Real Solutions to Real Problems – Part 1 (Video)

This is the first video in a series entitled, “Real Solutions to Real Problems. You will learn how to cope with stress by discovering how to apply biblical principles from the life of Jesus Christ.

All Scriptures are from the New King James Version Bible unless otherwise noted. Digital images are used with permission from backpew.com by Jeff Larson, Goodsalt.com, Good News Productions International and College Press Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org, Arabs for Christ / FreeBibleimages.org, Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org, www.LumoProject.com, GoodSalt / goodsalt.com, or they are creative common licenses.

Receiving Life Freely – Part 4 (Video)

This is the fourth video in a series about the gospel of John – the only book of the Bible whose primary purpose is to tell non-Christians how to obtain eternal life and a future home in heaven (John 20:31). This video looks at the fourth miracle of Jesus recorded in the gospel of John involving the miraculous feeding of thousands of people (John 6:1-13).

The movie clip subtitles are from the Good News Translation. All other Scripture are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted. Gospel of John pictures are used with permission from www.GoodSalt.com or they are creative common licenses. The Gospel of John movie clip is used with permission from Jesus.net. You may view the entire Life of Jesus movie at https://jesus.net/the-life-of-jesus/.

Why does the Lord allow a situation to grow worse after we pray about it? Part 8

“Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’ ” John 11:44b

Today we will look at the final reason why the Lord may allow a situation to grow worse after we pray about it. It is to GET CHRISTIANS TO HELP ONE ANOTHER DISPOSE OF THEIR GRAVE CLOTHES (John 11:44b). Jesus had just commanded a dead man to come out of his grave (John 11:43). And a living Lazarus walked out of his tomb wrapped from head to toe in burial clothes. Only Jesus can bring life to dead churches, marriages, families, and individuals. That is Jesus’ job. But look at the end of verse 44:  “Jesus said to them, ‘Loose him, and let him go.’ ” (John 11:44b). Could Jesus have caused the grave clothes of Lazarus to drop off? Absolutely! If He could raise Lazarus from the dead, He could certainly cause his grave clothes to drop off. But why didn’t He do this?

That would have left Lazarus naked and caused him a lot of humiliation and shame. By having those around him unwrap Lazarus, Jesus was providing an opportunity for people close to Lazarus to help him lose his grave clothes without losing his dignity. Likewise, Christians need to help one another get free from their spiritual and emotional grave clothes.

Jesus gives life to people. That is His job. But it is our job, the people of God, to help one another get out of the grave clothes that keep reborn people from acting alive. We may still have the grave clothes of shame and self-righteousness. We may view ourselves and God in a way that keeps us from experiencing His resurrection life. There may be deeply ingrained habits or thought patterns that prevent us from living resurrection lifestyles. Or we may have the grave clothes of unconfessed sin or an unforgiving spirit which keep us from experiencing true freedom in our Christian lives.

The church needs to be a safe place where we begin to peel away the grave clothes that keep born again people from experiencing the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. We cannot live victorious Christian lives in isolation from other believers. We need each other to experience the resurrection power of Christ in our lives.

How can churches become a safe place for believers to remove their grave clothes?

1. Ask others to help you remove your own grave clothes. Instead of jumping in like a spiritual superior to help remove the grave clothes of others, church leaders are to give others permission to help them remove what is keeping them from experiencing Christ’s resurrection power more fully. After all, how can church leaders expect others to be vulnerable about their struggles if they are not vulnerable about theirs? This kind of mutual vulnerability conveys the gospel message that we are all imperfect sinners in need of God’s grace (Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). If Christians will live in humble vulnerability with one another, they will create an atmosphere that gives every believer in the church the safety and freedom to shed their grave clothes on the pathway to experiencing Christ’s resurrection power.

