There is a war for our freedom, our truth, our justice and our lives. This war is raging and has been for years, but as the enemy is about to meet his punishment, his force is more open, more noticable, bigger. And everyone feels it whether they realize the reason or not. This unseen war is as real as you but operates only with permission in our physical world. The battle is between good and evil, God and Satan. It is not an even battle. God made everything and everyone we know of, and angels (which Satan is one) were created by God also. So He is much stronger and also won fairly by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as ransom for our sins. And here is one really cool thing about God. He gives His created people and angels free will to choose to worship Him or not. (Of course choosing not to is a death sentence because God is life and choosing not to live is choosing to die.) And Satan chose to overthrow his Creator and be God and God said no to that and sentenced him. Satan knew he was defeated and that defeat was clinched with Jesus Christ’s resurrection and now his war is not to win, he is already lost. His war is to take as many people to hell with him as he can. So he makes it enticing with unlimited lies that pray mainly on pride which is what got him so he feels will get everyone else. And he puts out lures of self-gratification and self-importance to see what sticks and works, be it gossip, judging, stealing, cheating, fornication, any sex outside of marriage really especially pornography, fantasies, drugs, any high, drunkenness, and it gets deeper from there. He promises happiness and pleasure and momentary bliss and so on and brings you into a doorway where you let him in deeper and allow him in because these things- any sin really- separates us from God until we humbly confess to Him and ask forgiveness, allowing the enemy to move in and gain ground into your soul. The goal is always to kill you while you are sinning, separated from God’s forgiveness to send you to hell. So the trick is to stay away from sin and temptation where these evils can come in. See, you falling for temptation says yes to demons coming in. You give them permission to make your life worse. Eventually, the lies accumulate to mask reality of truth to keep you distracted and feeling ok with living in sin. The power of the enemy is deception and denial, lies upon lies upon lies until it seems more true than truth and feels better for a minute. But the weakness of the enemy is that he is a dead dude walking and all you have to do to get out of his power is humbly pray to God and confess and ask forgiveness and for Jesus to save you. Then lies are defeated by truth and God’s Holy Spirit lives in your heart to fight off bad guys and you read the Bible. This seems far fetched and the enemy would say it is or distract you with work or social media or entertainment or the sins and building up of egos. This is the raw, honest truth. Beware of cults that masquerade as truth but provide an automatic in road for Satan and his demons. Beware of distractions. Beware of sins. Keep pure and it is easy to do, just say no to that crap and keep close to God. That is it. He heals, He is love, He is good, He is freedom, He saves, He wants everyone saved. Talk to Him all the time. Start now. God won already! Be on His good side!!!
The light of God can only be seen by those who carry it. God’s light would blind anyone who looks directly at it so He has it shine through those who chose to carry it for Him. So what is it? The light of God for us at this point in time is His glory and holiness. It entails His characteristics, like goodness and love and hope and truth and self-control and patience. But underlying all that is God’s brilliant essence of holiness and glory. He is majestic. He is awesome/huge/frightening. He is perfect. He is large and in charge but without the imperfections and greed that generally accompanies power. God is brilliant and sinless, blameless, pure. His light through us is dumbed down a bit for human beings but should still hold the greatest of what we can of His glory and His holiness. We are not really called to be good. We are called to be saved by Him and show His good. We Andre not called to perfection but to humility to show His perfection. What does this mean? Kinda deep for a Saturday night. It is a call to represent. Put down your ego and present God to the world. Would God be sitting there staring at porn? Uh no. So when you are you are not being the light. Would God be judging the porn guy or gal? While He could, he has saved that right for later and tells us not to and so expects us to totally not judge. So if you are judging someone, you are not being light. Would God walk by a person in need? Uh no. So if we do that, we are not being the light. So let’s flip it. Would God be truthful and honest all the time? Yes. So when we tell the truth we are the light. Would God help those in our path who need help? Yes. So when we help others, we are the light. Would God have a morally strong character? Yes. So when we have a morally strong character, we are being the light. So we who are saved by God’s grace through Jesus Christ the Messiah, are definitely called to show off God’s healing and perfect light to the world. If we boast at all, it should be when we have represented God well and God’s perfection, glory and holiness. We ate responsible for our representation of Him to the world. One can consider the human equivalent of “You represent this family so you’d better be good.” We represent a holy and glorious and perfect God. Yes, He is loving, very much so, but the light is His glorious holiness first and foremost and we must always, even in secret, represent Him to the world. We lay down our ego and nd pick up His glory every morning. Prayer and Bible reading help this. So does practice. Bad day? No worries, ask forgiveness and strength and try again tomorrow. Be His light. Praise God He helps and is so good!!!
