Invisible makes visible
“And God said, “Let there be light,’ and there was V light.” (Genesis 1:3)
STAND ON A CLOUDLESS DAY and look at the beauty of a magnificent rose-or into the face of someone you love. The richness of those sights and the responses they conjure up in your mind are all possible because of an invisible power.
It’s true, of course, the source of that power can be seen. We can turn our eyes toward the sun—that ball so worshiped and feared in ancient times—and with special optical instruments observe its mighty, flaming surface. But once we’ve recognized the source, that’s the end of it.
The rays of the sun, light waves as they are properly called, are really quite invisible to our eyes. Yet without these light waves, we and the planet on which we live are doomed. Like water, that clear, “tasteless” liquid, the sun’s light is essential to our existence.
Isn’t it remarkable that God would put such awesome power in this particular form? But then, isn’t it actually just like Him: that the essentials to life would be given no visible identity of their own; that their effects would be sure and telling; that our dependence on them would be total; that they could be, with proper search, probed and understood—but that, taken on the first level, the level at which most of us live each day, their great power should be shrouded in invisible mystery?
And what does this say to us about God Him self-His revelation of Himself to us-His nature and expression of His character–His relationship to us?
God’s presence may be invisible, but yet it is everywhere seen. Though we may seem to live indifferent to that presence, yet we are eternally lost without it.
All goodness, all beauty from Him
“The true Light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” (John 1:9, NIV)
IT IS AN AMAZING REMINDER of the Father’s grace—that He shares the Light with everyone, not just with those who acknowledge Him. The blessing of His Son benefits all men everywhere.
Every Florence Nightingale binding wounds in the trenches; every hand reaching out to help; every heart showing genuine concern-is because Jesus’ life, its light, has been let loose in the world.
Every great composer’s symphony; everywhere an artist, a poet, sculptor, or artisan expresses true beauty, it is a reflection of His light. For beauty finds its roots in His nature.
Every genuine philanthropist; every mother who gently turns down the sheet at night for her weary child; every friend who speaks a gentle word of encouragement-all speak of Jesus Christ.
Our Father’s rain falls on the just and the un just. And His Son is the “Light to every man.”
James, in his letter, reminds us that every good gift comes down from the Father. And we note, not surprisingly, James calls Him “Father of lights.
My Christian friend, do you acknowledge that every shred of goodness you have known, every bit of beauty you have enjoyed, has been His light?
Today, with this realization, how will you speak to those around you who are benefitting from that Light but do not acknowledge its source in Jesus Christ?
God is consistent
“God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
IT IS THE NATURE OF GOD to bring light wherever He is. In today’s verse Paul reminds us of that by reciting how things started with the earth-by God introducing light into darkness; dividing the day and night; by bringing order out of chaos.
Paul goes on to relate that the light in dark ness, order and understanding out of chaos, is like the coming of Jesus Christ.
How has it been in your knowledge of God? Have you found Him bringing order into your life—knowledge and understanding in circumstances that otherwise were in disarray? Have you found that Christ’s light shining in your heart has made a difference? Has there been a sense of the glory of God borne out of Christ’s presence in your life?
It’s the sort of thing we should expect, you know. For God is consistent. Whether He is dealing with creation of the earth itself or with the re-creation of our hearts and lives, He always produces the same results.
Think about the whole thing for a moment, especially as it relates to you today. Would you characterize your life as filled with light and the fruits of that light? No? And why do you think that might be? And what might be the steps to getting rid of the darkness that blights your spirit?
Christ brought light to creation, and with it life itself. He is the Light of the World—and that means for our everyday lives. And, He is the Light of Heaven. Someday we shall know Him in that role too. Rejoice!
“No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye. Therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light, but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.” (Luke 11:33-34)
WHEN CHRIST is present in our lives He makes a difference—a visible difference. It is a difference that others will notice.
