Lighthouse

John 8:12 says that Jesus spake, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (KJV)

lighthouse

Lighthouse

 

As I read Scripture recently, it occurred to me that God’s Word was like the brilliant guiding light that emanates from a Lighthouse. In this post I am going to look at that comparison and you can comment as to whether or not you agree with me. I am going to compare the beam of God’s Word illuminating power with the beam of a lighthouse because oftentimes we feel a detachment from the Scriptures in our everyday life. We are buffeted from one difficulty to another without taking advantage of the guidance offered to all who believe by the Holy Spirit whose primary purpose is to help us stay away from the rocks and wrecks all around us–some hidden just below the (surface) water line and others clearly visual.

A lighthouse is a very tall tower with a bright light on top that is usually located at a dangerous navigational spot at the entrance to a harbor. Picture a huge traffic sign warning of impending danger.  A harbor is a place for ships to dock safely.  Although the first lighthouse in America was the Boston Light, built in 1716 at Boston Harbor. The history of lighthouses goes much further back in history to ancient Egypt, Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous lighthouse in antiquity.

I want you to image with me ancient mariners before the days of sails and steam rowing in a desperate attempt to fight the strong winds and swelling water threatening at any moment to overturn the ship and drown its occupants.  The mariners are rowing for their lives and straining every muscles as they try to keep the sea from dragging them to the bottom. They know they are getting closer to the harbor and the rocks, but they must keep the ship on course or be pulled under. Suddenly a light is seen in the distance.  As they get closer and the beam gets stronger, the crew realizes how close they were to meeting the doom of the rocks that lay at the harbor entrance, but the beam from shore is now safely guiding and illuminating their entry into the harbor.

As we visualize the lighthouse issuing its beam of light to safely guide those threaten by the sea, we need to think of God’s Word as a Light spreading farther, wider, and stronger than any man-made beam. From the time of the Fall of man to the birth of Jesus, man wandered in the stormy darkness seeking and avoiding the Laws of God when they pleased.  In times of trouble–seeking the Lord’s help–praying and following His guidance until they got what they wanted. When the trouble had passed, they went back to the worship of the idols of the surrounding nations.  Forgetting the Lord’s Laws and mercy in their time of trouble.

Jesus’ birth introduced a new Light into the world as foretold in Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” and Paul says in Ephesians 5:14, “… Christ shall give thee light.” (KJV) Can you picture Jesus walking among the people emanating a guiding beam into the darkness of their lives. Healing and teaching them to follow the Light of God’s Word. This beam keeps those who believe from being dashed on the rocks of the dangers of life.

It was the religious leaders (the learned men) who were determined to keep the populace floundering in the rough seas outside the safety of the harbor being battered by every sin and continuing to live under the weight of the Law of Moses.

The Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day thought to put out this Light beaming so brightly in the darkness of the lives of the common people. The more they tried to discredit and eliminate the beam of Light, the stronger it got.

The betrayal of Judas Iscariot, really gave hope to the religious leaders of the day.  Finally a way to quench the beam that was getting brighter with each passing day and jeopardizing everything they believed in and the power they had acquired due to their positions as purveyors of the Law of Moses.  The ultimate crucifixion of Jesus Christ (God’s Light to the World) caused great celebration among the Pharisees and other religious leaders. The beam had been extinguished never to return or at least that is what they thought.

The religious leaders were unaware that every move had been orchestrated according to God’s will.  Jesus Christ had already told His disciples of the events that would occur and that it had all been pre-ordinated before He was born. He told them that He must go. “I have told you these things while I am still with you. But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor–Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things.  And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.” (John 14:25-26 AMP)

After Jesus’ resurrection and return to the assembled disciples, He told them to stay together until the Comforter came. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:14, JKV)

The Holy Spirit’s beam of light still stands illuminating the path of truth and salvation guiding those who hear and believe through the turbulence of life.  The Word of God is just as true today and protecting those who heed the Light from wrecking themselves as they flounder seeking refuge from the rocks and wrecks that dot the harbor. The really wonderful thing is that even if you damage the bottom of your ship many times, the beam of the Holy Spirit is still there. And, if you heed it, the beam can still save you from sinking as long as you believe in the salvation available to you and have a desire in your heart you can be shown by the beam of the Holy Spirit the right path to gain the safety and security of the Word of God.

Reaching Forward

Philippians 3:13, “… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” (AMP)

You cannot see what God has for your future while hanging onto your past.  God is the future. As we await the dawning of a New Year, we reach forward towards the unknown–developing goals to propel us into the future and the better life we want for ourselves and our families.  Many of these goals reflect changes we want to make in our own behavior.  As this New Year’s Eve brings us closer to the beginning of a New Year, our determination gets stronger to carry out our goals.

After the newest of the New Year wears off, many of us will settle back into the same old habits and the new goals become nothing more than a fond and frustrating memory to be filed away.  We have all done it; reached for the future and the unknown but allowed Satan to pull us back into the familiar and limited.  Doubts about the future and our past failures all bloom on the horizon reminding us of our fears and futile efforts of the past.

