The Precious Gift of Sight


eyes

Psalm 146:8

The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.

Saying, “The gift of sight is precious” sounds cliche, and it is an over-used phrase, but it is true. I recently learned how wonderful the gift of sight is and how much I have taken my vision for granted.

I woke up from a nap one lazy Sunday afternoon, to discover darkness over a part of my field of vision. Fortunately, my ophthalmologist had warned me I was susceptible to a detached retina and instructed me on the warning signs. My husband took me to the emergency room where, after numerous tests to confirm I was not having a stroke, I was sent to an eye specialist. That specialist sent me to a retina specialist where I had emergency retina surgery on a holiday weekend.

The recovery from surgery required that I not drive, read, text, type, or anything else that required the use of my eyes. My vision was also very blurry and my eye was swollen. Using one eye meant my depth perception was incorrect and I needed help to get around. I was dependent on someone else for a few days. It’s very hard to not be able to be rely on yourself for routine tasks.

Of the five senses, I believe sight is the most precious. The sense of smell, taste, hearing, and touch are very helpful and allow us to enjoy God’s creation. However, the ability to see allows us to be more independent, to read, and take in the beauty of landscapes, sunsets, and the faces of those we love. In fact, sight is responsible for four-fifths of the information our brain receives (Sightsavers.org). Sight is possible because of the complex way light enters your eyes, touches the retina, and sends enormous amounts of information to your brain, instantly. The ability to see should point us to God and remind us how fearfully and wonderfully we are made (Psalm 139:14).

how signt works

 

Please join me in praising and thanking God for the gift of sight, and how he made each of us with so many ways to enjoy Him and His Creation.

Blessings on your day!

The Idols of Me, Myself, and I


pride

Romans 12:3

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

Recently, God has been talking to me about the idols in my life (see previous posts). A few days ago I was convicted again. A Christian radio program[i] discussed how we often put too much emphasis on ourselves – with ourselves becoming an idol in our own life. (I don’t remember the exact words, I was driving.) I felt an immediate conviction.  My life has often been about my three best friends: me, myself, and I.

Exodus 20:3

“You shall have no other gods before (or besides) me.”

It seems like a simple, straight forward command. Why then is it so difficult to put God first and love God purely? I think the answer comes down to pride. Pride is the first sin – Lucifer fell due to his pride (Isaiah 14:13).

Pride is subtle and it permeates so many areas of our lives. Pride means we are focused on ourselves. This can take on many forms. Pride can be arrogance, and thinking too highly of yourself or that you are better than others. It’s easy to recognize that attitude as pride. There are many other areas in which we a prideful but we may not be aware of those prideful thoughts. Self-pity for example; we are still focused on ourselves and not God. How about not being thankful, or forgiving? What about always needing to be the center of attention? What about being unwilling to learn (because you think you know it all)? Refusing to admit when you are wrong? Being disrespectful, or even sarcastic? Being impatient? What about jealousy? Seems to me that I am prideful in many areas of my life.

Proverbs 16:5

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

So how do we get past pride?

The first step many view God as God. We are not God. We know that intellectually, but we must not know it in our heart because we act in prideful ways. Remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). He is the creator (Job 38:4). He’s done so much that we cannot do.

The second step may be to remember that God is the provider of everything we have. We would not have what we have if God did not create us with our unique talents and personality (Psalm 139:13).

1 Corinthians 4:7

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Being thankful, truly thankful for everything you have (1 Thessalonians 5:18) might be the third step. Next, admit to God how prideful we are. In prayer, ask The Lord to humble our spirit. God cannot use us if we are prideful, but a God can use a humble person.

Matthew 23:11

The greatest among you will be your servant.

I am praying also for a servant’s heart, and to accept the correction and discipline of God. I’m praying for God to lead me to humility.

Proverbs 12:1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.

I’m praying for God to help me conquer the pride in my life.

 

Blessings on your day.

 

Scripture: Biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

 

[i] Charles Stanley, InTouch

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

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