Tag Archives: Bebo Norman

Light Inextinguishable

The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1:4-5, NLT*

A footnote in my Bible says the last line can also be translated as “and the darkness has not understood it.”

This darkness is a spiritual, or perhaps moral, darkness. Not a physical lack of light. If it has the capacity to understand, it’s a malevolent darkness (because it tries to extinguish the light).

We know this kind of darkness is in our world. We see it in global and local events. In the motivations of groups and individuals. We see it blinding friends and loved ones.

But I love this verse about the light that Jesus’ life brought.

The light He gave can’t be extinguished or overcome. Can’t be smothered or snuffed out. Can’t be swallowed or contained. And no, it can’t be completely understood even by those who have eyes to see.

Who among us can know the unknowable, understand those things beyond our mental scope?

But we who recognize – and love – the light’s Source can live “in the light, as God is in the light” (1 John 1:7, NLT).

We can live to please Him, and we can live in confidence that no matter how dark the world gets, His light will endure. His light will have the victory.

God our Rescuer and Sustainer, we praise You that Your promises are true and Your purposes are good. Grant us the faith to hold onto Your light in the darkness. Help us to live faithful to You so Your light can shine through us to those whose eyes You are opening. Have mercy on this darkened world, Lord, and draw the lost to Yourself. May we never be barriers to their search.

This week’s song is a prayer from Bebo Norman: “Great Light of the World.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Rock-Solid Security

Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion;
they will not be defeated but will endure forever.
Psalm 125:1, NLT*

Trusting God brings security. We won’t be defeated.

That’s not to say we won’t have pain and trouble, but it’s a reminder of the real battle, the long-term spiritual one.

Whatever our hard times, it’s easier to focus on the externals: the disease, rebellious child, unemployment. The things outside our control.

We’re not responsible for the externals. We’re responsible for our hearts, our focus, our faith.

Defeat is when we get our eyes off God. Victory is continuing to trust in spite of what we see, hear, feel, experience.

We can pray for healing, common sense, provision. But we also need to pray for ourselves, to remain strong in our private tests.

This is our temptation, our battle: will we continue to trust? This is where God makes a way, if we’ll only look for it.

Faithful God, You’ve promised to never leave us, and to always make a way out from under the temptations we face. You want us to stand victorious in Your strength, for Your glory and our wellbeing. Help us keep our focus on You despite whatever may go on around us. Help us plant even in tears, to do what needs doing, so we can reap with joy in Your time.

Where do we look for security? Bebo Norman sings “I Will Lift My Eyes.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Light For a Lifetime

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

Jesus’ light before us,
Jesus’ light behind us,
Jesus’ light above us,
Jesus’ light beneath us,
Jesus’ light beside us,
Jesus’ light in us.
The light of life in us,
The light of the world in us.

The way may get dark, and it probably will, but this promise tells me that if I’m walking with Jesus, trusting and obeying Him, I won’t become “darkened in my understanding” and I won’t bang into things or stray off-course.

This is one of those promises I’ve known and trusted, but have always heard it in its future implications: “will never… will have”.

Today I’m challenged to hear it in its three-fold sense. As we’ve followed Jesus, we have been kept from walking in darkness and we have received the light of life.

In this moment, we are not walking in darkness, and we have the light of life.

And yes, as we continue with Him, we will never walk in darkness and we will continue to have the light of life.

Today that feels reassuring to me. This isn’t something I have to wait for, or persevere for. It’s here and now, surrounding me, and I only need to rest in Jesus and keep walking with Him.

It’s practicing the presence of Christ. Following Him moment by moment.

Father, I pray in confidence, because of who You are and because of the promises You’ve made. Make me mindful of Your presence throughout the day, not just when I stop to read Your Word or to pray. Let me appreciate Your company on this journey, let me remember to follow closely so I’ll stay in the light and reflect it to those around me.

This week’s song is “Great Light of the World,” by Bebo Norman. I’d forgotten how much I love this song.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

God’s Light

…in Your light we see light.
Psalm 36:9b, NIV*

Without God’s light, I’d be like the man in the first part of this psalm, not able to see God because all he sees is himself.

