You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘light’ tag.

” You are Israel’s teacher and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen….”  John 3: 10,11

“For being ignorant of God’s righteousness and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to the righteousness of God.”  Romans 10:3

“Therefore dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless…..but grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 3: 17

So I came across a story the other day that is already impacting thousands of people and its ramifications go even further.  While the story was about the unintended consequences of genetically designed crops, the story itself is not the basis/inspiration for this post. (For those who will be driven crazy if they can’t reference the story, here’s the link:  https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2020/02/06/800397488/pesticide-police-overwhelmed-by-dicamba-complaints-ask-epa-for-help)

The purpose of this post is how I came across this article and what it says about “information” and “being informed” in this information age. I don’t constantly watch news outlets or read internet news, but my current situation in life allows me to partake of news from many different outlets, sources and media. And I admit that I do partake of that media multiple times throughout the day. Yet the only reason I heard of this particular story is that I was traveling cross country, alone in a car and searching through various radio stations out of boredom.  As I was listening a somewhat startling realization dawned on me.

Another aspect of the story that I was listening to was that the situation had been going on for years and, as stated above, has a very real potential to impact our entire country in many ways going forward. Yet, in all my different sources and opportunities to partake of news, over those same years, the only way I heard about this important story was because of some random search on a lonely stretch of Louisiana highway.

This is the information age! The depth and breadth of our knowledge based on the increased size and channels of  information is supposed to make us supremely wiser and more in tune with the greater world around us.  Perhaps that is a potential that is yet to see fulfillment.

For you see, it seems that what the “information age” has become or at least evolving into by our utilization of it, is the “hyper-informed” information age. That is to say, if I care about a change of venue for a Duke and Duchess, who’s been voted off a show or even something more serious like an impeachment process, I can find a seemingly endless stream of information, opinions, news (even fake) and history about that topic. What I can then spend my limited time on is delving into those topics in such excruciating detail that I have little time for intrusions of other topics, relevant and important as they may be, into my consciousness.  Ironically over time, the search engines and sites I use pick up on my preferences and feed me more and more of only similar articles to the exclusion of most else. Thus in that process I become “hyper-informed” in a little, while being uninformed in a great many things.

Okay you say, that may be all well in good but what the heck does that have to do with my spiritual life and what this blog is all about? Great question, thanks for asking. The reality is, what we do in one area of our secular lives, often gets carried over to and/or influences our spiritual lives as well.

For instance, Jesus talked about love, the power of love, the need for love, God’s love for us; love, love, love.  You might really like that aspect.  And while it is true Jesus spoke often and powerfully about love, do you know that Jesus also preached about the destructive power of Satan and the very real danger of evil? “Oh, but I don’t want to hear about that, the concept of the devil and hell is for ‘bible thumpers or charismatics”, some might say. Or, Jesus preached on the power we have in prayer, we can ask for anything in His name and we will be greatly blessed by our belief.  Again, very true, but He also preached about the power of being humble, turning the other cheek and loving our enemies. But wait, those other things seem too weak to focus on.  I can’t see any blessings there or studying that.

You see when we take God’s word and teaching and become laser focused, “hyper-informed” in just one area, we can become dangerously uniformed, ignorant, in other areas of God’s wisdom and plan. That very lack of obtaining  broader information on our part can lead to our destruction as Paul warned about in his letter to the Romans and Peter warned about as he closed out his second letter.

But you may ask: The books of Kings and Chronicles in the bible, really? Yes! Though the names and places can be tough and the dates obscure, we can read of the ramifications of turning our backs on God.  Additionally, we can learn of God’s unconditional love, unending patience and redemptive grace that happens when we repent and return to God.  All that is captured and informs us in the books of Kings and Chronicles.

