Tag Archives: the Light of the World

March 30; A Candle In The Window

Joshua 19:32-21:45; I Chronicles 6:54-81

Joshua instructed the tribes to assign cities for the Levites. Remember, the Levites did not receive an inheritance of land in Canaan. God Himself was their portion. But they had to live somewhere.

As a result, sprinkled throughout the Promised Land, there were forty-eight cities designated as Levitical towns. The Levites were the sanctuary protectors, the priests, the Truth authorities. And God made sure they were accessible to everyone in the country.

Matthew Henry says this about the Levitical cities we read about here in Joshua:

“Thus God set up a candle in every room of his house, to give light to all his family.” (Commentary In One Volume; Zondervan; 1991; page 235)

I like that analogy. I’m reminded Jesus called Himself the Light of the world. (John 8:12) And in Matthew 5 He tells us WE are the light of the world and should never hide our light under a bowl. Before He went back to heaven, Jesus told us to go into all the world, to share the Gospel and make disciples. In other words, to shine our light!

I think God would have us consider our spiritual wattage. Are we, as children of God through the blood of Jesus, shining His light into a world that desperately needs Him? If not, why not?

May we each be that candle through the window that bids people come to the Light which is Jesus Christ.

This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

John 8-11; Who Is This Guy?

He healed a blind man. He raised his dead friend to life again. He forgave a sinful woman. He not only said He was God, He backed up His claims with action.

Who is this guy? Let’s look at who He says He is.

  1. I AM the light of the world. (8:12) He said in verses 31-32, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The Truth of Jesus Christ is the light in a dark world. Chapter 8 is full of Jesus’ deity, ending with His bold pronouncement in verse 58: “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I AM!”  That’s the Light; the knowledge that makes everything clear, makes the world make sense, frees us from the chains of sin. Jesus is God!
  2. I AM the Son of Man (9:37) Once again Jesus is proclaiming His deity. Then He says to all of us, “Now that you know that, what you do with the Truth is on you. You will be held accountable.” (vs 41) Once you’ve read these words here in God’s Word, once you have heard it proclaimed, you can no longer say, “I didn’t know.” Because now you DO know. Jesus is God!
  3. I AM the gate. (10:1-10) Jesus is not only God, He is the ONLY way to the Father. There is no other way into the fold. Jesus is the protector and defender who knows His sheep by name. Which means He also knows who are NOT His sheep.
  4. I AM the Good Shepherd (vv 11-18) And not just for Jewish sheep! All of us who listen to His voice are part of His flock, loved and secure. Our Shepherd laid down His own life so we can live eternally! His sheep! Our Savior!
  5. I AM the Resurrection and the Life (11:25) From creation to the end of time and into eternity – Jesus IS.

The Great I AM.

Yes, Jesus made some bold claims, did some unexplainable things while He walked in human form here on planet Earth. And He did and said those things so that you and I could know Him.

If Jesus had been crazy or delusional like some have claimed, the Pharisees would have killed him the first time the words “I AM” came out of His mouth. I don’t believe a mere man would have been able to survive their attempts. They certainly thought about it often enough. They just couldn’t wrap their minds around what they heard and saw.

Can you? Who is this guy? Martha knew:

“Yes, Lord,” she told Him, “I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.” (11:27)

He is that guy!

 

April 18 – Out of the Darkness

Psalms 17, 35, 54, 63

When you read these psalms you can almost hear the sadness in David’s voice. Life is not being fair. He is in despair. His enemies are real and fighting hard to destroy him. For no reason.

But you can also get a sense of the trust David has in God. David is not without hope. You can read about his torment. But listen to his words of faith:

17:15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I wake.

35:28 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness and Your praises all day long.

35:54 Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. 

And here is the key to what I believe is David’s ability to completely trust God during the worst time of his life, during his darkest hours:

63:1  O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

If you don’t read anything else today, I hope you’ll read Psalm 63. If you are beaten down by the cares of this world, if you are being treated unfairly, if it seems like Satan is winning the war, turn your eyes toward Jesus.

The more you dwell on the problems in your life, the more power they have over you.

Does your soul thirst for God, or for something else? Does your flesh yearn for God? David tells us God’s lovingkindness is better than life itself. Do you believe that?

Allow yourself to rest in the shadow of His wing. Cling to God because His right hand can hold you up through these dark days. You’ll begin to see the light because Jesus tells us HE is the Light of the World. He’s the light of YOUR world.