Jesus suggests in the Scripture for today that we live so that others will see His light and will benefit from looking. Now this raises several questions. First, how is the Light in my life bright and clear, or smudged and out of energy? Then, how do I view the Light Himself-selfishly, for my own benefit, or for the benefit of others-a Light to be shared, given away? And, we might add, do I really want the Light in that way-deep down inside? Do I want that kind of brightness in me?
In this same passage the Lord Jesus reminds us that we control the light with the condition of our eye-our spiritual eye, of course. What the heart is focused on will determine the ebb and flow of the mind. Quite often that heart focus determines the focus of our physical eyes as well—for good or ill.
So, the light of His Spirit flowing into us is under our control through the focus of our eyes. And the light emitting from our lives is determined by the extent to which He fills us the intensity of His presence. Jesus has made it plain that this two-way flow of light is under our control.
While His Spirit’s power is ever present, it is our choice to let the energy flow into us and through us.
Cause and effect
RECENT YEARS have seen the revival of living plants in homes and offices. Their beauty and reminder of life itself has become a symbol of our revulsion at a mechanistic, technological age in which machines seem to rob us of the spirit of life.
With the popularity of in-house plants has come an industry designed to encourage their health and beauty. And a symbol of that industry is the grow-light which simulates properties of the sun’s vital rays.
Those who follow the Light of Life, the Lord Jesus, need to understand the vital character of His light in our own growth and vitality. Without that Life, that Light, there is no growth.
The natural course of the Christian experience is growth. Scriptural metaphors like the vine and milk help us understand that essential element of Christ in us which makes a living, growing relationship possible.
How do the branches of your spiritual plant look today, my friend? A rich green-vital from the life-giving light of His presence, with fruit apparent and available to others?
“Lord Jesus, I need You for life. Without the growth of Your presence I will wither. I know it-I’ve done it so many times. Live in me and let me experience the health and vitality of all that You are.”
Jesus said, “The man who follows Me ... will live his life in the light.” (John 8:12, PH)
Life without light
WITHOUT LIGHT, life is impossible. Have you ever thought about it?
Reflect for a moment on the workings of life all around us, the growing things we see each day. (And seeing them each day is a product of light in itself, isn’t it?) If the sun were not to shine, what would happen? Slowly, certainly life would ebb from all living things. As plant life died, so too man would follow.
Day follows night in perfect harmony, and living things receive the rest and stimulation to growth that keeps them in balance. But day must follow night or the system fails. Light must follow darkness, or death is the sure result.
How is your life? When Jesus says, “Whoever follows Me … will have the light of life” (John 8:12, NIV), He is saying that without His light in our lives, death is the sure result.
Do you know Him? Have you acknowledged His light? The “light of life”- note how the words relate. Life is light.
And if you do know Him, is His light getting down into the murky places of your life—the places where decay speaks of death’s process?
“Lord, remind me today—this moment—that You are life. And Lord, help me desire it!”
“If we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other.” (1 John 1:7, LB)
HAVE YOU NOTICED how little things between yourself and friends cloud the relationship, causing communication to break down?
When darkness enters a relationship, freedom disappears and the joy of that relationship is gone. It’s time to clarify, to open up, to renew. It’s time to let light in.
The likelihood of our relationship going wrong is much higher when we’re not walking in the light-regularly. For when the light is present it always casts a shadow of perspective on things. And that’s the nature of His Spirit, to help our vision and understanding. 30
His light always carries with it its own natural characteristics, such as truth and honesty, compassion and understanding, a giving, selfless spirit, and a desire for the other’s best rather than one’s own.
Have relationships broken down? Get back into the Light. Its clarity and warmth will revitalize first you, and then your relationship with others.
True Light and its imposter
“[Jesus] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9)
ONCE IN A PARIS AIRPORT, I was innocently changing my French francs to British pounds when the bank teller suddenly informed me that part of my currency was counterfeit.