2. Extend the same grace to others as Christ has given to you (Ephesians 2:8-9; 4:32). None of us deserved salvation, but God freely gave it to us by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. We must create an atmosphere of this grace that invites imperfect sinners to come out of the darkness into the light of Jesus’ love. I have attended Christian churches and/or ministries where believers were treated harshly for having grave clothes that kept them from experiencing Christ’s resurrection power. They were belittled and bullied for having struggles, which only increased their fear and shame. They were viewed as an embarrassment to the church or ministry. According to them, since “true Christians” have no serious problems, no provisions were made to help them.

This is the exact opposite of what Jesus did with those who were broken and wounded. Christ fulfilled the Messianic prophecy in Isaiah 42:3 which says, “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench” (cf. Matthew 12:20). Jesus did not deal harshly with those who were already hurting nor did He extinguish what little hope a broken heart possessed. He came along side of them to strengthen them with His presence rather than step on them to advance His own plans. He wants to rekindle our love and passion for Him. Unlike the religious leaders of His day, Jesus had compassion for the weak and vulnerable. He extended gentleness and humility to the harassed and helpless (Matthew 9:36) as well as to the weary and burdened (Matthew 11:28). He gave forgiveness to the fallen (John 8:11). Likewise, the more churches have this Christlike mindset, the more they will expect “true Christians” to have obvious problems and provide ministries that provide the safety and security to promote transparency, healing, and growth.

3. Focus more on the heart instead of behavior. God is not uptight about our sin and shame. People are the ones who are uptight about our sin and shame. God still loved us even though we were undeserving, ungodly sinners without any strength to reconcile ourselves to Him. He did not wait for us to clean ourselves up before He loved us and died in our place. The Bible says, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). “Christ died for the ungodly,” not the godly. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ died for us “while we were still sinners,” not saints. Christ looked beyond our sin to our hearts. He loved us no matter how often or badly we sinned.

Do our churches communicate this same kind of love to those the Lord brings to us? No matter how stinky a believer’s grave clothes are, do we love and accept that person as Jesus loves and accepts him or her? Do we take time to get to know the person, or do we stay preoccupied with their behavior and avoid them or judge them? It is Christ’s love that will embolden believers to remove their grave clothes and be transparent with one another, not focusing on behavior. After all, God’s “perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18). And fear and shame are two of the most common obstacles that keep people from being vulnerable with one another. But when we experience God’s incredible love for us through other believers who love and care for us no matter what we have done, we will respond with love toward our Lord and toward His children (I John 4:19).

4. Define believers by what God says about them, not by what they do. Christians are not defined by their grave clothes. They are defined by what God says about them. For example, the apostle Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to Christians who were living in the city of Ephesus, a sex-saturated society that was the home of the temple Diana. Christians were enticed by temple teachings to live without restraint. Paul countered this godless culture by emphasizing the Christian’s new identity in chapters 1-3, followed by a call to live in a way that is consistent with who they are in chapters 4-6.

An example of this is seen in Ephesians 5:8-10. Paul writes,  “8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” Notice that Paul starts with who they now are in Christ – “you are light in the Lord” (5:8a). The light of Jesus Christ now defined who they are, not the darkness of their sin. Paul then concludes, “walk as children of light” (5:8b). Jesus is the “light of the world” (John 8:12) and His followers are defined by His light.  

Christian speaker and author, Dr. Tony Evans, writes, “His followers must reflect Him the way the moon reflects the sun—not as crescent-moon Christians but as full-moon Christians. And we can’t reflect His light unless we’re in the light. So, if you want to reflect Christ, you have to be absorbing Christ through cultivating an intimate walk and relationship with Him (see John 15:1-16).” (Dr. Tony Evans, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary, B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. pg. 2110).

As we grow closer to Jesus and learn how He sees us, we will begin to live like children of light who produce “goodness, righteousness, and truth” as we discover what is “acceptable to the Lord” (5:9-10).  

If we want to see believers shed their grave clothes and experience the resurrection power of Jesus more fully, we must focus on what God says about them instead of on what they have done. Why? Because the more they see themselves as God sees them, the more He will transform their lives. After all, we act in the way we perceive ourselves to be. The Bible says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7). Our behavior does not determine who we are. At the very core of our being we are God’s children and God wants us to learn to start acting in a way that is consistent with who you are.

For example, if you see yourself as an addict at the core of your being, what will be the most natural thing for you to do? To stay sober or practice your addiction? Practice your addiction. What will be the most unnatural thing for you to do? Stay sober. But if you see yourself as a child of God at the core of your being (John 1:12; I John 3:1-2), what is the most natural thing for you to do? Stay sober. Satan wants to convince you that you are a sinner. Why? Because sinning is accepted as natural. But if you realize and believe you are a child of God at the core of your being, then you will come to the conclusion that sinning compromises who you are. Sin is inconsistent with who you are in Christ. The more a believer sees themselves as God sees them, the more they will realize their grave clothes no longer define who they are. In fact, wearing their grave clothes will seem unnatural and restrictive to them.

Prayer: Wow, Lord Jesus! Many times I have read the raising of Lazarus from the dead, but I had not noticed the last part of verse 44. What a powerful application this is for the church today. Yes, You gave life to Lazarus as only You can do. But You want Your people to help him remove his grave clothes so he can experience his new life more fully. Oh Lord, please awaken Your church to see their role in helping other believers remove their grave clothes in a way that preserves their dignity and enables them to more fully experience Your resurrection power in their lives. In Your life-giving name I pray. Amen.

Christ’s claim demands that we embrace the Cross

“When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He.” John 8:28

The third implication of Jesus’ claim to be the light of the world (John 8:12) is this: CHRIST’S CLAIM DEMANDS THAT WE EMBRACE THE CROSS (John 8:25-30). When Jesus said, “If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24b), the religious leaders are disturbed by His words, “I am He.” The word “He” is not in the original Greek which is why it is in italics in the New King James version. When Jesus said, “I am,” He was claiming to be the Self-Existent God who spoke to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:13-14). So these Jews ask Him, “Who are You?” (John 8:25a). “Who are You to be saying such things to us?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.” (John 8:25b). Jesus assures them that He was saying nothing different from “what” He had “been saying”about His identity since “the beginning” of His ministry.

“I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” (John 8:26). Jesus knew His audience better than anyone. He tells His listeners that He has “many things to say” to them, some of which will “judge” them for their unbelief. However, all that He would say would be “true” because it all comes from the Father who “is true.” His message was for “the world” of unbelieving humanity.

When believers are witnessing to the unsaved, it can be easy to get sidetracked from the central message of the gospel, that is, Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (I Corinthians 15:3-6). This is especially true when sharing the gospel with members of a growing cult or false religion. Members of these groups often try  to steer the conversation away from Christ crucified to focus on the central part of their beliefs. Although there is a place for the study of false religions and cults, the best way to expose what is false is to preach the truth about Jesus Christ.

A few years ago I had the privilege of baptizing a new believer in the Philippines who had been a member of the Jehovah Witnesses cult for thirty years. When I asked him how he got saved, he said that a caring believer shared the gospel clearly and simply so he could transfer his trust onto Christ crucified alone for his salvation. You don’t have to know a lot about a cult or false religion to effectively share the gospel with their members. But you do need to know Christ crucified and His gospel message (I Corinthians 2:2)!

The apostle John tells us, “They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.” (John 8:27). Christ’s audience “did not understand that” He was referring to “the Father.”At this point in Jesus’ conversation with the Jewish leaders, it looks hopeless for them, doesn’t it? If I had been Jesus, I would have thought, “Why bother with these guys?” But He doesn’t.

Knowing their ignorance, blindness and pride, He graciously says to them28 Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.’ 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.” (John 8:28-30). Many of these very men who had been rejecting Him now believed in Him.

What made the difference? Christ presents three proofs of His identity as God. The first proof is the cross. What does Jesus mean, “When you lift up the Son of man” (8:28)? When you see Jesus on the cross then you begin to understand the facts about His true identity as the Messiah-God – “You will know that I am He.” Christ’s enemies will realize that Jesus is the Self-Existent God when they crucify Him. That is what He is saying. When He is lifted up on the cross He gives Himself for the sins of the world (I John 2:2). He laid down His life for us. So look to the cross. For at the cross is the Lord of Glory (I Corinthians 2:8). At the cross is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). At the cross is the One Who infinitely loves us and washes away all our sin and shame (Romans 5:8; Revelation 1:5b). At the cross is the innocent Son of God (Matthew 27:54). At the cross is the Redeemer of our sins (Ephesians 1:7).

A second proof of Jesus’ claim to be God is His message which did not originate with Him, but from His “Father” (John 8:28b). Christ’s teaching was not independent of His Father’s. He continually depended on His Father to give Him the words to say. He did this to provide an example for us. We cannot live the Christian life without depending on the Lord moment by moment (John 15:5; Romans 8:11-15; Galatians 5:16-18).

Then Jesus repeats that His Father “sent” Him which does not mean that He is “alone” (John 8:29a). Even though Jesus’ countrymen had rejected Him, His Father had not abandoned Him. Likewise, our Father in heaven and Jesus and the Holy Spirit will never abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). They are constantly with us to provide all we need to live for them (Philippians 4:19; 2 Peter 1:2-4).

The third proof of Jesus’ claim to be God is His perfect obedience to the Father (John 8:29b). Christ “always” did those things that please” His Father. Jesus is not only sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15), but on every occasion, He does what pleases God the Father. Only God could obey God’s commands at all times. The proof of Jesus’ deity is His perfect obedience to the Father. No one before or after Him has ever lived a sinless life on earth.

A few years ago on a three-hour flight to the eastern United States, I sat next to a young woman who claimed to be an agnostic. When I asked her if anyone ever took a Bible and showed her how she could know for sure she would go to heaven when she died, she said that no one had and that there was no need to do that with her. When I asked her why, she gave me several reasons why she did not need Christianity, including all religions lead to God, Christians are nothing but hypocrites, the Bible has been translated so many times that it is no longer accurate, and that Christianity is incompatible with science.

When I attempted to respond to each of her objections, she seemed disconnected from what I was saying. The more I talked, the less she responded and I began to realize that only the Holy Spirit could lift the blindness from her heart and mind (John 16:7-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4). I then pointed her to the cross of Christ, explaining how much He loved her. I told her Jesus would meet her where she is at and answer her questions about Christianity if she is honest about her search for truth. He is not threatened by her questions any more than He was with the apostle Thomas’ questions. I don’t know if she ever made the decision to believe in Christ, but one thing I do know, Jesus loves her and proved it when He died in her place for all her sins (cf. Romans 5:8)!

In conclusion, Christ’s claim demands that we GET THE FACTS RIGHT … for when Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World” (John 8:12), He was stating unequivocally that He was God in human flesh.

Christ’s claim also demands that we BE SURE ABOUT OUR FUTURE. Have you believed in Christ alone to provide a future resurrection and never-ending life for you (John 8:24; 11:25-26)? Or have you rejected Him? There is no middle ground. You will either be with Jesus for eternity (John 3:36a; 11:25-26) or forever separated from Him in the lake of fire (John 3:36b; Revelation 20:15).

And finally, Christ’s claim demands that we EMBRACE THE CROSS. Jesus gave up His life for us on the cross. He forfeited His life so we can live for Him now, so that His light can shine through us to help others. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says: “And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

When I preached this message at the provincial jail chapel in the Philippines a few years ago, we provided candles for each inmate. At this time, our ushers lit the candle of each person at the end of a row in the chapel. Then we focused on Jesus’ words, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12). I then said to the inmates, “Look what happens to this room when each of us follows Christ and allows His light to shine through us (other candles were lit by those with a lit candle). The light dispels the darkness, doesn’t it? Together we can make an eternal difference here at the provincial jail and in our country and world. Have you decided to follow Jesus? Do you want God to use you to lead others to Christ and disciple them?

