The Light of Christ Journey

Encouraging people on their journey with Christ

The fact that God initiates His work in us gives us fantastic insight into how He works. The Lord’s initiation tells me how much He loves me, wants to draw me to faith, and then works through me to build His kingdom.

When I was thirty-six years old, the Lord began to work in my heart to change professions and become a pastor. The call I experienced from the Lord did not begin with me, but God pursued me daily, leading me to His plan for my life. You may have experienced a similar time when the Lord sought you.

The Lord pursues us to come to faith, confess our sins, and change our direction in life. Jesus tells us that the believers in Jesus hear His voice and follow Him. John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. [1]

The Lord Called Abram

When the Lord called Abram, he was not the person of faith he would become. Joshua 24:Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors, including Terah, the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods.[2]

God’s mercy and grace called Abram out of where he was to set him on a new path in life. This is also what the Lord does to us when he calls us. Genesis 12:1The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” [3]

God Calls Us to Live a Life of Purpose

God calls us to a life of faith not to fulfill our desires but His plan for us. The road the Lord calls us to walk down is countercultural to the world. His call of faith brings eternal life, peace, and security. Ephesians 4:1Therefore, I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.[4]

As the Lord calls us, the most important thing is not what He is calling us to accomplish but our obedience to God. The work the Lord has prepared for us may be difficult, but we can be assured that the Lord is with us. Are you ready to respond to the Lord’s call like Abram and follow the Good Shepherd where He wants to lead you?

To learn how God initiates His work in us, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-promise


[1-4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Tyndale House Publishers.

Having a loving father is a gift from the Lord and something I am very thankful for. Growing up, you may not have experienced a loving earthly father, but you have always had a loving heavenly Father. There is something special about being in God’s family. In the Lord’s family, you are accepted, highly favored, and the object of His special care and affection. There is never a time in your life when you are not on the heart of the Lord. 

God Loved Adam and Eve

God loved Adam and Eve and placed them in a perfect place on earth, the Garden of Eden. Not long after God put them in the garden, they disobeyed the Lord and fell into sin. The world Adam and Eve lived in would endure death and suffering, and life would be a struggle because of their sin.

Yes, there were consequences, but the Lord would continue to love them and work to restore their broken relationship. As a loving father, the Lord would provide clothing for them. Then He sent them out of the garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life and living forever in their sinful condition. Also, one day, the Father would send His Son Jesus into the world after thousands of years to rescue humanity from sin.

Genesis 3:20 Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve because she would be the mother of all who live. 21 And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!” 23 So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. [1]

The Father’s Love and Mercy

I have always admired Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal son’s return. Even before the son’s return, the father is watching and waiting for him to return. When the son arrives, the father hugs him and gives his disheveled son a new robe and sandals. Like the prodigal son, we have all sinned and fallen short of the Lord’s plan for our life. We have squandered life’s opportunities and pursued our plans.

But in God’s amazing grace, our heavenly Father comes to us! Ephesians 2:But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”[2]

To hear more about a loving Father, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-fall


[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ge 3:20–24). Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Eph 2:4–5). Tyndale House Publishers.

When life is a struggle, everything is difficult. You might be experiencing this now and not sure which way to turn. Sin or something out of our control may cause problems. It can be heart-wrenching to see those around us struggle, especially family members and friends.

Struggles often bring us to our knees to seek the Lord for ourselves or a struggling loved one. During these times, we must remember that the Lord is always with us, and we can always trust Him. Isaiah 43:When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. [1] When I turn to the Lord during the struggles of life, it lifts me and reminds me how much the Lord loves and cares for me.

Struggles Can be the Consequences of Sin

Adam and Eve lived in a perfect place called the Garden of Eden until they disobeyed God and fell into sin. The Lord loved Adam and Eve, but there were consequences to their sin that was the beginning of hardships for them and their descendants.