It was a great scene as the police demanded where I had obtained the francs and acknowledged that counterfeit notes of certain denominations were being widely circulated. I lost the money to the authorities, of course. But the amazing thing was that the teller had recognized the phony money-just by its feel as he counted it out!
The story is told that treasury agents are never shown counterfeit money during their training. Rather, they are made increasingly familiar with the genuine so that when they get the false, it is instantly recognized.
So it should be in our spiritual growth. Our adversary works aggressively to deceive, to dis guise his real nature. Paul suggests in his letter to Corinthian believers that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light!
Our assignment then is to know the real thing so thoroughly that when the counterfeit appears it will be instantly known-despite its general traits of authenticity.
Do you thoroughly know that true Light? You can count on the opposition to field a look-alike. And will you know the difference?
“Lord, may I seek You more completely and know Your ways.”
Avoiding the light
“Anybody who does wrong hates the light and keeps away from it, for fear his deeds may be exposed.” (John 3:20, PH)
IT ISN’T SURPRISING that, knowing the evil nature of our action, we don’t want to step into the light. But it is a conscious decision we make-staying out of the light.
Strange that we should so naturally, it seems, prefer darkness and the confusion that usually accompanies it, to the clarity, understanding, and safety of light. But then that’s the nature of evil—to want to cover up its evilness. For when it comes to the light, there is something inside us that says, “This thing is evil.” And the author of evil, who seeks constant battle with the Light Giver, wants us to avoid at almost any cost the recognition of that evil. He works to keep us from facing the reality of it.
And just because there is light, evil has already been judged. Our bringing our evil to the light simply acknowledges that judgment—and a love-filled judgment it is too.
I have often skirted the light, enjoying the false comfort of darkness, not facing the reality of the sin of my old evil nature. Have you? May I quickly add, however, that, on having made the decision to step into the light, one has always found relief rather than condemnation.
What will we do about that light-today? Will we avoid it or decide to step into it?
The Light cure
“If we really are living in the same light in which He eternally exists, then … the blood which His Son shed for us keeps us clean from all sin.” (1 John 1:7, PH)
IN THE MEDICAL SPECIALTY of dermatology, dealing with diseases of the skin, one of the most common forms of treatment utilizes light. Typically patients visit the doctor’s office sometimes several times a week, simply to sit or stand in a room which has been fitted with special ultraviolet lights. These lights simulate the sun and its healing, medicinal rays. It’s not unusual that it should be this way. Our bodies face uncomfortable, even serious maladies if light or its byproducts are not part and parcel of our existence.
A fascinating thing is that individuals seem to respond most readily when they spend time in real sunlight rather than in a light booth in a doctor’s office. Genuine sunlight works best.
It may be that the symptoms of your problem are on the surface—somewhat like a skin dis ease. But a closer look might reveal that deep down inside a shortage of Light is the source of the problem. The distasteful appearance of spiritual infection may be visible—but how are we to take care of it?
The Light cure is most likely the only hope. Jesus Christ has a cleansing, purifying, renewing effect. Healthy color, its joy and laughter and purity, is the product. The Great Physician stands ready. Are we ready for the cure?
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see to your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
THOUGH THERE IS an alphabetical relationship, I do not think it would otherwise be un usual that the Encyclopedia Britannica should deal with lighthouses immediately after the general subject of light.
Light is functional-not just an abstraction. And one of the functions of light is to give guidance. For example, the first lighthouses of mod ern style were constructed in the 16th century to help thwart disasters-ships wrecked on rocks without warning.
So it should not be unexpected that the Lord indicates that the light of His Spirit in our lives acts as a guide to others-causing us to become living lighthouses, if you will.
Do we want the Light of Christ’s life in ours? Do we seek after it? Do we long for that Light of all lights? Or do we choose to stumble along in self-induced darkness?
John Donne said that no man is an island. Our lives do affect others. Will we be a beacon of light-a ray of safety and hope-or something quite the opposite?
The dividing Light
ONE OF THE MORE UNUSUAL passages of Scripture describes the tactics of the angel of God while protecting the Children of Israel.
