Turn on the Light

You are the light of the world.
Matthew 5:14

Last week I shared about being salt. This week, I am thinking about being light. Through both images, Jesus is speaking about being a witness.

The very first verse of the Bible states that there was darkness over the face of the deep before God created the heavens and the earth. God’s first words recorded in Genesis 1:2 are, “Let there be light and there was light.” This verse describes physical light replacing physical darkness. However, as a witness, I am thinking about spiritual light overcoming spiritual darkness.

Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” Then Matthew 5:14 says, “You are the light of the world. How can I connect these verses of Matthew and John? I am reminded of Genesis 1:27, “God created mankind in His own image.So, if Jesus is light and I am made in His image, then, I guess I can also be light. However, I like to make a distinction by thinking of Jesus as the light of the world while I am a light of the world. I am like the moon that reflects the light of the sun. The moon has no light of its own. It reflects the light of the sun. I shine forth light, but my light is a reflection of the light of God’s Son.

When Jesus says that He is the light of the world in John 8:12, He goes on to say,Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.Jesus is explaining that He is the source of spiritual light that overcomes spiritual darkness. He declares in John 12:46, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should remain in darkness.

Ephesians 5:8 NLT says, For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light.’” I was not always light. I once knew what it was like to be in darkness without the light of understanding. I became light when I accepted Jesus, the Light, as my savior. Now it is my responsibility to be a light to those who are still in darkness.

Matthew 5:15 says I must not hide my light but let it shine. Matthew 5:16 emphasizes, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” My light is not to shine on me. My responsibility is to light the way for others to come to see Christ. I desire for God to be glorified – not me.

How can I be the light I am called to be? The natural realm helps me understand the supernatural realm. A lamp setting on a table will not emit light in a dark room if its cord is not plugged into a source of electricity. If I am to be a light to the darkened world, I must be connected to Jesus, the light of the world. The Holy Spirit is my spiritual cord. He is my connection. He is my helper. John 14:26 NASB says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Jesus says in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

John 1:4-5 says of Jesus, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” Light overcomes darkness rather than darkness extinguishing light. Light is more powerful. It exposes the deceptions of darkness and illuminates the brilliance of truth. Proverbs 14:25 says, “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful. As a witness, I am a light sharing God’s Word of truth with those who have not yet been enlightened by Jesus. Sharing scripture is one way of witnessing. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your (God’s) word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Paul warns in Philippians 2:14-15, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world.(my emphasis) Choices I make affect how effectively and brightly my light shines to those in darkness. My actions are as much a part of my witness as are my words. I must be careful or my light will be very dim.

I Peter 2:9 NKJV declares, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own special people, that you proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. The Lord has called me into the light and now I am to go back into the darkness to proclaim the marvelous light of Jesus Christ. I have a testimony to share. God says in Isaiah 43:10, “You are My witnesses.” It is a privilege to be light for Him!

My Reader, are you a light?  Think about it every time you turn on a light.


In a Fog

As I awoke this morning, I rubbed my eyes hoping to see better. It didn’t help. I was still unable to see across the street as I looked out the window. Yup! It was foggy.

Fog is like a thick cloud of tiny water droplets near the earth’s surface. It obscures our visibility. Fog appears when air is cooled to its dew point – where it can no longer hold all the water vapor it contains. Fog most often appears in the fall. This is because the nights are getting longer and the air masses are beginning to cool. The moisture of the land and water surfaces that were warmed during summer now evaporate excess water into the atmosphere.

This is the scientific explanation for fog. However, we can also experience a spiritual fog. A spiritual fog occurs when something obscures and confuses a situation we encounter. We may feel overwhelmed or bewildered. We may become fearful or anxious. We are not able to think clearly.

My surroundings appeared to be in a haze this morning. I could not see clearly. Little by little, the fog dissipated as the sun burned away the excess atmospheric vapor. Spiritual fog also disappears when we let the Son shine in our lives. Jesus says in John 9:5, “I am the light of the world.”

