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Time to smile

May 13, 2010

Philippians 2:14-18 : Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. (New Living Translation)

What an amazing passage!  The challenge is for me is to live a clean and innocent life as a child of God.  Which when checking out the greek is talking about me being honest, not being involved in practices that are wrong, not allowing sin to dominate my life and not complaining and arguing – wow.  No complaining and arguing?  It is clear that when I see an injustice I speak out, and perhaps argue my point (I think of Jesus clearing the temple of the traders in Luke 19:45- 48) but what this passage is referring too is pointless complaining and arguing that is just plain negative rather than constructive.   And there is a reason that God wants me to be as clean and as innocent as possible – so that I can be an example to the community around me, to my family, my friends and complete strangers I encounter on the street.

I am called to shine like a bright light in a world full of crooked and perverse people.  And when you think of a light shining in a dark room, it illuminates all that is around it, it affects the dark room.  In the same way my attitude, the way I conduct myself does affect those around me, both positively for the kingdom and negatively as well.

A simple example is that I make it my habit to smile and chat with the staff as I pay for shopping, it is a boring role most of the time plus a vast number of customers basically ignore them. And then I come along with a big smile and my ‘how are things?’ question and 90% of the staff respond very warmly and smile back, becoming animated while processing my order; and well 10% just think I am plain weird and avoid eye contact!   Now when I smile and engage the staff am I preaching the gospel? The medieval Christian legend, Francis of Assisi shares, ‘Preach the Gospel, speak if you have to.’  How I live my life is evidence of what I believe.  And how I act speaks volumes on how Jesus has impacted my life.

This is not a calling to be plastic, I believe in being real, but there are times when I need to make the decision to smile, to share the love of Jesus with others even when I feel rough.

So how am I assisted in shining like a light?  This amazing passage shares, Hold firmly to the word of life, which in exploring the greek is talking about fixing our attention, our aim on the gospel message.  I need to regularly recall that Christ died for me, so that my sins can be washed clean and I can come into God’s awesome presence!  And doing this reminds me that I have a new life in Christ and that life is amazing!!

Time to go and shine my light, time to smile!


PS – So many comments regarding my post yesterday on facing depression. I am praying hard for those who are struggling.

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The portion for today is: 2 Corinthians 4-5

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  1. Mack permalink

    Show and tell, showing folks Christ likeness tell more than we can speak.

  2. Dutch Hofstetter permalink

    This is one of my favorite messages ever! We think about Jesus Christ and His Love the freed us and we do it out of praising Him not in a way of making ourselves feeling guilty. We have to repent, but we think about Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross to pay for all of our sins because it is the greatest news ever. It’s the best news in all the world: Jesus Christ died for us so that we can live forever in heaven! Let Jesus Christ fill up your whole heart and your whole mind and ask people some questions like about how they are and how their day is and when you see a chance the Lord opened to share the Gospel, go and share the Gospel. UNASHAMED! Romans 1:16!

  3. Sawn permalink

    My family says I am now obsessed with the Bible. I have been writing down passages that I like (many from you) and I am in a study group. They say it like it is a negative thing–but gosh, I have never felt better about being obsessed about anything! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. I. L. permalink

    My husband tells me to not be “plastic”– to be real because I tend to try to see everything in a brighter note. I avoid being combatative and try to be cheerful even though I feel lousy. Thanks for this! I know I am not wrong.

  5. Cynthia permalink

    I was one who left a lengthy comment yesterday which I am not sure will ever get read because there were so many but my comment to this is: I am so very thankful that God has given me the ability to smile no matter the state I or my life is in. People need the warmth of a smile and a friendly hello. When I smile it is no false. It is a true smile given to me by God’s grace and I am so grateful. I have a heart for people and there are so many out there where I am sure their situations are far worse than mine. God has given me the ability to feel people’s pain before I ever speak to them. This I couldn’t do had God not taken the pain in my life and turned it into good which He always does. What a good God we have. Amen.

