Category Archives: Scripture

Paying Attention with Love – See the Good in Others

Paying Attention

Paying Attention - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Are we paying attention? Can we say we are doing alright on our own? Probably most of us think we are. Much of the time, we are content with the world as it is, and our position within it. We might even be willing to say that we are grateful that things are not worse than they are. But then the unthinkable happens and we question what happened? Where did we go wrong, were we not paying attention and listening to what was going on around us?

Continue reading Paying Attention with Love – See the Good in Others

The Power of Light

In with the New and Out with the Old!

Seeking the Power of Light - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

2020 is officially over with the power of the New Year. Did your life magically change as January took over December? For most of us, as refreshing as the New Year seems, nothing around us changed. We often give power to the changing of the year as if it holds some driving force that makes our world better. In truth, however, if we want to see a change in our world, we must look within ourselves. But to make an everlasting change in our life we must find and hold onto the power only found when we live in the light. The wise men from the east “traveled afar” to find the Christ child following the light of a special star knowing it led to power. They spent years and thousands of miles traveling to seek out the creator of both light and life.

Did you seek out the Great Conjunction on December 21st? This was known, due to the timing of the phenomenon, as the Christmas Star. There was tremendous talk leading up to the day that the gas giants of Jupiter and Saturn would appear so close together that when viewed from earth they would seem to be one point of light to the unaided eye. One reason this received such notoriety was that the last time the planets were this close was in 1623. Unfortunately, during this event, the planets weren’t seen as they dropped below the horizon before darkness arrived. So, the last time they were seen by the unaided eye was in 1226. The two planets won’t appear with this minimum separation again until 2080. And where you live in the world along with the weather will determine whether it can be seen.

The Disappointing Event

It was an intriguing event and one I hoped to see. As the day of the event came, I learned from a friend of mine that it would only be seen in the southwestern sky. As my home sits on the north-east side of a mountain this meant that I would need to travel to see the great occurrence. To further compound the issue and dissuade me; it was cold, unusually cold. And so, my enthusiasm for the event waned given that we would need to travel to another location to see it. I had just about talked myself out of it when my neighbors contacted me. They reminded me that even though it was cold, travel was involved, and there were a lot of people in the same viewing area I would not be able to see this again in my lifetime. So, we bundled up and loaded into the car.

By the time we reached the destination, everyone had dispersed except one car. We got out and looked but frankly weren’t sure what we were looking for. I guess, in my mind, I was seeking an unusually bright, something out of my imagination, star. What I saw instead was just 2 bright lights. We thought perhaps we missed it or weren’t looking in the right place, so we asked the other people. But they weren’t sure either and between us both, we weren’t sure what exactly we were to experience. And so, this Great Conjunction was a bit disappointing to me. I have since learned through looking at other’s images that what we saw was indeed the hyped-up event. Thankfully, the real Epiphany wasn’t anything like this.

Seeking the Power of the Light

The true Epiphany is about seeing Christ, the phenomenon of the Messiah in the person of Jesus. This was a brightness of light and power beyond all imagination. It is the proclamation made at His baptism when the heavens erupted, and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. He holds the power of the light, much more powerful than the star that led the Wise Men there. And these men knew this, as they looked not the star for its power but to the light of Christ that comes within. For Christ works both in us and outside of us. He asks us to respond to the power of His light to walk in His path daily.

Jesus Christ is the creator of life and His life brings light to all humankind. There is no star to guide us nor do the multitudes of angels sing proclamations to us. Yet we hold the power of the light only when we chose to live as a baptized follower of Jesus once we come to know Him. It is through His power of light and life that we become new creations choosing to reach for His power each day. This is our fresh start and the remaking of ourselves. He holds the only power and way for us to have the ability to live a different life. Through the power of the light, we hold a new way of living. One that keeps our eyes open to embrace the possibilities in front of us rather than the doubts within us.

Power and Light

It is through His power and light we hold the opportunity to know we are loved and claimed. His light dispels the darkness within us and no longer allows it to define us. Through His power of light, we learn that what we have been searching for has been within us all along as the Holy Spirit is our constant companion. It is the power that allows and inspires us to love, serve, and grow. This is what prepares us to be part of the body of Christ in powerful ways. As it opens us up to new ways of living and being.

