I hope you all had a great Resurrection Sunday! We had a great time at Alife. Pastor Jonathan gave a wonderful word of not putting Jesus in a box. I am looking forward to growing in my relationship with Jesus in this season of my life. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Knowing Him is better than thinking we know something about Him.
Where is your focus? Are you looking to the light of Christ or are you looking to the darkness in the world? When things become troublesome in the world, some Christian believers become focused on things they believe to be signs of the end of the world. They say, It must be getting close to the end, because look at how dark it is getting. This is good. Finally, persecution will come to the church in America or the church in Europe, or the church in the world. Now maybe we will become the real church.
It is true that pressure does make what is real manifest in our lives. So, should we get excited to invite undue pressure? Or should we say? It is time to arise and shine! It is not time to arise and judge. It is time to arise and demonstrate what true fathers and mothers look like, what true businesses look like, what true music sounds like, or what true art portrays. All that we are and all that we do must become life-giving to the world. It must produce life-giving testimonies. We don’t need more movies that condemn the world. If we only aired good news on the radio and the television we could impact the world in a life-giving way. If we only told good news to our neighbors, we would change the world. If we simply broadcasted all the good news something good would happen. The world is not going to do that. I wonder if someone who is part of the church will?
We are waiting for people in darkness to speak as light. They live in darkness! They are not going to speak as the light, nor can we expect them to. They cannot see. They don’t need us to condemn them for their ways of darkness. They need us to demonstrate what it looks like when someone lives in the ways of light. We are waiting for people who live in darkness to speak light. They live in darkness and they are not going to speak light. They don’t need us to condemn their darkness. What if we became competitive with good news, good music, good art and everything that is good in life. I am not talking about old things or old sounds. I am not talking about safe business ideas. I am talking about radical ideas that have never been thought of before. I am talking about life-giving ideas with life-giving expression and life-giving sounds.
Grace always gives to others. It never takes from them. Mercy is given so you can be empowered by grace to give mercy to others. When we experience God’s mercy we can empower others to come into grace. Grace is working in our lives so we can be merciful to those who are in the law or to those who are bound to promiscuity. Grace doesn’t work in legalism or promiscuity. It works in the hearts and minds of those who have become hungry, willing, and teachable in and for the presence of Christ within their hearts. We don’t condone darkness nor do we condemn those who live in it. Darkness is already condemned. We simply look for a way to help people out of darkness, but we must first demonstrate light.
Isaiah 60:3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
People who do not understand God will be attracted to people of grace. People who don’t understand covenant will come and say, Wow! What is this? How can I get this? Even kings will come to the brightness of their rising. Wow! How does it work? How does this wellbeing for others thing happen? Where did this revolution come from? What are your ideas? I need some ideas! What are your ideas?
A dog barks like a dog, that is how we know it is a dog. If an animal sounds with a meow, it is likely a cat. If it clucks, it may be a chicken. If it moos, it might be a cow. We identify animals by their sounds. When a cow sounds like a cow we don’t say, why don’t you act like a lion? We don’t condemn a cow for being a cow. We don’t put a saddle on a lion and expect it to behave like a horse. In the same way, we cannot expect people who do not know God to act as though they do. We live in the world, but we are not of the world. We are to shine in the world, not to condemn the world for being darkness. What do we expect? People of grace don’t measure people in the world by law. They measure them by love!
Can we be the people of God? Can we become people of grace with one another? Can we become people of grace who show mercy to those who need mercy? Can we arise and shine and live for the wellbeing of others? The world is a mess, but now what is not a mess can manifest.
Isaiah 60:3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 4 “Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. 5 Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.
When God’s people shine, the abundance of the world, the abundance of sinners, will be turned to brightness of their rising. The wealth of the gentiles is not just their money. It is their uniqueness. It is each and every one of them as they find the life of Christ. They are precious to God, even though they don’t understand that God is precious to them. God knows them, even though they don’t know Him. He wants them, even though they don’t yet desire Him. I don’t want the rich man’s money. I want the rich man, he knows how to make money. We must teach the rich man how to be a son of God. This can only be demonstrated for him to see. Being a son or daughter of God is more expensive than being able to make money, but as a son or a daughter of God you should also learn how to make money. We need the uniqueness of sinners as they are transformed by the internal kingdom of life! This is a testimony of grace. Living a grace empowered life empowers us to shine like light into the darkness!
Ted J. Hanson