Our Everlasting Light

God is our everlasting light, his glory has risen upon us, and our days of mourning will be ended. Darkness will pass away and his true light will shine brightly. His believers are the light of the world. Those that walk in the light will not stumble, because everything becomes visible.

English poet, literary critic, and philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834) stated, “The love of mother is the veil of a softer light between the heart and the heavenly Father.” What a way to regard mothers, as we think about these gifts of our Heavenly Father. Mothers are like the perfect go-between in loving families.

Our Faith Walk

Christians tend to seek company in their faith walk. Ideally, we ought to have Jesus Christ as our first companion. But when it comes to earthly beings, friends will do. Helen Keller (1880 – 1968), author, political activist, and lecturer, revealed, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Darkness often means despondency. Friends in the dark may be in need of help. We might have to show them the way of joy, peace, and love. In such cases our friendship will be superb. Yes, we could say like Aristotle Onassis (1906 – 1975), Greek shipping magnate, “It is during the darkest moments we must focus to see the light.” In seeing God’s glory in heavenly places is a gift of supreme light.

Baptist minister, humanitarian, and leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968), recalled, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Our Heavenly Father’s love is incredible. It blesses, cleanses, and elevates us.

Light Up Lives

Light is an extraordinary motif. In the Gospels, Jesus Christ is referred to as the light of the world. He drives away not only shadows, but the darkness, which threatens to envelop us. Demi Lovato (b. 1992), singer, songwriter, and actress, reveals, “No matter what you are going through, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and it may be hard to get to it but you can do it and just keep working towards it and you will find a positive side of things.” Her motto is, “Don’t let disappointments get you down.” Put up with your experiences and see where they lead. Not all are bad, but whatever they are, they may be for our own good. As Jesus Christ and the apostles taught, trials and tribulations are nothing more than tests. They are meant to build up our characters. So when the storms of life are battering us down, we will not fail, and be washed away into a sea of hopelessness. But we must become like good seeds planted in fertile ground, which, when they spring up, blossom, and are able to withstand the strong winds of change.

Reflecting God’s Gifts

Our lives must reflect the gifts God has prepared for us. Some people capture this beauty by their demeanor. Motivational speaker, writer, and consultant, Denis Waitley (b. 1933) says, “A smile is the light of your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.” Try embracing who and what you truly are. Being baptized Christians, we are called to undertake our priestly duties on earth. Spread joy with smiles and laughter. These expressions tell others, “I’m a saved, alive, and enjoying life, even though, I’m passing through the valley, and shadow of death.” Such an approach to life makes Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962), politician, diplomat, and First Lady, remarkable in recognizing, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” The gift of light dispels darkness. With Christ as the light, his presence brings peace, happiness, and fulfillment to our souls.

Be Victorious

Hannah prayed because her heart was exulted in victory over her enemies. Like her, God aids us in his work in the house of the Lord. Our hearts will therefore rejoice in his salvation. He counsels and instructs us and we shall not be moved. Our souls rejoice because he shows us the path of life, where there is fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore. It is for the righteous to rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him. With the gifts of thanksgiving and praise we will declare, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation” (Isa. 12:2 NRSV).

Enjoyment of Christ

Prussian philosopher, and diplomat, Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767 – 1835), founder of Humboldt University in Berlin, wrote, “True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.” To be spiritually attuned takes a discerning mind and healthy body. When persons accept our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in their lives, he paves the way for his enjoyment.

To some, living in pain can still mean happiness in Christ. Jean-Jacques Rosseau (1712 – 1778), Francophone philosopher, and composer, stated, “I have always said and felt that true enjoyment can not be described.” In every biblical account this is what the essence of our lives will be in heaven. There is nothing to compare it with. We are blessed with such a gift by his amazing grace.

Pioneer, woodsman, and frontiersman, Daniel Boone (1734 -1820) thought, “Felicity, the companion of content, is rather found in our own breasts than in the enjoyment of external things; and I firmly believe it requires but a little philosophy to make a man happy in whatever state he is.” Knowing we are saved, and assured of salvation are marks of contentment. It will be a great joy to experience salvation!

