Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Night Light, Table Lamp, or Ceiling Fixture?

Reading: 2nd Peter 1: 16-21

Verse 19: “Pay attention to it… to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart”.

Is the light of Christ like a night light plugged into the receptacle or is it like the table lamp in the corner or is it like the fixture in the center of the ceiling? It resembles none of these if the power is out or if the switch is “off”. To really answer the question one must assume that the power is on and the light is operational. Assuming both to be true, how would you answer the question? Night light, table lamp, or ceiling fixture?

Light is a necessity today. There is much darkness in our world. Satan seems to often be winning the overall battle. Wars and civil unrest rage, disease and plague-like locusts creep across the earth, modern politics seems to lean more and more into fragmentation, the wealth gap continues to widen in our society. As a whole we seem to have lost the gift of civil discourse and the art of compromise. In our culture the opinion or belief of the individual has often triumphed over the ideal of the common good and the dream of common ground. While we as individuals cannot address or affect all of this darkness, we certainly can address and affect some of it. Is the light of Christ within you shining into those places of darkness within your sphere of influence? Would others say your light is shining like a night light, table lamp, or ceiling fixture? Would they question if the power is even on?

Do not just read on. Ponder these two questions. Not yet. Ponder, wrestle, look deep. Read on when you’re ready.

We can make a difference in our world only when Christ is making a difference in our lives. Jesus Christ is the power, the juice that gives us light. Peter writes, “Pay attention to it… to a light shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart”. Dig deep into Jesus Christ. Understand his message of love and grace and mercy. Allow him to fill you up. Accept no other as your source of light and love. Be a person filled with Jesus so that his light shines like the sun in and through you. Then look at your world around you and go be the light to those living in darkness.

Prayer: Lord God, help me today to shed your light and love abroad in the places I inhabit. May all I do and say and think be ways to share the light and love of Jesus Christ with others. Amen.

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A Wonderful Day

Reading: Revelation 21:10, 21:22-22:5

Verse 26: “On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there”.

Today’s passage comes at the end of the Bible. The world that we see outside our windows and will step into just outside our doors today will not exist any longer. Our passage opens today with John seeing the Holy City coming down. It is a city of light and love. There is no temple – God and the Lamb are the temple. There is no sun or moon – God is the light and Jesus is the lamp. Only the children of God will inhabit the city and “on no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there”. All whose names are in the “Lamb’s book of life” will come and go freely. The river of life will feed the tree of life. It will bring healing to the nations – there will “no longer be any curse” – no pain, no tears, no grief… God and Jesus will reign forever. It will be a wonderful day.

Yet today, in the world just outside our window, just beyond our door, there is brokenness and evil and despair and division. This vision of heaven in Revelation is a someday vision. We live in this earthly reality. Our task as followers of Christ is to work to bring vision and reality closer together today and each day. We are to seek to build the kingdom here on earth. This heavenly vision draws us and helps us to focus on the task at hand. Our primary focus is how we live our day to day lives, striving to bring healing and hope and love and light to the world we inhabit. In building the kingdom here on earth we seek to end division and to break down barriers that separate us from one another. When we live together, celebrating our differences, not in spite of them, then the peace and love of God and Jesus will reign. If we can live and love and bring hope and light into the world each day, then each day will be a wonderful day. May it be so for me and for you.

Prayer: Bringer of light and love, of hope and peace, use me as an instrument of yours today. Help me to walk side by side with all of my brothers and sisters in the world today. Enable me to break down all that separates in order to build up your kingdom here on earth. Guide me, O Lord. Amen.

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Keep Watch

Reading: Matthew 25: 1-13

Verse 13: “Therefore keep watch.”

Jesus begins by saying, “the kingdom of heaven will be like…”  This is one of four parables that relates to heaven.  Heaven is of great concern to most Christians.  We want to feel like we are living in such a way that heaven is our final resting place.  So when Jesus speaks on heaven, our ears perk up a bit.

The parable of the ten virgins is about being ready when the bridegroom, or Jesus, comes.  The parable ends with, “Therefore keep watch.”  As we ponder the parable, we consider if we are indeed ready for Jesus’ return.  We also naturally consider which group of virgins we are like.  Are we like the five with plenty of oil?  Do we regularly invest in our faith, keeping closely connected to Jesus, with lots of oil in our faith lamps?  Or do we slack here and there, sort of staying connected, sometimes not having enough faith to see us through that next crisis or situation?

Another aspect of the “Therefore keep watch” directive has to do with the here and now.  The bridegroom does not just come on the last day.  Jesus comes to us every day in Spirit.  Perhaps these encounters with Jesus are of greater importance because of their cumulative effect.  But we can easily miss them.  Where did you encounter Jesus Christ yesterday?  How about on Sunday?

As we walk out our daily faith we must be watchful for those people, things, events, times where Jesus is present.  It could be in that article or devotional you read, in that prayer time you had, in that stranger on the bus, in your coworker across the cubicle from you, in the words shared by a friend.  Each time Jesus tries to draw near is a wonderful opportunity to connect and to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  In the parable framework, it is a way we put oil in our lamps.  In the end Jesus said to the unprepared, to the un-ready, “I don’t know you”.  May we be watchful and may we not pass Him by today or any day, lest we too hear these words one day.

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Unending Service

Reading: Luke 12:35

Jesus instructs the disciples to sell their possessions and to give to the poor.  He does so because when we trust Him and follow the call to love others, then we store up treasures in our hearts and in heaven.  These treasures are treasures that cannot ever be taken.  The feeling of helping another in need out of the love of Christ is a treasure we will always have.  In addition, doing so places our focus on heaven and on our relationship with God.

Jesus goes on to say that we must always be dressed and ready for service.  He is speaking of both our spiritual and physical readiness.  We stay spiritually ready by staying connected to God.  By spending time daily with God we keep our focus on the things of God.  This helps us to see as God sees, to feel as God feels, and to love as God loves.  We must also be physically ready.  This means we structure our priorities, our resources, our time in such a way that we can meet a need when God brings it before us.  It means we are always ready to give of our time, talents, gifts, and service when God places an opportunity before us.

The third area Jesus addresses in this passage is to keep our lamps burning.  There are two meanings or implications to this.  First, the light shines on our own path.  The light of Christ leads us on our own faith journey.  The Holy Spirit also leads and guided us in the living out of our faith.  The light allows us to keep on our journey of faith and to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  The second implication is for others.  When the light of Christ shines out from us, it helps others to see Him and to sense Christ calling out to them.  We are called to bring Christ to others by being His hands and feet so that “they might see your good works and give glory to God”.  The light draws others to Christ.

This day may we be willing to offer of ourselves and our things.  This day may we be ready to meet the needs of all God brings before us.  This day may our light shine into the darkness.  May this day be the beginning of unending Service to our King.

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Words of Life

In Psalm 19 we find some great insights into the Word of God and its role in our lives.  This Psalm shows the value of the word and its effect on our lives.  It is not a burden but a delight to live as a child of the word of God.  It guides us as we seek to walk in His ways.

In the word we find God’s perfect law, which revives our soul.  The word is trustworthy and brings us wisdom.  His word is right and clear, bringing joy to our hearts and light to our eyes.  God’s ways revealed through the word are true and yield righteousness in us.

God’s words guides and leads us along the path that He intends us to walk.  It is vibrant and living and remains relevant to the choices and decisions we make n our lives.  May we learn to love to spend time in the Bible, growing in our depth of faith, drawing ever nearer to God.  His word is a lamp to our eyes and a guide to our feet.  May we grow dependent on the Bible and its words of life.

Scripture reference: Psalm 19: 7-12