There are times when I wonder if there is any good left in the world. In recent weeks and months it seems like the world is an ugly and hateful place. There are so many people hurting other people that it makes me wonder if my Christian walk is showing bright enough to help lighten up the darkness in this world.
This past week our neighborhood and the surrounding subdivisions have been the target of burglaries. Now, I know, there are a lot worse things going on in this world than a few items being stolen, but it's the bigger picture that upsets me. The burglaries were allegedly committed by some teens from the area that were on fall break with nothing better to do. This bothered me because these boys probably go to school with my daughter and they are starting their lives out on a very bad path.
We moved here just 2 years ago because we no longer felt safe in our little house a mile up the road. We, also, were outgrowing the 1200 square feet with 4 kids who aren't getting any smaller. Even though this house was only a little over a mile away, it is in a smaller and more stable neighborhood.
It never felt more like a true 50's style sitcom neighborhood with neighbors on the porches and kids riding bikes than here. However, I quickly reminded myself that nowhere is immune to evil. People do stupid all the time.
That's why we are here. We, as believers, are given an opportunity every day to shine in other people's lives. Matthew 5:13-16 tells us, "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Our neighbors, friends, strangers, coworkers, etc. need to see some good in us. Enough good that it makes us taste different and shine. We should emanate love. I heard Bob Goff speak recently and he put it this way, "People should feel like they met Heaven when they are around you."
Usually, when I hear the phrase, "salt & light" I think of the song by Jami Smith, Salt & Light. You gotta watch the video if you are a praise junkie, like me. This song gives me goose bumps and causes me to sing a little louder when the worship team plays it at church. There is, also, a new song by Lauren Daigle with the same name. It is a more peaceful tune, but just as impactful.
It's when I hear songs like these and read the words He has given us in Scripture, that I feel led to create in my journaling Bible. I can't always get it exactly like my head sees it, but that doesn't hold me back from trying. I usually go to a few different sources to get inspiration, like Pinterest or Google images for the visual part. Sometimes it can be very helpful to read the verse in it's context and research the concordances. Biblehub.com usually has all the information I need. It's an awesome free resource. Yes, free!
If the process began without the inspiration of a song then I can find some related songs through a Christian song database like Word to Worship or Worship Together. There is also an amazing podcast and website by Michelle Nezat that chronicles this exact concept. She links worship and praise songs with the verses that have inspired them. I love listening to her podcasts and hearing what her take is on the songs that I have heard on the radio or sung in church. Side note: she also has beautiful memory verse screen savers!
Once I have spent more time than I should on the internet and in my Bible, then I try to get it all worked out on paper and into my Bible. For this spread, it was fairly simple. I found a poster that reflected something similar. I changed it up a little to fit the margins of my Bible and my style.
Typically, I coat the pages with matte Modge Podge and then add the art. This time I sketched it out in pencil then traced it with markers. A little pastel chalks were added around the light and salt shaker. I decided to add a sticker at the top to make a tab.
That's it. Plain and simple.
Shine bright and season your world!