To get to the next thing, God has for you, you must leave the old and familiar.  A perfect example of this can be found in Abraham (Genesis 12:1-9).  He left everything he was familiar with and traveled with his family to an unknown country.  Three years ago my family and I made a move from North Carolina to Florida.  We did not know where we would be spending the night, had no job awaiting us, and only knew one person who lived in Florida.  What we did know was that it was time to leave North Carolina.  Everything went smoothly during the over 800 mile drive, my daughter driving the moving truck and I drove the car.  We found a hotel upon arrival that accepted dogs (We have two small ones.) and soon we found a house to rent, my daughter found a job and we were settled within a month of our arrival.  Sometimes, I still look back at and am amazed at how God looked out for us and put things in place for my family.  Truly,  I believe and have experienced His love.  I feel as though I have been sheltered from the storm.

Staying with a situation or a person longer than you should instead of moving toward the new thing that God has for you keeps you from the destiny that God has designated for you.  Do you feel the Holy Spirit within you gently pushing you toward the unknown and God’s future for you?  Are you reaching, but holding back?  Let Go and Let God is an expression I heard many years ago, but it still rings true.  Abraham listened to the Lord when told to leave all he knew and ventured forth with courage and did not doubt.  silhouette-936721_640Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Additional Scripture to help you move forward.

Psalms 62:8 “Trust [confidently] in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” (KJV)

Isaiah 43:18, ““Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past.  (AMP)

1 Peter, “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (AMP)

I pray that Everyone’s New Year is Happy, Prosperous, and

you attain your goals for 2017.

Birthday Goals

Recently, I  was blessed to experience another birthday.  It has been my habit to look back on my life on birthdays and reflect on God’s blessings and my activities during the past year.  For me this is a time to review and start making changes and setting new goals for the upcoming year.  One of my continuous goals is to strengthen my relationship with the Father and to become more aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  My intent is to lessen the time it takes me to respond to a prompting and to reduce the times that I ignore it altogether.  No matter how I try sometimes I still follow my own mind in direct contradiction of what the Holy Spirit is prompting me to do.  Just as Paul said in Romans 7:14-15 , 21-25:

“… I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (ESV)

When I make the wrong decision despite what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do, I repent and ask forgiveness and try to do better.  But fortunately for me, I have a forgiving God who loves me, and continues to look after me in all my hard-headedness.  Despite of my stumbles, I know that I have made progress and continue to make a conscious effort to move forward.

My hard-headedness and stubborn disobedience reminds me of the exiles of Israel after God brought them out of Egypt  making Aaron create the golden calf during Moses’ absence on Mt. Sinai incurring God’s anger and resulting in a great loss of life and thstubborneir wandering in the desert for 40 years. After the Lord had brought them out of Egypt and Moses led them through the Red Sea and drown the Egyptians. Those who witnessed the miracles and examples of the Lord’s power, it should have been enough.  But time after time, they tried the Lord’s patience and suffered the results of taking the wrong path.  Isaiah 48:4, “Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass,” (ESV)

One of the many benefits of being a child of God is that we can be wrong and hard headed, but still be able to repent, and go the Father for forgiveness because we have an intercessor who will constantly plead on our behalf.  Fortunately, for us Jesus has been assailed with the weaknesses, trials, and pitfalls of being human and conquered them.  He understands the pull of Satan and how to fight against and overcome temptation.

As I stride to improve and be a grateful recipient of God’s grace, I thank Jesus every day for being my intercessor and understanding the weaknesses of the flesh.

Have You Thanked Him Today?

Courage

lion-515028_640Courage – The quality of mind or spirit that enables one to deal with or face danger, fear, pain, etc; the confidence to act in accordance with one’s belief.

Joshua is one of my favorite prophets of the Old Testament.  He was the first prophet after Moses, the greatest of them all; hand-picked by God and a man who God talked with face-to-face.  Joshua as Moses’ second-in-command was brought up under the tutelage of Moses.  Moses was truly a tough act to follow.

After the death of Moses, Joshua had to step-up and lead the people into the Promised Land across the Jordan.  Can you imagine trying to step into the shoes of Moses.  I am sure that this heavy responsibility caused Joshua to doubt his abilities and result in some sleepless nights.  God and Moses knew of Joshua’s uncertainty that is why Moses “… laid his hands upon him [Joshua]; at an assembly of the people so the Israelites would listen to him and do as the Lord commanded.” (Deuteronomy 34:9, Amplified)   At the laying on of Moses’ hands, Joshua not only received confirmation of the handing over of  leadership to him but he also received the spirit of wisdom from Moses.  Without this confirmation the Israelites would more than likely not accepted Joshua after Moses without question for they were known for being a stiff-necked and difficult people.

Joshua was told by the Lord to  “Be strong and confident and courageous, for you will give this people as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers (ancestors) to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous … ” (Joshua 1:6-7, AMP)

I cannot count how many times I have read Joshua 1:6-9 during times of trials in my life.  Each time I read this Scripture it gave me the strength to continue.  When I was car-less and had to ride the bus and subway an hour and a-half to work each day and then return in the evening to begin my other job as a mom to my two kids, cooking dinner, helping with homework, cleaning up, etc. believe me I needed all the strength I could muster. Joshua 1:9 was just one of the scriptures that I wrote on a 3×5 card and read every day, but this one was one of my favorites. So many times as I got tired, depressed, and frustrated reading about what God said to Joshua encouraged me to keep on going and reminded me that my family depended on me to be courageous and keep going.  As I often told my kids,

Giving up is not an option!