When you take your eyes off the problem, when you spend time in God’s Word and allow Him to carry you, the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of the Savior’s glory and grace.

My Dear Comforter, I pray for hurting people today. I thank You that You inspired David to write these beautiful psalms that express what many of us are going through thousands of years later. And I thank You that David reminds us that You are able. You are righteous. You have our backs. And when we cling to You, You are able to give us exactly what we need to face today. May hurting people spend time in Your Word today. May they talk to You, the One who loves them to death. And may they allow You to bring them out of the darkness of the situation, into the light of Your Presence. Comfort them. Strengthen them. May we all look to Jesus only today.

Does That Warm Your Heart?

Ezekiel saw a vision of the Lord. I love his description in chapter 2: colorful light, blazing fire, a throne like sapphire, an appearance like a rainbow on a rainy day. Ezekiel SAW the glory of the Lord!!

And it was beautiful.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that in the past God spoke to us through prophets like Ezekiel, but in these last days God speaks to us through His Son. The writer calls Jesus, “the brightness of (God’s) glory and the express image of His person”. (chapter 1)

Ezekiel witnessed that brightness! And we can, too. What is that “warm” feeling you get when you fellowship with God from a repentant heart? What is that “lightbulb” that turns on when God reveals a truth through His Word?

It’s the same Jesus Ezekiel saw in his vision. It’s like the warmth and light from a fire. It’s the Spirit of God, Jesus in the flesh. It’s tangible evidence that God is real, He’s alive, and present with each of us today, this minute.

This morning I am overwhelmed by the lengths to which God goes to reveal Himself to us. From the strength of a hurricane, to an “aha” moment reading His Word, from the birth of a baby, to the heartbeat-skipping experience of asking for – and receiving – forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.

Our hearts are warmed when we see the love of God demonstrated by Jesus on the cross, knowing He did that for each of us. We experience the warmth from the fire Ezekiel saw in his vision. We look at the world differently when we allow God to teach us what He wants us to know. We experience the light Ezekiel witnessed. And we can walk in that light, the Light of the world.

My hope is that the next time your heart is warmed by someone or something, you will recognize it as from God. Or the next time you become aware that the path before you is bathed in light, you’ll know that light is from God.

Don’t miss out on the blessed realization that those “feelings” are God’s embrace. It’s Jesus!

If that doesn’t warm your heart…

OCtober 23

John 7:53-9:34

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” Think for a minute about the enormity of that statement. Later he said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM,” which every good Jew at the time knew was the name God gave himself. I AM.

Now he’s really making the Jewish leaders mad. This Jesus is nothing like they expected. He was not the Messiah they  had pictured. He didn’t fit into their religion.

As I wrote that this morning it occurred to me Jesus still doesn’t fit into religion, does he? In fact, Jesus had little use for religion. How many times did he call the synagog leaders out for their hypocrisy? How often did he say their prayers and sacrifices were worthless, their faith misdirected? 

Jesus did not come to make us feel good about ourselves or so we could feel powerful and worthy. He came to break us down, to force us to our knees, to recognize our helpless condition and our total need of him. Although he is the cornerstone of the church and blesses the corporate worship of his people, church attendance is not a ticket into heaven. Being a good person with good intentions is not good enough. And that doesn’t fit into some of today’s religions or beliefs.

The Light of the World, the great I AM, is not a religion. When you give your heart to him you realize the relationship you gain with Creator God is more than any list of rules or regulations. I am not advocating we stop going to church. In fact, I believe it is an important part of our walk with the Lord. But I am saying that our focus, our reason for living and serving, is not on church doctrine but on the One who is the Light of the World.

When the blind man was grilled about his healing he said something that is so simple, yet so profound. He said, I don’t know the details about my healing but this I know for sure. Once I was blind. Now I see.

If you are a Christian, you understand that. We might not be able to explain the details of our salvation or expound on the incarnation. We might not have the ability to recite church doctrine or list all of the Ten Commandments in order. But if you have asked Jesus into your heart, to forgive your sins and become Lord of your life, you can say with confidence: Once I was blind. But now I see. Once I was lost. But now I am found. I walked in darkness but now the Light of the World directs me.

Holy God, the Light of the World, the Great I AM, I thank you that you offer a relationship with you to any of us who call on the name of your precious Son, Jesus. May we not get so caught up in religious activity that we neglect that beautifully intimate, personal relationship with you. Thank you opening our blind eyes and lighting our way when we give ourselves to you. You are everything we need and more.