Is Your Light Shining?

This devotion was originally written for the Chase Oaks Church website. Read the Devotion on the Chase Oaks website…..

Matthew 5:13–16 (NASB)

13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

“You are the light of the world.” I often hear, and think myself, that this world is becoming such a dark place, and it seems to me that the darkness comes from negative attitudes, words, and actions. Watch any newscast, and it is one story after another of murder, sexual misconduct, kidnapping, political rants, countries threatening war—and it keeps happening every single day. So, how can one person make a difference?

Well, what chases away darkness? Light! And that light starts with you and me. God is light, and His light shines on us through His love. He calls us to take His love and shine it onto the dark world. Deborah Smith Pegues wrote a book, 30 Days to Taming your Tongue, in which she challenges you to go through one full day without saying anything negative. Now, I’m a pretty positive person (or so I thought), but you have no idea how hard this is until you try it.

Can you imagine the impact this simple challenge would have on those around you? Our light of positive comments would shine brightly in a world of negativity, and I have found that encouraging, positive words are incredibly contagious. Try it sometime with someone you know who tends to be negative. It may take a little time, but you will notice them starting to add more positivity into their words too.

Changing our words to ones of positivity and encouragement is just one way we can be the light of the world. People will notice the difference when you always find something positive to say or when you don’t engage in negative conversations. And when they notice they will ask you why, which will easily fling open the door to share your faith in God.

It only takes a few changes in our thoughts and actions to stand out and shine God’s love in a dark world. Are you up for the challenge?

Written by Diana Wells

Wife of Gerry. Mother of Caleb. Child of God.

Where is Your Treasure

This devotion was originally written for the Chase Oaks Church website. Read the Devotion on the Chase Oaks website…..

Matthew 6:19–21

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.20“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;21for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The verses for today’s devotion come in the middle of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which could also be called “How to Live a Christian Life 101.”

When Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth” He didn’t mean that we can’t have nice things. Just look at Job, Abraham, Solomon, and others in the Bible that God blessed with earthly wealth. Instead, it’s the last verse here that gets to the heart of the matter—and it is your heart: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” No matter what our economic status is here on earth, our hearts and our treasures should always be focused on the things of heaven and our eternal rewards.

When I was little, I couldn’t wait for Christmas. I would be on my best behavior (at least from Thanksgiving until Christmas) because I knew that if I was good and obeyed my parents, I would get presents. However, whether I was naughty or nice or got presents or not, Christmas would still come. This is a somewhat weak analogy of storing up our treasures in heaven.

Instead of focusing on being good to get material things on earth, my heart should be focused on storing up treasures in heaven eternally. Storing up treasures in heaven comes from following the teachings and commands of Jesus and the Bible including loving others, caring for those in need, telling others about Jesus and salvation, and being a light in this dark world. Doing these things will earn me eternal rewards.

Salvation is not by works, but eternal rewards are. Whether I manage to earn a few eternal rewards or a bunch (naughty or nice), I will still get to heaven (if I have a saving faith in Jesus). I just won’t have as many rewards waiting for me when I get there.

Where is your treasure? Here in the temporal world or in heaven for all eternity?

Written by Diana Wells

Wife of Gerry, mother of Caleb, child of God.

Heaven isn’t the End of our Lives – It is the Beginning

This devotion was originally written for the Chase Oaks Church website. Read the Devotion on the Chase Oaks website…..

Hebrews 11:8–16

“8By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.9By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;10for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.11By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.12Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendantsAS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBERAND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.

13All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.15And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.16But as it is, they desire a better country,that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.”

I’ll be honest with you; I always thought it was frustrating that Moses did not get to live in the land that God had promised to the Israelites. Instead, he died in Moab right before they crossed into the Promised Land. In my human mind, that seems like such a letdown and an anti-climactic end to Moses’ life.

Our Scripture today talks about Abraham and how faithful he was in following God’s commands—even to be willing to sacrifice his only son—and yet, Abraham also died before seeing all that God had promised him.

My humanness sees this as a letdown for both Abraham and Moses because my human mind cannot comprehend what God has promised us on the other side of death. God is preparing a city for us, a home, an eternal promised land, and it will be unlike anything we could possibly imagine here on earth.

Instead of it being a letdown that Abraham and Moses didn’t get to see the fulfillment of earthly promises, it is actually an amazing gift that they instead were allowed to cross over into the ultimate of God’s promises in all its unfathomable glory: heaven!

