The Season Of Light


john-8-12

At this time of year I look fondly at Christmas memories, my heritage, and holiday expectations. There are so many traditions to enjoy, including food, enjoying certain activities, and decorating our homes with lights. Both a tradition and expectation are the lights we see at this time of year. Our homes, businesses, and even the streets shine brightly with millions of white and colored lights. We enjoy decorating our homes and driving around to look at all the light displays. Why do we have such a fascination with light?

I won’t attempt to answer this question from a scientific perspective, although I think we are probably wired to be interested in light. I believe our love of light is explained within the pages of our Holy Scriptures.

Light is a common metaphor for God throughout the Bible. The first thing God created was light (Genesis 1:3) and He separated light from the darkness (Genesis 1:4). Interestingly, He created light before He made the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-16). Isaiah 9:1-7 predicts the birth of our Savior, calling Him a great light.  As Jesus was born He was called light (Matthew 4:16 and John 1:5). Jesus told us He is the light of the world (John 8:12 and John 12:46) and we’re also told that God is light (1 John 1:5). More exciting is that we are children of God; therefore we are children of light (Ephesians 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:5). At the end of the Bible God tells us Jesus will be the light for the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23).

There are more references in Scripture to light than are practical to post, but I think you get the idea. Jesus is light. Therefore decorating with light is fitting, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

James 1:17

…Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights…

May your Christmas be richly blessed by the Light of the World.

 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

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Thankfulness – Day 18


 sun moon stars

Dear Creator,

Today I thank you for the sun, moon, and stars to light our world, and guide our way. Thank you for the beauty and wonderment in these objects. Help us begin to understand Your greatness as we stand in awe of Your handiwork.

Job 9:9-10

Who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number.

 Amos 5:8

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name.

 psalm 14 4

Psalm 8:3-4

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

 

Scripture: www.openbible.info

Images: Google Images

Oblivious to the Blessings


blessings

I was living an almost charmed life.

My adopted home town was a very safe and livable community where everything I wanted or needed was nearby. The schools my children attended were great. I had wonderful, close friends, and a good job. I was a member of a significant church that reached out to everyone and had programs for all types of people. I lived in that community for 20 years. I expected life to always be that way. I thought I had a grateful heart, but looking back, I was oblivious to how fortunate my circumstances were.

This past summer we moved to another state. My expectations were that we would live in a similar community and attend a church similar to the one we just left. I thought I would find a job quickly and make new friends easily. I expected life to be the same, I would just have a different address. The truth is, it’s been an adjustment.

Thinks are different here, not wrong, just different. It is more than the names of streets and where to shop, the local culture is different too. It’s a way of life that in some ways doesn’t value what I took for granted. This difference has made me appreciate all I had even more. I was truly blessed living in in that small community in Texas. At the time, I didn’t see, and certainly didn’t appreciate, how God was showering me with His Love all the time I lived in that other city. He was feeding me, nourishing my soul. He blessed me in so many ways, but most of all, He blessed me with Himself.

Now that I am not experiencing the same circumstances I feel like my spiritual life is parched. I’ve been thanking God for what I had, and have asked Him to relieve the drought I am experiencing now. But that request is wrong. There’s a passage in the Old Testament explaining that when there is drought do not lose confidence because God has blessed you with deep roots.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

This passage reminds us that God will keep us filled, despite difficult situations. But the passage goes on to instruct us to bear fruit in every season, even during a dry spell. I can’t (and shouldn’t try to) recreate the same situation I was in. Instead, I should use my experiences to be a blessing to others. I didn’t realize it at the time but our great God was preparing me to go out into the world to do just that. Luke 6:45 tells us, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  God filled my heart. Now it’s time to share what I was given.

Someday I will experience abundance again, but this time, I pray to not be oblivious to the blessings God sends my way. James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” It doesn’t matter what the situation is, God is all I need.

May the Lord richly bless your day as you share your blessings.

betheblessing

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: google images.

Pi, Nature, and God’s Love


pi

Today is 3/14/15. Some have decided to call it Pi day (π), after the number. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is equal to 3.14159265358979323846… (the digits go on forever without repeating). π is infinite. Perhaps the reason this equation goes on forever is circles have no beginning and no ending. When I consider this mathematical concept I’m reminded that our Creator and His perfect love are infinite. God wants us to know this fact. So, our Creator has placed in nature ways to help us get to know Him. I discovered one of these ways when I opened up my Bible to read Genesis 1.

