Saturday, July 30, 2022


Photo by Mark Lemmon

On a recent hot summer morning at our favorite beach I began my day with a private swim in the pool. The cool blue water exhilarated me as sunbeams danced along the shimmering aqua surface, as if fairy dust sparkled all around me, perhaps a glimpse of how magical the light will appear in Heaven.

As I start on my first lap, I am momentarily startled by what looks like a giant python barreling through the water, headed straight for me! But then I realize that it is only a reflection of the tall, thick, straight palm tree at the other end of the pool, its serpentine appearance an illusion created by the waves my swimming makes in the water.

Although this is the first time I have experienced this python effect, I have often noticed how this palm tree resembles a cross, with one frond going straight up from the trunk, and two at right angles to it, growing in a cruciform structure. When the sunlight shines behind it from my viewpoint, as it did on this day, it resembles images of the empty cross on which our Savior was crucified, the brilliant light symbolizing the power of His resurrection.

How strange that the reflection of this powerful symbol of eternal life could be transformed into an evil, deadly serpent! It brought to mind how our perception of God’s Word, truth and promises can be distorted by our external and even internal environment. We may be discouraged by storms and trials, or guilt and regrets from our past may haunt us, shrouding in gloom our understanding of God’s truth (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Once we are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), we believe in our heart that God is Who He says He is and will do what He has said He will do. He cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and cannot change, for He is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

And yet we sometimes doubt that He will honor His promises, for we still have our sin nature to contend with (Romans 7:14-25) even though we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). The old man, or flesh nature, sometimes responds with fear or doubt depending on circumstances that hinder our perception and obscure our faith (1 John 3:8-10).

Satan is well aware of how he can tempt us to doubt God, as he did Adam and Eve, bringing the curse of sin on all mankind (Genesis 3). His strategies include the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). Desire to fulfill our craving for beautiful things or fancy toys, or sexual or other fleshly perversions, or elevating ourselves in our minds above others or even above God, distorts what we know to be true.

Our enemies, and Satan’s allies, are the world, the flesh, and ourselves when we fail to give Jesus Christ pre-eminence over our lives (Colossians 1:18).

I believe the image of the cross reflected as a serpent was a warning to trust God’s Word, which is always true (2 Timothy 3:16), and not the lies of the devil (John 8:44). But I also believe it symbolized God’s plan of salvation, foreshadowed by the brass serpent God told Moses to construct in the wilderness (Numbers 21:8).

This was the forerunner of the caduceus, or two serpents twisted together around a pole topped by wings, that now symbolizes healing by the medical profession. I believe the wings are a reference to Jesus, the Great Physician, Who is risen with healing in His wings! (Malachi 4:2).

During their wilderness wanderings, the Israelites were plagued by deadly serpent bites – a type, or symbol, of sin, which stings at first and ultimately kills. But if the bitten victim looked up at the brass serpent lifted into the sky, he would live (Numbers 21:6-9), symbolizing eternal life in Heaven for the sinner who looks to and trusts Jesus as the antidote for sin and its penalty of death.

The image I experienced in the pool could therefore represent rising from a sinful state, in which we are intimidated and held in bondage by Satan, that old serpent, to the truth and life found only in Jesus Christ, Who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 3:25) and rose from the dead to give His children eternal life (John 3:16; 17:3).

May we remember that our perceptions, feelings and thoughts are sometimes inaccurate and deceptive, but that God’s Word and its truth never changes!

© 2022 Laurie Collett




Saturday, July 23, 2022

In Living Color:Triplets of Light


Photo by Jessie Eastland 2012

Vibrant color has always brightened my spirits, released my darkest fears, and shed light on the gloomiest shadows of my soul. I still remember a kindergarten field trip to a meadow blooming with violets, where I immersed myself in the sea of deepest purple hues, floating on a bed of green leaves, shimmering with pale silvery gold at the center of each blossom.

Oh, and the joy when I got my first box of 64 different colored crayons! I immediately drew a picture of diagonal lines and squiggles, each tone blending to the next to form a rainbow of brilliant colors. How exciting when our home got its first color television, and we sat staring in awe at the NBC peacock! From early childhood I have been blessed that the dreams I remember are in living color.

And when I had psychological testing to determine whether I could enter school a year early, I later learned that my responses to the black and white ink blots were highly advanced in their complexity and organization. But when confronted with the ethereal pastels on the colored blots, all I could utter was squeals of delight, or deep sighs of contentment, or at best, “Ooh, pretty!”

In Scripture, the earliest mention of color is in three verses (Genesis 37:3,23,32) describing Joseph’s coat of many colors, symbolizing the extravagance, range and richness of his father’s love, just as Our Father lavishly showers us with blessings! (Ezekiel 34:26)

The next mention of “colours” in Scripture, the word is repeated three times, ironically describing the richness of the spoil Sisera’s mother imagines he will bring home, not yet realizing he is dead (Judges 5:30). King David provided precious stones of many colors to decorate God’s house (1 Chronicles 29:2), and God promised Israel a building of gemstones with fair colors, specifically sapphires, agates, and carbuncles ((Isaiah 54:11-12).

