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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lancaster PA covered bridge interior (Nick Nichols)
Interior of a Lancaster PA Covered Bridge
(Photo by Nick Nichols)

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"Shine Brightly!"

"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).

As we move further into the Spring season the days are getting longer, something we longed for over the dreary winter months. Another blessing we especially enjoy is awakening to bright sunlight as we did early this morning. We look beyond our back yard to farm fields being prepped for spring planting and out our office window to a large green field. The sun is brilliantly shining this virtually cloudless morning and temps are forecast to be in the high seventies. We are ready for that!

Eye exam
Yesterday we both had an eye exam. One of the tests involved a very bright light that the doctor uses to see the back of the eye. He warns you, prior to the test, that the light will be very bright and may even cause some pain. Bright light can do that both physically and spiritually.

Daniel praying
Today let us consider a text that has a Proverb-like quality from Daniel who was among the captives taken when Jerusalem was conquered. Early on, his resolute decision to live according to His Jewish upbringing was expressed by the phrase, "He purposed in his heart" (1:8). He is best known for his victorious deliverance in the lion's den and his steadfast resolve to live for God during the Babylonian exile.

The latter part of the book (chapters 7-12), written during Daniel's senior years, is a series of remarkable prophecies that looked far into the future, way beyond that which is visible to the naked eye, and could only be interpreted by a prophet with keen spiritual foresight. The daily verse is one of those little gems found among these prophesies.

It is a description of "Those who are wise." This is the wisdom not of the world but that which comes from a close, abiding walk with God and through the study of His Word.
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).

The wise will "shine like the brightness of the heavens". Consider the accumulative light of hundreds of millions of true believers living out their lives for Jesus Christ, who said, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

The apostle Paul might also have been alluding to this verse when he wrote, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life" (Philippians 2:14-16a).

Beaming lighthouseLet us go back to the illustration we shared concerning the bright light in the eye exam and the doctor's warning that "This may hurt a bit." Can you imagine my foolishness if I were to say to the doctor, "Well, I won't just won't do it if it's gonna hurt." Or imagine the captain of a wandering ship navigating his crew safely into a foggy harbor, and then complaining about the piercing light that beamed from the lighthouse over the dark waters.

As the world grows darker and darker the everlasting light of God's Word, implanted in His people, shines forth eternal truth which increases the pain and discomfort of those who've acclimated themselves to their dark surroundings. Nevertheless we don't evolve*, compromise, or dim our light, but we must proclaim the pure message God wants us to declare to those in our surroundings. We must also remain resolute in our purpose to "lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever."

Won't you shine a beaming light toward those engulfed in darkness!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, You sent Jesus to be the Light of the world, and He now sends us out as redeemed messengers in the places where we live. Some of those places are very dark and we're afraid to share the message of light and truth because we feel inadequate, unworthy, and unprepared to convey such a wondrous message. But in holding back we fail to introduce others to You whose searchlight from the Holy Spirit guides us into all truths, delivers us from the evil one, and sets our feet upon a rock to stay. We know that it is not by our might or power that we are able to shine like stars in the universe, but it is through Your Spirit that we can lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Amen.

* "Evolved" The term used by many politicians for abandoning God's standards.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Let The Lower Lights Be Burning"  
Video  Haven Quartet  
Video  J. Ashley Milne
In this song we are represented as the "lower lights". It was written by Philip P. Bliss. Hymn history is here.

"Shine On Us"  Video  Philips, Craig and Dean

"Here I am To Worship"
Chris Tomlin  "Light of the world You stepped down into darkness"

"This Little Light Of Mine
"  Video  Addison Road  Newer version with additional verses.

"This Little Light of Mine"  Video  Dalton Mountain Gang  (Blue grass style)

"This Little Light of Mine"  Video  Cedarmont Kids  (The way most of us probably learned the song!)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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