Tag Archives: light

Welcome to Bible Reading 2020

Geneis 1 2 from dark to light2aWelcome to 2020! We begin again at the beginning, Genesis 1 -2. I am thrilled you have chosen to follow my page and to read along with me. Let’s get started: Please take your Bible and read the first two chapters of Genesis 1 & 2.

Stop and ask: What stands out to you? What is God saying as He speaks through the Holy Spirit? What lessons does He want us to learn?

Know this; the purpose of Bible reading is to guide us into all truth so we can be mature discerning truth from error. As a base premise for this year memorize 2Tim 3:16 “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.”

Genesis 1-2: The earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep BUT the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water. Isn’t that just like the heart of the unbeliever? They are without spiritual shape and their heart is empty, void of the Holy Spirit and without the Light of God. It takes the movement of the Holy Spirit to bring light into the soul.  The light was good in the beginning and it is good for the unbeliever because it illumines deficiencies and illumines understanding when we yield. “If then your whole body is full of light, with no part in the dark, it will be as full of light as when the light of a lamp shines on you.” [Luke 11]  When that happens you no longer are in darkness but now you are light in the Lord.  Therefore, live like children of light” [Eph 5 author paraphrase]

This leaves us with a challenge for 2020 and a question: Where are we spiritually and are we living as children of light?

And There was LIGHT!

Ps 43 jesus2May 8th Ps 43 “Light”

The psalmist prayed “O send out your light and your truth” and God answered. He sent the Light of the World to illumine the darkness of men’s souls that they might be see and be redeemed. God sent forth the Way, the Truth and the Life that men might come to Him, the Messiah Jesus Christ. Again the psalmist said ‘light is sown like seed for the righteous’ reminding us of the parable Jesus taught on the soils. The seed lies waiting in the darkness for the abundance of rain to soften its hull. And when the light/seed finds entrance into our soul it germinates and grows it produces a crop 100 fold… if the soil is fertile. That is God’s promise to the children of light who have received and are being enlightened and are growing in maturity with his truth.

The psalmist who wrote: “The Lord is my light and my salvation”[ Psalm 27] prayed that God’s light and truth might lead him to God’s holy hill, his dwelling place. Jesus promised that the Iluminator of Light, the Holy Spirit would come to reveal all truth to us and lead us into everlasting life. Jesus said I am the Light of the World, believe in me so you may become sons of light. The promise is given; He who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life. To those who have received the gospel message it is required that a man be found faithful so that when the Master returns we may hear “well done, thou good and faithful servant. Go forth and share the gospel message.

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Piercing the Darkness

ImageFrank Peretti may have written a novel titled “Piercing the Darkness” but in Mark chapter 5 we experience this first hand.

 

 

If there is one thing that Jesus is an expert at it is this: do NOT waste a teachable moment! We would do well to glean from this chapter just how he uses each one to open the eyes of the disciples and us the reader to his power to redeem mankind—whether from demons, a hemorrhaging, or an impending death. And in each instance he provides the backdrop for responses for those who see his power in action or those who experience it firsthand.

 

When Mark wrote he just added one story upon another like a person who seeks to share without taking a breath. So as we read about the fearful storm on the Sea of Galilee in chapter 4 and hear the disciples ask, ““Who then is this? Even the wind and sea obey him!” the modern day reader stops at vs 41, but in reality the answer to that question lies in the beginning of chapter 5 where we meet a man encased by the demons. Where the disciples are left wondering the demons cause the man to bow in reverence and cry out: “Jesus, Son of the Most High God!” Did the disciples thus discern the answer to their question? It is not until later when Jesus asks “who do men say I am” that Peter responds: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

 

The question before us is the same. Who is Jesus to you? The demoniac freed from his prison knows and in humility he desired to follow Jesus much like the blind Bartimaeus would do, but this is not the time. Jesus needs the “man freed from demons” to be left behind for Jesus is not wanted in the region of Gadarenes but the message of who He is needed. He will always be known as the “man freed from demons” and will be the first missionary to carry the “LIGHT” to his pagan land. The swine herders may have not wanted to hear the good news of the kingdom for they “loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.” However, God had a love message that needed to be shared and who better to do it than one through whom the LIGHT pierced the darkness.

