Shining like a star

Daniel 12:3
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

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The media rang out her praises. “She was a pioneer in rhythm and blues. Her records sold billions of copies and the world won’t be the same without her” lamented the reporter. I scratched my head as I listened to the report and wondered if I had ever heard of her or her music. Despite the great accolades, I doubted that she would be remembered next week when we moved onto the next great loss for mankind. In contrast, I thought of Lou, Carol, Ray, and Jean. They are still remembered in our little church. They may have been dead for several years, but their influence and light still shines. They were the people who served others in the church and in their family. They were the wise ones who everyone listened to when they spoke. The media didn’t speak their praises, but the people whose lives they touched will speak of them for a long time.

The Bible is filled with names that shine like lights today. We think of Abraham, Ruth, Daniel, Mary, and Peter to name just a few. None of us has ever met these men and women but we have been influenced by their lives recorded in the Bible. Daniel will always be connected with a lion’s den and Mary with the manger in Bethlehem. Their actions showed faith and love that still excite us today. Their words are full of God’s wisdom that can guide our lives and show us how to live with joy in tough times. They are God’s people and their lives shine like the sun even after hundreds of years.

I don’t want to be praised like some musical artist or the next great football player. Their stars will fade and their accomplishments probably didn’t really change the lives of many people. I want to be like Daniel. I want to be someone who stands up for his faith and leads people to Christ. I want to shine with God’s wisdom so that others can see what God is like and why we should all follow Him. I want the people I touch to see my character and my willingness to serve rather than be amazed at my accomplishments. I am nothing. God is everything. I want His brightness shine in me.

What attributes of God do people see in you? How do you shine the wisdom of God so that others around you will have a better life?

You have a Christian life worth sharing

Rom. 15:13-21

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Sometimes, I think we forget how good we have it as Christians. We forget what the grace and faith mean for our lives. We forget how wonderful it is to be comforted by the word or to lay our cares on God in prayer. We have something very special and it is something that we can share. In Romans 15, Paul tells them why he has written the letter. The year is 57 AD and Paul is writing a letter to the Roman church hoping that he will have a chance to stop by and meet them on his way to Spain. What he doesn’t realize is that he will get to Rome in two years as a prisoner appealing for his life before Caesar. During that time, he will share his life and they will see that even prison can’t take away the joy that Paul has as a Christian. It will be a powerful time for Paul. It is a model for us as well.

God is constantly preparing you to share your life so that it benefits others. We forget how far we have come. God has changed our life month by month so that we can be more like Him. We are kinder and gentler than we were before and we have been given opportunities to serve the Lord. God is not finished with us either. Paul knows that God will continue to help the people of Rome grow as God heaps His love and mercy on them. It will have a great effect letting them flourish in this pagan capital. His love will continue to change us as well. Paul also challenges the people to let the Lord work through them so that God has the chance to change others and give them the benefits that every Christian already has.

How can you change others? You use the opportunities that the Holy Spirit gives you. He will lead you and will give you the power to change lives. It may come as a simple meeting of someone at Walmart who you haven’t seen in a while or a friend who you visit in the hospital. Talk with them and let them know what the Lord is doing for you. The Spirit will guide you where He wants you to go. Don’t be afraid to take risks. The work you do is important. God is calling you to impact one person or group at a time just as Paul did. Your actions and words can bring them closer to the Lord and change their life. You are the luckiest people on the planet. God wants you to share those blessings with others so that they can be blessed as well.