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Red Sea Clear // Praise & Shine

The other day, I was thinking of the Israelites at the Red Sea. They had the sea before them and the Egyptians behind them. And rather than praying for their path to be clear, they complained. Of course, God parted the Red Sea, and they walked on dry ground. When the Egyptians followed in pursuit, the sea closed, and the enemy was defeated. God delivered the Israelites out of the hands of the Egyptians.

By all accounts, this was a miracle. It was clear. I call it ‘Red Sea Clear.’ They must have known that when the sea cleared and the ground was dry, God wanted them to go that way. It WAS God’s will. Wouldn’t it be nice if every time we wanted to know God’s will, He made it ‘Red Sea Clear?’

When the Israelites made it to the other side, they praised God, singing, worshiping, and thanking God for the miracle He just performed. But before too long, they started complaining again. How quickly we forget God’s grace.

We should try singing, praising, and thanking God before the sea is parted. Thank God in advance, “Lord, I know you are going to part this Red Sea. I know this, because you promised it in your Word. And I know you can’t break your Word, or your promise. I wan’t to thank you now for what You are going to do.”

When the Israelites praised, it wasn’t in faith, it was in relief. We need praise in faith being the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that have not yet happened. And when the Red Sea parts and you see the dry ground, don’t just walk, run out in faith.

The Righteous Shall Live By Faith // Praise & Shine

The righteous will live by faith. (Habakkuk 2:4) This is perhaps the most important connection between two words in the Bible.

Righteousness and faith.

To be righteous means that you are right with God. You know what it feels like when your relationship with another person is just right. Nothing can stand between you, and you always do right by each other. With God, that’s called righteous, and in the Bible, it’s the only way to heaven.

“But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.'” Galatians 3:10.

The problem is we can never live to the standard of righteousness set by God.

“So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law…” Galatians 3:11.

So God made a way to reconcile us.

“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hong on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoinge…” Galatians 3:13.

Jesus paid for our sins, to break the curse, and make us righteous. Right with God by faith in Jesus. The righteous shall live by faith.

Gratitude // Praise & Shine

With everything we have in our daily lives, it is easy to overlook all the amazing things God is doing for us. A Christian living a life of gratitude expresses thankfulness and praise.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Displaying gratitude is a distinguishing quality of Christians, but there are positive health benefits too. Practicing gratitude increases dopamine levels in our brain, making us feel good and encouraging us to seek more of the same. The more we are grateful for, the more we will find things to be grateful for.

Serve // Praise & Shine

We will continue the theme of serving the kingdom this week.

Jesus tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:7 that we are all given at least one spiritual gift. Our spiritual gifts are specific ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives according to God’s purpose. These gifts, along with our interests, abilities, hobbies, likes, and dislikes, come together to form who we are and how we participate in the work God is doing all around us.

These gifts, however, aren’t just for ourselves. We’re called to use them to serve others as good stewards of God’s grace (1 Peter 4:10). God takes who He made us to be and matches it with the needs of others.

As we continue to grow, we’ll naturally develop deep care for other people. Our attention will turn away from our own needs to the needs of others (Galatians 5:13).

The Gospel is enacted through local churches all around the world. It is through actions like opening doors, holding babies, pouring coffee, and praying for others that we discover how we are made and how the Lord can use us.

We should also serve outside the church, meeting the needs of others where they are. Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen. As you serve outside the church, you may be the only piece of Jesus that others see in their day.

By serving others, we are awarded the opportunity to know more about who God made us to be. We learn our likes and dislikes. What we can and can’t do well. God will fill in the picture as we discover more about ourselves. He will continue to grow us while He uses us to meet the needs of others.

Light & Salt // Praise & Shine

Jesus paid the ultimate price for humanity’s sins through his death on the cross (Romans 5:8), paving the way for those who believe and repent, not only to experience forgiveness for sin but also eternal salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

“And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

This is the good news of Jesus and he commands his followers to share it with the whole world.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Whether it’s in your immediate circles, neighborhoods, or globally, we are commissioned to share the good news of what Jesus Christ has done, is still doing, and will continue to do.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

More than just light, Christ’s followers are also called to be the “salt” of the earth, preserving a world that would quickly turn rancid and corrupt without the saving grace and love of Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:13).

This means:

  • Loving their neighbors (Mark 12:30-31); Taking care of the poor (Deuteronomy 15:11).
  • Feeding the hungry (Isaiah 58:10); Clothing the needy (1 John 3:17).
  • Being hospitable to strangers (Matthew 25:35); Healing the sick (Luke 10:9, James 5:14).
  • Forgiving others (Matthew 6:14-15); Promoting justice and mercy (Micah 6:8).
  • Promoting peace (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18); Caring for the captive, the prisoner, and the oppressed (Hebrews 13:3, Matthew 25:36).
  • Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

This is the purpose of the church and the power of Christ’s disciples, we are not just receivers of the gospel but participants in it. We are truly the hands and feet of a living Jesus who is still active in saving the world.