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.

Glorious Countenance

Psalm 119: 135

Make Thy face shine upon Thy servant.

This is my prayer today and I hope it is yours as well. There is something so simple and yet so holy and intimate about this little phrase. It has captured my heart today as if there are no other words to say in the universe. What prayer shall I utter which can eclipse the sweetness of this petition? What prayer is more powerful than the simplicity of a heart yearning for the eyes of God’s beholding?

Lift up mine eyes, O Lord, that I may behold your glory, the glory which was yours in the beginning and shine your glorious light upon my countenance that I may reflect the beauty of your love, the beauty of your grace. 

Look upon me Lord with favor. Let me find favor in your sight and in the eyes of every person. Let your light so shine that all will know that there is a god in heaven, the one God, Yahweh: father, creator, lover of my soul.

Allow me to be a blessing to all I encounter. Pour through me the abundant generosity of your soul. Let all see that you are a god of great kindness. Shower upon me, precious Lord, the truth of who you are. Let me know you as you truly are and make me a disciple of faith. 

And Father, I pray that your love and grace will fall like a blanket of light on every person who reads these words and that your eyes will behold them in the embrace of your great affection. Let your light rest upon them and keep them. Amen.

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.