Monday, October 10, 2011

October 2011 Faithbooking Lesson

You are the light of the world.
Faithbooking Devotion #41 ~ Stones of Remembrance
Creating Rock-Solid Reminders of God’s Presence
©2011 Tina Vega

My son has been sporting a colorful new bracelet this month, one he received at a teen church event. Stamped on it are the words: GLOW IN THE DARK – MATTHEW 5:14. It literally even glows in the dark. Intrigued, I decided to look up the passage in scripture:

14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

We have been talking a lot about what it means to “glow in the dark” – walking with integrity (even if that means walking alone at times), being a leader vs. a follower, and the importance of loving others.

Especially loving others.

When Jesus was questioned by the religious leaders of his day and asked what he considered THE MOST IMPORTANT commandment of God to be, he in essence replied, “Love God, love others.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37-40 to love God with our whole being (body, mind, and soul) AND to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

What exactly does it mean to love? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, love is defined as the following: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another as: (1) the fatherly concern of God for humankind, (2) brotherly concern for others. A few synonyms for love would be attachment, devotion, and fondness. A few antonyms would be antagonism, animosity, and hatred.

If I want to be that light Jesus refers to in Matthew 5:14, I must also be a beacon of love. Loving others where they are at. Loving others even if they disagree with me. Loving others even when I disagree with them.

♥ Take a look at the verse below. Have you ever challenged yourself to love someone who was perhaps “unlovable” in some way? If so, how? What was the result?
♥ Are you struggling with feelings of animosity towards any one person or group of people? If so, how might God be challenging you to radiate love instead of hatred?
♥ What could you do differently to make your light shine a little brighter?

My friend, being a light in the world all hinges on love. (Click HERE for further a further reading on this topic - great article that will get you thinking.)

L o v e

You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.

– Matthew 5:43-48 (CEB)

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Ideas and tips:

1. Create a page spread that focuses on someone in particular in your life who radiates love like no other. This could be a friend, family member, or simply someone you admire (teacher, author, artist, athlete). Make their image (an enlarged image) the focal point for your page and journal about the light you see in their life. How do they inspire you to live differently? What is the message of their life?
2. You could take this idea a little further by creating a page about yourself and the person you are striving to be. Do you have a heart for hurting people? Do you love making a difference in the lives of children? Perhaps you are in ministry or otherwise serving a group of people. Again, this type of page could feature one image (yourself in action serving others or of the people you serve). What inspires you to do what you do? If faith is a motivating factor, how did God use your life story to bring you to this place of ministering to others? Perhaps you're still searching for that place... journal about a dream you have for reaching out to others.
3. You could even create an entire album about ministry or volunteer work. For example, I create pages about the people and projects God puts in my path - the lives I have been blessed to be a part of through our faithbooking crops, my time at Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, and various album projects I've had the honor of being part of over the years. Journaling includes prayers and verses that God led me to, how I saw Him at work in that particular situation, and how the situation changed me. Albums like these offer inspiration when things get difficult and give a strong sense of God's guiding presence and purpose. Through this process God has given me a heart for those who grieve... I think in part because of those who showed me love when I was in a very dark place. God used them to make Himself and His love real to me. Because they glowed.

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