Tag Archives: light

Is Your Light A Quick Flash Or A Life Bringing Light?

meteor showerLate Wednesday evening, particles of dust and ice from the Swift-Tuttle comet should put on a spectacular show in the night sky. These natural “fireworks” might have as many as 100 streaks/hr. And, with the new moon keeping the sky dark, astronomers say the Perseid Meteor shower should be a good show.

Meteor showers are fun to watch, but they aren’t much use for lighting our way. They are a momentary attraction in the night. And they can easily be missed. If you blink at the wrong moment or if you don’t know where to watch in the night sky, you might never even see a meteor shower.

On the contrary, an amazingly brilliant, practically all-encompassing event will take place on Thursday morning. The sun will “rise.” Unfortunately, because of the frequency of this event, it won’t make the news. Millions will hit the snooze button and won’t even notice it. But without the sun, life as we know it would be impossible.

What about you, friend? Is your life more like a meteor or more like the sun? Does your life burn brightly for a blink of the eye, a momentary attraction for onlookers? Or is your life a light that nourishes and shines for the benefit of all?

I have nothing against meteor showers. I love God’s creation and all the spectacular sights in it. I will probably even rise early to watch. But as I consider Matthew 5:14-16, I know that Jesus wanted His disciples to be candles, not sparklers. We are the light of the World, illuminating the path to God.

Consider Paul’s words: “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10).

So enjoy the meteor shower. The best viewing will be about 4am. But since you’ll be up early, how about catching an amazing event Thursday morning too…a beautiful sun rise! Then give some thought to your life. What does your light say about your faith in Him? Are you a flash in the pan or a light on a hill, helping others to see goodness, truth, and righteousness?

How Much Does Love Weigh?

love locks removedWhen does love weigh too much? Strange question, right? Can you really weigh love? I’ve heard of the cost of love, the meaning of love, and the depth of love. But how can one possibly weigh love?

The question was answered, as you might expect, in Paris, France. After all, Paris is the self-declared city of love and romance! So how much love is too much? 45 tons! And the French are saying, “au revoir” to the hefty love.

For about 10 years now, couples have been professing their love for one another by locking padlocks to the fencing of the famous Pont des Arts Bridge, in Paris. They scratch initials into the locks, lock them to the bridge, and then throw the key into the Seine below. There are an estimated 700,000 keys in the river!

But the weight of all that “love” has taken its toll on the 19th century bridge. So officials are taking action. And as “unromantic” as it seems, the fencing is being replaced with Plexiglas so the bridge and the boats below will be safe.

So…to be honest, it isn’t actually the love that weighed too much. Rather it was the “love locks.” Thankfully, true love doesn’t weigh a thing!

Unfortunately, though, some people experience love like a bridge with an extra 45 tons of baggage! In the name of love, people experience guilt, selfishness, ego, reminders of past mistakes, etc. These “locks” masquerade as love, but they are really barnacles weighing down your bridge.

Have your burdens been made light by the blood of Christ? Or does your religion (or lack of religion) bring you nothing but shame and guilt? When you come to know Jesus, it ought to feel like you just lost 45 tons of locks!

Consider Jesus’ words and ask yourself, “Do I feel more like the bridge or more like what Jesus described?”

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Lock yourself to God and throw away the key. He can handle the weight! He takes all our burdens, sins, and past mistakes. Why? Because His love doesn’t weigh anything…it lifts all burdens for those who live in Christ!

Did Jesus Celebrate Chanukah? No Doubt!

ChanukahMenorahBeing a preacher who grew up Jewish, I often get asked questions about the links between Judaism and Jesus. Around this time of year, the question usually gets asked, “Did Jesus celebrate Chanukah?” To that, I respond, “No doubt!” But maybe our definition of “celebrate” needs discussion.

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of history:

During the ~400 year “intertestamental period,” the Greeks dominated much of Central Asia and the Mediterranean Sea. After the death of Alexander the Great, his empire divided primarily into Ptolemies (Egypt) and Seleucids (Syria). The Seleucids practiced extreme “Hellenization” (forcing Greek language, beliefs, and practices on those they conquered). Around 175 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes, in an effort to stamp out Judaism altogether, sacrificed a pig on the altar and desecrated the 2nd temple.

