Apples of Gold

Index Page

 

Let your light so shine before men

‘Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and out it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; 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: 13 – 16

 

I could not help but laugh when the kids came home from school the other night and they cried in unison, “Ma, this place stinks!”

The night before they had all enjoyed their kippers. In fact if they polished their plates every night as they did that night our cat and dog would be the skinniest in the village! Our squad love kippers, yet the odour left from cooking them is difficult to shift, especially in a confined place like ours. What made me laugh is what my kids would have thought had the witnessed my Granny’s old stove and the rows upon rows of ‘cured’ fish that used to hang in her shed for weeks on end.

Her kitchen was never without rough salt. Fish was plentiful in those days however without fridges and freezers the difficulty lay in storage. Fresh fish was put into barrels and packed tightly with rough salt, then stored in the shed until it was needed. Some types of fish were rubbed in salt then hung up along a ‘washing line’ inside the shed. It may be months before they would be used and to me they looked like old bits of leather. The older folk however ‘drooled’ at the prospect of such delicacies.

I witnessed the same type of curing process travelling through Hungary in the early nineties. Row upon row of cuts of red meat hung in roadside stalls awaiting customers. No matter the heat, the meat always looked red and fresh and this was down to the preparation done with the salt.

It is not always easy for us to shine as Christians. There is no doubt that some days are better than others, yet we strive for a ‘constant’ walk and a constant shining. If we are the salt of the earth then we have a ‘curing’ property that is of great benefit to the earth and its inhabitants.

Called and chosen by God, we will hold our savour and will not be trodden underfoot. We will persevere and last went others faint and fail simply because God has chosen us in Christ from the foundation of the world, and none of His shall be lost. We may not have much confidence in our own ability to last the course, but we should be absolutely and fully persuaded of the Lord’s Will to save His own. ‘Not a hoof shall be left behind.’

There is hardly a day that passes that we falter or stumble along the way. We slip and slide, sometimes backwards. Sometimes we may even fall causing shame to our families, friends but most of all to His Cause. We cannot but marvel at the number of times that He stoops to lift us up. He is always there for us, though often we may ‘feel’ abandoned, He is not far from anyone of us.

It is with the confidence of knowing that we have been chosen in Christ Jesus prior to us even taking our first breath in this world that should encourage us to shine for Him. We are daily discouraged by our constant sinning, yet the blood that cleanses us from sin is great than any or all sin that we will ever commit. We are sinners, hence the need of a Saviour! The price of our redemption has been paid in full. The ultimate sacrifice for sin has been made and accepted by God. There is perfect redemption for all sinners who believe in Jesus.

Jesus is the Light of the world. We are found complete in Him. He is our refuge and our strength, in straits a present aid. He is our shelter from the storm. He is our hiding place. He is our Salvation. We were crucified with Him, therefore it is not longer us that live but Christ in us. All our vain and hopeless attempts to appease God died with Him. We no longer walk in our own strength, we walk in Him. We walk in the Light!

If we walk in the Light then there is no doubt that we shall shine. Our battle is to stay united to Him at all times. The truth of the matter is, that come what may, we ARE united to Him forever. We may not ‘feel’ as though we are, but that does not disguise the reality. We may have days on end when we are simply not aware of His presence or favour, yet still we must abide. The branches of the Vine must be connected to the True Vine in order to live and to bear fruit.

Let us abide in Him. Let us be immersed in Christ. Let us decrease in order that He may increase. May we be steadfast in our desire to dwell in the Light and to reflect Him whom our soul loves.

Little do we grasp the love that the Bridegroom has for His bride. We did not choose Him, He chose us and He gave His life for us. This is one marriage that was indeed made in heaven and will last through all eternity.

It is not every day that we can rejoice or that we ‘feel’ like rejoicing, yet do our icy souls not melt within us as we think on these things? Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for me!

 

‘I prayed for strength, and then I lost awhile

All sense of nearness, human and divine;

The love I leaned on failed and pierced my heart,

The hands I clung to loosed themselves from mine;

But while I swayed, weak, trembling, and alone,

The everlasting arms upheld my own.

 

I prayed for light; the sun went down in clouds,

The moon was darkened by a misty doubt,

The stars of heaven were dimmed by earthly fears,

And all my little candle flames burned out,

But while I sat in shadow, wrapped in night

The face of Christ made all the darkness bright.

 

I prayed for peace, and dreamed of restful ease,

A slumber drugged from pain, a hushed repose

Above my head the skies were black with storm

And fiercer grew the onslaught of my foes;

But while the battle raged, and wild winds blew

I heard His voice and perfect peace I knew.

 

I thank Thee, Lord, Thou wert too wise to heed

My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought

Since these rich gifts Thy bounty has bestowed

Have brought me more than all I asked or thought;

Giver of good, so answer each request

With Thine own giving, better then my best.’