We are all Lamps

We are all lamps; we have the potential to be a light, to shine a path in the darkness. Our “Source” is always there, waiting for us to “plug” in. We throw everything at the lamp, trying to energize it, make it “come to life” – crystals, spells, Reiki, yoga; we are looking for a “source” of power. But nothing works. We keep trying in our own strength – alcohol, drugs, and sex – no power. Our lives are empty and dark.
Some of us do find “The Power Source” and “plug” in. We are connected with our purpose – we shine, we are bright, we can see into the darkness. We stay close to “The Source”. But eventually, we get bored staying so close to the wall, we look out and see all the world has to offer, quickly forgetting the darkness that surrounds it. The cord feels restrictive- “I want to do what I want to do” – our will, mind, and emotions fight against “The Source”. We finally yank the cord out and walk back into the darkness.
Others stay close soaking in the power of the One True God. – The Source. Yet until we realize that God has given us a rechargeable battery pack, we cannot go out into the darkness to be a light to those around us. When our faith grows and we realize we can take that power source with us and stay connected, then our true path will be lit before us. We will have to go back and “plug in” with the Father to “recharge” our batteries, but unlike modern everyday batteries, our charge will continue to strengthen as we sit, learn, study under “The Source”. He will enable us to keep going out into the darkness with no fear of losing His power source. We need not fear our light will flicker. He charges our batteries, His power lights the way. We are all a bunch of lights that the Lord wants to use and to light the path to Him- the One True Power Source.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.  Revelation 21:23

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12


The Oak and the Pine

Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
oaktreesideviewI have to say that 50 has been  a turning point in health…everything is just a little harder to do, takes longer to maintain results and the body is definitely a tad weaker….like eyesight.  It used to be that I wore glasses (or contacts) for distance but my up close vision was just fine.  Through my forties, my up close vision has steadily declined, to the point that I cannot distinguish the shampoo bottle from the conditioner in the shower.  But I believe what has really affected me the most is my contacts.  No longer am I able to correct my vision using contacts.  Now I need “cheaters” or drugstore glasses to read, however, this does not help my distance vision at all.  So even though I wear my contacts, I am still squinting to make out what appears to be a wreath or some pine debris next to a tall oak at the edge of the field yesterday morning.  So being the ever curious person God made me to be, Sheba (my dog) and I decided to head across the field to check it out.  As we meandered over to the tree, I was surprised to see that it was a beautiful miniature spruce actually rooted to the base of this towering oak.  I thought it rather odd that a perfectly formed pine had grown beneath the tree canopy that in the warmer months would have prevented much sun from finding it.  I sat down next to it and looked at the towering oak and thought, “that is so weird to find an evergreen under this huge deciduous oak.” (Yes, the words really do enter my mind!) The ground was littered with acorns and the distinctively shaped oak leaves.  As I sat and pondered such an odd pairing, I thought about the characteristics of both type of wood.  Oak is a hard wood, heavier, slow growing, highly prized for its toughness and beauty.  The spruce or pine, on the other hand, is a fast growing, soft wood, not prized for its beauty as much as its availability and quick growth.  It also is susceptible to dents and scratches.  The price difference is also distinctly different, with pine being cheaper than oak.  In the early morning sunrise, the Lord brings another picture to mind…….God is the beautiful towering Oak!  Tall, majestic, durable and highly prized.  We are the pine; weaker, softer, susceptible to dents and scratches.  If we understand the relationship that God intended with His Creation, we, too, would nestle in underneath His canopy, draw from His deep tap root, stay protected under His wide overarching reach.  We would not worry about the sun reaching us so we could grow in stature.  If we are rooted with God, His “Son” will sustain us, nurture us, and grow us up into a beautiful sight that would bring joy to others, especially at Christmas time, when, as the “pine” we would be able to shine –  adorned, and decorated – for the celebration of the Father’s gift to us, Jesus, His son.

The Stink of the Skunk

Early morning in March, first light is at hand but the shadowy outline of a furry creature in the distance makes me stop…..then the scent…ewwww!  Sheba, my dog, knows something is making its way up the hill.  She, unlike me, is now eager to trail it.  She starts pulling the leash…As she uncomfortably pulls me up towards the scurrying skunk, I think,”Why, Why??  I am trying to enjoy an early morning hike!”  But the gentle inner voice brings me back to my previous article “The Dog Walker”  and God brings yet another image to mind. The skunk represents sin!  Dogs have no fear of skunks initially, In fact ,they will run right up to a skunk, until the skunk turns and sprays the unsuspecting dog— the “sin” is the horrific oil used by the skunk to protect itself. The smell clings to our skin, our own human efforts to remove the smell just dulls the scent but cannot remove it. Skunks do not want to spray. Its their only defense. A skunk will typically give a warning sign like raising its tail, shaking it as an additional warning.  To a domestic dog, these acts are not warnings but invitations to sniff. The dog is attracted to the skunk!