If I had needed to drive to an appointment this morning, it would have been difficult to know where to go or turn. I have encountered similar situations spiritually.

Physically and spiritually, there are GPS devices available. While driving a car, we have access to a Global Positioning System. An automated voice will tell us where to go. While traveling the spiritual journey of life, we have God’s Promises in Scripture. If we do not know where to turn spiritually, we can listen for the guidance of God’s voice. Psalm 119:105 declares, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Isaiah 30:21 NKJV says, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”

In his book Intercessory Prayer, Dutch Sheets writes about the inability of unbelievers to understand the gospel. II Corinthians 4:3 says, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.” If something is veiled, it is hidden. We can describe a veil as a type of fog because it can prevent clarity – physically and spiritually. We can say that unbelievers are wrapped up in a spiritual fog. They are unable to see the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 4:4 goes on to say that unbelievers experience mind blindedness because they cannot see the light of the gospel. No Sonshine visible! Then in II Corinthians 4:6, Paul says that God “made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Now there is Sonshine!

The veil of mind blindedness no longer exists when the Son burns through the mind’s fogginess. Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.”

My Reader, do you feel like there is a spiritual fog preventing you from understanding and obtaining all God has for you? Be assured, there is no fog too dense for the Son of God to penetrate. John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

I echo the words of Paul in Ephesians 1:18 NLT, “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called.” May we remember God is light; in Him there is no darkness at allaccording to I John 1:5.

Be a Lighthouse

Recently, we visited a lighthouse museum in Rockland, Maine. On a wall there was a statement that caught my attention. I am not sure of its exact wording, but I do remember the meaning. Basically it said that lighthouses and people are the same because they are all different  – size, shape and color. The quote was not accredited to a specific source.

Today, join me in thinking about the similarities of lighthouses and people. We will consider their appearance as well as function.

No two lighthouses or people look alike.

Some light houses are tall and skinny. Others may be short and chubby. The same can be said for people. Lighthouses are painted differently depending upon the color most visible where each is located. Sometimes white – sometimes red – sometimes striped. The options go on and on. God created people with various skin colors. Red, yellow, black and white.

Lighthouses look like towers with a bright light at the top. They are structures that emit light through a system of lamps and lenses. As Christians, we have a unique light source helping us be a light to the worldPsalm 18:28 says,You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

Jesus says in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world.” He then instructs us to function as lighthouses in Matthew 5:16. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Lighthouses guide a mariner’s voyage. As Christians, we shed light upon the personal paths of those sharing life’s journey with us.

Signals from llighthouses warn boaters about shallow shorelines and dangerous waterways. They help sailors safely navigate the seas. As Christians, we desire to help others see the shallowness of their lives – and then lead them to a deeper relationship with the Lord. We want to warn others of the world’s dangers. I like the quote, “The scars you share become lighthouses for other people who are headed to the same rocks you hit.” (author unknown)  Our goal is to help those around us safely navigate the seas of life.  I have heard it said, “Don’t forget that maybe you are the lighthouse in someone’s storm.” 

Mehmet Murat Ildan has said, “A lighthouse is not interested in who gets its light! It just gives it without thinking! Giving light is its nature!” This is true because a lighthouse is an object – not a person. However, it is different when we consider people.

In another quote Mehmet Murat Ildan sheds light upon how people function as lighthouses. He says, “To be a lighthouse, you must be strong enough to resist every kind of storm, to every kind of loneliness and you must have a powerful light inside you!” The light inside us is Jesus.

Isaiah 60:2 says, “See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you.”  Psalm 4:6 says, “Let the light of Your face shine on us.” When the glory of the Lord shines upon us, we radiate His presence. Our countenance is changed and we glow with His glory. Darkness is dissolved.

A lighthouse keeper is needed whether we are thinking about structures or people.

Today, most lighthouses of the sea are automated. Formerly, a lighthouse keeper was the person who tended and cared for a lighthouse – particularly the lights and lens. Initially, there were oil lamps and clockwork mechanisms that required attention.

