Let Your Light so Shine (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

One of the very first places that we can inspire and bless people is in our homes, and to recognize the spiritual light that is in one other in our own families. As an example: In my house I am the dad, however my two children also know me as their brother, because God is our Father. This understanding alone has opened wonderful moments in our family’s relationship. Sometimes our conversation becomes so open and exciting that it causes me to be thrilled with complete thankfulness that we have allowed God into our lives.

My wife, my helper and companion is also my sister in God’s household, and this understanding has made it possible for us to become and stay the best of friends. Still, I would also like to point out that not every moment is like living in paradise, we are only human and we certainly have our share of ups and downs. We do not float around on clouds reading and thinking about the Scriptures at every moment because there is this thing that keeps popping up called life. Nevertheless, I still would not change anything, because overall we as a family have worked very hard to build our relationship with God and with each other.

One of the greatest gifts that God has ever given to men and women who believe is spiritual light. With this light, the eyes of our spiritual understanding begin opening to the life that Jesus called the more abundant life, for it is eternal life (I John 5:10-12). Jesus Christ made this life available to us by sacrificing his own life. As we personally come to know and experience Jesus Christ who dwells in our hearts (Colossians 1:27), and who resides within every fiber of our beings (Colossians 3:4), the greater the experience of “the more abundant life” becomes. John 10:10 says “I am come that they {believers} might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The word “might” in the Greek Text is the word for “may” and the meaning is that we have Jesus’ permission to enjoy the more abundant life. This is the very reason and purpose why Jesus Christ came in the first place, so that we may experience the abundant life, which is not just an abundant life, but – life – MORE ABUNDANTLY!

John 8:12 – Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

“The light of life” is the necessary spiritual light needed to enjoy life more abundantly. How do we get the words of Jesus off the pages of the Bible, and begin applying them in practical living? In Ephesians 2:10 we read, “For we are his {God’s} workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” The word “should” is an interesting word because God is not demanding that we practice works of any kind, rather this is a loving request from our heavenly Father. God designed the “good works” from the beginning. He, being the Creator of life, has given to us the blueprint for living life in the way He designed it, and the blueprint is His Word. His Word contains all things that pertain to life and godliness (II Peter 1:3-4). When and where we try to apply Scripture we will experience the true goodness that God placed in His healing Word. Following Jesus for instance is one of those good works; in fact, it is a wonderful work because in doing so we will recognize that we have access into “the light of life.” The guidance of Scripture is always requesting that we follow Jesus Christ, for he is the way, the truth, and the life to the Father (John 14:6, Hebrews 12:1-2).

Ephesians 5:14 – Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light (see, Isaiah 60:1).

When we became saved, we are spiritually awakened to a new life with Christ: this is the meaning of “arise from the dead.” In Matthew 5:16 Jesus said: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Jesus did not say to pray for more light, or to struggle through life trying to keep it burning. Rather he said “let” and the reason for this is that we already have light and we are encouraged to allow this light to shine by enjoying the “good works” which shows us that we have the “light of life.” (The Amplified Bible translates “good works” to say: [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].)

The Creator’s Masterpiece (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Ephesians 2:1-2:
-1:  AND you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and {in} sins;
-2:  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Before our salvation we were living our lives in the very nature of sin that was implanted in man since the fall in Genesis, for without God there is no forgiveness and thus humanity lives “dead in trespasses and {in} sins.” Yet now Ephesians shows us that we have been “quickened.” This word means being made alive (spiritually) which is the opposite of being (spiritually) dead in trespasses and sins. God has totally forgiven and cleansed us of sins and He has presented to us a new life in Christ, a life that is more than abundant. This new life in Christ is separate from “the course of this world,” because we have been totally released from the “prince of the power of the air” who is the Adversary. Without God in Christ in us, no matter what direction we were headed and no matter how wonderful that course may appear, it is a course of trespasses and sins. However, after our salvation God presents to us a course that leads to His right hand, a course into the righteousness of God, and a course that is quickening our very lives.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The word “workmanship” is the Greek word poyeema and means a thing made, a thing produced, with effort and design. In Ephesians 2:10, poyeema literally is in reference to us who are His masterpieces. We can literally define the word poyeema as poetry in motion for our lives are ordained by God to live in fellowship and harmony with Him Who has given to us a spiritually revived life. Ephesians shows us that we are God’s new creation, created in Christ Jesus, and we are those who live our lives, not in the course of this world, but in “good works” that God makes available to us through an understanding of His healing Word. Being God’s workmanship is a tremendous privilege to say the least. Every craftsman is proud of his workmanship, and it is the same with God – He is completely thrilled with us. The Epistles shows us the good works that God would have us walk into but the choice is obviously ours. This is why the verse states “that we should,” this is not a commandment but a loving request.

When comparing walking (living) by the course of this world as is shown in Ephesians 2:1-2 with what is made available to the believer in Ephesians 2:10, that we may live by the good works that God has already ordained for us, we cannot be anything but thankful because we are already pleasing to God. Let us again read Ephesians 2:10 from the Amplified Bible:

Ephesians 2:10 (Amplified*) – For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

The Father’s Will for Us, His Children

“Every father knows that he only wants what is best for his own children.  We fathers say be good to our children, and really that is all we want and expect from them, and if we get it most of the time, then we fathers are quite content.  We want them to be good in whatever endeavors they pursue in life, and we want them to be happy.  This is also the Father’s will for us, His children, to be good, happy, and, hopefully, out of trouble as well.  If we can control our money, appetites, and sexual desires, and wear comfortable shoes, sleep in a comfortable bed, and feel comfortable in our clothes, then we will have every reason to be good, happy, and out of trouble. God does not demand that we, against our will, obey Him and be good, but He wants us to.  This is why in Ephesians 2:10 the Word of God says that we should walk in His good works, works He made available for us.  We definitely should, but still it is not a commandment or demand but a loving request.  It is only when we try them that we realize those good works are made especially for our own good.  We can build the desire to want to do them as well, for only then does the Word of God come to life and nourish our souls as we prosper in the abundance of His Word.” ~LMJ~

The Creator’s Masterpiece (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Before our salvation, we were living our lives in the very nature of sin that was implanted in man since the fall in Genesis (Romans 5:8-12), for without God and the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, there is no everlasting forgiveness. Thus, humanity lived in a state that the Bible calls being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). But when we become saved through the work of Jesus, we are completely forgiven and are given a new life in Christ. This new life completes the Creator’s Masterpiece because our God creates Christ in us (Colossians 1:27)! When men and women accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, they become spiritually one with God’s love – in Christ – in them (John 17:11, 21-23), and members of God’s illustrious family (Ephesians 2:13-22).

Ephesians 2:1-2:
-1: AND you hath he quickened who were {once, before our salvation} dead in trespasses and {in} sins;
-2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

The Epistle of Ephesians shows us that we have been quickened. This word means being made alive (spiritually) which is the opposite of being (spiritually) dead in trespasses and sins. “Even when we were dead in sins, {God} hath quickened us together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5), giving us a life in Christ to enjoy in the present world. God has totally forgiven and cleansed us of sins and He has presented to us a new life in Christ, a life that is more than abundant; as Jesus said, “I am come that they have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

This new life in Christ is separate from the course of this world because we have been totally released from the prince of the power of the air who is the Adversary. Without God in Christ in us, no matter what direction in which we were headed and regardless how wonderful that course may appear, it was a course of trespasses and sins when we were living our lives without God. However, after our salvation God presents to us a course that leads us to the light of His Word, a course to His right hand, a course into the righteousness of God, and a course that is quickening our very lives to be the honored children of His Holiest. This spiritual course becomes recognized through Jesus Christ, the golden thread who, when followed, will lead directly up to God and His eternal promises.

Yet for so many people, Jesus Christ is not understood outside of the confines of the four Gospels, and is the reason why so many people miss many of the reasons for man’s purpose on earth and his eternal destiny. Coming to an understanding of Jesus from the whole Word will identify him as the genuine link to the life more abundant he promised to deliver. This is the theme of our series on The Golden Thread. This is not a series on the subject of history from the Old Testament, but it IS on the subject of his‑story from the Old Testament. Jesus is the singular thread connecting both Testaments to himself, and through him we are introduced to our heavenly Father by crystal clear, present day revelations! He is our Savior right now and we can bring him off the pages of Scripture and into our everyday lives as our necessary refuge from the spiritual storms hidden along the course of this world.

Ephesians 2:10:
For we are his {God’s} workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The word workmanship is the Greek word poyeema and means a thing made, a thing produced, with effort and design; our English word “poetry” is derived from poyeema. In Ephesians 2:10 the word poyeema literally is in reference to us being God’s masterpieces. We can literally define the word poyeema as poetry in motion, for our lives are ordained by God to live in fellowship and harmony with Him Who has given to us a spiritually revived life so that we may walk with God and experience true heavenly joy.

Romans 8:29-30:
-29: For whom he {God} did foreknow {you and me}, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son {i.e., created in Christ Jesus}, that he {Christ Jesus} might be the firstborn among many brethren.
-30: Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

The Epistle of Ephesians shows us that we are God’s new creation, created in Christ Jesus, and we are those who can live our lives not in the course of this world but in good works that God makes available to us through an understanding of His healing Word. Being God’s workmanship is a tremendous privilege, wouldn’t you agree? In Deuteronomy 32:4 we read, “He {God} is the Rock, his work {or God’s workmanship} is perfect,” and since we are, according to the Bible, God’s workmanship, then we certainly have been called into something perfectly wonderful! It is a calling into fellowship with Christ Jesus and set upon a course to enjoy his resurrected life in us, for we are created in Christ Jesus, “as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

Every craftsperson is pleased with his workmanship, and it is the same with God – He is completely thrilled with us! The Epistles (Romans through Thessalonians) shows us the good works that God would have us walk in, but the choice is obviously ours in this life. This is why the verse states that we should; this is not a commandment but a loving request. When comparing walking (or living) by the course of this world as is shown in Ephesians 2:1-2 with what is made available to the believer in Ephesians 2:10, that we may live our lives by the good works that God has already ordained for us, we cannot be anything but thankful because we are already pleasing to God. This is an awesome place to start because God has already, “made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6), the beloved being our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we have been accepted to stand with him and our heavenly Father from this moment onward.

Let us again read Ephesians 2:10 from the Amplified Bible:

Ephesians 2:10 (The Amplified Bible):*
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

Being God’s workmanship is an awesome present, freely given to all believers, and God be lauded and praised today as we recall the blessed life of our Savior, Christ the Lord. He made it available for God to work this miracle for you and I to be The Creator’s Masterpiece, His workmanship, “recreated in Christ Jesus,” as we continue enjoying the blessings of living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to enjoy with Him for all eternity!

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” ~John Ruskin~

* Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

Known of God (Part One)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

It is interesting to look back over our lives and try to remember the first thoughts that we may have had about God. Was God real, or simply a myth? Was He so far removed from humanity that He really is only a mirage? But when we turn this around, we see from God’s point of view, that He has always loved and known us. He has been waiting since the beginning of time for man to seek Him out.

Galatians 4:9a:
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God. . .

“After that ye have known God,” refers to after our salvation we become acquainted with our God, yet God has always been acquainted with us. Recall John 3:16 “for God so loved the world.” This is still true today; He still loves the people in the world. God loved you in His foreknowledge and knew you would be born.

Romans 8:28:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

How many things according to God’s Word work together for good? All things will work together for good! These good things God desires and gives to them who love Him. It is a misunderstanding of biblical light to assume that some of us were not called according to God’s purpose. Every person who God has ever called was called according to His purpose. The reason that things do not always work out for good is that we are in control of our believing and future (on earth), not God, for we have free will. The more we know of God’s Word, and the more we believe in spiritual principles, the greater our spiritual life becomes. God calls us and desires good things to come our way, and they will come our way when we believe they will work together for good to them that love God.

Ephesians 2:10:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

A master artisan’s work is always his pride and joy. We are God’s workmanship – we are His pride and joy. God knew us from before the world began and He has foreordained that we should walk into His good works – this is when all things work together for good. Notice that in the verse above it says, “That we should walk in them.” This is not a command, but rather it is a request. When we, out of our own personal love for God, begin walking in His good works, then we will begin to realize how awesomely they truly are ordained for our own good.

God created man. He has always known exactly how men and women work and play the best, so when God says that all things work together for good to them that love Him; it will be so. This is how God’s children begin to realize that they are known of God.

See: Known of God (Part Two)