Throughout the Bible we’re told that God is Light. And from that Light stems goodness, love, and mercy. There are no greater gifts than salvation, and an eternity spent at the Lord’s side. Gifts that God sacrificed His own Son to provide. And gifts that He offers freely to all. That’s why Paul prays that the eyes of our hearts illuminate with the light of God’s hope. The hope of the riches of our inheritance through Jesus Christ. For it is through Christ in which we have become adopted heirs into the kingdom of God. Sons and daughters who no longer walk in darkness but in God’s glorious light. And it also this hope that should be a driving force in our lives. For until that glorious day when we are called home, we should be living a life that glorifies our Lord, reflecting His love in a hurting and dark world.
What I love most about this Psalm is that twenty six times in twenty six verses, we are told God’s lovingkindness is everlasting. Lovingkindness is showing someone mercy, goodness, and love. Everlasting is something which endures forever, with no beginning and no end. Can there be a more perfect way of describing God and His feelings for us? He is faithful and good. And even though we fail Him daily, the Lord will never fail us. Just as He cared, provided for, and protected Israel until they reached the promised land, so God will do for us. So give thanks to the God in heaven, Lord of lords, King of kings, and Creator of all! Exalt Him, the Miracle Maker, for His indescribable and unmerited love. Because to God alone goes the glory! And only He is worthy of all praise!
If there’s anyone who understood grace, it’s Paul. The apostle was once one of the worst persecutors of Christians. Yet instead of being punished, Paul was given God’s most precious mission. To share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Not because Paul earned it, nor proven himself worthy. For no one can ever be good enough to earn a perfect God’s perfect favor. But all because of the unmerited mercy of our Lord. The definition of grace is getting what we don’t deserve and not getting what we do. The sin we commit comes with the penalty of death. But because of His amazing love, God sent His Son to take the punishment we deserve, giving us the undeserved gift of forgiveness, and eternal life. It was God’s grace that empowered Paul’s transformation. And if we let Him, God will transform us as well.
Church, Family Members Calling For Investigation After 63 year Old Pastor Marries 19 Year old Parishioner
Church members and family members are calling for an investigation into a Pentecostal church bishop in Iowa who recently married a 19-year-old girl. Bishop Dwight Reed is 63 and leads Christ Apostolic Temple in Des Moines, Iowa. In November 2021, Reed married 19-year-old Jordan Goodlett, a longtime church member and former student at the church’s school. An outside clergyman accuses the bishop of “gross abuse of power” and years-long “grooming” of an underage congregant. And some of the teen’s family members and fellow church members also say they’re concerned she is a victim of clergy abuse. Read more about the controversy here.
Poll Of Ministers Shows More Are Struggling With Mental Health Challenges
More than 60 percent of pastors say stress is a challenge in their day-to-day ministry, according to a new Lifeway Research survey that also found that roughly half list “discouragement” as a common barrier. The poll of 1,000 American Protestant pastors, released Tuesday, found that 63 percent of pastors say they battle stress and 48 percent face discouragement. Just over one in four (28 percent) say loneliness or lack of friendships is a problem, while about one in four (18 percent) say depression is an issue. Younger pastors are more likely than older pastors to list stress, discouragement, loneliness and depression as issues. Read more about the poll here.
Woman Marries Cat To Avoid Eviction
Deborah Hodge, 49, married her 5-year-old cat, India, on April 19 in a public park in southeast London. Both Hodge and her cat wore tuxedo-styled outfits for the occasion. The decision to marry her cat came after Hodge was previously forced to give up three other pets – two Huskies and one cat – because of landlord rules barring residents from owning pets. India meowed through her vows as Deborah’s friends watched on, including one who legally ordained the civil union. “I recited vows under the universe that no man will ever tear myself and India apart,” she said. Read more about the wedding here.
Ukrainian refugees Find Shelter In Irish Medieval Castle
When Irishman Barry Haughian and his wife Lola watched Ukrainians flee their homes, they decided to offer up their second home, a 15th century castle in the west of Ireland. Within a day Haughian was on a plane to Poland, having set up a Facebook account for the first time to offer refuge. Eleven Ukrainians returned with him to Ballindooley Castle. A month after their arrival, five of the group have found jobs. Their children are settled in school and play on the half acre estate with local kids, whose families constantly drop in everything from spare fridges, televisions and bags of turf to baskets of fresh eggs for Maria Nazarchuk, the keen baker of the group. Read more about the generosity here.
When Christ was crucified, He broke the dominion of sin over man. Now as believers, although sin may vex us, it will not dominate us. Because when Christ was resurrected, we were also spiritually resurrected. At the moment we receive Christ as our Savior, God goes to work on our fleshly heart of stone. He begins molding it into one that is alive and pulsing with desire to glorify Him. No longer do we desire to continue walking in sin. It’s a process of surrender, and a process that can be accomplished by God alone. Everyday He is at work within our circumstances, emotions, experiences and deepest desires. And it’s our job to let Him do His. This may require hard times and struggles, but God will prevail. He will dig out and uproot every enticement of sin in our lives, giving us victory over each one!
