Haunted Lighthouses

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A lighthouse is fascinating in general, but add a little eerie twist to its history and it becomes an even more interesting conversation piece especially for those who like mystery and suspense. One quick internet search will reveal hundreds of stories about “haunted” lighthouses. However, in light of Scriptures, they are nothing more than sensational stories inspired by fear and superstition. And although we can dismiss such stories as legends and lore, being haunted can be a real experience resulting from images and reminders of our hurtful and sinful past.

Just like lighthouses, we can be bright guiding towers when we are connected to Christ, but we can also become like dark disenchanting ones when we are haunted by our past. The Bible says that when we turn our lives over to Christ we become new creations and that the old (way of life) is passed away. However, since God is the only One who can completely forget our past transgressions the memories of our bad choices and experiences can, from time to time, come back to rob us of our peace and joy. It is during these times that the enemy of our soul takes advantage and uses our past to condemn, weaken, and grieve us emotionally as well as spiritually. But remember, neither the Devil nor our haunting past can actually harm us. When Satan reminds you of your past remind him of his future! Don’t allow unpleasant or regretful memories to extinguish the light of Christ in you. Keep it shining by confessing his written word and by seeking godly counsel. Run towards the cross, not away from it. The redeeming power of Jesus’ blood not only cleanses us from all sin but it also removes the webs of guilt, clears the fog of shame and restores the light of hope.

It was King David who, in the midst of being haunted by his past, was led by God’s Spirit to pen some of the most encouraging Psalms. The Bible says that God makes all things work in favor of those who love Him. Yes, even the haunting effects of our past can be used by God to accomplish His purpose in our lives. This reminds me of a powerful quote I once saw on FB. It read, “Only Jesus can turn a MESS into a MESSAGE, a TEST into a TESTIMONY, a TRIAL into a TRIUMPH, a VICTIM into a VICTORY!

Prayer: Blessed Lord, when my past comes to haunt me remind me that it no longer has power over me for I am a new creation in You. I believe that I no longer stand condemned and therefore ask that you deliver me from any haunting thoughts that would seek to destroy my peace.  I believe that you can and will use all of my life experiences to help me grow spiritually and to fulfill your perfect plan for my life.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen. 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” -2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” – Hebrews 8:12
“..no weapon forged against you will prevail…” -Isaiah 54:17a
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past” -Isaiah 43:18
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise noted.

The Church is a Lighthouse

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Pictured above is the beautiful St. Nicholas Church-Lighthouse in Malorichenske, Ukraine. It was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, patron saint of sailors, and was built as a tribute to the memory of sailors, fishermen and travelers who have been victims of the sea. The building includes a museum with a memorial wall that holds the nameplates of people who have died in sea-related accidents. Visiting this lighthouse is definitely on my Bucket List.

The design of the St. Nicholas Church-Lighthouse reminds me of the unity that is characteristic of the body of Christ. First, the building is crowned with a golden cross. This, of course, symbolizes Jesus, the One whom we proclaim as Lord and Savior and the reason why the church exists in the first place. Then, beneath the cross, there is globe-like structure. This symbolizes the world (people) whom we are called to share God’s love with. The lantern is located right under the globe and it represents the Word of God, which we ought to read, study and live out so that it may shine in and through us. On the next level is the bell tower. The bell ring symbolizes the life-changing message (sound) of the Good News of salvation, which we must obediently proclaim to the world. Beneath that is the actual sanctuary where people gather to pray. This represents the fellowship of believers as they join together in one voice to worship God. Finally, the lower level of the complex holds a commemorative museum made up of 16 rooms, each telling different stories about tragedies at sea. These represent the countless lives and testimonies of those who have gone before us, many suffering martyrdom, in order that others may come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

We are all an integral part of the body of Christ. Therefore, we should not forsake gathering with other believers to corporately worship God and to love on one another. Individually we are called to shine the light of Christ on those around us, but together, by serving in God’s kingdom, we can radiate that light beyond geographical and cultural boundaries to bring hope to a world that is lost in the dark seas of confusion and despair.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for allowing me to form part of your church body and to help reach those who are lost in spiritual darkness. Thank you for all those who have faithfully served you by proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel. Strengthen me so that I too may honor you and be a faithful witness of your love until my last breath. In your precious name I pray, amen.

