Lighting the Way

#Inspiration, #Jesus, shine, comfortThe decision was not easy. Two of our nine-year-old granddaughters wanted to spend the night in our camper van. The dilemma came when they told me they could sleep there without me. I didn’t like this idea at all. Who would protect them or comfort them if they became afraid?

We were in a gated, secure family RV park and my husband and I would be mere steps away in our trailer. Somehow this didn’t make me feel any better.

I turned to the girl’s parents for guidance. Truthfully, I was willing to let them be the bad guys who said no. They had no concerns so reluctantly I agreed.

One of the first things I did was to ensure they could open the door to get out of the van on their own. No problem there. I must have forgotten they are nine and not two!

When the girls were tucked in for the night, we let them know the lights on the outside of the van and the trailer would be left on. That way they could easily find their way to us in the dark of night.

A light in the dark brings comfort. That is why Jesus told his followers to let their lights shine before others. We can do this by walking with God and letting His Spirit shine through us.

In this way we are able to shine a comforting, joyful light to people we come in contact with. And, as I learned with my granddaughter’s camping experience, a little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)

Shining a Light

#inspiration, #Jesus, #God, light, leadingLate one evening my husband and I drove through dark mountain passes. There were no streetlights and the high beam setting on our headlights was used and appreciated. Without them, we couldn’t find our way through the darkness.

When another vehicle approached us, we would dim our lights. It was surprising how many of these vehicles did not return the favour. We would be blinded by the brightness of their lights which made it difficult to see.

I thought about this and wondered if it could be related to life. When I use my talents and abilities, I am, in effect, shining my light. The purpose is to brighten the way for others.

If I stand before you saying, “Look at me” I am using my light to draw attention to myself and not for the benefit of others. In this way, I could be blinding you from seeing what you need to see.

Jesus was the light of the world but never blinded people with his light. Instead, he used it to lead people out of the darkness.

Like the moon reflects the light of the sun, my life should be a reflection of the light and love and Jesus. Only then, can I point people to the everlasting light found in the Son of God.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12 NLT)

The Stars Above

#The Lord, #inspiration, stars, heavens
image from photobucket.com

We were on our way to visit friends living outside of the city. When the busy streets turned into quiet country roads the only illumination came from our headlights. The air was crisp and the sky clear enough to see a few twinkling stars. As more stars became visible a decision was made to pull over and get out of the car so we could have a better view.

What we saw when we stepped into the dark night was magnificent. The black velvet sky was filled with twinkling stars.

These celestial lights were there before we stopped but the distraction of streetlights, headlights and other man-made illumination kept us from seeing them. Closer lights with a much lower wattage kept us from seeing the brilliance in the heavens.

The analogy to life couldn’t have been clearer. It is so easy for me to be distracted by something close at hand. Often I’ve been drawn towards a glimmer of hope that has proven to be nothing more than a distraction from the light which is truly important.

To appreciate the light that was given to guide me, I need to look up. Not just up twenty feet to a street light, but way up to the one who created the stars.

The brightest hope and promise I will ever experience comes from a relationship with The Lord. Anything that keeps me from pursuing Him is an unwanted distraction.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105 NLT)

City on a Hill

#Jesus, #inspiration, light, kindnessLate one night I was driving home on a long, dark road. The lack of traffic meant there were no other headlights to brighten the road. I felt alone in the darkness.

Most of the towns I passed were in low-lying areas and their lights couldn’t be seen until I was almost upon them.

In the distance, I saw a glimmer of light that brightened as I drew nearer. The city I live in is built on a hill and its warm, welcoming glow could be seen from afar.welcoming, kindness

In the bible, Jesus tells us we should be the light of the world. This is important all the time but maybe even more so in the long, dark days of winter. I wondered how I could be a warm, inviting light for others.
It may be something simple like a friendly smile or word of encouragement. Maybe I could give my time to someone who needs a helping hand. Or, I could take a plate of Christmas cookies to someone who doesn’t bake.

When I stop to think about it, there are lots of ways to shine light into the lives of those around me. By showing kindness I am letting people know I care about them. In this way, the light of Jesus shines through so others will know they are not alone in the dark.

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 NIV

Take a Risk or Stay in the Dark?

risk, heights, dark, fearMy friend was standing on the top rung of a step ladder, arms fully extended to replace some burned out light bulbs. I was at the foot of the ladder ready to exchange the old bulbs for new ones.

Personally, I’m not fond of climbing up ladders. It feels too precarious to me. I commented that I’d be nervous but she seemed confident. My friend replied that she doesn’t like heights but learned a long time ago that there are things you need to do despite the fear. Replacing light bulbs happened to be one of them.