Tonight we drove around and looked at the lights, stopped for pizza downtown and saw more lights. It was beautiful, serene (pretty hard to come by), calm, easy and hopeful. There may be evil pervading most areas but here right now there is a pervading calm and happiness. Because of light? Because one Light came to earth and shared Himself with the world. There is light and hope from Him still, harder to see sometimes, but right now as the dark grows darker, what light we have from Him still shines brighter. We have His light in us and it still offers hope and peace and joy and nothing can change that ever. That is truly beautiful and that is why we celebrate Christmas with Light. 🙂
Hope. Hope is light. Hope is God. God is light. When darkness surrounds us, and it is getting darker by the minute, we have another option. We don’t have to follow the distorted rabbit down the rabbit hole. We do not ever have to conform to darkness. If we did, there would be less light in the world and less hope. Hope is light. Hope is God. God is light. In us, we have His light when He saves us through Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Redeemer. That is all the light we need. It takes one beam of light to penetrate and chase off the darkness. That is all. One nugget of God-ness in this dark world and His light shines through us enough to send darkness running. Sure, sometimes it leaves after a swift kick or cursing or mean words or other ugliness, but if we keep our light lit, the point is that it does indeed run. Darkness hates the positivity of Light. Darkness hates hope, hates light, hates God because they are all from God. Our one little Beam is so much stronger than we realize at the moment. It travels far and affects much. From the air, when I am flying, one light on in someone’s house shows up in the night and warms that home with it amidst surrounding darkness. A small house light makes that much of an impact. Never underestimate the immense power of God in you and the hope you have. You radiate much brighter and more meaningfully than you realize. And you can, just by shining all the time, spread your light to others so desperate for it. Light always trumps darkness.
I see a lot. An artist is one who sees things and then can interpret what they see into a presentation or package of sort (music, paintings, sculpture, words, etc.) that someone else can then see and maybe appreciate. Sometimes what we see is only in our minds, sometimes it is an inner event in someone else, sometimes it is so staying in nature, and sometimes it is a culmination of experiences put together in a way that recreates something or creates something new out of it. Any way you look at it, you see first. Seeing things takes some time and effort but more than all of it a focused desire to see. Seeing requires a desire to do so. Seeing things takes dedicated moments of concerted concentration and calmness to absorb things, attending to emotions, attending to stories beyond the facts, attention to flavors of environments and not just the players in it. Colors, smells, feelings, textures, lighting, all play a part in assembling the truth of the situation and not just blind facts of it. To see is a gift. I thought everyone had this when I was young because so many artists in their own right surrounded me. Moving away from this tiny artistic slower moving town, I was struck with the busyness of the cities and suburbs I lived in and how few people took the time to see. Those of us who took that time still, called artists, stood out among the rest and were in demand for skills we possessed to do so. But what I am struck with is how few try. So many could learn to pause in an important or memorable moment and really see things happening and note in their mind’s eye what is valuable in the situation and draw from it later. Life increases with much greater value when the important times are recalled with clarity and precision. It is worth extra time for the moment to be saved, depended upon and recreated to remind others. Oh how valuable is the precious meaningful moments in nature, with family, near friends, by children! They need to be captured and referred back to often for the dark moments, moments that come when it is a curse to see things. For these moments, we must reference our good thoughts, our light, the laughter or beauty of preciousness. Herein is the unsurpassing value of art and seeing things beyond the facts. This is why seers are important, this is why art is important. Rising above the gloom or hard times, art revives our spirits to happy places. This is why I value art and life. We have a choice in it. We can focus on the good. We can focus on better times. We can share our sight of the truth.
