For most of recorded history there was very little light after the sun went down. Candles, bonfires, whale oil and kerosene helped some but it was still a very dark world. The world today as seen from a satellite seems to glow with light from every formally dark place. Stores can stay open all night, sports can be played at any hour and people can work at night.
Until late in the 19th Century a lamplighter was usually hired by a city to light the gaslights at dusk and extinguish them at dawn. He sometimes doubled as the night watchman. This job has long been obsolete but the name remains on restaurants, parks, motels ( one in Longmont) and religious organizations.
One line from the song, “ The old lamplighter” says, “ He made the night a little brighter wherever he would go.” The concept of bringing light to dark places will never be obsolete and is really what Christianity is all about. The Lord is light. (Ps 2:7) ( Ps 76:4) ( 1 Jo 1:5) ( Jo 8: 12)( Jo 9:5) ( Jo 12: 46) The devil even tries to masquerade as an angel of light ( 2 Cor 6: 14) but is always exposed as the dark figure he is. ( Jo 8:44)
Our lamplighter, Jesus, wants Christians to reflect his glorious light to the world. ( Mt 5:14) ( Isa 2: 5) ( Acts 13: 47) ( 1 Th 5: 5 ) He has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. ( 1 Pe 2: 9) We can no longer have fellowship with darkness. ( 2 Cor 6: 14) When we walk in the light the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. ( 1 Jo 1: 7) The Holy city which will come down from heaven will need no sun for light because the glory of God will give it light. ( Rev 21: 23) In the meantime, we are to be lamplighters who don’t hide our light. ( Mt 5: 13-14)
Attention Elementary Bible Class Teachers or those interested in becoming a teacher: There is a bulletin board sign up list for the next three quarters, Winter, Spring, and Summer. It is located in the hall by the Elder’s Meeting Room. Please see LaNae West, Margo Smith or Jan Pace with any questions.
An iceberg forms when a large mass of ice detaches (calves) from a glacier. About 90% of an iceberg does not show from the surface of the sea, only the tip of the iceberg. Icebergs can be huge—one is the same square miles as Connecticut, tall—the same as a 55 story building, and colorful—white, blue and even green. The lower part is the most treacherous as the “unsinkable” Titanic crew discovered. However, the potential for good also exists. For several years the rich, but dry countries of the Persian Gulf have been trying to formulate a plan to tow icebergs to their ports and use the melting, pure water rather than letting it waste away.
Somewhat like an iceberg are the lives of most Christians. We have a Sunday face or tip of our being with the rest below the radar. Unfortunately, the unseen part of a Christian can harbor resentment, jealousy, grudges, pride and many other “old man” traits ( Rom 6: 11-14) that should be melting away as we renew our minds. ( Rom 12:2) ( Eph 4: 23) Ice is good for preserving food and liquids and Christians should be surrounding each other with this quality not freezing them out. The part that shows should be just like the part that is hidden because it is composed of the same element.
It will be if it is truly the new self created to be like God… ( Eph 4: 22-23) Our attitude will be the same as that of Christ Jesus. ( Phil 2:1-5) We will sustain not sabotage; nourish not narcotize; vindicate not violate; decorate not desecrate; preserve not polarize. We will be warning the Titanics of the world (seekers/would-be Christians) of the upcoming dangers.
In golf a do-over is called a mulligan. One can replay a bad shot with no penalty. Have you ever wished you had a pocket-full of these for the times you made those inevitable faux pas? Wait, let me play my mulligan card! If we were somehow able to return to our past and undo an angry outburst or retake a test or redo any number of mistakes and sins, would we just make the same ones over again? Or we might even makes worse ones.
Satan may have received the first mulligan before being thrown out of heaven. ( Lk 10:18) ( Ezek 28: 16-17) The first earthly mulligan was given by our heavenly Father to Adam and Eve. They deserved to be cast into hell for their lack of respect for God’s authority and for their rebellion. But instead of starting over with new humans, God allowed them to continue living albeit not in the Garden of Eden.
For their constant rebellion and idolatry the children of Israel deserved eternal condemnation. And yet the Father says in Isaiah, “ I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me for I have redeemed you.” (Isa 41: 21-22)
Christians today have received a huge mulligan. “…when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son,…” ( Rom 5:10) We continue to receive mulligans throughout the rest of our time here on earth. ( 1 Jo 1: 8-10) Of course this doesn’t mean we are constantly opening a new pack of 52 mulligan cards. ( Rom 6: 1-2) As our love and respect for God and our brethren grow, we should need them less and less. If God is so patient and forgiving towards us, what does that teach us about our granting mulligans to our brethren and to outsiders? ( 1 Cor 13) ( Gal 5: 22-23) ( 2 Pe 3: 9)
I never saw it coming but I certainly heard it. The posts and fence I was standing by shook and maybe even the ground when the enraged male Bison decided to charge his full weight against them. My first up close and personal experience of viewing such a huge animal left me with fear and respect at an early age. After watching Bison interact at Yellowstone in recent years, I’m fairly sure that the one I mentioned from the zoo was angry at being fenced in.
The King Ranch in South Texas is one of the biggest in the world. The Bison would probably feel at home in its 1,300 square miles. In the wild west of the United States during the 1800s wars were fought over fences and who could put them where. Sheep farmers knew that their animals needed fences to keep them safe from wild beasts and from simply getting lost.
So, how does any of this impact Christians? There are times when fences are good for us and times when they are not. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” ( Gal 5:1) We can again act like a servant after becoming a son and heir of God. ( Gal 4: 4-7) These are self-imposed fences—enslaved by weak and beggarly elements like observing days, months and years. ( Gal 4:9-10) Also the false humility and human commands mentioned in Colossians. ( 2: 16-23)
However, we are like sheep and have gone astray. ( Isa 53: 6) We are harassed and helpless without a shepherd. ( Mt 9:36) John 10 talks of entering Jesus’ sheep pen and listening to His voice. He laid down His life for His sheep. Jesus compares himself to the gate of the fenced in sheep pen. This is probably His church and we are protected from the wolves that try to attack and scatter the flock. ( v 12) Let’s choose the right fence for the right occasion.