Light vs. Darkness (Part 3/3)

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“…rising black, blacker and darker than the vast shades amid which it stood, the cruel pinnacles and iron crown of the topmost tower of Barad-dûr.” -J.R.R. Tolkien: Return of the King

Barad-dûr is the Middle-earth Elvish word for Dark Tower and it is described in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Barad-dûr was Dark Lord Sauron’s chief stronghold and mighty fortress. It was built by Sauron himself using the magical powers of the “One Ring.” Its height (4,500+ ft) and strength made it almost surreal.

idsample1Located at the topmost part of the tower was the Window of the Eye, which held the Eye of Sauron. Not necessarily referring to his literal eye, since he was described as haveing an actual human form, but to his overwhelming spiritual presence and his ability to keep watch throughout Middle-earth.

Barad-dûr is described as, “…that vast fortress, armoury, prison, furnace of great powerpower…”[1] Barad-dûr typifies the kingdom of darkness. The world of spiritual bondage and death. Sin is like a fortified citadel that immures its victims while slowly consuming them in the furnace of its delight. If living without Christ as Lord and Savior is much like being in prison, imagine how much deeper in bondage are those who are trapped in the dungeons of addiction, immorality, false religion, and the occult.

There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still. -Corrie tem Boom

bBut no matter how deep one may be buried in sin, the Light of Christ has the power to find and set free all who are held captive in the fortress of darkness. Corrie tem Boom could not have said it better, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” When Jesus is invited into the heart, he is that 4th man (Daniel 3:18-28) who rescues the sinner from the fiery pit of deception. And once Christ sets prisoners free nothing or no one can imprison them ever again. Because when you are set free by the Lord of the Light, you are free indeed!

Barad-dûr is said to be, “…wall upon wall, battlement upon battlement, black, immeasurably strong, mountain of iron, gate of steel, tower of adamant…”[2] The powers of darkness are incredibly strong. More cropped-banner2d40than what most of us can imagine. Oh, we know that the devil is bad, that temptation can be strong, that habitual sin is very hard to break, and that evil can be pretty much, evil. But from what I’ve gathered after talking to believers I realize that far too many Christians have no idea how immeasurably strong spiritual bondage can actually be. Adamant is a legendary mineral that is impenetrable (think Wolverine’s bones‘, Hercules’ golden mace, Satan’s Chains in Paradise Lost). There are spiritual strongholds that are truly impenetrable by any earthly medium. No therapy, advice, drug, or even religion can break through their grasps. That’s because when sin reigns in the life of a man it commands from the throne of his very heart (soul).

There is no sin too great that God’s grace is not greater still.

But there is no darkness that the light of Christ cannot pierce through. And not only can it break the chains, shackles, and bars that imprison the soul but it destroys them and LOAT 2b.jpgrenders them useless against those that have been delivered! There is no greater power under heaven than the saving grace of God. For there is no sin too great that his grace is not greater still. I am certainly not against psychotherapy or counseling when it comes to helping people battle with personal issues, but when these methods are used without faith in the power of Christ the most they can accomplish is scratch the surface. The only thing that can cut through the walls of immorality, violence, oppression and depression is the power of the Lord of the Light!

Barad-dûr is also said to stand, “… tall as hills, founded upon a mighty mountain-throne above immeasurable pits; great courts and dungeons, eyeless prisons sheer as cliffs…”[3]
a2According to Scriptures, the evil forces of the spiritual world are set high in the heavenly realms. However, they are operating all around us in and through men and women who follow the corrupt desires of their unregenerate hearts. It is common to hear phrases like, “there is still goodness in the world.” But apart from Christ, the goodness of this world is conditional and self-seeking. Furthermore, the seemingly “good” pleasures of life, like Barad-dûr, are built over immeasurable pits. Pits of insatiable passion and selfish lust.