By the light of Christ, we see ourselves as we truly are, but it also allows us to go further. For when we chose to follow Christ, the true light, we can avoid the pitfalls of life as He lights the path before us showing us how to live within His power. We must reflect on the ways that we allow the light of Christ to shine into our life. Learning to lean upon Him and allowing Him to guide us through the darkness is where we hold His power through the dark things of life. God sees the light within us and announces it as “good.” His voice proclaims to us too, that we are His beloved and as we live within Him, He is well pleased with us. We are not finished, completed, or perfect, but we are good as we hold the power of His light.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT)

Living in the Light

When we embrace Christ, who holds the power of light that shines within us, we see clearly that He will one day return and shine in His full glory. Until that day we hold the power of the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to not only brighten our path but guide us as we seek the truths of life. This permits us to live as people of the light and allows our actions to reflect our faith. When we let our lives reflect the light of God within us outward it serves both as our reflection and for others to see the Way.

As we begin the New Year let us vow to make our lives reflect the goodness of God to others. Helping them to clearly see the path to salvation. Let them know not only what they should see but what to expect as they view our lives in the brightest and darkest of times.

Won’t you take the challenge of living a life of power in His light? Allow your convictions to overwhelm your reflection in the brightness of goodness and mercy. Find your motivation in knowing the power that His light holds. Surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that because you allow His light within you, your reflection to others shines brightly with His glory.

Take a new perspective on life in this New Year – one that looks and sees how the power of the Holy Spirit has always, is, and will always work in your life.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Extra Study

Genesis 1:3, Psalm 36:9, John 8:12;12:46, Ephesians 5:8,14, 1 Peter 2:9, 2 Peter 1:19

What are Your Thoughts?

Do you follow the light that holds the glory and power of Christ? Have you considered allowing His goodness to reflect His power to others by your actions? Share your thoughts on the power that the light of the world holds.

Join the Discussion

Meditating on Time – Making the Most of Life

A Time of Meditating

Meditating on Memento Mori - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Have you been meditating on how you spent your time this year? We are in that strange period, the one between the Christmas celebrations and the approaching New Year in which we seem to lose time. The weekly schedule is thrown off and many people are working odd hours marking the time until the next holiday. Because of the celebrations, regular activities are halted, services are erratic, and it is often difficult to determine what is open and what is not. When or will the trash be collected this week? Should we store the Christmas decorations now or wait until after the 12th day of Christmas? And before we know it the week has ended, the celebrations are over, and we mourn the return of the regular schedule. And whether we spent any hours meditating on our time use or not, life moves forward.

This year is so close to being over we can see the hours until the countdown. The past is just that and it is time to move forward, whatever that may be. During this transition period reflecting on how we will spend our hours is life productive. There are new things on the horizon and clearly, God is working in our midst. The world around us has formed new communities and even in isolation, we have learned to connect and reconnect to people. But now a new year approaches and meditating on the old might just be needed. Taking the opportunity to see how we did more than just endure life but were transformed through the year is beneficial. This type of mediation allows us to see the importance of time and plants a seed of hope as we look forward to the promises of God, new communities, and blessings.

Continue reading Meditating on Time – Making the Most of Life

Indescribable – Sharing the experience of Christmas all Year

Describing the Indescribable

Indescribable - Wonder of Wonders - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Some things are just indescribable and sometimes, even though it might be close, a picture doesn’t equal a thousand words. There are times that a picture doesn’t even do justice to what we witness and experience in life. How do you describe the way you felt as the brisk air swirled around you as the sun rose over the mountains casting sparkling light on the newly fallen snow? Can you describe the brilliant sunset that lit up the sky on that trip to the ocean? We can carry on about the colors, shapes, cloud formations, and transitions but when we are done, our listener only has a vague idea of what we saw, heard, smelled, or felt. The wonder of wonders that we fully experience with an awing of our mind leaves others thinking nothing more than, “how nice.” We want to share the indescribable things we experience in our life but struggle to do it successfully.

