Your Light Has Come

Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

See, darkness covers the earth

and thick darkness is over the peoples,

but the Lord rises upon you

and His glory appears over you.

Nations will come to your light,

and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

—Isaiah 60:1-3

As for me, many years ago, a light came into my heart as I accepted Jesus as my Savior.

Darkness covered me–a thick darkness that separated me from His forgiveness.

A darkness of unwillingness to give my life to Him.

A darkness of doubt mixed with fear and shame.

Yet, the love of Jesus rose up in my heart one day and the brightness of salvation came to me.

In asking for forgiveness, I received it from Him.

In desiring His divine guidance for my life, He gave it.

By asking Him to be my Lord, He became just that.

Do you know Jesus today?

your light

 

With Your Counsel

What does it mean to depend on God?

For those who say that they do not depend on Him, what is it that they are doing instead?

If we make our own decisions without consulting Him, are we depending on Him?

If we try to handle the tasks of the day–and, ultimately, the tasks of our life–on our own strength, are we depending on Him?

To go our own way–our own direction–without His guidance and permission, is to choose disappointment and adversity.

It may not seem to be the path that we are on at first, but in the end, we will find that our independence has been our undoing.

God is well aware of our need for dependence on Him.

He welcomes us to come before Him in prayer on any matter.

He offers forgiveness and guidance to every seeking heart.

Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.

With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?

And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

—Psalm 73:23-25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

counsel

Bright Light

The people who lived in darkness have seen a bright light. A light has risen for those who live in a land overshadowed by death.

—–Matthew 4:16

The trees at my friend’s house had branches filled with green leaves.

While sitting outside and enjoying the late afternoon, I noticed that the sun had set just close enough to the horizon that its powerful light was shining almost straight on the trees.

The branches, with their green leaves, along with the bark on the trunk, did not just simply become more visible.

They began to glow with an intensely amber color.

I quickly photographed the scene before the sun was completely gone.

Theses trees were totally transformed in color because of the light.

Some of the branches were just out of the sun’s penetrating rays.

They remained green.

The tree closest to me appeared dark and untouched by the bathing yellow radiance.

When Jesus came, those who lived in darkness could now be bathed in His great light.

His light of love and salvation.

His light of forgiveness and hope.

His light of eternal life.

When He came, everything changed.

Do you know of His love?

Do you know of His forgiveness and hope?

He is waiting for you today to call out to Him in prayer.

It’s not too late…..

bright-light

Your Needs

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

–Philippians 4:19

 

It wasn’t what I had planned at all.

I wanted to have a peaceful, wonderful day.

Actually, it turned out to be that way, but I wasn’t feeling well.

Having developed a fever and sore throat the day before, I wasn’t up to doing everything I had hoped to.

Still, the morning was beautiful, so I decided to step out into the yard and take a few photos in the early mist.

A squirrel was playfully moving about on a tree.

He was having a good day.

By watching him, I began to experience a certain happiness.

It’s like that for me.

As I look at my surroundings and notice the beauty of what God has created, I begin to feel a happy calmness.

As the verse above speaks of the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus, it seems to me that God will provide our needs, whatever they are.

Spiritual needs.

Physical needs.

Relational needs.

All our needs.

Even as He was healing my body of a sore throat and fever, He was giving me calm through the morning mist and the company of a scampering little squirrel.

 

your-needs

For God So Loved

After leaving a friend’s house tonight, I was driving home. 

Listening to the radio as I went down the highway, a song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while. 

I had been praying for someone who feels that God doesn’t love them. 

Suddenly, part of the lyrics just struck me:

This is what I’m sure of, I can only show love

When I really know how loved I am

(Steven Curtis Chapman)
The person I’d been praying for needs to know deep within their heart that God loves them. 

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16


Born to You

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. 

—Luke 2:11
This morning, after the Christmas Day church service was over, I paused as I was walking out by a  stained glass window. 

It was depicting Jesus, our Savior. 

His arms were outstretched and welcoming. 

On a night in Bethlehem, Jesus was born. 

When that happened, everything changed. 