But the powers of darkness that operate in high places have already been struck down by a wooden cross! Almost 2,000 years ago, on a hill ironically known as “the place of the skull,” a stake was raised 7 feet off the ground. Miniscule in size compared to Barad-dûr, but mightier than all the powers of thecropped-banner2d40 universe combined because of Who rested on it. Perhaps Satan may have thought that he was still in control once Jesus had died and was buried, but 3 days following his crucifixion, Jesus rose from the grave to become the victor over sin and death! Jesus is the light of the world. The light that still overpowers all the forces of hell and continues to shatter the chains of spiritual darkness. He rose to be the Lord of the Light!

Barad-Dûr is a fictional tower, but Calvary’s cross was real. The Dark Lord Sauron and his magical evil powers are also fictional, but Satan and the powers of darkness are real. If you have read or seen the movie The Lord of the Rings you know that Barad-Dûr finally crumbled once the “One Ring” was destroyed. The powers of darkness have also been destroyed by the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior you are not only protected by his light but you are empowered by it as well. This is the light that you and I are called to shine in this dark and sinful world. The light that will continue to rescue those trapped in Satan’s mighty fortress. However, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ then it is time to break free from the powers of darkness and come into the kingdom of light which offers life eternal. Click/tap HERE if you want to dethrone Satan from your heart and allow King Jesus to reign.

Prayer: Oh mighty God, I stand in awe of your power and grace! I thank you for the glorious light of your salvation which has delivered me from the strongholds of sin and darkness, but there are still so many who are trapped in that fortress. So please help me to continue to shine brightly in this dark and tenebrous world so they may be set free and know you as King of kings and Lord or lords. In your powerful name I pray, amen. 

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36
“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” -Titus 2:11 (NLT)
“The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good.”-Psalm 53:1 (ESV)
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”-Colossians 2:15
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.
i. Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), “The Road to Isengard,” The Two Towers, (p. 161)
ii. Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954). “The Breaking of the Fellowship”. The Fellowship of the Ring  (p. 417)
iii. Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), “Mount Doom,” The Return of the King (p. 224)

 

Light vs. Darkness (Part 2/3)

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Riddle me this:  “It cannot be seen, cannot be felt, cannot be heard, cannot be smelt. It lies behind stars and under hills, and empty holes it fills. It comes out first and follows after, ends life, kills laughter.  What is it? Click/tap here for the Answer.

This riddle can be found in Riddles in The Dark, the fifth chapter of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. This chapter is perhaps the most significant in The Lord of the Rings for it introduces Gollum, a scrawny malicious creature (originally Smeagol, a Stoor hobbit) whose twisted mind and body are a result of the corrupting influence of the “One Ring.”

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The riddle is part of a challenge that takes place between Bilbo Baggins, another hobbit, and Gollum. Bilbo takes a fall and ends up in a cave where he meets this pitiful looking being. Unsure whether to eat Bilbo or not and to give himself time to think about it, Gollum challenges Bilbo to a riddle game. If Bilbo wins the challenge he will be shown the way out. If he loses, he’ll be dinner! So, off they go riddling each other. If you are familiar with the story you know what happens next. If not, you will just have to read the book or watch the movie.

Of all the 10 riddles uttered in that scene, the one above inspired me to write this (part 2) devotion. It reminds me of the true power of darkness. “It cannot be seen, cannot be felt, cannot be heard, cannot be smelt.” This is true for those who live without Christ. They are completely oblivious to the darkness (sin) that surrounds them. They are unaware of its presence and its detrimental effect on their mind, body, and soul. If you ever lived in that darkness you know exactly what I mean.

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I’m sure that many of you reading this devotion can declare along with me, “I once was blind, but now I see.” Hence, we ought not to be angry at or judge those who live in sin. It’s actually more of a reason for us to love them and keep our light shining so they can be shown the way to the One true beacon of hope and salvation, namely Jesus.

“It lies behind stars and under hills, and empty holes it fills.” Sin would be utterly detestable if it presented itself as what it truly is; a crippling chain that enslaves, a filthy stench that isolates, a dreadful disease that infects the soul. That is why it hides itself behind delusive glamour and promising opportunities (stars and hills) to temporarily fill the emptiness in the heart (empty hole) that only Jesus can fully and eternally fill.

