Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘light’

In Exodus 26 we find all the instructions on the making of the tabernacle.  The tabernacle was to be the meeting place of God and man in the wilderness as the people of God travelled through.  It was basically a tent with expensive and intricate items of great significance inside.  It’s specifications were very detailed and every item had a purpose.

What we find here is that God not only wanted a special place to meet with his people, but he wanted a specific kind of place.  The kind of place God wanted was: movable, humble outside with treasures inside, with all parts and pieces well-made.  God is making a specific kind of place to point to and represent a specific kind of people who, in turn, would point to and represent Him and His own image.

God wanted not only his meeting place with his people to be movable, he wants he his people to be movable.  God wants us to understand that neither this world nor any place in it is truly our home.  Nothing here is permanent.  We are just pilgrims passing through.  God wants a movable, changeable, moldable kind of heart and soul to be evident in His people.  One who is dead set on their own works and their own strength is not suited to follow a Lord and King who is ever directing our paths and lives.

Secondly, the tabernacle and everything inside was very specifically made, placed, and positioned.  It was humble outside but held great treasures inside.  This is the way God would have his church and his people – who are, essentially, his church by the way – to be.  Hypocrites are shiny outside and rotten and ugly inside.  God’s people are to have their treasure inside and be humble on the outside just as the tabernacle was to be built.

The greatest things God determined to place inside the tabernacle were the law, the mercy, the light, and the bread of His Presence.  If a child of God or any church lacks any of these essential elements on the inside, it matters not how shiny and superb they may look or act on the outside.  We must possess a holy knowledge and fear of God’s law, extend his mercy and grace, be light in the midst of darkness, and rely on His provision and presence at all times.  If any of these precious things are lacking or we fail to possess or extend them, we fail to be the kind of representative, temple, or adequate dwelling place for the Spirit of God.  If we fail to hold high any of these specifics, we are likely not a person or a place God will use to meet with man very often.

Lastly, everything in the tabernacle was to be well-made.  Nothing God builds is weak, ill-positioned, or cheaply assembled.  WE are God’s workmanship.  God designs and builds his people in such a way that we are made strong, well-positioned, and well-made in Him and by Him.  In fact, it is because we are in Him that we are, by virtue of His indwelling Spirit, well-made with the very finest, strongest, and best raw materials.  The same was true of each and every very important, symbolic items he instructed to be built and placed in his tabernacle.

If you ever doubt your worth or God’s work in you, consider the tabernacle.  1 Corinthians 3:16 tells you otherwise.  You are His temple; His dwelling place; the very vessel He – by His Spirit – chooses to live in.  Paul reasons that this is the reason that Christians ought to be unified. Consider what kind of place he is building you to be.

 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. ~1 Corinthians 3:16

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 

 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” ~John 3:1-2

We.  Nicodemus speaks in plural.  This religious leader is not just speaking for himself.  He says, “…we know…”  It is very likely he is speaking on behalf of himself and several, if not many, religious leaders of his day.  The Pharisees.  They knew.  They knew, at the very least, that Jesus was from God – yet – they still hated him.  They still sought ways to discredit and undermine him.  They still publicly challenged and slandered him.

This is amazing!  Jealousy makes power-hungry religious men do terrible things even though they know better.

Jesus takes Nicodemus immediately to the reason and the solution for why he doesn’t know him for who he actually is.  Jesus is not just from God – he is God.  The reason Nicodemus doesn’t know that is because he has not been regenerated by the power of God.  He is a just another guy who is interested in religion.  He lacks spiritual insight and wisdom precisely because he has not come to know Christ truly yet.  He knows all about religion.  He fails to know God.  This is tragic.

What does Jesus do?

He wastes no time explaining who he is or setting Nicodemus straight about his identity.  Jesus gives him the solution.  “You must be born again.”  He proceeds to preach the gospel to Nicodemus adding that it is quite peculiar that he is in a position and in fact is a teacher of God’s people and yet has no understanding of the things of God. (verse 10)

Nicodemus is bewildered.  He is confused.  He is astonished at what Jesus tells him saying, “How can these things be?” (verse 9)

After Jesus makes the point that a teacher of God’s people ought to know these things, he reveals the real issue in Nicodemus’s life.

