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Saturday, January 31

In this hour of darkness, it's OUR TIME to Shine...

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bears rule, the people mourn."  (Proverbs 29:2)

Jesus tells us:
"Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candle-stick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."  (Matthew 5:14-16)

On the nights of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the hearts of those who know and love God were sickened.  For the body of Christ in America, I would be willing to say that, the general consensus of those two elections could be summed up thusly, "The hour we have feared has now come upon us."
For the first time in our nation's history, the majority of the American people have elected a person who, by most indicators, boldly stands for what God stands against.  However, as deceptive as this president's campaigns and terms have been, we cannot allow ourselves, even by our own righteous indignation, to be disqualified from helping those whose lives have been, and are being, terribly hurt by this administration’s assault on the very people that they were sworn to serve and protect.  It's our time to shine the Light of Christ!
For those who hunger for God, who uphold righteousness, who cast their votes for the closest to godly candidates, who are in favor of raising the standard of what's right for the American people, they will be blessed.  For those who have allowed their hearts to become hardened toward God and His Word and His ways, they will suffer loss.  As the moral state of our nation erodes, I believe there will be countless new opportunities arise for those who WANT God to rise up FOR God.  While those who continue in righteousness will be provided for in miraculous ways, countless thousands of those who voted for candidates who stand against God and His Laws will increasingly suffer.  It is for this reason that we must not allow bitterness and anger to enter our hearts toward those who vote for those who stand against God and His Ways.  Allowing bitterness and anger into our hearts would disqualify us from participating in this historic opportunity to reach them for Christ.
This is not a time for discouragement or bitter, angry words.  You see, it is impossible for God to be overtaken or over thrown in any way!  Let the miraculous testimonies of God's greatness be in our lives and on our lips!  Rejoice and be exceedingly happy because now is our time to shine!  Never forget, when sin abounds, God's grace does MUCH MORE abound!
"Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.  But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Romans 5:18-21; with emphasis added)
When darkness increases around us, the light that is within us will shine brighter and brighter.  But we must walk humbly with God.  "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."  (Romans 13:11-12)
The final pruning has begun, and we have been given the wake-up call.  Will the Lord return and find us sleeping in the night, or will He come and find us watching and ready?  If we are to be found ready, then let us "cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."  (Romans 13:12)  The works of darkness characterize those who are not walking with God, because the works of Light are performed by those who have put on the Armor of Light.  Jesus is that Light and it is His Armor we are supposed to be wearing!
Remember, too, that since it is His Armor, we can only use it effectively through the Spirit.  We can never succeed on our own merit or by our own efforts.  God wants us to succeed, and He waits for us to enter into His presence with singing.  Before that can occur, we need to honestly assess our spiritual condition.  We cannot shine the glorious Light, if our hearts are cluttered with sin, including carrying with us the cares of this life.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."  (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The Great Cloud of Witnesses in Heaven is watching as we run the race of faith - the Greatest Race of all.  Our Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.  So, as we keep our eyes on Him -the Author and Finisher of our faith- let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that God has set before us.  For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The moment when we see our Savior face to face is drawing ever-near.
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."  (2 Peter 1:10-11)
Do you like the sound of those words?  Do you desire an abundant entrance "into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"?  You should, and the Lord desires it for you as well, because this is the eternal election.  So give diligence to make your calling and election sure, and in the Apostle Peter's words "do these things" which he described as follows...
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity."  (2 Peter 1:3-7)
God, by His Divine Power, has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.  We receive these through the Knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Also, through Jesus we have received His "exceeding great and precious promises".  And, by the fulfillment of these promises, we partake of the Divine Nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Did you catch what I just said?  Think on these things again, and again, and again… continually.  Through Jesus we are made partakers of the Divine Nature!  How easy it is to get caught up in the affairs of this life, or to be overwhelmed by any number of circumstances.  God says, rise above them all through the power of Jesus Christ!  Give all diligence in adding virtue (praiseworthy conduct) to your faith; "and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity."  (2 Peter 1:7)