 Genesis 1:1–5

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 Genesis 1:16–19

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

What? Back up! If God did not make the sun, moon, and stars until the fourth day, what was the light on the first day of creation? I went back to verses 1–5 again. The light was there first. Then, God spoke everything else into existence. I had to know more.

As I explored the concept of light, I came to know our glorious Creator in a most remarkable way. Stick with me through a little technical jargon. It will help us understand the many meanings of light and how those meanings help us understand the attributes of God. I promise you will be rewarded for your time.

  •  The Speed of Light. Light travels very quickly, 186,282 miles per second.[i] The photons of light travel in a straight line, and go on (theoretically) forever. Consider how far light travels from distant galaxies. Light is infinite, just as God and His love are infinite. Light is coming to us in the fastest and most direct way possible—that is a straight line.[ii] God is available to us in the fastest and most direct way possible too—with just a prayer.
  •  Visible Light. The light we can see is part of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. This spectrum is radiation and is divided into types of waves. EM radiation carries energy, called photons.[iii] The waves we can see are visible light and are between certain frequencies near the middle of the EM spectrum. Jesus is with you even though you can’t see Him.
  •  Color. Each frequency is a different color. In 1670, Sir Isaac Newton demonstrated that white light is composed of all the colors of the spectrum by refracting sunlight through a prism.[iv] White light is the presence of all color, so light is the exclusive source of color in the world. When light disappears, color fades.[v] Colors are made of wavelengths. When we see colors we see the wavelengths of light that are not absorbed by the object.[vi] Black is the absence of color,[vii] or the absence of light.
  •  Sight. Without the gift of light, sight would be meaningless. The ability to see begins when light enters your eyes.[viii] Without God’s gift of light, there would be no sight.

Back to Scripture. In John 1 we learn more about light and “the beginning.”

 John 1:1–5, 9

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.”

Light is a metaphor for our Savior. This metaphor is used early in the life of Jesus. Mary and Joseph took Jesus to present Him at the temple on the eighth day, as required by Jewish law and tradition. In Luke 2:25–32 we find Simeon, a righteous and devout man, enlightened by God. Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said,

 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32

 

In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” This light goes on forever, just as the love of God never ends.

Once we understand that Jesus is light, and light is infinite, we begin to better understand the attributes of God. When we turn to the end of the Bible, in the last chapters of Revelation, we get a glimpse of the New Jerusalem, our heavenly home and we see that light comes from God.

Revelation 21:22-24

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.

 Revelation 22:5

“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”

Take a look at math, science, and nature. What other ways is our Creator expressing himself?

May your day be filled with infinitely beautiful, life-giving, and loving light

Adapted from: Follow the Light, Week One, by Julie Garro, Crossbooks Publishing, October 2013.

 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

 

 

[i] Brown, T., & Spilman, A.K. (2013). Light. In Public Libraries. Retrieved from
http://www.worldbookonline.com/pl/infofinder/article?id=ar323260

[ii] Wood, Robert, Physics for Kids, 1990, Tab Books, Blue Ridge Summit, PA

[iii] Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition, s.v. “light,” accessed July 26, 2013,http://library.eb.com.arlingtontx.idm.oclc.org/eb/article-9110443.

[iv] Domski, M. (2013). Newton, Sir Isaac. In Public Libraries. Retrieved from
http://www.worldbookonline.com/pl/infofinder/article?id=ar390180

[v] Lauber, Patricia, What Do You see and How Do You See It? Crown Publishers, New York, NY 1994

[vi] Domski, M. (2013). Newton, Sir Isaac. In Public Libraries. Retrieved from
http://www.worldbookonline.com/pl/infofinder/article?id=ar390180

[vii] Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition, s.v. “color,” accessed July 26, 2013,http://library.eb.com.arlingtontx.idm.oclc.org/eb/article-9273736.

[viii] Lauber, Patricia, What Do You see and How Do You See It? Crown Publishers, New York, NY 1994

Spreading Light Throughout Your World


be-a-light

Here is an excellent piece about believers holding the light of Christ. It’s the daily devotion for December 22, by InTouch Ministries.

