Tag Archives: Light

Light out of darkness

 A young German soldier was shipped to the front in the last days of World War II. Aware that his army was in desperate straits and the outcome was certain, he surrendered to the first British soldier he met. He was sent to a prisoner of war camp for the duration of the war.

He came from a family that had no interest in religion. While in the camp, he came to know some fellow soldiers as well as some Allied personnel who were Christians. Far from home, discouraged by his circumstances, and horrified as he learned of the ghastly horrors of concentration camps much different than the one where he was held, he began to consider matters of the spirit for the first time in his life. An American chaplain gave him a New Testament that he read with great interest. His life changed.

That young man was Jürgen Moltmann. He became one of the foremost theologians of our time. One of his greatest contributions was his classic work, Theology of Hope. He spoke of the transformation he experienced: “Many of us then, and I was one, glimpsed the light that radiates from the divine child. This light did not allow me to perish. This hope kept us alive.”

He knew the power of darkness, but he also knew that light was stronger still: “Today I see before me the millions of the imprisoned, the exiled, the deported, the tortured, and the silenced everywhere in the world where people are pushed into darkness. For it is on them that the divine light now shines.”

More than ever, the world needs the light, the life, the hope of Jesus Christ. Jesus, who proclaimed Himself the Light of the world, called His followers to be light and salt in the world He died to save. The season of Christmas gives us many opportunities to push back the darkness!

 

The light that won’t go out

It might have happened to you. Somebody invented a trick candle that magically relights itself. It has provided a lot of laughs, unless you’re like this guy. For his seventh birthday, his parents and sister thought it would be funny to play the candle trick on him. Sitting at the breakfast table, he watched as mom brought the cake over with just the one candle on it. Dad lit it while everyone sang. The boy leaned over and blew the candle out … he thought. Ablaze again, the candle needed another blow. And another and another. At first, he thought it was hilarious, too. After the fifth time, he had had enough.

He grabbed the candle, turned it upside down, and smashed into the cake. “Now light yourself you dumb candle!”

Candles are supposed to go out when you blow on them, right? Jesus told His followers that they were supposed to be light in the world. What happens when difficulty and adversity blow in? Does our light flicker and fade or does it regain new vitality and purpose?

Jesus never promised life would be easy, particularly if we are trying to live as a light in a dark world. Sometimes it might seem that ours is the only light around. You might not think your little bit of light makes a difference, but it does. You might show the way to someone who is stumbling in the dark. You might offer hope and insight to the one who is discouraged.

 

Hold your light a little higher. Someone needs to see your candle.

Let Your Light Shine in 2014

Let Your Light Shine

In complete darkness, you can see a single candle at a distance of thirty miles. Amazing, right? There’s just one catch. You have to light it first. And then you have to keep it lit. The power of light to overcome darkness is one of the great themes of the Bible, but an unlit candle is about as useful as salt that has lost its flavor.

As we make resolutions at the beginning of the new year, self-improvement always seems to become a priority. So what can we do to make 2014 the best year ever? How can we use this year to become the best versions of ourselves?  I would suggest that doing what’s necessary to keep our candles lit might be a good place to start. It doesn’t take much to keep a candle on fire, but a few things are required.

  1. A candle must have fuel.
  2. A candle must have an unbroken wick.
  3. A candle must be protected from the elements.
  4. A candle must have an initial spark.

So what can we do to ensure that our light shines steady and true in 2014?

First, we can make sure our fuel tanks are full. Inspiration and experience are the fuels of our faith. The regular experience and inspiration of the living God through prayer, Bible study, worship and community will make sure we have fuel to last the year.

Second, we have to take care of our wicks. In a candle, the wax provides the fuel, but the wick holds the flame.  A good wick is clean, dry and unbroken. To bear the flame we must remain “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).  Guard your mind; be careful with your tongue; be controlled in your actions; and preserve your capacity to be the bearer of light.

Third, we have to protect the flame. Just as candles need a shield to protect them from the elements, we need help in preserving our light. Surround yourself with people who are as interested in protecting your light as you are. You’ll never be able to shield your light alone. And never forget, there are people out there who would intentionally snuff out your light if given the chance. You know who they are. Stay away from them.

Finally, remember, a candle cannot light itself. Your light is not your own. It is God’s light in you. But it is yours to protect, to nurture, to grow and to share.

Life moves fast. 2014 will be no exception. In the rush to expand our influence, reach our goals, take the next step forward in life–or in the panic of changing circumstances and confusion about what to do next–we sometimes forget to keep our candles lit. If we thought we were rushed or panicked or confused while the light was still shining, imagine our predicament once the candle has gone out.

So in 2014 I resolve to tend to my candle first; to fuel my heart; to guard my mind; to control my actions; to surround myself with people who will protect my light; to give credit to the source of my light; and once it’s burning strong and true, to share it.

If one candle can light the darkness for 30 miles, imagine what a few candles together can do. Let your light shine and be awesome in 2014.

Happy New Year.