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On 1  January 2011, our Man of God solemnly declared by the Spirit that 2011 is our Year as burning and shining lights! We are already in the closing stages of the year, but it is still very relevant and proper to be mindful of the purpose of the Spirit for us as individuals and as a ministry this year; especially now also, because this year is the platform for 2012 and beyond! The more faithfully we live in 2011 with the words communicated to us by our Man of God, the better positioned we will be to make progress in 2012.

Now, to say “this is our Year as burning and shining lights” is a statement of the will and purpose of the Spirit for our lives in line with the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16, where He said (personal paraphrasing): “I’ve set you as a light for the world – you are not supposed to hide; you must give light to the whole house and to the whole world! Let your light shine, and let men glorify God because of you!”

How important this is! How important it is for every one of us to burn and to shine for Jesus! How important it is for every one of us not to be hidden, not to be in a corner, and not to live irrelevant lives! It is our duty as Christians, for we “are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God… chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9 GWT).

Sometimes I wonder if certain people realize how much the comfort and standard of living of our day is the product of how much others have burned and shined before we came in! This is especially evident in societies that have a strong Christian heritage, where civilization has attained great heights because of Christianity. I have no question about the fact that I am a beneficiary of what others – through their burning and shining – achieved for my generation!

But some people behave as if they don’t know that good things do not happen except good people engage themselves intelligently to ensure such good things happen. I’ve met many people in this part of the world (called the Western world) which have migrated here, and love to live here. If they were told to go back to their countries of origin, they would disagree and feel grieved. Mostly, the reason would be that they like the comfort, the security and the standard of living that we can enjoy over here. But the question is: how did such a place like the Western world come to be? It did not happen by chance! It’s just what our Man of God explained with a pointed illustration: ‘If you have a field, and you want to harvest a good crop from it, you must engage yourself and do the right thing – otherwise all you will get is weeds!’

In this wise, and in my personal opinion, the lives of some people are not very commendable. Their lives are what I call “from plucking to plucking”! When they see a green pasture they covet it, and they do whatever possible to get to such a place in order to pluck from it! And when or if the place turns to be no longer a fruitful field (and if it does it’s precisely because of people like them) they start looking elsewhere for another green pasture to take advantage for themselves! This is robbery! It’s a selfish, shameful and destructive life!

But we are not of such! We have a different spirit and a different mind! We have the mind of Christ – who did not think in terms of robbery but emptied himself in service for humanity, as the Bible says: Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had… He did not take advantage… Instead, he emptied himself…(Philippians 2:5-7 GWT).

Pastor Chris has made reference several times this year to John the Baptist, about whom Jesus said: “He was a burning and a shining light, and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light (John 5:35). In other words, people benefited from his light: they found comfort, peace and joy because of him. Their world had become a better place because of him! That is to say that the life of John the Baptist made a difference! And our Man of God told us this is our year as burning and shining lights, i.e. a year where there would be a difference because of us! And so it has been! Thank you Lord Jesus!

We all need to realize how valuable and relevant we are for the world at large. Understand this: the world (and so also nations, cities or communities) can be pictured like a large body composed of many members. The character and the progress of the group will be the result of its contents, where every individual counts. If this one is corrupt, and that other one is corrupt, and now you also are corrupt – what is the future for that group? However, if that one is corrupt, and that other one is also corrupt, but you are a burning and a shining light – there is hope!

We must consider that one of the strategies of the devil is to foster environments that stink, depress, discourage, or make sick; as a result of corruption, fighting, envy, gossip, danger – name it! In other words, things that invite to quit. And many times indeed, good people decide to quit, and they leave such environments – it may be an organization, a church, a country, etc. Most often this is exactly what the devil wanted such people to do. He wanted them to quit and leave, so that his agents can thrive. ‘Politics’ for instance (I refer by that to activities characterized by artful and dishonest practices) are the work of the devil. Many good people are sickened by ‘politics’ and withdraw whenever they notice such an environment. What happens? The agents of evil find their way free in such a place, because the good people have departed…

So we need to understand how much our individual lives count. Don’t let the devil dismiss you in your mind, making you look down on yourself or thinking that you are irrelevant in a world of 7 billion people! Some may say to themselves: ‘Even if a try, what will that change?’ Don’t think like that! You are very valuable! Don’t let anything put you in a corner. Your light is needed! Your light will make the difference! Remember the words of our Man of God: the gifts God has put in you are unique – there’s no other you in the world! There has never been and there will never be!

We are burning and shining lights! So, if our environment stinks we will not be sickened, and we will not quit! Rather, we will shine with courage and honesty. What does the Bible say? “God… makes manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place... We are… a sweet savour (perfume, aroma, fragrance) of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). In other words, when we come in there’s freshness! We are called to be fresh air in a stinking environment! That’s what it means you are a burning and a shining light! The devil may bring evil, but we bring life! We are the light of the world! “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”! (John 1:5). We will always live a life with a difference! Thank you Lord Jesus!

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You are highly blessed!

 

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