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Paradise Road – Story of Shining Your Light

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You are the light of the world…let your light shine before menJohn 5:16

Someone told me that we influence at least 250 people during our lifetime. (I was told this number was chosen because this is how many people usually show up at a funeral.) Today, with the Internet connecting us with more people, I believe our influence is much greater.

I recently watched a true story  video called, Paradise Road. It told of a woman who used her influence and training to give a group of women hope, courage, peace, unity and a reason to keep living.

The women were prisoners of war. They came from diverse backgrounds – high society and farmers. They were from different countries. At first they didn’t trust each other, but as life became more difficult for them, they began to work together.

God used one woman in an amazing way. With her music and organizational abilities, she united the women to form an orchestra and patiently taught them how to use their voices to sound like instruments. Soon they were able to create a beautiful concert.

She gave them something beautiful to focus on besides their own misery and their horrific surroundings. Every day women died at the hands of their captors or from disease, but the group was able to keep going because of her courage.

There were, of course, some women who wouldn’t join the choir and watched from afar, but most followed her.

Over half the women in the choir died. One day, when they were having yet another funeral procession, one of the guards asked her, “Where is your choir now?”

Instead of letting his remark discourage her, she picked up two rocks and began banging out a rhythm. Soon others followed her example, using sticks, shoes – whatever they could find. They were an orchestra again and were encouraged. Even those who usually sat and watched joined in the music.

Finally the war was over and they were set free. This woman had given them hope, courage, and even joy by inspiring them to make something beautiful in dire circumstances.

You are like this woman when Jesus Christ controls your life,

You shine like stars…as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:15).

You help women see something beautiful in life, no matter the circumstances. You are the light of the world.

Think for a moment about the people you influence. The ones you meet at your local coffee shop, the grocery store, clothing store and online, as well as your neighbors, coworkers, church and family. God can use you to help introduce people you know to Christ, the One who brings light into our souls and eyes. Why not point them to the gospel in the related article below.

Father of light, we thank You that You place joy, hope, light and a reason to keep living in our hearts. Give us the courage to spread that light to everyone with whom we come into contact. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
Used by Permission

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


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Forgiven

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I do not write this lightly, I’ve lived it and learned (slowly at times) that the way we forgive people who have deeply hurt us is nowhere close to the forgiveness with which God forgives us.

As I have repeatedly read the story of Joseph’s reconciliation (Genesis 37-50) with his brothers, I have been moved each time by the deep compassion and mercy he extended to his brothers. He taught us a valuable and beautiful lesson on forgiveness.

We don’t know how long it took him to reach that level of forgiveness after his brothers plotted to murder him, tossed him into a pit, and then sold him into slavery. In my personal opinion, I doubt it was early on because the hurt was so fresh and deep at that time. Maybe it was a work God accomplished in his heart through a slow and gradual process over the many years he was falsely imprisoned.

Maybe it was when he was released from prison and saw the enormous responsibility and position God had placed him in. Maybe his heart was opened then to a deeper understanding of God’s ways, as He learned God’s assignment for him was to save the people from famine.

Whenever it was that the healing work of forgiveness took place in Joseph’s heart, I am thankful that he obediently humbled himself and allowed God to bring this about in him. I have seen many people resist God’s work of forgiveness in their lives, and the result is always bitterness. Sometimes it is a very evident, outwardly visible root of bitterness. Sometimes it is a hidden, pushed down, denied form of bitterness, and yet it still spills forth in the life of the unforgiving person.

The evidence of genuine forgiveness was displayed when Joseph was reunited with his brothers and he didn’t condemn them.  He wept and cried and assured them that what they meant for evil, God meant for good. He took care of them and re-established relationship with them.

When others have deeply hurt and betrayed us, may we find it in our hearts to forgive as God forgives, as God taught Joseph to forgive, and as Stephen forgave those who stoned him (Acts 6 and 7). Stephen’s story is compelling beyond words. With his dying breath, he forgave those who were taking his life.

Following the example of Joseph, Stephen, and Jesus Christ, may we hold no charge against our offenders and betrayers and toss their offense ‘as far as the east is from the west’ (Psalm 103:12). God wants us to give mercy to others as He has been merciful to us. He wants us to forgive as we have been forgiven.

Colossians 3:12b-13 teaches us to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

By Kathy Cheek
Used by Permission
From: Devotions from the Heart

WE WOULD LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS.

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Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/kath-cheek_forgiven/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


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