Light

Was it my fear of the dark that eventually led me to become an electrician? It could just be a coincidence. It still thrills me to go through the process of wiring and conduit and termination of devices, to get to the reveal-drumroll- -click- then let there be light!

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-7

Electricians participate in what God started at the beginning of creation. He said “let there be light” and there was light. Since God is light, does that mean he just entered the void where nothing was and just him being there brought light? Or did he create light that would be part of creation?

I don’t know and I suppose it doesn’t matter. What matters is that God is light, his character is light. That’s one of the scary things about him. We can’t hide in the shadows, we can’t cover or shade ourselves AND be in his presence. He is light, exposing us his exposure is not intended to shame us, (shame not being the impetus for repentance) but to make us aware of our own condition, our own direction, so we can repent and get set right and get cleaned up.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-7

I get dressed in our basement in the morning. I dress in one room then turn off the light as I leave and head for the stairs up and out. Many times the darkness disorients me, I can’t find the stairs or the switch for the lights and I have walked into the walls and or tripped. What if once I found the switch and could see the way up and out, I refused the updated information and continued on my misguided path? that would be silly. So it is when we meet with God and refuse the information that his light of revelation brings us.

Jesus, being God also has character of light.

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

This quote comes directly after Jesus defended a woman caught in adultery. His light exposed her sin but did not condemn her for it, instead he forgave her.

Someday this light will light the earth , until that day…? What will we do with the light we have experienced that did not condemn but forgave, forgives us? Will we share it? Will we use it? Will we spread it as we share the good news of what Jesus has done in us and can do for anyone else who will confess and believe?

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.

Revelation 21:22-24

#Godislight #1john1

My heroes

Hebrews 11

Heroes of faith.

2 things.

Thing 1. I apologize for skimming over such an important group of verses. Well worth reading every word. I missed this verse yesterday morning;

“6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

We believe in and follow an invisible God. His son was here for awhile in flesh living, eating breathing, touching, healing. He was killed as a sacrifice for us, came back to life and then left us to prepare a place for us. He sent down his Holy Spirit to comfort, lead guide and work in us and through us but Jesus has been gone a long long time. He said he is coming back. This takes faith to believe. Faith is the same for us as it was for the heroes in this chapter. If our faith is weak or small we can ask for more.

Thing 2

Briefly mentioned in the last part of the Chapter are 2 of my boyhood heroes, Samson and David. Mighty men.

I learned later in life that when I was little my dad would read bible stories to us kids. I was so little that I don’t remember and I remember stuff from when I was 3. My mom told me that my dad would not just read it, but bring it to life. When she was telling me about it her whole face and demeanor changed and I got a glimpse into the romance of my parents. It was sweet. But that’s not where I was going with this.

First my dad read us the bible. He Taught us the bible. It was so early I don’t remember the events but I do know the stories and characters.

Second is I heard about how an awesome God worked in the lives of insignificant people who then went on to do incredible things. The real people of the bible were my first super heroes. They weren’t perfect and God used them. I am not perfect. Can God use me?

More to the point young parents, your time invested in your children in teaching them the bible is never wasted. I don’t remember not knowing about Jesus and the heroes of faith. I wasn’t born with it, my dad placed it my little heart.

Thank you dad.

The one and only

Jesus has an exclusive. It is Jesus plus nothing, and Jesus or nothing.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.

1 John 1:1-4

There is no one else who can truthfully claim to be the Word of life.

Jesus said in John’s Gospel “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Our culture wants to downgrade Jesus, to make him one of many ways to God, but that is not what he said. He said we can’t get to the Father without going through him. Can Jesus lie and still be perfect? Can he exaggerate and still be sinless? Can he be mistaken and still be trustworthy? It looks like I have a choice to make, he can’t be one of many if he said he is THE way, THE truth and THE life. I choose to believe what he said about himself.

John also said this about Jesus in his Gospel “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

I can’t imagine how cool it would be to hang out with Jesus. John, the writer of this Book was a close friend, maybe the closest friend of Jesus. “We heard him, seen him, touched him…” He’ll say it again, “seen and heard”. John was an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry. He was one of 3 who got to see him transfigured on the the mountain top.

“Make our joy complete. “ John’s joy was to see people believing in Jesus and being saved. Our family, my dads side, us four siblings, any cousins and aunts and uncles we can gather will be meeting again this year. Loeffelbein’s are descendants of German immigrants. Our family has a history of being hard working industrious people. We know how to work. We don’t know as well how to play, how to relax. We are learning. We do enjoy getting together. There is sweet fellowship. There is family love.

Fellowship with God will be like this except beyond it, way way beyond it. Love that knows no boundaries or limits. Love that knows us completely, faults and fears, failures and foibles and still loves us completely. Engulfed in love, like the security of a warm newborn swaddle and the freedom of a moonlight skinny dip, blended together in perfection. I believe that I cannot fully comprehend what fellowship with God will be but I think it will be like the garden of Eden, fully exposed and unashamed. We receive Jesus not only to escape hell and avoid its tortures but to gain fellowship, with each other, the family of God, and with God our Father.

Jesus knew that sweet fellowship before he left heaven. He left that to come here to earth, to to live and love and serve, and in completion of that service, to suffer and die for our sins, for my sins, then raise to life again and go to back to heaven to intercede for me and make ready a place for me to spend eternity.