 “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”~ John 3:11-12

You don’t believe me, Nicodemus.  I have repeatedly told you and showed you the truth in simple, lisping lessons but you simply do not believe it.  If you don’t believe me about things on earth – things you can see – how will you believe about things in heaven – things you have not seen?!  He gives Nicodemus the gospel as well as the reason men just like Nicodemus do not believe it.

We tend to forget that this whole John 3:16 business is in the context of Jesus talking to one of the most religious men of his day.  Think about that.  Consider the implications of that truth.

So what does Jesus say to this very religious teacher guy?  Grace is here – but, as Jesus has already told this man, it is for those who believe.  You do not believe.  Light is here.  The problem is not that you do not have enough light.  You love darkness.  That is the problem.  And why do you love darkness?  Because you’re hiding.  You are afraid that your wrong deeds will be exposed.  You care more about how you look on the outside than you do about whether you are in God’s favor.  You would rather hide behind religion than come into the light and be made clean.

The main idea here is that Jesus is not the one hiding.  God is waiting and willing no matter how or when we come to inquire of him.  We are always the ones who hide from God.  Nicodemus comes at night because he is hiding.  Likely he fears his religious friends seeing him talk to Jesus – because God forbid one of them get to know Jesus rightly and for who he truly is.  They were much more content to make him who they needed him to be in order to keep their sin hidden and their people – their followers – deceived about who they really were.

Jesus is not the one hiding.  The religious men are hiding.  When asked indirectly who he really is, Jesus pulls no punches.  He tells the inquirer the solution and the problem for why he does not know the answer to his own question.  Jesus does not have to say, “I am God” because it is extremely clear that Nicodemus has already repeatedly refused to believe the truths that would lead to that conclusion.  Instead, Jesus mercifully gives him the solution.

Here’s your problem, Nicodemus.  Here’s what needs to happen in your own life, Nicodemus.  There’s grace, Nicodemus.  Believe and be saved, Nicodemus.  If you do not believe, you are already condemned despite all your religious work and knowledge, Nicodemus.

Have you ever had someone try to be your friend secretly?  Or treat you differently when others were around vs. when they were not around?  Religious people are infamous for this kind of behavior because they not only fail to recognize and believe who God is, they fail to know who they themselves are.  Therefore, they are not genuine in their dealings.  Jesus shows us how to deal with this kind of pretense.  Say this:

Here’s your problem, religious man.  Here’s what needs to happen in your own life, religious man.  There’s grace, religious man.  Believe and be saved, religious man.  If you do not believe, you are already condemned despite all your religious work and knowledge, religious man.

Jesus deals with pretense, fear, a religious spirit, and sin all in one blow.  He tells this spiritually impoverished soul the truth of the gospel and the solution to his sin problem.  He makes sure that guy knows exactly what is required of him and shows him that he has not yet been willing to do it.

God’s grace is waiting.  He wants people to come to the light.  We must believe, confess our sin in the light, and repent of our hiding it in the darkness.  God is faithful to meet us there and do a great work in our lives.  He will change us from religious pretenders – people who have (as the Bible says) a form of godliness but deny its power – and false friends to real sons and daughters; brothers and sisters of his very own.

Come to Jesus.  Confess your sin to him.  Ask forgiveness.  Allow his Holy Spirit to do his work in you and you will be a new creation.  You will be born again.  Amen.

Read Full Post »

Image

It’s four a.m.  The wind is howling like an underfed wolf.  The few dim lights which remain begin to flicker.  Sirens abound.  And then…darkness.

Darkness sets in upon darkness.

The dimness of what was left is now gone, too.

I’m left with a choice.  Do I lay in the darkness and close my eyes hoping light will come later?  Or do I forge into the darkness alone and create new light – light unrestricted by favorable conditions?