When people ask, I say I grew up on a crop farm in Buchanan, Michigan. That is true but not the entire story. Truth be told, up until I was 10 years old, we lived in a trailer park on Red Bud Trail Road North in the back row. People didn’t call them “mobile home” parks at that time and truly it would have been too fancy for the place. We were at the farm a lot helping with things on weekends but largely, we were there. There were wonderful neighbors and questionable ones, some were the best of the best and some were pretty scary. In the middle of the park was my true hangout, a huge (seemed like at the time) playground with the tall swings, taller monkey bars (the square steel bar ones), a really high metal slide that mostly gave you butt bruises at the bottom, it was so steep. And free of charge, for no additional money, came plenty of rough and ready children (and I am using the term loosely). And of course, plenty of time for me to practice my boxing skills Daddy taught me because my mom used a huge triangle to ring us when to come home for food and of course rough and ready children think this is a great way thing to tease a child about (once). 🙂 We (my only living sibling, a sister) had bikes, but I was at the playground alone because she never wanted to play. So I would pedal back after I heard the annoying bell and after making sure my pride was intact from the bullies and eat contentedly. Rainy days were hard because my bedroom was small and gloomy because of dark fake wood paneling and one small window. I was every superhero I knew of at some point in that trailer. It was my imagination that saved me from the fate of so many there, some abusive, some abused, most poor, some held down by their own belief that the insults hurled upon them through life were true, but fairly some extraordinary and the most generous souls alive. When Grandpa Batterson died and I was 10 and my Daddy cried for the first time ever, I think, Grandma bought a modular home on the hill of their property and our family moved into the old farmhouse. And that began the best, most hard working childhood I could imagine. From darkness to light the contrast was. From cats only to cats and dogs and guinea pig and fish and hermit crabs because there was plenty of room. All that to say this. When we have lived in a dark place for a long time, the dark looks like it is as light as day, we get used to fighting to get by, we protect ourselves by escaping into our minds, we are always on guard with brief moments of splendor, like when we went to church. But just because your eyes have adjusted to the dark does not make it light. When we move to the light, when God graces us with light, the darkness is revealed and light can start to dispel that darkness in time. We don’t have to be bound to the darkness. I say I am from the farm not from the trailer park. I don’t own that bleak time. I own the light. It is my choice, my decision to change my point of view and focus on what saves and not what crushes. Everyone has that choice in life. Everyone can choose the light.
Love is hope. That in of itself is an incredibly powerful thing. Hope is what makes everything endurable. Love is hope because throughout all of life you realize that someone or Someone believes you are worth loving and thus are worth saving. “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friend.” God has that for us. So we are worth a great deal to Him. And love here on earth supports His view of our worth, of our value, of hope. Hope says you might be struggling, baby, but I dig you. You have intrinsic value, even if only to me and God. You are worth loving and I give you that love. Love is hope. Powerful, powerful stuff. Love also is light. A wise friend in a conversation recently (yes, we talk deep) said that three things can only go so far: evil, dark, and cold. All of those have dead end results- cold can only get so cold, evil can only get so evil (death), and dark can only get so dark. However, heat, light and goodness have no bounds, which is why these are traits of God. So love being light, good and hot is accurate because God is love. Love is also light because it shines out so brightly in a dark world. Everything might look shady, unclear, dim, confusing and out of that, bing! love comes upon you in an encouraging word, a hug, some amazing time together, a gift, an act of service, whatever it may be and all of a sudden, clarity, light, life is clear again. Clarity can only come with light. Light comes with love. Powerful stuff. Love is also powerful because it contains within its very core an insane amount of joy and peace, which I swear are cousins. In love there is calm and happiness. It is a place where you are safe and can enjoy life. Powerful powerful stuff. I love love. 🙂