Showing posts with the label Light

Done in by what is brought in

We ourselves heard that voice from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place —until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:18-21) Sometimes we hear or read the same passage time and time again, thinking we already know what it says. The times we 'discount' what God has to say to us in any passage of scripture are times we miss out on God showing us afresh what he has to say, or somehow revealing something we might not have discerned when we were exposed to that same scripture earlier. Either way, we miss out. God's '

An open invitation

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12) If you were in a dark room and someone offered to turn on a light for you, would you just continue to stumble along, feeling your way around obstacles, risking bumping into things as you did? It is likely that you'd accept the invitation to have light brought into the room because you don't like stumbling aimlessly! Obstacles abound in life - many of them of our own making. Why would we choose to just stumble around in the dark, running into those obstacles repeatedly, when we are offered light to help us avoid them completely? Jesus offers us light - light that dispels all manner of evil in our lives, pointing out obstacles and stumbling points so we don't run into them needlessly. Yet so many refuse to allow the light in. It seems to me that we get a little too used to this idea o

But...what will they think?

There comes a time when we have the perfect time to acknowledge our faith in Jesus, only to become timid and almost 'embarrassed' to do so simply because our 'social group' would think us 'odd' or reject us because of our 'stand'? There are times we think more about our 'social standing' within the group than we do our opportunity to be light and life in a very, very dark world. The leaders believed, yet their 'fear' of the impact on their 'social standing' as 'leaders' actually caused them to keep silent about Jesus. It is a sad day when we care more about what others think about us than we do about drawing closer to Jesus, allowing him to use us in whatever 'social grouping' we have been placed. Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise

Hues of Grace

 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” (John 3:18-21) As a wee child, Dad would warn me against getting too close to the open flame of a campfire, flames licking up this way and that, with tiny embers bursting free from the logs. His worry was that I might be burned, but I wanted to see more, feel the warmth and hear that crackle firsthand. I would approach with caution, though, for the very thing that drew me closer was also the very thing I knew could change me forever. I wonder if this is what is like for those wh

A light cannot be hidden

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? (John 3:1-2, 11-12) As we might already be aware, just being a part of a religious movement doesn't make us right with God. Nicodemus was a Jewish religious leader, and he still didn't recognize the Messiah when he was in his own hometown. As a matter of fact, he was so 'intimidated' by what the other leaders might think, or what his fellow townsfolk might believe about him, that he came to Jesus under the cover of nightfall. He was curious, drawn by something he wasn't sure about, but wasn't willing to be 'oute

It is dark in here

Imagine being surrounded on all sides, enemy forces about to tromp on you, fear mounting, despair permeating every fiber of your being. You may not realize how 'dire' the circumstances really are, but you know something has happened to change the course of 'good times' in your life. We all get there on occasion - sometimes by our own doing. We choose to compromise our lives with some 'little sin' that really isn't 'all that big'. Then we wonder why we find ourselves with mounting pressures and attacks. Truth be told, that 'little sin' let in a dump truck load of other temptations you might not have wanted to entertain, but now they are there. In those times when the pressures seem to be closing in, keep in mind one very important fact - God has not forgotten how much you need light in your life! The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see his righteousness. (Micah 7:9) Sin has a way of creating 'dark places' in our spirit, a

A vacuuming lesson

Do you think God wants to judge anyone 'guilty' as they stand before him? If you know anything about scripture, you will know it is quite the opposite - for God "did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through him." (John 3:17) God's greatest joy is to receive us each into his great big family through the work of his Son, Jesus. If we desire to be free of guilt, we only need ask for that gift! The Light has come into the world, but they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.” (John 3:19-21) When we ask for light, we receive it and so much more. Grace comes in waves upon waves. Aren't you glad that grace is limitless? How is it that grace begins to do more

Not feeling it?

