|Guardian angel protecting child from demons|
|Guardian angel protecting child from demons|
|Photo by Godot13 2007|
As my husband and I sat reading our morning devotionals, I noticed that the motion-activated security light on the balcony turned on in broad daylight, triggered by the antics of a playful squirrel.
Such lights are useful protection against intruders, who in theory would be frightened away by the bright light if they ventured too close to the house with some nefarious purpose in mind. They are also useful to illuminate a dark entry if we return home late at night, protecting us from falling or being bitten by mosquitos as we search for our keys.
And yet, as in the case of the squirrel, the motion detector light lacks the discernment to distinguish an intruder from a harmless visitor, or our return home from a moth flying near the sensor, so some energy is wasted. Eventually the bulb burns out and the batteries lose their charge and both need to be replaced.
Other lights turn on only in the darkness, so they save energy during the day, or even store it if they are solar powered, and emit light only in the dark. Yet even in Florida, solar lights often fail if it is a cloudy day, or if trees block the direct sun, or even if it is too hot and humid for the solar cells to operate at optimum efficiency.
Other lights, like the strings of festive Christmas lights meant to lift our spirits and remind us of Jesus Christ, the true Light of the world (John 8:12), are set on a timer to shine only at night. This saves energy, but seeing the unlit plastic bulbs and tangle of electric cords and switches during the day detracts from the decorative effect.
Still, unlit Christmas lights are not as bad as the inflatable snowmen or Santas on timers that melt into a flat, plastic puddle by day – a disturbing sight for children enjoying their lifelike appearance at night!
And finally, there are security lights, often inside near the entry of businesses, visible through the glass doors to deter break-ins. These are always on, for maximum security, yet at the cost of higher energy bills and need to replace the bulbs more often.
These different types of lights got me thinking about our Christian life, once we have been saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). Jesus said that we who are born-again (John 3:3-8) are also the light of the world, and that our light must not be hidden under a basket, but set high on a lampstand for all to see and glorify Him (Matthew 5:14-16).
To me, that sounds like our light should always be brightly burning. In the wilderness tabernacle and later in the temple, the golden lampstand (Exodus 25:31–39; 37:17–24) was always to be filled with oil and burning continually, as it was the only source of light in a room without windows. It was also a reminder and foreshadowing of God’s light illuminating our lives, through His Word (Psalm 119:105) and through His Son Jesus Christ Who is the true Light.
Jesus referred to this symbolically in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, in that we are to be like the wise virgins who kept their lamps trimmed and filled with oil while awaiting the return of the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13). We too must be ready for Christ’s imminent return at the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-54), for once the trumpet sounds, it will be too late to be filled with the Holy Spirit, if we are not already by having asked Jesus into our heart to be Lord of our life (Ephesians 1:13).
But sometimes it seems we are more like the motion detector light, turning on only when we think someone is nearby to notice and appreciate our illuminating comments or behavior. Jesus spoke harshly of the Pharisees who made a big show of wearing religious garments and speaking pretentious prayers in public, yet whose heart was far from Christ (Matthew 23).
Or sometimes we are like the darkness-activated light, quick to shine a spotlight at the first sign of evil in someone else, to criticize their flaws and draw attention to our own self-assumed holiness. It is true that men love the darkness rather than the light, for their deeds are evil (John 3:19). Yet Jesus said we are not to judge others, lest we ourselves be judged (Matthew 7:1-5).
Then there are the Christians who seem to be on a timer, being all sweetness and light in the Sunday church service, yet darkened by a bad attitude, words, or behavior as soon as they drive out of the parking lot. Rather, as the apostle Paul said, we should be ready to preach the Word at all times (2 Timothy 4:2), which we can hardly do if our lifestyle discredits our testimony.
So how can we keep our lights brightly burning at all times, to encourage ourselves, to be a blessing to others, and to bring the Gospel light into a dark, sin-filled, dying world? Only by being constantly filled with the Holy Spirit, by yielding to His power and not grieving (Ephesians 4:30) or quenching Him by disobedience, disbelief, or indifference (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
Physical lights need constant replenishment of their energy source and bulbs, yet the power of Almighty God (Revelation 11:17; 15:3; etc.) is limitless and infinite. God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). If we allow His power to flow through us, our light will never burn out, but will always burn ever more brightly for Him! (Philippians 4:13)
We should be like the eternal flame, perpetually burning to honor the memory of a fallen soldier, just as our life can honor the memory of our Lord and Savior Who sacrificed Himself for us. Or like the Olympic torch, carried from one race to the next by faithful runners, just as we are to run the race set before us and light the way for those running with us (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1).
