Monday, January 31, 2011

Daily Light - January 31, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe,
when she had received the spies with peace."
Hebrews 11:31

We are taught by Scripture that God is no respecter of persons. He in His love looks on the heart of each individual and not the things that we tend to judge people on. Most of us make our judgments about people on the superficial things that we see. We most definitely judge people by their appearance. We think that we know every thing about a person based on the color of their skin, the way they wear their hair, what kind of clothes they have on, etc. If we know a little about someone's past, we also like to "pigeon hole" them into that past and never let them out.
Rahab was most definitely not among the "who's who" of the righteous. She had lived a life that was anything but pleasing to God. What drove her into such a profession is not known, but it was most definitely a choice that brought shame upon her life. However, somewhere she made another choice. She heard of all that Jehovah God had done for and through the Israelites. She recognized God to be the source of the power and strength upon this people, and she chose to believe in the living God. She professed Jehovah to be the true God to the spies, and her faith saved her life and the life of her family.
Rahab's life was not spared because she hid the spies. She hid the spies, because she had already put her faith in God. We are not changed through the power of God by what we do. We live out a life of righteousness because of the change that Christ made in us when we came to Him by faith. We must always look beyond our present circumstances and see what God can do in us as we trust Him through faith.
To say that Rahab's life was changed is an understatement. Not only was her life spared, she embarked on a journey that would lead this "harlot" into an incredible lineage. She would eventually have a son named Boaz who would marry a woman named Ruth. They had a son named Obed who in turn had a son named Jesse. Of course, Jesse became the father of the eventual king, David. David was promised that out of his line would come the Messiah, Jesus Christ. How fascinating what God does with changed lives! I guess you can't judge people by their appearance or past; you have to see with spiritual eyes what God can do.
May you see those around you differently today!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Daily Light - January 30, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days."
Hebrews 11:30

A soldier has one duty and that is to obey his commanding officer. His honor, valor, and heart are all tied to this one responsibility. How does a young man follow through with this duty of obedience? What if he questions the directions that he is given? Early in the training of a soldier he is taught to obey. As his training goes further this obedience for what his officer has given him to do is transformed into trust. He now trusts his commander with his life. He will do whatever he has been given to do, because he truly believes that the officer knows best.
Joshua was without any doubt a soldier in God's army. He had proven that by his faithful following of Moses. He proved it further when he was sent as a spy into the land of Canaan and came back with the encouragement to move forward although he was in the minority. God has placed Joshua over the Israelites now that Moses is dead, and he has led them into the Promised Land. Their first great task lay in front of them: Jericho. This massive city was one of the great structures and fortresses of all time. It was seemingly impregnable. Joshua now turns to his commanding officer, Jehovah God, for instructions.
God's command to march around the city one time a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day did not make a lot of human sense, but Joshua had learned to trust God. They did as God commanded, and when they shouted and blew those trumpets on the seventh day, the impossible become reality. There are times in our lives when God's plan does not seem to make much sense. He calls us into a life of denial and suffering so that we might prosper and live. There are times when he tells us to speak when we feel like we should be silent. At other times He instructs us to be silent when we just know we should say something. He calls us out of our places of security into the unknown to face things that we cannot humanly understand. It is at these times that it is not ours to question why but to simply obey. If God tells you to march and it seems ridiculous, just march. When He calls on you to shout at a wall, just shout. Remember that He knows best.
May you trust your Commanding Officer today!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Daily Light - January 29, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land,
whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do, were drowned."
Hebrews 11:29

Have you ever looked at one of those drawings that shape an optical illusion before your eyes? My boys had a picture that they wanted to show me the other day, and they asked me what I saw. I said that I saw two people looking at each other. It seemed pretty obvious to me. They then told me to look again but this time look for a lampstand. When they said that, it seemed to leap off the page. How could I have missed it before?
People look at life and God much in the same way. Some see God in their life as a source of strength. They go to Him each day for guidance and help with the knowledge that He loves them and wants to be their Lord. Amazingly, some view God in a completely different way. They speak of Him as being a cruel judge with no compassion for a hurting world. Many of them believe that God is unloving or completely absent in their life. How can two different people come away with such a different perspective of God? It once again comes down to faith and what it is placed in.
Pharaoh has commanded Moses to take the children of Israel and get out of Egypt. They hurriedly packed up everything that they could, even the things that the Egyptians gave them in order to convince them to leave. This multitude of refugees is now headed out of the country. At some point, Pharaoh regretted his decision and commanded his armies to hunt the slaves down and bring them back. The refugees have now become desperate fugitives, and their desperation has just gotten worse. They are standing before a huge body of water with no way to cross. They cry out in fear, but Moses, obedient to the voice of God, lifts his rod over the waters and the sea miraculously opens. The multitude now walks through the sea with dry ground in front of them and God's protecting cloud between them and Pharaoh's army.
Here is where it is really interesting. Pharaoh's army saw the dry path through the sea and decided to take it, but we all know how it ended. Why could they not cross through the sea like the Israelites? The Israelites crossed by faith in God who opened a way for them. The Egyptians tried to cross in their own power without trusting the God of Heaven. With God there is hope. Without God it is all hopeless. Who you place your faith in really matters!
May you place faith in the God who divides the sea today!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Daily Light - January 28, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood,
lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them."
Hebrews 11:28

The darkness of the night was so great that they could feel it all around them. Days of preparation had gone into this night before it came. The strange things that happened all throughout the land of Egypt were astounding. Water had turned into blood. Frogs occupied every corner of Egyptian homes. Crops had been destroyed by clouds of locust. Herds of animals had succumbed to disease. Moses had told the Israelites that all these things had been sent down through him by Jehovah. Those that were skeptics in the beginning were skeptics no longer.
This night was different though. The greatest curse of all was now pronounced upon the firstborn of each family: death. Moses' had warned them that the death angel was coming to take the firstborn of each family if the voice of the Lord was not heeded. Now, as Israelites were lying in their beds they knew that this was true as well. In the darkness of the night moaning and wailing could be heard from the homes of the Egyptians. The noise had started faintly from a distant place, but now it seemed that every household was filled with weeping. The news had been spread among the Israelites that Moses had been summoned to the palace, because Pharaoh's house was not left untouched. He was weeping with a mixture of broken-heartedness and anger for the death of his firstborn.
At first glance, it appears that death has come to every home in Egypt with the exception of the homes of the Israelites. That is not true however. Even Israelite homes had experienced death this day and there was proof. In order for the angel of death to Passover their home a spotless and innocent lamb had to be killed. The blood of this guiltless lamb was then applied generously around the doorpost of the home. As the angel passed over Egypt he saw this blood on the doorpost and passed over that home so that all that were inside were saved. These families and individuals believed God by faith and now experienced God's mercy and grace.
2,000 years ago the spotless and innocent Lamb, Jesus Christ, shed His blood for us on the cross of Calvary. He came to give His life as a ransom for the souls of many in order that they might not taste death. We come to Him by faith and are saved by His wonderful grace. The blood of Christ is shed upon our souls, and we are able to overcome only by the blood of the Lamb.
May you rejoice in life eternal today!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Daily Light - January 27, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king;
for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible."
Hebrews 11:27