Dear Sisters and Brothers, let us strive, using the resource of the Holy Spirit within us, to be informed in all facets of God’s perfect message and plan.  Let us resist the temptation to focus on only those areas with which we feel a sense of agreement, comfort and understanding. Let us diligently dive into those things which we might find obscure or worldly distasteful, that we allow nothing to darken or diminish the full Light of God, informed through His word, that can shine through us to an uninformed, dark world.  That in shining His informed light through our lives, we might bring praise and glory to His most holy name.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we praise and thank You that You have seen fit to give us the ability to take in information, to become wiser and to know You more completely.  Yet we also understand that the ability You’ve given us can be abused in our choice to only know a limited amount about You or turn to worldly information and become more and more uninformed about You. Forgive us, Most Merciful Father, when we neglect knowledge of You with our own preferences.  Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, give us a passion for knowing You as completely as humanly possible and then passing that knowledge and information to others who desperately need Your information. Grant us humility to see blessings in all Your teachings and the strength to integrate all those teachings into our everyday lives.  That, through You, we may be a beacon of wholly and Holy informed light to a dark world so in need of Your illumination.  In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen

 

“Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you..”  John 12:35

“And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into a ditch”  Matthew 15:14

“Then God said, Let there be light and there was light..”  Genesis 1:3

Okay, first, sorry for those who might be thinking this is a post concerning “Star Wars” and Luke Skywalker battling his alter ego in a cave.  It is not.

No, this about an experience I had in a cave out in Arizona while out on vacation.  This experience came in a natural underground cave system called a dry system so there are no formations like the towering stalagmites or stalactites.  In this instance, the main cave is a large chamber which is 4+ stories tall and could easily fit a large gymnasium within it.  The chamber was for the most part empty,

So enough about the cave and on to the experience.  We enter this chamber which is well lit and our guide explains how it was formed.  Then he did something amazing.  He had a remote control for the electric lights that hung on the ceiling of the gave.  He asked us to promise that although we might shift our steps some, not to walk around.  Then he turned off the lights.  My family, wife, daughter and son were standing mere inches from me.  With the lights out, I had absolutely no indication that they were there.  I experimented with bringing my hand up in front of my face and slowly bringing it toward my eyes.  I stopped when my hand touched my nose.  I still could not see it.  This was absolute darkness.  There was no light discernible at all.  While this was completely mental and not actual; sound seemed to be effected as well.  The guide gave us the opportunity to call out.  There was no echo, no bouncing of sound off the walls.  It seemed as if the sound was swallowed up in the depth of the darkness.

What is the connection between this experience and the spiritual darkness Jesus references?  First comes the aspect of movement.  Standing in darkness, I was not filled with any anxiety.  Yet if I had been asked to find the exit in the dark or perhaps run from one wall to another; my anxiety level would have vastly increased.  I was safe standing still and had no confidence in being able to move in any particular direction.  If forced to move, I would have moved very slowly.  Eventually, I would have found a wall.  But then if I had to turn and walk across the chamber, my initial steps might have been confident but very quickly the steps would have become slow and hesitant.  If I would have been tasked to lead another person to the exit or follow someone else, I would have had no confidence in my or the other person’s ability to lead.  We would have been both equally as helpless.  If there were stones in our path, we would stumble; if ditches in front of us; we’d fall.

Jesus was (and of course still is) the Light.  In fact He was Light to all while He was on the earth.  Some, most, would have rather had darkness.  He knew that darkness was coming.   The darkness that comes from disbelief.  What darkness you ask?  Many believed in the power of the city Jerusalem.  Within 40 years the Romans would burn the city and destroy the temple.  Some believed in Herod Agrippa, he would fall dead in the year 44.  Many believed that, with the death of Jesus; His ministry was destroyed.  But His disciples like Peter, John, James kept openly preaching His gospel and seemingly could not be stopped.  Think about it.  With all of their worldly lights being snuffed out, where could those who did not believe in Jesus turn?

Think about it.  How can the people of today, who don’t believe, find any sense of direction by which to walk?  I can surely trust my political leaders?  Until they get caught.  Well the people who train hard and do amazing athletic feats; they I will put my trust in.  It’s not cheating unless you get caught is their answer.  We don’t spy on our own people?  Marriage lasts a lifetime? War is a last resort?  We’ll never allow another Holocaust? and? and? and? And while those who only believe in the light of this world; which we know to be darkness, search for direction; they stumble and fall.

