Let It Shine, Let It Shine, Let It Shine

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

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

Matthew 4:16
16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

Matthew 5:16
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

John 1:5
5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 8:12
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.”

1 John 1:5-9
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 27:1
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

John 12:35-37
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. 37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.

Ephesians 5:14
14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Luke 11:34-35
34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy,your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.

Psalm 119:130
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

John 12:36-37
36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. 37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.

James 1:17
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Revelation 21:23
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

Ecclesiastes 2:13
13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.

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Checkpoint

2019 is hours away. Moving into it can be viewed as a portal or gate — imagine a TSA checkpoint at an airport. What if the qualification of passing from our current status to the one we are meant to be in is that we must shed some luggage? — only those who are traveling light can pass through. Would we do it, or would we stay behind, unwilling to comply? What if it was God who defined those terms, and the requirements were personalized? Image result for TSA, person with tons of luggage

I know most people from church culture would say, “Of course, to love God is to obey God, I always do.” But what people say and what people do are often very different. I have traveled many miles, so to speak, with people who claimed God as their priority, and commander and King, but witnessed them unwilling to leave behind their massive pile of luggage at the TSA checkpoint. Had they only left it, as asked and encouraged, they could have passed through to what God had planned for them (plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give hope and a future). 

But alas, their priority was there in their luggage.

Although they begged the TSA agents, and tried to claim, “I’m with him” or “I’m with her”, with intentions to sneak in with someone who willingly shed all that God asked, they were left behind. 

Image result for person with tons of luggageWith their piles of luggage.

Believing they were treated unfairly.

Resenting those who got through the checkpoint and quickly moved out of sight. Inventing something to condemn them, to justify discreditation or dismissal of the forward movers. 

All the while turning a blind eye to the clearly-stated signs at the airport, those personalized stipulations meant for them, too, but conveniently ignored, the posted requirements that those who passed through did comply with.

Deciding themselves victims, not causes of their own circumstances. Dejected and angry, they gather their piles of suitcases and drag them back home. There they unpack the bags to inspect item after item, relishing their worth, reinforcing their decision to hold tight to them. Arguing with God, but not calling it so: believing themselves “right” and the travelers “wrong”. Making themselves feel better by bashing the blameless. Redefining themselves as “the staid”, “the consistent”, “the pillars”, “the holy”, and by compare calling the innocents who traveled forward “rebels”, “flashes in the pan”, “backsliders”, “amoral”.

Which is understandable, perhaps, considering human nature, and maybe not the end of the story for the noncompliant. As long as they don’t settle in where they are and continue to lunge for the future. As long as they look for the Lord’s pillar of cloud by day to guide them on their way, and pillar of fire by night to give them light, as the Israelites wandering the desert did, they may yet come to the passage to their promised land.

But keep in mind, God doesn’t conform to people, people must conform to him. Don’t expect him to change his terms for each person; expect the requirements and enforcements to be unchanged. As long as each is intent on hearing directly from the Holy Spirit and no other voice (including their own), they may yet hear and obey and perhaps even catch up with those who traveled before them.

But why do it the difficult way when it can be done with ease? Why refuse to comply and play all those mind games to hide misplaced idolatry? (It’s not as hidden as you imagine, by the way.) Why forego the good things that would have come with simple obedience and singular godship? 

If God asks us to see it his way, or do it his way, then do it. Do that over and over as often as he asks, and expect to ultimately arrive at portals and gates of things new, things wonderful, things grand, things possible only with God.

We can fake “the promised land”, “blessed”, and “favored” only until the real deal comes along, then the fake is overshadowed by the brilliant light of those who truly loved enough to obey, and who ultimately were planted by God as oaks of righteousness for the display of his splendor.

We can keep all those bags full of our preferred values, ideals, worldview, people, theologies, paradigms, prejudices, material things, and more — whatever it is we value more than him, and stay in the familiar world we like to control. But, don’t fool ourselves that we’ve arrived at the best stuff. 

For those who have been trimmed and thrashed and forged and refined by fires; for those who have loved and obeyed: through the TSA gate they go. They may only have wee little backpacks with next to nothing inside, but they have willingly thrown off everything that hinders. Their eyes are fixed on hope and a marvelous future. They know who God is; they let him be the commander or King or father or coach or any of his many roles in their lives, and they are headed to all things good. 