Albert Pike reminds us, "We have all the light we need - we just need to put it into practice." There are times we already know what to do, when to do it, or how to do it, but we just stand still, not doing anything. Why is that? It could be we just don't 'feel' it at the moment - causing just a bit of a delay or lag in our 'obedience' response. We have 'light', but light is meant to reveal and reflect. We must remember all steps toward God are good, but when light is given, it is meant to illuminate the steps we are to take - God provides 'plenty of light to live in' both now and in the future. Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” The Pharisees objected, “All we have is your word on this. We need more than this to go on.” Jesus replied, “You’re right that you only have my word. But you can depend on it being true . I know whe

Toward the Sunrise

This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is. (John 3:20-21) A crisis is a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined - some call this a turning point. It can represent a condition of instability or danger, leading to a decisive change - not always for the best. Equally so, it can represent one of those events where there is a lot of dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person's life - leaving one to sort out the pieces when all is said and done. When a person is not interested in p

Stingy people are poor people indeed

Ever had one of those moments when you know something and no one else in the group does? You are almost chatting at the bit to get an opportunity to share it with someone, but perhaps you have been sworn to secrecy and cannot share it. The information you possess is almost too big to be contained. I think this is the way it is with what God gives us - it is almost too big for us to contain it! It leaves us feeling like we'd have to share it, or we'd burst.  Imagine heading off to the market one day in search of a new lamp for your home. Anticipation mounts, for you have a particular mission in mind. Exploration of shelf upon shelf, for there are many lamps from which to choose. Choosing just the right one, expectation begins to build for you can imagine the light it will bring to your home. Then at last, you have the joy of experience - for the light shed illuminates all you could not see otherwise. If we have such an experience in seeking, obtaining, and experiencing the

Now faith is...

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. (Rabindranath Tagore) The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see. (Hebrews 11:1-3) For some, the days may seem like they are a little 'dark' - nothing good seems to be in visible sight at all. For others, they have just come out of their darkest place to date, glad to be 'done with it', but ever so grateful for all they learned as they leaned into Jesus throughout that darkness. Faith isn't born in the 'lightest' places of our lives - it is most frequently found growing leaps and bounds when the 'darkness' comes into our lives. Why do you think that might be? It coul

Fact Check, Please

 Franz Kafka reminds us to "start with what is right rather than what is acceptable". These are indeed wise words as so many today just 'accept' things along the way in life and don't really 'fact check' them to see if they are 'right' or just 'acceptable'. To follow blindly is indeed dangerous territory - we may just find ourselves doing things we might not really want to do, repeating things best not repeated, and believing things not really all that trustworthy. We have an obligation to each other as members of God's family to 'fact check' the things we believe, act upon, and repeat to others. If we don't, we can lead others into some pretty confusing places in their lives! So here’s what I want you to do. When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. When we worship the right way, God doesn

Shedding a little light

  “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” (John 3:20-21) I have to say there are a lot of 'dark places' where people can find their 'hideout' within these days. The unfortunate reality is that although they think they are hidden from the light, light has a way of dispelling ALL darkness. It may not seem like it, but there are 'runners' in this world - those who do their very best to live independently and without thought as to their eternal future. To those who run I have one thought today - what is it you are really running from? Is it that you

God uses opposites

Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil. (Psalm 97:11) Seeds are unique to the type of plant from which they come and their purpose is to bring forth growth that is the same as the plant from which they came. You cannot expect to obtain passion fruit from a grapefruit seed, nor grapefruit from a grape seed. To expect something other than what you plant is just plain silly. You might have planted some 'bad seed' and then hoped for a better outcome than what you planted, but that just isn't logical. Maybe this is why God reminds us it is reasonable to expect to harvest what we plant, and we must plant in order to harvest. The one planting seeds is as significant as the seeds being planted - not to mention "where" the seeds are planted - because the outcome is based on both. If God is the planter of the seeds, the harvest is more likely to produce the type of growth which will edify and build us up. He take

Abandoned Not

It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.  (Aristotle Onassis) Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. (James 1:12) Think about one of your 'darkest moments' right now. Maybe it was quite some time ago, or perhaps you are just coming out of that place right now. What did you experience as it started, went on for what seemed like an indefinite period of time, and when it finally ended? If your moment hasn't completely ended, you might just learn something from those of us who have seen the end. The darkest moments of our lives are a time of intense focus - they 're-center' us, don't they? There are hard feelings to endure through those times, and even some awful troubles that we have to overcome, but what we all have in common as we walk through these moments is there is no absence of hope as long as we tak

Oh, you aren't all that big after all!