 

Today spiritual darkness hangs like a pall over our culture but we have the LIGHT to pierce it. Will we like this man “Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you”…that you have been redeemed from darkness to be His witness to your family and friends. How are you doing on this task?

 

 

 

 

The Time is Now!!!

ImageClara Scott authored the hymn “Open my eyes that I May See”. The first stanza reads as : “Open my eyes, that I may see, glimpses of truth thou hast for me…” As we read Revelation 6 more than ever we need to see with spiritual eyes for the truth within is almost more than one can digest. In reading this chapter one verse keeps coming back to mind: John 3:16 “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” It is when we view God’s love in sharp contrast to the hate of Satan, which is sovereignly allowed upon men in this chapter, that we bow the knee and are overwhelmed with gratitude of God’s gift of His Son’s sacrifice on the cross and our salvation.

John 3:16 says that the gift God has for those who will bow the knee is eternal life. However, in this chapter we find that just as the Israel and the religious leaders during the time of Jesus rejected the evidence: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have good news proclaimed to them, so too men in the last stages of the clock of time, men will not cry out to God for His peace, love and salvation but will continue to reject.  That is a frightening thought which should drive us to share the good news of salvation to everyone who is divinely brought across our path that they may not have to face the judgment of God. 

In Chapter 6, John shows us what God revealed. It will not be His grace but horror upon horror to show men the power of evil and hate in the form of war, famine, death, disease. They respond by calling out  to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” In reading this another verse came flooding back to this author: Rom  1:32 “Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die..” Isn’t it ironic that these men fully understand God’s judgment and his wrath but choose mountains and rocks to  the path of goodness, love and peace which only God can provide? We stop and ask “why?” Why do men reject God? Again we turn to the words of John: John 3:19 “people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.”

Beloved, if you have not done so I implore you now to open your eyes and allow the Holy Spirit to illumine you and bring God’s love and peace to your heart. It is not too late—but do not delay, we do not know when God will choose to allow the events of chapter 6 to unfold in all of their reality. Keep in mind God’s clock is running down; have you called upon Him?

 

 

 

God is LIGHT!!! (1John 1)

ImageEach morning it seems that the darkness wants to claim this world but God’s clock and His timing say “sun arise!” There really is something marvelous about that initial sunrise with its glimmer of light that dispels the darkness. First the birds begin to chirp welcoming us to a new day, then the first rays, then the beauty of the clouds emerge as the stars slip into the sky to wait for their later appearance. Finally the sun itself touches our world. As the sun creeps up over the horizon more of God’s creation is revealed and it is marvelous to behold. What  must it have been like for the Apostle John as he heard, saw, beheld, and touched the very Light of God in Jesus? A sunrise can never compare to the beauty of our Savior but each day as we experience the welcoming light of day we are using the same adjectives John used in his painting his picture for us: hear, see, behold, touch. John is so emphatic that he paints this picture three times! And this is why he is writing to us, that we may not miss this marvelous image.

From that image John moves to his message which he has heard from Jesus himself: God is light and in Him there is no darkness. This reminds us of the verse in Rev 22:5 “Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever.” Even in the northern most part of our globe where there are places with many hours of light in the summer months, there is at least a portion of darkness, but here in Revelation John tells us that there will never be darkness! NEVER! 

From that beautiful image, John paints three contrasting statements beginning with “if.”

