Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light!

Candle light in the dark

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)

Light is kind of the theme of my blog, so this is a great challenge for me!

As a follower of Christ, Jesus is the light of my life.  He is the source of light that breaks through the darkness of the world.  The words below from Jesus tell how we, as Christians, should act to demonstrate this light to others.

14You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)

but God…

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

Genesis 50:20 NASB

This is Joseph in Egypt talking to his brothers after their father died.  His brothers were afraid Joseph would try to get revenge on them for selling him into slavery many years before. You can read the story of Joseph beginning in Genesis 37 and continuing in chapter 39 to the end in chapter 50.

This is one of my favorite Bible stories because it has given me hope that God can take difficult circumstances and turn them around and use them for good!

He is…

"I am the Light of the World"

All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.  But while I am still here in the world, I am the light of the world.”

John 9:4-5 (NLT)

“I’ll Fly Away”

Photo looking out over hills

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

Well it has been a while since I have been able to blog.  I missed it!  I’ve been unable to, partly for fun reasons and partly for sad reasons.  I’ve been travelling and haven’t had much time or internet access.  First, I was travelling in Maui, which was wonderful.  So please don’t feel too sorry for me :-)  I promise I’m not stalking you, Canadian Hiking Photography!  We had planned our trip before you went!

Then while in Maui we got some sad news that my grandma passed away.  She had not been doing well the past couple of years, so in a way it’s a blessing.  I believe she’s in a better place now.   She also lived to be 93 so that was a blessing.

I had been meaning to post this photo before, and now it has a little more special meaning.  My grandma had had a lot of pain due to broken bones for quite some time.  I was talking to my mom before the funeral, and she mentioned she thought of this song for her.  Now she is free!

So, please listen to “I’ll Fly Away”.  I hope it gives you hope about our future life in heaven, where there is no more suffering.

“I’ll Fly Away” performed by Dave’s Highway

I’ll Fly Away

“He remains faithful”

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NASB)

Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots

Daily Prompt: Connect the Dots

Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

I liked the randomness of this writing prompt, so I thought why not give it a try!  So I looked around, and the book closest to me was The Bedford Handbook, a writing and grammar reference.  And then I thought, ‘Oh no, that’s boring!  I have lots of other interesting books around, like cookbooks, a guidebook on Maui, a little Christian devotional book, etc.  Does it really have to be the closest book?’

I decided to give it a try.  Well, I should have known, God’s plan is better than anything I could come up with.  So on page 82 there is a section explaining the difference between comparison and contrast.  The third sentence says, “To contrast is to focus only on differences.”

Then, I immediately knew what I wanted to write!  Since this blog is mainly a Christian devotional, I’ll apply it to the Christian church for this post.

Sometimes it seems we, as Christians, focus so much on our differences, like differences in doctrine, different denominations, stands on certain issues, etc. that we forget what we have in common.  As followers of Jesus Christ, the main thing is that He died and rose again for us.  We belong to Him.  Each one of us was bought with a price, the price of Jesus’ blood. We may have differences of opinion, and I’m not at all saying that we shouldn’t stand up for what we believe.  In fact, we must stand up for what we believe when what’s being questioned is the center of our faith, our belief in Jesus.  But sometimes we need to realize other Christians have other perspectives, and when the issues are not central to our faith, remember what’s really important.

One reason we need to be unified is our witness to the world, to reflect God’s love through our lives.  Jesus himself prayed for our unity on the night before he was crucified.  I can’t think of a better reason than that.

And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

John 17:19-23 (ESV) (underlining my own)

In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes,

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1 Corinthians 1:10 (ESV)

The Bedford Handbook, 6th Edition, Diana Hacker, 2002, Bedford/St. Martin’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

Photo of Butterfly on Crab Apple Tree Blossoms

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (ESV)

Seeing the topic for this week’s photo challenge immediately made me think of a previous post called “New Life”.   The picture and scripture above was from the previous post. If you’re interested, you can read it here.

These photos were taken in March a couple of years ago, and we just happened to visit the Japanese Garden when the Crab Apple trees were in bloom.  Spring can be a beautiful time of renewal.  The tree blossoms and butterfly remind me of the renewal that comes with the change in seasons, but also the renewal we experience with our new life in Christ.   Sometimes we find unexpected beauty in that new life!

Photo of yellow butterfly on tree branch

…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Colossians 3:10 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV)

Photo of sun shining through the trees

And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

1 John 3:3 (ESV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10  (ESV)

Here’s my heart

Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it; Seal it for Thy courts above.

This is a line from the hymn Come Thou Fount, written by Robert Robinson and adapted by many singers over time.  This version is performed by Jadon Lavik on one my favorite CDs, Roots Run Deep, his first hymns album.  If you haven’t before, check out this CD.  It has lot’s of good traditional hymns and the music is very soothing.  And…I promise I’m not marketing for him :-)

Anyway, here are some lyrics from the song:

Here by Thy great help I’ve come

And I hope by Thy good pleasure

Safely to arrive at home

Jesus sought me when a stranger

Wandering from the fold of God

He to rescue me from danger

Interposed His precious blood

Let Thy goodness like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart Lord take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above

If you’d like to listen, here’s Come Thou Fount performed by Jadon Lavik:

When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us and testifies that we belong to God.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (ESV)

Nelson’s Compact Bible Commentary on the passage explains,  “Sealing indicates ownership and security.  The Holy Spirit is a guarantee, the down payment that there is more spiritual blessing to come and that the believer will receive eternal life.”  (p. 818)

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)

Nelson’s commentary on verses 11-13 explains,“The seal or mark of ownership in believers’ lives is the Holy Spirit.” (p. 836)

Reference: Earl Radmacher, Ron Allen & H. Wayne House, Editors.  Nelson’s Compact Bible Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc. 2004.

Here’s my heart, Lord.  I give it to you.   Sometimes I have the tendency to wander from your path.  Please help me stay on your path and guide my steps.  Thank-you for your forgiveness which is fresh every day.

“Rend your Hearts and not your Garments”

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.

Joel 2:12-13 (ESV)