The greatest hindrance to faith for many is fear. We often talk of taking a step of faith into the unknown and that sounds frightening to most of us. It is just not normal in our human nature to do something without being able to visualize the results first. In one of the movies in the Indiana Jones' series, Indy had to cross over a ravine to get to a door on the other side of the ravine. He was instructed that to get there that he had to have faith. He stepped off the edge of the cliff to find a walkway that blended into the rocks below.
No one is asking you to step off a cliff into the thin air, but living by faith can feel a lot like that. Moses took the children of Israel out of Egypt with an angry king breathing down his neck. He knew by the king's words that his life was at risk for all of the challenges that he had brought to his kingdom, but Moses knew that he had followed through with all of this in obedience to the voice of God. He didn't see the scowling face of Pharaoh, because he was too busy looking at the face of God. Moses spiritual eyes were set upon the promise that God had given him.
Fear has crippled the spiritual life of many individuals. It has caused people to miss out on the joy of entering into their own land of promise. Why do we fear in the face of faith? We are told very clearly from the Word of God that fear doesn't come from God. Fear is the direct result of two major things. First, the enemy (Satan) is a liar, accuser, and discourager. He will use any means possible to keep you from accomplishing the will of God. By trying to show you what could be the tragic results of your faith, he places fear in your heart. Second, our own flesh also causes us to fear. We dwell too much on what we can or cannot accomplish in our power and therefore fear that is not possible for us to accomplish the things that God has set before us. Let us always remember that it is in Christ and Him alone that we can do all things.
Don't let fear be the destructive force of your faith. Look past your circumstances and see what is possible with God.
May you see Him who is invisible today!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daily Light - January 26, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt;
for he looked to the reward."
Hebrews 11:26

In all of the accounts of Moses' faith, this verse illustrates how incredible his faith in God really was. There are several dynamics to be considered about Moses' life in order to understand his great faith.
First, Moses knew very well of the treasures in Egypt. He had been brought up in Pharaoh's palace with the best of the best. There was no need or want that he had that went unmet. He was dwelling in one of if not the most powerful places in the world. With this power there came great wealth and prestige. Moses was not sitting on the outside looking in on all of this; he was living this prestigious life. Despite all of this, he chose to give up everything for the will of God. It is not hard for many of us to say that we have surrendered all that we have to God, because most of us do not have this type of wealth. This is an unfathomable step of faith that Moses is taking.
Second, he also knew what reproach it would be to identify himself as an Israelite. He had watched the Israelites work as slaves and face incredible hardships. They were treated as animals and considered to be the lowest of that society. Their life was hard and difficult; they had been stripped of their dignity and were completely disrespected. To identify himself as an Israelite was to go from being a prince to a pauper. Who would dare step down from a royal throne and humble themselves to the point that they would face mocking, ridicule, and possibly even death? By this example we now understand the phrase "the reproach of Christ".
Moses chose this path in spite of what he could see: wealth vs. reproach. He looked beyond those things that he could see with his eyes to what he could see only with his heart. The word "looked" or the phrase "had respect" means "to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on some one thing". His reward was the joy of the Lord and the fulfillment of knowing that he had pleased Jehovah God. No wonder the author of Hebrews later admonishes us to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
May you look beyond your circumstances to Christ today!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Daily Light - January 25, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God
than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin..."
Hebrews 11:25

Suffering is a choice! How does that statement grab you right off the top? When someone speaks of suffering, there is a part of us that tends to cringe and shy away from the thought. Who in their right mind would choose to suffer? If you study the Word of God and history, you will find that those who were used most mightily by God down through the years were people that suffered for Christ's sake. A deeper look into their lives will show you that they chose that life.
Understand, this does not mean that we go around actively seeking to be persecuted. These people did not antagonize others and manipulate their circumstances so that they could feel the sting of suffering. No, each one of them made a choice to follow the Almighty and that choice brought some type of affliction into their lives. The Apostle Paul confirmed this when he said, "All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." This choice to follow Christ is not for the faint-hearted or the weak-minded. There will be most definitely be a great price to pay for those who choose to follow the Lord, but they will never be alone. Paul knew loneliness in this world, so he prayed for and desired the fellowship found in Christ's suffering.
Moses could have stayed behind in the palace and enjoyed all of its pleasures, but he knew that by doing that he was neglecting the will of Jehovah God. He chose to spend the next 80 years wandering in a wilderness and being constantly questioned and insulted by those whom he was to lead. Why give up the "good life"? That good life is temporary. Sin is a passing pleasure that endures but for a season. When it is finished, it has the penalty of death attached to it. Suffering for Christ only lasts for a season as well. When it is finished, there is eternal life and the knowledge of the power of His resurrection. Which will you choose: suffering-life or sin-death?
May you make a wise choice today!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Daily Light - January 24, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." Hebrews 11:24

There are some of us that who hate to make decisions; we prefer that someone make it for us. All of us have been in that awkward situation with a group of people trying to decide where we are going to eat. "Where do you want to go? It doesn't matter to me. Where do you want to go? I don't care." It is amazing that we do not have news reports of people starving to death trying to make a decision about what restaurant they are going to. If we struggle with the petty decisions of the every day, what is it like when there is a major decision to be made?
Moses came to a point in his life where he had to make a conscious choice. He knew from the guidance of his parents that he was an Israelite, yet he was being brought up in Pharaoh's palace as a prince of the Egyptians. As far as the cares of this life were concerned, he lacked absolutely nothing. He had the finest of every thing that he desired and more. Surely there were some young Israelite men that would have traded places with him in a heart beat. Moses knew however that this is not where he belonged.
He knew it was not where he belonged, because he knew who he was. That thought is really important to the story of Moses as well as the story of your life. He knew that he was an Israelite by blood, and there were no comforts afforded him that could change that. It didn't matter what garments he wore, where he lived, or what language he spoke, he could not deny who he was on the inside. That is a challenge for all of us that claim the name of Christ as well. We came into this relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ, by faith and by His shed blood. When we entered into this grace that He so freely provided, we were both born again by the Spirit of God and adopted by our Heavenly Father. We are without any doubt in our hearts children of God. Therefore, we must make a decision to refuse to be called children of this world. We must live separate from this world even as we live in this world. We must make choices about our spiritual lives that clearly distinguish ourselves from the foolishness of sin.
The Bible said that Moses chose this when he became of age. One of the clearest evidences of spiritual maturity is in what way we make decisions for Christ.
May you be mature in Christ today!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Daily Light - January 23, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents,
because they saw he was a beautiful child;
and they were not afraid of the king's command."
Hebrews 11:23

