Tag Archives: Light

Water and Light

IMG_0195Oh spring!

I love planting things in the spring and watching them grow over the summer.  This winter I became infatuated with the idea of growing lima beans; a vegetable plant I’ve never grown before.

Recently, my wife and I located a package of seeds at a garden store.  At the time it was way too early in the spring to plant them outdoors so we decided to replicate the experiment I did as a child at school.  Do you remember putting bean seeds in a glass of water with a paper towel stuffed in it to keep the seeds upright?

Handling the seeds, I was amazed at how hard and, well, dead-looking they were.  As you can see from the photo, we were successful at our experiment and one of them is now potted and awaits it’s final transplant in our garden.  (The other seed is going back in the glass of water.)

This fun project reminded me of how important life-giving water and light are to bring what appears to be a dead, dried up seed back to life.  We all need water and light to have abundant life.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.  It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”  John 4:13-14 NLT
He rescues them from the grave so they may enjoy the light of life. Job 33:30 NLT

 

 

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Psalm 119:97-120 Find time alone with God

What is it about God’s Word that the psalmist is so enamored with?  Answer: he has a personal relationship with God.  If we were to characterize this relationship as a two-way street, one side is the psalmist’s side of the street lined with worldly buildings and distractions, and the other, God’s side of the street.  So what is it about God’s side of the street that makes the psalmist want to cross over and devote himself completely? (Hint: did you have a best friend in your youth?  Was being able to stay at their house the best and most exciting thing ever?)

book-863418_960_720These three stanzas of Psalm 119 highlight the importance of finding time alone with God in prayer and Bible study.

(97) Your law – The God given Law is found in the Old Testament.  God have us his son, Jesus, in the New Testament.  The Word became flesh and lived among us (John 1:14).  (98) Makes me wiser – the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10).  (99) I have more insight – those who sit at the feet of Christ often have more insight than Doctors of Divinity (Charles Spurgeon).  (100) I have more understanding – Trust in God with your heart and don’t rely on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).  A regular time of private devotion also yields guidance (101), learning (102), and a hunger for more (103); an example being to your favorite food that tastes so good you can’t get enough of it.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.  Psalm 119:105

In the next stanza God’s word lights my path (105), preserves my life (107), is my heritage  (111), and gives me hope (112).  If so much joy and happiness can be found spending time alone with God, why would we ever want to return to our worldly side of the street?  Spurgeon reminds us that, “We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into the darkness; let us never venture there without the light-giving word.”

The third stanza uses language one would find of a war being carried out in enemy territory.  (113) I hate double-minded people (frivolous, indulgent, worldly thinkers).  (114) God is our refuge and shield.  We must remember to wear the whole armor of God against the enemy (Ephesians 6).  (116) God’s word sustains and upholds us and is proven. (120) He alone is the right (true) one to worship.

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Matt Chandler offers three points for those who have a relationship with God, addressing our need to find alone time with him.  (1) Staying connected carries us through life’s ups and downs.  (2) When we remain near to God, it leads to a sustaining love. (3) We produce fruit when we stay connected.  Staying connected allows us to be transformed by him (Romans 12:1,2) and enables us to make a difference in the world in which we live (our side of the street).

“We are walkers through the city of this world, and we are often called to go out into the darkness; let us never venture there without the light-giving word.” C. Spurgeon

Introducing the Gospel of John

Let me reintroduce you to my study of the Gospel of John.

Scraps

IMG_0674Wow, what a change the New Year has brought. Suddenly life is spinning wildly around me, and important decisions that will need to be made are lurking on the horizon. I had hoped to make progress this year on the devotional book I started writing a few years back.  Now, I wonder if that will be possible.  So, in an effort to prepare my heart to reengage the story and provide my mind with some much-needed inspiration, I thought I would post some devotional notes on the Gospel of John as I study it.

The first note I would make: the gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) were not biographical accounts of the persons writing them. Instead, they focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John felt it was extremely important to communicate to us that Jesus is who he says…

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Introducing the Gospel of John

IMG_0674Wow, what a change the New Year has brought. Suddenly life is spinning wildly around me, and important decisions that will need to be made are lurking on the horizon. I had hoped to make progress this year on the devotional book I started writing a few years back.  Now, I wonder if that will be possible.  So, in an effort to prepare my heart to reengage the story and provide my mind with some much-needed inspiration, I thought I would post some devotional notes on the Gospel of John as I study it.

The first note I would make: the gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) were not biographical accounts of the persons writing them. Instead, they focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John felt it was extremely important to communicate to us that Jesus is who he says he is – the Son of God.

And why should that be important to people like you and me living today? If Jesus really is the Son of God, then he would have the power and authority to forgive sins.

You might ask, why is the forgiveness of sins important or even necessary? The Bible links sin and death together as cause and effect. Sin causes death (Romans 6:23). No one needs reminding that death is a certainty for everyone.   Yet, many of us live our lives as if death is something we can do nothing about, so the general consensus is, why not ignore it.

But what if we could do something about changing the certainty of death, to the certainty of life? Could I believe in something or someone who could deal with my sin so that even though I died, I could live again – forever?   This is the message of the Gospel, to believe that I am a sinner, to believe that Jesus Christ is who he says he is, and that he died in my place so that my sins (past, present, future) could be forgiven.  This same Jesus did not just die for me, he rose from the grave and lives again, just as I will.

I find it very interesting that the word “believe” is mentioned so many times in the Gospel of John. John, a fisherman turned disciple, writes to those who already believe in Jesus and are facing an uncertain future and persecution. To those don’t believe, John submits seven signs (miracles) and seven affirmations (I am statements made by Jesus) as proof that Jesus is who he claims to be.

When I reach the end of my days, and death comes for me, there’s only one thing that really matters. Do I believe the gospel message or do I choose to reject it?

 

Gospel of John

Chapter 1:1-5

John gives us quite an introduction to his gospel account. “In the beginning was the Word,” immediately brings to mind the Genesis creation account, which offers a biblical explanation of our origin. The “Word was God” is a monumental statement. From this we can conclude that the “Word” is a deity whom we should esteem as we do God. The word “was” used here implies the “Word” has continuously existed rather than being someone which was created. “Through him all things were made,” communicates that the story of Jesus extends back prior to creation, where his hands formed the heavens and the earth.

Before the opening paragraph concludes, we are also given an additional attribute of the Word, “in him was life,” which is the light of men. This statement communicates to me that abundant or true life comes when a moral or spiritual truth is illuminated in my life (just as a lightbulb is turned on) and I choose to incorporate it into my life. Later in his gospel, John tells us that God’s word is truth (John 17:17).

IMG_0837The paragraph closes with the statement that light (illuminated truth) shines in the darkness and has not been overcome by it. Darkness, then, can be explained spiritually as an absence of light, and is associated with an ignorance of spiritual things or wickedness.

I continue to be amazed at the positive effect light has on our world. It gives life to plants, animals and people. Light offers hope, which quickly dissipates when we are denied it’s life-giving properties.  True light stands in opposition to gloominess, hopelessness and darkness.  Choose light!