Everything changed for all people everywhere. 

Death forever because of sin with no redemption would now be only for those who choose not to believe in Jesus. 

When Jesus was born, so was the only way to escape the punishment we deserved. 

Jesus would one day pay the penalty for our sin, offering us eternity with Him. 

A Savior—One who could save us—had come to the earth as a baby. 

Take the word, “you” out of the following scripture and insert your own name:

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to _______; He is the Messiah, the Lord. 

Born to Tom. 

Born to Robert. 

Born to Jason.

Born to Kayla. 

Born to Liz. 

Born to Kathy. 

Every name of every person on earth could be placed in that scripture and it would still be true. 

If you have not accepted Jesus’ gift of eternal life, please don’t delay. 

Pray and tell Him that you believe He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin. 

Repent of those things you have done that displeased Him. 

Ask Him to be the Lord of your life, giving you guidance. 

It’s not too late—–you can pray right now. 

A Savior has been born—to you. 

The Set Time

We know how long it takes for a baby to form before it is born.

We know how long it takes for certain crops to mature, ready for harvest.

We know how long it takes for the earth to make its journey around the sun.

Yet, there are so many things that we have no idea how long we will have to wait for.

In fact, we are not even sure that some of the things we are waiting for will ever take place.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to the earth at just the right time.

Jesus was not early in coming, nor was He late.

In our own lives, God is in control of time.

We pray, and God answers in His time frame.

He will never be late with an answered prayer.

He will never be early with an answered prayer.

When the set time has come, He will work in the lives of His children according to His will.

Through faith, we must trust Him completely to care for us as our all-knowing Father.

 

~

 

But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman,

born under the law,  to redeem those under the law,

that we might receive adoption to sonship.

Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child;

and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.

—Galatians 4:4-7

 

set-time

I Will Help You

There’s a popular song out now that I hear on the radio a lot.

It’s “Just Be Held,” by Casting Crowns.

Here are part of the lyrics:

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

 

I was recently privileged to hold a three month old goat.

It was cold outside and the little thing simply allowed me to hold him in my arms and rock him side to side for about twenty minutes.

I think he just about went to sleep, even though there were a lot of people walking around us.

He was trusting.

He was calm.

He was relaxed.

He wasn’t struggling to get away.

In fact, he seemed content and happy—just being held.

Can you just picture yourself as a little child, resting in Jesus’s arms?

Just allowing Him to rock you side to side as you drift to sleep, even though there are a lot of things happening all around you?

Can you picture yourself there?

Being trusting?

Being calm?

Being relaxed?

Not struggling to get away?

Content and happy–-just being held?

So, when we are on our knees in prayer, or in our car in prayer or at work in prayer, and answers seem so far away, can we trust that we are not alone?

Can we trust that Jesus is at work and that things in our lives are falling into place?

Can we understand that God is on His throne and He is in control–not us?

Can we stop struggling and just be held?

 

~

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

—Isaiah 41:13

 

help-you

Strengthens

 

I have read that some ducks can fly at speeds of 50 miles per hour or greater for a sustained length of time.

Ducks can also fly for hours.

It makes me think of people who run marathons….

There are times in our lives where we feel like we are in situations in which we are running “marathons” or trying to have the strength to “fly” long distances.

Extended illnesses, military deployments, relationship struggles—plus countless other circumstances that require personal strength to get through—compel us to look to Jesus for help.

He is with us.

Do you believe?

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

—Philippians 4:13

 

strengthens.jpg

With You

The eleven disciples went to the hill in Galilee where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him, even though some of them doubted. Jesus drew near and said to them, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”

—Matthew 28:16-20

 

Even though we may feel alone, we are not.

Even though we may doubt, Jesus remains the same.

Even though the end of the age may come, Jesus will be with us, always…

 

 

with-you

All Your Need

But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:19
Philippians 4:19 was perhaps the first verse I can remember memorizing. 

I was in college, and newly married, I believe. 

It was a very good verse to know, because it is true that God will provide. 

Today I am thankful for the great blessings God has given me. 

They are too many to list. 

