Light of Life Series Pt. 7: Unapproachable Light

The verse on my heart for today is one that fills me with awe.  And honestly, the more our Sovereign God reveals Himself to me on my journey, the more often I am awestruck.  Here is one of those many reasons:

Yahweh lives in unapproachable Light.

Ok.  So we’ve been talking about God being Light, sharing His Light with us, using His Light to draw us to Himself, etc.  (If you have missed the other posts in my Light of Life series, see here.)

Either way, whether you have been following my posts or not, if you are a believer, it is likely unsurprising that God lives in Light.  But look what kind of light it is: unapproachable.

That may be awe inspiring, but how can it be hopeful or comforting?

Oh, I can’t wait to tell you!

First, let’s look at what the words lives or dwells mean.  (Hold on, I think you’ll love it!)  It means to “inhabit, dwell, indwell.”  Do you know what word it is from?

Oikos.  It means “a house, dwelling, habitation” – properly, to make a home; living “at home” (i.e. comfortably) because it is one’s residence; “to be at home.” I love it!

The Sovereign, Eternal, Self-Existing Yahweh is at home and “comfortable” residing in Light so supremely pure , so entirely bright, so perfectly majestic that no human can approach it!

That concept alone should bring us to our knees in reverent worship, even holy fear.  But lest you be faint of heart, read on…

Because of Jesus (see Hebrews 4:14-16), we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  

Wait.  What can we do?

Approach!  We can approach God’s throne of grace!

We can approach the unapproachable?  How?  Fearfully?  Trembling?  In dread?  Without Christ, I would imagine those would only begin to describe the appropriate response to such magnificent holiness.

But in Jesus Christ, the Light of Life, who “is able to save to the uttermost (completely, at all times) those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25 ESV),”  we can approach, draw near to, the unapproachable Yahweh’s throne of grace.

With confidence.

Do you see that, dear ones?  With confidence!  Freedom.  Openness.  Boldness.

And what do we get from Him when we approach His throne?

Mercy.  Grace.  Help in our time of need.

Oh, Yahweh, Light of Life, I stand in awe of You!

Light of Life Series Pt 7

Light of Life Series Pt. 6: The Word (Pt. 2)

Ready for part 2 of The Word?  I hope you are as excited to read it as I am to share it with you!

Ok, so yesterday we read from John that at the very beginning of all things, the Word– the Divine Expression of God– was there.

Jesus.

He was God.  The Creator of life.  The One who would communicate and reveal to us God the Father.  The One who would lay to rest every argument of who wins in the end.

Before we ever needed defending, the One with the final say began His closing speech.

“Let there be Light!”

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (the Greek says God Himself).  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.  In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:1-5 NIV).”

In Jesus is life.  And that life is our light– the manifestation of God’s self-existent Life, Divine illumination. (See here.)

The Light shines in the darkness.  The Greek word used for shine means I shine, become visible; I become clear.  To shed light. 

And the darkness has not overcome it.

That word overcome is very interesting.  It is from a word that means to aggressively or forcefully take hold of something, to seize, to overtake.  But it is also a word that is used to mean to comprehend or understand, to “make it one’s own.”

Do you see it?

Jesus– the expression of God Himself– came to communicate the heart of Yahweh to us and to make Him visible (John 14:9). The Word’s life illuminates the Father’s heart for us.  And not only can the darkness not comprehend it, but it can never overcome or extinguish it!

Dear ones, the darkness can never overpower God’s Light!

Light of Life Series Pt 6 Word pt 2

Light of Life Series Pt. 6: The Word (Pt. 1)

“In the beginning was the Word.”

Word?

Logos.  Meaning any kind of communication.  Expressing thought.  Divine utterance.

You know what’s really cool about the word Logos?  It comes from the word lego.  Yeah, it really does!  And do you know what lego means?

Lego means “laying an argument to rest; bringing a message closure.”  (See here.)

Isn’t that fantastic? In the beginning was the Divine Expression of God.  The One who would lay to rest every argument against the knowledge of God, the One who would bring closure to the power of sin and darkness.

Jesus.  The Word of God.  Divine utterance took on human form for the salvation of the world…

Light of Life Series Pt 6 Word pt1

 

Light of Life Series Pt. 5: My Lighthouse

Today, I want to share one of my favorite songs:
My Lighthouse by Rend Collective.

“My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My Lighthouse, my Lighthouse
I will trust the promise, 
You will carry me safe to shore.”

Click on the link above (or here) for some Monday morning happiness.  Trust me.  You can’t help but smile.  And if you believe what they are singing, you can’t help being filled up with joy– a contagious, overflowing joy.

Why?

Because when I sit in darkness, Yahweh Himself will be a Light to me!

Think about it: Why in the world… why in the universe… why in all eternity would the Eternal, self existing Light take the time to guide us to Himself?

Because He loves us.

Yahweh loves you!  

