Thursday, December 6, 2012

new every morning: light and hope

Valrico: around 6:45 AM
Valrico: around 6:45 AM
NEW EVERY MORNING:It happened to me again this morning. Scout and I were out walking, enjoying watching – experiencing – the new day break (here’s the picture). And, as the light of new creation spilled over the horizon and began to pour into West Central Florida, one of my favorite Christmas scripture passages worked its way to the center of my consciousness and I listened to God speak directly into my Thursday morning (John’s father is talking about his son and Jesus):
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
    through the forgiveness of their sins,
 because of the tender mercy of our God,
    by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
 to shine on those living in darkness
    and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace. (Luke 1:76-79)
TRUTH: This passage rings especially true because this is – sometimes – such a dark world and so desperately in need of the Advent kind of light.
And I’m not even thinking about terrorism, war, starvation, prejudice, human rights violations and suchlike, the headlines we see on our news shows day-in day-out. What I’m specifically thinking about today is the tragic cost of broken lives, and the overwhelming pain when children lose their way and parents are helpless to stop the path that often leads to desperation and death.
That’s what happened to one of my dear friends this week. He lost his son. The young man was 21-years old. The drugs simply became too much for his body to tolerate and he died.
Jesus came for Hope
Jesus came for Hope
HOPE: And this is why I write about hope, and this is why the words about Jesus ring not only so true but also so critically important and timely. “The rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
My friend’s son accepted Jesus when he was a young teen; in fact, Rebekah baptized him one Christmas Eve. He’s Okay now, he’s at peace and he’s whole again; I believe that with all of my heart…
…But, the invitation of Advent is the invitation for all of us to be Okay NOW, to live in the present truth of the Good News that light has and always will be stronger and more compelling than darkness (and that includes our personal darkness). And it’s an invitation to be part of a movement that introduces God’s kind of light to all the dark places of this world, including the shadows in the souls of so many young people who need to understand that there is a better way.
I know I shared this scripture just a few days ago. But here it is again:
In Hope, and because of Jesus – DEREK
For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:12-15)

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