hoard gifts and talents for my glory rather than surrendering them to God, I may accomplish much, but nothing that projects light from the kingdom of God into the world God loves.

We are easily fooled into thinking that we have a little light that can be kept for our own glory and purposes. But that’s not God’s intent, and hoarding light leads to a greater and greater darkness as we become more fooled, and more foolish. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, acknowledge the ways you may not want to be light for the world, the places your own eyes may have become darkened.

The Light in You

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

The Light in You
January 19, 2020

Read: Matthew 5:13-16

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. (v. 16 MSG)

Jesus tells a crowd at the temple, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), then he tells the crowd during his Sermon on the Mount, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Is there a contradiction, or what exactly is Jesus saying?

When God called and began to shape a people, it was so they, like Jesus, would reveal who God really is to a world that had forgotten. “If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant,” says God to the newly delivered Hebrews, “you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6).

The mandate of God gets lost somewhere along the line—be holy for the sake of the whole earth that belongs to God, not just the sake of a treasured few. Jesus reminds us, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept . . . If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?” (v. 14 MSG). Like Jesus, we are light-bearers, opening up our light to others, prompting them to open up with God. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, ask that the light in you be renewed and shared generously.

Great Light in the Darkness

Our new daily devotional will be a re-post from Words Of Hope. We re-post this with permission of Words of Hope. God bless you!

Great Light in the Darkness
January 18, 2020

Read: Matthew 4:12-17

The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light. (v. 16)

Epiphany is known as the “season of light,” yet is celebrated in the darkest days of the northern hemisphere. Such a season marked the visit of the wise men to worship Jesus, the “great light” who has illuminated a formerly dark landscape. God, who is light (1 John 1:5), comes wrapped in the flesh of a human being, and why? So the world can get to know God in person.

Hebrews puts it like this: “[Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus came to exactly represent his Father to the whole world. “I am the light of the world,” he boldly declared at the temple one day. “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus and God and the Spirit are all inexorably wrapped up in light, and it is a light that gives life. But the story gets better: Jesus is also able, having lived as a human, to represent us exactly before his Father. Jesus, who sheds light on God’s nature for us, also sheds light on our condition as humans for God.

Following the “great light” is our highest aim as followers of Christ. Being found in his light is knowing God in person, pushing back darkness, finding life. —Amy Clemens

As you pray, give thanks to our great High Priest, who came, wrapped in flesh, to give us a glimpse of God, light in the darkness, and now intervenes for us before God.

The Friendly Church