Daily Devotionals

Lighting the Way
Apr 28, 2017

You would never know it by looking at me, but I get up almost every morning at 4:45 to go to the gym. Obviously, it’s still completely dark outside, because we are all supposed to be asleep then. I have two kids that I have to help get ready in the mornings so, if I want to hit the gym, I have to go before everyone else gets up.

My daughter just turned one on Friday so, as you can imagine, her world revolves around toys. I’ve asked her on many occasions to pick her toys up and put them away, but she never does, so we just do it for her. Some nights, though, we’re just too tired, so they stay where they are. What does that have to do with anything? Well, not picking up her toys at night means I have to tiptoe through the minefield of baby dolls, pretend food and Minnie Mouse cars when I get up in the morning. I’ve stubbed my toe on more than one occasion, so what do I do? I turn on the light on my phone to show me where to go. Once I turn my light on, anything the light hits is now revealed to me, and I am able to avoid those toy hazards and make it to the kitchen unscathed.

We have talked a lot about how Jesus is the light of the world, and how he brings light to the darkness in our lives — all the deep, dark secrets we have and the sin we are keeping hidden. That is true, but I also like to think of the light of Jesus showing us the way amid the darkness. Just like when I shine my phone’s light to show me the path to walk, the Holy Spirit in us as believers dwells within us and is there to lead and guide us. The light will always overcome the darkness. You will never shine your phone’s light in the dark and find out the darkness was just too much, and the light could not shine through it. That is how we should look to Jesus. Our Savior came to show the way by being light in a dark world that needed him. He longs to be that for you if you are not letting him. Place your faith and trust in him and accept him as your Lord and Savior, and you will be in the light. Stop stubbing your toe on the obstacles of this world, and use your Savior to show you the way.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
— John 8:12

Daily Devotionals

Jesus is the Light
Apr 27, 2017

Darkness is a bully. I don’t know if you have ever encountered a bully, but their mouths typically exaggerate their strength. What do I mean by that? A lot of bullies are all talk. They want to appear strong but, in reality, are weak and powerless. Darkness is a lot like that insecure kid that picked on everyone in elementary school. Kids feared him because of what he said he could do, yet he never bothered to prove it. Darkness, although at times scary, really doesn’t have that much power.

At some point today, I want you to try a little experiment. Take a small flashlight, cell phone or matchstick and go to the darkest place in your home. Make sure there is no light coming in from underneath the door. The experiment won’t work if you are not in a place of complete, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face darkness. Once you have been in the darkness for a few minutes, considering its ability to stir the fear in the strongest of men, take out your light source and turn it on. What do you think will happen? That darkness that was so heavy and consuming will instantly be consumed by the smallest of lights. What is the point of the experiment? To remind us all that darkness seems a lot stronger than it actually is, because it can never overcome the power of light.

The scripture often refers to the world as broken, fallen, sinful and dark. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” What does that mean? Jesus is way more powerful than the darkness that is currently weighing you down. Allow the light of the world to defeat the bully of darkness that has been picking on you.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— John 1:5

Daily Devotionals

The God of Creation and Re-Creation
Apr 26, 2017

Have you ever noticed the unmistakable similarities between the beginning of the book of Genesis and the beginning of the book of John? Take a moment to examine both passages and notice the similarities:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
— Genesis 1:1-4 (ESV)

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. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— John 1:1-5 (NIV)

What did you notice? I assume the first thing that jumped out at you was that both books begin with the phrase, “In the beginning.” Also, they both talk about creation, light and darkness.

Isn’t it interesting that John would start out his gospel about Jesus by drawing parallels with the creation event in Genesis? Let’s take a closer look at these parallels and try to understand their significance.

Parallel 1: In Genesis, God is the one who is there in the beginning. In John, “the Word” (or Jesus) is described as being “in the beginning.” But Jesus isn’t just described as being with God in the beginning, he is described as being God.

Parallel 2: In Genesis, God is the creator of everything. The rest of chapter one describes in more detail the things God created. Verses 26 & 27 describe his creation of human beings. In John, Jesus is described as being the means through which all things were created.

Parallel 3: In Genesis, there was a darkness covering creation. John also refers to a darkness.

Parallel 4: In Genesis, God caused light to shine into the darkness and separated the light from the darkness. In John, Jesus is the light that shines into the darkness and overcomes it.

Now that we have looked a little closer at these parallels, what truth do you think John was trying to convey when he drew them?

I believe he was trying to tell us that Jesus is not only a man, but he is the one and only God of the universe. Jesus is the God that was in the beginning, the God that was referred to in Genesis. Jesus is the God of creation, the one who created the heavens and the earth and the one who created us. Jesus not only created light in the world in the beginning, but he is the light of the world, even today. Jesus not only created a light that overcame the darkness in the beginning, but he is the light that overcomes the darkness even today.

