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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 12/13/18

Light Shine Bright

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STORY: Birthday Celebrations

Today is my birthday. I used to hate having a December birthday. I always had to share it with Christmas. Sometimes my birthday gifts came wrapped in Christmas paper. Or I’d get a combo birthday/Christmas gift. I always had to share my day with choir rehearsals, concerts, children’s programs, work parties, or some other Christmas-themed event. I felt like I was an afterthought. An inconvenience during a busy month. Celebrators were often distracted. It wasn’t about me.

There, I said it — it wasn’t about me. But then again, what I truly celebrate on my birthday isn’t about me anyway. It’s about what God has done in my life. The gifts He has given me. Especially reflecting on the gift — Jesus. Knowing that, how fitting for me to get to share my birthday month with the month we celebrate Jesus’ birth. Now I feel sorry for others who do not have a December birthday!

One thing I love about birthdays is all the shiny stuff. The glittery gift wrap and cards. The candles lit — and the faces lit up by the glow of those candles. When I think of those I am drawn to most, I realize I’m drawn to their shine. Only it’s not their shine. They reflect the shine of the One we celebrate every day — not just at Christmas.

I want to be shiny. Not to draw attention to me. But to shine the love and joy of Jesus — so others are drawn to Him.

STUDY: God Shines on Us and Through Us

Let your favor shine on your servant. In your unfailing love, rescue me. Psalm 31:16 (NLT)

  • Do you consider yourself God’s servant?
  • What does it mean for God to shine His favor on you?
  • Is there anything you need to be rescued from right now?
  • How do you think God’s never-failing love motivates the rescue? Does it put you at ease to know it is love behind His actions, and not judgment?

Turn us again to yourself, O God. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. Psalm 80:3 (NLT)

Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. Psalm 80:7 (NLT)

Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies. Make your face shine down upon us. Only then will we be saved. Psalm 80:19 (NLT)

  • These three passages in Psalm 80 have the same theme and build one upon the other.
  • The psalmist acknowledges that they need to repent and they need God’s salvation. How would you describe the tone of this prayer? Are they desperate?
  • In whatever predicament you are currently in, how can God make things better by shining His face down on you? How will you recognize God at work?

Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right. Psalm 97:11 (NLT)

  • What defines a godly person? Do you consider yourself godly?
  • A person who is godly also has the last part of this verse — a heart that is right with God.
  • What kind of light do you think shines on the godly? Does it help them stay on the path of godliness?
  • Many would say it is difficult to keep right with God. How does God’s joy help?

He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:6 (NLT)

  • Not only does God shine on us, He makes us to shine. In this verse, what do we see radiating? Imagine it radiating like the dawn — what would that be like? Most other Bible translations use the word “righteousness” in place of the word “Innocence.” Does this clarify the verse for you?
  • What does God make to shine? How bright is the noonday sun? Imagine your passion shining that brightly. Would that fuel and propel you forward? Would it draw people to you?

Then Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine." Mark 4:21 (NLT)

  • Where do you put the light God has placed in you?
  • Where can you put your light so it will shine?

STEPS: How to Shine Brightly

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. Isaiah 58:10 (NLT)

  1. Be generous with those suffering hunger pains.
  2. Give of yourself to help the down and out.

Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. Daniel 12:3 (NLT)

  1. Be wise.
  2. Lead others to faith in Christ.

You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT)

  1. Shine your light.
  2. Be a positive example with your good deeds.
  3. Inspire praise to God.

Copyright © 2018 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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