Genesis 3:17 And to the man God said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life, you will struggle to scratch a living from it. 18 It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. 19 By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” [2]

The Lord is Always There to Help Me

The Lord is good and merciful because He can take my struggles and bring good out of them. No matter what situation you are walking through, the Lord is at work in your life and calling you to look up to Him. Psalm 121:I look up to the mountains— does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! [3]

The Lord is always there to help me. Spiritual growth is never comfortable, especially when the Lord teaches me through my struggles as He molds and shapes me. No matter old we are, we have opportunities to grow in wisdom, patience, and understanding. When I struggle and get discouraged, I remember the process is beautiful because I am learning to be more like my heavenly Father. 2 Corinthians 4:16That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.[4]

What do you do when life is a struggle? Listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-fall


[1-4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

There are consequences for our actions. This is something we all need to take seriously. One of my siblings got divorced, and their children were impacted and still are today as adults. The Lord can work through our sinfulness, but that doesn’t take away the consequences of what we have done. Galatians 6:7Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.[1]

Adam and Eve Faced Consequences

God loved Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden. They were without sin, and the Lord gave them only one thing they could not do. Genesis 2:16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” [2]

Although God’s instructions were clear, Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord when the serpent tempted Eve to eat from this tree. Eve ate from this tree and gave some to her husband, who was with her. Sin is like an attractive fishing lure until we bite into it. The consequences for Eve would be painful childbirth; for Adam, the ground would be cursed, so it was not as productive for growing their food. In addition, Adam and Eve would someday die and return to the dust of the ground.

Consequences That Led to Repentance

Consequences can be painful, but they can also correct us and put us on a better path. God does not give up on Adam and Eve, and He does not give up on us. When consequences lead to repentance, it can be transforming. When I repent, it is not just guilt or regret. We can be sorry because of consequences but not have a heart change.

Genuine repentance is motivated by my desire to please the Lord and turn away from sin. True repentance causes me to learn from my mistakes so I am less likely to repeat them in the future. In addition, repentance is a powerful spiritual weapon against temptation. When our enemy satan brings a temptation of something we have repented of, we can say, “I have repented of that.” The Lord healed me, and I am not going back to it.

Isaiah, the prophet, gives insight into the gift of forgiveness when we repent of our sins. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. [3]

To learn about the consequences for our actions, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-fall


[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Taking responsibility for our actions is never easy, and sometimes we find it easier to shift the blame to others. Adam and Eve sinned, and when confronted by God, they immediately did everything possible to avoid responsibility. Adam blamed his wife, Eve, for giving him fruit from the tree which they were forbidden. Genesis 3:12 The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.” [1]

Eve then blamed the serpent for deceiving her. Genesis 3:13 Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?” “The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” [2] The Lord listened to both Adam and Eve, ignored their lame excuses, and announced the consequences of their disobedience.

Forgiveness and Restoration

As life unfolds, we sin daily and can make poor decisions. As much as we like to blame others, forgiveness and restoration can’t occur until we accept responsibility for our actions. When we repent, we admit our sins to the Lord. The healing process can begin when we repent and do not blame others. The Holy Spirit always prompts us to be honest with ourselves, others, and the Lord with what we have done.

The Lord may not like what we have done, but He forgives and restores us when we confess our sins. Admitting our sins is not easy, but God lifts a weight off us when we do. King David tells about his restoration when confronted with his sin. Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you. [3]

The New Nature in Christ

You have a new nature in Christ when you know Jesus as your Savior. Colossians 3:Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. [4]

To put on the new nature is to spend time with the Lord and feed our faith, which is an act of our will. As we spend time with the Lord, He molds and shapes us. Throughout our life in this world, there will be an ongoing battle between our new nature in Christ and our sinful nature, but with God’s help, we can be overcomers.

To learn about taking responsibility for our actions, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-fall

 


[1-4] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Tyndale House Publishers.

Where do we turn when we have sinned? As people, we are born sinful, and our sin and its consequences can overwhelm us. As you read this, you may be weighed down with sins of your past and unsure of what to do. Sometimes we wonder if the Lord will forgive us for our actions. No matter what you have done, the Lord is always there to receive us as we confess our sins to Him. Ephesians 1:7He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.[1] When the Lord forgives us, it seems like a great weight is lifted off us. Praise the Lord

Adam and Eve Fell into Sin

Adam and Eve were created without sin and placed in the garden of Eden. As the Lord put Adam in the garden, He instructed him not to eat from the tree of good and evil, or he would die. After the Lord created Eve, Adam told her about the tree they could not eat of, or they would die. The serpent would then tempt Eve to eat from the tree the Lord told them not to, convincing her not to believe God’s warning.

