Tag Archives: city on a hill

Giving Off Light

Our cell phones are becoming like Swiss Army knives. You can talk, text, search for answers, use as your Bible, play music, take pictures and record videos. They do all of that, yet one of the things I’m most thankful for is that someone figured out that you can turn the camera’s flash into a flashlight. I’m getting to the age where I have to use my phone’s flashlight to read the menu in a nice restaurant or walk through a dimly lit place. I never thought I would use the flashlight as much as I do, but having a readily accessible light whenever I need it comes in quite handy. There’s more times than I can count that I’ve needed it’s light to help me see a message or to help me get where I’m going.

I don’t know if Jesus would have used a cell phone as His example if He were to give the Sermon on the Mount today, but it’s possible. As He stood on a hill beside the Sea of Galilee teaching the people, I’m sure He looked out across it and saw little towns on the sides of the other hills as He said, “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” (Matthew 5:14-15 NLT). Are you and I lighting the way for others to find God? Do our lives give enough light for them to see His message written on our hearts?

When Jesus gave this sermon, the lights in these cities He was pointing at came from lamps that held oil. I was given one on my last trip to Israel. I came home, put oil in it and lit the wick. They give off decent light, but I’ve found that you have to keep filling it with oil if you want it to keep working. You and I can’t be the light He’s called us to be unless we are continually refilling our lives with the oil of His presence and His Word. The power of the light doesn’t come from the clay lamp, but the oil. In the same way, our flesh is simply the holder of the oil, but we must be on fire for Him and continually do the things that puts oil in our lamps. There is a world full of people stumbling around in the darkness who are depending on you and me to be the light God has called us to be. Make sure you’re living for Him in the open where all can see.

Photo by Gadiel Lazcano on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Finding God


Have you ever had to find your way around in the dark? Even if you’re in a familiar place, when the electricity goes out, you still bump into things. When it’s pitch black, and you can’t see your hand in front of your face, you have to feel your way around so you don’t get hurt or break anything. I usually do the zombie walk. You know the one where your hands are out front of you. I’m hoping that I feel something familiar and can follow it to my destination. I know I’m not far away, but there are obstacles along my path.

This world is a dark place, but you and I have been called to be light like a city set on a hill that can’t be hidden. Even though this world is familiar to all of us who live on it, many are wandering around it in spiritual darkness. Some choose to stay where they are, while others are feeling their way around. It’s up to us to help them find their way to God. We are the ones who are to lead them to their destination. God is not far from any one of us.

That was Paul’s message to the Greeks. They were a people who were feeling around looking for God, but in the process created many gods. Paul saw their longing to find the one true God and spoke to them in Acts 17:27. He said, “His (God’s) purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him – though He is not far from any one of us” (NLT). Man has always had a need to look beyond himself to find God.

Even today, according to the Washington Post, more than 8 in 10 people worldwide worship a god. That’s because God created all of us with a desire to search beyond ourselves for significance and purpose. As Christians, we’ve got to step out of our churches, our homes and places of comfort to be the light God has called us to be so we can help people who are feeling their way around find God. He is not far from any of us. We just have to be willing to be used in helping the lost find Him.

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