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)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

Cross with flowers

The Lord is near to all who call on him, 

to all who call on him in truth. 

Psalm 145:18 ESV

I haven’t posted in quite a while! Hope all is well with you.  I took a picture of this cross I sent to a friend as a gift, and when I saw the topic of the Photo Challenge this week was color, this idea for a post came to mind.

It’s a reminder that no matter how alone we seem, God is always near to those who seek Him.

“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

Freedom in Jesus

Photo of Clouds in Blue Sky

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

Isaiah 61:1 (ESV)

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 4:16-19 (ESV)

I love this verse because I find it very comforting.  Jesus proclaims that he has come to free the captives and the oppressed.  So, who are the captives and the oppressed?  First, we were all captives, to the power of sin, before becoming followers of Christ and allowing his spirit to change us.  Sin and darkness had power over us, but now we belong to God, and through him we have power over sin.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)

Second, my interpretation is that the oppressed can mean the marginalized, the stigmatized, those who are considered less by society for whatever reason.  God is close to them.  As the body of Christ, we are to be Jesus’ hands and feet to help those who are oppressed and held captive, to give them hope, to be used by God to help them be set free.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (ESV)

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 NASB

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

Psalm 10:17 (ESV)

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

Psalm 103:6 (ESV)

Listening to the Book of Job

Today I was listening to the Bible online.  I haven’t listened to this version for a while, and wanted to share it with you and also to encourage you to listen today (August 21st) if you are going through a time of testing of your faith.

This is The One Year Audio Bible (New Living Translation) read by Tom Dooley.  To listen, you can click here:

http://www.oneyearaudiobible.org/

or click on the MP3 player widget over in the left hand column of the blog.

Listening today reminded me about the narrator, Tom Dooley.  The day after I became a Christian, I also started a brand new job.   As I was driving to work that day I first heard ‘The Journey,’ Tom Dooley’s radio program.  It was a wonderful way to be introduced to Christian music and get guidance as a new follower of Jesus.   Tom passed away almost two years ago, so hearing his voice is a reminder of 1) how short this life is, 2) how the work we do for God lives on even after we’re gone, and 3) how we have the hope of eternal life in heaven.

You can read a little about his ministry here.

http://www.mastermedia.org/mm/about.php

So, back to the Book of Job!   In the intro he mentions some helpful things to remember in times when our faith is tested.

  • Jesus is our ‘defending advocate in heaven’
  • Satan ‘cannot foresee the future as God can’
  • our faith in God and personal integrity provide hope and encouragement in suffering

I hope this provides encouragement to you today.

Convinced

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)

New Life

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 (ESV)

Another Photo of Butterfly on Crab Apple Tree Blossoms

I was looking at these pictures and thought how the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly can be compared to receiving Jesus, the transformation that happens when we open our hearts and have faith in Him.  We are reborn, transformed, given new life.  Our old self dies and we have a new life in Christ.

I also like the way the New Living Translation puts it:

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

Dear Lord, Thank you for my new life.  Thank you for transforming me, for taking away the power of sin and death on the cross.

To read more about the life cycle of a butterfly, check out this website: http://www.thebutterflysite.com/life-cycle.shtml

Nature’s Beauty

Photo of Mountains and River

5 By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
6 the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
7 who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
8 so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

Psalm 65:5-8 (ESV)