Invasion of Light

Discovering God's Glory One Day at a Time

Month: December, 2011

Arise, Shine – Day 51

As Israel was a light in the midst of darkness, so the church is the “light of the world.” Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matt. 5:14). This light was kindled on the day of Pentecost when tongues of fire came and dwelt on the disciples. It drew people from all nations to Christ. It wasn’t an advertising campaign, nor was it a slick program. It wasn’t the sound and lighting system that drew the people—instead it was the sound and light of God’s glory.

If we are going to fulfil our call to be a light to the world we must allow God to separate the light from the darkness in our lives. This work is unpleasant at times. It will mean repentance and getting rid of falsehood. It will mean throwing away the sins of the flesh. But the more we turn from the darkness, the more God’s light will arise in us. This is our great need! Today may God’s light arise upon us:

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isa. 60:1-3)

Prayer: God, we pray for ourselves, your people. May we fulfill our high call of being a light to the nations. We turn from our sin and darkness. We pray that your light will arise on us and be seen in the neighborhoods will live in and the places we work. May people be drawn to your light and find hope in Jesus Christ.

Walking in God’s Light – Day 50

The Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt began with fire. Egypt was a dark place—a land of oppression and slavery—a place of no seeming hope. But into this darkness Yahweh came as fire to Moses (Exo. 3:1-4:17).

Yahweh chose to dwell as fire in a bush. Moses was surprised at this sight; the bush should have been consumed, but it wasn’t. Why did God use this particular sign? Why didn’t he show himself to Moses in a different way?

Jesus Christ is the mystery of the fire dwelling in the bush. The fire represents God’s glory. The bush represents that which is frail and easily consumed—it is like human flesh. God chose to dwell in the bush to teach us that the miracle of incarnation is only possible with him. Yes, the glory of God should disintegrate flesh, yet God is able to tabernacle in flesh and not cause it to go up in smoke. Again John said, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Let’s recognize the utter impossibility of this, but on the other hand, let’s grasp how the impossible is made possible with God.

It was out of this bush that the Word of the Lord came (Exo. 3:4-5). It was out of a dry desert that God said to Moses, “Let there be light.” This Word brought hope and it also brought separation. The penultimate Egyptian plague distinctly showed God’s creative work of separating light from darkness. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days. Yet all Israelites had light in the places where they lived” (Exo. 10:21-23).

The way God delivered the Israelites is the way God delivers us today. It will also be the same way he will deliver us before the Lord’s second coming. As I read the Exodus story I am reminded of Malachi’s prophetic words: “‘They will be mine,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not’” (Mal. 3:17-18). The Lord loves to separate the light from the darkness. He did it with Israel, he does it with us and in the end he will separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s make sure we are walking in his light.

Prayer: Lord, you have always been separating the light from the darkness. I acknowledge your ways. Enable me to walk in the light as you are in the light. May your people also be a holy people, walking in your light.

The Fire of God’s Word – Day 49

God’s Word releases God’s work. Power always accompanies the Word from his mouth. The Spirit of God is united to the Word and carries out the purpose for which it is sent. This pattern is repeated throughout the story of creation. “God saw the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness” (Gen. 1:4). God cannot allow the mixture of light and darkness—he makes a clear distinction between the two. So it will also be at the end of the age. God will separate those who live in the light from those who live in darkness. He will divide the wheat from the chaff. The Lord is not going to allow greyness—he wishes us to be either hot or cold. He will spit out the lukewarm (Rev. 3:15-16).

Remember what Jesus said:

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in- law.” (Luke 12:51-53)

The Lord’s very nature is to divide. And it is his all-consuming fire that reveals truth from error. Before Jesus spoke the words above, he said, “I have come to bring fire on the earth” (Luke 12:49a). This fire can create tension, factions and splits. Every time revival fire has fallen throughout history, divisions occurred. God’s fire is profoundly disquieting and disturbing. With this in mind, can we still say with Jesus, “Oh, I wish it were already kindled” (Luke 12:49b)?

However, the good news is that in the end God’s work is beautified and brought to maturity. God’s fire refines, saves and delivers us.

Prayer: Father, since you have spoken into my life you have been working. All throughout my walk with you, you have been dividing the light from the darkness in my life. Continue your work. I invite your fire to purify, save and deliver me. May your fire make me more like you.

God’s Word in Real-Time – Day 48

If the preached Word is to bring life it must proceed from God’s mouth. When it is the very Word that God is presently speaking then it will bring light. If it is not the very Word that God is speaking in “real-time” then the light actually becomes darkness—the Word is distorted. This is exactly why Isaiah said, “This is one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word” (Isa. 66:2). The greatest enemy of God’s Word has often been our knowledge of God’s “Word.”

Unless our knowledge is married to the fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom), we become puffed up rather than built up (1 Cor. 8:1). When us preachers preach the Word out of our own strength we bring death and cause people’s faith to rest on something other than God’s power. Consequently, they may only have faith in the letter rather than the spirit.

The apostolic spirit is the exact opposite to the spirit that tries to minister in its own power. Paul said:

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:1-4)

It is high time that us preachers have the same apostolic resolution to know and preach nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified. The greatest enemy to the Word of God being preached is our pet doctrines. It can be the doctrine of miracles, Spirit-baptism, Israel, apostolic or prophetic ministry. All of these teachings can be edifying, but only if it is what Christ is speaking in the present. But if they do not have their center in Christ and our co-crucifixion with him—if we trust our past revelation instead of depending on God’s power, and if we are not continually asking for our daily bread—then people’s faith will rest on our wisdom rather than Christ’s power.

This is a major fault that our denominations and churches can fall into. This also causes sectarianism. We get stuck on certain truths, but do not progress to the fullness of God’s revelation revealed in Scripture. Only the apostolic word—the word sent from the presence of God—is able to break all false power.

God desires us to be his very mouth: to be prophetic. It is by being prophetic that we will be like the apostles. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” When the Word is spoken from God’s mouth there is light. When we speak as the very oracles of God then we will be the apostolic witnesses God longs for us to be.

Prayer: Father, I don’t want to trust in my own knowledge. May I speak your Word as it comes from your mouth in real-time. May I have courage to continue into the fullness of what you are revealing through your Word. May your words through me give people light. Let me not get stuck in a rut.

Uncovering the Mystery – Day 47

Every preacher must come to the Word of God with fear and trembling. We cannot just quote the Word of God; we must unfold the Word because as the Psalmist says, “the unfolding of your words gives light” (Psa. 119:130). Without the uncovering of Yahweh’s Word, the light is hidden.

The Word of God is very much like the tabernacle of Moses. On the outside it looks plain and ordinary, just some linen curtains, poles and animal skins thrown together. The glory is still hidden even as you come into the outer courts. There you see blood, guts, fire and water.

Only when you step into the tabernacle proper (where the priests alone can go) do you see the tabernacle’s glory. In the holy place you see Christ’s light, smell his fragrance and eat his flesh. From there you may enter into the Most Holy Place and commune with God face to face. And that is the purpose of the Word: to be a meeting place where we can commune with God face to face. It is the pathway to the Holy of Holies.

Every preacher should make sure they are bringing the hungry into God’s glory. Of course, God will turn the rich away empty handed (those who are rich in themselves). But he is faithful to feed the humble and hungry. At the same time, the Word is a veil to some and the rending of the veil to others. The same Word that is sent from above will open some eyes but also close some hearts.

When we unfold God’s Word we are tearing the veil away to reveal Christ. True preaching is revealing Christ. It is a fresh manifestation of Christ to creation. This should be the focus of our prayer: that Christ is revealed to people.

Prayer: Father, reveal your Son Jesus to us. Uncover the mystery; let us see his glorious light. Lord, I pray for all of us preachers, that we would see the awesome purpose of preaching and be faithful to the call to unfold your Word. May we lead those who are willing into the Holy of Holies through the pathway of your Truth.

The Humility of Christmas – Day 46

Isn’t the issue of God using man one of the main reasons people reject the things of God? People do not believe the Bible because it is from man. Man’s flesh and fallen nature offends the world. They ask, “How can God speak through a human being when people are imperfect?” They do not believe in Jesus because he was a man. This was the same offense that his own hometown had about him. He was flesh and blood like them; he cannot be greater than us. The Nazarenes were offended that God’s Word had to be born. They are offended that God’s Word had to become flesh and blood. Yes, it even had to grow. God has designed that the Word of God can only be engrafted into our souls through meekness (James 1:21).

Isn’t this issue of the “Word of God” coming through the flesh the central issue of the church? We think, “How can a preacher speak the Word of God if he is imperfect?” Therefore, we only honor the preacher to a point, but we do not honor his words as we would honor Christ’s words. We actually divorce the two. The question we wrestle with is, “How can God speak through the flesh?” We would rather have a heavenly visitation or an angelic encounter. We would much prefer the supernatural audible voice of the Father apart from any person. If we heard that, then we think we would say, “Yes, God has really spoken!” Yet the main medium God has chosen to speak through is flesh, and if we do not have the humility to receive the Word through a fellow brother or sister, we will probably not receive it through a supernatural sign.

And here is the piece de resistance: God does not just speak through prophets and apostles; he speaks through every believer who is in Christ. Am I listening to the Word of God being spoken through the weakest of believers? God may have the very answer you need in the form of an immature brother. God offends the mind to reveal the heart.

Prayer: Father, teach me all that Christmas means. The humility. The love. The vulnerability. May I hear your voice through your birth. May I hear God’s Word through flesh. And deliver me from being offended by what you choose.

Embracing God’s Way – Day 45

The history of mankind can be summed up in us striving to know and be like God without God’s Word. It is mainly a story of our pride. It takes humility to say, “I need the Word of God; there is no other way!” It takes meekness to accept the way God has chosen, to receive what he has elected, rather than invent our own way. Moreover, we need to be lowly to listen to the Word of God through another human being.

Hearing the Word of God through another person often causes us to stumble. We get so familiar with people; we do not like anybody to be better than us. We have a sense that human beings are unworthy vessels of God, undeserving to speak God’s perfect Word. It is true, we do not measure up. However, God has always chosen to speak his Word to and through his creation. The Bible is just that: God’s Word spoken to and through mankind. Furthermore, the Scripture’s very climax and consummation is God’s Word spoken to and through a man—Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:1-3).

This is the reason John the apostle sees it as essential that Jesus Christ is received as a true man, coming in the flesh. He warns, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God” (1 John 4:1-3). We need to humble ourselves to embrace God’s way–the way of his Word and his way of choosing frail flesh and blood. We need to acknowledge that our Lord did not bypass flesh but came into it to redeem it. Jesus condescended to become man and so lifted up man into his lofty presence.

Prayer: God, I embrace your Word–the holy Scripture–written through men, men who have the same failings that are common to all. May I honor your preachers and my brothers who speak God’s Word to me, even though they are not perfect. And most of all, may I acknowledge that my Savior came in flesh and blood and thus brought honor to man’s weakness.

%d bloggers like this: