Power Pointing:)

John 1:1-5 amazes me as I think of God’s Word becoming flesh. Jesus took God’s Word and fulfilled it in a way that changed everything. Hear the amazing scripture:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” NASB

Powerful words indeed! The whole of my salvation rests in the first verse, and the last verse describes Christ perfectly. I’m humbled by the notion that darkness didn’t and still doesn’t comprehend the Light. I find myself stumbling in the dark holding on to my little match when there is a flood light at my disposal.

Why God puts up with me is the first question I plan to ask Him. I already know the answer because Jesus made it crystal clear. He loves me, and that love brings life where there is death, love where there is hatred, light where there is darkness, and hope where there is hopelessness. God does not force His Light or Love upon me. He doesn’t put me in a chair, aim a blinding light at my face, and interrogate me to the breaking point. He simply shines and invites me to come.

Christ is the Light, the Life, the Way, the Truth, the Love, and God’s Word made flesh. He gives me the choice of accepting or rejecting Him. I often try to do things on my own, and that little match of mine burns the dickens out of my fingers! I’m learning to let go of my match and point to His Light. It’s better to bask in His love than worry about burned fingers. I don’t have to provide the light or be the light, I just have to turn toward it, reflect it, and help others do the same.

Once I bask in His sweet Light, nothing else will satisfy my heart or soul. The Light creates a desire to tell others about Him.  Verses 6-8 go on to say:

“There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.” NASB

John the Baptist knew who he was and who he wasn’t. He didn’t try to be the Light, he simply and powerfully pointed to the light. Witnessing is about knowing who I am and who I am not. A good witness points in a way that causes others to find His life-giving light. It’s what true love is all about, and John loved Jesus. His testimony is still bringing folks to His Light.

I cannot be the Light, but I can tell others how much I love Him and live a life that reflects His Light. It’s not only polite to point in Christ’s direction, it’s exactly what God has in mind for His witnesses. There’s power in pointing if I make sure it’s Him and not me getting the attention:)

God Is Love

1 John 4:7-16 is a favorite scripture because it gets to the heart of love. It is easy to say God is love, but do I hear the sobering words of verse eight. If I don’t love, I don’t know God. Plain and simply stated, that verse calls for a life of love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.  By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.  We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.  We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” NASB

Christ gives access to love. If I decide to abide in love, God will abide in me and I in Him. That’s the miracle of Christmas. I’m afraid love is often lost in the lust that surrounds the season meant to celebrate true love.

There are close to five hundred references to love in the Bible, and that didn’t surprise me at all. God is love, and His Word is a beautiful love letter that I read over and over again. Each time I read it, it thrills and fills like a warm spring rain in a cold, barren desert.

The world wrings me out and sometimes hangs me out to dry, but God is faithful to fill and refill. In fact, I am learning that love is about being filled and emptied and refilled. It isn’t riding a crazy roller coaster or a sitting on the mountaintop alone with God. It is about getting into the world, seeking the truth, and connecting to God in others. God is love and exists in all who love Him.

I have friends with whom I have the sweet connection of Christ’s love. It is the most precious thing in this world, and I thank God for allowing me to share my journey with those who share a love for Him. Henri Nouwen says that God will connect to God. Christ’s love connects me to Him and those in my path.

Sharing God’s Word and love is what I am here to do. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I hope to do just that. Christ came to give access to God’s love, and that is the miracle of Christmas. I pray that 2013 is a year filled to the brim with God’s love. May we share our journeys with one another in a way that allows the honesty to love through laughter and tears. Tears and laughter are only for a short season, but love is forever.

We’re In This Together

John Donne’s famous poem “No Man Is An Island” is worth a second look this week.

No Man Is An Island

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee. 

Each death does indeed diminish each of us, and that was made crystal clear as we watched the horror unfold before us this week. The bell tolled many times for me and for each of us yesterday, and I thought of the poignant ending to Donne’s powerful poem. Do I really believe that mankind is that connected? I should. God created us to connect, but we separate, choose sides, hide, and mind our own business. It’s what’s wrong with the world. Oneness is God’s plan. Individuality is what Satan prefers.

Each day 21,000 children die in this world. “The silent killers are poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. Despite the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage.”(Global Issues)

The numbers numb, and the statistics cause us to run for cover if we forget to see ourselves as “involved in mankind.” I suppose the fact that we could do something to prevent the 21,000 daily deaths makes us uncomfortable. Out of sight, out of mind keeps the horrible statistics from haunting me. Haunting is the word I would use for this terrible week. The images have literally haunted and left me reeling.

John Donne didn’t write his poem to make us cower and cover our faces. He wrote it to remind us that we are all in this together. We are stronger when we connect because we are closer to one another and to God when we understand the point of this poem. Christ called us to love God and one another. When we grasp that truth and remember that we are not islands, we will walk in God’s kingdom with the light and life that Christ brings into this world.

John 1:1-5 has helped me so very much today:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

The darkness does not comprehend the Light, but it does flee from it. Let your light shine in a way that will disperse the darkness, and live the life Christ makes possible for all of us. I will attend two funerals this week, and my heart hurts from the losses close to home as well as those far to the north and around the world. The bell tolls for me, and its tolling has caused my heart to tremble this week and remember that I am not alone. That is a comforting thought if I remember Who is the author and perfecter of my faith. I’ll leave you with those words of comfort from Hebrews 12:2

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”