The Shepherd’s Staff — September 13, 2013

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ShepStaffWhen the Lord speaks, His words always penetrate the heart. For some time now I have been meditating on a particular passage which the Lord has deeply embedded in my heart and mind. As we move into our busiest season of the year as a community with school starting and a new fall schedule developing, I find that I can easily get distracted from my priorities as a disciple of Jesus Christ. These verses have helped me recently in getting back in focus.

The words are from Isaiah as he speaks to the people about the coming of the Light of the world into their midst. Of course, we know that the light has come to us in the person of the Lord Jesus and the brilliant radiance of His glory is now shining through those who are identified as His disciples.
Hear what he says and think with me about the implications for our lives together in ministry.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Isaiah 60:1-3 (NIV)

The unique calling that He gives to His people to serve Him brings with it a unique responsibility to exercise great faithfulness in carrying out His purposes. As we enter the fall with its increased level of activity, let me offer these observations from this passage which have been a great challenge and encouragement to me.

We Have Been Honored by His Presence. When the Lord lets us know that His light has risen upon us and that His glory shines upon us, we are assured that He is present with us. I don’t know how that makes you feel, but for me to realize through the simple reminder in these verses that the Lord God Almighty abides with us so moves me that I feel that the highest of all honors has been bestowed upon us. The Nobel Prize, Congressional Medal of Honor, World Championship trophies, Olympic gold medals and any other human honor you can name become nothing more than litter compared with the ultimate honor of His abiding presence. Think of it. The radiant splendor of heaven has shone forth upon us in the appearance of the Lord among us as His people. What an honor to be with the Lord!

We Have Been Transformed by His Power. Can we remain the same once we understand that He abides with us? Of course we can’t!  His very presence alters everything about us if we are conscious at all of what His presence means. His holiness demands that we be holy. His righteousness compels us to be righteous. His radiant glory transforms our darkened lives into channels through which His light shines.  His joy races through our hearts and appears without shadows on our faces.

bible_light

Through every relationship we have, in every activity in which we are involved, in every word that we speak, we either advance the light of Christ and direct it into the darkness of the lives of those around us, or we hinder the light and dull its brilliance by casting shadows on it and tarnishing its brightness. The Lord wants His disciples to be transformed by the power of resurrection and live as new creatures who represent Him as His light in the midst of the darkness which covers the earth and the deep darkness which covers its people.

As the darkened world around us awakens to that light, they will be drawn to the Source of that light, Jesus Himself. When we are transformed by the power of Christ, our lives will reflect His glory and radiate His perfect light.

We Have Been Humbled by His Plan. This is perhaps for me the observation that has impacted me the most. The Lord has chosen to entrust that light, the light of His presence, to folks like us. As the body of Christ, we have been given the privilege of carrying the light of His glory.

At the beginning of the Olympics, it is a high honor to be asked to carry the torch that lights the Olympic flame. What a greater honor to be asked to bear the light of Christ, to carry His torch, when we know that we do not deserve to do so. He has humbled us by entrusting us with this holy and glorious duty.

When you start to feel the pressures coming upon you as you get busier this month with your fall schedule, just remember that the Lord has chosen to bestow upon you more than a burden of busy-ness. He has poured out upon you the light of Jesus Christ and He wants you to rejoice in His presence. Each day that comes brings with it the opportunity to let your light shine or to generate a cloud which hides that light.

I long for Providence to be a place where the glory of Christ shines forth. As the fall begins, let’s accept our calling as His disciples to

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you…And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

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