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” Then God said: Let there be light and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good.”  Genesis 1:3

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”  John 1:4

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven”  Matthew 5:16

Recently I had the blessing of again experiencing the natural wonders that Our Heavenly Father sees fit to provide to us every day.  It is that time of year where it is easy to be out when the sun is rising (two things make this a great time of year, the temperature is not too cold and I don’t have drag myself out of bed at 0 dark thirty) and to see the glorious transformation of the new day.

It was on one of those walks when a particularly fascinating aspect of light and a greater illustration to life played out.  It began with very little color.  There was the just a hint of light, enough to illuminate that there were clouds in the sky but most everything was either dark, colorless, or white light.  Then, as the sun rose (okay science types, as the earth rotated, altering the observer’s angle) the colors started to be revealed.  The cloud bases started to take on a soft orange glow that grew more vibrant and red as time passed.  The sky behind went from white to a stunning turquoise blue.  Then within a few minutes time, the red changed to a spectacular golden explosion just as the sun was making its appearance.  It seemed, if you listened closely, you could hear trumpets loudly proclaiming the magnificence of the coming day.  Shafts of golden light were piercing the gaps between clouds and the sky seemed like some gold filled temple reaching from horizon to horizon.  It was breathtaking.  Yet, it was also brief.  The sun moved (that is the earth rotated).  The clouds soon lost their golden glow, some becoming white and others turning to a dirty, gray, pale shadow of their past glory.

Several things struck me at that point.  First, a humbling recognition that nothing man made could ever come close to approaching the majesty and profound beauty I had just witnessed.  I felt a tremendous need to give praise and thanks.  Secondly, I paused and looked at the now grey clouds for a moment.  There astonishingly quick transformation puzzled and troubled me.  For the sun was still there, but the clouds no longer reflected its light in the triumphant manner they had just a moment ago.  They were just dull gray clouds, traveling along on the wind.

Of course to ascribe triumph to the clouds is the height of anthropomorphic thought.  After all, the clouds have no choice in the matter.  We, on the other hand, have a choice and that choice is the basis for our very life itself.

Jesus Christ is the light of heaven.  Jesus Christ came down from heaven to bring His light to us.  We can choose to be in the dark.  To be dark and live as if dark is the way to be.  Better yet, we can see the Light.  We can see Jesus Christ as the Light of heaven, sent by Our Heavenly Father as a path to light our way to Him.  Though, I believe, there is still something more we are to do with the Light if we are in the Light.  We are to shine the light.  We, like the clouds, are to let the light penetrate us, change us from dark and pale to shining and glorious.  We are to display the possibilities that the Light brings with it.

We do have to be careful.  For the enemy hates that Light and will do all possible to block it.  He will try to have us live in darkness.  Failing that, if we recognize the light, he will try to convince us that the light has no impact for us.  Finally and I think most dangerously, if we decide to accept the Light, Satan will try to convince us that it is completely our own light; self generated and self contained, we have no need to give thanks for what is totally ours to begin with.

We are not the Light.  But we can, in fact we are invited to, live in the Light.  The Light is God’s Love for us, freely given and more than sufficient to meet every need and fulfill our God given dreams.  The sun sets, but the Son never does.  Jesus Christ has promised to never take His Light from us.  He only asks that we live in it.  We are fallen and it is inevitable that the light will shine on some dark things.  Jesus Christ tells us that is the plan.  The dark can not hide from the Light and the sins it uncovers have already been paid for.  Paid for by the flesh and blood sacrifice of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The phrase “go to the light” is often used as a metaphor for the journey from this earthly life to the next.  Yet we don’t have to wait until at our earthly life’s end to use that phrase.  Going to the Light will always bring life, no matter at what age.  Once in the Light, may we then become beacons in the dark for those lost and weary travelers, helping to guide them to their Heavenly Port.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, as the one whom you sent to make ready the path for Your Son Jesus Christ, John proclaimed, we also acknowledge, we are not the light.  Yet we praise You that You are Light and that You saw fit to send Light to us in the form of Jesus Christ Your Son.  Thank you Most Merciful Father for giving us the heart and the spirit to recognize the Light and to come into His presence.  Help us Dear Father to live and take the light into ourselves, as well as also shine the light for others, declaring to them the blessings of the Light of Jesus Christ.  That in living in the Light and shining the Light we would live a life of praise to Your Most Holy Name we pray.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

“Look for three years I have come seeking fruit and find none, cut it down………….Sir let it alone this year, also, until I dig around it an fertilize it….”  Luke 13:7-9

Jesus has been teaching about many things.  He has been teaching about; no need to worry, preparing for the His return, divisions among families over Him, and hypocrisy, many weighty topics.  He has pointed out the judgments to come when people are not doing what they should be.  And now he tells a parable concerning a tree who will not bear fruit, with the owner wanting to cut it down.  Perhaps, it sounds like another parable of judgment; the cutting down and casting out.

Yet, built into this story, it seems to me are tremendous themes of mercy, patience and even sacrifice.  First, note how the owner has waited three years.  This is land that he owns, in the parable, this is described as a  vineyard, which is a type of agriculture that takes considerable effort.  So the owner has been putting forth that effort and yet there is no return.  One year goes by, perhaps that is a function of the weather conditions that year.  A second year goes by, maybe there is something with soil, so still the owner withholds action.  Now it is the third year, no matter what has been tried, this tree is taking up space, using up resources and has nothing to show in return.  It is time for the tree to go.

Wait, the gardener intercedes for the tree.  And note this, the gardener doesn’t just say, let’s give it one more year.  No, the gardener takes pity on this tree, He is going to do all that he can to help this tree, even though it has yet to bear any fruit.  He will expend the effort to dig around it, he will pay the expense to fertilize it; still not being assured that fruit will come.

