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GOD

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

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came into being through Him,
and apart from Him nothing came into being
that has come into being.

LIFE

In Him was life,
and the life was the Light of men.
The Light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was the true Light
which, coming into the world,
enlightens every man.

UNKNOWN

He was in the world,
and the world was made through Him,
and the world did not know Him.
He came to His own,
and those who were His own
did not receive Him.

BORN OF GOD

But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right
to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name,
who were born,
not of blood
nor of the will of the flesh
nor of the will of man,
but of God.

GLORY, GRACE, AND TRUTH

And the Word became flesh,
and dwelt among us,
and we saw His glory,
glory as of the only begotten from the Father,
full of

grace 

and

truth.

For of His fullness we have all received,
and grace upon grace.

For the Law was given through Moses;
grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

GOD REVEALED

No one has seen God at any time;
the only begotten God
who is in the bosom of the Father,
He has explained Him.

John 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18 NASB


Happy Incarnation Day and Merry Christmas!

See you again soon

Ben

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From the archives...

medium_4296313268Check this out

We all know this Christmas verse thanks to GF Handel:

The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:2 NASB)

But look what comes right before it:

But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. (Isaiah 9:1 NASB)

I love this – Jesus living in Galilee of the Gentiles – making it glorious – but check the beginning

No more gloom for her who was in anguish.

Are you in anguish?

Are you living in gloom?

Are you stuck in a dark land – a dark place?

Christmas is here to break the gloom – break the anguish.

Ok – that was a bit mushy – how 'bout this:

Jesus was born, lived, and died a cruel death to break the gloom with an astonishing light. [Tweet This]

BenTurn on the light!

See you again soon.

Ben

photo credit: ulisse albiati via photopin cc

 

Cheryl  has once again nailed it!

What’s Darker Than Dark?

Spooky foggy forest at night

When I was a child I was afraid of the dark. One of my earliest memories is of waking to see a gigantic feral cat, silhouetted in the moonlight, filling the doorway to my bedroom. Yellow glowing eyes stared menacingly back at me as I contemplated what to do. Terrified, I did the best I could for a three year old: shouted for my dad and dived under the bed covers. From then on I was frightened of any dark places.

Until I grew up that is.

There’s a lot of darkness around, have you noticed? It seems each time we take a peek over that protective bed cover we call Christianity, spiritual darkness looms greater, staring back at us with its evil intentions, threatening to swallow us up, along with our loved ones and our familiar way of life.

Wars and rumors of war spew from the nightly news; mass migrations of suffering humanity spill over national borders we once thought impenetrable; terrorists threaten us daily with unspeakable acts; values we thought sacred and beyond question are increasingly held to mockery and torn down in our courts of law. Death and destruction strike randomly and unexpectedly. Political leaders of all persuasions fail to meet our expectations and often seem on the side of the creeping darkness.

It seems Christianity is under siege.

We have two choices. We can hide back under the bed covers of our traditional religion, ‘tut tut’ our displeasure, and hope it will all go away. Or we can rise up as the militant victorious people we are meant to be, rebuking and driving back the darkness, waving our Bibles and our little white crosses with shouts of hallelujah and war to the death. Right?

W.R.O.N.G.

(Come on admit it, I had you going for a moment there, didn’t I? Just alittle?) [Read the rest of the article here...]

shine

 

Who is this that grows like the dawn,
As beautiful as the full moon,
As pure as the sun,
As awesome as an army with banners?

Song of Songs 6:10

When we started the Song, our maiden’s self assessment was, “I am dark, but lovely,” (1:5 NKJV) but today we find her blossoming into Christian maturity and she is anything but dark now.

Her light shines three ways.

Dawn

First, she is like the dawning of the sun, light overwhelming darkness.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, - Colossians 1:13

As she rises in the East, those around her are captivated by her light, and drawn to her Shepherd King. Who can miss the transformation in a life given to the Lord?

I have known folks who make a profession of faith, and never really emerge from darkness. There are times I find myself drawn to the darkness. I feel the tug of my own lust drawing me toward the sin that schemes take me captive again to darkness.

But the most beautiful thing in those moments of temptation, those seasons of night, is to see the light of dawn breaking over that darkness. When a daughter or son of the king shines before me as the morning light, I again see my calling, hope rises with that sun, and I rise out of the darkness.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Moon

Two things we know about the moon.