DeWitt Clinton (1769 -1828), politician, naturalist, and former Governor of New York, thought, “Pleasure is a shadow, wealth is vanity, and power a pageant; but knowledge is ecstatic in enjoyment, perennial in frame, unlimited in space and indefinite in duration.” He must have been thinking what was the right sort of knowledge. This comes through the Holy Spirit who is true and divine, and will be with us until the end of time. To embrace these gifts we must tap into God’s inestimable abundance of goodness.

Divine Knowledge

It’s only through divine knowledge we will be successful. Author and impresario, Napoleon Hill (1883 – 1970) remarked, “Success in its highest and noblest form calls for peace of mind and enjoyment and happiness which comes only to man who has found the work he likes best.” One way to ascend the mountaintop of success is when we are lifted up by the Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the author – of our salvation, who knows our hearts. With these insights we will live with peace and cherish his goodness.

As for our motivation, nothing assures us more security than the Holy Spirit. John C. Maxwell (b. 1947), author, speaker, and pastor, reminds us, “Enjoyment is an incredible energizer to the human spirit.” With the Holy Spirit, we are certain to know the beauty of Christ’s blessings in our lives. Through him, we are renewed, fulfilled, and enlivened to do his work, and your mission for him will never fail.

Persevere In Living Well

It’s for Christians to persevere in faithfulness. With the free flow of information which captures our minds we must not be swayed by the enticements of the world. Instead, we ought to insist on learning the truth and communicating it to others. Nor, must we allow authentic evangelism to take a back seat in our lives. Take the initiate of stepping up to the plate as spiritual leaders and motivators who lift people up. This calls for being people-oriented, embracing scriptural guidelines, and treating others as adults. It’s necessary to have one’s finger on the pulse of a group we wish to persuade, in doing what’s right for Christ. John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848), statesman, who served as President of the United States, stated, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Such leaders are prominent in organizations and are the ones who we recognize as guiding their flocks.

Being Set Free

People seeking freedom promote joys found in their hearts. Our greatest evangelist is Jesus Christ. He’s our Evangelist-in-Chief, who we imitate when campaigning against spiritual worldliness that entraps our modern culture. In doing his will, we become “fishers of men” and delight in the apostolic exhortation that keeps us moving forward to glory. This is living on a higher plane. We rally others persuading them to follow of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Inevitably, we have to be careful not to be enticed by worldly manipulations which seek to torpedo our efforts. Virgil (70 – 19 BC), ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period, exhorted, “Come what may, all bad fortune is to be conquered by endurance.” Christians have been warned to prepare themselves to face setbacks. Life isn’t going to be necessarily easy, but we must persevere.

Louis Farrakhan (b. 1933), leader of the Nation of Islam, says, “We are all gifted, but we have to discover the gift, uncover the gift, nurture and develop the gift and use it for the Glory of God and for the liberation struggle of our people.” It’s uncertain what Farrakhan really means by “our people,” but it can be all ordinary and unassuming people in every faith tradition. This is how we can free ourselves from the pulls and tugs of earthly desires, by discovering, and using our gifts the right way. Such actions can be surely liberating to citizens of the world.

The Joy of Freshness

Buddha (563/480 – 483/400 BC), founder of Buddhism in northeastern India, explained, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Spreading joy takes pure hearts to discover true liberty. We’ll surely find comfort in evangelizing. Simplicity becomes news and we’ll be masters at PR. Encountering our beating hearts, churches will be able to determine the will of God, the spirit of collegiality, and holding Christ as their head. These concepts transform, generate, and inflame the gifts of believers.

The Joy of the Resurrection

Christians will have no hope if it were not for the resurrection of Christ. Christ’s after-life is self-generating and presents us with pictures of his divinity. While journeying through life do so in faith. Our walk becomes expressions of pure joy, for we’re blessed with grateful remembrances, of how great our Lord Jesus Christ really is. He has blessed us with the highest ethical standards of leadership and legitimate power. These blessings we ought to embrace with humble hearts, because it’s only through these gifts we can motivate others. Martin Luther (1483 – 1546), German friar, priest, and professor of theology, observed, “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” In every way, our future is inextricably link to the resurrection found in God’s creation.