“He [Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church…”  Colossians1:17-18a
“He [Jesus] said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” – Mark 16:15
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” -John 13:35
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…” -Hebrews 10:25
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” -1 Corinthians 12:27

 

-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise stated.

Spiritual Blackouts

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Have you ever been in a blackout? I was born and raised in the Carribean (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands) where crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, exotic fruits and vegetables, and hot summer days that are cooled down by the evening’s gentle trade winds come together to paint what appears to be a picture-perfect paradise. And indeed it is, except for that time of the year when tropical depressions forming  off the coast of Africa begin their trajectory northeast towards the Lesser and Greater Antilles (pronounced, an-till-eez). Known as the Hurricane Season this is the time when rain, heavy winds and thunderstorms cause frequent power outages throughout the islands. Generators are primarily used to keep refrigerators up and running, whereas candles and lanterns provide the necessary light to move about in the homes. However, even after the storms have moved on blackout periods can last for hours, if not days. So venturing outside in the nighttime is like stepping into a creepy zone of nothingness. Unless of course the moon just happens to be in its full glory poised straight up in the sky, then its luminescence adds a hint of plum to the heavens revealing peaceful and, to some degree, romantic silhouettes everywhere.

Until we are united with Christ in eternity we will continue to experience stormy weather during our walk with Him here on earth. There will be times when the storms of life bring only clouds and drizzle, and at other times they will arrive with rain, winds and thunderstorms that will cause emotional and even spiritual “blackouts.” It is during these times that we need to be conscious of the Lord’s presence more than ever. We need to look up and see that his light continues to shine brightly. The light of His word and the promise that He will never leave us or forsake us can provide the peaceful silhouettes that will strengthen our faith in times of personal darkness. When you experience a blackout in your life turn to the Holy Scriptures and meditate on them, confess them, trust them and proclaim them audibly. They have the power to light up the darkest of days .

Prayer: Everpresent God, deliver me from the darkness that the storms of life may bring upon me. Help me to commit to read, study, proclaim and meditate upon your word so that it may provide the comforting light I will need during spiritual and emotional blackouts. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.   

“If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You [Lord], And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” -Psalm 139:11-12
“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” -Micah 7:8
“… And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20b

 

-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise stated.

A Reflection of You

Reflection is the change in direction of light at an interface between two different media so that it returns into the medium from which it originated.  Light reflected from a smooth surface produces a clear (mirrored) image. This is called specular reflection. In the image above the surface of the still lake is smooth enough for light to produce specular reflection and allow the water to act as a mirror which reflects the lighthouse and the sky.

Consider this, the light of Christ (1st medium) interfaces with our soul (2nd medium) and its condition determines how well we (the lake) will “reflect” Jesus back to the world. That is why it is of utmost importance that we surrender our will, desires and cares to the Lord each and every day. By reading and meditating on His word our troubled waters can become tranquil lakes. His peace must be our peace. His joy must be our joy. His love must be our love, and his mercy must be our mercy. This, my dear brother or sister, is the most effective way to allow others to see Christ in us and draw them unto Him. If we cannot properly handle the cares, trials, and temptations of this world they will prevent the light of Christ from reflecting what He has done in our lives. That is why the enemy of our soul will always be looking for ways to stir the waters of our emotions and cause the ripples to distort the image of Christ in us. Do you want to be a clear reflection of Him? Then be still and know that He is God. Trust and rely and His word.  Keep his statutes and walk humbly in obedience to his precepts. Allow the peace of Christ that surpasses all human understanding to lead you and keep you by peaceful waters.

Prayer: Dear God, let your word calm the troubled waters within me. Teach me to surrender my will, my desires, and all my cares to you and to rest on your faithfulness. Shine your light upon me and fill my heart with your peace, your joy, your love and your mercy so that others may see a reflection of you in me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” -Matthew 16:24
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
“Be still, and know that I am God” -Psalm 46:10 
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters.” -Psalm 23:2
 -All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise stated.