“The angel of God, who was leading the people of Israel, moved the cloud around behind them, and it stood between the people of Israel and the Egyptians. And that night, as it changed to a pillar of fire, it gave darkness to the Egyptians, but light to the people of Israel” (Exodus 14:19-20, LB).
The tactic of a visual screen between armies may appear as not all that unusual. But one that gives both light and darkness?
Jesus said we could always expect God’s light to be that way-dividing between men. Those who love God and His ways will find the light attractive and life-giving. Those who detest God and His appeals find His light an uncomfortable reminder of their darkness.
Wherever the light shines today it still divides. Some are attracted while others are repulsed. Only God’s Spirit can turn the detractor’s heart to one that desires the light.
Our task is simply to live in the light, telling others of its life-giving and -sustaining powers. As the angel supervised the effect of the light for Israel, so God’s Spirit will do the same in the hearts of those we contact.
The God of laughter
“All joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone.” (Isaiah 24:11)
WHEN ISAIAH wanted to illustrate God’s departure from Israel, he pointed out that the light of joy had turned dark, there was no joy. The sound of laughter was gone!
When God is present, His light brings those twin symbols of contentment-joy and laughter.
It is hard to recall a person thoroughly gripped by God’s Spirit who didn’t have a sense of laughter, the language of God’s song of joy.
Note how darkness is linked with despair. Darkness and sorrow. Darkness and bitterness. Darkness and the loss of laughter. God was gone. What an awful, terrifying description.
Is there laughter where you live-even in life’s difficult moments is there that quiet joy that is born out of His light?
Describing the coming Kingdom, Jesus re minded His friends in Luke 6 that those who now weep will one day laugh. It is a sign of His light in the soul. And one day, praise His name, His laughter and joy will fill the whole, new earth!
ISN’T IT GOOD that God doesn’t expect us to know everything? One can slightly imagine how wretched it would be if we thought we did! Even more gratifying, God has not left us without hope in this regard. And here we speak of wisdom-judgment as to what should be done in certain circumstances.
In the midst of that great 119th Psalm we read, “The entrance of Thy words giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple” (v. 130). Light means wisdom and understanding, and they are both from Him.
We experience confusion and concern over what to do about certain matters again and again. To know, to realize from practical experience that time in reflection in His Word is certain comfort-especially when linked to prayer and meditation-allowing His Spirit to speak to our confused hearts: what a promise!
Need understanding? Let His words speak in your heart. Spend time letting the words of His Scripture bring guidance to your decisions, balm to your broken heart, and wisdom to a complicated circumstance. Our God is a God of integrity. He links His promises of Light in our darkness with words like, “Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). His words of Light the can be your understanding for a dark and difficult situation.
Light and gladness
KING AHASUERUS had just sent a decree throughout the nation that the Jews should be a protected people. From being a captive minority, persecuted by men in high places, they were suddenly a favored group.
All this was a reversal of circumstances that had prevailed only days before. Esther, one of their own, was now the queen, loved and respected by the king. Another of their people, the queen’s uncle, was wearing the king’s own ring. However, earlier Haman, the king’s prime minister, had hated Esther’s uncle Mordecai, for Mordecai had refused to bow to him. So now Haman conceived a plan to hang Mordecai from a gallows and to ultimately exterminate the Jews from the kingdom.
In an incredible turn of events, Haman was hung from his own gallows, Mordecai was elevated to a position higher than even Haman had held, and the Jews were given privileged rights.
It was all from the hand of God, for one man had called His people to prayer and a brave woman had risked her own life. As riders sped through the kingdom with the good news decree, Scripture reports the Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor (Esther 8:16).
Circumstances in our lives today may need gladness. His Light is the only sure provision. Will we seek Him?