Transform Your Life

To be emancipated from evil is a great blessing. This is when persons receive a pardon for the wrongs they have done. Amazingly, a pardon is given for great or small sins, and with Christ that should be the end of the matter. It is known however that some people lacking faith will hold on to their guilty feelings, and not believe Christ really has forgiven them. It must be remembered though, that Jesus Christ loves sinners very much. There’s no prejudice with his true love, and he calls sinners to repent. After repentance our guilt is washed away by the power of his Spirit.

William Pollard (1828 – 1893), English Quaker writer and minister, observed, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” Forgiveness for one’s sins is like what Pollard explained. Although yesterday sins might be forgiven, persons ought to repent often, regardless how good, and well-meaning they are. They do continue to sin and have to ask for forgiveness, again and again.

Miserableness of Affliction

In some way everyone is afflicted. This is only natural since we live by the flesh, but must realize sins are heinous. Christians always have to seek the mercy to God. Their motivation is to receive forgiveness and divine love from him. When they do so, they experience the blessings of the living and forgiving Christ. After forgiveness relief comes upon them, for they do grow in enrichment, and their miserableness is washed away.

Emma Goldman (1869 – 1940), Lithuanian-born anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches, felt, “On rare occasions one does hear of a miraculous case of a married couple falling in love after marriage, but on close examination, it will be found that it is a mere adjustment to the inevitable.” Is it inevitable for love to be found after a marriage? Imagine, couples marry despite notable shortcomings in their relationships. Ultimately, people with the will, eventually find love that may at first appear elusive.

Not Worthy

Persons must never consider themselves unworthy of pardon. Why build blinders and not receive this precious a gift? Our greatest sins don’t really matter, for that’s what Christ teaches in the Gospels. Regardless, how desperate is our case, we can still rely on the Lord. Even if we believe, we’re utterly unworthy, and see God as our enemy. Persons may be like the meanest worms, or the greatest sinners, and they will still be welcomed with open arms. Isn’t that amazing? Acceptance of Christ’s forgiveness surely ends the futility of spiritual bondage.

George Herbert (1593 – 1633), Welsh-born English poet, orator, and Anglican priest, prayed, “Throw away thy rod, throw away thy wrath; O my God, take the gentle path.” That was his plea to God,our Savior, and must be ours. Christians know they will be happier with his forgiveness.

Come As Beggars

At some point in our lives we might be lying in the dust. So, we ought to have an optimistic mind about life and living. Asking forgiveness of God sustains our joy found only in Christ. We must realize the gifts of God’s kingdom, by attaining his final reconciliation and justification. It’s Christian’s wish to be emancipate from evil, find grace, to be able to enjoy eternal bliss.

Jack Layton (1950 – 2011), Canadian social democratic politician, who was the leader of the official opposition, declared, “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” In a positive light, this is how believers must view forgiveness. It is power and love, hope, and optimism for all sinners.

Ecstatic Joy

Experiencing ecstasy of joy is an extraordinary blessing. This is when Christians realize they have ascended to the mountaintop of life. Filled with happiness such persons are on top of the world looking down at valleys below. Light engulfs them and they are enlightened by this glorious overview. Some saints who attained such a state, were known for their humility. Although sometimes, they have experienced great despair. These are holy, heavenly, endowed lights, who are honored by their heavenly wonder-worker, Christ. Their souls were mysteriously guided to this divine point. Having everlasting souls were assured them and they would experience exalted states for eternity. This is the secret of discovering happy lives which are important lessons Christians are taught.

De Dignitate et Augmentis Scientiarum, Antitheta no. 9 (1623) translated by Gilbert Watts 1640, stated, “The voice of the people hath some divineness in it, else how should so many men agree to be of one mind?” Such mindsets Christians gain in exalted states. There are hills and valleys, but rest assured, there’s ecstatic joy – the highest form of delight.

Joy of Freshness

There are persons who will do anything to receive this kind of joy. At best, it’s sacrificial, as demonstrated by our greatest teacher, Jesus Christ. Some saints have suffered martyrdom and greatly honored in their lives. They are assured of receiving heavenly crowns of everlasting life. They embraced life’s hardships in precious ways. Through their actions, souls were healed, and brought to light. Apparent was the beauty of love in their living sacrifices. Throughout the ages, such love formed a bridge to all mankind. That’s why in churches, we hear priests preach on the great deeds of the saints. Living compassionately we’re called to embrace hardships, by following the Lord’s way on the cross.