Genesis 3:The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful, and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. [2] Both Adam and Eve would blame others for their sin, but forgiveness is found not in blame but confessing our sins. When we do, God forgives us.

Jesus Forgives Us

If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you are blessed. Why? Because as believers in Jesus, we can confess our sins and be forgiven. When forgiven, we no longer need to walk in shame and guilt. Romans 8:1So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. [3] All of us sin, but the Lord doesn’t want us to live in condemnation.

We don’t need to constantly tell ourselves we are worthless, but come to the Lord and confess our sins. Just say: “I am sorry, Lord; please forgive me.” When we do, our Savior wipes away our sins, for this is why Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Jesus’ death on the cross covered all the sins we will commit in our lifetime. What an incredible Savior we have! We can walk in victory!

To learn what to do when we have sinned, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-fall


[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Every person, I believe, wants to be an overcomer, especially in overcoming temptation. Have you ever felt like fighting sin is a losing battle? Every day we face temptations to live the old life instead of God’s new life for us. If you are tempted to succumb to sin, you are not alone. The Lord calls us to repent from our sins in the middle of our struggles. To repent is to turn from our sin and turn toward God.

Resisting temptation may be costly in unexpected ways. A friend was fresh out of college and eager to do a good job. In a short period, he discovered his employer was asking him to do things that were not ethical. He chose to listen to the Lord and seek employment elsewhere. Resisting temptation can be costly, but it is always worth it in the long run.

Listening to the Wrong Voice

The serpent came to Eve and tempted her to disobey God by eating the tree’s fruit. What voice would she listen to? Genesis 3:The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful, and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. [1]

Like Eve we also have free will, and we can choose to listen to the Lord or the enemy. Resisting temptation is not easy; to do so, we must rely on the Lord, for we are weak.

Be an Overcomer

What are ways of overcoming temptation? The following principles can help you fight and overcome temptation.

  • Be honest with God. At the time of temptation, don’t debate the issue. The longer we wrestle with tempting thoughts, the closer we get to sinning. Flee from the temptation as soon as you recognize it (2 Tim. 2:22).
  • Recognize your enemy. Understand that this is serious business! You are engaged in a battle for your very soul. An enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.[2] (1 Peter 5:8). This enemy will use temptation to draw you away from God.
  • Resist through Jesus! Go to the Lord and receive mercy and grace in your time of need (Heb. 4:15-16). Remember, you are not alone in your struggle. Satan tries to discourage us through isolation, telling us our temptation is unique. This isn’t true. 1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. [3]

To learn more about overcoming temptation, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-fall


[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

Trusting the Lord is the cornerstone of our relationship with Him as we journey through life, and it is not always easy. To trust is to believe what the Lord has told us to be true. Faith is also trusting in the Lord’s promises. Hebrews chapter eleven is called the faith chapter of the Bible and gives further insight into the gift of faith.

Hebrews 11:1Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. [1] Faith is not figuring everything out before we follow the Lord’s guidance but a simple childlike trust.

Human Reason versus Trusting the Lord

Adam and Eve were created without sin and placed in the Garden of Eden by the Lord. They were perfect, and their hearts were not clouded by sin. When God put Adam into the garden, He only had one thing he could not do. Genesis 2:15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” [2]

Adam passed this warning on to Eve, who God made soon after He gave Adam this instruction. With Adam by Eve’s side, the serpent discounts what the Lord has told them and temps Eve to eat from the tree they were commanded not to. Would they trust God or listen to the voice of the deceiving serpent? The serpent said it would be okay to eat the fruit; in doing so, you would be like God, knowing both good and evil. Trusting more in the serpent’s words than God, Eve ate from the tree and gave some to Adam, who also ate. In doing so, they fell into sin because they had failed to trust God.

