Living in the Light

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As you live this new life, we pray that you will be strengthened from God’s boundless resources, so that you will find yourselves able to pass through any experience and endure it with courage.

You will even be able to thank God in the midst of pain and distress because you are privileged to share the lot of those who are living in the light.

For we must never forget that he rescued us from the power of darkness, and re-established us in the kingdom of his beloved Son, that is, in the kingdom of light.

(Colossians 1: 11-14 Phillips)

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The Graceful Icicle

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I bobbed around changing position, but the light kept getting in my eyes. I have a thing about natural light and my desk is near the window. I’ve set up the computer screen in front so it faces away from the light and remains readable. But for a brief time during the shortest days of the year the low sun will shine in my eyes in the afternoon. Then I have to lower the shade.

Yesterday the light was almost blinding. I got up to see what was causing it when I saw the sun shining through an icicle on the corner of the porch roof. I grabbed my camera, of course.

It’s not a talent I asked for, but I can tell the difference between a depression-induced hallucination, a vision, and the sun behind frozen water that had dripped from an eaves trough that is probably blocked again. This sight still caught my attention.

The icicle, which I barely noticed before, was, in a way, a reminder of failure (we really should have cleaned out those eaves before the snow fell) and the cold cruel world out there that took away all my colourful flowers and froze the water pipes this week (another  pain to fix).

Then light shone through failure and coldness and turned it into a glowing sword.

Sometimes I feel like a failure, done in by procrastination yet again. Sometimes my heart is cold in response to a hard season and I think all I can do is hang in there until circumstances change. I don’t feel particularly effective in making a difference in this world.

But this is what I saw. When I am subject to the light shining through unguarded transparency, without any reliance on my own brilliance, I am transformed. That’s grace.

Graham Cooke says grace empowers us to become what God sees when he looks at us. His grace shining through and entering our very being transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.

This is amazing grace. Christ in us, the hope of glory.

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A Way of Seeing

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This way of seeing our Father in everything makes life one long thanksgiving and gives a rest of heart, and, more than that, a gayety of spirit, that is unspeakable.

– Hannah Whitall Smith

 

Photography as art is a way of seeing. A photographer’s outlook is revealed in the way she or he chooses to frame a photo, and which aspect of the scene before them they choose to focus upon. The position they take when capturing an image influences what others will see later.

Sometimes, when I am aware of being in deep shadow in my life I realize I need to get up and change my perspective before I will perceive the light. Intentional focus on aspects for which to be thankful and intentional praise for blessings past, present and future is a way of changing the angle and re-framing circumstances. Yes, there is shadow, but ah, the light!

“On another occasion, Jesus spoke to the crowds again.

Jesus: I am the light that shines through the cosmos; if you walk with Me, you will thrive in the nourishing light that gives life and will not know darkness.”

(John 8:12 The Voice)

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Amazing Love

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We’ve often heard the buyer-beware expression, “If it looks too good to be true, it’s probably not true.”

That expression is not always true.

Darkness is all around us in this world. We read about it every day, and for those of us who have known loss and deep depression it feels like darkness has saturated every cell of our being. It wraps itself around our thoughts and imprisons our dreams. Sometimes it’s been so long we stop looking for the light. Sometimes we chase something that appears to be light, something that soothes our pain for a while, but it only leads to a path of even deeper darkness – if that’s possible. We come to distrust flickers of light as cruel illusions.

There is no greater depth of darkness than loss of hope.

I know. I was there – for far too long.

But I had friends who were relentless. They had light and love in their lives and I resented them for it. That light didn’t go out when their circumstances were bad. They had a weird kind of joy even in tears and brokenness. I dared to raise my eyes to the source of light that shone in them.

Charles Wesley wrote these words:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

My chains fell off! My heart was free!
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

He understood the risk of trusting something that seemed to be too good to be true. What? How can it be?

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Oh, my God! You did that for me? Can it be?

You matter. He knows your name and every detail of your life down to the number of hairs on your head. You are not an accident. Darkness cannot put out the light. In the battle between light and dark, light always wins. There is no such thing as a flashdark – only a flashlight.

Jesus is the light of the world. This is amazing love!