First, the moon is light that shines in the darkness.

Last month we had a glorious harvest moon, and you needed no other light to function outside. You could walk down dark paths with no need for added illumination. The Moon at it’s brightest is sufficient light to find the way.

The Moon get’s its light from the Sun, mealy reflected light. It doesn’t generate light, but mirrors the radiance that comes from Earth’s own heavenly light.

The maiden reflects the glory and majesty of her Shepherd King and Lord. He is the light of the world.

Sun

So He is the light of the world, but He instructs us to shine. He is not simply the source of our light as we reflect, but like candles, He puts His light within us and sends us out to shine in the darkness.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. - Matthew 5:16

See the Lord’s amazing wisdom here:

YOU shine so people see YOUR good works.

Often I hear that shining is doing good works, but that’s not what Jesus said, He said SHINE so people see your good works and when they see that good things YOU have done in such a SHINY manner, they will glorify Our Father!

Why would God get the glory and not me? If I am doing the good works, isn’t it going to glorify me?

Nope.

1 – You will be way to shiny for a mere mortal – you have been lit on fire with God’s light. That flame on your head has clearly been installed by the Father of Lights.

2 – Your works will be the glorious and wonderful works:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10 NASB

No one could look at the works you were intended to do and think they were natural works. The works God has for you are supernatural.

Things like loving your spouse, loving your neighbor, loving your enemy, loving your children, loving your boss. SHINY stuff like that.

The shiny part is your character - or should I say your Nature - your new nature - your super-nature. This instruction to shine follows on the heals of the Beatitudes, where we learn the progression of the Christian walk - the stairway to maturity you might way.

So today the Lord says:

Shine My sister, My bride, My son, My friend, My child, Shine.

Shine in the darkness, rise in the morning, and burn with the fire I have place within you.

Shine

nora and papa at the table, benSee you again soon.

Ben

Wheat

But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away.

and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;  (Matthew 13:25,38 NASB)

In this word picture Jesus describes the dilemma of the ‘sons of the evil one.’ I am sitting here thinking that if it wasn’t for people who did not know Christ, Christianity would be pretty easy. [Chuckle]

Let’s talk about these ‘sons of the evil one’ for a couple minutes.

One comment before we do – Jesus’ parables individually do not completely describe the Kingdom of God, and taken on their own and to the extreme can be used to teach things that are not true.

For instance, in this parable we do not see any hope for one who is not a ‘son of the kingdom.’ If you are sown as a son of the evil one, you have no hope of ever changing allegiance.

But this is not so. Anyone who is a ‘son of the kingdom’ was once a ‘son of the evil one.’ That is, in fact one of the main tasks given to a ‘son of the kingdom,’ and it was the main job of the First Born – our Lord Jesus. His job was to bring many sons to glory.

God is in the adoption business, and is looking for sons (and daughters, by the way) on whom to lavish His great love.

Back to the phrase, sons of the evil one. This got Jesus in some big trouble once. Do you remember this?

“I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.

They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” (John 8:38-47 NASB Emphasis added)

I know that was a long chunk, but I could not bring myself to break it up.

This little dialogue got Jesus is some hot water. They actually tried to stone Him at the bottom of the chapter.

These sons of the evil one do what they do because of their blood line.

We act like the non-Christians are our big problem in life, like somehow they are going to take our Christianity away!

The Church seems to be afraid that if we don’t take our country back, we will not longer have Christianity as we know it. Frankly that is not such a bad thing.

Christianity has become more about keeping influence of darkness out of our lives than following our wonderful Savior, who cranked up His billion jiggawatt self and walked straight into the darkness. [Tweet This]

The ‘sons of the evil one’ are under condemnation, but it is our job to bring them out, to bring many sons out of darkness and into the marvelous light.

Lets get out there and rub shoulders with some tares today, and see if we can’t shine a bit.

BenThanks again for coming by.

See you tomorrow

Ben

photo credit: downhilldom1984 via photopin cc

Anybody ever tell you that everything is not just black and white? Hmmm – I am thinking Jesus didn’t buy into that philosophy.