I think John was trying to tell us that Jesus is not only the God who created us in the beginning, he is also the God who can re-create us today.

God created us in his image, which means that we were created to be his children and to reflect him through our behavior. If we had reflected God’s love the way were supposed to, we would have loved him and others the way he wanted us to. By reflecting God’s love, and therefore loving him and others appropriately, we would have automatically obeyed all his commands.

But we failed to reflect God’s love, and the result was that we failed to obey God’s commands. We chose instead to rebel against God and sin against him. Our rebellion and sin brought about our spiritual death, separation from God, and God’s wrath. We are dead in our sins and unable to escape our death, separation from him or the wrath we deserve through any efforts of our own. We are in a hopeless situation.

But John wanted us to know that, even though we cannot save ourselves, there is one who can save us. John began his gospel by drawing a parallel with Genesis 1 to tell us who this Savior is.

It’s Jesus! Jesus is the God who originally created us, and Jesus is the God who can re-create us and make us the children that we were originally created to be. Jesus is the God who can pierce our dark and dead souls and say, “Let there be light!”

Don’t be mistaken, Jesus is the both the God of creation and the God of re-creation!

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
— 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT)

Daily Devotionals

Light of the World
Apr 25, 2017

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
— John 8:12

All of the “I am” statements in the book of John ultimately speak to the divinity of Jesus Christ. All of them have an Old Testament connection to the character and revelation of God in our world. These statements were clearly offensive to those who felt they were keepers of the sacred information and protectors of God’s name. Jesus was seemingly hijacking the name and identity of God.

The most important realization occurs when we finally recognize that these statements point to the fact that God’s attributes were not merely demonstrated by a person, but as a person! The bread of life isn’t merely a metaphor, it is a person. The Resurrection is not merely an event, it is a person. The light of the world isn’t just a concept, it is a person.  Once you recognize this, you are able to experience the fullness of Christ in your life.

I meet so many people who love to live in the dark because it feels safer and it promises to mitigate the fear. However, in reality, it only exacerbates it. As we walk in the dark, we feel comfortable, but the fear and bondage continues to grow. The light becomes more and more abhorrent, despite the fact that we have intimately experienced the light that is Christ.

Therefore, we don’t have to doubt the Resurrection or run from the light, because this person is our friend. Despite our ugliness, he pursues us, woos us, beckons us and calls,“Come to me.” Ironically, I suspect that our biggest mistakes and regrets in life are when we chose to run in the opposite direction. For some reason, we tend to run away from the light and into the darkness. Like the vermin of the night, we head to the place where it seems comfortable. However, healing is never found in the dark. It is only found in the loving arms of a person, Jesus Christ, and in him is life!

Daily Devotionals

Exposing the Darkness
Apr 24, 2017

I love to hunt. It’s in my top-five favorite things to do. When I go hunting, I normally get up very early in the morning and head out to the stand. I want to get up before there is any light and, to do that, you have to get up around 4 a.m. At this time in the morning, out in the country, it is dark. Completely dark. I may or may not have walked into a few trees trying to get to my stand.

One day, it was darker than usual, and I couldn’t find my stand. I was worried I might spook the deer if I kept walking around so, after 20 minutes of looking and straining my eyes to catch the slightest bit of my deer stand, I took my phone out. I pointed the screen of my phone toward where I thought my deer stand was and then hit the home button. You would have thought that I had just set off a flare and started a bonfire. I could see everything, including my deer stand, which was 10 feet from me, straight in front of me.

In the darkness, I was blind. I couldn’t see 10 feet in front of me, and I think most of us have been there before. Not looking for a deer stand, but — spiritually speaking — we have been in the darkness without a clue where to look. But the remedy for darkness is light.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
— John 8:12

What is darkness? It’s the absence of light. So, for those of us who are believers, we were in darkness at one point. We did not know Jesus. But then he broke through our darkness. But the light doesn’t just break through darkness. It also exposes those things that are in the dark.

There have been some really ugly things in my life that I would love to keep in the dark. However, the more that I follow Jesus, the more that the light exposes those things. I honestly thought that these things needed to stay in the dark, so that no one would see them and no one would be able to judge me for these mistakes. But what’s awesome about the light is it exposes those dark places for what they really are: worthless. And they have no room in my life. I spent more time focusing on hiding these things, instead of doing what needed to be done to expose them and release them.

Jesus knows all of the things we keep hidden and all of the mistakes we try to leave in the dark. But when we seek him, the light reveals what is really in those places: grace. I believe that is what he meant, by “they will have the light of life”. No matter what you are hiding, the Light will show forgiveness and, in that, we find freedom from the darkness.

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