A Gentle & Graceful Light

Located in the city of Miri in the state of Sarawak, Malaysia you will find this beautiful and quite interesting lighthouse. Because of its unique seahorse design I might as well add it to my list of unusual beacons.

Miri adopted the seahorse as its official mascot because of its distinctive figure and serene behavior. The seahorse is said to symbolize peace and tranquility, which are the qualities that the Mirians believe represent their city’s multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community. That is why you will find numerous seahorse sculptures and designs throughout the city.

In many civilizations, the seahorse has come to represent patience, contentment, and protection. And because of their sharp eyesight, they can also symbolize other things such as perception or awareness. The Bible uses a variety of animals as symbols to represent people, places, and character traits. And while it doesn’t mention the seahorse, I think this lighthouse perfectly symbolizes the attitude that we, as spiritual lighthouses, must have especially when dealing with difficult situations and/or people. 

Lighthouses come in a variety of shapes, designs, and sizes. Likewise, Christians come from different denominational and cultural backgrounds and as humans, they obviously possess different psychological traits. As followers of Christ, however, we are all called to be bold, strong, relentless, and unwavering, but we are also called to be humble, merciful, patient and forgiving. It’s not easy for those of us who are (by nature) strong-willed, audacious, and outspoken to immediately flip a switch and become flexible, docile and prudent. If you or someone you know struggles with a somewhat “short fuse” here are a few ways to…

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1. Pray constantly

The Bible tells us to pray unceasingly1. This doesn’t mean we ought to be careless with our secular responsibilities in order to take time to talk with God. We can keep our prayer line to heaven open at all times by simply acknowledging Him in all that we do and by being conscious of his omnipresence. This way, whenever we call upon Him, whether on bended knee or behind a steering wheel, we can rest assure that He is listening and ready to pour his peace upon us. 

2. Be discerning

The Bible tells us to be watchful and prudent2&3 . This doesn’t mean we need to be paranoid or suspicious about everything. Obviously, there are things we know are not right simply because of our moral convictions. But we must become sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit so that we can identify the plans of the devil when he tries to lure us into responding and reacting in a sinful and regrettable way. And we can accomplish this by gaining wisdom from God’s word and by hiding it in our hearts. 

3. Surrender your mind

The Bible tells us to subdue ungodly thoughts and submit them to the authority of Christ4. Some would argue that we cannot control what we think, but I beg to differ. The term, “garbage in, garbage out” accurately describes what happens to a mind that deviates from spiritual disciplines. That is why Paul urges us to constantly renew our minds so that it may be transformed5. He also gives us the formula to help us maintain a godly disposition6.

4. Watch your tongue

The Bible tells us to think before we speak7 . It is a well-known fact that our mouth can cause as much, if not more, damage than our actions. No wonder James wrote an entire chapter devoted to “Taming the tongue.” Solomon’s wise words regarding the tongue have personally helped me to think before I speak8. Of course, if we take care of practicing #3 regularly we would do much better with #4. 

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5. Never forget God’s grace

The Bible tells us that our hope and joy rests in the grace of God through Christ9 . This grace is the one that saved us, the one that keeps us, and the one that we ought to extend to others just as it has been extended unto us. So no matter the challenge, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, we can peacefully respond and remain poised if we regularly think about God’s amazing grace. 

We must be strong like lighthouse towers when confronting the storms of life, but we must also remain serene like seahorses and not lose our cool. In other words, we must learn to be Gentle and Graceful Lights! 

Prayer: Loving and gracious Father, I surrender my body and soul to you and ask that you strengthen my faith so that I may continue to shine and stand strong against all adversities. But I also ask you to grant me a gentle and quiet spirit so that I may respond with grace and give a good testimony in the midst of my trials. Use me to inspire peace, hope and joy even to those who persecute me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. 

Scripture References
  1. 1 Thess. 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
  2. Matthew 26:41 – Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!
  3. Hebrews 5:14 – But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (NASB)
  4. 2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
  5. Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  6. Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
  7. Ecclesiastes 5:2 – Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
  8. Proverbs 10:19 – When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise. (NASB)
  9. Romans 5:2 – through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED
Useful Link(s)
Symbolism of Animals in the Bible

 

The Light of Life

To mark this my 50th devotion I once again undertook the search for unusual lighthouses. This one resulted in an instant jaw dropper. Yes, that is a baby bottle! This unique 15 ft. lighthouse is the first and only in the world that was designed to resemble a “bah-bah.” It is known, obviously, as the Baby Bottle Lighthouse and it is located in Gijang-gun, Busan, Korea. It is appropriately decorated with tiles that are adorned with the hand and footprints of 144 babies and children. The lighthouse was built as part of a story telling project to encourage childbirth, and that is precisely what inspired me to write this devotion.