God is the keeper of the lighthouse of our lives. In Jesus Always, Sarah Young points out that some suffering may be involved to help us shine more brightly. When we encounter dark, ugly times, God can transform them into something lovely. He polishes our character till it shines the Light of His Glory.

God’s Word is the manual illuminating how we are to function as a lighthouse. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Let His Word light up your life so that your light does not become dim.

No two lighthouses or people look alike or function the same manner. That’s OK. God made it that way. In your own style, shine your light in the manner God intends. Together as a group of individuals, we form a diverse representation of lighthouses.

Reinhard Bonnke has said, “The Christian purpose is still the same: to carry the light of the gospel into a murky world.” Be a lighthouse!

(A source for quotes: http://www.wiseoldsayings.com/lighthouse-quotes/)

Scriptures by Candlelight

cb-1By flickering candlelight, I am flipping through my Bible this evening. The room is dark except for the candlelight but it provides enough light for me to read the appropriate passages. I am searching for verses about light. My Reader, will you join me as I let the flicker of the candle highlight a few specific scriptures?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep,
and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
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.
God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was
evening and there was morning, one day.
Genesis 1:1-5

When God decided to create the earth, the first thing He did was create light. I wonder if there was a big, bright, blinding flash when light first appeared. If a person is in a dark room and suddenly another person turns on a light in that room, the first person can almost be blinded by the extreme contrast between the darkness and the light. Is this how light came into existence? If so, that light would be much brighter than the illumination of my room by the candle that is currently on my desk. The significance of these scripture verses for me is that light was the beginning of all that God created.

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.”
John 8:12

As I look at my little candle ablaze representing Jesus as the light of the world, two different thoughts go through my mind. First, I am reminded of the first five verses of John 1 where Jesus is described as “the Word who was with God in the beginning.” This wording is similar to the scripture of Genesis 1. John 1:4-5 states, In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Not only was Jesus involved in creating light at the beginning of time, but He also came to be known as the Light of men who shines into the darkness of mankind. Next I remember that Jesus was talking to the Jewish people who would have understood the significance of light. In Exodus 13:21 scripture records, “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” While God’s chosen people were traveling in the wilderness to the Promised Land, God manifested His presence to them through the pillar of fire when they traveled at night in darkness. My candle may be a very diminutive pillar of fire, but it reminds me that Jesus is the Light of the world – and I want Him to be shining in my world.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
Psalm 27:1

The flame of my candle is becoming more personal to me as I read the beginning of the first verse of Psalm 27. Jesus is not only the One who created light in the beginning, nor is He simply the Light of the world, but He becomes my personal light when I accept Him as my Savior. When I became a believer, my nature changed. Paul says in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” The reference to being a new creation, takes me back to Genesis 1:1 that told about God creating in the beginning. If God created light, then there must be a relationship between light and me. I want to think more about this.

You are the light of the world….
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see
your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:14&16

As my personal relationship with Jesus deepens, He reveals to me how He sees me and He instructs me in the way He wants me to live my life. Since I am made in His image, I am now a light to the world and He wants me to be His light! What a privilege!

However, being His light comes with a cost. I discover this cost by looking closely at the burning candle beside me. When I first lit the candle, there was more wax than now. I think of the words of John the Baptist in John 3:30, “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.” In order for there to be illumination from a candle, the wax must melt as the flame burns. I am also reminded of the words of the worship chorus Spirit of the Living God by C. Michael Hahn. “Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, Fall afresh on me.” While watching my candle burn and singing this chorus, I find another appropriate scripture. Jesus tells me in Luke 9:23-24, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” I must always remember that Jesus sees me as a light to the world but He is the Light of the World.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

The light of my candle is flicking and sputtering while the pages of my Bible are not fluttering from one scripture to another as quickly as a couple of hours ago. However, I cannot conclude my candlelight evening without reminding myself that the written words of scripture containing the spoken words of Jesus provide the brightest light of my life.

gold apple new

Refrigerator Rights

bible with person mfrefrigerator-with-girl-mfThis summer when we attended a church service with our daughter and family at LifeQuest Community Church, Pastor Rob referred to certain people as having “refrigerator rights” in their home.  He made the point that close friends and family are treated differently within one’s home than visitors and acquaintances.   This catchy phrase in his message gave me something to think about.

