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Grace Notes Ministry:
Lights Out? Lights On!
Don’t you love Christmas lights? I do. But we cannot turn on our tree…our generator is just barely able to keep up w/ the furnace and fridge at present. But last night in our dark neighborhood we saw something out the window…a neighbor down the street hooked his generator up to his outdoor Christmas lights, providing a real pick me up to many of us sitting in the dark right now.
The end of this month we’ll spend a full week at my parents’ house, and our 3 kids, and Josh and Jami and their 2 kids. Mom and dad are really looking forward to our arrival, but I predict that by the time we’re done with them they’ll testify that the prettiest Christmas lights they’ve ever seen are our tail lights as we all drive away!
The ice storms of 1 week ago have rendered many of us without power, and recovery is proving to be a very slow process. But it’s amazing what God can do in our hearts in difficult circumstances. My family and I have learned some important lessons this week I dare say we would not likely learn if our power was on. More on that in a minute.
But all of us can shine brighter in times like these. The darker our world, the better our light can shine. All you can see on our street is the lights of our neighbor!
We believe in Missions, shining a light to some dark places around the earth…and I like a saying that was on our missions board at Grace Baptist in Milan, NM as I grew up: “The light that shines farthest shines brightest at home.” Our internet ministry is also a bright light around the world today, but the brightest light should be right here in our area.
Our text says:
“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”
First, let us remember that years before, this is the same mother and son who cuddled together. She is the one who birthed Him in that stable, changed his dirty swaddling clothes, and fed Him in many intimate moments, hiding them in her heart. She is the one who went back after Him as a boy in the temple when she thought she had lost Him. They had a special bond, no doubt.
Now, here’s the point: Notice what Christ did as He was dying. Looking down, He saw His mother, and in great concern that no one would care for her, He asked the disciple standing next to her to care for her and treat her as his own mother.
Even as Christ was dying, He saw the need of His mother. He wanted to make sure that His mother was well cared for before He died. This consideration for others was not just seen at Calvary but throughout His life as well.
His earthly ministry was about others. Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Christ came to earth for the purpose of helping others find the way to Heaven. He cared for the needs of the sick, crippled, maimed, and others. Christ spent His time helping others.
He also was considerate of His disciples. He spent time with them, mentored them, exhorted them, taught them, and loved them. He instructed them in the way they should live and taught them the truth about God’s Word so they could reach others. He was reaching out to them so they could, in turn, reach out to others.
We all could admit that we don’t love others as much as Christ did. And sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us love others. A popular magazine reported that in the wake of the September 11 tragedy, over four hundred couples withdrew their divorce documents in just ten days. And we saw outpourings 2 years ago w/ the tsunami and last year w/ the hurricanes. What opportunities do we have right now in the dark? Are we being the light we need to be, or are we so self absorbed in pity that we cannot see beyond our own needs?
We have a generator because one of you reached out. And our neighbor has a kerosene heater of ours because we did the same. This morning I saw a beautiful sight—power company trucks out in front of our house. I took a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out to them! Just a simple thing, but they acted like it was a huge blessing in the wake of so many sneers and complaints they regularly receive. It was such a small thing, but it meant so much more in the cold and dark…it was a light! I quipped to my wife, “Ain’t I a saint?! If anybody’s going to heaven I am!” [joking, of course]
It sometimes takes pain to help us realize that we need to love others. But Christ doesn’t want us to wait until we are hurt to realize the importance of loving others. John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” That verse really puts things in perspective. We are to love others as much as Christ loved us. He gave His life for us!
What lessons have you learned in the dark? I have learned a few.
Listen to this writing I read yesterday:
“A few months before I was born,
my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the
beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon
invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and
was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
I believe we put way too much emphasis on things that don’t really matter, and we give away too much time to trivial nonsense. Sitting at home in the dark with family it’s all about what is truly important. Survival, first of all, and relationships, conversations, books, prayers, and helping others are all easily done when you realize they are more important than things you have to plug in to the wall!
We learned that we MUST do something about limiting our kids TV, computer, and video game time. After just 2 days w/out power, they were practically going thru convulsions, and we were right behind them! When we moved in to the Robinson’s house Saturday evening the kids ran to the TV, and I believe they would have watched a documentary on foot fungus if that was all that was on!
It’s amazing how self absorbed we can become, and how inward focused we can get over time. Another lesson I learned personally: Not to put my own needs before spiritual needs. I truly believe it was a mistake to cancel church on Sunday morning. We could have had a service. The windows gave light and we could have brought in portable heaters. We may not have had much of a crowd, or a microphone, or a big screen, but who cares. How did Christians have church for thousands of years before these last few decades anyway? I believe if my power was on at home I would have seen the way for the church, but I missed it as I focused only on myself.
To truly be the Christmas lights we are supposed to be during this storm we must take advantage of the darkness, and maybe not being able to see your hand in front of your face is a good thing if it takes attention of of yourself so you can place it on others.
Even in Christ’s time of suffering, He was thinking of others. When was the last time you thought of another before yourself? When was the last time you took time to help someone else? Christ commands us to love one another! Take time right now to ask Christ to help you be considerate of others.
All Sermons and PowerPoint Slideshow Presentations ©Copyright Jerry Shirley and Grace Notes Ministries® unless otherwise credited. These resources are yours to use freely, but only in public worship services or private study groups and devotions. They may not be sold, republished or retransmitted in any form without written permission.