Christine Caine - Arise and Shine, Part 1
We are the light of the world and you don't have to hide that light. Yes, it's going to be challenging. We need to work hard to rebuild. But God is with us. God will continue to bless and prosper us. God still has an assignment for us. Our job is not to hide but to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. This is a new day, our God is doing a new thing. We are invited to this adventure. This is our time such as this. I don't believe it's an accident that you've tuned in to today's episode of "Equip and Empower". We can all experience moments and seasons where we feel fragile, burned out, and unsure of how to move forward and deal with the pain of the previous season. But today I want to help you see the future with a fresh perspective and experience the healing touch of God for the trauma of your past. So let's get started. This is a word that's going to give you hope today.
Hey, everyone, I am so grateful that you've joined us again today I know that God has a word in season for you. You haven't tuned in by accident. I believe this is God's divine design for you. Now Nick and I and our girls we just came back from an incredible ski trip in Colorado. Now for me, I've got to admit, I didn't get on those skis because a few years ago I had this massive ski accident where I ended up in the back of an ambulance and I had to have a hamstring graft and I had so many injuries to my knee. I did so many things to my knee I couldn't walk, literally, for months. And so I like to go to the mountains to enjoy the snow, I like to looking at it while I'm sitting in front of a fire drinking hot chocolate, I'm happy for my girls to ski, I'm happy for Nick to ski, but every time I look at it what I think about is all of the trauma and the pain of my ski accident several years ago.
Well, why am I saying that? Because for many of us 2020 seemed like my ski accident. I mean, it was just one of those things where you felt like I had one trigger, one trauma, one event after the other. We had a global pandemic. We had economic challenges, racial injustices, political upheaval. Life seemed to throw us totally off balance. And so many of us, if we're honest, we have felt so much pain, so much loss, so much grief and confusion, and we stepped into 2021 and we were fragile, we had this sense of a blurred vision, we really couldn't see ahead of us, and we felt injured, just like I did on the mountain when I fell.
Well, today I want to help us to revision. You go, Christine, what do you mean? Well, a lot of us, because of the trauma and the pain and the injury and the hurt and the suffering and the loss and the grief of last year, we lost our sense of vision. We couldn't see in front of us. And we've stepped into a new year and, if we're honest, we're still not seeing clearly. And I want to help us today to revision, to see again, to look at the future with a sense of a fresh perspective. So many of us, we've lost our perspective, we've lost that sense of freshness, that sense of, God, where are you? That sense of looking into the future with hope and faith and expectation and anticipation. You see, you and I, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be the church. We are called to be salt and light on this earth. And if we can't see, how can we illuminate the path for anyone else?
So in a world that is full of darkness, that is living without this sense of true north, that is feeling helpless and hopeless, it is our job as the church of Jesus Christ to step into the fray and to lead decisively and with confidence and with strength and to illuminate the darkness. The light of Christ that shines in us, we want that light to shine through us into a lost and a broken world. Our world needs peace. Our world needs hope. Our world needs purpose. And we ought to bring the passion of God into our world. You and I are here on purpose and for a purpose. Now I know there has been such massive upheaval not just in 2020 but over the last few years on the planet. But I want to remind you today your God is still on the throne. Your God is still in control. God has placed us on this planet at this specific time in history to outwork his purposes.
Now we might feel a little bit bloodied and bruised and injured and hurt, but I want to remind us today that we were born for such a time as this, that God has filled us with his spirit and he has equipped us with his word to be a part of the answer on the earth in this season. You know in the book of Acts we read in Acts 17:26, the Bible says that from one man he has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. Do you understand that? That God chose us and that God has placed us exactly where we need to be in this hour in history to do exactly what he has called us to do. You and I, we are God's plan A.
Now I don't know if that freaks you out, but it is absolutely astounding to me. Now this is not a time for you and I to pull back or to step back or to sit down. This is a time for us to remember that the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives on the inside of us, and guess what? Because the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives on the inside of us, then you and I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. I want to remind us today that we can do hard things with the strength of God. In fact, Jesus can do impossible things in and through us. Now, despite what the naysayers are saying, God is positioning his church to be the answer on the earth in this hour. You know, it's interesting to me, I travel so much across the breadth of the body of Christ and people say to me everywhere I go, "Christine, look at the statistics. Look at the statistics that indicate that the church is declining. People are leaving the church. People are deconstructing their faith. People no longer have faith. Christianity is irrelevant in the 21st century".
