Devotional 130: Sons of Light

John 12:27-36

Jesus Predicts His Death on the Cross

27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am [a]lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

34 The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”

35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you.Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

We, the unworthy, are indeed blessed to not only have the light, but the Light of the World.

Yet, we obscure His presence, His brilliance, whenever we backslide or doubt, whenever we say, “I’ll repent later.” Whenever we stray further from His Light, the darkness reaches out to us, and calls us from the strongholds, the weak spots, and the vulnerability of our minds to trigger our feelings, so that we ask, once more,

“Did G-d really say….?”

Who among us would not want to be known by the Messiah as a son / daughter of Light?

Yet how many times did the Father reveal Himself to Israel, dealing with their constant rejection, fear, and backsliding? So he sent them what they asked for, and told them of the price: True prophets they did not listen to, kings that oppressed them, and priests that profaned their office, all bringing calamity to the people who sought them to rule instead of the One who delivered them.

Through it all, His message was the same: Repent, return, and remain faithful.

But His mercy came with a caveat: “If you…”. So we can’t profess to love and serve Him if we are not meeting the conditions, for then we are lying before the Throne.

And yes, His mercies are new every morning, and His grace is sufficient for our weakness, but let us be mindful that as we seek the light, the day of His vengeance is coming.

There comes a time in every kingdom where the King must confront and deal with those who would have his throne, or steal the kingdom’s peace. But as we name our G-d ‘Almighty,’ isn’t His victory assured?

We’ve basked long in the year of His favor, seen His work in our lives through the atoning work of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit, so as we see Christ’s prophecies unfolding we can be assured of this as well: the day of the Father’s wrath is imminent.

Jesus tells us that all authority has been given to the Son to judge, and He, by extension, has specifically named Moses, the Apostles, and the Queen of Sheba. (John 5:45),(Matthew 19:28),  (Matthew 12:42) as those who will assist in the accusations of the faithless and unrepentant.

He also tells us His judgments are true (John 8:16); let us then be mindful that there will be no defense we can mount against Him that is not His blood shed for our salvation. In these closing days, let us remember that the time of the Lamb of G-d is past, and the time of the Lion of Judah awaits us, coming at an hour we don’t know, on a day that will be seemingly ordinary. (Matthew 24:36-42)

Let us take special heed to the words that while we have the Light, and there is yet time, we plead His blood, turn from evil, remain faithful, and endure to the end. If we do, we may yet be hidden from in the day of the Father’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3)

Therefore I pray:

Lord Jesus,

The people regarded You a prophet. How could He who known to the Father before the world began be anything else?

Time and again, you admonished Israel to take heed, but they would not, and so You extended the Father’s grace to us as well to remove His wrath from our sinful souls. As He made one blood for all nations, so too will He redeem and renew all creation, even a new Earth, to remove the stench of the prince of this world from it, and refresh Heaven as well.

So as we give thanks and praise to the Father for You, who are one in will, spirit, and purpose, we again cry out that You help our unbelief and strengthen us.

Do not harden our hearts and stop up our ears, that we may no longer believe and be cast into the outer darkness with the faithless, for the Word tells us that the hearts of men will be resistant even during the harvest (Revelations 16)

We seek You while You may be found to abide in You, that we have peace and enter into the Father’s rest. Rekindle us, that we may once again be salt…and light.

May it be done to us as You have said.

Amen.

All Nations will be Gathered Before Him

Devotional 17: All Nations will be Gathered before Him (Matthew 25:32)

   Matthew 25:31-32New King James Version (NKJV)

The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy[a] angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

 

A college professor I had once described getting off the topic as ‘birdwalking.’

I was never really sure why this particular phrase stuck with me, and I’ve since tried to research whether or not birds walk in a straight line, but as with all things these days, there are conflicting opinions.

For the purposes of not being an ornithologist, I’ll use it anyway, since I’ve told you what he meant by it.

We have before us the doctrine of the Great White Throne judgement, though nothing says it is a great white throne, but rather simply ‘the throne of His glory.’ Since his body will be transformed, whether or not we get to look at it directly is up for debate, but now I’m  birdwalking.

For those who have a ‘no-hell’ doctrine, I would ask, why then would there be a need for separation? God can’t look on sin, nor will He allow it inside. Spotless, or spotted.

There is no middle ground, no compromise, no ‘winking’ and saying “Well, all right, he / she did try.”

There is salvation in faith in Christ and repentance of sins, or condemnation.

There is only one Way to God, and while other ‘gods’ may have said “I am the way, the truth, and the life, ‘ none of them followed it with, “No man comes to the Father, but by Me.”

There are some who say the everlasting punishment Jesus speaks of is metaphorical.

As metaphors are comparative, I would ask, compared to what?

There are others who say that non-whites should not worship a white Jesus, yet when Jesus says “Go and make disciples of all nations,” I see no exceptions in that list.

If He was black, He didn’t say “Only the nations where they look like Me.”

If He was white, He didn’t say, “Only the nations where they look like Me.”

The enemy has us fighting over the wrong issues with each other: His existence, His color, what He said or didn’t say about certain issues, whether or not He was married and had children, which Bible translation is more accurate, hymns vs. contemporary worship music….

We argue all this, and have allowed the sectarianism which He forbid to invade our thinking, and have separated ourselves while saying we’re of one accord, instead of simply doing what He told us to do: preach the Gospel to the nations who don’t know Him.

Our fruit rots on the vine for all these things we debate that, at their core, are fleshly and of no use Kingdom building.

As Paul admonishes us: Cease from strife. Know nothing but Christ, and Him crucified.

As Christ commands us: Love one another, and fear God, and see the Day of Salvation through the Power of God.

The rest is birdwalking.

 

Therefore I pray:

 

        Father in Heaven, bring to mind the words of my Lord and Savior when I would be distracted, and need to ‘defend’ against the hard-hearted the nature of His sacrifice. Let me not worry about what I will say, but let the Spirit fill my mouth with what You would want them to know, and speak the Truth in love.

     Help me to plant seeds in fertile soil, or to soften hard ground to receive the Good News of the Living Word.

     Forgive me when through my silence, I renounce Your presence in my life, and keep my tongue still when I should testify to Your goodness.

    I know the plans You have for me, and as You are no respecter of persons, allow me to be gracious in imparting the word of Your willingness to bless another.

    Help me too, O Lord, in keeping my own path straight, that I might not cause my brother or sister, new to Your revelation, to stumble, to birdwalk, and stray because of  my lack of discipline and self control.

     Let my rejoicing in Your salvation of me come through in all that I say and do, and forgive me when the world comes in like a flood, and I forget what You have done in my life.

     By the Power of Your blood, and in Your Name, I ask, in faith receiving.

 

     Amen.