Welcome to INTO THE LIGHT Journal!

This journal is NOT about me but about the GREAT Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ and ALL that He has done for me—who saved and changed (inside-out) a great sinner like me. I am attesting the words of Charles Spurgeon, "My hope lives not because I am not a sinner but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; I don’t trust that I am holy but that, being unholy, He is my righteousness. I don't have to be rich, but I must be pure. My faith doesn’t rest upon what I am, or shall be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ IS and what He has done for me. The love of Jesus is the source of salvation. He loves, He looks, He touches us, and we live!" To God be all the glory through Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

In His throne of grace,

Erlinda Mejia-Olsonღღღ

"Is It Okay To...?" Series: Is It Okay To Diet?

By: Erin Davis
(of Lies Young Women Believe, via INTO THE LIGHT Journal)

Note: I asked the readers of this blog to finish this sentence “Is it okay to . . .?” Many of you wrote in with deep questions about what’s okay (and what’s not) for girls who love Jesus. Here’s a great one from Natalie . . .
“Is it okay to diet (not dangerously so) for the sake of looking nice and skinny? Or is that considered vanity?”
To answer that question, I need to take you to lunch with some of my friends.

Christy the crash dieter

Christy eats well most of the time, but occasionally she freaks out about her beauty. Maybe someone makes a comment that causes her to question if she is thin enough. Maybe she passes a mirror that offers a reflection that is unflattering. Maybe she allows herself to play the comparison game. For whatever reason, she starts to diet. One week she’s carb free. The next week she eats only fruits and veggies. She never has much luck in loosing weight, but dieting gives her a sense of control for a little while.
Christy is in good company. Almost 100% of college girls report they have tried to control their weight through dieting and 22% diet “often” or “always.” What Christy doesn’t realize is that 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieters and of those, 20-25% develop eating disorders.

Molly the meal skipper

Molly is healthy. No one would accuse her of having an eating disorder, but occasionally she skips a meal or two. Sometimes she skips meals because she’s feeling fat. Sometimes she just gets busy and forgets to eat.
But Molly has forgotten that the Bible says her body is a temple (1 Cor. 6:19–20). By regularly skipping meals, she is depriving her body of what it needs. Just like Christy, Molly is putting herself at risk for developing an eating disorder.
Jessica the junk-food junkie
Jessica doesn’t put much thought into what makes it past her lips. Nutrition doesn’t matter much to her, and she is a slave to her sweet tooth. Just like Molly, Jessica makes choices that deprive her body of what it needs, and she fails to treat it like the temple of the Most High God.
Maybe she’s never read Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:27 that he takes care of his body in order to run the race of faith at top speed.

Olivia the Overeater and Stressed-out Susan

They have similar relationships with food. Both of them use food to soothe them when life feels hectic and out of control. Olivia fills the voids in her heart with too much food. If she feels emotionally or spiritually empty, she makes sure that she is physically stuffed. She is among a growing group of girls who have become overweight because they can’t control their eating patterns. Susan looks fit as a fiddle, but catch her on the day of a big test or a relationship crisis and you’ll find her dipping deep into a tub of Rocky Road. Food has become her coping mechanism.
Instead of casting their cares onto Christ (1 Pet. 5:7), these girls have developed a tendency to seek the counsel of Ben and Jerry.
My fictitious friends don’t necessarily have eating disorders, but they have developed some patterns of disordered eating. Where would you fit in at this table? Christ cares about every nook and cranny of your life. His words offer guidance for daily living, and we can find many scriptures devoted to the topic of food. So what does the Bible say about food?
Food Is God’s Provision.

It is easy for us to forget that God is our provider when we can easily go to the grocery store or a drive-thru any time hunger strikes. But God is the one who created our food sources. He is the maker and sustainer or all life. Psalm 104:14 says, “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Here are some other verses about how God provides food for us:

  • Psalm 145:13, 15–16
  • Psalm 136:25–26
  • Psalm 111:15
  • Ecclesiastes 2:24–25
  • Matthew 14:13–21
  • Matthew 15:32–37
  • John 21:1-13
Food Is Good!

In Matthew 15:10 Jesus said, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'” The early church in Rome got so wrapped up in defining which foods were good and which foods were bad that Paul was forced to address it in a letter to them. He said, “As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself” (Rom. 14:14).

Food Shouldn’t Make You Worry.

Jesus said it this way,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important that food, and the body more important that clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:25–27).
In our world of carb- and calorie-consciousness, it’s easy to believe that food is the enemy and to get stressed out every time we have to make a food choice. According to the culture, we are supposed to limit carbs, say no to gluten, eat five fruits and veggies a day, and drink at least eight glasses of water; and if we do not, we feel guilty and stressed. But the Bible does not take this approach to food.

So, What About That Diet?

I love that you are brave enough to ask tough questions, but tough questions rarely come with easy answers. It’s possible that some of us do need to shed some pounds in order to be at a healthier weight. It’s also possible that many of us are putting junk into our bodies that doesn’t honor the way God created us to live. In those cases, changing the way we eat is likely a wise choice. But there are other times when a diet is not God’s best for you. If we look at food through the lens of God’s Word, we come up with a set of questions beyond simply, “Should I go on a diet to get skinnier?”

