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Your Voice: Scripture addresses ‘spiritual photophobia’

By Franklin L. Kirksey
Robertsdale, Alabama

Photophobia is a sensitivity to light due to a variety of causes. While this is true in a physical sense, what about those who are sensitive to light in a spiritual sense? Many have photophobia in a spiritual sense.

Jesus said, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

‘The Light has come’

Notice how Jesus continues His explanation with reference to light.

  1. There is the appearance of light. John 3:19a reads, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world … .” Jesus speaks of Himself.
  2. There is the allowance of light. John 3:19b reads, “… and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” God allows us to choose between darkness and light.
  3. There is the annoyance of light. John 3:20a reads, “For everyone practicing evil hates the light.”
  4. There is the avoidance of light. John 3:20b continues, “… and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
  5. There is the acceptance of light. John 3:21 begins, “But …” Note the contrast between those rejecting the light and those receiving the light. (See also John 1:10–13.)
  6. There is the assurance of light. John 3:21 continues, “… he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
  7. There is the attendance of light. Jesus is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:9).

‘Light of the world’

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Light can be avoided during your time on earth, or it may be accepted for time and eternity. Embrace the light in salvation or you will face the light in condemnation.

What will it be for you? What have you done with Jesus Christ, the light of the world?

Believe Him, receive Him!

Letters to the Editor

The Back to Campus special edition of The Alabama Baptist (July 27) is a fantastic resource for students, parents, educators, pastors and the entire community.

I wish I had this kind of information when I headed off for my first year in college.

Congratulations to the staff for this great service.

Bruce Barbour
Lady Lake, Florida

I am writing regarding the article in the Aug. 3 edition by Mark MacDonald about editing your church’s online content.

MacDonald made many good points, but in discussing the move away from printed bulletins to use of websites, social media, etc., he said, “Remember that everyone has access to a website, but only a small number will have your bulletin or an app.”

It is more accurate to say “most” people have access to a website. We still have many folks in our churches who do not own a computer, do not text or email and/or do not participate in social media.

I encourage our churches to keep appropriate communication tools in place for everyone.

Yes, it is a challenge to “get the word out” when not everyone in your audience is using the same digital tools, but it is necessary (and kind) to be sure that all are informed and no one is left out.

Anita Arnold

The front page of the Aug. 10 edition of The Alabama Baptist validated a long-held contention of mine, namely: Sports is the number one religion in America, formerly a Christian nation, and football is the number one denomination.

The article touted a movie despite the fact furnished in the article that foul language comes with the show.

L.E. Gosa

Thank you to The Alabama Baptist staff for caring enough to pray and for letting us know in the July 20 edition.

Starla Long Presnell

“I like to say that revival is an unrivaled hunger and pursuit for the heart and presence of God. When a person has that passion and hunger to pursue God’s presence above all else, it’s infectious,” said Kyle Hodges, pastor of West Blocton First Baptist Church, who believes his church has been experiencing revival for the past eight months.

“The goal is to reach everyone,” said Joel Mathew, a research engineer who alongside Ulf Hermjakob recently launched the Greek Room, an AI-powered technology to help streamline the highly technical process of biblical translation.

Every church I know of has three kinds of members:

  1. Watchers — These are spectators who are there to see the show. They aren’t involved, excited or joyful. They are just there for the popcorn and the crowd.
  2. Worrisome — These are the critics, armchair quarterbacks and complainers — everything is wrong, from the temperature to the tempo of the music; the sermon length to the hymnal weight; the pastor’s hair to his wife’s skirt (and they are generous with their comments).
  3. Workers — These are the people praying for staff and leaders, supporting whether they agree or not, giving both dollars and “sweat-equity.” They are too busy to stop and criticize. (The knees of their slacks are often worn or wrinkled from the prayer room.)

In the church, every member should be a minister and every lost or uninvolved person a prospect.

What kind of church member are you? Is the heavenly Father saying, “My house is full but my field is empty”?

I want to be a help, not a hindrance. I want to be so busy doing God’s will that I have no time to find fault. Lend a hand. Give a hug. Encourage someone today.

Jack Anderson
Associational missionary
Alabama-Crenshaw Baptist Association

“We’re an older congregation, but you don’t have to be super saints to share the gospel. Or to ask someone to let you pray for them. It’s about daring to take a stand and putting your faith to practice,” said Donald Sharp, pastor of Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church in Chicago.

“I want our campus to be a place that whenever a child arrives, they will be able to tell … this is a place where they will be valued,” said Serenity Richard, the new executive director of New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home & Family Ministries.

“I have done graduation ceremonies in chapel. I have done them in prisons. I’ve never done one in an apartment,” quipped Jamie Dew, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary president, regarding  conferring the master of discipleship degree diploma to 91-year-old Glenn Ingouf, a former missionary who lives in Decatur.

The words of Oscar Blackwelder in relation to spiritual realities are important: “The scandal of Christianity — defined as ‘division within the Christian ranks’ — is not the most deadly of all defections, for it comes from a deeper scandal — failure in forthright commitment to Christ. More than numbers is required. Significant insights, profound thinking and spiritual power are infinitely more needed than social and political impressiveness of church rolls.”

Morris Murray Jr.
Jasper, Ala.

A parent’s ability to guide their student through the crucial young adult years begins long before those young adult years begin.

Ryan Scantling
College campus minister
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Draw closer to God, even in busyness

To all my fellow car line moms, I have discovered we are not alone in our afflictions in this season of coming and going.

Trying to find space to breathe and a rhythm to move toward our heavenly Father seems daunting at times for all of us. The hectic scene of a morning filled with tears, screams, and messes … then the kids wake up and it’s their turn.

The afternoon chaos of all the activities, all the guilt of another fast-food meal, and all the shame of feeling like a failure one more day.

How do we get there?

Our souls long for the presence of God, but how do we get there? My prayer … is that He will peel the curtain back for us one layer at a time.

He desires for us to incline in His presence, and I believe He will reveal to each one of us every baby step. Distractions will come and destruction will rear its ugly head as you commit to spending daily time with Him. Give yourself grace just as He will give you.

It is good to be near to God.

You don’t have to be all cleaned up before you get there.

You don’t have to wipe the sticky cinnamon rolls off, nor do you have to figure out how to wipe your heart clean on your own.

There is no organic cleaner that can do what His presence can. He does all of that.

He does all the cleaning, all the healing, all the restoring.

He knows what we need and that we cannot do it for ourselves. He sees us.

He loves us. He is beckoning us into His presence.

Caris Snider
Excerpt from “Car Line Mom Devotional: 100 Days of Encouragement for the Mama Who Gets Everybody Everywhere”