Or like the trustworthy lighthouse, set on the rugged cliffs to warn all of impending danger, we can caution against the eternal dangers of hell and damnation while beckoning others to the refuge (Psalm 46:1) and eternal life (John 3:16) we have in Jesus Christ!
What kind of light are you? Yield to the Holy Spirit and He will not only illuminate you like a candle that never burns out, but allow you to pass that flame on to others, to brighten their world until He brings us home to His everlasting light! (Revelation 21:23)
Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
© 2021 Laurie Collett
Can you imagine how blessed the disciples were to live with Jesus for three years – to see Him face-to-face, hear His Word from His own lips, witness His miracles, and learn from Him directly how to pray, minister, live and die?
And yet we who have been saved by trusting in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) are also blessed, for His Word records many details of His teachings and earthly ministry.
On the eve of His crucifixion, our omniscient Savior knew the unspeakable agony that awaited Him –unimaginable physical pain, cruel betrayal by His closest friends and chosen people He had come to save, and worst of all, separation from His Father, with Whom He had been present continually since eternity past.
Yet rather than sinking into despair, Jesus used His remaining hours to share the Passover with His apostles; to teach them the sacrament of communion and its meaning, remembering His broken body and His blood shed for the remission of our sins; and to pray, more so for all His followers than for His own ordeal.
But between the Last Supper and the prayer at Gethsemane, Our Savior gave thanks and praised God by singing! As far as I know, this is the only recorded time in Christ’s earthly ministry that He sang! Just as He had led the disciples in the Passover celebration and in prayer, I believe He led them in the hymn of praise they sang after supper, just after He foretold His shed blood and coming kingdom:
Mark 14:25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. 26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
What must it have been like to hear the voice of Jesus lifted in song to His Father? Jesus Christ in His earthly form was perfect in every way, as He was without sin. How resonant, melodious, expressive and clear His singing voice must have been! Although He experienced fatigue, hunger, thirst and pain as we do, there is no record that He ever fell ill, which I believe reflects His freedom from the curse of sin. There would have been no allergies, respiratory infections, or congestion to mar His perfect vibrato, intonation and range.
What a perfect example for all believers to follow, no matter whether we are trained singers or just making a joyful noise unto the Lord – to sing praise to Our Father even in the midst of, and especially in the midst of, the worst trials. In His restorative power, God can even enable the mute to worship Him in song! (Isaiah 35:1-6).
The apostle Paul and missionary Silas followed that example when they were wrongfully imprisoned, and their worship songs not only cheered their fellow prisoners, but caused an earthquake that released them all from their bonds. They used that miraculous display of God’s power not to escape, but to convert their jailer and his household to faith in Christ (Acts 16: 22-34).
Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Small wonder that Paul later encouraged all believers to commune with God and to uplift and teach themselves and one another with “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Music that honors God is a way to witness to the unsaved (Psalm 98:2), to encourage other believers and to worship God (Psalm 149:1-2).
The Old Testament and Psalms are filled with exhortations for believers to praise and worship the Lord in song (e.g. 2 Chronicles 5:13, Psalm 13:6). God designed us in His image for His good pleasure, including our voices (Exodus 15:1,21), ears (Exodus 10:2), and musical abilities (Genesis 4:21) to resonate freely to His glory.
If we praise God with song even when we are suffering, those who hear it shall experience our witness of being born again (John 3:3-8) and may be led to trust the Lord themselves.(Psalm 40:1-3; 14:6). By singing unto the Lord, we bless His name; show His salvation; and declare His glory (Psalm 96:1-3).
Even the earth and all of God’s creation (1 Chronicles 16:23,33) sing out in praise! The sea should roar, the floods clap their hands, and the hills be joyful together (Psalm 98:7-8). Science has recently uncovered evidence of the music of the spheres, including radio signals being emitted from the Milky Way!
Although the Bible does not record Jesus of Nazareth singing except at the Last Supper, Jesus Christ – the Lord our God – not only sings, but uses His song to express His love for and joy in His children. And in turn, we are to sing to express the joy of our salvation that we have in Him: We can sing for joy, for He has conquered sin and death and given us eternal life!
Zephaniah 3:14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15 The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. …17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
While we are still on earth, we will continue in trials, disappointments, and tribulation. But praise God, we can sing through that heartache because of the joy that awaits us in Heaven! When that day comes and Christ returns for His children, we shall surround His throne with songs of praise from all nations, tribes and peoples! (Isaiah 42:9-12, Revelation 5:8, 14:2-4, 15:3).
Meanwhile, we can transcend from sorrow to joy in the Lord by singing His praises, just as Jesus sang to His Father as He prepared for the worst trial that ever was. Let us sing a new song unto the Lord (Psalms 33, 40, 96, 98, 144, 149), using each heartache to inspire a new perspective on praise!
© 2021 Laurie Collett