Here they are:
Do I believe that my worth comes from who I am in Christ, not what I see on the scale? Do I get that I am not more valuable if I weigh less and less valuable if I weigh more? 
Do I thank God for the provision of food?  
Do I think that food is good or the enemy?  
Do I worry about what I eat?  
Do I eat like my body is a temple?  
Do I recognize any patterns of disordered eating in my life?

"Is It Okay To...?" Series: Is It Okay To Want To Be Famous?

By: Erin Davis
(of Lies Young Women Believe, via INTO THE LIGHT Journal)

I’ve got a secret I’ve never confessed to anyone. Until now . . .

I want to be famous.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a secret desire to be a famous author. God has graciously allowed part of that dream to come true. I’m an author . . . but not a famous one. My books have never made it onto the bestseller list. Oprah isn’t calling me for an interview. Instead, I peck away at my keyboard day after day in relative obscurity from my farm in the boonies.

I know I’m not the only girl with a craving for fame. In fact, several of you wrote to and asked me to tackle the question “Is it okay to want to be famous?” as part of our “Is it okay to . . .?” series. Since it’s a question I’ve been wrestling with in my own life, I decided we’d dig into together.

Let’s squeeze our craving for fame through the filter of God’s Word and see if it’s okay to continue to pine to see our name up in lights!

Be Different.

Romans 12:2 warns, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
He couldn’t love you more if you were famous, and He doesn’t love you less because you’re not.

There’s no doubt that the world values fame. We live in a society obsessed with the worship of celebrities. Our culture measures the worth of an individual by Facebook friends and Twitter followers. We assume someone must be really special if they’re on the cover of Time magazine or the face behind a best-selling movieBut worth and value don’t work this way to God. He makes it clear in His Word that He treasures the lost (Luke 19:10), the poor and handicapped (Luke 14:13), the down and out (Matt. 11:28), and the nobodies (Mark 2:13-17).

He couldn’t love you more if you were famous, and He doesn’t love you less because you’re not. When we measure our own value by the recognition of others, we are using the world’s measuring stick. Let’s ditch it together and ask the Lord to transform our minds to see value and worth the way He does!

Fame Fades.

Who won the Super Bowl last year?
Who won the Grammy for best female pop vocals three years ago?
Name five actresses who have won an Oscar?

I can’t remember. Can you?

These are the awards we use to reward the famous, but they simply slip through the fingers of the famous people who manage to get them. Fame doesn’t last.

“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever” 1 Peter 1:24-25.
There’s a word picture here. Our lives are like blades of grass. They shoot up and last for a little while, but eventually we whither and move on into eternity. Occasionally grass goes to seed and produces little flowers. The lifespan of the flower is even shorter than the lifespan of the grass itself. This is how Peter describes our own glory. It’s a blip on the radar. Even if we manage to grab the spotlight, our fame likely won’t last more than fifteen minutes and the crowd will move on to the next big thing.

Instead of hoping for something so temporary as fame, let’s ask God to give us a desire for things that are eternal!

Praising the Right Name.

In Genesis 11, God’s people went to some crazy lengths in pursuit of fame.

“Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with it’s top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth” (verse 4).

The people wanted to build a monument so that everyone would pay attention to them. They thought if they could just grab the spotlight, they could avoid obscurity. They were worried they would be a bunch of nobodies. They wanted to be somebodies. They wanted to be famous!

But God was not pleased with their efforts to make a name for themselves. He confused their languages. The ill-fated project was stalled. The Tower of Babel stood half finished as a monument to what happens when we seek to build our own names.

Hebrews 11 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture. It contains the names of some very famous people like Abraham and Moses and David. Everyone knows their stories. They are famous enough to be written into the books of history, but not because they sought to build their own names. They are famous for declaring God’s name and fame no matter what the cost.

Would you join me in asking God to give us opportunities to declare His name instead of our own?

How to impress God.

You can’t impress God by becoming a YouTube star or famous athlete.

In Matthew 23:12 Jesus said it this way, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
The way to be big stuff in the Kingdom is to be humble.

In Matthew 20:25–28 Jesus was responding to a mom’s request to make her sons’ famous when He said, “But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the son of Man came not to be served but the serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The way to be big stuff in the Kingdom is to be humble. The way to get noticed is to serve.

After all of that, if your heart is like mine, it’s still asking, “So . . . is it okay to want to be famous?” ‘Fraid it’s a question too complicated for a simple yes or no.

I may never be a famous author. You may never become a famous actress or athlete. But that’s okay. Ultimately, fame isn’t a dream worth pursuing. We are loved by a famous God who chooses to include us in His story. If I’m ever famous for anything, I want it to be for spending my days declaring His name.

How about you?

“LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NIV).