Think of the most beautiful place you have ever seen or experienced. Is it the peacefulness of an ocean breeze on a white sand beach? Or the serenity of a hike through the woods in the mountains? Heaven is the most beautiful place on earth times a million. Besides beauty, heaven is filled with joy, singing, laughter, and love. It is never interrupted by pain, suffering, tears, or heartbreak. My mind cannot wrap itself around what it must be like.

This summer, as you visit your favorite vacation spot, remember that you are only getting a tiny glimpse of what heaven will be. Remember, we are only visiting here because Jesus is preparing our true promised land for us in heaven. And what an amazing sight we will see when we get there!

Written by Diana Wells

Wife of Gerry, mother of Caleb, child of God.

God is the Cure for Worry

This devotion was originally written for the Chase Oaks Church website. Read the Devotion on the Chase Oaks website…..

Psalm 37:1–13

“1Do not fret because of evildoers,

Be not envious toward wrongdoers.

2For they will wither quickly like the grass

And fade like the green herb.

3Trust in the LORD and do good;

Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

4Delight yourself in the LORD;

And He will give you the desires of your heart.

5Commit your way to the LORD,

Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light

And your judgment as the noonday.

7Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him;

Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,

Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

8Cease from anger and forsake wrath;

Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

9For evildoers will be cut off,

But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land.

10Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;

And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.

11But the humble will inherit the land

And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

12The wicked plots against the righteous

And gnashes at him with his teeth.

13The Lord laughs at him,

For He sees his day is coming.”

This psalm repeatedly uses words like don’t fret (worry), trust, rest, dwell, delight, and wait. Doesn’t that sound like a perfect life? However, life is not always perfect. But God still does not want us to worry. In fact, God commands us not to worry. Instead of worrying, God tells us to trust Him and pray. And, when we start worrying again, we pray again and ask God to give us rest and the peace that surpasses all understanding.

I struggle with worry. I always need an action plan that gives me a sense of control over the end result. Without it, I worry. I trust God, but the reality is that I don’t trust Him enough or I wouldn’t need to feel in control. However, God lovingly understands and is willing to teach me to trust Him more each day.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Every medication my doctor has prescribed to try and manage the symptoms has given me a severe side effect. There is not another one I can safely try at this point and . . . I am worried. But God is asking me daily to trust Him. That doesn’t mean I’m supposed to go around with a fake smile on my face. It means that even on the bad days, the painful days, and the really scary days, I remember to turn to Him, be still, and trust even when it is through tears.

I can trust by putting my future in His hands. I can be still by not allowing my mind to race to all the “what ifs” about my future. I can wait by praying and asking others to pray for me. I can dwell by focusing on Him and being thankful for all the good things He has done in the past. I can delight by enjoying every minute of my good days. And, I can wait to see what God is going to do through this illness. I don’t always get it right, but thankfully God is very patient!

Written by Diana Wells

Wife of Gerry, mother of Caleb, child of God.

End Your Guilt and Accept God’s Forgiveness

This devotion was originally written for the Chase Oaks Church website. Read the Devotion on the Chase Oaks website…..

John 21:15–18

“15So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.”16He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”17He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

Guilt can be overwhelming. There have been times when the guilt of my sin has made it difficult for me to even ask God for forgiveness. I seem to think I can hide it from Him if I just don’t mention it. Of course, it’s ridiculous to think I could hide anything from the Almighty God. It is also ridiculous for me to think I can’t bring my brokenness and sin to our all-loving God.

God promises to forgive us of any sin if we just repent and ask. God also promises to love us no matter how terrible our sins are. Guilt is a tool that Satan and our sin nature use to try and drive a wedge between us and God.

John 21 records a conversation between the risen Jesus and Peter. I’m willing to bet that Peter was suffering from a good bit of guilt after he denied knowing and being a follower of Jesus three times. Can you imagine how he felt? However, Jesus didn’t say, “I told you so!” In fact, Jesus never mentioned it. Instead, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him—three times—and as Peter answered yes three times, it gracefully covered Peter’s three denials—forever.

Another disciple, Judas, also suffered from guilt after betraying Jesus and leading the soldiers to Him. However, instead of running to Jesus for forgiveness, Judas allowed guilt to overtake him and never chose to be forgiven. Jesus would have forgiven Judas if he had only asked. Instead, Judas allowed guilt to overwhelm him to the point of suicide. In contrast, Peter faced his guilt and his sin and returned to Jesus. As a result, in Matthew 16:18 Jesus said of Peter, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church” (NIV).

If you are weighed down with the guilt of your sin, choose the path of taking your sin to the feet of our loving and forgiving God and Savior, Jesus. Choosing forgiveness can allow God to make amazing things happen in your life!

Written by Diana Wells

Wife of Gerry, mother of Caleb, child of God.

Freelance Writer