Selah: Still in the Darkness

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In darkness we often find fear. Not seeing…not knowing. Where should we go? What lurks beyond our sight? Panic!

What if God is leading us to a new place of trust…in him?

What if instead of panic and fear that pushes us to run—a foolish choice at best since we cannot see where we are going—God wants us to sit still?

This morning I had a conversation with another believer who was describing how God pushed aside her daily To Do list and offerered her his instead.

And there was only one thing on it.

What if God is inviting us to set aside our busyness and multi-tasking ways and do his one thing?

What if we got still in the darkness—the unknown—believe God’s word and promise, and just wait until he showed us the next step to take?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)

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Ineffective Light

We are in the middle of an arctic deep freeze. We’ve run out of words to describe the cold.

Last night during the weather forecast, the woman was trying to be positive about the fact that the sun was going to shine. But she was quick to add that the sunshine would be ineffective because it was going to be so cold.

Ineffective light. How can that be?

As you can imagine, I was quick to begin thinking in spiritual implications.

I was immediately reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount:
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it
be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and
trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither
do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and
it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before
others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)

I have often considered what “un-salty” might be, or how it would taste, but I had never considered light that wasn’t light.

That would be darkness…wouldn’t it?

Maybe not.

Have you ever reached for a flashlight (after hunting all over for it) only to find the batteries or light bulb were too weak to light what you needed to see?

Ineffective light.

The flashlight holds all the potential to dispel the darkness, but because it has not been maintained or cared for, when it is finally located it fails to live up to that potential.

So how is your light? What does it take to not be ineffective?

That reminds me what of Peter said:
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to
goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control,
perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection;
and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing
measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2Peter 1:5-8, NIV)

That’s quite a list. Maintenance of our light takes a bit of effort. We can’t hope to dispel sin’s darkness if sit on a shelf during the week and just show up occasionally at church on Sunday. Making every effort means making the most of every opportunity, and maybe even creating a few opportunities along the way.

I don’t want to have it pronounced over me that I was “ineffective and unproductive.”

I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

How about you? What effort are you making? Do you struggle to add what Peter recommends? What works best for you?

Prayer: God, help us, teach us, lead us to know how to make our light shine more brightly for you. Amen

Advent 11: Lights

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

I usually like to sit in an aisle seat when I’m flying. Then I can lean out into the aisle for a little more room. The flight was booked (overbooked, actually) and thankfully I was able to reserve a window seat.

The best part of the window seat for me is looking down and wondering about the people in the towns I’m flying over. It was especially fun this flight because I was flying at night and the lights were kind of like reverse stars twinkling below instead of above.

So many lights…so many people.

That doesn’t make everybody happy. I visited the telescope center on Mt. Hopkins atop the Santa Rita Mountains. The guide was telling us that the reason the telescope was put there was the desert was so dark and that made the viewing of the stars and beyond that much better. They would run their vehicles up and down the mountain with the headlights off to keep from disrupting the viewing process. One light could make that much difference.

So of course I wondered: how much difference does my light make?

Light plays an important role in the developing Christmas story.

Think about it: the Wisemen followed the light to get to the Light who came to bring light to those who would be his light in the world.

We light candles at Christmas. We put lights on our trees–inside and out. Some light displays are very extravagant, even being set to music. There are 1,850,000 hits on youtube alone for Christmas lights. They even put lights on the cacti in the desert.

What is this obsession?

It made me think about my fear of the dark. If I’m home alone I have to leave a light on. There are things in the dark that can hurt us. (My shins will atest to that!)

We do a lot to make sure that our physical worlds are void of darkness.

You are the light of the world–not physically but spiritually. Make sure this holy holiday season that you are plugged into the Source and that your light is shining bright.

We wouldn’t want anyone to have to be walking in darkness. Right?