God’s light helps me see others too. And it helps me pray for them, whether they see by His light or not.

It gives me compassion for those who don’t. Once they’ve let their eyes be darkened, how could they see even if they notice something’s not right? They need His light.

I need His light, as His child, to see what He sees, so I can live and pray His way.

Father, thank You for quickening my soul to come into Your light, and please teach me to stay… walk… bask in Your light. Can I be with You today?

This week’s song is “Great Light of the World” by Bebo Norman.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Where Our Help Lies

I lift up my eyes to the hills-
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2, NIV*

“Circumstances and challenges are constant, but thank God we know where our help lies.” That one sentence from Canadian writer/speaker Mary Haskett pointed me to this week’s verse and song.

Our help lies with God. So do our purpose, direction, our only possibility of getting life right.

God is not a distant hope, a Divine sort of cavalry waiting in the hills to ride down and rescue us when we signal. He’s here with each of us who have committed our lives to Him. He takes that commitment seriously – as seriously as His commitment to never leave us.

It’s sad that so often we don’t remember He’s with us. In our best moments, we’re aware of His quiet presence. In those moments we have peace, joy, assurance. We live each moment in His, and it shows.

Father, help us in our weakness. Help us remember Your presence with us and depend on You. Remind us that You are bigger and more powerful than the circumstances and challenges that threaten us today. On our own we are helpless, but we praise You that by Your grace, our hope… our help… is in You.

We’ve used this song before, but what could be more appropriate than Bebo Norman‘s “I Will Lift My Eyes“?

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

What if I’m the Offender?

Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
1 Peter 4:1a-2, MSG*

Last week I wrote about our call to be a blessing to others, and followed it up with a comment about an experience I’d had with someone who was not a blessing to me. The LORD used that experience to show me how important it is to be a blessing.

Silly me, thought I got the message. Until that very evening, when I still hadn’t had time to do some writing I’d wanted to finish the day before… and not one but two people I care about wanted to spend time with me.

I remembered Peter’s words about trusting everything to God to work it out in His timing (1 Peter 2:23). But I didn’t really let it go, and as my frustration grew, I definitely wasn’t a blessing to anybody.

God proved His grace to me and got me back on track in the way these people (who are two of the sweetest folks I know) each showed extra care to me as my frustration grew. For once I readjusted quickly and didn’t spoil the whole evening, but I did miss out on some quality time. God is growing me, but it sure is a slow process.

Next morning I went back to the blessing verses again, to make myself feel worse or to find help I don’t know, but it did both. 1 Peter 3:15a says, “Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master.” MSG*

I read on into chapter 4 and found the verses above. “…free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.” This is exactly the opposite of what I experienced: the frustration of not getting to my agenda. God wanted me to work on relationships, but I wanted to work on writing.

Father, Help me commit this day to You, to follow Jesus’ example and trust Your leading. Help me keep my heart at attention, in adoration before Jesus Christ, my Master, and to live free to pursue what You want instead of being tyrannized by what I want. Thank You for your grace and forgiveness.

Sometimes we all need Bebo Norman’s “Disappear” to be our prayer.

*The Message MSG Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

God is on the Job

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
1 Peter 4:12-13, MSG*

Peter tells us to commit ourselves to our faithful Creator and continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19). And our doing good is to be with a willing heart (1 Peter 5:2).

Instead of fighting—our own circumstances, God, others or ourselves—Peter says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6,7 NIV**)

Peter wrote to strengthen the persecuted believers, for their own sakes and so that the people around them would see Jesus in their behaviour and attitudes. We can apply what he says, the principles and the hope, to our daily stresses and relationships.

Father, help me remember daily to commit myself to You, to live in trust of Your hand on my life. Help me recognize You in my day, help me serve You with a willing heart. Help me treat others with the love You desire. Thank You for taking care of me. Your grace is amazing.

Songs like Bebo Norman‘s “I Will Lift My Eyes” help me pray and keep focused on trusting God.

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

**New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.