Sometimes a Lighthouse, Sometimes a Ship

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You’ve heard it said before, “Think of others as better than yourself”, “Give rather than receive,” and “Always do good to others.” These are words to live by and words to teach, but they are also words that you may need to allow others to exercise upon you.

Have you ever felt like a lighthouse? Like one who is constantly admired and sought after for their stability and strength?  Perhaps you are both a good listener and a good adviser. Maybe you even go out of your way to make sure that others are taken care of.

I’ve often said that in the stormy seas of life I consider myself to be a lighthouse more times than not. In addition to the blessing I receive, I find joy and purpose when I can be a source of encouragement and strength to others. But there are times that I find myself on the other side of the scene. I feel more like a ship battling the tempestuous waters than a lighthouse guiding mariners to safety. And quite frankly in such situations, I am not as avid in seeking help as I am in giving it. Are you like that? Do you know someone who is?

Sometimes you may feel like a lighthouse and sometimes like a ship that’s adrift. In both cases know that God’s promise to be with you until the very end means just that. No matter how strong and secure you may be at times don’t forget that it is only by His grace that you can stand firm and help others. And no matter how lost, scared or courseless you may feel at other times, remember that God has prepared other lighthouses (fellow Christians) to listen, counsel, and encourage you as well. The challenge is to intentionally seek their guiding light and turn to it. If you ever feel like a ship instead of a lighthouse and there is no one is readily available to guide you when you face stormy days, remember that Jesus is still the unmovable tower of refuge and the unfading light of hope. You  can always navigate towards his loving arms where you will find comfort and strength.

Prayer: Dear God in heaven, thank you for the strength you give me to stand and help others find their way when their storms are too treacherous to navigate alone. But there are times when I too find myself in merciless waters and it is then Oh Lord, that I need you the most. When my strength gives in and my light fades out teach me to look to those who you have placed as lighthouses to guide me and encourage me. But most of all, help me to always look up to you, the true light of hope and salvation. For I know that in the stormiest of days your power is made strong.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” –Philippians 2:4

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35

“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:13

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” -2 Corinthians 12:9

-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise stated.

The Staircase of Life

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What is the longest staircase you have ever climbed? Pictured above is the first lighthouse I ever visited. It is the Cape May Lighthouse located at the tip of Cape May, NJ.  It stands 157 feet and I climbed 199 steps to reach the observation deck. The view was breathtaking! Of course, there are taller buildings with twice as many steps, if not more. Take the Statue of Liberty for example. There are 377 steps from the main lobby to the crown platform and yes, I’ve climbed that too.

Lighthouse staircases are spiral and if you are not physically fit when climbing one you will not only get tired quickly, but you may also experience claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces),  acrophobia (fear of heights), and even vertigo (dizziness). Life is very much like the steps of a lighthouse. It is a staircase that you begin climbing as soon as you are on your own two feet (independent). Every life experience (good or bad), every challenge, every responsibility, and every decision you make is a step upward in your psychological and spiritual development. If you start climbing without first exercising and prepping your mind and spirit in the presence of God you will eventually get tired (burnout) to the point where fear, uncertainty and confusion will take a hold of you and make it seem like the whole world is spinning around. Well, it is literally, but you know what I mean.

Perhaps someone may suggest that in order to avoid the physical consequences of climbing a lighthouse is to not climb one at all. However, the same can not be said about life. We all have to climb the staircase to maturity and being in God’s presence daily is the best remedy to combat the effects of climbing the steps that help us develop both mentally and spiritually. To be in God’s presence you do not have to wait till Sunday mornings. Praise Him and thank Him as soon as you open your eyes each day and before you close them at night. Consult with Him in prayer before you make any plans or decisions. Make time to read His word and apply it to your life, and seek opportunities to serve Him by serving others. If you do this on a daily basis by the time you know it you’ll be a the top of the lighthouse of life appreciating the breathtaking view of all that God has done. Plus, you will be in tip top shape to enjoy it!

