Friday, April 21, 2017

“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” — D.L. Moody

                 My wife, son, and I live in a country where being a Christian can cause your death at the hands of another.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.  About thirty people from pastors to parishioners have died because they were Christians in the last five years, but it is nothing like what is happening in Egypt, Syria, and Kenya.  In the dormitory shootings in Kenya a couple of years ago, the killers asked the students if they were Christian and if they said yes, they were shot.  What no one seems to talk about is that so many of the students proudly claimed their Christianity.  These young people boldly affirmed their love of Christ knowing it would mean their deaths.  In our world today, especially in the Western World, being a Christian is hardly a life or death situation and has more to do with going to church, Bible studies, Sunday School, and prayer meetings which are hardly dangerous things to do (well maybe in some churches).  It was not so for the early Christians, and it isn’t today for those in Egypt (we have friends who are Coptic Christians in Cairo and pray for them daily) and other dangerous places.  I would like to think that I would have just as proudly proclaimed my faith as those students in Kenya, and I pray that I would always have their courage.  Of the over two billion people who call themselves Christians in this world, only a tiny, tiny portion will ever find themselves in such a life or death situation.  Yet, how we live our lives, day by day, is indeed a life or death situation--if we have given our lives to Christ.  There is an old question, “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”  If I quoted all the passages printed in red in my Bible (I’m a “red letter” man, I pay close attention to the words spoken by Christ himself) this blog would be way too long to print.  Let me just remind you some of the red-letter words from Christ Himself that will show that you are indeed a Christian:  don’t keep your light under a bushel (see quote above), turn the other cheek, forgive your enemies, bless those who curse you, feed the hungry, remember the widows and orphans, walk the second mile, do not judge—this is not a complete list, but I must add, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  In this quote, “one another” means just about everybody (see parable of Good Samaritan also written in red), not just those in your church, or your family, or your neighborhood.  Christ called us to love the unlovable, to love those who persecute us, to love the ugly, the odd, the poor, the maimed, and the social outcasts, but can you do what Christ called you to do?                     
                    There is a song I used to love to sing at church camp, and it is still one of my favorites, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”  The question for each of us, is "will they?"  As it says in the book of James, “Faith without works is dead.”  What mother says she loves her child but will let it lie crying in pain in its crib for hours on end.  If we love, we show that love through our deeds every single moment of every single day.  We must each be a lighthouse like the one in the picture at right for those struggling and drowning in the stormy seas of life.  The harder our own lives are, the more brightly our light shines through the darkness and shows others the way to Christ.  To quote another favorite song, “Let your little light shine” knowing full well that there is no such thing as a “little” Christian light. Just sayin'.
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