Never in darkness
“Is there any place God’s light does not shine?” (Job 25:3, TEV)
IT IS NOT INSIGNIFICANT that three men of Scripture who speak most frequently about light are: Job, the one most severely tested; David, sweet psalmist of Israel and a man after God’s own heart; and John, the one who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, spoke of God’s love, and finally, received the Spirit’s Revelation of things to come. An interesting trio. They all speak profusely about light-more than almost all the rest of Scripture combined.
And in our verse for today we have the man who is the symbol of severest testing being re minded in the midst of his sorrow that God’s light is everywhere. God is reality. God is meaning and existence. God is the sustainer of all things. Know Him and always know Light.
“If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there,” writes David in Psalm 139. “If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter most parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, even the night shall be light about me.’” No corner of God’s creation is exempt from His light.
And John, quoting Jesus in the closing lines of his Revelation, as if it were a glorious, final reminder, shouts, “I am the bright and morning Star!”
“Praise You, Lord, for promising, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’”
The gift of light
LET’S TALK for a moment about your own birth. How did you manage to accomplish it? It must have been something quite remarkable thinking it through, working out the intricacies of the physiology, the chemistry, the bone work …. Just a little strange, you say? Well, may it be a gentle reminder of the helplessness of our sojourn here on earth. A reminder too that things were set in motion by God and that the principal thing we control is the desire of our own hearts and minds.
Paul, quoting Isaiah, reminds us of God’s own promise, “Christ shall give you light” (Ephesians 5:14).
Note what is said-light is a gift!
There’s no working for this light-no getting it by brilliant achievement-or merit of any kind, for that matter. It is simply a question of our heart’s desire. We read in the same verse, “Wake up from your sleep.” In other words, life without Christ’s light is much like sleepwalking -out of step with reality.
But the important thing to catch is that He offers light without price. It is a gift as is His salvation-as was the process by which we were born physically.
Since Scripture reminds us of something of which we already are painfully aware, that is our need for light day after day, it is something that calls for daily acknowledgement and acceptance.
Life and its demands go on. Praise God that since His light is a gift, it’s a resource we shall never deplete.
The desire to live on
“I have ordained a lamp for Mine anointed.” (Psalm 132:17)
ISN’T IT FASCINATING-our desire to have our names and memories of our life live on past our death?
Walk through Arlington National Cemetery and see the “eternal” flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The same kind of flame burns at similar tombs in dozens of countries around the world. The light of the flame, in some mysterious way, seems to symbolize life.
It is not strange, then, that God promised David that despite the sin and perversity of his descendants, there would always be a light in Jerusalem to mark the covenant between them. God had a special place in His heart for the sweet psalmist of Israel. David’s sons who reigned in Jerusalem were a sign of God’s keeping that promise—the light burning, so to speak, in David’s memory.
In 1 Kings God said of that covenant, “Unto his son will I give one tribe, that David My servant may have a light always before Me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen Me to put My name there” (11:36).
And David himself, referring to the quality of great kings, said, “He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds” (2 Samuel 23:4).
Our lives must be filled with light if we are ever to be remembered for walking with the Saviour. How, my friend, do you want to be remembered? What answer does your life give today?
“He hath set darkness in my paths.” (Job 19:8)
ONCE IN AWHILE we can see it from a distance-coming a long way off. More often it catches us suddenly, without warning. Trouble may come in the form of sorrow, despair, disappointment, or temptation. But troubles all carry a common ingredient— the question of our response. How will I react once difficulty sur faces?
It is one of those realities that, without the long night hours, the coming of the warm rays of morning sun would have little meaning.
Contrast. It’s the essence of light. Job knew there is no value to it, no understanding, without darkness. He saw also that whatever came from God’s hand was good-was for his good. God’s light and goodness are both general and specific in their application. And so it is with the counterpoint of darkness.
As I write this, light and shadow converge across the table in a line of contrast. The line is sharp and precise, then soft and diffused as the intensity of the light comes and goes. But it is the darkness that gives me joy in seeing the light. Something in my heart quite naturally responds to the beauty of the light.