Tomato juice has been the historical answer to rid the smell, which I find interesting…this red liquid will dull the smell but it clings to us and does not die easily once the oily spray adheres.  “Sin” waves its tail, looks like an invitation but get too close and we are hit with the noxious scent that will cling so thickly to our skin. It leaves its eye-watering scent on the road, in the air…those “dogs” (the inner selfish souls) which have not been trained by their “owner”, with constant focused attention to Him (God,the Ultimate Creator) will race off to sniff and trail the “skunk”.  It is attractive to our inner “dog”. But when we get too close, we will be sprayed and blinded by the sin. It’s the obedience to the master that keeps our souls safe and free from “sin”. No human effort can remove the smell completely. Sin is like an oil which, no matter how much we try to remove it, is impossible, the only red liquid that will cleanse us “white as snow” is Jesus’s blood.  He cleans us up, one side, down the other and inside out. By His blood and confessing our sins, declaring, “Yes, Lord, you are God, be “master” of my life, I give all control to you; only then is the smelly, cloying scent of sin erased.  We are pure and clean.  Then our obedience training begins in earnest.


The Dog Walker

dogwalkerOne of the most beautiful sights to see is a well-trained dog walking alongside its master.  The dog could be ugly, short, missing a leg or it could be very average or it could be beautiful.  The outside package does not matter.  When we see him in his master’s shadow with no leash – happily walking beside his master, attentive to the most subtlest of clues….We all want that relationship!!  It does not matter the breed of dog, we all stop and look. Secretly, everyone of us wishes our dog would do that.  Most of us watch a dog owner being yanked around and pulled everywhichway.  The dog in total control of its owner.  The dog will not listen because it has not been taught obedience.  Some of us will teach our dogs up to a certain point and then say “good enough.”  We know they will obey to a point, looks good to others, is impressive to most, but deep down you know you cannot trust that dog to fully obey. You just got tired of spending time training the dog.  Some owners try to circumvent the training process altogether…..they will buy an invisible fence, use “shock collars” or a pinch collar.  These dogs obey out of fear….fear of punishment if they do not obey.

I believe that this parable is so pertinent to people today.  

The Ultimate Master is God, the “owner” represents people and the “dog” is our inner selfish nature based on feelings or our soul.  There are three types of dog owners….Pre-Christian or those that do not have a knowledge of God, the “church” or professing christians, who proclaim  knowledge of God but are truly limited to Sunday attendance, good deeds or outward “signs” of piety like bumper stickers, logos, and religious adornments. Finally, there are those whose “walk” truly reflect their heart and obedience to following Jesus, laying down their own desires and wants to be obedient to a calling God has on their life.

Hosea 4:6  “My people perish for lack of knowledge…….”

The “pre-christian” is the dog dragging its owner around, it has no knowledge of its Master because they do not know the Truth.  John 14:6  “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”   This dog is in total control, leading its owner wherever it wants; pulling and dragging the owner around town. Leading by its feelings at the moment.

The “Churched” dog owner is the dog that is obedient to a point.  The owner has taken the dog manual (Bible), and pulled out what they need, when they need it, to get the dog (inner selfish soul) trained to a “good enough” point.  They are also the ones that will use shock collars and invisible fences to “force” obedience through pain.  However, what happens is that some dogs will endure a moment of pain to run through the barrier to get what it wants on the other side of the fence.  A moment of pain is worth the reward they see on the other side because their heart is not to be obedient to the Master.  “Churched” dog owners have religion and rules but no relationship with the MASTER.

Finally there are the “Dog Masters”, those that have laid down their agenda, feelings, and wants to read the whole “dog manual” (the Bible), to have a relationship with the Ultimate Master, the Father, God the Creator.  They have given their obedience to the Master through His son’s payment for our sins on the cross. They are walking in freedom that obedience to the Master brings…they walk freely next to Him with No leash, focusing all their attention on His path for them that day.  That is why we all are amazed at the obedient dog to its master.  It is a beautiful relationship that was God’s intent all along.

2 Peter 1:2  “Grace and peace be multiplied in you in the knowledge of God and in Jesus our Lord.”