Ask anyone to name three different people from the Bible and Moses will be on almost every list. It seems that more attention is given to him than any other character of the Old Testament and probably for good reason. Of course, there has to be some credit given to Charlton Heston for that as well, I guess. God used Moses to be a leader of the nation of Israel and bring them out of bondage, but his story started long before the day that he stood in front of that burning bush.
Because of the rapid population growth of the children of Israel in Egypt, the king and all of those in power felt threatened by this growing nation in their midst. The command came down from the king that every newborn Hebrew boy should be killed. He instructed the midwives to make sure this was so. We know from Scripture that they disobeyed the king, and God blessed them for that. So, the king called on the people to take every boy that is born and throw them into the Nile by his order. Moses' parents chose to disobey and spare his life. There are three things that we can learn from their decision.
First, our faith has a direct impact on other's lives. Moses' parents chose to trust God and had the faith to do what was right in spite of the opposition. It also seems obvious that God worked because of their faith. Think about the fact that they had to keep a newborn baby quiet for three months. When Susan and I had our first child, we could not keep her quiet for three minutes! In the far reaching aspect of it, Moses' parents' faith had an impact eventually on the entire nation of Israel.
Second, Moses' parents saw that he was beautiful. That word can mean a number of things, but it is obvious that they saw that there was something special that God had in store for that child. That must be the vision of every parent. Every adult that works with children must see the value that each child has to God. God desires to use each individual to do something great for the sake of His kingdom.
Third, Moses' parents chose to obey God rather than men. There is no way that this subject can be treated fully in one paragraph, but they chose to be disobedient to the commands of man because it violated the nature and will of God. They followed this course out of humility and honor for not only their child but most of all for the Almighty. We would do well to follow the example of Moses' parents and see beyond the moment that we are living in and recognize the eternal plan of God.
May you have faith that impacts others today!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Daily Light - January 22, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure
of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones."
Hebrews 11:22

Joseph had truly made the best of a bad situation. He understood that God had a greater plan than he could have imagined all of those years ago when he was sold into slavery. He allowed God to take him into the worst situation imaginable in order for God to show His power and might to a whole nation. Now he is the second in command in all the land, his family is comfortably settled, and it is time to sit back and reap the benefits of all his labor. Not so for Joseph!
This is without doubt not the Promised Land. God has shown Joseph's fathers that there is a promise that awaits them far away from the land of Egypt. God has in His grace and mercy provided a homeland for His people. There will come a day when they will have to get up and move on from this place. This is not the place where they are to become comfortable and settled; this is foreign territory. It does not matter how good life seems to them at this point; God has provided something better. Joseph desired to be in that place so much that he told them at his death to make sure they carried his bones out of Egypt to this land of promise.
In the same fashion, we are not to get too comfortable in this world. This is not our home; we have a land of promise as well. There are times that we live on this earth as if there is nothing else to live for. We become complacent and satisfied with the pleasures and cares of this world, and we start to think that we are home. With heavenly eyes we must look beyond the landscape and cares of this world to a place where God dwells. We must be spiritually looking to grow more each and every day. God's work of sanctification in our lives is to prepare us for that heavenly land. He wants us to grow in His power and wisdom so that we might be fit and properly clothed for His kingdom.
May you be looking ahead for God's promise today!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Daily Light - January 21, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph,
and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff."
Hebrews 11:21

A life has not been lived for God unless it is finished for the glory of God. Perseverance is absolutely a necessary ingredient for the life of a Christian. Jacob, now Israel, exemplified this trait. He wrestled with the Angel of God until he was blessed. These many years later, after all of the trials and disappointments that he endured, he stands before his lost son, Joseph, and his sons. Once again, he heard in his mind the promise of God that had been passed down from his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac. He is the first of these three men to stand before a great number of descendants and see the reality of what was only once a vision. He blesses Joseph's sons with this same promise in mind as he faces his own death.
There is something quite sobering in the thought that death is so near. How do you face that which you know nothing about? It is truly a mystery when we consider our own mortality. Jacob shows us how to die by faith. First, we prepare those that we love for that day. We do that in several ways. We live a life that teaches them of faith in the Almighty. Death has no hold on the one that has been living for eternity already. We speak often to those that we love of the peace in our hearts for all that God has in store for us. There will most assuredly be grief when that day comes, but the joy that awaits us is greater than the grief that dwells here on this earth. We continually remind our loved ones of God's promises to those that walk after Him by faith. There are literally thousands of examples in Scripture and in our world today of people that have experienced the mercy, grace, and faithfulness of our Lord. We bless them with the promise of God's grace according to their faith in Him.
Second, we come to the end of our lives in worship to the great and mighty Jehovah God. The Bible tells us that Jacob worshiped as he leaned on top of his staff. His staff served as a walking stick not simply because he was old. When the Angel of the Lord fulfilled the promise to Jacob, he also touched his thigh/hip so that he limped for the rest of his life. When you saw Jacob walk, you were made aware of God's promises. Each time that Jacob reached for that old staff he remembered the day that God gave him grace and made him a nation. Jacob's remembrance of his past by that limp reminded him of a merciful and faithful God. As he limped toward his descendants with the knowledge that death was soon coming, he gave praise and glory to a God who does all things well.
May you see the faithfulness of God today!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Daily Light - January 20, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come."
Hebrews 11:20

No matter how long he lived, Isaac never forgot that day on the mountain as he lay upon that altar ready to be sacrificed. He remembered how the Angel of the Lord appeared and provided a ram to take his place. From the time he was born, he could remember his father telling him of the promise that he would one day be a great nation. On that mountain that day, he realized that God truly had something special for him in the future.
Now, Isaac is a father with two sons. Jacob and Esau are two completely different people. It is hard to imagine that they are brothers much less twins. Esau has a rebellious spirit and likes to hunt; Jacob is a conniving, mamma's boy. How in the world will either one of them carry out the plan of God for the future of their family? By faith, Isaac knew that God had a future plan for his sons. His entire life he had heard of God's promises, and now he has the obligation to pass it on to his children. Surely he told them about all that he had learned from their grandfather, Abraham. He explained to them what God had promised for their family and believed that it would be carried out according to the will of God.
What visions do we have of tomorrow by faith? Do we believe that God has a plan for our lives and those who come behind us? If so, are we living and acting accordingly? Too many times we get caught up in living in the past or just for the moment. We can get so wrapped up in our current situation that we cannot see by faith that God has great things prepared for us. We have believed the lie that this is all that we have to live for when God Himself tells us that we have not seen or heard what He has prepared.
The adults among us also have an obligation to bless our children toward a hopeful future. We must prepare them and equip them for what God has in store for the rest of their lives. This preparation is spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional. They need spiritual examples of people that live by faith each day, so that they might be able to see how to live as well.
It would do all of us good to remember the words found in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
May you walk toward the future by faith today!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Daily Light - January 19, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead,
from which he also received him in a figurative sense."
Hebrews 11:19