Supreme Court Hearing Case Involving Football Coach fired For Praying
Arguments are being heard by Supreme Court Justices involving a case where a high school coach was asked to stop publicly praying, and was fired after he refused. Joseph Kennedy filed suit against the school after he was not retained as a coach by Bremerton (Wash.) High School. He had conducted post-game prayers multiple times, violating a district policy – often at midfield while alone. It is one of the biggest cases in recent years involving free speech, religious liberty and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. A decision is expected before the court’s summer break. Read more about the case here.
Thousands Of Families Left With $50 Million In Debt After Health Care Sharing Ministry Closes
About 10,000 families have ended up with more than $50 million in unpaid medical bills after their health sharing ministry shut down. Sharity Ministries, formerly known as Trinity HealthShare, filed for bankruptcy in late 2021 and began the liquidation process. With so many outstanding claims against the ministry, it is unlikely that its members will receive the reimbursements they are owed. Sharity Ministries operated as a nonprofit that offered an alternative to traditional health insurance where members pay premiums and voluntarily agree to share their medical expenses in accordance with their Christian beliefs. Read more about the bankruptcy here.
Texas Pastor Tweets “Don’t tell Unbelievers God Loves You”
When Pastor Gabriel Hughes tweeted yesterday, “You should not tell an unbeliever, ‘God loves you,’” social media took note. He continued, “The apostles never shared the gospel this way. The Bible says God’s wrath is upon unbelievers. Help them see their sin, warn them of the judgment of God, and give them the gospel.” The post has received more than 1,000 likes and dozens of replies. Hughes is associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas. Several people agree with Hughes, while others however, point to apparent scriptural contradictions in Hughes’ words. Read more about the tweet here.
In the middle of the Sahara desert on the western border of Algeria, refugee camps hosting tens of thousands of people rely on basic supplies which come in on trucks. And until recently, all the waste from the camps was dumped nearby in the desert into an ever-growing pile of plastic. But refugees are now turning that plastic trash into furniture and other products that they can use. Precious Plastic, an organization with a DIY recycling system developed by a Dutch designer who helped set up a recycling center. One machine shreds the plastic into tiny pieces. Other machines wash and dry them. Then the plastic pieces can be melted down and shaped into new objects. Read more about the center here.
Luke tells us as Jesus hung on the Cross, He wasn’t alone. Because two other men, each a criminal, hung on either side of Him. Have you ever wondered why there were three crosses that fateful day and the significance of each? The answer is redemption, repentance, and rejection. The cross which bore our Savior is one of redemption. Jesus our Redeemer died for the sins of the world. And with His blood we are reconciled with the Father. The other two crosses, the thieves which hung to His left and right, represent the choice we must make.
On one side of Christ was a thief hurling insults at Him, taunting the Lord to save them if He could. His is the cross of rejection. He didn’t receive Jesus as His Savior, nor was he sorry for all he had done. Instead he was simply searching for a way out of his predicament. On the other side was a man whose cross represents one of repentance. In faith and reverence he requests, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Christ’s answer? “Assuredly, I say to you today you will be with Me in Paradise.” So which cross will you choose? Eternal separation from God, or paradise with Jesus?
This world, ruled by Satan, is filled with evil. And each day grows darker than the one before. That’s why every fiber of my being cries out for the return of Jesus. Oh how I long for my glorified body, and to dwell with the Lord forever. Because let’s face it. This side of heaven is a tough place to be. We know Jesus Himself promised rocky times for His followers dwelling on earth. (2Tim. 3:12) And there’s not a single one of us who hasn’t been touched by suffering or faced trials. But the apostle Paul also gives us another promise. Everything we go through, God will use for good for those who love Him. All God asks, is that we trust in the uniquely wonderful plan He has for each of us. In patience, to continue loving, obeying, and praising Him, in good times and bad. All while remembering that while we wait for Christ’s return, neither a smile nor a tear is wasted.
Jesus is life. He is the Fountain, Sustainer, and Source of life. And because of His great love for both us and the Father, He willingly left His place at the right hand of God. Why? To pay our sin debt with His precious blood. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus forever conquered death and darkness. And when we receive Him into our hearts as our Savior, He gathers us into His light. A bright light that not only reveals our sins, but shines the way to salvation. Never again do we have to dwell in darkness. Because when the “Light of the world” calls us His own, His life giving light will shine upon us for all eternity. For the Lord Himself promises, “Whoever follows me will never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12)
God is my Master, Lord, Savior, Friend, and Father. And as full as my heart is for Him, what makes it burst at the seams is the love that He in turn feels for me. Too many times the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached with a heavy hand in sin, and a light hand in love. While it’s true that God detests sin, it’s also true that God loves us in spite of that sin. And when we receive Christ as our Savior, He takes those filthy rags of sin we clothe ourselves in, and exchanges them for pure white robes of righteousness. Next, God sends Holy Spirit to take up permanent residence inside of us, who gets to work changing and molding us into the likeness of Jesus. And all of this God does not because we love Him, but because He loves us! And from that great love, no matter how dirty, broken, or sinful we are, He yearns to call us His own. God wants to pick up us, dust off the dirt, wipe away our tears, replace our sorrow with joy, and make us royalty in His kingdom forever.