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Beware children of God! Not everything that sounds, appears or feels spiritual really is. You need to be rooted in the Holy Word and filled with God’s Holy Spirit in order to discern the deceptions of sin.

“It comes out first and follows after, ends life, kills laughter.”  The darkness of sin is ever present. You do not have to look for it. It comes looking for you and follows you wherever you go. It’s on the billboards, tv, radio, phone, and computer. It’s at home, work, school, the gym, and church. It lures you and ensnares you. It turns your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Then it finally destroys you.

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Do not underestimate the power of darkness. It is a shapeshifter that can easily appear as pleasurable, harmless, and even godly, but whose goal is to poison the soul. So, what do you do when darkness starts to creep in? Resist! Rebuke! and Re-focus! Call upon the Lord of the Light and seek godly counsel. For in the many counselors there is deliverance! (Proverbs 11:14)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I surrender all my senses to you. I commit to obey your Word so that it may shield me from the deception of sin. And I commit to keeping your light ablaze within me so that darkness can never creep in. In Jesus name I pray, amen.  

Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. -2 Corinthians 2:4 (NLT)
For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them. -Matthew 13:15-16
“But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.” -James 1:14,15 (BSB)
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13
“Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” -Proverbs 11:14 (NASB)
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.

Light vs. Darkness (Part 1/3)

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Lucifer was an “anointed cherub” (Ezequiel 28:14) who held the highest position among the angels. His name, which means Light Bearer, infers that he was exceedingly beautiful. He was the son of the morning or God’s morning star. Just like man and all the other angels, Lucifer was created with a free will. Unfortunately, and after some unspecified time, he chose to rebel (sin) against his Creator. His sin? Pride, greedy ambition, and lust for power. cropped-banner2d40For this reason, he was cast out of heaven and thrown to earth. He is now referred to as Satan, which means Adversary or Challenger  (Luke 10:18).  As the ruler and lord of the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12), he relentlessly wages war against God by tempting man to do as he did. Consequently, everything he uses to draw and keep people away from God is by nature sinful and dark. However, his limited power does allow him to “masquerade” himself as an angel of light to deceive as many as he can, including believers. This means that “sometimes he will put on a disguise (as it were), and makes it look like he actually stands for good instead of evil. When the devil offered to feed Jesus by turning rocks into bread, he was masquerading as one who wanted to do good–or as an angel of light (see Matthew 4:1-11).” [1]

Satan is now the opposite of everything he was in heaven. The bible declares that he is a murderer and a liar (John 8:44), a deceiver (Revelation 12:9), an oppressor (Acts 10:38), and an accuser (Revelation 12:10). He is also known as the prince of the powers of the air (Ephesians 2:2). And while he may very well be, as Martin Luther described him, the Prince of Darkness, he is no match for Jesus, the Lord of the Light!idsample1

This three-part devotion was inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic high-fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings, which was later made into a cinematic trilogy.

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The story is centered on The Ring of Power forged by the Dark Lord Sauron, an evil reincarnated deity who possesses great supernatural powers and whose ultimate goal is to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. Sauron typifies Satan whose power and influence have made of him a deity among millions. Satan’s pre-Adamic ambition continues to be the reason why he still battles to rule the nations and take as many souls captive with him into eternal darkness as possible. 

In my next devotion (Part 2), we will continue to explore the powers of both light and darkness and their influence upon the world. In the meantime, stand firm in your faith. Satan will continue to do battle against God’s people and will even dress up as an angel of light in order to deceive them. So be alert, pray continuously, dig into Scriptures, and resist the devil. Rest assure that the light of Christ within you will expose his dark and evil schemes and will always cause him to flee!