From the very beginning God knew that we needed light.  It was the first command that He gave.  He saw that it was good.  Notice that throughout the bible; there’s never been a charge, a bill for the Light that God provides; whether natural or spiritual.  The Israelites, as they came out of Egypt, did not have first give a certain amount of gold, sacrifice their first born, to get God to travel with them in the desert.  Jesus charged no entrance fee to hear Him speak, to partake of His meal, to be healed by Him.

No, while the Light of God is free, we do have to seek it out.  Truly, it is not hard to find.  It manifests itself in the natural beauty of a sunrise, the loving beauty of a smile of a newborn, the spiritual beauty of the sacrifice of His son’s life for us.  The mystery is why so many would turn to darkness.  Why the continuous pain and bruising is not enough to have them turn to the light.  That the frustration over missteps and anxiety about any movement actual leads to an eventual lack of all movement.  Yet they would rather stand still then turn to His Light.

That is the lesson of the cave.  In my natural state, I am in darkness.  The only light that can lead from that darkness is the Light that shines from above.  In that Light, I can move without fear.  Only within that Light can I have the confidence to hold my brothers and sisters hand and offer leadership as well as accept it from them.  Lord may it always be that we accept and use Your Light in Praise to Your Name.  In Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.

 

“And Boaz answered and said to her:  It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for you mother-in-law……”  Ruth 2:11

“You are the light of the earth…….Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good work’s and glorify Your Father in Heaven”  Matthew 14,16

Ruth, she saw a need.  There was a foreigner in her country, Naomi.   Naomi appears to be a woman with a generous heart who was kind and giving.  Naomi became her mother-in-law.  They lived in Ruth’s land, Moab for over ten years.  Yet unfortunate things happen.  First, Naomi’s husband dies but because her sons have Moabite wives and there had been a famine in Bethlehem, she decides to stay in Moab.  Then her two son’s, one who was Ruth’s husband, also die.  So now Naomi decides to return back to Bethlehem, to the land of her own people.  Although she tries to discourage Ruth from journeying with her, Ruth sees that Naomi will be in great need of support and so will not turn away and abandon her.

Now understand this, Ruth was no gold digger.  Ruth has no delusions that Naomi is somehow a rich woman who will provide Ruth with a life of ease and luxury.  While unfortunately we don’t have a computer map search feature to tell us their direct route and distance, scholars believe it was somewhere more than 40 and less than 80 miles but it was very arid land which can also be very hilly and steep in places.  Their journey was more than likely on foot.  And they returned to no palace in Bethlehem.  Naomi, being elderly, was not able to provide for she and Ruth.  So it was up to Ruth.  There were fields nearby where she could go after the workers had gone through and harvested the grain.  After the workers had gone, Ruth could go into the fields to see if any scraps of grain had been left with which to make bread.  She would not have been allowed to drink from the wells of the property.  Such was her life.

Yet her presence did not go unnoticed.  There must have been some who had asked who she was and why she was trespassing.  Naomi may have spoken well of Ruth as she discussed her plight with other widows and relatives.  Ruth’s actions shined a positive light on her and her mother-in-law.  How do we know this?  Boaz, the wealthy owner of one of the fields see’s Ruth.  He asks about her and upon hearing her name, requests to speak with her.  The first thing he tells her is to go to no other field but his field.  Boaz also explains that he has told the men of the fields that they are not to harm her in anyway.  Ruth is surprised by his generosity and asks why he is being so kind?  It is then that Boaz explains, it is not so much an act of kindness as it is an act of response to kindness and generosity that Ruth has shown to her mother-in-law Naomi.  Ruth’s acts had shown forth a light that returned a wonderful blessing to her.  And the blessing does not stop there, unbeknownst to Ruth, Boaz gives orders for extra grain to be left so that Ruth can find plenty and that Ruth is to be able to drink from Boaz’s wells when she is thirsty.

Centuries later, Jesus, Himself, will give praise to those who light shines brightly; a Roman Soldier who has unfailing faith in Jesus (his servent is healed), a woman who gives a monetarily small gift to the temple (Jesus praise for giving all that she had), a woman who uses her hair to wash Jesus’ feet (Jesus immortalized her and her act for all time).  Yet Jesus also has a warning about the use of light.

