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].)

Let Your Light so Shine (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

One of the very first places that we Christians can inspire and bless other people is in our homes, and to recognize the spiritual light that is in one another in our own families. As an example: In my home, 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, the light of His healing Word, and Jesus Christ 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. I Peter 3:7 confirms to us that we are “heirs together of the grace of life,” in other words, we equally share in a “life of grace” ─ together, as one (Matthew 19:4-6). 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 life’s trials, yet as we look to God’s Word, we always end up being more than conquerors as we let our light so shine forth for God and our Savior. Overall, I would not change anything, because we as a family have worked very hard to build our relationship with God, His Son, and with each other as we have seen the light of God’s love within 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. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “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. Now, how can we get the words of Jesus off the pages of the Bible and begin applying them in practical living? By following Jesus, who is clearly perceived throughout the Scriptures as the light of the world. 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 (a kin to the word “may” above), because God is not demanding that we practice works of any kind, rather this is a loving request from our heavenly Father, and it is only when we decide to walk in them will we turn the light on from within.

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 and His Word reveals Christ, and him we are instructed to follow. He loved his fellow man and encouraged us to do the same. God’s 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 life and goodness that God placed in His healing Word for us to uncover, and to discover, and to treasure, and to enjoy as we effortlessly allow our light to shine from within our hearts.

Following Jesus is one of those good works that God ordained we observe; 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 {so that we may first see, and then enjoy God’s good works}.

Isaiah 60:1:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

When we became saved, we are spiritually awakened to a new life with (and in) 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, our proof that we have the light of life.

The Amplified Bible* translates good works from Ephesians 2:10 to read: “living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live” for living the good life with God in Christ in us is allowing our God-given light to shine. Enjoy a deLIGHTful life as you let your light so shine!

Ephesians 5:8:
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross~

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

The Crown Incorruptible

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

II Kings 11:12a – And he brought forth the king’s son {Joash} and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; . . .

At Joash’s coronation as king, he received first his crown, secondly they gave to him the testimony, which was the Word of God; this was to be his standard and rule of practice in ruling his kingdom. They also anointed him.  The anointing set him apart as the king and established him as God’s servant and leader for the people.

Today in God’s grace we, His children, believe in the future crowns that we may receive from God when Christ returns for us. We are anointed today with holy spirit by God Himself (II Corinthians 1:21-22), and we have God’s Word as our standard to believe in and enjoy as we serve one another with the love of God. With God’s Word we can discover His guidelines on how to receive the crowns that will be given to believers who live in God’s love and grace.

II Timothy 2:5 – And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

“Strive for the masteries” literally means to contend or compete in the games.  These games were common to the believers in the first century and were known as the Olympic games. Paul is teaching that when we look forward to the spiritual goal of Christ returning for us, that we must compete lawfully by the rules. The rules are recorded in God’s Word. We are saved for eternity, yet there is more to be received if we follow the guidelines recorded in Scripture, and the underlying principle to everything recorded in God’s Word is always to walk in love.

As we apply and enjoy God’s love we will literally stay in bounds.  When Christ does return, we will indeed receive the prize and be crowned, “I press toward the mark {the finish line} for the prize {the crown} of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Each believer can receive the crowns now offered by God, the crown incorruptible is eternal, and will be “reserved in heaven” (I Peter 1:4).

I Corinthians 9:24-26:
-24: Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but {only} one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
-25: And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they {in a physical race} do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we {in a spiritual race} an incorruptible {crown}
-26: I therefore so run, not as uncertainly {because we know that we can win}; so fight {box} I, not as one that beateth the air {one who shadowboxes}:

Noting that God uses so many metaphors of competition about receiving our crowns is interesting. In a physical race one must stay in bounds, and one must be “temperate in all things.” Temperate means to have self-control in all things. In the Greek Olympics only one received the prize and only one received a crown of olive leaves, but in God’s Word all believers who strive to follow His healing Word will receive the “crown incorruptible.”