Now, at the end of the day, as I sit in a quiet house with my cat lying on the chair with me, I am thoughtful. 

Is there anything that I have ever needed or that I will ever need that God cannot provide according to His riches in glory?

If I need a car, He’s able to provide one. 

If I need a home, He’s able to provide that, too. 

But it’s much more than that. 

He is able to provide salvation for me. 

He is able to provide healing in my relationships. 

He is able to provide guidance and strength. 

He is able to provide a peaceful heart. 

All my need—supplied. 

Through His riches in glory. 

By Christ Jesus. 

The Peace of Christ

It was a different kind of day at work.

That’s because I really wasn’t at work, exactly.

I spent the day at a community center, taking part in a special training.

Walking into the room, I recognized only two people in the crowd.

Throughout the training seminar, there were times when I was deep in thought, processing all of the new material through my mind.

When the last session was over, people began to exit the building, walking to their cars.

I did that, as well, but looking out in front of the parking lot, there was a railroad track with a large lake beyond it.

It had been a cloudy and overcast day and the misty lake scene drew my interest.

Placing my things into the car, I took my cell phone with me as I walked to the railroad track and beyond.

Standing toward the edge of the lake, I photographed a visual representation of serenity.

Things were tranquil.

Calm.

I probably needed that.

I’m not exactly sure what emotions compelled me to walk toward the water.

Perhaps I needed to pause for a moment and just take in the peaceful, gray surroundings.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

—Colossians 3:15

rule

The Sign of the Covenant

On this day, 11 years ago, our second son was killed in a car accident.

Some time after that, our family was returning home at night after a very emotional day of dealing with matters concerning the incident.

It had been raining, but the clouds were making way for a clear evening.
The rising moon was glowing in the eastern sky as we arrived at our house.

Something strange and unusual, however, was in the western sky.
We had never seen anything like it.
I tried to photograph the scene, but it was too dark outside.

Looking past our roof, there appeared to be a rainbow.
A rainbow in the dark!

Rushing inside, I quickly went to the computer and typed in something like, “rainbows at night.”

To my surprise, it was a phenomenon that was well documented.
We were looking at a moon bow, or by another name, a lunar rainbow.

Being quite rare, none of us had ever seen one.

As far as I know, no one in our family has seen one since.

Now, I know that rainbows have a purpose…

In the Bible, we have the account of the flood that covered the earth.
When the flood was over, God spoke:

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

This account is found in Genesis 9:8-16.

I think God sent the moon bow to me and my family that night long ago.

It proclaimed God’s work of beauty in the sky in a way previously unknown to us.

At the time, I knew in my heart that this occurrence was very special.
Even now, as I think back to that evening when our hearts were hurting, I see God’s comfort in a mighty way.

Could it be that He was reminding us of a covenant He had made about our eternity?

If you have ever “lost” a child in a store or in a park, you’ve felt that sick, empty fear, wondering desperately where they were.

God promises us that whoever believes in His Son, Jesus, will live forever with Him in Heaven.

In John 11:25-26, Jesus is speaking to a woman named Martha, whose brother had just died:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

When we found out that our son had died, it was like a giant door weighing tons had just been shut, separating us.

In that first instant, something deep inside my heart as his mother had to cry out silently from within, wondering desperately where he was.

The answer to that cry is found in Jesus’ words above.

Our son had professed his belief in God and in Jesus many years before his death.
I still have the worn Bible that he read from every night.

The lunar rainbow?

Was it God reminding me then— and even now as I recall it— that my son was with His Son, in Heaven?

A covenant of redemption that would not be broken for those who belong to Jesus?

Our son is in Heaven, yet I remain here.

I believe that if he could talk to me now, he would want me to tell others how they could be in Heaven someday, too.

As I think of him tonight, the memories are huge in my heart.

But, I know this:
Our son is alive in Heaven.

I will see him again…

sign-covenant

Who Performs Miracles

Miracles.

They really do happen.

They happen because they are the business of God and God is at work.

A miracle happened just weeks ago when a friend for whom I had been praying for over a ten year period stood in my church with her family, seeking prayer.