My friend, if God asks you to drop a suitcase or two or three or fifteen, don’t be a fool. Do what he asks. Travel light. There ain’t no other way to go through to the real deal. Image result for person with small backpack going through airport

Philippians 3:7.  I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

Jeremiah 29:11 .  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Exodus 13:21 .  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.

Isaiah 61:3   and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Hebrews 12:1-2 . Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. 

On The Move

Cindi Gale

“They say Aslan is on the move—perhaps he has already landed,” [said Beaver].

And now a very curious thing happened. None of the children knew who Aslan was any more than you do; but the moment the Beaver had spoken these words everyone felt quite different … At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside.

beaver-and-children_thumb16Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror.

Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous.

Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her.

And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.

(Excerpt from C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950; this edition from The Essential C.S. Lewis (Touchstone, 1996)) Chapter VII, 88-89.)

When you’ve…

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Destiny

Cindi Gale

Destiny by definition:

1. something that is to happen or has happened to a particular person or thing; lot or fortune.

2. the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events.

From experience, I can verify the irresistible aspect of destiny. It beckons. It takes me forward despite all of my human shortcomings and fears. I do not want to resist it. I could, I know, and thereby prevent a whole chain of events from transpiring, but I don’t want to do that.

Why allow myself to be taken forward into the unknown, into a wilderness, even into a wasteland?

Because I sense something wonderful ahead. From what I’ve stumbled upon so far in this new, unfamiliar wilderness, it is good. Very, very good.

dscn0200“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:9 NIV)

Despite the challenges and insecurities, I choose to proceed in the unknown. Why?

Because I am…

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Into the Unknown

Cindi Gale

I determined to follow him over twenty years ago, albeit fearfully, hesitantly, and somewhat erratically. The destination was not made clear — there were no road signs along the way with the exact name of where I was headed, what I would be doing, or who I would be doing it with. I remember well the misgivings and angst that accompanied my decision to follow anyway, without knowing.

I trusted him. On days I couldn’t muster up real trust, I followed because I had committed to.

In the midst of all that uncertainty was a sense of something ahead. It beckoned. It promised. It offered circumstances that would put to rest my unmet needs. It would make sense of chronically undeveloped, frustrated qualities and yearnings within me.

I can describe it only as a sense of purpose, a destiny beyond my understanding, a calling from my familiar life into an unknown…

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No Darkness

Where do I go when darkness overwhelms? Where do I go when evil abounds and hopelessness prevails? Where do I go when I am powerless to right what is wrong?

To the only one who will accept my collapse for a time into total dependency.

To the one who sheds light on what is dark … little by little, or all at once … it isn’t up to me but up to him.

To the one who brings me into a partnership, not puppetry as I once imagined of him.

To the one who changes my expectations and beliefs  — about almost everything — who corrects wrong-teaching acquired from birth forward, the misinformation about people and God, earth and heaven, death and life, evil and good, darkness and light.

To the one who believes in me, and proves it by stepping back and expecting me to implement his private tutorials, making life a practice session, a lab class to follow the didactic portion of his lessons.

Even when I whine, “Me? I want you to do it! I know you can do anything! Why can’t I be a puppet instead?” and beg, “No, no, you do it for me; injustice and trouble and opposition scare me!”

To the one who doesn’t give in to my arguments, and responds with, “No, I know you can do it. That is my way, asking you to put my instructions into practice. Wanting you to take the mind of Christ forward, step by step, day by day. Helping you to walk out life overturning evil with my laws and precepts, my love, my justice, my mercy.

To the one who stands firm despite my fears, and helps me understand his will despite my finite mind.

To the one who explains when I don’t understand, “I don’t coerce, I ask to be in partnership; it’s always your choice to do so or not. What is a person if they are only puppets and pawns? I value you, each and every one of you, I welcome you to join me in partnership … by choice, never by force.”

To the one who declares, “For I know the plans I have for you, they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

To the one who makes is possible, to together …

Overturn evil with good.

Take back life from the clutch of death.

Release captives of the prince of darkness.

Turn mourning into gladness.

Demand justice where there was none.

Bring mercy, hope and love to deprived people.

Shed light on what is dark.

All of this and more … little by little, or all at once …  it’s not by our might or by power, but by his Spirit. For he is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.

 

DSCN0261.jpg God is light, for blog