Is it not possible the we are the trees?  God has created us and planted us where He wants us.  He patiently waits for us to produce fruit.  He blesses us with fulfilling the needs in our life and gives us the space, the environment to grow in Him.  Yet, so often we remain barren.  The fruit that He so wants to be able to share with others, does not come.  There is a time for judgment.  Then there is One who intercedes for us.  Whose mission, based upon the Father’s own plan, is to take our judgment upon Himself.  Jesus Christ comes to and for us.  He provides His very Body for us, like digging around us and fertilizes us with His very Blood!.

And what is the fruit that Our Heavenly Father wants from us?  What is the harvest that Jesus Christ works so hard to bring about?  Love.  Plain and simply; Love.  Love first for our Heavenly Father, and then Love for each other.  And, please take note, how much Love our Heavenly Father has invested in us, to bring about a harvest of Love in return.  While there will be judgment, if that is what we focus on, we miss the miraculously great lengths of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love, our Heavenly Father is willing to go, to forestall that judgment.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we humbly confess Your Righteousness and Perfect Judgment.  We repent of the sin of not producing the fruit of love for which You planted us on this earth.  We praise You for sending us a Loving Gardner, to nurture us, teach us, sustain us, to show us how to grow and to whose image we should be growing into.  Help us, Dear Father, to bear the fruit of Love toward You and each other that You long for us to have.  That we may truly be the fruit of Your Creation.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.


“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will like him to a wise man………Matthew 7:24

“But everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man ……”  Matthew 7:26

It is understandable given the wonderful picturesque nature of Jesus Christ’s illustration, that we often focus our energy, as we look at this passage, on the concept of the completed houses located on the sand or the rock.  Yet I have purposefully not included that in either of the two quotes because I don’t want to focus on the end result; in other words, that which is built.  What I think is also important to explore is the method and effort with which the house is constructed.

For what we have is two builders.  They have a goal and that goal is to build a house and we will assume the house is for their own use.  It is not particularly important in this case, and we can’t be sure, whether the houses that are being built are of the exact same physical construction; both brick, same number of rooms, etc.  The reason that it is not important is, that no matter how strong the outward appearance of the home and/or the materials they are built from, the location is what will make all the difference in the end.  It is vitally important we do not get this confused with the fairytale where what the houses are made of is of primary focus; that somehow a very solidly built house on sand can survive.   Jesus is very clear the houses, regardless of their construction, will fail or survive based solely on their location.

So what goes into the decision on where to build?  Does Jesus Christ say that it is based on an extensive experience in building?  Does He say that one must acquire enough resources to purchase the better location?  No.  It all starts with the basic premise, that Jesus Christ’s words must be heard.  It is as if there is no reason to even contemplate building without having heard the words of Christ.  Those words are the construction plans.  They are the blueprints for the house; and in this case we can metaphorically expand the illustration from a physical structure, to encompass the building of our lives.  Also note that at this point, both builders are equal; for they have both heard the words of Jesus Christ.  So in actuality, they both have the potential to have successful construction projects.

Thus having the same plans, what causes one to fail (and great is its fall) and the other to succeed?  What is the impact of the hearing  makes all the difference(for those who think this is going to devolve into a theology of works; please hang in there until the end) .  Jesus Christ, in essence is stating; that you are in my physical presence and hearing me speak is of lessor importance.  What is of greater importance is; what impact does hearing these words make in your life.  Even if you leave me and ponder the words; as words that come from a “good man” but decide that they don’t or shouldn’t have any impact to what you believe and then do, then feel the grains beneath your feet.  If, however, in hearing these words, you understand that they come from the Only Begotten Son of God, that they, on the one hand, humbly convict you or your insufficiency to live a life separated from Christ, and on the other hand, provide you with the hope of faith and love given by Our Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, then stomp down and feel the strength of an eternally solid foundation beneath your feet.

For those who might see this as primacy of, it is my acts (the doing) that matters, I would ask you to go back to the hearing of Jesus Christ’s words.  Because those words begin with faith, love, humility, reverence, repentance, to start with.  That those words lead to actions is true; but, the foundation is built on the spirit first.

Two final concepts.  First, which do we think is easier to build on.  I’ve lived near a beach most of my life and sand castles, even very elaborate ones can be built in a reasonable short time and with a fairly easy amount of effort.  I have also lived in places where there is granite rock sticking out of the soil.  I’ve never even tried to build a rock castle.  Jesus Christ never hides the truth that following Him is not easy.  Finally, notice when the difference between these locations become known.  In good weather; nice sunny days, these two locations may look completely equal.  In fact, some might even to prefer to build and live at that sandy location.  But be absolutely assured of this; rain will come.  In life there will be difficulties.  There will be times when we all will be tested by the elements.  There will be time when the enemy; like a flood, will bring his power against us.  If all we have built for ourselves to rely on, is our own intelligence, our own strength, only a belief in ourselves; we will fall!  And great will be that fall.  But we can take heart and be of joy.  For we have been freely given both the Word of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit; that we may be led to both hear and then do.

Dear Father, You have blessed us by giving us Your Son’s words through the Holy Bible.  May it be that we take time daily, search out those words.  Yet Dear Father, we ask that You would help us not just to hear; but to write those Sacred words on our hearts; that we would become faithful, devoted doers of those words.  That in so doing, we will withstand whatever floods may rage against us and having come through those storms; give thanksgiving to You and Bless Your Most Holy Name. In Jesus Christ Name we Pray.


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