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

God’s Lamp


ancient oil lamp

My good blogging friend, Sue Nash, inspired today’s post.

I love the Psalms. They are not only prayers; many of them are simple statements about our faith and our beliefs. Psalm 18:28 is one of those. 

Psalm 18:28

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. 

When I think about what God has done for me, this verse sums it up. I was surrounded by darkness, but God has turned that darkness into light. Said another way, first I could see nothing, but thanks to God, I can see everything clearly!

Our lives are surrounded by a world that is colorful, fast, crazy, busy, and overly stimulating. It doesn’t seem dark, until we look for the truth. The overload on our senses attempts to blind us from all truth, sending us into darkness. The light God gives us is not of this world – it is of Him. Because our Lord lights our lamp we can see the world for what it is. By His lamp we can also look to the beauty of our Creator and all that He offers us.

Walk In His Light,

Julie

image: Google Images

PERCEPTIONS


dreamstime_2907801 

Jeremiah 33:3

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

I’ve challenged myself to be more aware of my perceptions this year. It’s too easy to think one thing when another is actually true. How often are we hurt, or cause hurt, because we perceive the world incorrectly?

I also want to perceive God more clearly. For me, reading His Word is not enough. I want more. God reveals Himself to us through Scripture, and other ways. Are we paying attention? Our perceptions will affect the way we view the world. I want to view the world the way God views the world. That means I need to get in tune with God.

Job 33:14

For God does speak—now one way, now another— though no one perceives it.

How can I change my perceptions? Here is an excellent blog post on perceptions written by Jeremy Binns. The link to the post is at the bottom of the page:

What the Bible Says About Perceptions by Jeremy Binns

I believe that the Bible is the most absolute, complete, and relevant source of wisdom ever compiled.”  In today’s post, I want to show you where I found out “What the Bible Says About Perceptions.”

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” – Matthew 6:23-24

Our perceptions are the lens that we view life with.  Every thought, opinion, and experience is processed through our perceptions.

Jesus said that if our eyes are healthy, then our whole body would be full of light. The same is true for our perceptions.

If our perceptions are healthy, then our whole lives will be full of light.  On the other hand, if our perceptions are unhealthy, then our lives become a dark place.

Jesus also said, “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”  If we choose to see all that is wrong with ourselves, with others, or anything else; we’ll inevitably find it.

If we can’t find it, we’ll create it. Our perceptions have the incredible power to shape our circumstances so that they align with what we already believe.

One of my readers shared this verse regarding what the Bible says about perceptions. “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.”  Titus 1:15 (Thank you Shelisa)

If we believe what the Bible says about perceptions, then we must honestly examine them on a regular basis.  As I said in a previous post, “Bad experiences and bad information result in faulty perceptions. Faulty perceptions lead to misdirection & disconnection.”

So what are your perceptions today?  Maybe your world has been a dark place lately.

Sometimes life is so full of one bad experience after another that it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that there is anything other than more darkness out there.  I get it.  I’ve been there, and I understand.

I think that maybe Jesus was thinking of that when He said, “I am the light of the world.” I can’t tell you exactly how, but I can tell you that amazing things happen when we allow His light into our lives.  The darkness that clouds our minds and emotions can be replaced with a hope and love that radiate a Divine beauty.

In Jeremiah 33:3, God says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  I promise you friend, darkness must always give way to the light.  If you will have the faith to call out and ask Him, you’ll find it.

http://www.jeremybinns.com/2012/07/03/what-the-bible-says-about-perceptions/

May you perceive the world through God’s eyes.

Image: google images

Christmas Light


bethlehemstarmotion01

Why are Christmas lights so magical? We have beautiful lights on display at other times of the year. Perhaps it’s because there are more lights at Christmas time, or maybe it’s because Christmas lights represent a promise fulfilled one quiet night some 2,000 years ago.

Christmas light is revealed twice in the story of the birth of Christ. The narrative is found Luke 2:1-40. We’ve read the story many times, but take another look. Christmas light is promised to everyone, it says so in the announcement. Beginning in verse 8, we learn the shepherds are visited by an angel of the Lord. The news is very special.

8 ‘And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”’

The glory of the Lord was shining! That light brought the first revelation of Christmas light, found in verse 10. The angel brought news of great joy for ALL the people. But there is more light in the story, continuing with verse 22:

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 ‘When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  …

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.  He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

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

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There it is in verse 31 and 32. We see that Christ is a light for revelation to the Gentiles. Again, ALL the people were included in the promise.

But there is more light in the story of Christmas. We find it in Matthew 2.1-12. Matthew’s gospel tells us the story of the Magi following the Christmas star to find the baby Jesus, and worship Him. Verses 9-11 tell us about the star: 

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

Imagine the light of this beautiful star! The Christmas star directed the Magi, just as the light of Christ will direct us, if we are open to Him.

Christmas light is our precious Lord and Savior.

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

May you and yours receive the full blessings of this Christmas Season.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: Google Images

Announcement


announcing

I’m so pleased to announce that Follow the Light, my first Bible Study, has now been published and is available on Amazon.com.

This individual and small-group Bible Study will encourage participants to see and feel God’s presence all around them.

If you want to know more, please click on the Follow the Light Bible Study Tab of this website.

Thank you for your love and support on this blog.

Walk in His Light,

Julie

cover follow the light

Book Cover . . .


cover follow the light

This is about six weeks from publication, but I wanted to share the cover. Here’s what is written on the back of the book:

We know how the story begins.

Now take a fresh look at God’s first recorded words.

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

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. Follow the Light links the first words God spoke in the Bible to the experiences of God’s people and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Delve into an exploration of the Scriptures, considering all the ways that light is a metaphor for God, His Kingdom, and His infinite love. Created for individuals and small groups, Follow the Light examines God’s presence in various forms of light, and uses numerous scriptural references to show us that the presence of our Heavenly Father is all around us.

This eight-week study is divided into personal, daily assignments along with suggested prayer topics to encourage regular conversations with our Heavenly Father. The final chapter is designed as a self-reflection tool and offers suggestions to develop a rich and fulfilling prayer life.

As you complete this Bible study, and contemplate on the glory of God’s Word and the vastness of His creation, you will begin to feel our Heavenly Father’s constant presence and visibility in your life.

… and there was beautiful, life-giving, and loving light.

Blessings on your day.