  6. i want to shine, i want to be seen by the world that the man in me is not an ordinary strugling to do this for reasons i cant explain. please help me. pray for me that i shine

  7. Lynn Sicard permalink

    Lord Let Me Burn
    Let me burn bright Lord for You,
    In everythingthat I say and do.
    When peop[e take a look at me,
    I pray that You in me is what they’ll see.
    Lord this is my hearts desire,
    That in me You become a consuming fire.
    May thoughts of You constsntly fill my head,
    And by your spiritmay I always be led,
    Let me be one that You call friend,
    And help me endure to the end.
    Of You may my heart always grow fonder,
    Til the day You call me up yonder.
    And in this world that’s darker than night,
    May I be one of your burning lights.
    So please Lord for You, let me burn,
    As I patiently wait foy your return.

    Lynn I Sicard Oct. 16,1998

  8. Kathy permalink

    This is such a wonderful lesson. These days, complaining is one of many people’s favorite pastimes. They don’t know how to converse without the fine art of complaining. Thank you for the great reminder.

  9. Sherry Rogers permalink

    Like the song goes…
    Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…

    Then the commercial…
    We’ll leave the light on…

  10. Nikky permalink

    Thanks for this reminder. I have been so engrossed with the issues of my life and my job that I am no longer bothered about what the next man is thinking

  11. Laurel permalink

    Funny God’s timing. I was coming to work this morning with my daughter (who works at the same company) and I said a nasty remark about a co-worker who dislikes me. She snapped at me about my negative attitude and gossiping about this person. I got upset about her correcting me but then I read your devotional :). Ok God…forgive me for my attitude and help me to keep smiling, as is my USUAL custom!

    Thank you Mark!

  12. Mark! I like the way you put yourself into the scripture. You show that your not above us all. It is easy to see our selves in the scripture when,you admit you can fail too.It makes me try harder when i see a preacher admit he can fail to at times. Thank you so much Mark for your insight on the scriptures GOD BLESS”

  13. Marla permalink

    Thank you Mark for re-focusing my day. You are bright light in my world, everyday! And Lynn….that is beautiful!

  14. Rose Beverly permalink

    I am going through a very difficult time, a mountain of financial obligations without the means to solve in sight, then our office was burned down. One could think that the world is upon me, but I am still able to smile Mark. It might not solve my problem, yes but it sure lighten the burden. I do believe that all things will turn out well.

  15. Ashley permalink

    Thank you for this amazing passage and message Mark!
    There is a sad and anger filled girl in my class who has been hurting a lot of people lately. Sometimes I am tempted to say evil things back to her, but I just smile and say something friendly instead. It makes a big difference!
    ♥ God Bless!

  16. Lydia Reyes permalink

    A smile, a kind word, even a hug makes a difference to someone who is hurting May the light of Christ shine upon us ,that we may be a reflection of the great God we serve. Mark, Thank you for another wonderful message.

  17. Sister Pam OP permalink

    One friendly comment or smile has the ability to make a huge difference in a person’s life. Why do we have such a problem doing this? Let’s pass the Light around the world.

  18. marti permalink

    I look forward to each post from you Mark. This one is especially touching to me. I have several people in my life right now that are not smiling. I have been trying to be inspirational to them. I am not sure it has reached them or not. I post things on my face book page in hopes they will read it and be touched by it and people I never dreamed of leave me answers to my postings that the post are so touching and to keep it up. Just reading your post helps me to find the words and passages to use with my love ones and friends. Thank you God for sending Mark my way. Thank You Mark.

  19. Joanne Heatley permalink

    Thanks Mark for this wonderful passage!

    I seem to have little opportunity to actually verbally share the gospel but lots of opportunity to show the love of God. I’m glad that by doing this i’m actually fulfilling Jesus’ command to go preach the gospel to the world. Of course when there is an opportunity to mention my connection to Jesus and His love I pray that I boldly proclaim it but this passage has spoken peace to my heart. x x

  20. teresa henley permalink

    all my life people has told me “you are always smiling” a smile goes a long way with people, when i am down one person can smile at me and i feel there is hope

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