We can expect darkness for testing-it is the growth material of the soul. It is the central issue of life-the recesses of our minds and how we respond to the darkness in our path.
No picture of great and lasting value was ever painted without contrast. So, as Christians, we must expect darkness, and look to His light when that darkness appears.
The hours before dawn
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.” (Psalm 112:4)
IN THE HOURS before dawn, the tick of the clock seems so slow—the moments drag ponderously by. And whether you are a weary traveler on a long journey or are simply lying awake thinking, these hours seem the most difficult.
Often while on an all-night drive I have longed, eyes leaden with fatigue, for the first rays of sunrise. More often, however, it has been while abed-seeking sleep but finding none that my mind and heart have longed for the dawn. Though filled with some concern, I have found that today’s promise from the psalmist lives—when taken and acted on.
Turning on a reading lamp or slipping to my knees in prayer, I am reminded of the cure by the words of the psalm’s first verse: “Praise the Lord.” And, “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord.” With praise, recitation of His goodness and mercy, reflection in His Word-comes the light I need, the light of peace in my heart.
What is your darkness? Will you let His light shine in your heart? It’s your decision.
The morning brings hope
MORNING is possible because light has come, dispelling the night. Light is present to make the morning because the sun and earth rotate in fixed relationship, held this way because God Himself fixes the paths of the stars.
Jeremiah, in his weeping over Israel, found hope as he reflected, “The Lord’s mercies … are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Did you ever consider that the sun rising each morning is God saying in a silent yet awesome way, “Open for business-once again”?
As a boy I spent time in the California desert. I often rose very early and walked out into the desert to watch the incredible sight of the sun rising-a burning ball of flame-inching its way above the horizon. That silent spectacle of the morning always brought a song of praise and wonder.
It is God’s nature to be there each morning, again and again. The light of morning reminds us of His faithfulness. Jeremiah knew it and ex claimed, “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
While few things seem absolutely reliable anymore, the treasure of light every morning is a rare exception-and naturally so, for it is from the Giver of all light.
“BECAUSE YOU, my brothers, are not living in darkness, the day cannot take you completely by surprise …. You are all sons of light, sons of the day, and none of us belongs to darkness or to the night. Let us then never fall into the sleep that stupefies the rest of the world: let us keep awake, with our wits about us. Night is the time for sleep … but we men of the daylight should be alert, with faith and love as our breastplate and the hope of our salvation as our helmet. … So go on cheering and strengthening one another with thoughts like these” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-11, PH*).
Paul reminds us that we are not alone. Not only is Christ our armor-His light surrounding us in our day-by-day living. Beyond that, we are in a company of others of like resources sons of light! And, in dark days like these, those of the Light must constantly encourage each other. As the light of dawn after a long night brings joy, so our light in a friend’s life can be the first rays of cheer-of hope.
CLOSING one’s eyes shuts out light. In primitive cultures it was once thought that when the sun went down the gods’ eyes closed-light went out and evil forces were free to act. But today we know that when the sun “goes down” it simply means that the earth is rotating on its axis and the sun is shining in some other part of the world. The sun never stops shining, even though it may appear that way to us.
And so it is with God’s light-filled protection for His people. He is always there, always watching over His own-whether it appears that way to us or not.
David reminds us of that in Psalm 121. “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved. He that keepeth thee will not slumber” (vv. 2-3).
There are times when it seems as though God’s watchful eye has closed—that He has gone far away. We may cry out with Asaph, “Is His mercy clean gone forever?” But then after reflecting, Asaph goes on, “I will remember the works of the Lord” (Psalm 77:8, 11).
Our Father doesn’t sleep. He always watches over us. His light is always shining—to warm and comfort our hearts in the night of despair.
Do you remember how He has met you before? Praise Him for His 24-hour protection.
The land of shadows
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2)
IMAGINE living in a land of shadows. Nothing but shadows. Think what it would mean.