Jesus said:

The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23 NASB)

For the past few days I've been harping on how this evil eye darkness Jesus I talking about is actually a mixture of light and dark.

Let me start today with a clarification – we live in a dark world, and we take in lots of darkness. The problem is not in the seeing; it is in the assignment of darkness as light for your path.

When we use darkness to mark our path – we have our back turned to the light, and are walking away from it. Life will get darker and darker as we proceed.

Today I simply call you to the light! Look at Jesus – Fix your eyes on Him! He said it this way – “Follow Me.” [Tweet This]

All other paths lead to destruction. This one path is light.

Yep – Mr. Red Letters is Black and White!

Thanks for stopping in today.

Ben

Jesus said:

The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23 NASB)

What is a clear eye?

This particular word is translated a number of ways in this very passage.

Vines (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words) tells us that outside of the Bible this word is used to mean simple, or single – and the example sited is that a dowry would be paid simply by the husband, rather than through other various sources.

Here is what I get from this. The ‘eye’ that is the source of ‘light’ for our body must be receiving input from a single source, the Father of Lights! That is why the writer of Hebrews recommends “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2)

Jesus is the light that lights every man that comes into the world (John 1:9) and with our eyes fixed on Him, the light that enlightens us will be pure and wholesome, free from any impurities.

What are we talking about here? Let me make it plain. When we look to other sources for information or truth, our clarity diminishes. We can no longer easily determine which way to go – which door to walk through.

Have you ever found yourself listening to a sales pitch for a major purchase, somewhere with a real sales person pitching to you, perhaps a car purchase, or a Time-share?

When they are talking, and pitching, and asking questions and engaging you, it is so obvious what you need to do.

When they step out of the room you look at your spouse with that – well this is obviously the right choice look – and as the din of the salesman’s voice wanes you begin to hear another voice.

By the way – the reason the deal is only good while you are in the little room is because they know when you get out from under their influence, you will hear the voice of truth loud and clear and make the right choice.

When you have one source of light, and view competing sources as interlopers, you make great decisions. [Tweet This]

I picked on salesmen, but preachers do this all the time too. They have something for you to give to, or believe in, or respond to, and it all needs to be judged by the one true light.

Obviously not all preachers or salesmen are evil, and I am in favor of you buying good stuff, and giving to good causes. Generosity is one of my favorite topics. But let’s make sure the “truth” we base our choices on is “clear” and not evil.

Thanks for coming today.

More on this tomorrow.

Ben

Sign photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Jesus said:

The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23 NASB)

As I look at these verses I am struck by a number of things. Way too much for one post, so here we go with another mini-series.

First of all, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus has already talked about your eyes, and about light. I am fascinated that He is coming back to these two themes and linking them here and now.

Next I am intrigued by some of the imagery He uses. I would assume He is speaking metaphorically at some level, otherwise you would have to make the assumption that blind people are evil, and have no hope of ever being enlightened without a miracle.

For today, I want to recommend that you peek back at the posts from September when we were back in Matthew Chapter 5

Of Lights:

Could Someone Please Turn On the Light?

You gonna Shine or Just Cut Bait?

Where To Shine

And Eyes:

Looks Can Kill

The Eyes Have It

Tomorrow we will dig into this new section.

Thanks for stopping by.

See you tomorrow

Ben

 

Let Your Light Shine

So, now that I have decided to go ahead and shine – where do I do it?

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16 NASB)

There is plenty of where in this little passage.

You are a city on a hill (in other words you are set in a prominent and obvious place)

Not hidden under a bushel but on a lamp stand

In the house

Before men

Simply put, Jesus is telling us to shine everywhere we go.

As with all of Jesus’ commissioning statements, the command is not GO, but the command is AS you go SHINE.

Notice with me that there is no difference whether you are in the city or in the house. SHINE

Don’t shine in church and disappear (spiritually) at work.

Don’t shine at church and turn into an angry green monster at home.

Shine whether you are in the darkness or the light.

We are not told to reflect. Reflectors don’t work in the dark, and Isaiah 60 makes it clear we are to shine in the darkest of places!

On the hilltops and in the houses!

At Work

At Home

At Church

At Play

SHINE!

Thanks for stopping by today.

Ben

Photo Credit: Ben Nelson - Use freely with attribution.

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