When the sun is just right, even the smallest subject can cast a huge shadow. The object seems to be 'larger that life', even though it is actually quite small. I stop for periods of time and consider things - sometimes stuff others might just not stop long enough, or consider important enough, to think on.  I began to "ponder" shadows as I am currently in a climate where the sun hasn't been out in days, so no shadows have been cast by the sun. The lights in the condo where I am staying are what affords the shadows right now and it is amazing what you can create from simple objects such as your hands and fingers when the lamplight is reflected upon the wall. As you look at the various shadows, you can ponder what you may be seeing and tell yourself many a story that way! Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  (Psalm 23:4 NKJV) Psalm 23 is one of the most &qu

Closet Christian?

The Temple of God in the Old Testament became the place where God could meet personally with his people. Today, the 'temple' is not a building - it is his people. Instead of one locale for his presence to inhabit, there are millions and millions of temples - his people. His presence inhabits his people and in turn, his presence is free to explore the world through us! God's temple needs to be seen - to be an impact on the world. Light isn't meant to be hidden, my friends - it is meant to illuminate - to expose and show the beauty around it. No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. (Luke 11:33) Prayer is one means of us bringing light to the world, but it isn't enough. God isn't asking for his church to be 'shy' about their faith - we are to be bold in our prayers. The presence of God inhabits his temples - when we become visible, hi

Let's shed a little light on it

I don't know what God has planned for me or you or anyone, but I do know that in darkness, you discover an indistinguishable light.  (Cory Booker) There are seasons in our lives that we might call those 'dark' times when we just feel like the clouds are closing in around us emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. We cannot avoid them anymore than we can avoid the influx of clouds up in the sky. We could try to outrun them, but then would we ever truly appreciate the light that comes after the darkness passes? Would we ever truly begin to influence the darkness if we never let our inner light shine?  The light of the right-living brings joy as it burns brightly; the lamp of a wrongdoer will be snuffed out. (Proverbs 13:9) The light within burns brighter than any darkness we can experience - even those times of deeper emotional darkness when we think we might just become totally undone, destitute and alone. I am not ashamed to say I have stood squarely in th

Drawn by the light

Charm is a glow within a woman that casts a most becoming light on others. (John Mason Brown) What amount of light do you cast on the lives of others? If we were honest, there are times when we cast more of a shadow, not light! The truth is that we can be very 'charming' at times and altogether 'mean spirited' at others. The more we try to 'charm' another, the less 'true' we are, for 'charm' is really designed to display one thing while silently moving to perform another. A snake-charmer speaks soothing noises, plays a little tune, and uses his hands to mesmerize the snake. His aim is to get hold of the thing! The very enticement he has displayed is meant to display one thing while his heart and mind is all about doing something quite different. Charm can be deceiving, but when it is combined with the true grace of God within a life, the light that is cast by that charm is genuinely warm and enriches the lives of those that bask in it. C

What evil lurks in them there shadows?

Every now and again, I will purposefully use 'bad grammar' just because I am trying to get a point across - usually to show my genuine openness to an idea, or because I am just being a little silly. If you ever hear me tell my BFF that I just 'got schooled' in something, or 'learned me a new thing', it is just a way of letting her know I know something today I didn't know before. It may be seriously important information, or it could just be something that peaked my curiosity. I can be heard saying, "Hey, let's Google that", meaning that I want to understand the meaning of a word, figure out where something originated, or what something looks like. Yesterday, it was an herb used in traditional Mexican dishes, while a week ago it may have been why lady bugs are always called lady bugs and not man bugs! Being interested in learning is a very good thing, my friends, especially when the 'thing learned' helps us to grow stronger in Christ, m