Is Your Light Flammable?

by Carol McCracken

… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV

At last, the position of acolyte was mine. My twelve-year-old self held the candlelighter aloft while clothed in the white robe. I wore my brand-new shoes: the high styling authentic clogs that were all the rage that season.

It took weeks for me to convince my mother to drive over to Eskill’s clog shop, which was just over the state line in Pennsylvania. She bought me those clogs with a slight roll of her eyes, even after she watched me clump around in the wooden shoes with no back to them. She was a kind mamma who understood my deep-seated need to fit in.

I stepped down in the historic all wood church and slid right out of my clog. Ungracefully, I tried to recover as the church members held their breath while my flame whipped ever closer to wood in all directions. Mortified, I finally managed to light the actual candles and slinked over to my seat, the echoes of clogging steps finally quieted.

This was not how I intended to let my so-called light shine. I wanted to serve the Lord and glorify him in style. Not set everyone and everything on fire. The song from my Sunday School days about letting my light shine came to mind:

“All around the neighborhood, I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, all the time, let it shine.”

 I was pretty certain a flaming church is not what God had intended, however much the surrounding neighborhood would have noticed.

Thank goodness God understands twelve-year-olds! Jesus was once one. I would have preferred to amaze as Jesus did at twelve. He impressed everyone with His knowledge when, after His family left for home, He remained at the temple. My spiritual capacity was not nearly the same.

Yet God knew my light would shine better as I matured. I just needed to work on my relationship with the source of that light. It was not light for my own honor. The light was not to shine on me, but shine through me. God taught me that while there was nothing wrong with accessorizing my robe with cute shoes, my purpose was not to spotlight myself. The purpose instead, was to worship Him in all His glory. For He alone is worthy.

God is light. Any good deed I performed, whether gracefully or ungracefully was merely a reflection of His light. As a Jesus follower, my life should be a testimony to those who do not yet have the light.

As we receive these moments of grace, may we be a reminder to each other of how to genuinely glorify God when we let our light shine.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Carol McCracken has been a Bible teacher for over twenty years. She currently serves on church staff as Adult Discipleship Minister. Her passion is to make the Bible come alive for women and connect it to a real relationship with Jesus Christ in today’s busy and demanding world. She is an AWSA and Destin Word Weavers member.

Carol is a contributor to ChristianDevotions.us, Arise Daily and Mustard Seed Ministries.

She published her book Wisdom: Where to Find It If You’ve Lost, Forgotten, Or Never Had It in November 2020. Connect with her at CarolMcCracken.com or on social media.

Join the conversation: How have you seen God’s light shine through others?

The Ladder to Grace

by Sheri Schofield

The photographer I hired to do our daughter’s wedding was a long-time acquaintance. I felt it was time to mention Jesus, so I shared an event with him and told how God had helped us. Before I could go any further, the man said, “Sheri, I don’t believe there is a God. But if there is, he will be happy to get me when I die, because I’m such a good person!”

I looked at him thoughtfully. He was only saying what most unbelievers think. Many say that they have lived good lives. Oh, they’ve blown it a few times, but overall, they’re pretty good people.

“Friend,” I said with a little smile, “you’re like someone who has built a beautiful house. It is gorgeous in every way. When you are finished, you look around in satisfaction. You even have a high wall around the property for privacy. You love that house! But what you don’t realize is that the land on which you have built is a toxic waste dump.”

The man looked at me in shock. I doubt anyone had ever spoken like that to him before. That isn’t done in his world!

“You can stay in your house if you wish, but you will perish if you do. The only way out is a ladder standing against the wall. That ladder is Jesus. But you will have to leave everything behind in order to escape, for everything in your house is contaminated.”

“Each one of us is born in a toxic waste dump called sin. We are contaminated from birth. We build our lives, build our homes and careers, and many never discover that they are dying in sin until they are dead. It’s too late to get out of the dump then.

“God is completely holy. Heaven is uncontaminated. God does not allow anyone or anything into his heaven that is poisoned by sin. The only way we can enter heaven is to ask God to forgive our sins and accept Jesus as the One who saves us from sin. We leave all our self-righteous, contaminated self behind when we come to Jesus. The Holy Spirit washes us clean from sin and sets his seal on our hearts, kind of like a brand. That brand stays with us for eternity and declares to God that we belong to his Son, Jesus.”

All the good works that we did before Christ count as nothing in God’s eyes. Isaiah 64:6 (NLT) tells us, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.” We cannot earn heaven by good deeds. However, good deeds flow out of us after we give our lives to Christ. We do them not to gain God’s favor, but to show our love for him. Those good deeds are the ones that count.

My friend has not yet come to know Jesus as his Savior. But I know that every time we meet, he is reminded that he is building on a toxic waste dump. Surprisingly, he is intrigued by what I said to him, and he remains my friend. Every time we meet, I pray that he will climb that ladder out of the trap in which he lives.

The ladder is there for everyone who is caught in the toxic waste dump of sin.

“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:4,5 (NLT)

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The Ladder to Grace – thoughts and encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield, an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years, has just released her new book, The Prince And The Plan, to help parents lead their children into a saving knowledge of Jesus. Sheri was named Writer of the Year for 2018 at Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Join the conversation: When did you realize that you needed Jesus? What drove you to trust in Him?