Monday, July 28, 2008

I Wanna Be In the Light...Always?

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

We had lived in our house a few weeks before I realized our "light" situation. In our last home, our miniature dachshund, Cocoa, would doze for hours in the warmth of sunlight that flooded through the many windows. She had to work at it just a bit, moving from one side of the sofa to another (often in quite precarious positions...balancing on any surface in order to stay in the rectangular sunshape), then move from sofa to carpet, from carpets to hardwoods, from one room to another as she was forced to follow the sun's movement from the east side to the west side of the house. Oh how she loved being in the light. At our current address, we get no direct sunlight into the downstairs. We have the luxury of having a front porch and a screened in back porch...but their roofs (and the angle of our house) prevent the sun from shining in directly. Good for our air conditioning bill. Bad for Cocoa.

When I'm home in the summertime, Cocoa will often let me know that she would like to go out on the screened porch and sprawl in her bed where the sun shines unhindered...and the fan blows a gentle breeze...and the smells of grilling linger, as well as the honeysuckle or gardenias. What a life!

You know, if Cocoa had her choice, she would probably love to stay in that light, but that option isn't there. Once school starts back we can't just leave the door open for her to come and go as she pleases. When winter comes, it's just too cold for a dog her age. So Cocoa is limited. Her opportunities to bask in the light are confined to our schedules, the seasons, cloud cover, and so on.

So how do we feel about the light? We are instructed in Ephesians 5:8b, to "Live as children of light." As I was pondering my own feelings about the light and humming DC Talk's song, "In The Light," ("I want to...or wanna... be in the light as you are in the light. I want to shine like the stars in the heavens. Oh Lord be my light and be my salvation. All I want is to be in the light.") it occurred to me that even though "light" and "warmth" and "sunshine" sound snug and cozy and cheery, do we realize the boldness of the statement, "All I want is to be in the light."? Light, in this case, is not synonymous with ease.
If we are truly walking and living in the light, we must be willing to allow the penetration of the light that exposes our sin...each and every one...the blatant and those that "fly under the radar" of our own minds. Are we willing to accept that exposure and purging? We must.
Are we willing to walk in the light of His Word? Not just the "feel good" parts, but the parts that require radical obedience as well?
Will we keep looking to the One who is the Light even when life's road is rough and our spiritual "skin" feels burned and dried out? Mmmm, the words to the well known hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" just came to mind. "O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s a light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace. Through death into life everlasting, He passed, and we follow Him there; Over us sin no more hath dominion—For more than conquerors we are! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace. His Word shall not fail you—He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well: Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell! Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace." (Helen H. Lemmel)
Yes, all I want is to be in the light...even if it's not always cheery or easy. Oh Lord, be my light and my salvation.
Our Father, our Light, cleanse us and guide us in your way everlasting. Be all that we can't be on our own. Thank you for Your glory...that outshines anything...and for your grace. Thank you for choosing us, for allowing us to belong to you. We bow on our knees and cry, "Holy."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh, How He Loves You and Me

" all...things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39

Today my post is a little different. These are just some words from a couple of days of devotions that were precious to me. I pray that they will be an encouragement to you as well!

From Beth Moore (Praying God's Word Day by Day devotional book): "If satan has convinced you to see yourself as anything less than a handpicked child of God, Christ can restore your lost dignity." She said, "Help me, Lord God, to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in all things You work for the good of those who love You, those who have been called according to Your purpose." (Rom. 8:28)...You obligate Yourself to this awesome promise when I offer You my aching heart and commit myself and my suffering to Your good purposes. If I do, You will do more with my life than I could ever conceive." (1 Cor. 2:9) When I went to 1 Cor. 2:9 (in my Women's Devotional Bible), there was a devotion by Barbara Bush on the opposite page...on patience. She said, "Patience is the ability to bear affliction, delay and interruption with calmness, perseverance and confidence in the goodness of God...It is the submission of our schedules, our viewpoints, our dreams to the greater plan of God, with the conviction that He has a good reason for every delay He allows to come our way."

On the following page, Beth Moore said, "I would never imply that getting over rejection (or affliction, delay and interruption) (Italics mine) is easy, but it is God's unquestionable will for your life." She referenced a verse in 2 Cor. which was opposite a devotion by Karen Burton Mains (Women's Devotional Bible), that could encourage us through our circumstances, as she said, "It was during these shadowy days, dragging with plodding prisoner's feet, that I learned how important it is to keep talking with God...A major part of the mature Christian journey is learning how to handle those times when the heavens are locked, when our lives are weighted with the winter garments of despair, pain, worry and loss..." She went on to quote from Psalms 3, 5, and 6. She said, "David's words reiterate the old truth...When your soul feels like a gray February day, and all seems to be rain, fog and chill drizzle, the overcast can be lifted if you will learn to just keep talking with God."

From Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest): "Our soul's history with God is frequently the history of the 'passing of the hero.' Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and fail and get discouraged. Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died--I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? or--I saw the Lord? (Is. 6:1) (Italics mine)...I need surgical operation of external events and an internal purification. It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatever. 'In all the world there is none but thee, my God, there is none but thee.' Keep paying the price. Let God see that you are willing to live up to the vision."

From Steven Davey (A Wisdom Retreat) 2 Thess. 2:13-14 "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Italics mine)"The word 'beloved' is a special word that is reserved only for the children of God. While God has a general love for the whole world, and even a sustaining love even for His enemies-in that he sends sunshine to warm them and rain to water their crops, just as He does for believers-this term of endearment is unique for those who are His precious possession....You may be thinking to yourself, 'How can God call me that? Doesn't He know how unlovable I am?'...When you became a believer you immediately became the bride of Christ. Although the Lord will continually change your character over the course of your life, your status has been changed forever. You are God's special possession and He deeply, eternally, and unfailingly loves you. You are His beloved."

Oh yes, I have to remember minute by minute..."My hope is found in nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' Name. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand." Oh to be able to stay in His Word and singing His praise without ceasing.

We are His Beloved.

Father, thank you for the height and depth of Your great love for us. Thank you for being there through whatever delays, rejections, or circumstances that we face. Thank you for being faithful and unchanging. Thank you for the plans that you have for us...and for promising to give us the grace to endure the molding and shaping and pruning that it takes to produce your glory in us. Help us to have the patience and strength to wait on You. Thank you for calling us your beloved. Help us to place our trust, our hope, our everything in You and You alone.