Tag: light

Send Out Your Light and Love

Send Out Your Light and Love

Encouragment
This past weekend, while Betty and I were wandering around a Wisconsin antique and craft mall, I saw this sign – The Journey is the Destination. While that sounds good, there is a problem. Sure, Lambchow focuses a lot on the journey and adventure of following Jesus. But we are not wandering without purpose. We are not seeking adventure for the sake of the thrill. We do have a destination, a purpose and reward for this adventure of following Jesus. The Psalmist wrote, “Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!” (Psalm 43:3–4, NLT) These few lines are packed with truth. There is a way, a progr
Darkness and Light

Darkness and Light

Encouragment
One of the things that I’ve been watching on Youtube is the old Bob Ross shows called The Joy of Painting. It always amazes me how he takes a blank canvas and thirty minutes later it’s filled with mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and “happy trees.” Everything works. Ross’s paintings have a depth and a kind of reality to them because he knows how to play lighter tones against darker tones. A smudge of Cadmium White gives shape to a tree trunk or creates a shoreline. Even in a painting that is heavy with dark hues it’s the lighter tones that give it shape and texture. It may seem that in a world heavy with dark tones that our little light of faith in Jesus is not very effective, think again. It’s easy to grumble and complain about the state of the world, the government, the media, and cultur
An “Iffy” Proposition

An “Iffy” Proposition

Encouragment
Why is it that some of the most powerful words in the English language are also the shortest ones?  Consider the weight of consequence carried on the minuscule frame of “if”.  If you do something or don’t do something, then something will or won’t happen. All because of “if”.  We use “if” to set conditions, expectations, and their consequences. It feels like “if” should be more massive to carry all that weight. But it’s not. “If” is small and powerful but sometimes a little shy; overshadowed by the words around it. Consider for instance 1 John 1:5-10. John writes, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not pr
Dirty Windows

Dirty Windows

Encouragment
Ever notice that a window can look perfectly clean until the sun shines in? I’m looking out a window now. I would give it high marks for cleanliness. It doesn’t appear to be smeared or spotted.  The vista it displays seems crisp, beautiful in fact.  But just a few hours ago a sunbeam shined directly through the window.  Suddenly all of the smears, spots, and imperfections were visible.  Not just a little bit visible but startlingly and unmistakably visible. Ever notice that a soul can look perfectly clean until the Son of God shines on it? I think of the Pharisees to whom Jesus pointed out the cleanliness of their exterior and rottenness of their hearts. I think of the serial killers who seemed to lead a normal life but had a deadly secret. I think of all of the times when a pastor
Stumbling in Shadowlands

Stumbling in Shadowlands

Encouragment, Stuck
There are times in our lives when we walk in shadowlands. Times when we feel vulnerable and alone. Times when justice, fairness, and rightness, seem corrupt. Days when we feel rejected by God just when we need Him the most. When shadows of darkness, mourning, and oppression press against our soul. These are the shadowlands. Dark times where we stumble about like a drunken sailor that has lost their eyeglasses.  Some folks arrive at the shadowlands without knowing why or how they got there. But most know well the door they entered by choice or by force of circumstance.  Many are the keys that open the door to the Shadowlands. Keys that take the shapes of grief, loss, rejection, being bullied, invaded, robbed, fear, sin, doubt, unbelief, failure, and addiction. Our first inclination in th
A Jaw Dropping, Eye Opening, Heart Wrenching Moment

A Jaw Dropping, Eye Opening, Heart Wrenching Moment

Encouragment, love
Ever have one of those unexpected moments when one word, one thought, turns everything you believed in upside down?  Like the day that you learned that Mom and Dad helped Santa Claus out in a really big way. Or the day that you figured out that the opposite sex wasn’t icky and full of cooties. Or the day that it dawned on you that going to school nine months out of the year was a lot easier than what the real world expected of you. Those jaw dropping, eye opening, heart-wrenching moments change everything. Consider Nicodemus for a moment.  Good old Nic was a Pharisee, a card-carrying member of the conservative religious right of his day. Nic was pretty sure that he had God figured out. Do all the right things, say the right prayers, dress the right way and everything would be ok with Go
Follow Me