Faith is often described by some as radical or extreme, because there are times when it stretches the boundaries of what the human mind can fathom. It is hard to imagine two people waiting until they were almost 100 years old to have a promised child. Even more incredible, they were willing at the call of God to lay their long-awaited child on the altar of sacrifice. If this seems completely unreasonable, you are right. Radical faith cannot reason the will of God; it simply believes in the wisdom and power of God.
The most astounding parts of this story are found in the words of Abraham. First, in Genesis 22:5, when Abraham comes to the foot of the mountain, he tells his servants: "The lad and I will go yonder and worship, and WE will come back to you." He did not say "I" will come back to you; he said "WE". Second, in Genesis 22:8, when Isaac notices that they have all of the items needed for a sacrifice except for the lamb, Abraham replies: "God will provide Himself a lamb."
Abraham made this entire journey with the faith that God was going to do the miraculous. He believed so strongly in God's promise that Isaac would be his heir he was convinced that if his son did die God would raise him up from the dead.
Consider how radical this is for Abraham to believe. We speak of resurrection in the church today, because we have read the Gospel accounts of those that have risen from the dead even Jesus Himself. What did Abraham know of resurrection? Even more extreme than that, this sacrifice was a burnt offering. If God allowed Abraham to go through with all of this, Isaac would not only be killed but would be completely burnt. Abraham still believed that God could raise Isaac up even from that.
This should challenge our faith against our reason. There are times when people have trouble trusting God, because they cannot understand how He works. Faith in God goes beyond human reason and understanding. It is the trust that God is all He says He is and can do all that He says He can do whether I completely understand that or not. Look beyond what you call faith now and stretch your heart and mind to see what God sees. Believe in the extreme of God, and trust Him beyond all understanding.
May you walk by radical faith today!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Daily Light - January 18, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called."
Hebrews 11:18

Perhaps one of the greatest demonstrations of faith in the entire Bible is Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his promised son Isaac. He was willing to trust God to the point that he would give up every thing that he had spent his life waiting for. The journey from his home country by faith, the numerous conflicts with his nephew Lot, and the times that he had personally failed while waiting for the promise are now lying on that altar. What was this entire journey about if Isaac dies in this place? Was it the joke of a cruel God; did Abraham misunderstand what God had promised to him?
In Bruce Wilkinson's book The Dream Giver, the allegorical character Ordinary takes this long, hard journey to find his big dream. Once he finds it, he is overjoyed beyond words. His life is now complete, or so he thinks. While he is living out his dream, he hears the voice of the Dream Giver ask him to give Him back his big dream. Why? What is the reason for giving it back?
God is calling on His children to give all to God, even that for which we have waited for years. It is called complete surrender. All of us want to do great things for God, but only a handful of us are willing to surrender everything to Him in order to do so. If you read the biographies of those who accomplished great things for God, you will find that at some point in their lives they made a conscious, spiritual decision to let God have every thing. Amy Carmichael did not surrender her life to the children of India; she surrendered her life to God, and He mightily used her among those children. The same could be said for David Livingstone among the people of Africa, Hudson Taylor among the people of China, and the five martyred missionaries to Ecuador. We revere these individuals as great men and women, but it is not that they were great but completely surrendered.
Knowing that God can do mighty things with the life that is completely committed to Him, what keeps us from laying it all down for His purposes and His glory? What do we have that can give us so much here on this earth that would hinder us from sacrificing it all for what God has for us? Many Christians talk of living the abundant Christian life without realizing that the abundant Christian life has a cost. That cost is every thing that you have and every thing that you are. God wants all of you, even those things with which He has blessed you.
May you lay your own life down on the altar today!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Daily Light - January 17, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son."
Hebrews 11:17

Talk radio host and financial "guru" Dave Ramsey told of his struggle with giving and tithing early in his Christian life. He said that he was the kind of person that needed to know why he was to give. He was not going to do it blindly just because someone said so. In his personal devotions one morning, he was reading the famous passage of John 3:16, and the light of truth was switched on for him. He read that God "gave" His only begotten Son, and it was at that point he realized that we are to be givers, because we are supposed to be like God.
Abraham had waited decades for God's promise of a son, an heir of righteousness, to be fulfilled. Finally the day came when these two senior citizens had the child of promise. There was without any doubt great joy in their hearts and a song on their lips as they gave praise to the Almighty. What great things He had done for them! They now see how the promise that Abraham's seed would be a great nation can be carried out. This son will live a good, long life and their descendants will multiply for centuries. It all makes sense.
Then, the test of faith comes. God calls upon Abraham to take his son Isaac and offer him as a burnt offering and sacrifice to the Lord. This is unbelievable and heinous. Surely he will stand before God and protest this unreasonable request. He did nothing of the sort. He just obeyed. Why would God ask Abraham to do such a thing? God was testing Abraham to see how strong his faith was in the Father. Was Abraham willing to do what God Himself would one day do? God is a giver; would Abraham follow His example of giving?
There are two considerations that we must make about our lives. First, what are you holding on to that you need to give to God? Second, what is holding on to you that you need to give up for God? Abraham chose by faith to literally lay it all down on the altar that day. Are we willing to do the same?
May you be a giver today!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Daily Light - January 16, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God,
for He has prepared a city for them."
Hebrews 11:16

On the night of Jesus' arrest, He sat with His disciples and told them that He had to go away. He went to the Father with the purpose of preparing a place for them and all of those that would believe on His name. There would come a day when He would return and gather the children of His Father to Himself so that they could spend eternity with Him. During each difficult day that they lived on this earth, this message must have played through the minds of the disciples over and over again. As each one of them eventually faced persecution, they held tightly to the promise that there was the hope of a heavenly country ahead of them.
Why would God do such a thing for us? Why would the completely divine and holy God care about sinful man enough to give His life for them and prepare a place for us to dwell with Him? This unbroken eternal fellowship was what God intended at creation. He chose to create man so that He might demonstrate His eternal love to us. Unfortunately, man made a choice to neglect God's will and turn to his own ways; therefore, the eternal fellowship was broken. But God, who is merciful as well as just, provided a way of renewed fellowship with Him. Those who come to Him by grace through faith have an eternal hope.
One such man of faith was Abraham. He left all that was familiar to walk in the way and will of God. We are told in the Scriptures that God called him "friend". As a believer that has trusted in the finished work of Christ on the cross, how can you not be excited to read that God is not ashamed to be called your God? He has loved you and known you before the foundation of the world. He has accepted you and given you a sure hope in spite of yourself. He loves you as His child, and amazingly He wants to spend eternity with you. Don't let the thought that it is a divine choice for Him to let you into His kingdom pass you by. This is by faith truly amazing grace!
May you call Him your God today!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Daily Light - January 15, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out,
they would have had opportunity to return."
Hebrews 11:15