You know, the naysayers may be saying that, but Jesus Christ said, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church of the living God". I believe that we are on the verge of the greatest revival that we have ever seen. This is revival time, this is harvest time. We've come through so much darkness and God says, "I want you to shine your light". Look up. Look up to the harvest, it's plentiful. It's just the laborers are few. And I think there's been an awakening where we again are becoming passionate about what God has called us to do on the earth throughout history, church. In the times of the greatest periods of darkness and hopelessness and helplessness and despair, God has a habit of turning up and showing off. When everyone thinks that God has forgotten us, he brings times of refreshing and times of revival. The light shines brightest when everything is dark.
Now we're living in dark and difficult times and it's precisely because of that fact that every bit of light shines even brighter. It matters. Everything that you do for the glory of God, it matters. God has awakened us afresh I believe in this season to the needs of the world around us and it is time for revival to hit the streets and to see his will done here on earth as it is in heaven. Now some of us, we're asleep. Some of us, we're indifferent. Some of us, we're distracted. But this last year, man, it's put us all on the same page. It's been a reawakening to the plans and to the purposes of God. We are remembering our kingdom assignments and our kingdom purpose. We're focusing on the eternal and not temporal things anymore. We're realizing afresh that this world is not our home, that we are citizens of heaven and residents of planet earth. That we are here to see his kingdom come and his will be done, where? Here on earth as it is in heaven.
We're realizing again that we are in a spiritual battle, that we do not fight against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities. And we are understanding the importance of community and gathering and having healthy local churches. We're understanding again the necessity of scripture on which to ground our life on and as the source of truth, and the need of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be who God has called us to be and to do what God has called us to do. We're discovering again the need to stay connected to God through prayer at all times. The fact is we can't do all of this on our own. We need God. And if this global pandemic and times of quarantine have taught us anything, we've realized that we need to deal with attitudes of our hearts, with the sin in our lives, with destructive behaviors and habits, wrong thinking, and that we desperately need to return to our first love. We've been down, church, but we're not out.
We live in a different day and age than the people that Isaiah first wrote to. But isn't it true that storms and shadows and gloom and doom still fill our world and our lives today? Now this pandemic has kept us locked indoors, trials and troubles have disrupted our lives. We've had environmental and political and social and economic and personal unrest and disruptions and wars and rumors of war still paint the headlines. Immorality is rampant. People are hostile to the Christian faith. It is so easy to become resigned and depressed. So we need Isaiah's encouragement today just as much as the Israelites did. We need the encouragement to rise and shine, to see the sun shining on you, see the darkness all around you, see the nations being drawn to you. They were waiting for the Messiah, but you and I, we live between the first and second advents of Christ.
You and I can be even more hope-filled than these people at this time because we are a resurrection people and we know that our king has not only come but he's coming again. We Christians ought to be the most hope-filled, faith-filled, joy-filled people on planet earth. We should have more clarity, more purpose, more determination, more strength, and more endurance than anyone else. Why? Because the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives on the inside of us. Our king has not only come, he was crucified, buried, risen again, and guess what? He is coming back again. Therefore you and I we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us. We should be able to depict a hope-filled, faith-filled view of the future. With our God, I want to remind you, we can do great exploits. We should be full of wisdom and creativity and vision and kindness and goodness and love and mercy and ideas and projects.
Now I know our world has changed, but Jesus has not changed. Our hope is not anchored in our circumstances, it's anchored in Jesus Christ. Our source is heaven, not earth. All the promises of God are in Christ Jesus, yes and amen. Now I know our world looks different but Jesus is not different. Our purpose is not different. His promises are not different. They are firm and secure. Isaiah 60 is addressed to the morning after. It begins with these two words of instruction. "Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you". The morning is here, so get up and shine. Shine forth the glory of the Lord that's falling upon you.
Now this vision that seemed impossible in the days of exile is coming to pass. And while the work ahead is more complex and difficult than you expected, the vision was not wrong. The prophet is saying that this is a new day in the land of Israel and the glory of the Lord is shining on you, so get up. Hear the promises of the Lord anew and shine. Now after hearers are called up from their morning-after fog they're presenting and presented a new vision for the future. You know, where I live in southern California we have this thing called, it is like this haze, this fog that comes in, and it's so hard to see. You can't see your hand in front of you. And the fact is they call it, especially in summer, it's like june gloom, because it's so gloomy. It's hard to see through the fog. And most of us we've basically been in a fog over the last few years.
Now the marine layer that comes through on most days where I live, the fact is that if I look across I know, especially if I'm walking along the coast or the ocean, I know that there's a little island further out. Now when that marine layer comes through, I cannot see anything. It's easy to lose hope. It's easy to think the island's gone. It's easy to think the ocean's gone. Because I have no vision. It's gray and it's cloudy. But that's when I have to rely on what I know. And I know that fog is going to lift. I know that there is blue water under there. I know the islands are still out there. I know there is wonder out there. And the fact is this fresh word of hope promises us a sort of reversal of the exile and says the nations have previously cast a shadow over Israel, cutting away their sons, their daughters, along with every bit of wealth that they had had in Jerusalem. But now the promise is that the nations would experience a deep darkness and the sun would rise only in Israel.