I am a creature of habit.  I am a lover of light.  I will not retreat.  I will fight the darkness and create light.  I will search for light more diligently than the ravenous wolf of darkness seeks to snuff it out.

I light a candle.  I load batteries into a flashlight.  I pray for those whom the sirens are sounding.  I wait for the Lord to make his presence known as I pour over his Word.

Light wins.  The darkness may be thick and thorough, but the light is always more competent to attract.

How tempting it is to resist our call to be the unrestricted, unconditional light!  To stay in bed; to wish for dreams; to refuse the work and discipline it takes to be pioneers of the Light.

It reminds me of my daughter and her math.  She will spend hours beligerently completing what would take mere minutes with proper compliance.  She will work much harder trying not to work than she would if she’d just do her work obediently.

But the flesh is saying, “Anything but that!  Don’t touch me there, God.  I’m willing to waste time, whine, cry, sit in a chair for hours, but I will not do that.”

In the flicker of my candle, in the eye of my prayer, in the wisdom of the Word, I see myself.  When faced with whatever creates utter darkness for me, I am again a bantering eight year old.  I’ll say things like, “I’ll go anywhere except there, God.  I’ll befriend anyone but them.  I’ll repent of anything but that.  I’ll give you anything but this.  I’ll trust you for everything except _________.”

In this refusal of the Light, I cease to shine.  I give in to the darkness.  I close my eyes and I sleep in doubtful hope – which is not hope at all.  I allow darkness to overcome me and I begin to lose the battle.

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good…8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. ~Romans 12:21, 13:8

Goodness.  Love.  Unrestricted; unconditional.  That’s what I have been given.  That is the mission of the Light.  That is my call as a lover of it – of Him.

Pray that no matter how the dark the darkness becomes that I stay hungrier than the wolf.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hchsGFGd24E

Read Full Post »

Image

New, I enter a working church.  They build, send, invite, prepare.  Busy as they are focused, they direct all who come in.

 “Go to the church down the street for the service.”

I oblige.  Familiar faces from every denomination are found as I enter.  The Pentecostals are mingling with the Baptists.  The Presbyterians are creating order.  The unchurched are welcomed by the non-denominationals.  The unsaved are embraced by the Nazarenes.  Every leader seems to be searching as they work to bring us together.  A common thread runs throughout.

Through murmurs, I hear that someone has died.  Not knowing exactly who it was, my attention is focused on the care they’ve all taken to remember this person.

In the front, most central portion of the huge cathedral is an empty chair positioned high above the crowds.  A candle burns where the deceased would have sat.  Together we wait for further instructions.

Awakened, these scenes from my slumber flood my memory.

“It’s Jesus.  The chair belongs to him.  Today it sits empty, but his light burns on through his bride.”

 Our cause for congeniality is our common interest in the one who died.  Shine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80rHyABCb20

Read Full Post »

ImageSaul has just reneged on his promise to give David his daughter, again.  David had fulfilled every obligation twice over, yet Saul has held him in contempt and upstaged him again.  Let’s see what happens next.

Now Saul’s daughter Michal loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. 21 Saul thought, “Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore Saul said to David a second time, “You shall now be my son-in-law.”22 And Saul commanded his servants, “Speak to David in private and say, ‘Behold, the king has delight in you, and all his servants love you. Now then become the king’s son-in-law.’” 23 And Saul’s servants spoke those words in the ears of David. And David said, “Does it seem to you a little thing to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am a poor man and have no reputation?” 24 And the servants of Saul told him, “Thus and so did David speak.” 25 Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. ~1 Samuel 18:20-25

This account begins with ill-motives.  Even when Saul promises to do the right thing, he has the wrong motives.  As we learned yesterday, his promises are empty and his words mean nothing.  He never intends to make good on what he pledges.  His disguise may be kindness and generosity, but his intentions are murderous.  Saul’s main goal is to bring David down so that he may lift himself up.  Those who exalt themselves by abasing others follow fittingly in Saul’s footsteps.   (more…)

Read Full Post »