 While thinking about “refrigerator rights,” I want to make an analogy between the Bible, God’s Word, and a refrigerator.  It is my choice whether I constantly abide in the presence of God and His Word or whether I am just a guest at convenient times. If I choose to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” (Psalm 23:6)  I have “refrigerator rights!”  This entitles me to open my Bible and spend quiet time with the Lord on a daily basis. If I only spend time with the Lord for an hour or so at church on Sunday morning listening to a pastor’s message, then I am more likely to just be a guest.  If guests come to our home, I may give them something to eat, but I will serve them what I have prepared.  It may simply be a cup of coffee or a whole meal depending on the schedules of everyone involved.  My Reader, if our house is your residence, you have the freedom to partake of whatever you want, whenever you want. You can serve yourself rather than being served by me.

 When I open the door of the refrigerator, the first thing I notice is that a light goes on.  A similar thing happens for me when I open the cover of the Bible because a spiritual light goes on within me when I open it.  Psalm 119:105 NIV says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  Proverbs 6:23 NKJV says, “For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”  Jesus reveals himself as light when he says in John 9:5 NIV, “I am the light of the world.” My life needs to be enlightened!

After I open the door of the refrigerator, I look upon the shelves.  The light allows me to see what food is available for me to eat.  When I open the cover of my Bible, I can read what is written on its pages.  This is food for thoughtI discover Jesus saying in John 4:14, “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  Then Jesus declares in John 6:35, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  John 6:50-58 is a longer passage spoken by Jesus that is applicable.  “But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world….  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

I can keep food in our refrigerator, but it will spoil if I do not use it in a short period of time.  God’s Word does not spoil, but neither will it be beneficial to me if I just let the verses of scripture remain on the pages of the Bible without ever reading them or applying them to my life.  In Exodus 16, I am reminded of how God specifically provided daily manna as food for the Israelites.  Listen to Exodus 16:4-5,21: “Then the Lord said to Moses, I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.‘…Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.”  God’s Word is always fresh inside the cover of the Bible, but I must daily feed on His Word to satisfy my spiritual hunger.  Lamentations 3:22-24 says, Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’”  If God’s mercies are new every morning, then I need to feed on His Word every morning in order to receive my portion!  I must consume God’s Word so that I am not consumed by things of the world.  I also need to use up what God gives me before He will give me more.  The Lord will feed and nourish me as long as I rely on Him, but if I try to do things under my own power He will let me.  Zechariah 4:6 informs me that it is “Not by might nor by power, but by My (the Lord’s) Spirit.”  In order to have the physical energy I need for daily activities, I must consume food that I will find in the refrigerator.  In order to have the spiritual strength I need for daily encounters, I must meditate upon God’s Word that I find in the Bible.  My physical and spiritual hungers can be satisfied by the food found in  the refrigerator and the Bible if I take time to partake of it.

 My Reader, do you utilize your “refrigerator rights” offered to you by the Lord?  Do you open the cover of your Bible as often as you open the door to your refrigerator?   Included in the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples as an example of how to pray, Jesus says,  “Give us daily bread.”  (Luke 11:3)  It is presumed that Jesus was referring to physical food with reference back to Exodus 16, but I also believe that Jesus was reminding these men, and us today, of our need for spiritual food on a daily basis as well. He desires a personal relationship with you that allows you to be in His presence where you have both physical and spiritual “refrigerator rights.”  Be part of God’s family; don’t just occasionally be His guest.

 Joyfully,gold apple (MF)