And that, my friends, is something to brighten even the darkest night.  Hold on… abide in His Light and He will bring you safe to shore!

Light of Life Series Pt 5

 

 

Light of Life Series Pt. 4: God is Light

Light.

We all know what that is.  Webster’s dictionary says light is “something that makes vision possible.”  As in, even healthy eyes cannot see in the dark without help from a source outside of ourselves.

I imagine there was Divine reason to create us this way.  Perhaps the way our eyes depend on light is a built in call to recognize our soul’s dependence on Him and is simultaneously an invitation to move closer to His Light?  Could our eyes serve so simple, so beautiful a purpose?

Now let’s think about the darkness for a minute.

God gave us the moon and stars to consistently and gently light up the night, so even under a cloudy or rainy or snowy blackness, there is still at least some distant whisper of light.  And in today’s world, most of us have house lights, street lights, city lights, car lights, and even flash lights on our cellphones.  We rarely have cause to see what darkness truly looks like.

I have heard people talk about how impossible it is to comprehend the unimaginable darkness of a cave deep in the ground: you truly can’t see your own hand held directly in front of your face.  There is not even a sliver of a shadow or the hint of blocked light.

Nothing.

Now imagine trying to walk in that inky blackness.  How far would you get unassisted?

But light makes all the difference in the world!

Light illumines and shines.

Light is brilliant and radiant.

Light eliminates darkness.

Whether it is a visible darkness dispelled by a physical light, or a spiritual darkness (moral and spiritual obscurity) eliminated by God’s Light, the more light there is, the farther away the darkness retreats.

So hear this good news: “God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.”  The Amplified Bible includes the literal translation of the Greek in this passage: “God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way].”

No.  Not in any way.  No where.  None.

This verse is really quite simple in its message: God is Light.  And there is absolutely no darkness in Him at all.  Not in any way.

Light of Life Series Pt 4

Light of Life Series Pt. 3: Light to My Lamp

LORD.  What does it mean when we place Lord in all capital letters?  Who is it that gives light to us?

When God first breaks into Moses’ world with an introduction of Himself, He tells the unsuspecting future leader of His people who it is that is speaking to him.  I AM WHO I AM.  The Hebrew representation of this description are the letters YHWH, the divine name we know as Yahweh.  LORD = Yahweh.

And check this out.  After He speaks with Moses for a few minutes, God defines His name: “This is My name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations (Exodus 3:15 NIV).”  

While God has many names which signify aspects and characteristics of who He is, this is the only one by which He Himself says He will be remembered forever.  For all generations.  For all time.  There is something so intimate about this introduction!

And this self existing Eternal One, Yahweh, chooses to put His light in us, “You give light to my lamp.”  Often, ancient cultures used lamp to represent a person’s existence, their life, their continuance of life and prosperity, even happiness.  We saw yesterday the breathtaking how and why Yahweh puts His Light in us.  But what kind of light is it?

“My God brightens the darkness around me.”  Want to learn something really cool about that word brightens?  The Hebrew word means to “illumine, cause to shine, beam, enlighten.”  But there’s a couple more uses of this Hebrew word that just absolutely delight me!  Ready? To glitter; be joyful!

This same word was also later used to refer to the planet Venus, the brightest object in the night sky (other than the moon) and the brightest planet in our solar system, enough so to even cast shadows!  This planet was also nicknamed the morning and evening star because of its bright, consistent presence.

Do you see it?!

Yahweh, the Eternal God, causes His Light to be kindled in our very beings, a Light which makes us glitter and sparkle with joy, illuminating the darkness around us.  We are then able to reflect the Son’s brilliance, much like the only planet in our solar system that outshines every star in the night sky.

Brightly.  Joyfully.  Consistently.

Lit up like that, we have no need to be distressed by the blinding darkness… because “My God brightens the darkness around me.”

Light of Life Series Pt 3

The Light of Life Pt. 2: Light with a Purpose

The God who spoke light into being, who set afire the darkness with His words, is the same God who placed His own eternal Light within us.

And do you know why He did that?  Read the verse on the photo below… for real, go ahead and read it.

So we could know His glory.

What does that mean?

Now for a little Greek lesson. The word used for knowledge means this: so we could have first hand, intimate, personal experience of God.

How?

The Greek for the second half of the verse means this: by interacting, literally “a cycle of initiation and response,” with Jesus Christ, which brings us to have a positive, personal perspective of God.

God placed His Light in us so we could have intimate experience of who He is… not once or twice, but ongoing.  And to love that relationship.

Does that not take your breath away?

Light of Life Series Pt 2 Light in the Darkness

The Light of Life Pt.1: Never Walk in Darkness

This is October. A beautiful month of color for those of us who live near deciduous trees. But it is also a month in which our culture is consumed by fear and darkness and death. In light of that, I plan to post a reminder every day of who our Light is and why we have no need to fear darkness and death.  Look for more posts from my “Light of Life” series.Fall Tree

Operation Critter Rescue

Unconventional rescue tools. Yes. They work.
Unconventional rescue tools. Yes. They work.
The evidence of determination and the work of freedom.
The evidence of determination and the work of freedom.