To emphasize her point I said, “So if you don’t take the risk you’ll end up in the dark.” We looked at each other with the realization that a greater truth had just been spoken.

There have been many risks I was too afraid to take. I’ll never know the light of new discoveries if I don’t take the chance. Jesus came that I may have a rich and satisfying life. Part of that is embracing the new adventures he has for me.

When I have taken the risk and stepped out in faith I’ve learned to keep my focus on Jesus. If I stumble I know that he is there to pick me up again. Other times he steps back to watch me soar. Either way, any risk he encourages me to take is more than worth it.

When I said, “My feet are slipping, “your mercy, O LORD, continued to hold me up. When I worried about many things, your assuring words soothed my soul. (Psalm 94:18,19 GWT)

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10 NLT)

Is Your Light Fading?

Jesus, light of the world, inspiration,I was sitting in a friend’s living room amid a group of her friends. We were enjoying a time of book readings and discussion as part of my first Coffee Time With Tandy event.

The daylight had been slowly fading when the hostess turned on a light behind me so I could read more easily. I remarked that the transition had been so gradual I didn’t realize I’d been in the dark until the light shone upon me once again.

We carried on with our evening as I tucked those words in the back of my mind, knowing I would examine them more fully at another time.
Later I thought about the times in my life when I was walking in the shadows. The darkness seeped in so quietly and gradually that it wasn’t noticed. One day I was surprised to realize how gloomy my vision had become.

The antidote was simple. Jesus is the light of the world. He has promised that those who follow him will never walk in darkness. When I am basking in his light and love I am also able to reflect this to those around me. This is the best way I can think of to keep my light from fading.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NIV)

Stained Glass

Jesus, light, shine, masterpieceStained glass shades adorn a couple of lamps in my home. When the light hits them from the outside, the colours are refracted onto the wall or ceiling. When the lamp is on, the light from the inside casts a warm inviting glow. In both cases they are quite lovely.

To create stained glass, small coloured pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures. These are held together by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame.

If the glass was one solid piece, the effect would not be the same. It’s when smaller broken pieces are joined together with other broken pieces, that the true beauty is shown.

It is the same in my life. The trials of life have caused me to become broken. By keeping to myself, I remain that way. When I bring the broken pieces to Jesus, he is able to join them with those of other lives to create something beautiful. He arranges them to form intricate patterns, and he himself is the frame that holds the pieces together. The vulnerability that I show by allowing my brokenness to be used is also an encouragement to others facing trials.

As the light of Jesus shines through me, my brokenness becomes part of the masterpiece that draws people to him.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 NIV

Moonlight

reflection, Jesus, Shine your lightAs I looked into the clear night sky my attention was drawn to the full moon. There were no clouds to block it and I was filled with awe at its mesmerizing brilliance. The twinkling stars faded into the background and the moon was the focal point in the sky. The light it provided was so bright that it was hard to believe it was only a reflection.

The moon on its own does not emit a light that we can see so clearly this far away. It actually reflects the light of the sun, and that is what was illuminating the night sky.

Gazing at its beauty, I am reminded that the only way my light can shine brightly enough to attract others is when I reflect the light of the Son, Jesus.

Just as clouds can block my view of the moon and obscure its light, I can easily let difficulties become my focus, making it impossible for the light to reach me. This impacts my ability to reflect that light to others. When I consciously seek the Son, and focus on him, his light can shine in and through me. This enables me to reflect the light of Jesus into the dark corners of my world, thus fulfilling his plan for my life.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV

Glow Sticks

glow stick pictureAccording to Wikipedia, a glow stick is a self-contained, short-term light-source. I also found more technical information but nothing that describes the enjoyment that they bring.

The children in my life love to get glow sticks. They have fun wearing them as bracelets or just waving them around in the dark. When first taken out of the package, a glow stick is nothing special to look at. The light does not appear until after you crack it. Then it changes and brightens up the area around it.

My daughter sent me a quote that said, “It’s okay to be a glow stick; sometimes we need to break before we shine.”

This made me think how much my life has been like a glow stick. I have found that I can live with no risk and be nondescript, like a glow stick fresh out of the package. When I step out of my comfort zone, there is the chance that I might get hurt, or broken. By taking that brokenness to Jesus, I allow him to turn it into a light that attracts others. Like a glow stick, that light is not only used for recreation, but can also be relied upon for many other things. The main difference, though, is that a glow stick can be used only once. After I allow Jesus to light up my life, I can be used continually to bring light into other lives.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV

Be inspired today!