By The Grace Of God

By: Erlinda Mejia-Olson

2 CORINTHIANS 9:8 ~ "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work."

2 CORINTHIANS 12:9 ~ "And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."


Often times I hear people say they don’t think they can do it—they can’t paddle under the hurdle or under the pain of rejection and hounding. They say how weak they are, and yet I encourage them to rejoice in that weakness.  Because God's strength is made perfect in our weakness according to the Scripture.  When you allow grace to come into your lives then you can really see that it's not you carrying it through—it's the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is nothing difficult in the grace of God.

Grace is sufficient. It is enough. If it were not so, God would have made a better provision—it becomes conditional. It requires perfection from God in all we do, which we could never attain apart from the saving grace of God, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

I remind myself that God’s grace will be constantly abounding when I need it because God is faithful. I cannot store up grace for a rainy day like I can my pennies. It will be sufficient and not lacking anything in that moment. The thing is I never want to be apart from His grace.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4)
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
“Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20).
I am moved by these passages of Scripture. When I reflect on them, the more I see myself as a wart before our Great God and Savior.  I melted in His humility.

Realizing that grace is in my life changes my perspective on things, people and circumstances. When I view all of life through the lens of God’s grace demonstrated toward me, I seek for no other choice than to yield in the grace of God and be changed.

Perhaps, some may disagree with my statement because of the issue of free will. My belief is that a true believer will change. They just will. No will of man can overcome the power of the Almighty God.  Some may change slower than others, but all of us will be changed. When the sinner, through the power of the Holy Spirit, begins to understand the extent of what grace has done for them, their desire becomes one of change to bring Him glory. If the desire to change is not present, then we will question the validity of the salvation testimony.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The thought that we chose to sin because we like its temporary results, we like the rush, the immediate gratification, and the stealthy feeling that we are getting away with something.  We fool  ourselves by thinking sin brings us pleasure when in reality it does not—not true pleasure, not pleasure without guilty feelings. This is because always after the immediate gratification comes the immediate understanding that we have taken this wonderful grace and abused it and squashed it heartlessly.

When we realize that we are now free from all of the  “I have to’s”  in obeying sin, our perspective on that sin, changes immediately.

The life we have in Christ is wrapped in the grace of God, not of our own good works, or self-effort. Not for our self-gratification—but for the greater glory of God.  The tasks which God has called for us to do is not based on our own knowledge or ability, but by His grace taking what we are and using it for His glory. The psalmist says in Psalm 84:11, “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  God gives light, wisdom, discernment, and protection. He grants favor. His presence.

By the grace of God, be all that He has called you to be.  Relying on His grace to be sufficient day by day even if you  don't understand. Having the same attitude of  the apostle Paul who sought for deliverance from this thing he called the thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-8), asking God three times to take it away from him but he received the same answer: “My grace is sufficient”.

This is the realization of the beauty of God's grace—the discernment that God has given us this wonderful gift that we surely do not deserve and has not given us all the misery we do deserve. God has brought us into His kingdom as His child, lifted us out of slavery and misery and has given us His inheritance through the finished works of the Lord Jesus.

The realization that being saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone is true about me and cannot be repealed or snatched away by anyone—causes me to bow down and venerate Him. It causes me to live out this veneration in all journeys of my life and express it to others.

Whatever issues you have in your life today, patiently endure them.  Just remember: God’s grace is sufficient.

Is JESUS sufficient for you today? 
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Song:
GRACE GREATER THAN OUR SIN
By: Julia H. Johnston, pub.1911

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.


Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!


Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.


Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.


Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?


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VIDEO DISCLAIMER: INTO THE LIGHT Journal DOES NOT promote all videos that display obscenity (linked or tagged) at the end of this video or in any of INTO THE LIGHT Journal's video in YOUTUBE (intothelight7 channel). This is a third-party free apps of which INTO THE LIGHT Journal has no sole control - either to change or remove these type of videos. The sole purpose of INTO THE LIGHT Journal is to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19) that "stirs our heart and not our feet" and bring forth His truth in our lives—pointing souls to Christ—the Source and Perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2). Keep me and this journal in your prayers. Thank you for your patience and for watching. May Christ be most glorified! -Erlinda Mejia-Olson (author of ITLJournal and intothelight7 channel)

"How then can we be proud? Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the purple drops by which you have been cleansed; see the thorn-crown; mark His scourged shoulders, still gushing with encrimsoned rills; see hands and feet given up to the rough iron, and His whole self to mockery and scorn; see the bitterness, and the pangs, and the throes of inward grief, showing themselves in His outward frame. Hear the thrilling shriek, 'My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?' And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it: if you are not humbled in the presence of Jesus, you do not know Him. Think of that, and as Jesus stooped for you, bow yourself in lowliness at His feet. A sense of Christ's amazing love to us has a greater tendency to humble us than even a consciousness of our own guilt. May the Lord bring us in contemplation to Calvary, then our position will no longer be that of the pompous man of pride, but we shall take the humble place of one who loves much because much has been forgiven him. Pride cannot live beneath the cross.” -Charles H. Spurgeon-