The crown incorruptible is for believers who practice self-control over life’s circumstances and walk within the bounds of God’s wonderful Word. Whenever we walk (conduct our lives) according to Scripture, then, we are more than conquerors. When we walk in love and believe the Scriptures we are literally hitting the mark rather than simply shadowboxing against the forces of evil.

Hebrews 12:1-2a
-1: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses {recorded examples of believers who believe in Hebrews chapter 11}, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us {that can knock us out of bounds}, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
-2a: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; . . .

When we keep our eyes on the goal of the coming of Christ Jesus and look to him through the Scriptures we can “run with patience the race that is set before us.”

Running with patience is like getting a second wind (an ease) which believers receive as they continue “striving lawfully.”

Then at the finish line we will receive the crown incorruptible for having patience and self-control in our own lives. Jesus as our “author and finisher of our faith” has already won, we only need to follow his lead by living in the love of God to achieve and receive the crown incorruptible.

To be continued in The Crown of Glory

Looking Unto Jesus (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Hebrews 12:1-2:
-1: WHEREFORE seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
-2: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is {now} set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The great cloud of witnesses is the Old Testament believers talked about in Hebrews chapter 11. The witness of these believers was their faith, their positive believing faith and inner hope and conviction in the coming of Jesus Christ which even today is recognized when reading the Bible. In retrospect, from the Old Testament Scriptures, we today are still compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses who left us vividly written examples about how they looked to Jesus in their time, to inspire the people of this current age of grace to reach forward to Jesus.

The race that is set before us is to look to Jesus just like the Old Testament believers practiced. Their past examples encourage us to daily look to Jesus, for in him and with him is continued access to God our heavenly Father and His merciful grace. Jesus taught that when we pray, we are to offer our prayers up to God in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14). This further helps us place him at the forefront of our daily thinking, just as we are always in his daily thoughts, and through our prayers he is in ours.

Today we can look to Jesus Christ and rely on his believing faith, knowing that he is the author and finisher of our own believing faith. The word author means princely leader, the first and foremost. The word finisher means to bring to full maturity, to the completion of where our believing faith will ultimately take us – to God – to eternity. Thus, the author and finisher of our believing faith is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the first and the last, the alpha and the omega, infusing his own believing faith to enhance our personal believing faith in him who gave his all in all for you and me. Jesus is the finisher, completing and perfecting our believing faith which enables us to believe in God, through believing His Word.

Ephesians 2:8 records, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that {faith is} not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” This verse is not referring to a man or woman’s personal faith, and is why the Epistle says, that not of yourselves, but rather it is the gift of God. Then, to what faith is God referring? He is referring to the faith of Jesus Christ; this is our gift to begin enjoying our Christian life on the Path of Righteousness.

The main difference between man’s faith and the faith of Jesus is that human faith can only rise up to believe in that which is seen. In stark contrast, the faith of Jesus Christ is given so men and women can rise all the way up to believe in that which is not physically seen, yet is spiritually real ― such as salvation.

In truth, man needs Jesus to fulfill his own faith, as we read in Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus {is} the author and finisher of our faith.” Having Jesus’ own faith, we become enabled to perceive the spiritual realities of God. Christ’s faith is given to every believer at the moment of salvation, for “God hath dealt to every man {every believer} the measure of faith (Romans 12:3).

We can genuinely and honestly receive the actual gift of God, which is our salvation, without any works on our part because of the faith salvation imparts. Another reason why Ephesians 2:8 reads, and that not of yourselves is because we did nothing whatsoever to earn salvation, nor can we do anything to lose our salvation ― that is why it is such a precious gift. Salvation is something God through Christ made available to us and is freely given. God’s grace, His divine favor of love, is manifested to us through His gift of salvation.

With Jesus’ own faith, he literally becomes our spiritual window to the Creator; that is certainly much greater than going it alone, with so-called “blind faith.” Jesus’ own faith helps us perceive God in the genuine light that His Word reflects. Rather than God remaining an unknown entity or enigma Who is out there someplace just out of our reach, Christ and his faith helps those who are trying to find their way to the Creator Who dwells through all eternity.