Blessings to you all this holiday season!

http://www.intouch.org/magazine/content.aspx?topic=Spreading_Light_Throughout_Your_World_devotional#.&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=itmdevo

Light and Life


This time of year we re-read the Christmas stories (Matthew 1:18-2:12 and Luke 2:1-39) and celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior, as we should. When the light of Jesus Christ penetrates our hearts, we see ourselves and our need for the Savior. We realize this gift is salivation and eternity with God, and we rejoice.

 John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Do we realize the light of Christ will do more than give us eternity? Jesus also gives us life in the present, and gives it abundantly (John 10:10, John 14:6). So what is abundant life?

The word abundant means “in great quantity, more than adequate, richly supplied.” This is the type of life our Lord wants us to have here and now. When we allow Jesus to light up our lives, the darkness is chased away. Then, Jesus will light the way for us to walk in His light all the days of our lives. Walking in his light will give us a rich, full, satisfying life.

Several years ago Debbie Boone recorded “You Light Up My Life.” The song was written as a romantic song, but if you listen to the lyrics you realize this is what Jesus does for us – He lights up our lives, and He is always with us.

 As you enjoy the Christmas lights this holiday season, remember how much more Jesus wants to light up your life, if you let Him.

 

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

 

 

The Season of Light


christmas-lights

I love Christmas lights. Putting lights on our trees and houses brings a special warmth into the season. Public light displays also add to the festive Spirit. One of our favorite traditions is going to look at the Christmas lights after Christmas Eve services. The history of Christmas lights is interesting; and the information is easy to find. But what is more important to my family is what those lights represent. Light is an expression of God’s love toward us.

Throughout Scripture, God uses various forms of light as a metaphor for His love, and to draw us to Himself.

 “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:3-4

 “Then Jesus spoke to them again: ‘I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.’”  John 8:12

 During this precious Christmas season, when we admire the lights, turn your attention to the creator of light and give Him your full admiration.

An excerpt from Follow The Light:

…Consult several Bible commentaries discussing the creation story and you will find the word light in Genesis 1:3 is the Hebrew word owr. There are eleven meanings of the word, including light of life and Jehovah as Israel’s light.[i] The MacArthur Bible Commentary explains light as meaning, “That which most clearly reveals and most closely approximates God’s glory.”[ii] Use that sentence in place of the word light in Genesis 1:3 and we learn, “And God said, ‘Let there be that which most clearly reveals and most closely approximates God’s glory,’ and there was that which most clearly reveals and most closely approximates God’s glory.” Remember this thought with the following word equation:

Light = That which most clearly reveals and most closely approximates God’s glory.

 What does glory mean? An excellent word picture is found in Exodus 40:34 (GNT). “Then the cloud covered the Tent and the dazzling light of the Lord’s presence filled it.” In this context, glory means “the weight or worthiness of something. It describes greatness and splendor, and it is sometimes translated as ‘honor.’”[iii] Our word equation looks like this:

 Glory = Worthiness, greatness, splendor, and honor.

 In the Strong’s Bible Dictionary, glory also means owr or light.[iv] Now our word equation looks like this:

 Glory = Light.

So in Genesis 1:3 when God said, “Let there be light,” He was providing His glory, or Himself, as the light! This makes sense because God created man to fellowship with Him. There was no reason for God to withhold His very best. We can rewrite our word equation as:

 Light = God.

 In John 8:12, Jesus tells us He is the light of the world. John 14:10 tells us God and Jesus are one. The author of Hebrews tells us, “God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. By His own mighty word, He holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, He sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven.” Hebrews 1:3 (CEV)

The Greek word for glory is doxa. Doxa means “splendor, brightness, and a most glorious condition or exalted state. It also means “the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that Christians shall enter upon their Savior’s return from heaven.”[v]

 The Son is not just reflecting God’s glory; He is God and radiates His own essential glory.[vi] This glory is sent forth and promised to true Christians after Christ’s return.[vii]

_____________________________________________________________

[i] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ‘owr (Strong’s 216)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 27 Jul 2013. < http:// http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H216&t=KJV >

[ii] MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (2005), Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, TN, Page 8

[iii] Ibid, Page 926

[iv] Strong, James, The New Strong’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words, 1996, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, TN, Page 112

[v] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for doxa (Strong’s 1391)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 27 Jul 2013. < http:// http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1391&t=KJV >

[vi] MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (2005), Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc., Nashville, TN, Page 1836

[vii] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for doxa (Strong’s 1391)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2013. 27 Jul 2013. < http:// http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1391&t=KJV >

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images