Grow in Grace

II Peter 3:18, “…but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (AMP)

Grace defined is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

As we pray for God’s saving Grace in times of trouble, He may give us Grace to be delivered out of the trouble or He may give us Grace to go through.  Only God can make the choice.

A loving parent may tell his or her teenager not to hang around a certain group or individual because they are always in trouble at school.  The parent is sure that no good can come out of associating with this person or group.  The teenager ignores the parent (because parents never know what they are talking about) and continues the association.  The association leads to a problem with the police.  Not necessarily because the teenager committed a crime, but because they were on the scene.  The parent may immediately come in response to “The Call” or wait until the next day.  The parent is not being mean or uncaring.  It is just as difficult for them to wait at home as it is for the teenager.  But spending the time in a holding cell will allow the kid to remember the parent’s warning and regret their decision to ignore it.

God is a loving parent to all His children.  He wants only the best for us.  If he decides to remove us from the trouble, He will.  If He decided to strengthen you to go through it, He will.  His knowledge of the future and the benefit derived from the lesson learned is for our good.  My personal experience has been that some lessons are learned and retained when you have to go through until the end.  The good news is that He never leaves you, has strengthened you to overcome, and that although we do not believe so at the time, we take a step towards greater maturity.

Regardless, if God removes you from the trial which seems to be constantly on the arisen or strengthens you to go through it, His love and grace are surrounding you and are your protective armor.

Isaiah 41:10 says, Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Save

Treasure to the Believer’s Soul

Deciding to get baptized as an adult is a big decision, and as I stood waiting to be led up the steps to the baptismal pool, so many thoughts ran through my mind.  Did I really want to do this? I knew I wanted to get closer to God and build a better relationship with him. Since I was in my forties, just getting baptized, I wondered if it would make a big difference in my life, would I feel differently? I knew that there was more to God’s Word than I was aware of and although I had been reading the Bible and going to church off and on for many years, I did not have an understanding of exactly who I was and my inheritance as a child of God.  I wanted to feel more and understand what I was missing of God’s promise to his people.  In other words, I was still looking for my God-given purpose.

Stress and Worry

I knew that I suffered from too much stress. I was always nervous and tense. Worry was my constant companion. As a single mother of two kids trying to support and raise my kids properly, at least better than I felt that I was raised, hard work and a strong work ethic sums up what I felt I inherited from my parents. I had controlling issues.  As the oldest of four kids and the only girl, I was used to being in control and acted with authority in most situations.  Tired and stressed most of the time was a normal part of my life, but I knew that there was more to life than this.  I understood enough about the Bible to realize that I needed to remedy my situation before I worried myself into an illness.  I watched several members of my family, suffer through illnesses that could not only be linked to food, but also to stress and worry. I decided at an early age, that I was not going out like that. Deep within I knew that the answer to many of my problems was centered around lack of faith in God and a total ignorance of His Promise.  I think that is what started me going to church to try to find the treasure I knew God had made available to me since I was not having much luck finding it myself.  So I felt it was time to get serious about building my relationship with God and my first step would be to get baptized.

Sharing Abraham’s Promise

As I mentioned before I read the Bible, but did not have an in-depth understanding of how to relate God’s words to what I was encountering in my daily life.  I was having difficulty just understanding where I as a Gentile (anyone who is not a Jew) even fit into God’s plan.  I Corinthians 8:6 says, “There is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.” (NLT)  cleared my understanding of my entitlement in God’s promise. I was overjoyed to be a joint inheritor of the kingdom Jesus Christ died to make available for us.  And then I read Romans 4:16 which confirms my inheriting the treasure chest filled with the bounty of God’s grace and mercy. Because I share the faith of Abraham, I can become a daughter of Abraham and, therefore, share in God’s promise to him.

So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. (NLT)

When my turn arrived, I pictured the treasure chest waiting for me filled with the treasures that Jesus mentioned during His time on earth–Grace, Salvation, Love–precious gifts that are treasures that cannot be brought with gold or silver.  Although this was many years ago, I remember the event like it was yesterday.  I really expected things to change in a big way in my life.  But they did not.  And interestingly enough I did not feel much different than I did before I went into the pool.  No strange light, no revelation, no feeling of newness.  As a new creature in Christ, I did not feel any different.  I turned this over and over in my brain as I changed and got dressed.

My Change

As I look back my changes came gradually over a long period of time.  My changes have so gradual that I did not realize they were happening. Over the years that I have changed in many areas of my life, and I am more conscience of the urging of the Holy Spirit telling me what to do and what not to do.  The wonderful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is always working with me and shaping me.  I still have a long way to go, but progress has been made, and I will continue to work on it with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Don’t let your treasure chest lay unopened.

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The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Psalms 19:1

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