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http://bible.com/116/mat.5.14-16.nlt
You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Life Application Devotional
Can you hide a city that is sitting on top of a hill? Its light at night can be seen for miles. If we live for Christ, we will glow like lights, showing others what Christ is like. We hide our light by (1) being quiet when we should speak, (2) going along with the crowd, (3) denying the light, (4) letting sin dim our light, (5) not explaining our light to others, or (6) ignoring the needs of others. Be a beacon of truth-don’t shut your light off from the rest of the world.

Observation
We are on vacation this week with family.  We are talking a break from our normal work and circles of people. We get to play games with our daughter, all kinds of new games. But she’s 4 and a half now,  so no more peek-a-boo. It’s all new games as she grows and learns new things each year,  the vacations change little by little. And it’s very different from the precise schedule of our busy week of life at home.

During this vacation, we might even be tempted to take a break from sharing the gospel, a “break from ministry”, but what an opportunity might be missed! When we are on vacation,  surrounded by circles of people we normally do not interact with in places where people gather from diverse places – how much of an opportunity does that provide for us to scatter seed across a wider swath of land than to send it along with them when they had back home.

How tempting it might me to take our hand away from the plow and rest,  but at what cost? How great of an opportunity might be missed for territories to be expanded, for us to see evidence of even little me making disciples of the nation

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s?

And shining our light doesn’t have to be standing on the street corner preaching the Word of God, because to be effective,  we need to be all things to all men. But it can be things like not chasing every beach bound body with your eyes in lust. It can be unashamedly and without a second thought reading your Bible by the side of the pool during breaks between playing hard and lovingly with your family. It can be playing music by the pool and being just as excited and energetic about the praise songs that we include in the mix as we are about the secular ones. It can be meeting others and getting to know them and making new friends. It can be helping someone carry their stuff to their car when we see them heavily laden. It can be offering a smile and encouragement to a parent visible frazzled by a frustrated child. It can be seeing past the hurtful or unfair behavior of others towards you and your family and instead offering love and sharing and acceptance and kindness, which becomes a visible witness to either humble those in opposition or to encourage onlookers.

Yes, there are so many opportunities that arise when we are equipped and ready. When we are unashamed and are bold and focused primarily on glorifying God with our lives. There are opportunities for love without judgement.

And don’t think that I am bragging about how good of a job my family is at demonstrating this. No,  I fear that we will fail far more than we see success. I fear that people will only see that one time my eyes wander – that one time that a song has a word or message that is imperfect – that one time that I scowl when a family lies to our face as they walk away with a stolen toy from my child – that one time that I am tired and do not give my daughter the attention she is craving. If I’m wanting them to see me, I can expect that is what they will see. Another hypocrite, another fair weather Christian, another holier than thou Christ T-shirt wearer whose words and actions betray their imperfecti

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ons.

But if I don’t provide a demonstration of the Christ’s truth and love in me, isn’t that all they are going to see anyways? If I don’t allow Christ to shine through my life, won’t I just be conformed to the ways of this world and there be no visible difference, no testimony in my life?

So no,  I don’t want to manufacture some false faith so that others might he’s about Jesus. I don’t want to teach people about an empty religious life so that I can claim another victim of “religious conversion”. Because if I’m doing this under my own power,  it is useless and fruitless. Death stinks no matter how much perfume we spray to mask it.

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But if we are living a life seeking Christ 51 weeks out of the year, we don’t hide the light just because we are in unfamiliar territory or with strange and unknown people. These are the very people that aren’t preconceived about who we are because they have known or past lives before the touch of the Holy Spirit upon our lives. A prophet knows no honor in his hometown,  so rejoice at the opportunities when you are traveling in new lands and circles,  Child of God. Because if you are fruitful and your branches are full,  you will meet others who are not. You will meet others who are both thirsty and hungry and who may not have a circle of people in their daily lives who have Christ alive inside them to share the light and to plant seeds and water them.

So it is important to not only be prepared so that we are genuine in our example,  but it is important that we are bold enough to shine forth unashamedly even amongst strangers. Not concerned about being labeled as hypocrites or as Bible beaters if they only see us in the flesh,  but hoping that they might catch a glimpse of the all important,  spiritual presence of Christ who lives in us, and who is undeniably manifest in the love that we have and show towards others – in the hunger that we have for the Lord, even in the midst of our shortcomings.

Call to Action
Let His will be done in our actions and our lives today. And if it is a threat to our humility and would result in our pride, let us not even be aware of how our example of loving you first and serving others is touching the world around us. If we would be tempted into anything other than bringing you honor and glory,  Lord, help us to resist, and prove your Word faithful that the evil will flee from us.

Strengthen us to be bold and unashamed of your gospel truth, strange and separated enough to be recognized as the salt and the light of this earth, but not so different as to be thought of as inaccessible or pious. Let your love shining through in our lives be something to be desired and longed for so that others won’t just be drawn to or driven away from us,  but so that they might know the Lord more perfectly.

Remind us that each day, each moment is valuable. Both in the task at hand and in preparation for what lies ahead. Let’s remember the importance of both being ready,  and making ourselves ready.