Prayer: Oh Lord, you are my strength! Help me to remain in your presence as I climb the staircase of life. Remind me to take one step at a time and to stay spiritually fit. When I am tempted to skip or jump ahead remind me that you have ordered my steps and that with patience, trust and commitment I can ascend to the place where true peace, hope and security dwells. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen. 

“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” -Psalm 27:33
“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” – Psalm 113:3
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” – Proverbs 16:3
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” -Joshua 1:8
-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise stated.

 

 

 

Standing Alone

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Whether at the top of a hill, at the edge of a headland, or on a rocky island in the middle of the sea a lighthouse is built to stand tall and to weather all climatological challenges. It can do this simply because its designer knows exactly what it will come against. It is built to stand alone, but to stand strong.

Have you ever had to stand alone in any given situation? How did it feel? Were you scared, angry, or resentful? Regardless of how you felt one thing is for sure, you had to be determined. Standing alone takes a lot of courage especially when those you expect to stand alongside you either bail out at the last minute or were never with you in the first place. Many have had to stand alone only to realize that the path to where conviction prevails is much rougher than expected. They may have started the journey with the support of many or maybe just a few, but in the end, they found themselves standing alone. The important thing, however, is that they stood because most likely it means that they endured rejection, ridicule or even persecution.

In spite of his age, his brother’s rebuke, the seemingly unsuitable weaponry, the lack of comrade support, and the mockery of his enemy, David was determined to overcome all obstacles and stand alone against the mighty Goliath. He stood because what he had set out to do was driven by the trust, the love, and the devotion he had for the One who called him to the very task. The result? He triumphed!

Because we live in a world that has become increasingly hostile to biblical and moral values there will be times when we will be faced with the decision to stand alone or surrender to following the crowd; to obey God or succumb to the pressures of those who oppose us simply because of our godly stance, including family members and friends. However, like David, we must determine to follow God’s plan and purpose for our lives no matter the nature or source of our opposition. And like a lighthouse, we must stand strong knowing that we can endure all resistance because the One who called us to stand knows exactly what we will come against. Remember that “the one who stands firm to the end will [triumph] be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)

Prayer:  Almighty God, when I am confronted with temptation  help me to honor you. When I face troubles help me to trust you. When I am asked to compromise help me to obey you. Though I may have to stand alone I will stand. For you have set my feet on solid ground so that I may stand strong in times of adversity and opposition. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and strengthen my resolve to stand. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen. 

Read 1 Samuel Chpt. 17

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Stand firm, and you will win life.” (Luke 21:19)

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

 

Through The Fog of Life

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Born and raised in the Caribbean the only place I ever saw fog was on television and I always associated it with something sinister. After all, the slow-moving, almost life-like dense mist always seemed to be swallowing everything in its path. However, it wasn’t until I moved to the mainland (NYC) and walked through thick foggy streets that I realized how mesmerizing, but also eerie and dangerous fog can actually be.  Losing visibility can be terrifying especially when traveling. Tule fog (pronounced too-lee) is one of the thickest ground fogs and the leading cause of weather-related accidents in California. The worst maritime disaster (1914) where 1,074 people lost their lives after two ships collided on the St. Lawrence River in Canada was caused by heavy fog. Subsequently, there have been quite a number of ship collisions due to foggy conditions. Fog is the navigator’s most dangerous enemy.

Lighthouses are equipped with powerful super-high beams of light that cut through the fiercest of storms. However, when dense fog conditions appear and prevent light signals from piercing the thick nebulous walls lighthouses resort to using the strong booming yawn of foghorns. These audible signals give vessels of all shape and size the ability to avoid collision with rock outcrops and headlands and gain safe passage through low or no visibility.  Likewise, God has provided us with the glorious light of his Word to guide us through the many storms of life. When these storms are replaced by the dense fog of sin and spiritual decadence is imminent, remember that God has also provided us with the warning sound of godly counsel from other Christians and even media sources like this blog.