PRAYER: Precious Savior, you are the Lord of ALL things. You have defeated sin and darkness and have granted me that same power through your Holy Spirit. I stand firm in the faith that has granted me salvation by your grace and I ask that you strengthen me as I face life’s many spiritual battles. I praise you Oh, King of kings! May my life reflect that praise in everything I say and do. I pray this in your holy name, amen. 

“You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.” -Ezekiel 28:14
“He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” -Luke 10:18
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” -Ephesians 6:12
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” -John 8:44
“And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” -Revelation 12:9 (ESV)
“And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” -Acts 10:38 (NLT)
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” -Revelation 12:10 (ESV)
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” -Ephesians 2:2 (KJV)
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” -James 4:7
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.
1. Billygraham.org

 

An Eternal Refuge

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The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”-Proverbs 18:10

Pictured above is the American Shoal Lighthouse. Completed in 1880, it was the last of 9 lighthouses built along the Florida Keys. It measures 109 feet and its structure is made entirely of wrought iron. This lighthouse is still in operation and serves as a guide to mariners warning them of the dangerous reefs that have wrecked numerous ships over the centuries.

Something interesting can be said of every single lighthouse in the world even if they never made the headlines or became the subject of a literary work like the one mentioned in my devotion, “Like Little Red.” Since the sole purpose of building lighthouses was to save lives, they all have their own story of how they did just that by either guiding ships to safety or providing shipwreck victims with temporary shelter.

And that is exactly what the American Shoal Lighthouse did back on May 20, 2016 when a group of Cuban migrants climbed the 136-year-old structure after being intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard.

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Details of their attempt to illegally enter the U.S. included federal persecution and the chance for them to be either deported back to Cuba or granted asylum. Their fate rested on what is known as the “wetfoot,dryfoot” policy, which gives anyone who leaves Cuba and enters the U.S. the opportunity to obtain residency and expedite their citizenship. But after an intense 6-week legal battle a federal judge ruled that they had not set foot on actual U.S. soil and therefore had to return to their homeland. You can read more about it here.

Upon hearing about the court’s decision I couldn’t help but think of how those poor souls must have felt the moment they first set foot on that tower. Thinking that they had finally “landed” on U.S. territory, their fears most likely turned to hope and relief. But that feeling of hope would soon be replaced with utmost disappointment. After learning that the lighthouse was not considered part of the U.S. mainland they had to face the reality of their repatriation.

Those who navigate to Christ are granted immediate and eternal citizenship in God’s Kingdom.

Lighthouses have been nicknamed “saviours of the sea” and rightfully so. Not only because they have guided ships away from impending danger, but because lighthouse keepers have risked their very lives to rescue shipwrecked mariners and grant them temporary refuge in their quarters. However, those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus know that He is not only the Savior of the sea but of the whole world! He is the lighthouse that guides men with the true light of hope and provides not temporary, but eternal refuge to all who are shipwreckedapix2 in the turbulent sea of life. Those who navigate to Christ are granted immediate and eternal citizenship in God’s Kingdom. They automatically enjoy the full benefits of salvation, which include: forgiveness of sin, peace of mind, rest for the soul, healing for the body, unconditional love, and complete access to God’s throne of grace. This, of course, is far more rewarding than what any refugee or citizen could ever receive in any given country during their entire lifetime.

Have you navigated towards Jesus, the Lighthouse of salvation? If you have, remember that by taking that step of faith He has now made YOU a lighthouse so that you, in turn, can shine His light and lead others to Him. However, if you haven’t then you are still living under the jurisdiction of the ruler of this world, namely Satan, and in order to escape from his power and oppression, you must accept and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When and if you do this, you actually become a refugee of this world (corrupt systems and ideologies), but you also gain asylum in the kingdom of Almighty God and are granted citizen status forever!

If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior then keep shining for his glory. If you don’t, and you would like to know how you can become a lighthouse for God by receiving the light of His salvation then follow this link.