A miracle happened today when I had a conversation about Jesus with someone that I have been praying earnestly for.

Both of these precious people are opening up to change and acknowledging their need for God.

I have witnessed and been a part of other miracles, as well.

It is important to pray.

It is not just important, it is of eternal significance.

I praise God for His work in the lives of the two people I just mentioned.

Even when we cannot see when miracles are on the way, they are still on the way.

You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples.

—Psalm 77:14

miracles

The Message

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

—1 Corinthians 1:18

 

My husband and I drove to a quiet place up on a bit of a hill.

As we sat looking at the scenery, we could see a tall cross in the distance.

The cross is a reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made for each one of us.

Some will believe.

Some will not.

What about you?

 

 

cross

I Would Hurry

As I drove away from work, I had only been in my car perhaps three minutes when the dark gray clouds above me sent a great flash of lightning and the sound of thunder so great and consuming that I instinctively crouched down in the driver’s seat, clinging to the steering wheel. 

It was like a heralding trumpet, announcing the great storm to come….

Driving only a small distance on the highway, the torrential rain began. 

It was difficult to see the lane markings as I crept along at a slow speed with my tires throwing up waves of water from the pavement beneath me.

Once, a vehicle  passed by and the deluge of water from their tires arriving on my windshield stole all vision of the road from me. 

As I made my way down the six lane highway, the radio announcer related weather warnings completely accurate to my situation. 

The thought occurred to me that for so people, everyday life is a struggle, like trying to drive through a storm. 

People who do not know Jesus have an obscured view of life. 

As troubling situations arise, the road ahead is difficult to navigate alone. 

It’s hard to navigate through each day when they’re experiencing the storms without God’s guidance and direction. 

The psalmist said, “I would hurry to find shelter from the raging wind and storm.”

(Psalm 55:8)

That man you see, that woman you see—that grandmother or grandfather–that child—that person who doesn’t know Jesus as their Savior—they are stuck in a storm. 

They want to hurry and find a way out, but they don’t know how to begin. 

We can help. 

Those of us who know Jesus can start by talking to them. 

Talking to them about God and His Son, Jesus. 

They don’t have to remain on a stormy, six lane highway with their hands gripping the steering wheel. 

It can all change—the moment they believe. 

Who can you talk to today that’s struggling in the storm?

Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

—John 14:27

A troubled heart can be calmed.

A restless mind can be quieted.

A sleepless night can be changed to one of healing rest.

A broken life can be made whole again.

Jesus gives us peace….

peace

I Will Give You Rest

 

 

I have a favorite scenic place about a thirty minute drive from my home.

Serene and lovely, the still waters beckon me to be calm, as well.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

—Matthew 11:28

Our hearts will forever be in a state of unease and confusion until we open them to Jesus.

When we do, He will give us rest.

 

 

give-you-rest

Proclaimed in His Name

As I was driving home today, I saw a church that had the word COFFEE on their sign outside.

Underneath COFFEE, it read, “Christ Offers Forgiveness For Everyone Everywhere.”

I had not seen this before.

Sometimes, little illustrations can lead to very significant conversations.

Thousands upon thousands of people drink coffee every day, many of them while in the company of others—at work, school or in a restaurant.

How simple it would be to just relay those six very important words linked to the letters in “coffee” to someone who does not know about Jesus and what He has done for all of us.

I know that it is something I want to remember as a way to share about God’s plan of salvation.

After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His disciples.

In part of one account, we find these words:

Then He said to them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,  and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

—Luke 24:44-49

 

to all nations

 


Distress

You know them, just like I do.

Right now–this very day–you could probably name a family member who is struggling in some way.

You’ve likely heard of a devastating car accident in your area, or a house fire.

People that have always seemed healthy now have cancer; some are young.

Some are older.

Maybe just this year you’ve had good friends get a divorce.

Others may be grieving tremendously because someone they loved very much has died.

You know them, just like I do.

As Christians, what are we to say to comfort others who are facing strong difficulties?

I often listen to the radio on my drive to work.