Before ascending into heaven Jesus promised to be with us until the end of this world (Matthew 28:20 KJV). Like a lighthouse, He remains unmovable by our side and, through the light of His word, guides us as we travel the treacherous waters of uncertainty, fear, and doubt. Like a foghorn, He continues to audibly admonish us through spiritual leaders and through God-fearing family members and friends. So, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and His word and keep your ears attentive to biblical advice from those you trust. If you do, you will safely navigate through the inevitable challenging seas of life.

Prayer: Father in heaven, I take this moment to thank you for your Word. It is the light that guides my soul to peace in the midst of a storm. I also want to thank you for the godly men and women you have put in my path. Through them, you not only encourage me but lovingly admonish me so that I may walk humbly and right before you. May my eyes remain focused on you and my ears opened to listen to your counsel. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. 

“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” -Psalm 48:18
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
– Proverbs 11:14
“Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.” -Proverb 4:13
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” -Hebrews 12:2
-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise stated.

His Light is Our Light

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Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light. You cannot have total darkness if even a speck of light is present. Darkness can never overcome light. However vast darkness may appear, light will always triumph over it. We are able to see because light (electromagnetic radiation) interacts with matter allowing the human eye to detect shapes and forms. Light is also absorbed by and reflected from objects (wave distribution) allowing the brain to identify what we call color. Sounds like a bunch of scientific jargon right? Perhaps, but I only make reference to this so that you understand the importance and the power of light.

God created the sun, the moon, and the stars to be the light of this world (Genesis 1:16-17), but according to Jesus, we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:13). Jesus also declared himself to be the light of the world (John 8:12). So, was Jesus confused? Does the Bible contradict itself? What or who is truly the light of the world? The Bible says that God is light and that in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). It was God who created the “visible” light that most of us can appreciate. This light is the one that temporarily overcomes the effects of physical darkness. However, Jesus (God incarnate) himself is the light that eternally overcomes the effects of spiritual darkness, namely sin.  When we receive Jesus as Savior His light becomes our light. Just like the Fresnel lens (pronounced “Fre-nel,” with a silent “s”) of a lighthouse, which absorbs the rays of its light source (a lamp) and concentrates it into a super-powerful beam we are reflectors of God’s light. We absorb and concentrate the saving light of Christ and emit a powerful beam (our testimony) which God uses to reach those who are spiritually lost. Because His light is our light we never walk in darkness, no matter how dim and tenebrous life may appear at times. So when darkness tries to engulf you draw closer to Jesus, the light source. Declare his promises verbally, sing praises to his name audibly, and walk in his redeeming light confidently. Sooner or later someone will see, be drawn to and follow the Light!

Prayer: Father of light, let your light shine brightly within me. Your word lights my path and your praises brighten up the gloomiest of days. I will walk fearlessly through any valley because you are my light. May others see your light in me so that they may be drawn to you. I ask this in the name of Jesus, the Light of the world. Amen.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;” -Matthew 5:14
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” -John 8:12
Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” -John 12:36a
-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise stated.

Faith, A Strong Tower

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Strength, one of the many symbolisms of a lighthouse. Built to last and withstand high winds and powerful waves a lighthouse’s foundation is just as important as the materials used to construct it. Our faith is a strong tower made with bricks of prayer, worship and the reading of Scripture, but it must be built solely upon Jesus and his redemptive work on the cross for He is the Rock of our salvation; our strong and sure foundation. There are many who build their faith with stones of good deeds, piety, and charitable works. Their foundation, however, is self-gratification and adulation. This is like building a fortified tower upon a sand dune. As a result, when the stormy waves of life come crashing through their faith can only sustain them for so long before they succumb to the destructive power of the adversities. On the other hand, those whose faith is anchored securely in Jesus can face any calamity while shining the light of His Spirit, thereby allowing others to witness the true power of faith in Christ as opposed to faith in religion, tradition or secular ideologies.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, strengthen my faith that it may stand strong during difficult times.That it may remain anchored on the Rock of all ages so that through it others may witness your faithfulness. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ your Son, amen.  

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power”. – Ephesians 6:10

“…so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” -1 Corinthians 2:5

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” -1 Corinthians 16:13

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24-27
-All Scripture is quoted from the NIV unless otherwise stated.
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