Shine Jesus.....

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dear Friends: 

This is my last night, to be still, and enjoy the sites of France. I have a dinner meeting at 8:30 pm near Notre Dame, but I arrived in the city early simply to sit at a cafe and reflect a bit and to pause and appreciate this wonderful city and country.

I am alone, of course, but many years ago I came to learn the peace of being alone, from time to time and I learned to tolerate “me” —-it has helped me to learn to tolerate others as well.  As I mentioned in earlier messages, the people of France have never been anything short of generous, kind and helpful to me. And although ever single Uber driver is Muslim, I must salute each of them as well as being consistently kind, alert and respectful. It’s the truth.

Even as I was writing this devotion a family called me from the North of France asking me to please join them at their church tomorrow morning and then join them for lunch. Some may query how there could there be a God with all the evil in the world; but how could there not be a God with all the charity and  selfless love that is in the world?

The fight seems to with a world created by a God who is love—and so the “image” or “pattern” of love is embossed in sunsets, smiles, a light snowfall and “senseless acts of kindness”; and yet the world is also marred and scarred by an “enemy” that attempts to draw all attention to the perverse, the self-serving and the self-preserving alternatives of love. God help us, because if the news from the past two weeks is any indication of “progress” towards “heaven on earth, we’re in trouble,  for it appears that the enemy has won more hearts than God Almighty.  Of course that’s nothing new or surprising, I suppose, and Jesus talked about the wide path that leads to destruction and the narrow one that leads to eternal life. In Matthew He said, in quite  a rather foreboding manner, that “many are called but few are chosen”.  Yikes!

And yet I have blessed to be with men and women whom He has surely chosen. How do I  know?  Clearly from the fruit they bear in their lives and their love of Him that causes them to act uncommonly and “alien” when compared to the way those in the “enemy’s camp” live.  And that has helped in my work and ministry—-to remember that this world is really “enemy territory”, and just because I do see good and hope and love all about me these past two weeks in France,  this is not the way many men live—-and there are surely many who masquerade as “creatures of light” that are absolutely not living for God—they are actors, or  better described as “hypocrites”.

So what am I to do?  I have to applaud and celebrate those things that are good and represent what is godly, but I have to admit that things will never be the way they should be until God rescues His redeemed and creates the new heaven and earth. I am not anxious that this happens tomorrow—-many would be lost.  But if I can see those who are in the enemy’s camp as “lost” and not my enemies,  perhaps God’s light, reflected (poorly) through me might bring others to Him.  That is my task and the first task of everyone in the body of Jesus Christ—to remain connected to Him (my first priority) that I might bear fruit that glorifies God and draws other from darkness—or shadows—-into the light.

Shine, Jesus, shine. Fill this land with the Father's glory. Blaze, Spirit, blaze. Set our hearts on fire. Flow, river, flow. Flood the nations……..”

Dean Barley


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