An animal has been stuck in our wall in our upstairs bathroom since yesterday. We’ve heard it scratching and clawing and, what sounded like, fluttering around. Sometimes it seemed too heavy to be a bird, but I swore I could hear chirping and fluttering.
This morning, I called a critter removal place and found out that to have someone come out was $170 just for the house call… then $70 per animal they had to remove. Well, what if there were two? That’d be $310. I could find $3.10, even $31… but get that decimal point any farther over, and there would be a problem. So, I prayed. “Lord, please get that poor critter safely out of there.”

Time went on. I heard it desperately trying to scratch and climb its way to freedom, but to no avail. “Lord, please get that little critter out of our wall and safely back outside.” I pressed my ear against the wall, listening.

Flutter. Scratch. Flutter.

It must be a bird. Yes, I was certain it was a bird. I left the bathroom and went about my morning. Then I went to check on it again. The movement was more constant. More desperate. Suddenly, a thought struck me: the only thing between that bird and freedom was dry wall. My dad’s a carpenter, and even if he was busy, Robert could cut a hole in the wall.

Yes. I felt hopeful.

But they’re at work.

Right. I felt helpless.

Then I thought I could just wait for them to get home from work and propose the “let’s just handle this ourselves” plan. But it wouldn’t be until hours later. I sighed. What was I supposed to do? The thought of that poor thing suffering any longer was too much. Then another thought struck me: there was no reason I couldn’t cut the drywall out and set it free. Whatever it was. The realization was there that this could be something other than a bird, but not strong enough to deter me from this new plan.

I went to the garage and found a set of electric tools, including a saw that I thought might work. Wow, I don’t even know how to put the blades in this thing, I thought. I looked for a hand saw. Too big and wide. I found a smaller, electric saw, but it only had one blade and I doubted its ability to cut the drywall smoothly. Determined, I thought about my options. There were only a few. So, I did the only thing a person in my situation could do. I went to the kitchen and got a smooth-edged knife (for its ability to puncture the drywall and give me a place to start sawing), a couple of steak knives (at different levels of dullness) for sawing, and then back out to the garage for a mallet, a flat-head screw driver, and a pair of work gloves in case it wasn’t a bird and was indeed something more likely to bite me. The verse God led me to just the previous day came to mind. 2 Samuel 23:5, “For will He not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?” And I prayed, “God, please let the work of my hands prosper and succeed. This won’t work without You.”

With my rescue tools in my hands, I went to the bathroom and shooed away the two cats sitting there wanting to eat what was trapped on the other side of the wall. Let’s just say, I gave up on the electric saw and had to resort to cutting open the drywall with knives … hitting the flat-edged knife with the mallet to create openings and then sawing with the steak knife. I am not proud that I had to cut open drywall with kitchen utensils. But I am not ashamed either. I am an artist and a writer, not a carpenter. After I followed the patch that had been there before to address issues with the pipes, I realized only after I got the patch open that there was a stud blocking the left side of the opening. Drat. The critter was back that direction. This whole time, my two boys were watching their mother saw open the wall with kitchen knives, waiting excitedly for what we were setting free.

As I cut farther left into the wall, out flapped this poor startled, hungry bird, which flew immediately to the window. I had thought whatever was in there might wait until I left the bathroom, and had planned to open the window just before leaving. Instead, this poor thing was so ready to leave its prison, likely traumatized by the hammering and sawing and electric saw attempts to set it free, that it flew out while I was still working on the next portion of drywall. Startled, the boys ran out of the bathroom and the bird flew behind the toilet to regroup. In that moment of silence, I called the boys back into the bathroom, shut the door again (cats, remember?), and then opened the bathroom window. In the space of a heartbeat, the bird flew up and out to his freedom.

The boys named the bird, of course. Sweet Tweets. And I realized there was a spiritual lesson in this. Sometimes, the answer to our prayers is closer than we think, it may employ the use of unconventional methods, and we may be the very ones called to do the work.
#isawthat

There is Power in the Name of Jesus

I cannot give an easy answer as to why there is pain and why there are trials and why some things threaten to suck the very breath from our lungs and stop the beating of our hearts, even by the mere thought of them. But one thing I know: there is no doubt in my mind that there is power in the name of Jesus. Just now, I sat here and spoke the mountain moved in a certain situation. Jesus tells us, “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him (Mark 11:23).” There is a mountain I just spoke to, a mountain of pain and brokenness and impossibility. Immediately, as I was speaking the prayer for those things to be moved, and spoke it in the name of Jesus, I suddenly hear this refrain on the radio, “There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus…” In case you need to be reminded today, oh yes, there is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain! #isawthat!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxxYqSwJRuU