Monday, March 10, 2014

The Light Shines in the Darkness...

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
 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}

As I was reading my bible this morning I started the book of John and was struck by these words. 
How absolutely beautiful. Not only the semantics of the passage, but the way it's written- such wonderful imagery. 
In HIM was life. And that life is our light. 
Causing our lives to be a light in the darkness of this world(not us, but His light in us). 
And Darkness has not overcome it. 

What does light do? It shows us the way, it illuminates dark places, it allows us to see and function. Without light we would be hopeless, lost, and yes- dead. (Shall I say dead in our trespasses and sins?) More literally without light and warmth we would all die; the earth would just freeze over into nothingness. A big chunk of death. 
That is what we do without Christ, who is our life. We freeze over until we are nothing. And even the searching and yearning for something greater is gone. Satan steals from us everything, all light, hope, beauty and meaning, and leaves us wallowing in our sins without a future.
But God has given us His son so we can avoid all that! He has given His word, which is the beacon of hope, giving meaning to our otherwise meaningless lives. 
All the darkness of this world cannot overcome the light that is within just one of us.
 The light of Christ in us. 
With these 5 simple verses John laid the foundation of our faith, and also showed us the end of the story. It is Christ in us that we should rely on, Christ in us who is our life. And it is He who will win the battle. 

Good overcomes evil. 
Light defies the darkness, and swallows it up. 
Christ has had victory over death
And by Him we are saved. 

Do you allow His light shine out through you in the darkness of this world? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

With All Your Heart

Imagine yourself driving along. 
The light turns red. 
You put your foot on your car brakes, and the car gently rolls to a stop. 
What if they didn't work? 
Did you really think about what you just did? 
Probably not. 

After weeks, months or years of driving you just know that generally speaking, the brakes work. And nothing bad happens. So you just press on them, and the car glides to a stop. This is a poor example , but an effective one.

My mind wandered to this the other day as I was driving home from work and stopped at a light. I trusted my brakes. That they would stop me from crashing into the car ahead of me. Keep me from turning a corner too fast, or speeding down the highway uncontrollably.  
What would it mean to trust my Creator, my Father like that? To know without a doubt that He is Trustworthy and there to catch me when I fall (or crash, or am speeding in the wrong direction). 

It says in Proverbs 3:5-6 to trust the Lord with "All your Heart"... and He will direct your paths. Why wouldn't I want to give up all my plans, fear in the unknown, and other "me" things for the plans the One who loves most has written for me? He desires the best. But what I'm afraid of is what will His best be? Will it be hard or painful? 

Well. That Doesn't Matter. 
For He says:
"When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior"

Isaiah 43:2-3

Why wouldn't I trust Him who said those words? You might say it's a gamble, but the odds look better on this side.  So even if it is hard, painful, or I have to give up things I will be worth it all. In the end, it will be okay for I will have follow Him rather than myself and my plans. 

So, what would my life look like if I placed more trust in the Living God than I do my car's brakes? Because, if we are really truly honest, I'd say we all trust our brakes a bit more than God sometimes. (Perhaps not all the time...but sometimes.) I know I don't trust Him, or anybody else, very much. So this will be difficult. But I pray I find out.
 It's going to be a journey, and a learning process... but I have faith that my God will not leave me or forsake me. He hems me in behind and before,
    and has laid His hand upon me, and no matter where I go- He is there. 
So, I will have faith, and trust in His plan- with all my heart. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I can do all things?

Today has been what you might call a "pretty bum day". 
 Had a few setbacks- health wise, school, and just feeling rather worn down in general. I believe I'm getting attacked spiritually, which may be 99% of this.  In the throes of my self pity (yeah....) I decided to read a bit in Philippians to look for encouragement. What I found wasn't exactly what I anticipated, or really wanted to be honest.

 Usually whenever anyone thinks of Philippians, often you think of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". For a second there, I was mentally exclaiming "YES! I can do this! Christ is strengthening me! This too shall pass! Tomorrow will be better!!" 

Then I decided to read it in context. 

(Side note, Christians tend to put bible verses out of context alot. This irks me. Simply because it's basically twisting the Word of God to suit our own needs, and misinterpreting scripture. Yikes! That is kind of scary!)


Philippians 4 11- 13 says:  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Hey now! Paul says that he has learned to be content WHATEVER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. Big difference, in my opinion. He goes on to say that he knows what it's like to be in the "setback" "bummer" kind of situations, yet he is is content. He was an APOSTLE, and He didn't even have it "all good" obviously, none of the apostles did. He was muscling through because he can do all things through Christ. 

This is not a trite quote to help yourself buck up because things will get better, like it's often used...but a lesson to learn and a message to be content. To take what comes, and with Christ's help, grow and learn in the situation. Rise above. (Shall we say, on Eagles wings?) Or, you must plow on through. (Not so eagle-ish. Probably more like Job would say; "Why me?" But I trust you.) 

God doesn't say how long He will want us to go through things, nor does He make the promise that it will be easy. But He will strengthen us, whatever comes. Again, it's so easy to spout the trite Christian happy greeting card "He won't give you more than you can handle." 

I say. WRONG. 
Think about what Paul said: "For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:8-9)”

That sounds pretty intense, doesn't it? 

Friends, He WILL give you more than you can handle. 
Because.... *drumroll* YOU aren't supposed to handle it. 
I, You, We....we are supposed to lean on God for our support through these trials. We are not to rely on ourselves! 
I for one have a very bad habit, sin, whatever you want to call it... of relying on myself. Being self sufficient. Bottom line is I can't do it.
 The past few days, well..months.. I've had to rely pretty heavily on friends, family, and God to help me through various situations. It's been rather bruising to the pride. But I think that was the point. ;) God has helped me through, and has even allowed me the grace to praise Him.

This all may be old news for you, but it's been something I've had to learn the hard way the past while. 

Rely on God. For He is a loving and gracious Abba.