We all receive gifts at certain times of the year, on our birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions. Yet of all the gifts we have ever received, nothing will be as everlasting as the gift of God. The gift of God is our salvation, given freely on account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

A gift is never worked for, earned, or even necessarily deserved. Gifts are simply given to bless and make one happy. Many of the gifts that we have received as early as last year are already gone, used up, or spent, but the gift of God is eternal. God’s gift is given to men and women by His divine grace, which is unmerited and unearned, yet eternally present, and we can gratefully accept it and daily appreciate its fulfillment.

Ephesians 2:9:
{And this gift is given} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

In the sight of God, no one is more saved than another for we believed unto God’s own righteousness (Romans 10:9-10), which gives complete salvation along with total access into His grace and family (Romans 5:2, and Ephesians 2:19). If salvation could be obtained by works, then logic commands that one could give more or pray more or be a better citizen or Christian than his neighbor is, and he could boast on the works performed, thinking this would give him an edge toward his salvation.

However, if works were the way to get into heaven, then God’s grace (freely given) would become totally worthless and most of us would never make it on through to heaven.

Thankfully, salvation is not based on our works, but as the Scriptures reveal, salvation is by God’s grace because Christ has already done the work and paid the full price in order that we may sincerely believe to receive. We receive our salvation on account of a friend, on our friend, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

This is the friend we read about in Proverbs “there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24), and he indeed laid down his life for each and every one of us. I do believe that if you or I were the only person to believe, then this close friend would still have laid down his life so that you or I my walk on the Path of Righteousness with our Savior!

Indispensable completeness of our believing faith is what we may expect to receive by simply looking unto Jesus, rather than only looking to our own abilities (or lack thereof), or our own strength (or lack thereof), in the hopes of receiving spirituality and blessings from God. With the believing faith of Christ, men and women truly have avenues into an abundance of promises recorded in God’s Word.

When studying, for instance, the life of King David from the Books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, or from the Psalms, we find how he looked forward to the coming of his Redeemer, and we can aspire to his examples. We can read about David who was just a man, a man who tried to walk with God to the best of his abilities.

We can also see how David failed when he did not look to Jesus, but more important is that we can see him succeed whenever he was looking ahead to the Savior, the hope of his life. When and where David looked to Jesus, David had believing in God’s Word, and then he became a great recorded witness for us to still read about centuries later.

King David also wrote about the hope of Christ’s coming throughout the Book of Psalms. When teaching about the resurrection of Christ on the day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts chapter 2, the Apostle Peter refers back to David as a witness of Christ. Peter says of David that he always had Jesus Christ in the forefront of his thinking and writing as a great example for Peter and all believers.

Acts 2:25-26:
-25: For David speaketh concerning him {recorded in the 16th Psalm}, I foresaw the Lord {Jesus Christ} always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
-26: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

What gave David this inner joy, continued hope, and a glad tongue was having a personal understanding of his Lord and Savior, inspiring David to speak and write of him, being moved by God’s inspiration (II Peter 1:21).

The Old Testament Scriptures continue giving us joy, hope, and a glad tongue, the same joys that David and Peter knew when reading or speaking the Word of God because they knew Christ’s heart and had placed their allegiance, fidelity, and future hope in him. Peter uses the witness of David to introduce Christ who is our entrance into God’s family.

Acts 4:11-12:
-11: This {Jesus Christ} is the stone which was set at nought {rejected} of you builders {Peter is addressing Israel}, which {or rather who, Jesus} is become the head of the corner {of the spiritual church and family of God}.
-12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Jesus took our sins and shortcomings to his cross in order to present you and me to God as those who are now saved. When we look to Jesus with a believing heart in expectation to receive, we will find the true spiritual presence and presents that God gives.

God now sets this daily joy before us at the table of life, and all the Word requests is for us to believe to receive, and it is our joy to enjoy by looking to Jesus, our friend, the author and finisher of our faith.