What about you? We are seeing unprecedented expressions of darkness in the USA and world. More now than ever, our world needs the light of Jesus Christ!!! Will you let Jesus shine in and through you as you follow Him and make disciples of Him? A single light penetrates 50 miles of darkness. Darkness cannot overcome light (John 1:5). We are on the winning side. Let’s live like winners!!!      

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please shine Your light through us so that others can receive the hope of everlasting life by believing in You. Please raise up armies of Your disciple-makers around the world who will shine brightly for You and Your glory! In Your name I pray. Amen.

The Light of the World

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’ ” John 8:12

The setting of John 8:12 is back in chapter 7. It is the Feast of Tabernacles. One of the very special events during this feast was the “Illumination of the Temple.” This ceremony took place each evening in one of the courts of the Temple – the Court of the Women. In the center of this court four giant candelabra were set up (the many-branched candlesticks used by the Jews). Some accounts say that these golden candelabra were as high as seventy-five feet. At night, they were lit and they brought light to the whole temple area and most of Jerusalem. It was spectacular, and people would celebrate all night.

The reason they did this was to remember another wilderness experience. It was the pillar of fire. During the exodus from Egypt, God protected and guided the people of Israel through the wilderness with the pillar of fire. God was with them.

At the end of the feast, the lights were purposely put out. Why? Because the Messiah had not come yet.

It is in the same temple area where the lights were put out the night before that I believe Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12a). It is as though Jesus is saying, “Do you remember the pillar of fire that came between the Israelites and the Egyptians near the Red Sea, the pillar that protected them and led them on their wanderings in the wilderness? That was My presence with them. I was God with them and I am God with you! It was I who protected them. It was I who guided them through the wilderness. I am the light of the WORLD – not just the light for the nation of Israel, but the light for the entire world. I offer hope to every one of every country, culture, and color.” What a statement! Jesus is claiming to be God.

The phrase “I Am” is how God identified Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:13-14). “I Am” is also how Jesus will continue to state His own identity to the people of Israel. Jesus has already stated, “I am the bread of life” (6:35). Later on, He will identify Himself with more “I am” statements: “I am the door” (10:9), “I am the Good Shepherd” (10:14), “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (11:25), “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” (14:6), “I am the true Vine” (15:1). Each one of these staggering statements attested to the fact that He was and is God.

Because Jesus is God (cf. I John 5:20), there is no darkness or sin in Him. The Bible says, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). Since Jesus is “the light of the world,” He can offer hope and life to every person of every country, culture, and color. Christ does not favor one particular culture or color of people over another. He loves every person equally and longs to have a personal relationship with each one.

So much emphasis is placed upon the color of a person’s skin today which leads to much hatred toward those who look differently. This is not from the Lord (cf. I John 2:9-11). God created all people of all colors and we are to praise Him for this. The real problem in the world today is not skin, it is sin. All people of all colors have a problem called sin (Romans 3:23). This is why some people think they are superior to others. This is why some people allow their own prejudices to mistreat others. This is why there is racism in the world. Until we stop focusing on skin and start dealing with our sin, there will be no lasting reconciliation among the different cultures and colors of people in the world today.

God has provided the solution to our sin problem by giving His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world (John 3:16a; 4:42). Christ loved us so much He died in our place on a cross to pay the full penalty for our sin, and three days later He rose from the dead and He is alive today (John 19:30; I Corinthians 15:3-6). Jesus invites us to believe or trust in Him alone for His gift of everlasting life. When we do, we become “sons of light.” Jesus said, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” (John 12:36).

Notice that Christ says we can become “sons of light” simply by believing or trusting in Him alone for His gift of salvation. This verse does not say we become “sons of light” by going to church, being baptized, confessing our sins, praying five times a day, living a good life, or by keeping the sacraments. The only condition is to believe in the Light which is Jesus Christ.

After believing in Christ, we are no longer defined by our sin and shame. We are defined by the Light of Jesus Christ. The Bible says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8). How do we live as children of light?