Color’s brilliance would be gone. Warmth of direct sunlight would be gone. Many living things requiring direct sun would die. The ever present joy that wells up on seeing the blue sky and a sun-filled day—that, too, would be gone. A terrible, monochromatic dullness would haunt everything. The vitality of contrast and life would be gone.
Speaking of Israel’s coming Messiah, Isaiah calls His name “Wonderful!” And rightly he does. For in the verses prior to that list of names given to the Lord Jesus, Isaiah describes the Children of Israel as those living in a land of shadows. But now, he says, real light has come! (Isaiah 9:2-7)
As we reflected earlier this month, all the world enjoys God’s beauty. He has generously shared His creation with those who believe and those who do not. But for those who don’t believe, life can never be seen in its full beauty, the glory of its complete meaning, the richness of its contrast and rhythm. For those who know Him, a new light has shined. Eyes have been opened and the shadows are replaced by the brilliance of His presence.
“Father, even as Your child, I often find shadows in my life-of fear and sin and discouragement. Fill the nooks and crannies of my life with Yourself —shedding Your light in those places I need it most.”
Light at Christmas
“We have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)
WHAT more appropriate symbol for the coming of the Light of the World than a brilliant star specially hung in an inky night sky?
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handywork” (Psalm 19:1). David goes on to say that the stars use no speech, no language-yet there is no place where their message is not heard.
On reviewing the majesty of God, David prays, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight” (v. 14).
On Christmas morning, are our thoughts on the grandeur of God? Is His Son, that Light of the World, like a star guiding, keeping us pointed in the right direction? Is He the focus of our lives, the desire of our hearts?
On Christmas can we remember the Light that lights every man, that brings all good, that washes away sin, that gives strength to live, that gives hope for tomorrow and eternity?
David saw constellations and praised his Creator. The wise men from the east saw the announcement star and bore precious gifts to the One it heralded. On Christmas, what are we doing with the Light of the World?
He gives ALL light
AT THE MOMENT the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, was being born, the star which hung over Bethlehem was not only a star of announcement- it was a star of reminder.
every candle that has ever burned,
every campfire that has warmed a hand,
every light bulb that has provided a light,
every sunrise that has broken fresh and new,
every star that has traced a night sky,
every blinding flash from a great atomics
they all find their source of energy in Him!
That One who spoke and the worlds were created—it was He who was born in that humble place to be our Saviour.
He was the One who said, “Let there be light”—and not only was the power His but light was the natural expression of that power.
And so for each of us, dear friend, He comes bringing that awesome power to vitalize our lives. Jesus reminded us that we are members of that remarkable, creative, royal family-His brothers, as we do His will (Matthew 12:50).
That great Source of all the universe’s light wants to light our lives today!
RIGHT in the middle of talking about food, clothing, and other necessities, Jesus begins to talk about light. He says that light in our minds helps keep things in perspective.
But He goes beyond that. Jesus says that we get more worried about what we have than what we are when our eyes get out of focus or go bad on us. “If your eyes are sound, you will have light for your whole body; if the eyes are bad, your whole body will be in darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23, NEB).
Then Jesus explains how light affects our lives. He says that if our eyes are focused on the right things, we won’t have split personalities-one side worried about the mechanics of living, the other side talking of Christ.
The sign of spiritually healthy eyes, then, is that they fill us with light-and that light is the Spirit of Christ and His priorities.
Jesus reminds us that real security is not found in our financial assets but in the state of our hearts, the issue being where we’ve placed our allegiance. Light represents the eternal, winning side—the side of wholeness.
Do I have eyes with a single purpose—or are my eyes roving, trying to satisfy a split personality, wanting all the goodies now and the blessings of God as well? Let’s see, what was it about seeking first the Kingdom?