A hymn writer once wrote: "Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, O, take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above." This journey of faith can grow long and difficult. There are days where we are tired and worn. It seems that the hope of a promised land has turned into the reality of a barren wilderness. When these moments come in our lives, there is a tendency to look for an easier way or even look back to where we came with a false idea of what it really was.
The children of Israel murmured against Moses in the wilderness and wished that they were back in Egypt eating from the abundance of the land. However, if you remember, they were actually the slaves of the Egyptians. Life wasn't good there at all. Our mind has a way of making where we came from nostalgic and wonderful when it was nothing like that in reality. Sometimes we think how nice it would be to hang out with the old crowd again and not feel the "pressures" of living righteously that comes with being a child of God.
These "heroes" of the faith made a decision to not look back. They were on a journey for a new country and a homeland where God Himself abides. They desired no opportunity to walk back into the cares and allurements of this present world. They were looking for something by faith that was far greater than any thing this world could offer them. No matter what there was to entice them in this world, it had no comparison to the joy that lay before them. The security of their soul could not be found in their present circumstances, but it could be only realized in the presence of the Almighty.
A true believer has but one desire, and it is the better country. They live with a heavenly mind and think on the eternal. Why should we digress into the enchantments and pleasures of this world when God has something greater prepared for us? As we look back on the journey of our lives, do we see a plodding forward no matter what may come or a falling back into the land of familiar and pleasure?
May you keep your eyes on that Country today!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Daily Light - January 14, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland."
Hebrews 11:14

My beautiful wife was born in the Andes Mountains of Peru in 1972, and before her first birthday her family moved to the United States. Officially she was a Peruvian citizen, but in 2002 her citizenship status changed. Along with our three children at the time, she and I made a trip to Atlanta for the swearing in ceremony of her United States citizenship. In that room there was around 200 people from over 30 different countries that were there for the same reason. An official stood and gave a tremendous speech on what it meant to be a US citizen. Then, each of the candidates for citizenship raised their right hand and pledged their allegiance to the United States as citizens. When they were finished, every one began to applaud. People that were complete strangers shook hands, hugged one another, and congratulated each other. It was truly a very moving moment that I will never forget.
The people of God living by faith today know that we are not yet home. This world and all of its allurements leave much to be desired. When the Spirit of God takes residence in a person's life, they instinctively know that there is a homeland that far surpasses this fallen world. We have a homeland that we cannot see, but there is a groaning within our spirit that waits for that day of adoption. We will walk by faith while we are here, and we must live for the Almighty while we are in this foreign land. However, we look forward to standing with the saints of all the ages before the throne of God in our new home.
Our citizenship and allegiance belongs to a place where God Himself dwells. It is not so much about the place as it is about Who is there. We simply long to be in the eternal presence of God. There will be a day that all of God's children will stand together in the throne room of God. We will give Him glory and praise with an understanding of who He is like never before. There will be those there who were strangers to us on this earth that will now be brothers, sisters, and fellow citizens. We will embrace one another and have the privilege of embracing the Father with the full knowledge that we are finally home.
May you continue to seek that homeland today!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Daily Light - January 13, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off were assured of them,
embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Hebrews 11:13

"These all" up to this point includes Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah. We are told that they died without receiving the promise. With the exception for Enoch, who did not die, this sounds sort of strange. It seems that they did receive the promise. Abel received God's favor because of his obedient sacrifice. Noah received salvation from the flood for him and his family. Abraham and Sarah were blessed with the promised son Isaac. How is it that they did not receive the promise? None of these things were fulfillment of the promise that they were truly waiting for. God Himself is what they were promised and what they desired.
That is why they died in faith. They were still looking for the promise of the literal presence of God Himself. You can see in their lives a glimpse of the shadow of the words that the Apostle Paul would eventually write: "Reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." They understood that there was more to this life than the years lived here. There was something much greater than what we accomplish on this earth. There was the hope and promise of God Himself.
We are told that they were assured of this hope. Are we confidently persuaded that God is true and that every promise He has ever made will be fulfilled? Not only were they sure of the promise, we are also told that they embraced this promise. To embrace something is to claim it as your own, to hold to it tightly, and to declare your affection and passion for it. They embraced God as all that they had, wanted, or desired in this life. They embraced it so much that they confessed and confirmed that this world was not their home. They were foreigners in a distant land.
By faith we must also realize that we are not home yet. There is no greater promise than the hope of God Himself. It is not Heaven that we should desire; it is the glory of God's eternal presence that should be our continual craving.
May you embrace the promise of God Himself today!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Daily Light - January 12, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead,
were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude -
innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore."
Hebrews 11:12

Next time you get the opportunity to go to the beach, take the time to count the grains of sand that you find there. On a clear night out in the country away from the lights as you look up in the sky, turn around and count all of the stars. Scientists can only put a guess as to how many stars there are in the universe. They divide the sky into small quadrants and count how many there are in that quadrant, then they make an estimate based on their findings. I do not know of a scientist or mathematician who has even began to count the grains of sand on the beaches of the world.
Abraham walked out of his homeland looking for a land of promise. He was told that his descendants would equal the number of the stars in the heavens and the grains of sand on the beaches, but at 100 years old he and Sarah had no son of their own. Had God failed him? Had he failed God? No, God was waiting for the time of impossible to show Himself strong. There was no one that could say that this child was of the fruitfulness of Abraham and Sarah. There days of fruitfulness had long passed to the point that Abraham should have been dead, but God had something great in store. When Isaac was born, every one knew that God had intervened.
True blessing comes to the faithful when they have nothing left in themselves and God enters the picture. Abraham had a son by Hagar named Ishmael, and his descendants have most definitely covered the earth. This, however, was not the fulfilled promise. God's promise was to Abraham and Sarah. Through struggles, difficulties, and even doubts they faithfully waited on the promise of God. God kept His word.
Think about this though. Abraham had the chance of seeing his promised son born, but he never got to see the multitude of descendants. He never witnessed on this earth all that God was able to do. To fathom God's power in our lives is like trying to count those grains of sand. It is impossible to comprehend. God truly does more than we could ever ask or think. We believe by faith that God can do great things, and He does the impossible.
May you start counting the stars of blessing in your life today!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daily Light - January 11, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Sarah herself received also received strength to conceive seed,
and she bore a child when she was past the age,
because she judged Him faithful who had promised."
Hebrews 11:11

