letting the light in

I’m not a photographer, not even close and not even pretend. But, I know a few and they love the light. And natural light is the best. If a photo can capture something illuminated by creation’s own lighting set-up, it will succeed in reaching outside its two dimensions.

I love the light, too, even though I probably don’t understand it like a photographer might. I love the way it scatters darkness. I love the way it makes things visible. I love the way it reveals paths and obstacles and backyard barbecues. I love the way light streams through our front windows and the way it warms the pavement.

I love the light.

But, light is impartial in its exposing, relentless in its illuminating. When light chases away the shadows from the corners of rooms, it reveals neglected spaces where dirt and clutter collect. Light stretches its bright fingers to reach those places you’re able to ignore in the dark.

And it’s harder to love light when you are staring at the dirt and clutter that has collected in the shadows. It makes pulling the shades back feel… risky. It makes sitting in the dark feel… safe. It’s harder to love light when you know it will reveal the bad with the good, when you know it will reveal your own failures and inconsistencies and fears.

It’s hard, but not impossible.

Because we serve a God who is sovereign over ever possibility.

Before the light reaches the darkest corners of our hearts, God knows what will be found. He knows the impossibility of human failures and inconsistencies and fears, and still He promises the light will show Him to be good (Psalm 34:8). And not good in the “I had a good day” sense, but good in the ultimate and eternally satisfying sense. The kind of good God meant when He looked at creation and said, “This is very good.”

Our exposure is our freedom. In the shadows, we are deceived into thinking that some things are too awful to see the light, too shameful. But, God promises that as children of light, we will revel in what is good and right and true and partner with him in His exposing work. In His light we see the light and reflect the light and delight in the light. See, reflect, delight.

It’s hard to let the light reach the corners, maybe sometimes it even feels impossible. But God is not constrained by possibilities. He delights in showing us all the ways He can write an unconventional story for His name’s sake.

By grace He exposes all the things we hide, grants us freedom from shame, and then invites us into a lovelit dance that exposes the neglected corners of our workplaces, coffeeshops, and city streets.

Are you going to let the light in today?

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitfulworks of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:6-21, ESV)

why faith is both simple and hard

Faith is both simple and hard.

Faith is simple because it is believing – believing the ground won’t fall out before your next step and believing the sun will dawn on this day. We believe a lot of things without much struggle, even things that shouldn’t be so easy. We trust governments and money and weather men when they give us assurances and possessions and forecasts – we believe in them and make plans around this wily, presuming confidence.

Faith is simple because it is believing… and if we can believe in governments and money and weather men, shouldn’t it be simple to believe in the power that holds even those together?

One of my favorite thoughts to think grows out of this little gem in Colossians, speaking of Christ:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV)

All things hold together in Christ. Not a single ruler – tyrannical or gracious or otherwise – breathes a breath without being held together by Christ. Not a mountain or valley or cave keeps its form without Christ constraining its particles. Not a single atom inside the vast universe is itself held together apart from Christ. All things.

Shouldn’t it be simple to believe in this kind of power? Oh, but faith is also hard.

The believing part is simple – I can believe the ground won’t give out beneath me before my next step. Simple. But, believing the ground won’t give out doesn’t mean I have to ever take a step.

I can sit on my front porch and believe the front door is unlocked and there are homemade cookies on the table inside without ever living like I believe that is true. I can comment about how easy I believe the door is to open and how delicious I believe the cookies are to eat – all from the pontificating position of my deck chair without ever opening the door to taste the cookies.

And that’s why faith is hard.

That’s why, I think, there are a lot of Christians sitting on the front porch of faith “believing” without ever experiencing the life their belief promises.

Today, friend, reach for the handle that you believe is there and turn it like you believe it’s open. If you are afraid at what you will find, maybe you don’t really believe after all.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

but for you who fear My name

Remember yesterday? When I was holding on to hope?

It was like someone tried to pop my balloon after that post went live. It was just a 20 minute thought in the middle of yesterday’s traipsing… but hours later I wondered if my cases had read it and wanted to prove me wrong.

Today, I’m remembering what it means to have my feet planted in future grace. It means God has freed me from anxiety, authored my peace, and anchored me in hope. In faith, I believe this today – that the Son of God will rise with healing in His wings. And I believe my day can look different because of my belief.

The Lord is good and gracious to those who fear Him.

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD;
let the humble hear and be glad.

Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the LORD encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?

Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.

Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
(Psalm 34 ESV)

 

Fuerte, El es Mas Fuerte

Nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible for the God of universe who holds the whole universe in His hands. Nothing.

I praise God because this is True.

A rich man can enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:26), a desperate man can have hope (Jeremiah 32:27) and a young girl can carry the Messiah in her womb (Luke 1:37).

Nothing is impossible with God, Creator of heavens and earth… not tired days or dream smashers or loneliness or failures or sadness or human success or pride or busy schedules. Nothing, nothing, nothing is impossible with God.

Last Sunday, I sang underneath a blanket of stars in the courtyard of the Micah Project with some of the most beautiful and broken voices I could imagine. I love this sacred time in my week, but this past Sunday I felt even more thankful for the worship and communion.

We have been singing this song lately, by Hillsong. In English, it’s called “Stronger,” but I prefer the Spanish version, especially when I am standing next to Nelson or Wilmer. When I stand next to them I want to sing louder. I want the words to be true… I desperately want these words to be true!

The chorus is a fight,
“You are stronger you are stronger
Sin is broken you have saved me
it is written Christ is risen
Jesus you are Lord of all.”

I love that my desperate plea is one God has already answered. He is stronger. He is sovereign He is surprised by nothing and fears nothing. Nothing is impossible with God.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.

Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,  what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,  all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,  the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8 ESV)

let LOVE fly like CrAzY