God gave us richly all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17), the full spectrum of visible color being but one of them. His visible creation speaks to the artistry. power, and majesty of the Creator, for it reflects His invisible attributes, eternal might and Godhead (Romans 1:20). He is the Master Painter Who designed the unfathomable beauty of each sunset, and the varied palette He used for every plant, creature and landscape (Genesis 1). Not only that, but He also gave us two eyes and one nervous system to be able to appreciate His handiwork in three dimensions.

One of the earliest questions children ask is “Why is the sky blue?” I believe our early fascination with color reflects our God-given desire to know our Creator (Acts 17:27), Who is the source of color as well as of all the beauty and complexity we see in the natural realm. We therefore have no excuse for not realizing there is an Intelligent Designer (Romans 1:20; Psalm 8; 19:5), and for not reaching out to the One Who designed us in His image as the masterpiece crowning His creation.

God Himself is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). Light encompasses a spectrum visible to the human eye, as well as higher and lower frequencies of energy, or electromagnetic radiation. God has allowed us to see His creation and from that to infer His creativity. As technology has advanced, we can now even “see” the invisible spectrum using special cameras and recording devices.

Because of His all-consuming glory, no man can see God’s face and live (Exodus 33:20), just as no human can stare into the sun without going blind. To our eye, sunlight appears white, but if we split a sunbeam using a prism, we can see all the colors comprising “white” light. While we are on earth, we can and should use the prism of God’s Word to learn more about His attributes, promises, and accomplishments as the One True Light (John 1:9; 3:19; etc.).

The prism shows us that there are three primary colors on which all other hues are based. Red may symbolize the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 9:14; etc.); blue His living water (John 4:10-14.); and yellow or gold His life-sustaining Gospel light (John 9:5; !2:46; 2 Corinthians 4:4);.

The three secondary colors of purple (red and blue), green (blue and yellow), and orange (yellow and red) may also portray different aspects of Christ. Royal purple symbolizes His role as King of Kings (Revelation 17:14;19:16). He is also the Saviour giving eternal life (John 3:16,36) foreshadowed by evergreen trees on earth. He is the Judge Who rained fire on Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24; Jude 1:7), Who sends those who reject Him to hellfire (Mark 9:43-45), and Who will one day cleanse the earth with fire (2 Peter 3:10-12).

God Himself shows us this full spectrum of colors in the rainbow, using droplets of water to refract sunlight into its component frequencies, which appear to us as three predominant stripes. How amazing that He used this sign to show His mercy, love and grace, by memorializing His promise to Noah never again to destroy the earth by flood (Genesis 9:11-17).

Unlike the disciples and followers of Jesus who knew Him during His earthly ministry, we cannot look into His compassionate eyes (Matthew 9:36;14:14; 15:32), see the Spirit of God descending on Him like a dove (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10), or watch His radiant ascension into Heaven (Acts 1:8-9). But His Spirit indwells each born-again believer who has trusted in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). That Spirit teaches us about Christ, Who in turn reveals to us the glory of the Father (John 14:9,16-31; 1 John 2:23-24).

We cannot yet see Him in all His glory, but only as “through a glass, darkly.” Glass in the days that Paul wrote this verse (1 Corinthians 13:12) was made of sand, with many impurities, ripples, and variations in thickness, so that looking through a window pane was more like looking through frosted glass of today. We can perceive shapes, shadows, and movement, but not detail, color, or pattern.

I believe it is the impurities in our sin nature that cloud our perception of Christ. Thanks to Adam (Romans 5:12), we are marred by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16) and we have captured too many images craved by our flesh, sought after in the world, and presented by the devil to tempt us. As the saying goes, it takes one to know one, and as long as we are hindered by our sin nature, we will not be able to see the full splendor of His radiance.

Human language and experience therefore lack the power to describe what John and Paul saw when given a glimpse of Heaven (1 Corinthians 2:9; 2 Corinthians 12:2) and the Lamb of God on His throne. John describes the enthroned Christ as three gemstones: jasper, sardine stone, and emerald, which generally have predominant hues of red, yellow and green, surrounded by a rainbow (Revelation 4:3). He also portrays the “mighty angel” of Revelation 10 as having a rainbow upon his head (v. 1).

Oh, but the unspeakable joy we shall experience when we see Jesus face to face! Then we shall see and know Him as completely as He now knows us (1 Corinthians 13:12). May the day soon come when faith shall become sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) and we shall see, know and experience Him in living color!

© 2015 Laurie Collett
Reposted from the archives