This story sounds like something you would read on one of those tabloid magazines at the grocery store. "90 year old woman has child with 100 year old man. Pictures inside!" We can grasp the stories of people like Hannah and Rachel in the Bible who were young but barren and God opened their womb but 90 year old Sarah? This is a test of faith to even believe such a thing!
Sarah had demonstrated faith during the entire journey of her life. When we read of Abraham and his faith to go out into the unknown, we often fail to remember this precious lady that was by his side through all of it. She had also left everything that she knew out of trust that her husband was responding to the voice of the Lord. Whenever Abraham listened to God and obeyed, she listened to her husband and did likewise. Do you think she ever wondered about the direction they were going and why? This journey of faith they were on seemed so surreal, but she kept following by faith. Then one day, her faith was shaken. It was told to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child. They had longed for a child their entire life, but it physically was not to be. When the Angel of the Lord said that this miracle would come about, Sarah couldn't help but laugh. The image in her mind of a senior citizen registering for baby gifts at the department store was too funny. However, with God all things are possible.
At some point in her life Sarah by faith trusted God at His word. She took faith in the fact that He could do that which was impossible for man. She knew her "weakness" and relied on His strength to give her this child. It is when we admit our weakness that we really demonstrate the greatest faith. As long as we think it is possible for us to do it, we are relying on ourselves. We must learn to rely on the strength of the Lord and that alone. Her faith was in the fact that she knew God was faithful. God will always keep His word even when the answer seems so far away and so far fetched. Maybe the Apostle Paul was thinking of Sarah when he said, "He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."
May you have the strength of faith today!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Daily Light - January 10, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"For he waited for the city which hath foundations,
whose builder and maker is God."
Hebrews 11:10

I am the kind of person that has to see something firsthand to really understand it. Some would say that makes me analytical and some would say that I'm just slow. Either way, if you show me what you are doing, I have a greater understanding of how it works and what it means. Back in 2005 we had a new educational building constructed at Lighthouse. I was extremely eager to see walls going up, flooring going down, and a roof placed on top of the structure. To me, theses were the most important parts of the project. Any one with experience in construction knows that there is something far more important than any of these things. I watched for several days as by hand and machine the workers dug deep into the ground to get the footers just right. At six different places deep, wide square holes were made as well. The steel beams were brought in and placed down in these holes and concrete was poured into them along with the footers. After all of this was done and made just right the rest of the building could go up.
Abraham had left everything he knew out of obedience to the voice of God. He was promised a dwelling place for him and his descendants. During his life every difficulty imaginable reared its head against him. It seemed that he would never see the promise of God fulfilled from a human standpoint. If you read this passage closely, however, Abraham wasn't looking for a place on this earth to call home. While others may have been looking for peace on earth, he was longing for peace in the presence of God. Some may have wanted God to fulfill all of their hopes and dreams for this life; for Abraham God was his hope and dream.
Abraham saw the time on this earth as God's foundation work for his life. There were days where God slowly and methodically dug deep into Abraham's heart and faith. It was often a painful process and slow going. It may have taken more time than Abraham's flesh wanted it to take, but he knew that God makes all things beautiful in His time. The foundation of faith was essential in order for Abraham to be the servant of God that he needed to be. The same is true of us. We are by nature very impatient people. Like the prodigal son, we want every thing that is coming to us right now. The truth is that we are not ready for it yet. The foundation hasn't been completed. God has some more work to do in our hearts before we can enjoy all that He has prepared for us. It is imperative that we stop looking at this life as all that God has for us and realize that our eyes have not seen nor have our ears heard all that God has for us.
May you let God dig deep into your heart today!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Daily Light - January 9, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country,
dwelling tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise."
Hebrews 11:9

If you were to travel to Haiti today, you would find that the capital city has been over run by tents. Every where you look there are blue tarps that have created the largest tent city in the world. People that lost their homes because of the earthquake last year are still living in these tents with no place to go. In the same manner, if you were to travel to New Orleans, outside the city limits you would find trailers that FEMA brought in to help those that were displaced after Hurricane Katrina. In both cases these tents and trailers were meant to be temporary. They were never meant to be permanent dwelling places for the displaced.
When Abraham obeyed God, he was moved from place to place with the knowledge that there was an eventual permanent place in which he would dwell. Every place that he set up his tent was foreign to him, and he knew that he was not yet home. Even as his family grew, there was always the knowledge that he was still looking for where he could eventually rest.
The Bible describes this body as a tent. Tents (tabernacles) were always representative of something temporary. As believers we are living in a temporary shelter much like those in Haiti. This isn't home, and this isn't the way it was meant to be. Sin made its way into this world by the choice of man, and we have been wandering in the wilderness ever since. When we came into a relationship with Christ, we became heirs of a promise, and we are now awaiting that promise in a foreign land.
This promise is of God, and He cannot lie. Just as tents represent the temporary, a temple denotes that which is permanent. The only time our body is described as a temple is when the Bible speaks of the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. He lives in us permanently, because there is the commitment by God to fulfill all that He has promised to His children. This future fulfillment of a promise is not an excuse for us to sit back and wait. We are not to get complacent in this tent, but we must continue to be obedient by faith and pick up and move as the Spirit leads. Living by faith is a daily chore while we keep our eyes on Jesus who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
May you look to Jesus today!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Daily Light - January 8, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Abraham obeyed when we he was called
to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance.
And he went out, not knowing where he was going."
Hebrews 11:8

For every traveler there has always been a way to figure out which direction they were headed. Sailors would use the stars as their guide on the dark seas. The compass was the friend of the explorer that found himself in new territory. Today, the advances of technology have given us the GPS that can pinpoint where we are going and how to get there and back again.
Abraham was called by God out of a pagan environment to go to a land that was promised to him and his descendants, but he had no idea where this place was. God told him to pack every thing up and start moving. He did not know in what place he would settle. He had no idea what he would find when he got there. He left the familiarity of language, custom, and culture simply at the command of the Lord. This is faith on a grand scale!
It is a humanly fearful thing to walk by faith with no idea where you are going. We want God to reveal every thing for us so that we are not surprised by what is ahead. Some have often said that they would like to be able to see the future in order to be ready for what is ahead. There are two reasons why it is best that we do not know what the future holds. First, if we really knew some of the hardships that we would face, most of us would do every thing that we could to avoid them, or better yet, we would be too overwhelmed to live life. These "unexpected" hardships are often the greatest tools to teach us the lessons of life that God has prepared for us. If we avoid the lesson, then we miss the opportunity to grow in the Lord. Abraham would encounter numerous trials during his journeys to the land of promise, but these trials increased his faith in the Almighty.
Second, not knowing what the future holds for us forces us to live by faith each day. We have to be spiritually prepared for whatever may descend upon our lives. The key word to Abraham's life is found in the word "obeyed". We don't see him trying to squirm out of difficult places or manipulate his circumstances to his advantage. He accepted the unknown that God had called him to and found that God does all things well.
May you obey the voice of God today wherever it may lead!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Daily Light - January 7, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen,
moved with godly fear, prepared and ark for the saving of his household,
by which he condemned the world and
became heir of the righteousness
which is according to faith."
Genesis 11:7

