Tag Archives: light

Deuteronomy 23-26; Luke 11

When I finished talking, she asked me, “But what does God say about you?” I knew the intellectual response. But when I held his words in my hand, why did it feel like the weight of circumstance felt heavier? When God knows my history, my thoughts, my heart, my dreams, why couldn’t his word weigh more?

“But the Lord your God refused to listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you.” (Deuteronomy 23:5, NLT)

When I know where I came from and who I should have been, I can see the Lord’s saving hand in my life. This remembrance shows me his great love and mercy. He is so kind. And I am so grateful.

“Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from slavery.” (Deuteronomy 24:18, NLT)

Why couldn’t his word weigh more?

16 “Today the Lord your God has commanded you to obey all these decrees and regulations. So be careful to obey them wholeheartedly. 17 You have declared today that the Lord is your God. And you have promised to walk in his ways, and to obey his decrees, commands, and regulations, and to do everything he tells you. 18 The Lord has declared today that you are his people, his own special treasure, just as he promised, and that you must obey all his commands. 19 And if you do, he will set you high above all the other nations he has made. Then you will receive praise, honor, and renown. You will be a nation that is holy to the Lord your God, just as he promised.” (Deuteronomy 26:16-19, NLT)

Because I wasn’t focused on it. I focused on opinions of people whose minds were already made up. I focused on perception that took in only fragments instead of the whole. I gave weight to those whose hearts weren’t for me, were riddled with pockets of darkness. And when my focus was there, no wonder the weight was heavy.

34 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is unhealthy, your body is filled with darkness. 35 Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36 If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” (Luke 11:34-36, NLT)

The Lord reminds me to be persistent in prayer. Keep on asking, seeking, knocking. I know this prayer by heart, but I write it out in a new translation. I write it out by hand.

Jesus said, “This is how you should pray:

“Father, may your name be kept holy.
    May your Kingdom come soon.
Give us each day the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4, NLT)

Keep on.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 6-8; 1 John 1

Perhaps in today’s terms, he’d be authentic, vulnerable, transparent.

If my misery could be weighed
    and my troubles be put on the scales,
they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.
    That is why I spoke impulsively. (Job 6:2-3, NLT, in response to Eliphaz)

But his unlovely grappling with the tragedies in his life brought him criticism and condemnation instead of comfort or understanding–from his very own friends.

One should be kind to a fainting friend,
    but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook
    that overflows its banks in the spring
16     when it is swollen with ice and melting snow.
17 But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears.
    The brook vanishes in the heat. (Job 6:14-17, NLT)

Job wades through turmoil. His successful, stable life and faith are scrambled by unimaginable tragedy. Whether his friends’ words were intended to help or harm, they certainly provided no comfort (think memes). He is in a pit, and whether they knew it or not, their words sparked a new burden.

I can replay his experience by rereading a passage, but in real time, real life, one often does not have the luxury to hit pause to contemplate life’s facets. In real time, replay takes place in memory and dreams, either bringing resolution or torment.

I, too, have been assigned months of futility,
    long and weary nights of misery.
Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’ (Job 7:3-4, NLT)

I think on loss, disappointment, grief, anger, hurt. I think of relationships where I’ve shared things in vulnerability and authenticity (really heartache), places I thought were ones of safety, but ultimately were not. And in that pit, the weight of loss, disappointment, grief, anger and hurt are the kindling that embitters sins of resentment, unforgiveness, grudge.

It was a recurring message in books I’d read last year: No one is coming to save you.

I realized I expected friends I considered near to rally around and help me out of the pit. But the truth is, they never said they would or could. No wonder I felt alone when I was grasping the vapor belief/hope that they should.

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. (1 John 1:5-10, NLT)

God is light, and I’m grateful for the intimacy I have with him through prayer and His Word. He is my safe place. He meets me in the ugly, scrambled spaces and speaks with clarity and gentleness–oh that I can hide his word in my heart so that I would not sin against him. Feelings let me know something is wrong–but left untended, they can become agitated and enflamed to sin. Do not be deceived. Offense and expectation have no cap on captives. Freeing others from unexpressed expectations freed me from sins of bitterness, resentment and anger. It also gave me newly found freedom to delight and invest my heart and time in more fruitful pursuits.

Courtney (66books365)

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Job 28-30; Revelation 18

20 Where then does wisdom come from?
Where does understanding dwell?
21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,
concealed even from the birds in the sky.
22 Destruction[b] and Death say,
“Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.”
23 God understands the way to it
and he alone knows where it dwells,
24 for he views the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
25 When he established the force of the wind
and measured out the waters,
26 when he made a decree for the rain
and a path for the thunderstorm,
27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;
he confirmed it and tested it.
28 And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.” (Job 28:20-28) NIV

Sometimes I read scripture and it touches the very core of my being.  Tears well into the corners of my eyes as I think about the goodness of God in my life. These words affected me this way.  I shudder to think where I would be if He had not pursued me.

Truthfully, I know exactly where I’d be!  Still searching for that one “thing”, that one “person” that would fill the emptiness inside me.  Nothing satisfied that longing for acceptance, significance, and unconditional love until I began my relationship with Him.

Quite a few years ago, I heard a sermon at our church that spoke of choosing one word as our focus each year instead of making resolutions.  I’ve been doing that for several years now and have been amazed how God has used each word in my life for something going on at the time.  The year I was unemployed my word was “abide”.  It was the perfect word for that season of my life because abiding in Jesus is what got me through.

