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)

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)

 

Something Sweet

This is a short article I included in my September newsletter, for those that didn’t have the patience to wait for the 30 minute PDF download 🙂

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

These are words that wake me up in the morning and carry me through both spectacular and somber days. This is the word of the Lord. This is His proclamation and promise that He is good. We know God is faithful (Romans 3:3-4) even when we are found without faith. He keeps His promises even when we have twisted His words.

God is always true, always perfect, always good. Do I sound redundant? I hope so. The blessing of this truth seems to seep in anew every time I return to it.

Recently, I’ve been re-discovering God’s faithfulness in this promise (that we can taste and see He is good) by way of baked goods, full kitchens, and Monday afternoons. Before you think that I’m about to blaspheme this beautiful verse in Psalm 34, keep reading. I believe God works through the everyday-ness of life to teach us eternal truths. Right now, baked goods, full kitchens, and Monday afternoons happen to be that beautiful everyday classroom.

Before the school year began, I had visions of laughter circles and conversation and community. How to realize these visions is… another thing entirely. I’m no expert, but I’ve been to college and I know what draws a crowd: food.

God’s design – the very way He worked out the specific details of our bodies – involves a real need for food. Sure, we distorted and perverted and twisted this real need into dependence and false comfort and momentary satisfaction. But, in the beginning, God made Adam and Eve with a body to enjoy – taste and see – food.

He intentionally chose to make us dependent on food for survival, but also capable of enjoying the necessity. He didn’t have to do that, but He did. Wow.

And there’s more.

We are all familiar with the words from Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

What I didn’t recognize until day two of Kay Arthur’s “Return to the Garden” study (in a room full of high school girls gobbling up warm cookies) are these words in 2:18: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”

God knew long before extracting a rib that Adam was made for relationship. Adam was made in the image of a triune God and longed for community before he even knew what to call the longing.

So, we were made to eat and we were made to share. Let me re-phrase: we were made to eat, share, and ENJOY it. I just cannot get over this design.

The most beautiful part of my re-discoveries is a return to the thought from which all these began, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” There is a hunger in our bellies only satisfied by more of Him. Every sweet blessing is a reflection of this Truth.

As my heart wells up with thanksgiving at the way we are designed to enjoy life together (through baked goods, full kitchens, and Monday afternoons), I know my true affection is for the Creator of these marvelous things. He is, indeed, good. His design reflects our need for and our satisfaction in Him alone.

Psalm 34:8 continues, “blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

That is something sweet.

let LOVE fly like cRAzY

 

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