Our Hope and Comfort in Christ Archives 2013
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  • The Word by Nathan Gates
  • The True Light by Bryan Matthew Dockens 
  • Are You Trying to Navigate Your Way Without God? by David Maxson
  • Mama's Bible (poem) 
  • "And God said, 'Let There Be Light," by David Maxson

 

"Oh, the blessedness of being absolutely conquered! Of losing our own strength, and wisdom, and plans, and desires, and being where every atom of our nature is like placid Galilee under the omnipotent feet of our Jesus."

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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 were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

The Word (i.e., God's Son) resonated from the beginning with the Father and Spirit. All things were made through God's Word. Life has always sprang forth from Jesus; however, notice how John defines the life Jesus provides – His life is the light of men. Praise God for entrusting His people with the Word, which illuminates the way to God's eternal and perfect LIFE. Moreover, the life that God's people radiate cannot be overcome by darkness, what an encouraging message!  -Nathan Gates

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The True Light

by Bryan Matthew Dockens     

Among other illustrious descriptions, our Lord Jesus Christ is called "the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world" (John 1:9).

When Jesus Was Born a Star a Star Appeared

"Now after Jesus was born… behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him'" (Matthew 2:1-2).

The Savior's entrance into the world was marked by the appearance of that star, and with His arrival on earth came illumination unto salvation, as well. When Joseph and Mary went to the temple to present the Divine Child to the Lord, they were met by Simeon who blessed Him, saying, "Lord… my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel" (Luke 2:22-32). More than once, Jesus claimed, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12; 9:5). And, He wants to share His light: "He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (John 8:12).

When Jesus Was Dying the Sun Disappeared

While the Savior was hanging from the cross, "from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land" (Matthew 27:45) because "the sun was darkened" (Luke 23:44). The day the sinless Son of God was murdered was the darkest day the world has ever known. The entire ordeal from His betrayal to His crucifixion was dark indeed. Addressing the mob that had come to arrest Him, Jesus said, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53).   

All sin is characterized as darkness. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). Christians are a people who have left darkness behind in order to enter the light (Ephesians 5:8; I Thessalonians 5:5; I Peter 2:9). Though the light is shining, some allow Satan to blind them from it (II Corinthians 4:3-6).

Darkness eternal is the just recompense for sin. "For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment… then the Lord knows how to… reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment" (I Peter 2:4, 9).

When Jesus Returns He Becomes Its Sun

Of the New Jerusalem it is written, "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light" (Revelation 21:23).

For the faithful, there is a promise of similar glory. "The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43).

With Jesus there is light. He is "the Bright and Morning Star" (Revelation 22:16), "the Dayspring from on high" (Luke 1:78), and "the Sun of Righteousness" (Malachi 4:2).

http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/

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 Are You Trying to Navigate Your Way Without God?

by David Maxson

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"As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before." Joshua 3:3-4

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Have you ever tried to navigate your way without God before? We all have. What normally happens when you do? Nothing good happens when we ignore God and try to "find our way" alone without Him.

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Many of you are like me when I'm driving. I sometimes refuse to ask for directions or even consult my handy GPS because I think I know the way. (And this frustrates my family to no end!)

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Over and over in Scripture, God's people are exhorted to follow God's direction. Consider these examples from the first five books of the Bible:

  • Abraham was chosen that he might "keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice." (Gen 18:19)
  • Moses's father-in-law exhorted him to teach the people God's laws, so they might "know the way in which they must walk." (Ex 18:20)
  • God guided His people in the wilderness with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to show them "by what way [they] should go." (Deut 1:33)
  • The people were told they would be blessed in the land if they should only "walk in all the way that the LORD" had commended them. (Deut 5:33)
  • Conversely, the people would be cursed if they went after other gods and turned "aside from the way" Moses commanded them (Deut 11:28)

Do you think you know the way? Are you ignoring God's commandments? How is that working out for you?

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"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Prov 3:5-6)

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Father, forgive us for our foolish pride! Teach us Your way, O Lord, and we shall walk in Your path!

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Mama's Bible

Mama's Bible, so ragged and worn,
Its pages are scribbled, ripped and torn.
Its been around for ages, she's had it for years,
Some pages smudged by rain and some by her tears

The name on the cover is faded, it's true.
There might be a page missing, or two.
To look at that book one might scoff and frown
They may say, "Why, there's no use in keeping it around.

"A new Bible, I'm certain, is what you must need,
With pages so perfect, and pictures indeed."
But friends, I know better and I'm here to persuade'
There's more in that ol' book, more than I can say.

For she read it and held it so close to her heart,
Its Knowledge and Wisdom and Love to impart.
She held it so tightly, through storm and through chill,
But ever much closer when her children were ill.

Her faith can be seen on each page and each line,
Her writings of love time after time.
She carried it high through thick and through thin,
So proud of the holy scriptures contained within.

Of all of the treasures in this world we can hold,
The Bible of mom so ragged and old.
Is far more precious than any other,
For it was given to her by her dear mother.

No memory is more precious, none that I hold so dear,
When the storms of my life bring me much fear
The vision of mother, the love on her face . . .
I remember when mama would sing "Amazing Grace"!

by Stephen Esterline

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And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. Genesis 1:3

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We live in a dark world.

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The first chapter of Romans describes the Roman world as full of "envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless" (Romans 1:29-31).

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Does this not describe our world pretty well? It does, and not just out there in "the world." Sadly, I see almost all of these characteristics in one form or another in myself.

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But thanks be to God, in the midst of all this darkness, He said, "Let there be light!"

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Jesus is that light.

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"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 were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:1-5)

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Where there was envy, Jesus demonstrated brotherly kindness. Where there was murder, Jesus showed us sacrifice. Where there was strife, Jesus brought peace. Where there was deceit, Jesus gave us truth.

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

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This "light of men," this "glory," this "grace and truth" was most powerfully seen on the cross. As Jesus hung there, we saw light and life! When Jesus laid down His life, we saw grace and truth! When Jesus gave Himself up for us, we saw the face of God!

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6)

O Father, shine Your light down upon us! Help us to see Your glory as we come to worship the Lamb!

by David Maxson

by David Maxson