Often when we speak of faith, we think of it in the personal realm and how it affects the relationship between the individual and God. There is no doubt that faith is a deeply personal issue, but it also affects every other area of our lives. The story of Noah and his life is no greater illustration of this.
In a devotional for our teens, we talked about how parents ask them to do some things sometimes that they don't quite understand. As a matter of fact, to the cynical teenage brain these requests may even seem ridiculous. There is no parent in our society that has ever asked their children to do something as strange as what Noah asked his sons to do. Noah's faith challenged the faith of his entire family.
Can you imagine what that first conversation about the ark between Noah and his family must have been like? He sat them down and told them that God wanted him to build a boat. It was not just any boat either; this boat was longer and as wide as a football field and four stories high. They were going to build it because of the flood that was coming that would wipe out all of humanity. On this epic journey they would be accompanied by a host of animals which they would be taking care of. With stunned silence the questions ran through their mind. Where are we going to float this boat? What is a flood? What do we know about taking care of animals? How much pizza did you eat before you went to bed last night? (Okay, they probably didn't ask the last question, but you know they must have thought something was wrong.)
This directive from God was as unbelievable to the whole family as it originally was to Noah. Noah's decision to trust God by faith had an impact on his entire family. His faith in God was so strong that his wife, his sons, and their wives followed along with the plan. Although they could not see what God was going to do and had not heard directly from God themselves, they picked up a hammer day after day and prepared for rain. Is our faith strong enough to have an impact on those around us? Are parents living such godly lives that their children would trust them with their lives? Do we live with such faith each and every day that our own loved ones would be willing to follow the voice of the Lord when we are the only ones that heard it?
May your faith impact those around you today!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Daily Light - January 6, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is,
and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Hebrews 11:6

There are times in life where we do enough on certain projects or jobs to just get by. The full amount of energy, thought, or imagination is replaced by a weak and half-hearted effort. The job gets done, but it is most definitely not to our full potential. This may work in the physical realm of day to day life, but it will never work in the spiritual realm.
We are told that in order to walk with God as Enoch did and please God day to day we must have faith. Without our faith being a full reliance on God, pleasing Him is impossible. So what is it that we really need to have faith in and about? We are given two things from this passage that our faith must be grounded upon. First, we must believe that He is. Okay, that's easy. What's next? Not so fast! What does it mean that He is? Does it simply mean that we believe that God exists? Surely not, because the Bible tells us that Satan and his demons believe in God and are in fear of Him. I don't think any one would consider them converts for Christ. Believing that "God is" means believing that He is God now, always has been, and always will be. It is believing that there is no life apart from Him. It is believing that His Son, Jesus Christ, is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man can come to God except they come through Him. For many this is a very narrow view of God, but it is that narrow path that we must follow. When Moses asked God who he should say had sent him to be the deliverer of the children of Israel, God said to tell them that I AM sent him. When the author of Hebrews, writing to Hebrews, said that they must believe God is, the words spoken to Moses all of those years ago rang in their ears.
Secondly, we must believe that God keeps His Word. We are told that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God cannot lie, and His promise of hope, life, joy, and peace will be kept. There is nothing in His Word that is not true no matter what the skeptics may think. Every character that is listed in this great chapter of faith in Hebrews 11 came to the point that they completely took God at His Word. Many today want to believe in God but at the same time doubt that what He says to us through His Word is true. Faith is convinced that God keeps His Word and His promises no matter how difficult it may be for us to reason or fathom. These that are convinced by faith will take "risks" for the cause of Christ and step outside of their comfort zone, because they know that God will be there to fulfill His promises to them. What greater promise do we have than if we believe God and take Him at His word then all things will be fulfilled for His glory?
May you believe that He is today!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Daily Light - January 5, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death,
and was not found, because God had taken him;
for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God."
Hebrews 11:5

What exactly is a godly legacy? Those words get tossed around with very little meaning attached to it any more. While it may seem calloused to say, we often tend to think more of people after they die than when they were alive. We want to see every one as a saint no matter how they lived their lives.
Enoch's testimony was not made up. He was one of only a couple of people that we read of in the Bible that never tasted death. There is very little said about Enoch, but what is said is astounding. Twice in Genesis 5 we are told that Enoch walked with God. There is no record of great accomplishments, astounding victories, or powerful exploits. We are just given the fact that each and every day Enoch faithfully walked with God. A faithful life is a consistent life. Many of us live our lives in the flash of the moment. We make commitments and decisions based on how we feel emotionally at that particular time of life. A burden or a concern enters our heart or mind, and we know we must do something. So, we make this heartfelt decision about the situation, but when the emotion dies out so does our commitment. You cannot live for God that way. Faithfulness must be the key ingredient to the successful Christian walk.
My wife has taught me to love history and look at it a different way. When we talk about people that have done something for good here on this earth, I see a gleam in her eye. She loves to consider their lives and not only what they accomplished but how they accomplished it. Like some of you have done, we have walked through old cemeteries and read the tombstones and wondered about the lives of the people. How fascinating it would be to know each of their stories! On every one of those grave markers are the same two things: a name and a date. The name tells us who the person was. The date tells us when they were born and when they died. The one thing we don't know is represented by a small dash between the two dates: how they lived. The significance of one's life has nothing to do with when were born and when we died; it has every thing to do with what we did with the time that we were given. Those are the years, days, hours, and minutes that must not be wasted but wisely used for God's glory. What will the dash of your life represent? When we think of Enoch, we do not focus on his death because he never experienced it; we focus on the life he lived walking with God. Oh, for that to be said of all of our lives would be glorious!
May you walk with God today!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Daily Light - January 4, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
through which he obtained witness that he was righteous,
God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks."
Hebrews 11:4