  1. If we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness we lie to ourselves. BUT, if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship. That must be what heaven must be like, full of illuminating light 24/7. Not one drop of darkness for darkness represents sin and sin and God cannot co-exist.
  2. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves; the truth is not in us. BUT, if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. If we had no sin there would be no need for the sacrifice of Christ but since there is sin within us we need cleansing and it is His blood that is the cleansing agent.
  3. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar. Did you notice that first we lie to ourselves and then to God? What does God say about lying? He hates it! Prov 6 says God hates a lying tongue and a false witness. This is one of those “OUCH!” statements.

God’s light has shined in our hearts, are we allowing it to shine forth as a new sunrise?  [2Cor 4]  Even though we live and move in darkness, is the Lord our light? [Micah 7:8]  

 

Is Your WYSIWYG Showing or Hidden?

ImageWYSIWYG is an acronym for “What You See Is What You Get.” In computer lingo it is an editor in which content (text and graphics) are displayed onscreen during the editing process. When WYSIWYG is hidden from the reader it looks just like you are reading now but when turned on it shows the editing marks so you can realign and readjust what you want the reader to see. What if the world saw our WYSIWYG? What might they see? That is the essence of what Paul asked the Corinthians in this last chapter [2Cor 13] as he draws this letter to a close. Paul said, I have left my WYSIWYG marks open for you to see. I have revealed my humility, meekness and gentleness in Christ, my visions and revelations. When I was with you I was open and transparent and never became a burden to you. In the time I was with you did I not reveal the signs of a true apostle? I was “not like the religious hucksters ..I did not go about “missionarying,” as Mark Twain described this type of religious swindling [referring to the false teachers among the Corinthians]” [Bob Deffinbaugh]

Paul said: You are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. I came as Christ, weak now but I can be powerful and I will demonstrate that resurrection power of Christ when I come if need be! Then in a flash, he turns the tables on the Corinthians. Now let me see your WYSIWYG or better yet why don’t you do it for yourself? Paul says:  Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you – unless, indeed, you fail the test! If you doubt my apostleship you must doubt your own Christianity for you are the fruit of my apostleship!

So how does one test to see if you are in the faith? Paul does not give us a “do’s and don’ts’ list of things we can mark off, but instead Paul infers that we must check our lifestyle that is apparent to all. We could begin in Matthew 5 with the “Be-Attitudes.” Kingdom people strive to demonstrate kingdom character qualities: poor in spirit, mourning over personal sin, meekness under pressure, hungering and thirsting for righteousness. These character qualities are observable in kingdom people’s conduct: merciful to others, pure in heart which is noted in being single minded; and peacemakers. As others observe our character and our conduct they can see that we are called to be kingdom people. In the book of Galatians Paul enumerates that which can only come about from an anointing of the Holy Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  

Our question then from the book of 2 Corinthians which we finish today: Is your WYSIWYG showing or hidden? Are you hiding your salt in the saltshaker and your light under a bushel?

 

Being a SaltShaker for Christ

ImageEveryday you pick up the salt shaker and probably do not realize that there are at least 14,000 uses for the common table salt. Truly God’s gift is a wonder. Salt is not just an enhancer but also a preservative. It is an excellent cleaning agent—a brine of salt and vinegar poured down the kitchen sink prevents grease from collecting! Jesus said we are to be salt and light, not pepper and dark!  Yesterday we talked about the message of the gospel and how it offends the person to whom we bring it. But, if they only could taste the salt in our shaker then what a transformation would take place!  The message may be offensive but as Paul and Jesus said we are to be meek and gentle, salt and light in a dark world.