Jesus explains, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12b). This is such a wonderful promise. There is nothing we need more in this world than light on our path. Many people are walking in the darkness of sins today. They don’t know where they are going. They have no idea of what is ahead; they are running into disaster and they cannot even see it coming. But how does a person break loose from the bondage of sin? How can we come out of the domain of darkness and its influence into the domain of God and the influence of His light and purity? Simple. By following Jesus!  “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” That tells me two things: 

1. Jesus will never lead me into darkness. He will never lead me into sin. So if I will just follow Him like a sheep follows a shepherd, I will not find myself in darkness but in “light” (holiness and hope) and “life” (relationship with God). On the other hand…

2. If I am living in sin, if I am walking in darkness, I must not be following Jesus—because that’s not where He is going. I can never blame Jesus for my sinful lifestyle or hopelessness. Because He is the antithesis of both! If I am letting Him lead me, I will have holiness and hope in my life.

I have had those who are opposed to Christianity try to justify their rejection of Christ by referring to all the horrific things done in the name of Jesus Christ, such as The Crusades or the atrocities of Adolph Hitler. I assure them, that those who have done terrible things in the name of Jesus Christ are not representing biblical Christianity. When people murder or mistreat other people because of their different skin color or religion, they are not following the example of their Leader, Jesus Christ, Who taught us to love our neighbors and our enemies by blessing them, doing good to them, and praying for them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 10:27-37). Jesus Christ is not responsible for those who misuse His name to justify their own sinful choices. Those people will answer to Christ for the wrongs they have done.

Notice how positive the solution is in John 8:12. It is not that I fight off my horrible lust, prejudices, selfishness, and greed so I can follow Jesus. That would be impossible for me to do. But if I will choose to follow Christ and obey His Word, and continue in that choice no matter how imperfect or how weak I may feel my walk with Him is — that choice lived out day by day will take me where I need to go. Can you say with firm conviction, “I have decided to follow Jesus”? Peter didn’t follow Jesus perfectly, but he followed Him as a choice of life. James and John and the other disciples were slow learners like some of us are. But they were followers of Jesus and that journey led them out of darkness into light.

What the world needs today is the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can transform the sinful human heart so that hatred is replaced with love. Until people find peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ alone (Romans 5:1), they will not be able to live peacefully with themselves or others (Ephesians 2:13-18). Governments and politicians cannot do this for us. Only Jesus Christ can and does when we come to Him on His terms.

I read a story about a grandfather who took his little grandson for a walk in the woods. As they were walking along they stopped for a moment and the grandfather asked, “Do you know where we are?” The little boy said, “No!” The grandfather asked, “Do you know where we’re going?” And the little boy again said, “No!” The grandfather chuckled and said, “Well, I guess you’re lost then.” The boy looked up at his grandfather and said, “No, I’m not lost. I’m with you.” When you are with Jesus, when you are following Him, you will never be lost and you will arrive where you need to be.

Prayer: Father God, as I look at the world today, I see people wandering in the darkness without any lasting hope. They don’t know where they are going. They have no idea of what is ahead; they are running into disaster and they cannot even see it coming. I was once one of those people. But when You removed the blinders from my mind, I was able to see the light of Jesus’ glory so I could believe in Him (2 Corinthians 4:4). And at that moment, You transferred me from the domain of darkness into the marvelous light of Your Son’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13; I Peter 2:9). I am no longer defined by my sin and shame, but by the Light of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:8). I now have a choice. I can choose to follow Jesus, the Light of the world, and no longer abide in the darkness of sin, or I can follow my own sinful flesh and the course of this world which leads to the darkness of sin, hate, and death (John 8:12; 12:35; I John 2:9-11; 3:11-15). Thank You, Lord Jesus, for never leading me into darkness when I follow You. Forgive me for the many times I have blamed You for my own sinful choices. How foolish I was to do such a thing! But even then, You did not stop loving me nor did You give up on me. You still loved me and patiently waited for me to turn back to You. Thank You so much for the hope I have when my eyes are fixed upon You. Please lead me to those who are abiding in darkness that I may share the Light of the world with them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.