When people would give large amounts of money to the temple and want to shine a light on themselves to give themselves glory, Jesus rebuked them and said there is no blessing from above.  When the learned would make loud, long winded prayers filled with pious words hoping to shine a light on themselves to glorify their faithfulness; Jesus warned that no reward would be coming from above.

We all must see that it is the intent that matters.  Ruth did not approach Boaz boasting on what a loyal relative and terrific servent she was to her mother-in-law; implying or worse yet demanding that she was owed something in return.  The lady at the temple did not cry out Hear Ye, Hear Ye, I’m about to give all that I have.  No, the example we must follow comes from He who said that He seeks not his own glory but the Glory of Him who sent Him.  The blessings start when we can be thankful that God has placed us in the position to see a need and given us the humble spirit which allows us to reach out to meet that need.  That our acts are not so much based on requirements that we are forced to fulfill (and should be compensated for), but are heartfelt callings that we feel are a natural response to the love that we’ve experienced.  That is when we will find ourselves truly open to and will see and experience the abundant blessings which God our Heavenly Father desires to rain down on us.

So let not our light come from a reflection of earthly sources, a light reflecting off earthly gold, or a reflection of the spotlight of personal glory and self promotion.  That light will fade far too soon.  No, may it be that our light that shines be a reflection of His Love for us.  A light that shines from before the act of creation, through the hill of Calvary down to us this very day.  It is in the Light that brings Glory to His Name that we will find manifold blessings.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we declare that Your Light is the Light in which we want to live.  May it be that Your Light will illuminate our paths and be the power through which we live our lives.  Give us we pray, the humility to want to shine Your Light, without trying to claim it for our own.  That Your Light shown through us may be bring peace, joy and rest to a world whose   light is so terribly dim.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

” 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

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.  Psalm 89:15

But now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of the light.  Ephesians 5:8

Walking my dog (or more accurately being drug by my dog) the other afternoon a thought occurred to me as we walked in the afternoon sun.  I could plainly see my shadow.  The sun was bright and I could see my dark outline on the pavement.  It was the action of how the shadow was made that got me thinking.  First and foremost you need a light source.  Now in this case, it was the sun.  There can be man made shadows but most often those are dull imitations to the brightness and crispness of the shadow that comes from the sun.  Secondly, we have to be out in the sun to cast one and to see it.  No shadow was ever cast in a darkened, lightless room.  I also noticed that all things that were out in the sun with me were casting shadows.  Albeit many of shadows were different, being in the light of the sun’s rays has an impact on everything.

So the question for us is, in the spiritual sense:  are we casting a shadow?  There are 25 passages in the bible dealing with light.  In virtually all of them, light is a characteristic given to the nature of God and/or Jesus Christ.  The comparison is also made that we often do not like light.  That we like darkness because we do dark things that we don’t want shown.

And if you want to cast a shadow, how do you go about doing it.  Of course the answer would seem obvious, we need to find a light source.  That is why the question is not just about casting a shadow but what type, how clear and definite is it?  Because, there are many different light sources out there.  Light comes from our computer screens, and TVs.  Light comes from the lightbulbs we have in our houses.  Yet the shadows that get cast from those sources are slight and indefinite in nature.  And when we rely only on those sources, we can turn off the light when we feel we are about to do something evil that we don’t want seen.  When we are out in the light of the sun, there is no turning it off.  Also to cast the clearest most definite shadow requires us to move.  We must move to the light.  So to cast a spiritual shadow from the Lord as our light, we must move to him.  How do we do that?  The energy for that light comes from the Word of the Lord.  That Word can come to us in many forms.  It can come to us through what is written in the bible.  It can come to us through fellowship with other God serving people.  Finally, you can receive the word directly from God, through prayer.

So let it may be for all us that we may find ourselves constantly seeking the pure light.  Knowing that the world will try to block that light with clouds of fear, wayward thinking and wrong desires.  Knowing also that there is nothing that can stop, hide or turn off the Light of Jesus Christ and the Love of Our Heavenly Father.  So go, seek, stand in the light and cast your perfect shadow.

Amen

 

 

 

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: