Invasion of Light

Discovering God's Glory One Day at a Time

Month: February, 2012

The Good Husband – Day 100

The role of a husband is to be a husbandman to his bride. Like Adam he is called to guard his garden, and his garden is his bride. He has a mandate to watch over, cultivate and nourish his bride so that she bears fruit, fruit that will last. If he is not faithful the serpent will slip in and inject its deadly venom. The good news is that our Bridegroom is faithful; he is “able to keep you from falling and to present you before him as blameless” (Jude 24). Let us put more faith in his keeping power than our efforts at keeping holy. The One who holds the stars in his hand and pours oil into the lampstands is our “Great High Priest.” He will not allow us to be snatched from his hand (John 10).

The Lord’s loving care for his bride in Revelation is seen in the fact that he gives her himself and his Word. His presence is clearly among them; even in their sin, he is walking among the churches. But his presence is not all he gives. He gives her his Word too. His presence without his Word is incomplete. His presence without the revelation of himself through his Word would only cause her to fall. If we are to allow God to keep us, we must make room for his Word. Israel did not make room for the birth of the incarnate Word and consequently in the end (along with the Gentiles) they crucified him. And if we do not make room for Jesus’ Word––because we are too full or too busy––we also will crucify him all over again, even if we do it unwittingly.

Prayer: Jesus, you are a good husbandman and you want to care for the garden of my heart. And moreover, you want to care for your vine, the church. Watch over me today and help me to make room for both your presence and living Word.

 

Our Proactive God – Day 99

Jesus’ devotion to his bride is also seen in him upholding his messengers to the churches. The vision at the beginning of Revelation shows Jesus is not only walking among the lampstands, but also holding seven stars in his right hand, which represent the seven messengers (angels) to the churches.

If the church is to be a light, her messengers must also be upheld. They are like stars (suns) from which the church gets its fire. If his messengers, his servants, are “flames of fire,” then his bride will also be burning for him. But if these “stars” are merely shooting stars, falling from the sky, then there is no hope for the church. The stars need to be upheld if the church is going to be cared for.

Let us rejoice that the Lord is active in creation and he is especially watching over our own lives. He is the one that is able to keep us from falling. His very nature is to seek the lost and search for the valuable treasures that are missing. He is not repelled by the lost, but is rather attracted to them. We see this the moment Adam and Eve sin. God steps down from heaven and calls, “Where are you?”. From the beginning he was searching, and to this day he calls to those who are hiding from him: “Where are you?”

This is the first question God poses to man and until Adam answers it he cannot partake in God’s redemption. The good news is that Adam did answer the Lord’s call and we ourselves need to answer this question in raw honesty before we can be clothed with his mercy. Even though their confession was not perfect (how could it be because they were now marred by sinned), “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21, TNIV).

From the very beginning we see God’s watchful eye for man. He does not leave us lying on the ground in the throes of fear, nakedness and death. Instead he reaches out to man like the Good Samaritan.

Later on the Psalmist reflects on God’s helpful nature and writes:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm 121).

Prayer: Father, you are on my side. You look after me and care for me. I thank you that you are a proactive God. When I seem to be falling let me remember that your hands are already there to uphold me.

Jesus Keeps Our Fire Burning – Day 98

The world may think that God has forsaken it because of the death it sees. But this decay, both morally and physically, is inevitable because of man’s freely chosen disobedience. Actually, God has embraced the world even more because of its death.  Even if man’s death and blindness causes him to miss God’s work (his Spirit) in creation. The Scripture says of Jesus, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Later on the author of Hebrews writes: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Heb. 1:3).

If the sun, moon and stars need to be upheld to bring light to the world, we also need to be upheld to be the “light of the world.” There is a beautiful picture in the book of Revelation that describes Jesus walking among seven golden lampstands, which are symbolic of the church. Immediately as we read and imagine this vision our minds should connect Jesus to the priests in the Old Testament. These priests cared for the lampstand and were charged to always keep the light burning. Yet Jesus is no ordinary priest; he is the “Great High Priest.” And as the “Great High Priest” he is the faithful Son in God’s House. The churches addressed in Revelation may be losing their fire, but Jesus is faithful to step down among them and rekindle the “first love” they have forsaken. The Lord has not left the church to herself; he is the devoted husband who is continually cultivating his bride.

Jesus lays down his life, even while in heaven, to intercede for her. His passion is that his bride would be radiant, a shining beauty of glory for the world to see. He will not rest until she is without spot, wrinkle or blemish (Eph. 5:27). Surely he will not let her go when the oil in their lamps are low, but instead he will supply all of her needs according to his riches in glory. The only way he will remove her lampstand is if she stubbornly refuses to respond to his rebuke, only if she continues to run from his love and mercy.

Prayer: Jesus, I invite you to do your work of tending my lampstand. Cause me to burn bright. And not just me, cause your church to be a bright and shining light for the world to see. Uphold and keep us through your powerful Word.

Our Father is Holding Everything Together – Day 97

God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens,” and because of these words the sun, moon and stars hang on nothing. Miraculously they are suspended in the heavens. If they were to fall, their ministry of light bearing would be over—only their memory would be left behind.

Science explains this supernatural suspension as the law of gravity and orbit. And we do not deny these forces in God’s created universe. But even scientists will admit that there is much they do not comprehend about gravity and orbit, there is an element of mystery. Many are still asking, “How do these things really work?” If we press on and ponder the rest of God’s creation we are still left with much unexplained. The universe is filled with mystery. How does everything hold together when it can so easily be knocked out of order bringing the whole cosmos to a bleak end?

God himself is holding the universe together by his mercy. The unknown variable in science is God’s upholding power. The lights in the sky are upheld because God is keeping them. He is not only their creator and initiator; he is their sustainer and keeper. God is not only surrounding his creation, he is also in his creation, keeping it by his mercy.

When Adam and Eve brought creation into disorder and degradation through sin, God could have forsaken the work of his hands. But instead he “rolled up his sleaves” and entered into its fallen-ness. He actively became more a part of his universe than less; he entered into the cosmos in order to keep it by his grace. It is true that one day the present order of things (which is slowly devolving) will come to an end. But now God is fighting back the flood of destruction until more people know his grace and mercy.

Prayer: Father, you are holding everything together in mercy. I pray that the people around me would see you and praise you for your grace and sustaining power, in Jesus’ name. When we sinned you did not forsake us, instead you became more actively involved in saving and sustaining creation.

The Ministry of Every Believer – Day 96

Luke 13:6-9 records another parable where Jesus spoke about the fruit of a harvest:

“A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”

Here we read of a vineyard owner who was looking for fruit. Similarly, the Lord himself is the owner of all people and he also is looking for fruit in our lives. But the main question is, “What type of fruit is he looking for?” To put it simply, the Lord is looking for the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. He desires to see the fruit that comes from a person who is yielded to the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul meant when he wrote about the “fruit of the Spirit.” In Galatians 5:22 Paul says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are all the same attributes that were in Christ’s own life. Therefore we can say that good fruit is being like Jesus, it is a life that reflects and reveals Christ to the world. Good fruit means the same light that was in Jesus is in us too. When people see this light it causes others to be fruitful and glorify our Father in heaven. More than any other ministry, we each have a ministry of being Christ’s light-bearers.

Prayer: Father, I ask for your Holy Spirit to be more active in my life. Let your Spirit produce the very nature of Jesus in me bringing hope to the world.

Go Deep in God – Day 95

In our last post I said, “By letting God go deep into our hearts, by letting him search and try us, our lives gain depth. Only as we first go deep can we gain height. A seed must go down, before it can grow up.”

Paul illustrates this truth in his letter to the Colossians. The Colossian church was full of new believers in Christ. Consequently the believers were spiritual immature and in danger of not attaining their full potential in Christ. Paul, deeply jealous for their lives, exhorts them:

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live you lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Col. 2:6-7, TNIV).

Paul knew it wasn’t enough for them to just receive Christ; they needed to be rooted and built up in him. Only then could they bring forth the fruit that would be a light to the world; only then would their lives bring glory to God.  The first Psalm illuminates how this rooting and strengthening takes place:

“Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

This Psalm teaches us that our roots start going down deep as we separate ourselves from the world’s way and begin delighting ourselves in God’s Word. As God’s Word becomes our continual meditation (our joy and treasure) we become like a mighty tree planted by rivers of water bringing forth fruit in the right season.

When we are like the righteous man described in Psalm 1 we will be able to stand the heat that Jesus referred to in the Parable of the Sower. In that parable Jesus used the imagery of the sun to illustrate testing. The same light and heat of the sun that brings growth to one plant may bring the downfall of another. Light not only causes people to glorify the heavenly Father, it also exposes the true nature of a person’s faith. When you go deep in God you will be able to stand the intense heat of testing.

Prayer: Father, I want to go deep in you. May I be like a tree planted by rivers of water. May my roots go deep in you. May I drink in the rain of your Spirit. I want my fruit to be a light to the world, in Jesus’ name.

Are You Content With Being Shallow? – Day 94

Why do we struggle with being a light to the world? In particular, why do many of us struggle being a light to our spouses, children, workmates and neighbourhood? What hinders us from bearing fruit in our most important relationships?

One of our greatest hindrances to being a light is our lack of preparation. A torch needs to be prepared before it can shine. The oil needs to be topped up and the wick trimmed and ready. Unless you are equipped and cared for you will never burn bright.

It is the same with a tree. Fruit does not grow out of the thin air. It takes a tree to produce fruit. We need to be like a good tree in order to bear fruit and be a light to the world. A tree has roots, a strong trunk, branches, and leaves. Unless we understand that being a light to the world takes the same time and effort as cultivating a fruitful tree, we will never shine and be the Lord’s witnesses.

The hope of the church’s calling to the world is magnificent. We are actually the hope of the world; God’s calling brings hope, not only to us, but also to those who are “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). However, too many people who at one time joyfully received the Gospel message never go on to bear good fruit. They believe what they hear but they never become a witness. They seem to see the light but never become a light to the world. This is why Jesus spoke the Parable of the Sower.

In the Parable of the Sower Jesus mentions that some seed “fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root” (Matt. 13:5-6, TNIV). He then explains: “The seed falling on rocky ground refers to people who hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away” (Matt. 13:20-21, TNIV). The problem of fruitlessness was caused by an absence of roots. No roots, no fruits. Unless we break up the fallow ground of our hearts through continual repentance, unless we fall on the Rock and are broken in pieces, the Word will not take root in us. In the parable, the soil was shallow, and unfortunately people often are content to be shallow. By letting God go deep into our hearts, by letting him search and try us, our lives gain depth. Only as we first go deep can we gain height. A seed must go down, before it can grow up.

Prayer: Father, if I’m going to be a light I need you to work in me and prepare me. Get out of my life everything that will not fuel your fire. Trim my wick; fill me with your oil. Make me like a tree planted by rivers of water that bears its fruit in season. May I not be content to be shallow. Do a deep work in me that will bring light to the world, in Jesus’ name.

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