The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).
This is the nature of light and dark.
We instinctively fear the dark and crave light. In fact, a flashlight or candle or somesuch is near the top of every emergency supplies list. And it’s not just for the practical value–light is also, by its very nature, comforting and encouraging.
The deepest, blackest darkness can be pushed back by the light of a single candle.
Metaphorically and literally
An alternate translation of this verse is, The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not understood it. As though if only the enemies of God could really understand his light, his love, his purpose for us…everything would be different.
If only the darkness in me could truly understand…
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind (John 1:4).
Through him all things were made…
That life that was breathed into Adam, that spark that separates us from all other creation…
That’s from Jesus.
At the cross, he gave his life to redeem us. But at creation, he gave of his life to bring us life.
Perhaps that is why accepting Christ feels so much like coming home.
Breathe deeply today, Beloved.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made (John 1:3).
Not a random collection of happenings
Not an impersonal, unknowable force
Not a philosophical construct
But a person, a personality, an artist who spoke this world into being with a desire for beauty and the knowledge that one day you would be here to enjoy it.
Nothing random about it.
One of the reasons Jesus came to us was so that he could identify with us, experiencing this life and this world as we do. I wonder what he thought as he gazed upon the night sky, or a storm-tossed sea, or a flower or a bug or a sunrise or…
I wonder if he thought, “Wow! I done good.”
Of course, Jesus had better grammar, because bad grammar is a sin, but still.
Enjoy the world he created for you, Beloved.
‘Tis the Season…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
Before the tomb
Before the Cross
Before the trial
Before the betrayal
Before the garden
Before the temple
Before the mount
Before the desert
Before the river
Before the wise men
Before the manger
Before the star
Before the angel
Before the prophecies
And he was God.
Happy Monday, Beloved
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces (Matthew 7:6).
Well, there go my plans for the weekend.
So, the basic interpretation of this metaphor is: Don’t give the Gospel to those who aren’t in a position to receive it.
Wowzers. Jesus just got finished warning us about judging people, and yet this sounds pretty judgmental. Are we really supposed to decide who deserves the Word and who doesn’t?
Perhaps it’s less a question of judgement and condemnation than of stewardship. God has entrusted us with the priceless treasure of his truth, and while that truth may be unlimited, our time, our energy, our strength is not. We can’t preach the Word every hour of every day. So, we need to perform a little spiritual triage. We must use the wisdom and discernment God has given us to determine who is in a place to receive the Gospel and who is not. If someone is being openly hostile and argumentative, it is probably not the best time to hit them with the Four Spiritual Laws. Maybe you hit them with a chair first; then when they’re calm you hit them with the Gospel.
OK, I know Jesus never said to hit anyone with a chair; I’m just…expounding.
Spread the Word today, Beloved. But spread it wisely.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).
Sometimes Jesus just makes way too much sense.
It kinda cramps my style.
You don’t have to be a carpenter to understand the metaphor here; in fact the image of a plank jutting out of my eye is enough to keep me awake at night.
It’s just awfully close to reality.
As I have pointed out on occasion, people bug me. I have a tendency to translate their personality quirks into character flaws, and use my spiritual microscope to detect and identify all their issues.
In reality, I don’t need a microscope. I need a mirror.
And, you know, a pair of tweezers the size of my arm.
Happy Thursday, Beloved.
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:1-2).
I don’t want to be judged.
Seriously, I really don’t want to be judged.
I actually can’t quantify for you just how very much I don’t want to be judged.
But it’s a lot.
So…I go with mercy.
Look, I know that sometimes judgement is required in the family of God. If someone is spreading a false gospel and leading folks away from Christ, it is our duty to speak out and defend the truth.
you and I both know that the vast majority of judgement has less to do with truth than it does with opinion
So whaddaya say we reserve our judgement for those who deserve it most?
You know who I’m talking about–the joker who just had to pull out in front of you in traffic and then drove three miles per hour.
Yeah, that one.
There is no pit deep enough.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).
God is not bound by time.
He is outside of time. Past, present, and future are all Now to him.
I can’t really wrap my brain around that concept, but there it is.
You and I, Beloved, are bound by time.
Past? Can’t change it.
Future? Can’t see it.
If we want to act, to move, to do, to be, to spend time with the One who loves us, it can only happen Now.
So, live your Now, Beloved. Live it fully.
But seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).
There’s just so much.
Everywhere I turn there’s…stuff I need to do.
You know what I’m talking about.
Look, Beloved, Jesus isn’t saying that you should ignore the rent, the car insurance, the homework, the family responsibilities. He’s saying that you shouldn’t let them be first in your heart. It’s a forest and trees kinda thing. Don’t become so fixated on the details of life that you forget your reason for living.
Before you dive into the day, with all its attending stresses and fears and lists, take a moment
maybe this moment
to stop, and to pray, and to connect with the One who made you
the One who chose you
the One who loves you
and see if the rest doesn’t sort itself out.
Happy Monday, Beloved.
So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them (Matthew 6:31-32).
The Ice Cream Diet
OK, so there isn’t an ice-cream diet, but there should be.
Beloved, we spend so much of our time and energy on things that are really peripheral. Of course we need to eat, and being healthy is a way to honor God with our bodies. Yes, you need to wear clothing–please–and the way you dress can affect how others see you and your witness for Christ.
But really, Beloved, how much of that time and energy is for the glory of God, and how much is for the glory of…
Yeah, well, that’s the problem, isn’t it.
Focus on the Bread of Life
The Living Water
And being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
The rest will sort itself out.
Happy Friday, Beloved.