Trusting the Lord has Great Benefits

Along our life journey, we must navigate many twists and turns. We sometimes come to a crossroads in life and ask the Lord, “Which way should I go?” Only the Lord knows the right way, no matter how much we try to reason through the situation. The Lord may only give us which way to go with not a lot of detail. To follow the good shepherd’s voice, we must trust the Lord knows more than our reason.

It is evident that God knows more than us, but we still think we sometimes know better. Is the Lord calling you today to trust Him more significantly? Are you at a crossroads? If so, stop and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Proverbs 3:Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. [3]

To learn more about trusting the Lord, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-fall


[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

After six days of creation, the Lord set aside day seven for Sabbath rest. We may think we can do without rest, but soon that behavior catches up with us. The Lord has made us to work, but we also need rest to recharge. Even your cellphone tells you when it needs to be recharged. If you don’t, it will run out of power and not work. Our phones are not made to keep working continuously, and neither are we.

Therefore, the Lord commands us to set aside time to rest and refresh by spending time with Him. When the Israelites received the ten commandments, the third commandment was about the Sabbath. Exodus 20:11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day, he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. [1]

Sabbath Rest is Important

The Sabbath rest is not a ritual or being lazy. Taking a Sabbath is really learning to trust God, so I can take time off and still make a living. When we choose to remember the Sabbath and rest and reflect on God, we admit the world will not fall apart if we take some time with the Lord.

The Lord wants us to be fully charged like a battery for our life and the plans He has for us. People need to recharge physically with a good night’s sleep, a restful vacation, or just a general break from life. Likewise, we must restore our spiritual life by spending time in God’s word, praying, and attending worship.

Sabbath Rest Changes Our Priorities

Sabbath rest changes our priorities by getting our noses off the grindstone, allowing us to look up and think about the Lord. Spending time with the Lord will enable me to praise Him and reflect on what is essential in life. On the Sabbath, the Lord can refresh me and call back if I have drifted off the path. Getting caught up in the world and forgetting the Lord’s plans is easy. His way is much more fulfilling than following the ways of the world.

I was watching a teaching recently when a man said he did not have time to take a Sabbath. His friend replied, “You don’t know who you are meeting with.” Of course, when we spend time with the Lord, we meet with the Creator, the most critical being in all creation. In all my years of ministry, I never knew a person in the last part of their life that wished they had spent more time at the office. God wants to spend time with you and refresh you is just something to ponder and praise the Lord.

To learn about Sabbath rest, listen here:  

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-creation


[1] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ex 20:11). Tyndale House Publishers.

God made humans in His image, as revealed in the creation story. We need God’s revelation to know how special we are in His eyes and how much He loves us. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God, he created them; male and female, he created them. [1]

Realize that God created you in His image. God is all-powerful; He is everywhere and is all-knowing. This is the God who decided to make you and place you on this earth for His purposes.

Made in God’s Image Makes You Special

In the week of creation, the Lord created many things, including all living creatures, but only man was made in His image. The Lord created man for a particular purpose: to have a relationship with Him that no other creature could. As people, God gave us abilities such as being able to love, create, think, communicate, have relationships with others and have a soul. He also gave us free will.

We have free will to follow the Lord and make Him our Savior or reject Him. The Lord wanted humanity He created to love Him freely and not be robotic. Although sin corrupted our relationship with God, His love for us was so great He sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to die for our sins. The price Jesus paid for all our sins shows us how important we are to God and the depth of His love.

Made in God’s Image to Last for Eternity

The Bible tells us that God is eternal, meaning He had no beginning or end. Being people, we all have a beginning, but we don’t have an ending. In addition, we will live forever with the Lord in heaven or be separated for all eternity in hell. Faith in Jesus makes it possible for anyone to spend eternity with the Lord, angels, and all believers in heaven.

John 3:16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.[2] Heaven is so wonderful that Paul tells us that we can’t imagine how good it is. 1 Corinthians 2:That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” [3] One day each of us will step into eternity, but while we are on this earth, the Lord has unique plans for us to build His Kingdom.

To learn how God made humans in His image, listen here:

https://podpoint.com/light-of-christ-church-podcast/beginnings-creation


[1-3] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Tyndale House Publishers.

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