Grace in the Light

graceYou are the giver of life. Your light lets us enjoy life. (Psalm 36:9)

Ponder It.

  • How have you enjoyed God’s light in your life?
  • How does your perspective change as the quality and position of the light around you changes?
  • How does God’s light differ from lights of the world?

Receive It. Grace highlights truth in its light. Grace illuminates the truthfulness of any situation. We cling to what we think the truth of something is. We think we’ve done something that can’t be forgiven. We think someone else has offended us or someone else in an irreparable way. We think something we believed or assumed at one point in our lives is accurate and cannot be questioned. Grace says, “Take another look and look through the eyes of truth.”

Light is beautiful. It creates beautiful patterns in our lives. It illuminates the reality of a situation. Without it, we cannot see. And without accepting God’s grace, we cannot live it out. We try to prove ourselves, take control, and establish and maintain self-sufficiency. It’s not going to happen, because God is the source of proof, control, and sufficiency. God doesn’t just provide us with light; he is light. We don’t just find God in light. We find light in God. We experience God when we’re living in his light. The two can’t be separated. The same is true with grace. God’s grace cannot be separated from him. It’s who he is.

Live It. Stand in the light. Look around you and see how the light impacts what you see and how you see it. Change your perspective, turning your body or taking a step into or away from the light. Pay attention how the changes you make impact your perspective. The light doesn’t change. Your perspective changes based on where you are in relation to the light. Where you are in relation to the light always makes a difference in what you see and how you see it. Consider how your experience impacts your relationship with God and your commitment to seek and stay in his light.

Grace in the Dark

graceBut you are a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. You were chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Ponder It.

  • When have you experienced oppressing or frightening darkness?
  • How has darkness intrigued you in a situation? How has darkness frightened you?
  • What is a shadowy area of your life that needs God’s grace?

Receive It. Grace meets us in the darkness, which can be a frightening place. The night-time can be beautiful, but most of its beauty comes from the results of a light source. We see the aura of the moon or the twinkling of the starts; we see the patterns of glistening light as the moon shines catches water drops or fluttering leaves. Most of us don’t live somewhere that is void of light. Even if we close ourselves into a dark room, it’s difficult to shut out all light sources, and if we do, as we sit in pitch blackness, we see, with any certainty…nothing. Spiritually, when we’re in the dark, we are disoriented. What we think we see isn’t accurate. The darkness can seem oppressive. We can even get to the point where there is something comforting in the darkness, because we don’t have to deal with what’s in the light. We can begin to fear the reality of the light more than the uncertainty of the dark. Once we find comfort in where we are, we don’t want to leave even though we cannot fully see, live, or move in the dark. That’s where grace meets us if we’re willing to reach out. We don’t need to see what we’re reaching for; we simply have to know to whom we’re reaching. When we call out to God, no matter what is going on in our lives, God hears us and meets us. He often doesn’t immediately or completely rescue and restore us. Restoration is a process that includes preparation for what’s to come. We need steps in order to experience and appreciate how God reveals himself to us. We need his timing, not our preferences. And we always need his grace no matter where we are. As long as we live on earth, there will be areas—whether large gaps or tiny spaces—that are dark. God reaches into the dark, shadowy spaces and sprinkles his grace. And we’re able to see what he wants us to see…if we’re willing to fully open our eyes and hearts.

Live It. Find a dark space. Close your eyes, trying to shut out all light for a full minute. Before opening your eyes, ask God to call attention to the dark places in your life, then respond by inviting his grace to consume those spaces.

Ray of Sunshine

imagesThe path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday. (Proverbs 4:18)

Faith gives us a ray of sunshine and hope. We don’t have to wait for the sun to actually shine on us. In fact, there doesn’t need to be external light at all. The light shines from within. We’re not the source of it. God is. We’re the vessels. And we can share with others.

The Vastness of God

psalm_36_5_by_seconteen13Lord, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains; Your judgments, like the deepest sea. Lord, You preserve man and beast. God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They are filled from the abundance of Your house; You let them drink from Your  refreshing stream, for with You is life’s fountain. In Your light we will see light. Spread Your faithful love over those who know You, and Your righteousness over the upright in heart. Do not let the foot of the arrogant man come near me or the hand of the wicked one drive me away. There the evildoers fall; they have been thrown down and cannot rise. (Psalm 36:5-12)

Sometimes we need to be reminded of God’s vastness: the reach of His love and faithfulness, the height of His righteousness, the depth of His judgment. He preserves, protects, fills, and refreshes. His light causes darkness to scurry.

He is nothing but faithful, loving, and just to everyone, because it is His character; He cannot be anything else. Yet to those who know Him, He spreads His faithful love over them. He fills and equips them to reflect His light well. Not because they are better or more worthy of others, but because they are willing. And willingness overshadows ability, power, and position in the long run. Always.

As Dark As Things Seem…

hope-light-in-darknessFor His eyes watch over a man’s ways, and He observes all his steps. There is no darkness, no deep darkness, where evildoers can hide themselves. (Job 34:29-30)

I find this comforting. Not in a “you better watch out, because God is going to get you” kind of claim to any “evildoer” out there. It comforts me because nothing escapes God. Nothing can eclipse His light. Nothing can go unnoticed or overlooked. His light and truth permeates it all. Nothing I see, say, think, or consider. Nothing I see someone else do or think they might consider doing. Nothing I hear about, nothing I don’t hear about. Nothing.

As dark as any situation, person, action seems, it cannot be deep enough to escape the reach of God’s light. His light reaches the depths to redeem sometimes, and at other times, it simply sheds enough light to let others see the truth of evil trying to live and thrive in darkness. Sometimes, God requires us to shine His light into the darkness, facing what we might fear to acknowledge the truth, lessening the sting, and keeping it in proper perspective.

Our eyes adjust to the darkness or the light with which we surround ourselves.