Follow Me

Encouragment, Faith
Over my lifetime I’ve been on a few cave tours.  Never once has the guide brought us to the entrance of the cave and said, “Well folks, there it is.  Feel free to go inside and wander around in the dark. You might eventually make it back out again.”  Instead, we were instructed to follow behind while the guide leads us through the labyrinth of stairs, tunnels, and rooms. Every now and then the guide stops, explains something and checks to make sure everyone is alright and still with them. We are used to following.  We follow instructions and recipes. We follow a map or GPS to get from here to there. We follow those that have gone before in school, sports, and careers. We follow ideals, philosophies, desires, and leaders of various kinds. We even follow stories, our favorite team, and pe
One Hundred Years Ago

One Hundred Years Ago

Christmas, Encouragment
One hundred years ago tonight, Christmas eve 1914, two armies faced each other along a 400-mile front.  Belgium, British, and French troops on one side. German troops on the other. Five months of fierce battle had developed into a stalemate. Both armies were dug into miles and miles of trench works separated by a few hundred yards of battle-scarred earth called no-mans-land. On any other evening, the flare of a match would be answered by a sniper’s bullet. But this night, this Christmas Eve, for a few brief hours something changed.  Christmas and home were on the minds of both sides of no-mans-land. Up and down the line German soldiers erected small Christmas trees lit by candles. The soldiers in the opposite trenches wondered what new machine of war was coming at them.  That is until t
Light Always Wins!

Light Always Wins!

Encouragment, Hope
Who's going to win, Bears or Packers?  Or perhaps NASCAR is more your speed, care to name the winner of the next race?  Or how about baseball, who is going to win next Cubs vs. Cardinals contest?  In sports, in business, in war the outcome is never certain. Sure, there are favorites and probably and shoulds, but there is nothing is for sure.  Except for in one thing, light always wins over darkness. Now any High School physics student should be able to tell you that of course light always wins since darkness is defined as the absence of light.  However, the truth that we see in the physical world tells us something about the spiritual world.  Light always wins, it always dispels darkness. Light is often used as a metaphor for understanding. Like the light bulb that comes on in our mi
Lost Keys

Lost Keys

Lost Things, Series
I’ve lost my keys.  Not all my keys, just the spare keys for the car my wife drives.  So now, every time we go somewhere in her car I have to borrow her keys. We’ve searched the house; even looking behind dressers and under couches.  I’ve even looked in the freezer because you never know. I remember one time when I was a kid, I lost something (I don’t remember what), found it, and reported my joy to Grandpa Joe.  He said, “I bet I know where you found it.” He paused for a moment and added, “the last place you looked.”  You know what he was right! My lost thing was in the last place I looked.  And when I find my keys, they will be in the last place I look. Continuing from the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus told another parable of lost things. The parable of a lost coin.  “Or what woman,
The Maze: A Story of Choices

The Maze: A Story of Choices

Short Stories
“Stay on the path and follow the signs,” the attendant said as he opened the gate to the corn maze. My girlfriend Emma looked at me and smiled, this had been her idea. Together we stepped across the threshold and onto a path lined with golden brown corn. I had this inkling that I had just become a rat caught in a maze. The first part of the maze was easy and wide.  Holding hands we maneuvered the corners and easily made the right choices. While no one else was in sight we could occasionally hear the laughter of others over the dry rustle of the corn. “Are you having fun?” Emma asked.  I nodded.  It would be fun if it were pouring rain and the path was ankle deep mud if I was with Emma. But I didn’t say that outloud, it would be too, pardon the pun, corny. We continued to walk along, some

The Dark Corner: A Parable of Pride

Short Stories
I rarely recall my dreams. The few times I have they were so strange that I derived no satisfaction in the visions.  But last night I had a dream and I remember it.  The scene was our family room.  All the usual pieces were there and in the right place, the sofa, bookcase, television, my recliner.  In addition the room was filled with trophies of various shapes, sizes, and colors.  In my dream I settled into the recliner.  As I did so I noticed a box sitting in the middle of the room.  It was just like those cardboard boxes used to store files except it was black as midnight.  I took off the lid to examine its contents.  The box was crammed full of paper.  Pulling a sheet out of the middle I read an account of when lied to my mother about going to a party.  Another retold an angry episode