Today in our reading, [2Cor 11] Paul speaks to his beloved Corinthians in boldness for as their spiritual father he had promised them to Christ. He used the analogy of a father’s jealousy for the protection of a virgin daughter. In particular, Paul spoke to them about his love and concern for their lack of discernment regarding those who came to them with various “truths” thus deceiving them and leading them astray.  Jesus asked this pointed question: “But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again?” This is what Paul was asking his beloved Corinthians. By not being discerning they were losing their salt’s effectiveness, they were being“tossed to and fro , and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness…” [Eph 4]

As the Corinthians we need to ask why we too so easily accept the pepper of this world; those who come wrapped in skilled speech and are proud. Unlike the , the Corinthians and us in turn, are often unable to discern the truth of  message because we are searching the scriptures to verify what is said is truth and not error. [Heb 5:14]  

ImageJesus did not say to be pepper but to be salt. Just as pepper is dark so our enemy is dark. Just as pepper is spicy so is the enemy with his methods of deception. He has one aim in mind; he seeks to devour. The false teachers came with the motive of removing the salt from the Corinthian church and its effective testimony. The enemy today comes for the same reason. Their peppershaker might be camouflaged as a salt shaker but when turned upside down we find not flakes of salt but peppercorns! As Jesus said, they are dressed in sheep’s clothing but inside are but ravening wolves. Once we know the truth we can discern the peppershaker from the saltshaker. As babes we are to be encased and protected in the saltshaker but once mature we are to allow God to shake us out. We will then find that we are walking and sharing the table with the pepper. Our job as salt is to share the truth that frees from death, preserves the saints, heals, seasons and shares the cleansing message of the gospel to the peppers of this world.

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Be a “Jesus Light” to the Perishing (2Cor 5)

ImageAs the days draw shorter here in the northern hemisphere so the use of artificial lighting increases. Some luminaries or solar devices will illuminate our walkways to aid visitors as well as to give beauty in our barren landscapes of winter. But as each day returns so the lights of these will fade. That is the picture Paul painted for us as he explained the fading glory of the Old Covenant but in contrast the picture of the New Covenant’s increasing glory as the Spirit of the Living God takes up residence within us.

In chapter 3 Paul used the imagery of the veil and in chapter 4 he continues to use that same imagery but in a different vein. In chapter 3 we saw that the veil is over the hearts of those who minds are closed and chapter 4 the source of that closing is the enemy himself, Satan. He places that veil lest they, who are the perishing, might see the glorious gospel of Christ, the very image of God. However there is a promise in chapter 3 that when one turns to the Lord the veil over hearts and minds is removed and one can now see Christ in all of His glory. It is then that the transformation process of becoming more and more like Him begins and our “Jesus Light” emerges. We become His luminary to emit His Light to those who are perishing.

Now Paul reminds us that even though the veil has been lifted and we are becoming more like Christ, it is the inner man not the outer man that is being transformed. The outer man continues to decay and is frail and vulnerable. Yet we have this promise: He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14) So although we are still an earthen vessel, having been formed from dust, yet within our hearts His light is shining. God as the Potter has taken us from the dust, removed our veil and filled us with the Spirit of the Living God to be molded and shaped by Him for one reason: to emit His Light to those whose minds are veiled by the master schemer and deceiver. It is this power we have within plus the Word of God that rends the veil and removes the shackles that bind.  Too, we must also remember that the master deceiver seeks to diminish our light. Therefore we must put on the armor daily and say as John the Baptist: “Jesus Christ must increase, but I must decrease.” Don Hoekster says: “God’s plan is to put extraordinary heavenly treasure into ordinary earthen vessels, so that the attention will go to the contents, not to the container: “that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” How liberating and exciting to know that we are His to be used for His glory and to reveal His Light to those who are perishing!

The question thus for us this day is this: Am I a “Jesus Light” that penetrates the veil of the perishing?

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Is My Lens Functioning? 1Cor 14

ImageLighthouses are fascinating. Their lens are rotating and emit light to show the ship captain the direction he is to use to navigate a treacherous channel to safety. The church is to be a lighthouse for the lost. Therefore, it is crucial that the lenses are cleaned often and they are operational 24/7. The Corinthian church was a lighthouse in that decadent city with its idolatry and immorality. And yet still the members were asking questions as to what their purpose was in this life as a church member. What is my role? Why should I be a contributing member? Paul addresses all of these in chapter 14 that their purpose was to be prepared to guide the lost to THE LIGHT.

Part 1: Pursue Love and Desire the spiritual gifts. Seek to prophesy [to teach, refute, reprove, admonish, comfort others] because in doing so you edify, exhort, and offer consolation. These gifts are to build up the Body.

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Edification literally means building up of the soul. Barnabas is a biblical character that was nicknamed Encourager because he was an edifier. He was always ready with an encouraging word and did not miss a divine opportunity. So to edify we must keep our eyes and ears open. Take a moment and edify someone even right now!

Exhortation literally means pleading, persuading, inspiring. Its purpose is to strengthen and establish, or ground believers in their walk.  This is important to avoid false teaching, to renew our walk, and lead others out of spiritual quagmires. This is more than a meeting time for worship, it is an intentional meeting time to hear from another’s lips words that encourage and sharpen each other’s skills so that we become more like Christ. Take a moment and exhort someone who is struggling spiritually…do it even now.

Consolation is comfort. It is looking for those times to pray, encourage in person those who are hurting, going through rough times. Look at your calendar and ask whom did I console this past week and why? How did I do it in action and what words did I use? Take a moment and console a brother or sister who is in need of comfort. Share a word in a phone call, a note, a word that you are praying…do it now.

Part 2: Be Mature Thinkers. When others enter your worship do they hear intelligent conversation or the buzz words using Christian lingo? Speak the Word for it is the Word that convicts. [John 16:8, 2Tim 3:16] Then“If an unbeliever or uninformed person enters, he will be convicted by all, he will be called to account by all.  The secrets of his heart are disclosed, and in this way he will fall down with his face to the ground and worship God, declaring, “God is really among you.” Take a moment and search your conversations and note how many buzz words you are using…ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you speak to a non-believer…do it now. Pray that God give you a divine opportunity to be His witness.

Thus as a Body member we need to be about the Master’s business of edifying, exhorting and consoling others. We need to be instructed so that we can instruct others intelligently. This chapter convicts and instructs. Is our lens operational? Is it leading the lost to the LIGHT?  Does this “wordable” reflect me to the world and to others around me?

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Believers are God’s Tapestry [Eph 4]

ImageTapestry; what a beautiful word to describe the body of Christ, His church. A tapestry is a form of textile art, imitating paintings, which is woven so that there are two sets of interlaced threads, the warp which runs parallel to the length and the weft which is passed back and forth across all parts of the warps.  A tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible.

We as Christ’s church are a tapestry, being woven together uniquely. We are the weft of beautiful colors which make up a glorious representation which is on exhibit to the principalities and authorities in the heavenly realm as well as here on earth. And just as a tapestry utilizes many colors, many strands of threads to complete this “painting” so it takes many believers in Christ to be the strands, the threads,  used by the Holy Spirit to weave together Christ’s church. Thus, Paul charges the Ephesians and us in turn to be a weft thread by demonstrating the gifts of humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, and to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.

When you work on a tapestry you must have adequate light. The Holy Spirit is our light which illumines our understanding and allows us to see each thread for its color and beauty. If we work in the dark we are unable to see our design, the colors, the next warp to go under. So too when we are not in unity in the Body, Paul says we give the devil an opportunity and thus mar the tapestry being woven. Therefore, “he turns from exposition to exhortation, from what God has done (in the indicative), to what we must be and do (in the imperative), from doctrine to duty . . . from mind-stretching theology to its down-to-earth, concrete implications in everyday living” [Stott].

Speak truth, be angry and sin not and in fact do not let the sun go down upon your anger! Put away all bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling and evil, slanderous talk. Instead, weave the threads of kindness one to another, compassionate, forgiving one another, Just as Christ also forgave you. Thus, “Christians must preserve the unity between believers that God has created in the church.”[Constable]

As a believer in Christ you are a weft thread.  Precious ones, let the Holy Spirit illumine your weaving so you are a glorious and beautiful tapestry for the entire world and those in the heavenly realms to see!