Prayer: Lord, when I was lost you guided me. You took me in and saved me from the powers of darkness. Thank you for being my tower of refuge. And thank you for all the benefits I now enjoy as your child and as an heir to your heavenly kingdom. In You, I  have found true freedom and purpose for my life.  Help me to shine your light and lead others to your saving arms. In Jesus name I pray, amen.  

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” – 1 John 4:14
 “For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” -Psalm 61:4-5
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” -Philippians 3:20 (ESV)
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” -Ephesians 2:1-3
“Then they will come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, who has taken them captive to his will.” -2 Timothy 2:26 (BSB)
“The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”-Proverbs 18:10
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Designed

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“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” -Psalm 139:14

Pictured above is the Adziogol Lighthouse. Built in 1911 by Russian engineer and architect Vladimir Shukhov it stands 223 feet and it is the 16th tallest lighthouse in the world. It is an active range light that sits on a tiny islet guiding ships entering the Dnieper River in the Ukraine. The entire tower is made of steel and unlike other lighthouses, whose strength lie not only in their foundation but in their solid outer shell (stone, concrete, iron), this graceful tower of metal bars relies on the superb structural strength of its hyperbolic paraboloid design. But to avoid losing your interest by explaining hyperbolic geometry, let’s just say that this beacon was named one of the most scientifically-designed lighthouses of the 20th century.  

fs1000x800px-adziogol_lighthouse_4Photo by Oleksandr Serdyuk 2015/01/28

Undoubtedly, there are quite a number of structures, including lighthouses, around the world that testify to the ingenuity of their designers, but have you ever taken the time to consider the intricacies of the human body? There are simply no words to describe the creative power of its designer, the Almighty God. God designed the human body with a group of compelling systems that provide it with an astounding framework and fascinating components.

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Image via Shutterstock

Take, for instance, the skeletal and muscular system. They provide support, movement, and strength to the body. The circulatory, lymphatic and integumentary  systems provide transportation of nutrients, help fight disease, and protect against injury and bacteria, respectively. Then there are the digestive, endocrine, reproductive, nervous, and renal systems. Each made up of organs and tissues that are extremely complex in nature. Even if you are currently ill, disabled, or have some physical limitations, the fact that you are able to read and comprehend this devotion is a result of numerous body parts working together creatively to achieve an intended result.

Yes, our body is an awesome machine. The complexity of its systems alone, not to mention the human psyche, is a complete demonstration that it is the work of an intelligent and skillful designer. You’ve probably heard it said that we are to praise God simply for who He is, but acknowledging his handiwork in creation (we included) should also be a part of that praise. You and I rkltwere fearfully and wonderfully designed by and for the glory of an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, and eternally loving God. And although our mortal bodies are continually deteriorating and will someday cease to function, we will ultimately inherit an eternal incorruptible body that will be even more fascinating than the one we possess today. But until then, let us take care of this amazing lighthouse where the Spirit of the living God resides and which houses the light of His salvation. Let us be conscious of our dietary intake and our physical and mental exertions. In other words, let us discipline ourselves to stay healthy. But let us take care of our spiritual life as well by purposely and willingly engaging in church attendance, fellowship, serving, and personal spiritual growth. Both our physical and spiritual systems are important to effectively fulfill our purpose while we are here in this also amazingly designed planet.

Would you join me in taking a few seconds to sincerely thank God for his indescribable creative power and acknowledge that we have been fearfully and wonderfully designed by Him? In doing so we are actually praising him for Who He is and what He has done. Let us pray.

Prayer: God of all creation, the works of your hands who can fathom? You have set the universe in its place and decorated the heavens to your liking. You have created this amazing little planet called earth and have adorned it with spectacular organisms. Yet your most precious masterpiece is reading this devotion today. Thank you. Thank you for giving me life and giving me the opportunity to know you. May my life reflect how grateful I truly am to you. Yours is the glory, the honor, the power, and the praise forevermore. Amen! 

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” –Pslam 8:3-4 (NASB)
“Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” -Isaiah 43:7
“Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.” -Romans 1:20
“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number-living things both large and small.” -Psalm 104:24-25
“Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.” -Psalm 135:6 (KJV)
“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” -1 Corinthians 15:53
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.

