Monday, October 30, 2006

Relating to God's Light

The Bible consistently, through different books written in different times and in different cultures, describes God as light. (See the appendix that follows this post) It’s an unavoidable, unmistakable, frequently repeated, theme, so God apparently thinks it’s very important for us to know that about Him.

So how do we respond? What practical, behavior altering, guidance can we draw from it? Two things come to mind.

The first is that we have to be careful about letting the world get between us and God. That can happen lots of ways, though over commitment, too much media, and materialism, to name a few. If we get into the world’s shadow we don’t receive the full measure of His light. We end up like a less than full moon—at least partially in the dark and reflecting far less of God’s light than we otherwise could. That hurts us and others.

The second is that we can’t let ourselves get between God’s light and those around us. We can do so in multiple ways: by pride, anger, lust, greed, impatience, laziness (among other things). They effectively put God in (at least) second place to our desires. That obscures His goodness in us, and effectively casts our shadows on the parts of the world He wants illuminated, like the moon during a solar eclipse.

The following verses describe God or Jesus as light or as providing light to guide us. The hyperlinks go to the chapter containing the verse or verses, presented in the King James Version. Other translations can be seen by scrolling down the page brought up by the hyperlink.

If the citation is to multiple verses, the alternate translations are provided for what seems to be the key verse. Alternate translations for other verses can be found by clicking on the “v” box to the left of the verse you are interested in.

God/Jesus as Light

God, Jesus, or God’s truth as providing light for our guidance

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sailing before God's Wind

"Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." Ezekiel 37:9 (King James Version)

Fruitful Christians are like sails. They catch the Holy Spirit’s energy—the equivalent of the wind—and contribute their own strength, albeit the strength God gives them, to convey that energy to the benefit of others.

God asks them to do so in different ways. Some are called to move heavy loads, like the sails on an old time sailing ship. Others are tasked to power smaller crafts. But regardless of the size of the load their mission is the same: to use God’s power to move things in the direction He desires.

God also calls us to perform that task in different circumstances. Some of us are called to operate on relatively smooth waters, while others must do their work on rough seas.

Finally, the intensity of that work varies over time. Sometimes God really pushes us, asking us to deal with heavy winds. Other times it he only sends light wind, probably because He knows that we need the respite.

(Another sailing image can be found at: Sailing Before God's Wind: John 3:8 )

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Extravagant Grace

Several weeks ago I was swimming laps late in a sunny afternoon and noticed the beautiful lines the sun made on the pool’s bottom. It struck me that they are a manifestation of God’s extravagant grace: He set up a natural system that resulted in wonderful beauty, apparently just on the off chance that someone would see and appreciate it.