Meaning of life

1 Peter 2:9

But you are A CHOSEN PEOPLE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR GOD’S OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

What is the meaning of life? Why do we spend our time in the pursuits that we do? Do we work hard most of our adult lives just so we can retire and do the things we want to do, the things that bring us pleasure like travelling, reading, playing golf? Is life just about seeking pleasure? Is that what it’s all about? Or do we simply plod along, one day after another, none of them having any true meaning? This feels like a snippet from Ecclesiastes, vanity, vanity, all is vanity.

I never thought the meaning of life was an elusive idea. In my 20’s I decided the meaning of my life, and really human life, was to leave the planet a little bit better than I found it. I thought we were to spend our lives in service to one another. Ah, youth! That is why I went into law and why I went into ministry. It is clear to me, now, that the ideals of that young person were generated in the heart of the Father. He does wish us to care for each other. However, today’s verse adds a another perspective, one I think it is good for us to pay attention to.

Tuesday I wrote on “The Chosen People”. I wrote about how we are unique unto God and a set apart people. Today’s verse reveals more about the status and duties of believers. God has set us apart for his own service, as His own possession. We are His family. When God called you, He called you to Himself. However, being a part of His family carries with it responsibilities much like the children of any King or Queen. We are to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The God’s Word Bible states this so plainly, “You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Isn’t that beautiful? There is your purpose. We have not been called only so that we can live in the blessing but so that the blessing of God can be exposed to the whole world. We have been given the task of carrying God’s message to the world. We are called to brag on God, to tell the glory of His kindness to the generations. We are God’s Royal Priesthood! Isn’t that amazing? Look in the mirror. What you see is the messenger of God; a person called out from the darkness to carry the good news of the light. God didn’t choose a Hermes as His messenger. He chose us. Is that an amazement?

Let me tell you, when you start proclaiming the goodness of our Father, you, indeed, will become a peculiar people. When telling about the excellencies of Yahweh are more important to you than a beer with the guys, you are definitely going to make an impression but it was for this that you were chosen. It was for this that we were all set apart. This is the purpose of life, to tell people about the beauty, glory and love of the Father who has saved us from darkness and translated us into the Kingdom of light. I can tell you this is not a purpose from which we will ever retire. In fact, we should get stronger as we age and mature.

Life does have meaning and it does have purpose. I hope you feel the importance of who you are. Maybe go look in the mirror again. That is the chosen messenger of God!

Eclipse of my Heart

Joshua 10: 12 – 13

Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,

“O sun, stand still at Gibeon,
And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies.

In honor of the solar eclipse today, I decided to send you a verse about another amazing day in God’s heavens. Everything in the universe, including the sun, is in God’s domain. God actually stopped the sun and the moon in their paths because Joshua needed more time and in faith spoke the words of command. This is such an amazing passage. Joshua’s boldness is, at the very least, remarkable. Then, the fact that the sun and moon obeyed is nearly incomprehensible, but there you have it. The faith partnership of God and man can accomplish anything.

In thinking about today’s eclipse, I was again impressed by the order God created. The moon had to be a specific size and at a precise distance between the earth and the sun in order to totally eclipse the sun which is far bigger in size. It just amazes me that God thought of all these things; that He actually took into consideration the movement of the heavenly bodies and all of the implications of their orbits. Further, He considered, contemplated and calculated all of the variable involved for today’s eclipse before He created anything. These moments have been in His calendar since before the beginning of time, since before the founding of the earth.

I know some people believe this is all completely random but I just can’t swallow that argument. When you look into the sky today and the sun disappears for a few minutes you will see the glory of God in His creative authority. This isn’t happenstance. It is calculated science and He knew the math and the science in the beginning. Whatsmore, He knew you and knew you would be standing on the earth on this special and momentous day. You are part of His calculation, part of His anticipation.

I hope you will consider our God and Father today as you view this glorious spectacle of His creation. I pray you will allow Him to touch your heart with renewal and new birth. You may ponder what these signs in the heavens mean, prophetically, you may simply wonder at the glory of creation, or it may be that a sense of awe wells up within you as you remember that your own Dad made all that you see. Whatever, touches you this day, I hope that you will allow the Father to speak into your spirit the special reason He had you be born in this time and to be a part of this event.

I would like to leave you with one last point to ponder. Consider also the crucifixion account in Luke 23: 44 – 46, “And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.’ And having said this, He breathed His last.

I hope you and Dad have a great day!

Sun and Moon

Isaiah 60: 20

Your sun will set no more, neither will your moon wane; for you will have the Lord for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be finished.

The time of Isaiah’s ministry is placed circa 740 – 700 B.C. (Halley’s Bible Handbook, 2000, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, p.366). So, the question I have is, “When is the time Isaiah wrote about in today’s verse?” John 12: 46 records Jesus saying, “I am the light that has come into the world so that everyone who believes in me will not live in the dark.” When one takes these two verses together it is not difficult to conclude that Jesus is the one of whom Isaiah wrote. Jesus is the everlasting light.

If we buy into that logic then we are heirs to some other logical conclusions. Isaiah said that because Jesus, the Lord, is the everlasting light, we will have no more darkness. That is what Jesus said too, isn’t it? Our sun will set no more nor our moon wane. In other words, there is never a moment in which you do not have light. Consider for a moment, if the sun never sets and the moon never wanes then we have the greater and the lesser light at all times. Now what does that make you think of? I believe this should say to our hearts that the Father, who is represented by the sun, is always with us shining his light into our lives. Likewise, Jesus, represented by the moon never fades. He is always the full moon, the full light of our lives. His saving grace is constant, continual. He is ever shining his loving grace and the light of life on us. Every minute of every days is bathed in the warm glow of the Father and the Son.

As if that wasn’t enough blessing for one day, Isaiah went on to reveal that the our days of mourning are ended. We live now in perpetual glory. The glory of God, the goodness of God has been sown in our hearts and it radiates the joy of the Lord into every fiber of our being.

The joy of the Lord is yours and darkness is no more. That is some pretty great news. Thank you Isaiah!

Shine On

Isaiah 60: 1

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

Yahoo! That is my commentary, Yahoo! I love seeing the good news of the Lord and this verse is light in a dark place (all puns intended). Look at verse 2: “For behold, darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you.” Dare I say it again? Yahoo! Isn’t that “Sonshine”? Remember the verse from Monday? It was Proverb 4: 18 and I titled it “Sunshine”. Look at God confirming His word to you today.

Though darkness fill the earth, light shines on the children of God. Yea! Jesus fulfilled and confirmed this. Behold his words, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8: 12). Isn’t that what Isaiah wrote? Isn’t that what Solomon conveyed in Proverb 4: 18? Do you think God is trying to get a point across? I think He wants us to realize that even when there are clouds on the horizon and our view is bleak He is still the radiance of love, compassion, help, and all else shining on us. His love is warmth on our shoulders. His glory is our crown covering us from the head down. 

Your light has come, glory to God. He is the Lord Jesus Christ and you need his light shining through the darkness. Though the world may be cloaked in darkness, Jesus is light for his beloved. Don’t live in darkness, don’t let that cloud remain. Shout because our Lord breaks through all and shines his glory on us. Praise his name!

Live in the Light

John 8: 12

Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Recently another minister and I were to teach on the spiritual realm and believers’ participation therein. We discussed many aspects of the integration of our lives beyond the physical realm. Of course a part of that conversation dealt with communion with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The scripture says that God is spirit (John 4: 24). Therefore, if we are to commune with God we must engage the spiritual realm. That’s pretty simple logic isn’t it?

The next part of the discussion had to do with angels. Do you know that angels are real beings? They, of course, are spiritual beings, i.e. they are spirits. Well, no big deal there, we are too. Our essential self and that which will never perish is our spirit. The conclusion was that we should certainly be able to recognize angels and the role they play in our everyday life.

Invariably a discussion about angels leads to a discussion about demons. Demons are very real also. They interact with human beings and have throughout human history. Some people deny their existence, some people are afraid of them. Both are inappropriate responses and I imagine that the truth is that those who deny the existence of demons are in truth just afraid and too overcome to admit it. There is no reason for us to fear though. Jesus has overcome all of the powers of darkness. That is part of the good news of the gospel. Fear not!

There is another group of Christians though. These are the ones that obsess on demons and demonology. They see demons everywhere and behind everything. We know by now that balance is always supposed to be a key factor. Any time we are overly involved in any one aspect of life there is probably a balance issue. Here is what this other minister and I discovered as we dialogued. We decided not to discuss demons at all in the soon to follow talk. The reason is that we have discovered that hanging out in the light means that we won’t have to deal as much with the darkness. In other words, when we focus our attention and intention on the light, i.e. Jesus, we do not have to spend as much time fighting demons. They flee from us because they cannot bear the light. If we abide in Christ and he abides in us then we become like a sun storm in the darkness. 

Satan’s forces recognize Jesus. That was evident in the New Testament gospels. When, therefore, we don Jesus as I have been encouraging you to do, you will find that there are fewer issues with pestering demons. I do want to say, though, that there are times when demons have to be dealt with and we are well able to do that. The gospels show us the way. Also, there are people whose ministries specialize in demonology. They have an anointing and calling for that service and we are glad to have them in the body of Christ. For most of us though, we just need to bathe in the light. Jesus’ brother, James, gave us the key to living in a world populated with evil, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4: 7). Resist evil and it will flee but don’t ignore the first part of the prescription, submit to God. If we pitch our tents in the throne room of God and spend time communing with our father, then we will have little worry or trouble from the pawns of evil.

Praise in Place of Fear

Isaiah 9: 2 – 4

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. Thou shalt multiply the nation, thou shalt increase their gladness; they will be glad in Thy presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide spoil. For Thou shalt break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor as at the battle of Midian.

Many people look upon the last days as days of darkness and they are afraid. Well, in truth, there will be great darkness and even now that is the case but the light prevails. I have read the end of the book as have you. We know how the story ends. Although there is great darkness in the world the light is even greater. Where darkness touches the earth, the light shall increase and shall disperse the dark for there cannot be darkness in the light. Do not fear days of darkness. Jesus is the light and He reigns!

Think of Paul walking on the Damascus road. Now there was a fellow who walked in darkness but behold, a great light came upon him and he was saved. There will be glory and praise in the lands of darkness because when the light comes there is no greater joy experienced by mankind. 

These people are under a yoke of deception and oppression but Jesus came to set all people free. There is liberty in Jesus and he is going to break the yoke off of their shoulders. Even today, people are getting set free all over the world even in dark countries.

We have a part in this great prophecy. First, we must not fear the dark. We should glory in the light rather than fear the dark. It is all about where our eyes are trained. If we are in fear rather than faith it simply means that we are looking at the wrong thing. Take your eyes off of the darkness and put them on the Son of light. Then your gladness will increase as the noonday sun. Secondly, pray for all peoples in all lands. There is great deception at work but the Son is the light and the truth. Where he is there can be no darkness and he breaks off the chains of lies. Third, there is great cause for celebration and praise. Glory in the Father of light. Shout His name and sing His praises for He is good and He has caused truth and light to be revealed in this earth. Glory to the Father!

Land of Contempt

Isaiah 9: 1

But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.

There has been a great reconciliation going on since the time of Jesus. God has always had it in His heart that ALL peoples should be welcomed into the family, even the Gentiles. When Jesus was eight days old he was taken to the temple in Jerusalem and a devout man named Simeon took Jesus into his arms and under the anointing of the Holy Spirit proclaimed that he was “A light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2: 32). Jesus even came from a Gentile land as we see above. 

Though certain lands appear to be cursed and the lands of undesirable people God has a plan for reconciliation. People often divide the world into “we” and “they” but God loves everyone. He sees everyone as a child of His. Some children do not honor their parents and run off in defiance but God loves one and all. 

We too once were errant children but many of us were fortunate to live in a land blessed by God, a land known by God and where God is known. But even as Jesus came from the other side of Jordan so will many others and they will find the grace of God awaiting them. There is no one too far gone that God cannot save. His hand is not too short to reach into lands treated with contempt and bring out children. Let us pray for the Lord of the Harvest to touch and save our friends, family and others who are figuratively living across the Jordan. Let us also pray for those lands which are estranged from God that they may find truth, love and mercy. There is darkness but the light is much greater.