The source of darkness
“This is your hour—when darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:53, NIV)
THE SHOWDOWN had been coming for a long time. For three years they had been planning, plotting for this moment—their jealousy, hard heartedness, and deceit spilling out in their accusations. At last the leaders thought they had their man—this Jesus of Nazareth-the one-time Carpenter and Leader of a ragtag bunch of Galileans. His claim to being the Son of God preposterous! And blasphemy at that.
But now they had Him. And darkness, it seemed, had won.
The disciples, running in fear, were missing the whole point, the mounting tempo of confrontation between darkness and light-mistaking the necessary conflict for certain defeat.
For it must be understood that darkness is real and its sources are real. The prince of darkness rules with his demons from haunts of fear, oppression, and death. But wherever Light shines, it is like a withering ray of death to their putrefying personalities. No wonder the evil spirits cried out to Jesus in fear of His power.
Darkness is all around us. Like that infamous night when they came with torches, clubs, and swords to capture the Prince of Peace, darkness always comes. It does not give up easily. But the Light of Heaven, who became the Light of the World and is the Light of Life, does reign, ultimately triumphant.
“The city does not need the sun … the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23, NIV)
ISAIAH, speaking of the New Jerusalem, foretold, “Your days of grief will come to an end. I the Lord, will be your eternal light, more lasting than the sun and moon” (see Isaiah 60:19-20). Now in the Revelation, John speaks of Christ as the Light of Heaven in the present tense. He is the Light of Heaven and He will be our Light there when all history is complete and we see Him face to face.
There will be no more night. What a promise! Superstition and fear have caused ancient societies to tremble on the occasion of an eclipse of the sun. And modern man finds the evil in his society, the fear in his heart, most prevalent at night.
What relief to know that the King reigns even now. Those who know Him find Him to be that Light in their life now. And they live in anticipation that He is the Life, Light, and Glory of Heaven, where at this moment He is preparing a great welcome for those who love and live for Him.
The coming darkness
“Make use of the Light while there is still time.” (John 12:36, LB)
THE CELEBRATED ENGLISH author and scholar, C. S. Lewis, has written an essay titled, “The World’s Last Night.” In this work he points to the fact that history is bound by time, and that time is coming to an end. Things will not always go on as they are. There is going to be the world’s last night. Time, limited as it is, fits within the great “all” of eternity
Jesus Christ has entered time from eternity and in doing so has made His Light available to all men, everywhere. But there is coming an hour when the Light will no longer be available to men.
There are two circumstances in which this is the case. First, for each of us there is the finite, limited period of our lives—the time in which we have opportunity to make a conscious decision for or against the Light. Then, in the general sense, there is the limit to time itself—that God has destined time to be limited-within eternity. And, within that period, all redemption takes place.
Outside of Christ, the Giver of all light, we individually face darkness. Temporarily we benefit from His light that shines on all men-but if we have not acknowledged Him as Saviour, we face ultimate darkness in eternity-separated from the glory of His light. And society? Rather than an ascendance, it will be extinguished-time having run out.
Choose Light before the coming darkness!
Darkness at noonday
“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land.” (Matthew 27:45)
AS CHRIST hung on the cross, His life slowly ebbing from Him, it was as though all of nature was in concert with the action on that infamous hill.
He had spoken and the worlds were created. He had said the word and light had come into a world of chaos and had brought order. He had called Himself the Light of the World. And prophetic visions would eventually remind us that even Heaven will find its light in Him-that there will be no need for the sun, for the Son will be there in all His glory.
So, is it not something we should expect, that the created should pay respect-should bow low before the agony of the Creator? That a cosmic sympathy should mark this once-in-eternity event?
Reflecting on these hours and the response of the sun itself to the trauma of the Son of God, are we given a fresh sense of the magnitude of the drama that was being played out? Do we catch in a fresh way the price that was being paid-that the sun should bow its mighty forces before the universe at the sight of the Son in mortal anguish?
“Father, give me a new appreciation for the living, dynamic relationship between Yourself and all things—and from that new understanding, may I, as one of your created beings, have a new sense of worship.”