In the revolt that followed, the Jews drove out their persecutors and restored a general peace and self-rule in the land. When the Jews tried to cleanse the Temple and resume worship, they needed oil for the consecration and sanctification of the holy objects that had been defiled. It is said that they had only 1 day of oil, but it lasted an amazing 8 nights, thus the 8 nights of the Jewish festival.

Now, back to Jesus and Chanukah…

In Jesus’ day, the commemoration celebration we call Chanukah, or the Festival of Lights, was called “The Feast of the Dedication” (John 10:22). John records that, as the Dedication Feast is taking place, Jesus goes into the Temple and teaches people to follow Him. But the Dedication Feast was not merely the candle lighting, gift giving occasion that Jews celebrate today. It was packed with Messianic meaning.

The Jews were looking for a Messiah (anointed one) as prophesied in scripture. He was supposed to come in the days of the Roman Empire, in the line of Judah through David, born in Bethlehem, and proven by signs and wonders. So when Jesus walked into the Temple during THAT week…he received quite an audience! They asked, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ (Messiah), tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me” (John 10:24-25).

So, did Jesus “celebrate” Chanukah?

Well, the Bible doesn’t technically record Jesus playing with a dreidel, lighting candles, or eating yummy latkes. But consider what “celebrating” really means:

  1. He celebrated the spirit of Chanukah by cleansing the Temple in John 2, and again in Matthew 21 and Mark 11, of the impure money changers, just as the defiled temple had to be cleansed after the sacrificing of a pig on the altar.
  2. He celebrated Chanukah by giving us a pure Temple and Priesthood – His body, rather than the stained, Roman controlled temple & priesthood of the day (John 2:21; Hebrews 6:20).
  3. Jesus offers believers a perfect temple, not made by human hands (Acts 17:24), but God dwelling with His people in glory, in Heaven, forever (Revelation 21:22).

Regardless of whether we can prove Jesus “celebrated” Chanukah, He definitely celebrated true Dedication, and so should we! Whether you light a candle or give gifts this week, be sure to celebrate the REAL reason for Chanukah – God’s people dedicating themselves to worshiping Him as commanded in scripture (John 14:21). God bless, and Happy Chanukah!

Send the Light

If darkness surrounded you, what lengths would you go to in order to see the light? How glad would you be when you finally saw it? One small town in Norway recently got to experience that joy.

Rjukan is a small town in Norway that, due to the surrounding mountains and long winters, is without direct sunlight for nearly six months. Until now, if the townspeople wanted to feel the sunlight on their faces from late September to mid-March, they had to ride a cable car up a mountain! They could see the sun hitting the mountain, and they could see the blue sky above, but they were covered in darkness.

Sam Eyde, the engineer who invented techniques for harnessing hydroelectricity that are still in use today, built Rjukan 100 years ago to harness the power of the Rjukanfossen waterfall. But Eyde had to scrap plans for diverting sunlight into the town due to cost and lack of technology. 100 years later, that dream has come true.

Three massive mirrors (or heliostats), powered by solar panels and computer programmed to track the sun, direct the light into the town square for all the residents to enjoy. And they are enjoying! Residents are coming out to enjoy the sun, improving their health and their attitudes, basking in the light.

Even former detractors are now enjoying the light. Many townspeople were against the project initially, but have had a change of mind. One woman, Anette Oien, was “deeply sceptical.” But now, she says she has found “the light I long for.”

Psalm 43:3, “O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me.”

There is another light that people long for that doesn’t come from mirrors on a hill. In 1890, a few years before Eyde built his town in Norway, Charles Gabriel wrote the great hymn, “Send the Light.”

“Send the light, the blessed Gospel light; Let it shine from shore to shore! Send the light, the blessed Gospel light; Let it shine forevermore!”

Many long to bask in the blessed light of the truth of the gospel. There is no greater warmth. There is no greater joy than to finally hear about God’s love and His plan for our eternal salvation. Let the light shine in…shine forevermore.