This past year my word was “light” and I am not sure any of my words have had more of an impact. I started the year still in a deep depression that I had been struggling with for quite some time.  When He brought that word to my mind, it went with the verse “God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.” (1John 1:5b)  I knew He was my way out of the darkness of soul I felt.  During the course of the year, God has revealed the many meanings of the word through verses, studies, devotionals, and sermons.  God spoke and light came into being.  His word is light.  Light is illumination (makes things visible, gives you understanding, the proverbial light bulb over your head).  He taught me so much this past year about Him and about me—things I saw and understood for the first time.  Light also means “not heavy”.  He has lifted burdens from my heart and given me a freedom I didn’t know was possible.  I am truly lighter in so many ways.  Light is gentle, delicate.  All colors depend on light. You can light a fire, ignite a flame.  As I spent time with Him and let Him work, each of these meanings was revealed to me in different ways.

“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

If we ask Him, God will reveal wisdom to us.  Somehow or other as this year comes to a close, I feel wiser.  It really has been a year of growth for me.  It has been painful—I think I’ve cried buckets of tears as I’ve let go of so many lies (shun evil).  In order to do this, I’ve had to bring them out into the light.  Those lies buried deep in my heart were hidden in darkness.  But no more!  “Surrender it all to me”, I felt Him tell me.  I was afraid of the magnitude of the pain of doing that. “On the other side of surrender is freedom” was what I sensed Him telling me in my spirit.  And it was!  Once I surrendered that last bit of my past, that last piece I was clutching, came freedom.

Today is Christmas.  It is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He came to earth to set us free.  I have been singing Christmas Carols as long as I can remember but this year, in particular, there are many I cannot sing without tearing up.  The gratitude I feel for what He did by coming to earth and sacrificing Himself for me is overwhelming.  “O, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

Merry Christmas!

Lord, thank you for Jesus!  Thank you for your plan of redemption through his birth, his life, and his death on a cross.  Thank you that he was raised to life once again and now sits at your right hand interceding for those of us who call upon His name.  Thank you for loving me as you do.  In Jesus name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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Ezekiel 1-3; John 1

In the beginning was the Word…

I learned John 1 when I was 10 years old and have never forgotten it. I learned it in the King James, so sometimes when I go to say it there are some words that seem funny being used in the 21st century.

The first fourteen verses of John 1 are an awesome defense of the deity of Jesus. Here is a list of the statements that equate Jesus to being God:

  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • The same was in the beginning with God.
  • All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  • In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

It doesn’t get any more explicit than that. We read the Bible every day and then come to a chapter like this. What a blessing this passage is to our faith. If you need biblical proof that Jesus is God, that He is co-equal with the Father here it is.

How does this change your day/week? The last statement above does it for me. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. That is still true today. Do I need wisdom or understanding? He is the source of life and our illumination of truth and direction. Do you need Him in that way today? I know I do.

Make sure you go with God. He is going with you.

 

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Ezra 3-4; Psalm 92; I John 1

I John 1:5 says, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Wish I could say that about myself. Instead, I regularly confess shades of sin to God and to others whom I have wronged so that God, who “is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” will send His grace and mercy to this repentant heart. (John 1:9). Blatant sin such as thefts, murders, and adultery may not be on my conscious, but the Holy Spirit is quick to convict me of blaming others, acting self-righteous or lacking faith. But what about defenses buried in sin that are unrecognizable until after they bite?

I came home from work the other day, glad for another blessed Friday. My elevated mood sparked my interest in making a real meal, not just the casual, lazy, Friday night fare of pizza and hot wings. Hubby heard me singing along with the radio, and I knew he was smiling before he poked his head around the corner to tell me hello. He let our small dog out of the cozy room among the laundry appliances and linen soaps. Seeing that smash-nosed, bow-legged, 16 pounds of lion-hearted loyalty, added to the promise of peace and harmony for the weekend. Yet when I reached down to kiss his silky head, our family pet violently, and without warning, bit me on the face. The shock of teeth penetrating skin was nothing compared to the painful reality that my 11 year-old friend had turned on me. The rest of the evening was a shambles caring for my wounded cheek and rationalizing the unexpected attack. Was he in physical pain? Is his advancing age a factor? What is the risk of repeated dog biting behavior? My husband and I talked about our fear that the dog would do the same or worse to our grandchild or other visiting family and friends.

Upon awakening the next morning, and after a sickening dream of giving poison to a guinea pig (go figure), the emotional jet lag felt defeating, and I sought consolation through the Word of God. As I meditated, the smog of confusion cleared and I felt convicted of sin – the sin of neglect.

Vignettes of a dog’s life played in my head. Especially over the last three months, I had not spent quantity or quality time with my canine friend. I rarely walked him. He was not allowed to be in the living room with us in our new house. I had developed a low tolerance for frustration which caused me to shoo the little guy out of the kitchen regularly so that he wouldn’t be under my feet or be a nuisance at the table. The story of neglect continued to play. Where once my dog would find a corner to curl up wherever I was, he now chose to stay in his own room. Instead of lying beside me feet, he preferred to be near my husband. He stopped asking for the treats that rarely came from me. I believe that God showed me that the sin of neglect was a contributing factor of my dog, old and blind in one eye, perhaps not knowing me at the moment he literally snapped.

“O Lord, how great are your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever,” (Psalm 92:5-7).  Lord, I can see how the sin of neglect sprang up and is a microcosm of relationships in my life that have long-since dissipated or relatives who no longer expect more than a hastily signed Christmas card once a year. I pray that the sin of neglect is destroyed once and for all by revelation, correction, and restoration. Through Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen!

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