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South Korea’s birth rate has declined drastically since the 1960s and as a result, it is the lowest in the developed world. The government has spent billions of dollars (yes, billions) to help reverse the decline. Incentives to boost family growth have included guaranteed unpaid leave for fertility treatment, increased paternity pay, and priority to public childcare for households with 3 or more children, among others. Can you imagine? While our government has been funding organizations to terminate pregnancies for years (hopefully that will change now with the new administration), here is a country that has been investing in ways to encourage them. They even built a lighthouse to spur human procreation for crying out loud!

Needless to say, I believe that life begins at conception. Just as the heavens declare the glory of God so does his earthly creation. It is by God’s will and power that the unborn are formed in the womb. Every human fetus carries the breath of life and is purposed to become a light in the world. Every child born is like a ray of light from heaven; a testimony of God’s creative power and the proclamation of His love for life.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who disparage life, whether born or unborn. The only thing that will convince them that “All Life Matters” is a direct revelation from the living God. Therefore, we who have become the light of the world need to continuously pray for and not attack or ignore them. We are to love and engage them in meaningful, not quarrelsome, conversations that will lead them to consider the value of human life at every stage.

So, let us celebrate life as we see God’s light shining through the miracle of every pregnancy. Let us support men and women who are struggling to raise their children alone. Let us encourage those who are pregnant and contemplating abortion to chose life. And let us help save lives by donating our time and funds to life promoting agencies. Here are some wonderful ways that you, your family and/or church can help promote the light of life.

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Prayer: Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, stir within me a greater appreciation for life and lead me to encourage those who deem it unimportant. Help me to truly value every human being born and unborn so that your life-giving light within me becomes a greater testimony of your love and purposeful plan for everyone. Thank you Lord, for my life. May it continue to shine for your glory. In Jesus name I pray, amen. 

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” -Deuteronomy 30:19
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” -Psalm 139:13-16 (NKJV)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” -Jeremiah 1:5
“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the One who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone . . .'” -Isaiah 44:24 (NASV)
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward” -Psalm 127:3 (NASV)
-ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED

An Interceding Light

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Situated on a granite outcrop in Nova Scotia, you will find Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse. It is one of the most photographed and recognizable lighthouses in the world! This concrete and steel tower, which was built in 1915 and measures 49 feet tall, is still operational. It replaced the original wooden tower built in 1868. The lighthouse marks the eastern entrance to St. Margaret’s Bay at Peggy’s Cove, a small charming village with a narrow inlet that provides a safe haven for boats during the Atlantic’s inclement weather. The Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse is definitely on my eastern seaboard lighthouse visiting list.

imag4534_1One very interesting feature about this lighthouse is what inspired me to write this devotion. Inside the tower itself, there is a small post office where visitors can send postcards and letters during the summer months. Each piece of mail receives a cancellation mark with the image of the lighthouse. How cool is that?

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse reminds me that as lighthouses for God we are more than just life-saving beacons, we are also spiritual mail carriers (intercessors). Not only should we light the way for those who are lost and guide them to the saving arms of Christ, but we should also be available to intercede for them whenever they face challenging times in life. We can, like a post office, accept their letters to God (prayer requests) and intercede on their behalf.

The ministry of intercession is not just for a specific group of people in the church. We are all called to intercede for one another in prayer. Sure, we may pray for our family and friends and hopefully do more than just agree when someone randomly asks us to pray for them. But to intercede for others goes beyond a simple, “…and God, please bless so and so.” A heartfelt and genuine prayer of intercession is one where you bear a sense of burden and responsibility for the one(s) you are praying for. It is one where your spirit actually moans for the condition of others. As interceding lights, you and I must be able to identify with our brethren’s needs and cry out to God with and for them. And not just for those of the household of faith, but especially for the wayward and for those who haven’t experienced the love and peace of God. 

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Our prayers are a direct line to heaven and we shouldn’t selfishly spend all the time talking to God about our needs alone. Remember, there will come a day when you will also need others to intercede for you. It is not only emotionally reassuring, but also spiritually reviving to know that someone sympathizes/empathizes with your circumstance and is ready to stand in the gap for you in prayer. So, let’s learn from the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse and always be ready to shine and send letters (pray to God) on behalf of those in need.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, just as you loved me and interceded for me on the cross help me to love and intercede for others, especially for those who do not know you. Make me sensitive to their needs, Oh Lord. And may your light in me and my intercessory prayer know no boundaries so that all who you place in my path will be shown love, mercy, and grace.  Amen. 

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men…” – 1 Timothy 2:1
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” -Luke 6:31
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” – Matthew 5:44
“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.” – Jeremiah 29:7
“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” – James 5:14-16