Today the Word of life is reaching out to each one of us. What will we do with his offer of forgiveness of sin and eternal fellowship with a God who loves us more and better than we can know or deserve?

Believing

Hebrews 11

By Faith.

We are saved by faith in Jesus. The life of one who follows an unseen God has always been by faith.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.”

The hall of fame for faith; Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab. We know their stories not because they got what they were promised but because they believed what they were promised and acted on it.

We believe in an invisible God and our main tenant of faith is that Jesus’ death paid for our sins giving us eternal life with him but we must die to find out if it’s true.

I grew up reciting a creed. It’s old fashioned now to recite liturgy but I think it’s worth reciting today.

“We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of Life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic (it means universal)and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.”

This is what I believe. I live my life in faith, in trust in God who I cannot see.

The chat

John 21:1-19

It must’ve been hard to do.

Make the change from being a follower of Jesus to a teller about Jesus. From having him there with them to having him pop in and out of life unexpectedly.

This next bit is a paraphrase told from the perspective of the once disciple, now apostle, Peter.

I remember that day…

What to do? Let’s go fishing. Fishing is what we do, Simon and Thomas and Nathaniel, James and John. Fishermen. It’s what we do, it’s what we know, it’s how we provide for our families. Fished all night and got nothing. Some guy on the beach shouting instructions on how to catch fish…we’ll try it.

Whoa! Wow! So many fish, almost too many fish. One fish, two fish red fish, 152 fish. (Plus one).

This all seems so familiar, I’ve had this happen before. It was Jesus on the shore.

A quick swim, some breakfast, fish hauling ashore and then the “chat”.

For 3 years we’ve hung out with Jesus. On meeting me he said he would change my name. Now, after the denial, ( three denials, if you’re counting) and the resurrection we are back to Simon son of John. Not Peter. Simon.

Then the questions, do I love him more than these? Do I️ love Jesus more than my fishing buddies do? At one time in the not so distant past I️ claimed that I️ did.

Then the questions come. Jesus could’ve used 4 different words for the word love in his questions. He went straight to the highest, the strongest, the purest, do I Simon, love, agape love, Jesus?

It may be my failures and denials but all I can muster is “you know I love you like a brother, I️ phileo you Jesus”.

He gives me a job. “Feed my lambs”.

Then he asks me again, do I Simon, agape him, Jesus?

“Jesus, I love you, like a brother” is my answer.

“Take care of my sheep”.

He asks again, a third time. I didn’t get why he asked me twice but it becomes clear as he asks the third time, my mind went back to that horrible early morning, my third denial, “I tell you I do not know the man”….and then began swearing like a fisherman.

The third and last question Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me….like a brother?”

I’m hurt and frustrated, so my answer is terse, “ you know all things, you know I love you like a brother..”

Again, “Feed my sheep…”

And then I get the prophecy about my death.

“18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

John 21:18

There are 2 things that encourage me here. “When you are old,” it isn’t eminent, and “old” I will continue to follow Jesus for the rest of my life.

This is one of the memories I think about as I write to those followers of Jesus who will continue after I’m dead. They will continue to tell others about our Jesus.

Add to your faith…brotherly love, and add to that, Agape love, God kind of love, selfless, others first, die in your place, kind of love. Add that to your faith in Jesus. Then you will be able to be fruitful and productive in your faith.

Jesus welcomed me back, I fell, I fell further and harder but his love covered my failures. His love will always do that. It will always cover over our sin.

Knee bone connected to the thigh bone

Hebrews 10b

Be encouraged.

“19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Go to church. We need each other. We are a body. The kidneys need the lungs and vise-versa. We all need the function of the others. The heart can’t function without the lungs, the lungs need the heart, the brain needs the lungs and heart and so on. We need each other.

Be careful.

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God….For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[e] 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

I don’t know how to talk about this passage. While writing this my Facebook started freaking out and kept closing, my nose started bleeding so I put my phone down and started to nap. (I frequently default to a nap).

While I was waiting for sleep and/or coagulation for my nose I got this picture in my mind.

If sinning means missing the mark, Like at an archery contest. The archer tries his best to hit the bullseye. Then Any shot that is not a bullseye is a “sin”. What if that same archer turns 180 degrees and lobs a few shots into the crowd? Is that kind of miss the same? He misses the target. A sin. But a deliberate miss. Does this kind of miss get the same kind of forgiveness?

I’m going back to verses 12-14.

“12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”

We must hang onto Jesus and hang onto, stay connected, with and to each other. By Gods undeserved forgiveness we are saved. There is no other way.

In just a little while…

Hebrews 10c

Persevere.

One more look at chapter 10. It is a long chapter with so much to say to us.

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”

Perseverance is maintained by remembering. Remembering the joy of forgiveness. Being released from shame and regret. Remembering who carries our sin and why. Why does Jesus carry our sin? He loves us. He loves me. Remembering that we are part of a community of faith, a body, and each part supports the other parts. Every part is essential to the survival of the other parts.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,

“In just a little while,

he who is coming will come

and will not delay.”[f]

38 And,

“But my righteous[g] one will live by faith.

And I take no pleasure

in the one who shrinks back.”[h]

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”

In a just a little while the writer said 2000 years ago. He is closer today than ever before. Let’s get ourselves ready. Good servants have their chores done and watch and wait for their master. When he steps back into our world I want to hear him say to us “well done good and faithful servants”.