People from all over the world will be drawn like moths to a light that is risen upon Israel. And the fact is they'll bring the missing sons and daughters of Israel and the wealth of the nations back. Israel may be in ruins but the sun is rising everywhere else. God will not only bring back the previous glory but God will bring the abundance of the sea, the wealth, the nations, and the children of Israel to this holy place. Let me just say this once again. The land of promise, a place that God will lift up as a shining light in a world of darkness, in its immediate context this passage calls upon those returning from exile to continue forging ahead through the disappointment, through the setbacks, through infighting, through past struggles, through whatever other obstacles might be blocking the shalom of Israel.
They are encouraged to keep working hard, to trust that the God who miraculously brought them back to this place will make it all they had hoped that it would be. It felt like a dream to return to this land of promise, but the dream has given way to a morning after of sobering realities. These words encourage them to get up, to face the day, because it's going to be a good one. The Lord is at work. The sun is rising in Zion. And this is our morning after for us today. It is a time to arise and shine, I want to speak that into you today. Our God is with us, our God is for us. We must let our light shine so that people will be drawn to the light and find Christ. We are the light of the world and you don't have to hide that light.
Yes, it's going to be challenging. We need to work hard to rebuild. But God is with us. God will continue to bless and prosper us. God still has an assignment for us. Our job is not to hide but to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. This is a new day. Our God is doing a new thing. We are invited into this adventure. This is our time such as this. So while God has already made provision for us to arise and shine, we have to play our part to actualize this plan in our own lives. For example, as long as the power switch in our homes are in the off position, they're going to be in darkness. The whole house is going to be in darkness. But when we turn the power switch on, everything else is in order. There's going to be a change from darkness to light.
So the change occurred because we took an action. So we need to take action. That's why I'm on this television set talking to you today. It's time to take action. So many of us have let the affairs of the last couple of years just knock us out. But it's time to take action. It's time to rise and shine. This is the season to turn on those light switches. The first thing we need to do is ensure that we are connected to Jesus. Before any object can shine there must be a source of reflection of light to that object. In other words, it's reflected light that makes things sparkle and shine. Jesus Christ is the light of the world and he declares, "Without me you can do nothing". So in order to shine we must be connected to Jesus from whom we can obtain that light that will make us shine.
Jesus is the one who gives us the power to arise as he is the custodian of all heavenly and earthly power. So let's connect with Jesus Christ today and every day and receive the power to arise and shine. We also must ensure that we're consuming God's word regularly. It's the Word of God that has all the divine rays of light that can make us rise and shine if we use it faithfully. Jeremiah valued the Word of God so much that he searched for it and made it part of his diet. He said, "Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart".
The Psalmist declared in Psalm 119, "The unfolding of your words gives light. It imparts understanding to the simple". Psalm 119:105, we read that "Your word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path". In order to arise and shine we must, we must make the Word of God central in our life. We must consume them and then radiate the light that comes from them so that others may see. We also have to commit to God's work on this earth. We want to see his kingdom come, his will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. So James tells us in James 2:20 that faith without works is dead. Any follower of Jesus who does not want to remain cast down must be prepared to do the work of God conscientiously.
As believers, our good work can make us arise and shine. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before men," why? "That they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven". So, church, it's time for us to get back up, to be about the father's business. It's time for us to lift our eyes and see that the harvest is plentiful. It is the harvest time in the church, and there's a lack of laborers. So let's roll up our sleeves and get to work. This is a joyful work. The work has eternal ramifications. It's kingdom work, the most important work we could ever do. If we want to arise and shine in this hour then we have to be prepared to cultivate righteous living. Church, how we live matters. Our conversations matter. Our actions matter. Our thoughts matter.
Proverbs 4:18 says that "The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn which shines brighter and brighter until full day". And if we want to arise and shine to be a beacon of hope, to illuminate God's path, then righteous living matters. In fact, our path will get brighter and brighter as we choose to live in obedience to God and his ways. You don't have to fear that your life will be minimized, restricted or impaired by living according to God's word. Jesus said that he came that we might have life, and have life more abundantly. Jesus didn't come to withhold abundant life from us, but to give it to us, and walking in righteousness is how we flourish in life. So church, is time to arise, it's time to shine. I know that you may feel beaten, I know that you may feel weary, I know that you may feel grieved, I know that you may feel lonely, I know that you may feel hurt, but it is time. The prophet Isaiah spoke to a remnant that came back and said, "Come on, it's time to arise, it's time to shine, for his light has come". It is time, church.