What is “charity” and why is it essential for shining the light of Christ in the world?  I have heard it said that charity is just another word for “love”.  Though it is a kind of love, the meaning of what we know “love” to be is nowhere near on the same level with “charity”.  In order to understand "charity", we must first get understanding of the "love" that GOD has for His Children that is enormous beyond our comprehension, at this point.  There is only one way to get this understanding.  And that is by diligently seeking God, Himself.  Scripture tells us that God is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  So, what exactly is the "reward" for seeking Him?  It is God, Himself!  The Scripture also says that He, God, is our exceeding great Reward.  It is only when we seek, or pursue, God, with our whole heart, that we will be able to make our way into "One-ness" with God, as Jesus prayed in the garden.  We find in Psalm 100:4 the KEY for making our way into that "one-ness" with God.  The verse explains how we must enter His Gates with thanksgiving and His Courts with praise, making *Gratitude to God* the prerequisite for discovering Who He IS, thereby discovering who we are, as His children.  The "one-ness" we seek is the natural result of our coming to the place of knowing Him, and seeing through His eyes the enormity of His Love for us.  By entering "IN-to" the place of "one-ness", by way of gratitude for Him as Our Father, we then can see the enormity of His Love that comes as the result of seeing through His eyes, from our intimate position "IN Him".  Having and giving gratitude to God, for Who He IS more than for what He DOES, is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g here because it begins the process of moving to be "IN Him” or in "one-ness" with Him. It is from that place of being "IN Him", being ever-grateful for Who He IS, that we are naturally positioned to see ourselves, as only He see us, through His eyes.
When we, for the first time, see ourself the way God sees us, we catch the life-changing glimpse of the enormity of God's Love for each and every one of the His people, each as individuals, as He created us.  Once we have seen ourself in the unique way as only can be seen through the eyes of God, the way we see God, ourselves, and others causes a total paradigm shift in the way that we had always perceived God, ourselves, and others before that moment in time.  The kind of love that we see, with our own eyes, flowing out of God, literally changes us IN AN INSTANT.  The enormity of God's Love toward us, or "Charity", is such that the human mind is not wired to perceive it, therefore, until that exact moment, we could never have even imagined it!  I refer to that ultimate love God has as a "silken tsunami".  Your eyes could never be opened, even remotely, to anything more enormous than that LOVE you finally now see; God's LOVE for you, and God's LOVE for others. 
Let me explain this in a different way.  Until you have experienced the unfathomable degree by which God loves and celebrates you, as an individual, you cannot begin to understand the degree by which He loves and celebrates others.  By the Person of The Holy Spirit, we are able to go beyond the limitations of our human understanding.  Without the Person of The Holy Spirit, we are cut off from God.  It is only when The Holy Spirit provides us the ability to see God that we are able to be exposed to the enormity of God, Himself, and experience being overwhelmed by the love that God has for you.  Once His Love has overwhelmed you, then you become able to consider how overwhelming His Love also is for other individuals. 
The Person of The Holy Spirit reveals to what is incomparable, and nearly overwhelming, to anything you had ever been taught about Him before.  Only when we behold with our own eyes, by the Person of The Holy Spirit leading us to God, can we see His Love for us, as an individual.  Once we have seen His Love for us, the complacency that we had developed toward others becomes utterly vaporized.  The unfathomably extreme joy, that we now have seen for ourselves, is what we now can identify, and look for, as the extreme love God holds for every other individual as well.  That is the primary symptom of the paradigm shift I mentioned above.  The term you have heard from many in the church that identifies the moment, as we just described, is “being born again”.
It is when we have personally witnessed the immensity of the type of "love" that God has for His Children that we come to understand that this “love” is much more powerful than what we have known love as human beings to be.  The name used to describe this form of love that God has for His Children is “charity”.
Now, when we couple “charity” with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance (self-control), patience, godliness, brotherly kindness abounding in our heart, then "the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God" will SHINE unto those around us.  (see 2 Corinthians 4:4)  Then we will have the ability to play the part God has for us to play in these last days before Christ Jesus returns.  Only by “charity” (the love of God) flowing through us, are we going to be able to win the hearts and minds of those who have been swept away in the tide of Godlessness - the reason people vote for candidates who do not live according to God’s Word or His Ways.
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."  (2 Corinthians 4:6)  Remember always that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."  (2 Corinthians 4:7)  It's our time to shine the Light of Christ!
Thank you for reading this blog message that flows from our heart's passion for God, His written and spoken Word, and His People.  We pray that something we share fans the flame in your heart to "reach for God" in greater ways than ever.
To Show GOD BIG in a World that Sees Him small…  sums up the reason the two of us, Keith and Brenda, stepped out in faith to focus on reaching the lost and strengthening believers everywhere, through Toward The Mark, Inc.  Our prayer, along with the entire team of this ministry, is that you will be encouraged and edified by the Secrets from God's Word that we share through Keith’s written and recorded accounts. The complete collection of original podcasts, music, Blogs, books, CDs, and other resources of Toward The Mark, Inc. are made possible by the prayer and financial contributions of the TTM Support Family.  We'd like to welcome you on-board TODAY!

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