 


	

Lighthouses In A Bottle

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As a kid, I was always fascinated by impossible bottles specifically, the traditional and most popular one known as Ship in a Bottle. And like most, I also wondered how in the world they got those amazing multi-sail vessels inside the bottle through the small mouth and narrow neck. I never actually owned a ship in a bottle. Perhaps it was because mom knew it wasn’t a toy and it was way too much to spend on a dust collecting ornament. But by the time I was able to afford one (completed or as a kit) the fad was already over. Well, at least it was for me. There have been and always will be hobbyists who enjoy building and/or collecting ships in a bottle.

I have since come across a few other impossible bottles like the penny in a bottle, the sand and seashell in a bottle, and the playing card in a bottle. But can you imagine my surprise and excitement when I recently came across lighthouses in a bottle?!

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Now combine one of those classic schooners with a faith-inspiring beacon and what do you get? Something I am definitely saving up for. Too bad my birthday already passed! Then again there is Christmas (hint, hint).

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Lighthouses in a bottle remind me of the 2013 American Sci-Fi/Mystery/Drama titled, Ünder The Dome, which is based on a Stephen King novel of the same name. This 3 season TV pop7series tells the story of a mysterious force field that suddenly descends upon a small town trapping its residents inside and cutting them off from the rest of civilization. As a result, they are forced to learn to live in unity and work together in order to find a way to escape the invisible glass-like dome. All the while battling the expected selfish survival instincts among them.

When I consider the spiritual condition of the church today it’s obvious that far too many of God’s lighthouses are trapped in a spiritual bottle that cuts them off from the rest of the world —the world that so desperately needs the light of Jesus. Sure, there are many beacons out there shining and leading souls to salvation, but let’s be honest, popthere are more inside the bottle than those who are out. The saddest part is that not only are they not shining where they ought to, but they are content with just standing where they are looking pretty in their Sunday clothes or breaking bread in their club-like fellowships. To make matters worse, at times they end up so happy and comfortable that all they have left to do is contend with, criticize, and judge each other. They end up like those trapped Under the Dome battling over selfish and petty issues instead of looking for ways to get out of the church to be the church.

Perhaps this is the least inspirational of all my devotions so far, but I believe that in order to inspire the body of Christ to be the lighthouse it was intended to be it must be admonished and reminded of its true purpose. It needs to turn on its inactivate beacons and begin to shine as one so that the whole world can see that there is a safe place for all who are heavy laden and weary.

Are you a lighthouse in a bottle?

  1. Does going to church, singing some hymns, listening to a sermon, and contributing financially to the ministry make you feel spiritually complete?
  2. Are you more comfortable hanging around with other Christians than sharing your faith with nonbelievers?
  3. Do you believe that praying for missionaries and supporting them financially fulfills the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19)?

If you answer yes to anyone of these questions then you are a lighthouse in a bottle. And if you are, in order to fulfill your true purpose, you need to pray earnestly to God and ask the Holy Spirit to shatter whatever force field is keeping you trapped in a religious dome. Then you need to step out boldly and begin shining your light into the world. Remember, other lighthouses don’t need you. The ships lost at sea are the ones that are in dire need of a light to warn, guide and lead them to safe harbor (Jesus).

Prayer: All knowing and everpresent God search my heart. Reveal and remove anything that may keep me trapped inside a selfish spiritual bottle. Open my eyes to see the world as you see it. Deposit a greater burden and passion in me so that I may boldly proclaim the Gospel of truth. May my light shine outside the walls of religiosity and provide the peace, hope, and love that so many are searching for in all the wrong places. In the name of Jesus my Lord I pray, amen. 

“…I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” -John 4:35b
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” – 2 Timothy 2:23
“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” -2Timothy 4:2 (NASB)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” -Psalm 139:23 (ESV)
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 (KJV)
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.