Category Archives: Light

The Wonders of God – A Seaside View

“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods…. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.” — Psalm 95:1-5
 

There’s something so appealing about the sea. I always get excited to see the beach and the waves and the line where the vast blue water meets the sunlit sky. And here I find myself–at the water’s edge. I breathe in the salty air and watch as the pelicans swoop across the water’s surface and hear the cries of the gulls as they pass overhead. The sand feels cool and comforting between my toes as the waves gently wash over my feet. As I look out to sea, I breathe deep and take it all in. And in that moment, I sense His presence.

Our GREAT and MIGHTY GOD.

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“Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and glory are in His sanctuary.” — Psalm 96:6

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“Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” — Psalm 98:7

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“How many are Your works, O LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number–living things both large and small.” — Psalm 104:24-25

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“And God said, ‘Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.’ So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” — Genesis 1:20-21

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“The LORD reigns, He is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Your throne was established long ago; You are from all eternity. The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea–the LORD on high is mighty.” — Psalm 93:1-4

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“Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps Himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of His upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds His chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” — Psalm 104:1-3

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“I will praise You, O LORD, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is Your love, higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let Your glory be over all the earth.” — Psalm 108:4-5

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As I watch the setting sun, I feel the warmth of His love and this Scripture touches my heart…

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens… When I consider 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?” — Psalm 8:1, 3-4

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“Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.” — Psalm 113:1-3

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“Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever.” — Psalm 111:2-3

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“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display their knowledge. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” — Psalm 19:1-4

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The next morning, looking out toward the sea, I suddenly notice the three trees. And my heart remembers Calvary and God’s amazing love!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16

The glorious wonders of God are all around us. So often I miss them in the sights I see every day. But getting away to the seaside–miles away from home–I remember to notice. To see God’s majesty in His creation. To read about them in His Word. And once back home, to be more aware of the beauty that surrounds my every moment and brings praise to the Lord.

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What beauty surrounds you? What amazing wonders are evident in the place you live? Do you have a special place that draws you deeper to sing of God’s glory and majesty through His creation?

O precious Lord, how great You are! Your creations shouts Your praise and declares Your majesty. Thank You, Father, for the blessing the world with such beauty. Thank You for revealing Your glory in Your creation. May we always sing Your praises and worship You, for You are the LORD God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. You are our salvation–our very life. We offer to You our grateful hearts. In Jesus’ most precious name, Amen.

Grace and peace,
Sabra

 
All Scripture from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
Images by Philip Penley and Sabra Penley.

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Filed under Creation, Enjoy Life, Glory, God's Presence, God's Works, Joy, Light, Love, Thankfulness

The Star

“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (John 1:9).

Is anyone else out there captured by that star–that wondrous star–which burned so brightly on that sacred night so long ago? That strange and mysterious star that moved the Magi to travel so far? The very star that guided these learned, seeking men to the place where the new King lived?

I have been captivated by its beauty, its mystery, its message. I start searching the scriptures to learn more about it. Did you know the only accounting of its presence is in Matthew 2:1-10? How can this be? This wonderful star about which we lift our voices to sing is only mentioned once? The search continues…

My eyes move to the cross-reference in the middle of the page in my sacred text. And I find Numbers 24:17: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”

Ah, but this star in Numbers is not the star mentioned in Matthew. This star is the long-awaited Star. The Messiah. The Savior of the world. This Star is Jesus. The King of kings and Lord of lords.

So, then, these passages speak of two different stars. The star seen in the Bethlehem sky gave off great light. But it was just a beacon in the heavens to draw men to the real Star of Christmas—Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star.

Isaiah 9.2

It is said in Isaiah 9:2: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”

This light is Jesus…the Christ…Messiah…the newborn King.

The star about which we sing at Christmas, that star in the sky over Bethlehem, radiated with the glory of this newborn King. That star’s light signaled that the True Light had come.

John 1:9 says: “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”

Jesus Himself said in John 8:12: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus is the True Light. HE is the Star of Christmas. He shines His light into all the world and gives life to all who believe in Him.

And as followers of Christ Jesus, we too are called to be His light. Just like that star at Bethlehem, we are to proclaim that the Messiah has come.

We see in Matthew 5:14-16 these words: You are the light of the world. …let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

In the original Greek language, the word for light is phós. It means “to shine.”

This reminds me of those glow-in-the-dark stars. You know, the ones that can be stuck on the ceiling and that shine when the light is turned off. These stars are made with phosphorous chemicals. In order for them to glow, they must be exposed to a bright source of light. And (if I understand correctly) energy from the light source is absorbed by these chemicals and causes the glowing effect. Unfortunately, over a period of time the light will dim. The only way they can glow brightly again is to come near the source of light once more.

In the same way, we must stay near the source of light—the True Light…the Lord Jesus Christ—in order to shine with the brilliance of His glory. Whenever we leave His presence, we begin to dim just like those stars on the ceiling.

Philippians 2:12-16 instructs us to “…shine like stars in the universe as [we] hold out the word of life….”  It tells us that we must follow God’s commands and be blameless and pure. This is a tall order, and one that can only be accomplished by staying close to the True Light and absorbing His power as we apply His truth to our lives. Only then will our light shine brightly before men. Our light that draws men to His light—the Source of light and life.

I’m still captivated by that star. Though now, the star in the Bethlehem sky so long ago has new significance for me. It is a shining example of how I also am to proclaim tidings of great joy—the good news of the Savior. It beams with the call to radiate His light for all the world to see.

When someone sees me and my life, what am I radiating? Am I shining with the light of the Lord Jesus? Am I a beacon, drawing others to Christ by reflecting His love and grace and mercy? Is there a welcoming smile on my face or a sour scowl that turns people away? Do my words bring truth and hope to a dark, hurting world? Or am I just adding to the darkness with grumbling and self-focused opinion?

O Lord, I want to shine with Your brilliance! I want to pierce the darkness with Your love and draw those who have no peace to the Prince of Peace. Help me stay by Your side, to absorb the truth of Your Word, and in Your power to gleam with Your glory that all the world may come to worship You! In the name of my precious Savior, JESUS, the Messiah, the True Light – The Star, Amen.

 

Sunrise Photo: “Sunrise” by Andy Wright, licensed under CC BY 2.0/framed, text added

All Scripture from the New International Version, 1984.

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Filed under Christmas, Light, Share Gospel, Witness