It is disappointing when we make all attempts to tell other people about a phenomenal experience of nature we saw, the magic of the musician’s sounds at the concert, or even the taste of delectable food and they just don’t get it. Even when we try to explain a special moment with those we love, we are lucky to gain a smile and encouraging word or two of “how nice.” The problem is what we see, hear, smell, taste, or feel just doesn’t transfer over to someone else. We desire to share by bottling up our experiences and passing them on. Some people are more eloquent with words than others, but no matter how great they may be it just isn’t possible to describe the sight and experience in a way that fully transfers to someone else’s mind and heart in the same way.

Continue reading Indescribable – Sharing the experience of Christmas all Year

Home for Christmas – A Different Celebration

Coming Home for Christmas

Home for Christmas - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Will you be home for Christmas? Many of us have been home most of the year and this Christmas might be an unusual one if you normally gather with a large crowd. The song lyrics read, “There’s no place like home for the holidays,” but this year may present conflicts of joy and challenges. As there will be family members who are home and those who are unable to join the Christmas celebrations and traditions due to travel restrictions, health concerns, and other reasons.

Continue reading Home for Christmas – A Different Celebration

A Festive Christmas – The Joy Found through Sharing the Light

Festive Decorations

Festive Joy - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

Is your home looking festive for the upcoming Christmas celebration? Festive displays are just one way that others are aware of how we recognize the celebration of Christmas. Oxford Dictionary defines festive as relating to a festival with a cheerful and jovially celebratory means. The word, festive, however to me, is a humorous word that holds a double meaning. And one which I may just need to rethink and turn back to its true meaning.

Continue reading A Festive Christmas – The Joy Found through Sharing the Light

Finding Comfort – Prepare for Christmas with Clutter Removal

The Clutter Buildup

Comfort in the Light - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

How do you define comfort? Do you grab a cozy blanket or a warm drink? Perhaps in the noise of Christmas, you seek comfort in the quiet. I like all those things, but it is difficult for me to reach the comfort level I desire if there is a lot of clutter. Many times, in our busy lives things go unnoticed unless we are paying close attention. There is a slow clutter buildup that can keep us from the life of comfort we desire. It is at this point we realize that to embrace comfort we need to prepare for clutter removal.

Continue reading Finding Comfort – Prepare for Christmas with Clutter Removal

Giving Thanks: Happy Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

It has certainly been a crazy year world-wide, but no matter our problems we can always offer God thanks in our circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5: 18) Sometimes it is difficult to celebrate with Thanksgiving allowing our prayers to express gratitude when life has bruised us. But let us remember that Thanksgiving is giving thanks for the goodness of God. And this can be done even when life’s goodness is difficult to see. So, let our praises ring and always be ready to let our “Songs of Thanksgiving fill the air.” (Isaiah 51:3d)

No matter whether you are giving your thanks in a grand celebration, surrounded by your family and friends, or just quietly isolated, always remember that the grace of our Lord is with you. And in the words of Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 3: 16, I also always pray that the Lord of peace Himself gives you His perfect peace in every situation as you feel His strong presence.

Thanks be to God!

Wishing you the happiest Thanksgiving if you are in the United States and for those in other parts of the world, may you too have a most peaceful day of thanks.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Join the Disscussion

Paying Attention to Those Around Us

Are You Missing Opportunities?

If you are paying attention to recent television commercials you are realizing that the holidays are descending upon us. Somehow in the middle of this crazy year, the season of joy has slipped up on me. It makes me ask, what opportunities I missed this year because I just wasn’t paying attention. As I now reflect and perhaps realize what I have or have not done, it seems I just might have missed some things with all that is going on in my world. Did I, in my busyness, miss my opportunities to help others. What about you? Have you been paying attention this year to your opportunities?

Continue reading Paying Attention to Those Around Us

Invest in the Future and Reap the Dividends

Long Term Investing

Invest in Joy - A Studio 1-37 Original Image

What do you invest in daily? Recently I read a quote that said, “Be so busy watering your grass, that you don’t notice if someone else’s is greener.” It is sometimes easy to look around and focus on what others have that we don’t. This blinds us to the fact that we need to invest wisely in the blessings we own. Many times, when we think of blessings, we focus on material objects, but being truly blessed is much more. When we look at how we are investing in the blessings we have, it is important to look to the Kingdom of God. How we invest there will determine our future dividends.

Continue reading Invest in the Future and Reap the Dividends