There is a song that has found its way into my heart for quite some time now.

It is titled, “Just Say Jesus” by the group 7eventh Time Down.

Here is a portion of the lyrics:

Life gets tough, and times get hard
It’s hard to find the truth in all the lies

If you’re tired of wondering why
Your heart isn’t healing
And nothing feels like home
Cause you’re lost and alone just screaming at the sky

When you don’t know what to say
Just say Jesus
There is power in the name
The name of Jesus
If the words won’t come
Cause you’re too afraid to pray
Just say Jesus

Whisper it now, or shout it out
However it comes out, He hears your cry
Out of nowhere He will come, you got to believe it
He will rescue you
Just call out to the Way, The Truth, The Light

As believers of Jesus, we know that there is power in the name of Jesus.

I think it is very good advice to tell someone who is hurting that they can just speak the name of Jesus as they struggle to even form words in the midst of devastating circumstances.

In fact, I think it is very good advice to remember it ourselves.

When we are hurting, we can just say, “Jesus” and He will hear us.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.

—Psalm 18:6

 

my cry

 

We Are Made Right

Driving along the highway, I approached a drawbridge that was raised.

The red stop lights were on, so any car that approached had to come to a halt.

Some type of boat was surely making a safe passage under the raised bridge.

Unless the obstruction of steel and concrete could be moved, the boat would not be able to pass to the other side.

Jesus did something for us when He died on the cross.

He made it possible for the obstruction of sin to be removed.

Our sin created a barrier between us and a safe passage to Heaven when we die.

The Bible says that all have sinned.

When Jesus took on that sin for us, He then lifted the penalty for it.

With the penalty of sin taken away, there is now an open passage for those who accept Him as their Savior.

Romans 3:21-24

But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.

made right

Be Free

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

–John 8:36

 

While walking on the beach, I noticed a some kites near the late afternoon sun.

I paused for a moment to take some photographs.

Kites are a magnificently simple mix of light wood, plastic or paper.

They take to the skies with the proper wind to lift them high into the atmosphere.

Flowing gracefully, it’s easy to compare them to being carefree.

Kites aren’t really free, though.

They’re tethered to the ground by a string.

Someone is still in control.

There is freedom to be found in that control, however.

We are free in Christ.

Free from so many burdens and free from the penalty of sin.

Someone is still in control.

We are tethered to the heart of God by our faith in Jesus.

With our lives being redeemed, we are now free to live forgiven lives, guided by God’s love.

Are you free?

 

 

free a

 

The Carpenter

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? 
From Mark 6:3

Jesus had gone to His hometown. When He went to the synagogue to teach, people were amazed at His wisdom and learning. 

The Bible tells us that the people there took offence at Him. 

The really sad thing is that they didn’t recognize Jesus for who He was. 

They did not honor Him, and it was a great loss to them. 

Do we recognize Him today?

Isn’t He more than just a carpenter’s son?

He is the Savior of the world!

In Every Situation

 

 

 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

—2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

What can we do when bad news arrives?

Last week, we found out that the young son of someone we know has leukemia.

About the same time, some new friends of ours had a baby very prematurely and the baby died.

What could be said at times like these?

I am not a doctor, so I would not have been able to advise either couple on medical issues, even though I really do care.

Nor am I able to heal a broken heart, even though I hope for that healing.

Jesus is the Lord of peace, however, and He can carry any of us through any and every situation—even illness and death.

How does He do that?

I don’t know.

I just know that He knows all things and He is able to do all things.

Even when it seems impossible, He can comfort and heal.

His peace

 

In the Same Way

If you have ever been outside when it is really dark–away from street lights–then you know just how “dark” dark can be.

I remember walking with a group of friends once in a forest at night without any light.

I couldn’t see my own feet, and it felt strange putting each foot forward to move along.

In situations like that, you long for the light of a distant house or an approaching car.

There are those we know who are walking in darkness.

They do not know what the true light of Jesus is, yet something in their souls longs for Him.

As Christians, we can show them the light that Jesus is shining within us.

~

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 

light