Do you know someone that just can't be quiet? They have what some call the gift of gab, although at times we are not sure how much of a gift it really is. No matter what the topic of conversation is they are either an expert on it or have numerous stories to tell concerning the subject. You have to wonder if they spend most of the night talking in their sleep as well. Often, it is not so much that we mind the amount of talking as it is we just wish that what they had to say was worth listening to.
Abel had the distinction of being the second son of Adam and Eve. We are given very little detail about his life, but we are sure that it was an interesting one. For years he and his brother Cain had been brought up with the knowledge that things weren't the way they were originally meant to be. Surely the stories of the Garden had been repeated to them time and again. They listened as their parents spoke about all that there was to eat of in the Garden, the peace with the animals that lived there with them, and most importantly the walks with God in the coolness of the day. With sadness Adam and Eve also rehearsed the fall and their sin. Perhaps this is where they told of the first sacrifice so that their nakedness might be covered. Abel looked down at his own clothes and knew the cost, then he gazed over at the sheep that he was called to protect and serve and knew what must be done.
By faith Abel gave to God his best. He did not give what seemed pleasing in his sight but what he knew would be pleasing in God's sight. This sacrifice was not about him; it was about his God. By faith we do not give to God what makes us happy, but instead we are to give what glorifies our heavenly Father. Abel's sacrifice not only cost him a lamb from his flock, but it also cost him his life. His own brother despised him for being righteous. There will always be those who hate God's people and their righteousness, because they hate God. We must not get discouraged in this but realize that we are called to live by faith for God's pleasure not ours. A life of faith is a never ending testimony for the Lord.
Even today when we hear, think, or speak of Abel we can still hear his voice. For Cain the voice was a haunting one, because it reminded him of his unrighteousness. For those that are living by faith the voice of Abel is one of encouragement. Living by faith may cost us everything here on this earth, but it is rewarded by the Almighty and no one can take that away. Live by faith so that your voice will be heard long after you leave this world. Righteousness proclaimed is a message that can never be silenced.
May you speak loudly by faith today!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Daily Light - January 3, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,
so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."
Hebrews 11:3

Some of you remember a day when someone's word was all that you needed to make a contract. A verbal agreement and a handshake were much more binding than any signed piece of paper. Unfortunately, that has changed over time, and we are afraid to trust people enough to take them at their word. Some have even applied this mistrust to God and His Word.
The Bible tells us that God cannot lie. He by His very nature is truth; therefore all that He says is truth. Even from the Garden of Eden, our enemy has been trying to cause people to doubt and eventually deny the Word of God. The Bible begins with the words: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Somehow that has become one of the most attacked and denied teachings of the Scriptures. You are considered a fool in many circles if you believe that this world came to be because God created it. For years now we have taught multiple generations of school children that they are the product of chance and that they have evolved from a coincidental explosion billions of years ago. The attempt of this logic is of course to deny that there is a God to whom all men will one day give account. If there is no God, then there are no absolutes. If there are no absolutes, then the truth is relative to your situation, and you decide what is right and what is wrong. With this kind of logic, it is no wonder that the world is spinning completely out of control.
Believing that God's Word is true by faith is essential to the spiritual development of our lives. The word "framed" means "perfectly joined together, complete." When God created this world, He said everything that He made was good. There is not one person that is living in this world today that is a mistake. God has a purpose for all things that He does. If we believe, however, that everything has happened by chance, then we see no purpose or value to our lives. God has a purpose and a plan for you, because He does all things well. He knew you before the foundation of the world, and He desires to use your life to bring glory to Himself and give you joy unspeakable and full of glory. This must take root in our hearts by faith in order for us to become productive to His kingdom. That is why the writer says that by faith we "understand".
May you see your value to the Almighty Creator today!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Daily Light - January 2, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"For by it the elders obtained a good testimony."
Hebrews 11:2

There are plenty of people that talk about what they would like to do and how they would like to live, but it is those who have done it and lived it that you respect. Living by faith is not for the faint hearted or those with a weak stomach. It takes a courage that is not of this world. Those who live to tell of their experiences of living for God by faith have their eyes set on another place and think nothing at all of giving every thing to Christ.
As you study the Word of God, there is testimony after testimony of people that lived by such faith. You can read of a man that took a small band of outnumbered soldiers into battle with oil lamps and band instruments (Gideon). Another couple that should have been in the retirement home was registering for baby gifts down at the department store (Abraham & Sarah or Zechariah & Elizabeth). One man's prayer life gave him the opportunity to have a sleep-over with a pack of hungry lions (Daniel). The stories of faith are countless. We have but just a small recording in the Word of all that God has done in the history of mankind. At the end of John's Gospel he accurately says that if we wrote everything down that God has done the world could not contain the volumes of material.
Today we speak of Bible characters as if they are super heroes. One manufacturer of toys decided to use just this theme and created Bible characters that looked like super heroes. They made them out to be good-looking with large muscular frames, everything that we say is attractive. I, however, think that each of these people were very normal looking, perhaps even below average for some. Many of them saw themselves that way and wondered why God would ever use them. God, of course, is not looking for beautiful, lots of talent, and large muscles. No, God is looking for people that will live for Him by faith, people that will not leave a testimony of their greatness but a testimony of God's great power through their lives.
Every one of us can be champions of faith for the cause of Christ. We can all leave a legacy of faithfulness for those who come behind us. We must purpose now that our testimony will be one of obedience and submission to the will of God. Step outside of your comfort zone and follow faith wherever it may lead.
May you live out your faith today!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Daily Light - January 1, 2011

Daily Light from the Lighthouse
40 Days of Faith

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

It is often said that seeing is believing, but in the realm of faith it is just the opposite: believing is seeing. The word "faith" has come to mean many things over time. We often use the word to describe someone's religion. In fact, it does take faith to believe the teachings of any religion, especially when it comes to the deity of that religion. Faith is often defined as a simple trust that is placed in someone or something. It is a little different than this though, because we often place trust in someone based on their skills, talents, or past performances. To define faith we must come to the root of faith.
Faith is only as good as what you place your faith in. If you place your faith completely in man, you may succeed for a while but eventually disappointment will come because man is flawed by nature. Perhaps you choose to place your faith in religion. Religion in its basic sense is a man-made set of regulation, rules, and traditions whereby you can draw closer to God. Once again, our faith has been placed in the opinions and teachings of man, and man has no divinity which can help you rise above earthly and moral righteousness.
It is clear from Scripture that our faith must be placed in God and Him alone. We must be clear what we mean by God. Our faith is in the God of the Bible that has ruled and reigned over principalities, powers, and humanism for all of eternity. Our faith is given the tangible source of hope through Jesus Christ. He said in His Word: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." This is the well of faith whereby we draw water that springs up into us everlasting life. You cannot be moral enough or perform enough religious rituals in order to be right with a holy God. You must come to Him by faith in the fact that what He says is true and that what He offers is all you need.
Faith is not getting what you are looking for. It is instead the realization that what you have placed your faith in will supply what you are looking for. It is a confidence that is placed not in what is supplied but in the Supplier. Faith does not wait to see; instead faith sees while it waits.
May you live by faith in the Almighty today!