Our lives in the footsteps of Jesus are delightful testimonies that we can do. It’s best for us to be like his disciples, by the way we live in the world. It must be remembered our goals must be to transform lives. For there’s supreme joy in heaven when one lost soul is won for the Lord, and is set on the right path of life. This is having dignity in a Christian lifestyle.

A credo engraved in Rockefeller Center Plaza, New York, showed, “The rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind, and … only the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.” What an inspiration for yearning souls waiting to be set free to be all they can be!

Mother of Joy

Ecstasy is the Mother of Joy. It brings true gladness to hearts, minds, and souls, radiating and touching others seeking divine goodness. In these paths, there are abiding truths which endowed our spirits in living to the fullest. At best, it’s the epitome of goodness found in loving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. His teachings compel us to embrace his everlasting way.

In a 1609 Sonnet 33, William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616), England’s greatest playwright, poet and actor wrote:

Full many a glorious morning have I seen

Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,

Kissing with golden face the meadows green.

With these beautiful lines, Shakespeare captured the absolute mountain-top experiences of nature. They are superb, full of light, and refreshing to souls. This Sonnet captures the sparks of Christian missions taking care of the wonderful blessings in our earthly paradise. Great love expresses itself for the protection of the environment that God has so graciously created. Its power is a genuine for the caretakers of nature’s bounty. Happiness is shown in deepest possible ways, by the way we live and relate to nature.

Encouragement is found in the Word written in the Holy Bible. Within its pages, we’re able to taste excellent possibilities which are ours to have. We can therefore look forward to the greatest of all blessings – everlasting life and living fully in the splendor, of all eternity.

Worshiping Idols

Some people love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Those who are evil will see wickedness to be sweet. Leaders and people however worship idols through ignorance. Paul was a blasphemer who was injurious to Christians, but he received the gift of mercy from the Lord, because he acted ignorantly.

Influential French theologian, John Calvin (1509 – 1564), pastor during the Protestant revolution, remarked, “Man’s mind is like a store of idolatry and superstition; so much that if man believes his own mind it is certain that he will forsake God and forge some idol in his own brain.” Inevitably, Calvin didn’t think much about the thoughts of men and women. Our thoughts are deceptive and lead us to turn against living godly lives. Ideas which are free gifts to humankind could have serious consequences.

What’s important, is being able to have meaningful communication with God. Emraan Hashmi (b. 1979), leading contemporary Indian film actor, says, “My hectic work schedule does not often permit me time to visit temples, but my conversations with God don’t depend on idol worship. Inside my heart, I have developed and sustained a direct communication with Him.” Hashmi was certain that idol worship wasn’t for him. Still, some people are caught up with idols in their world. They might not be aware their lives are ruled by earthly desires.

Idols might become so prominent in our lives, so we become unaware we are worshiping them. Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés (1485 – 1547), responsible for the fall of the Aztec Empire, wrote, “Thus they have an idol that they petition for victory in war; another for success in their labors, and for everything in which they seek or desire prosperity, they have their idols, which they honor and serve.” It’s bad enough when we don’t realize we live and serve idols, but knowing, and doing so consciously, becomes a sad situation. When caught up in idolatry there might be no way in finding our way back to God.

Yet, some idols might be gifts with social redeeming values. Shakira (b. 1977), Columbian singer, songwriter, and record producer, explains, “My dad is a writer, and to see him always in front of a typewriter give me the aspiration to write. He was my idol, my hero. I wanted to be just like him.” The personal traits of her father were gifts to emulate. His role as a writer served as a motivation for her. Some children dream of having parents who are an inspiration to them.

What you worship you become. They might not be all good gifts in people, but negative attributes. Leading British New Testament scholar, N.T. Wright (b. 1948), retired Anglican bishop was sure, “I’m not a Universalist, and the way I talk about final lost is this: People worship idols – money, whatever. Their humaneness gets reshaped around the idol – you become like what you worship which is one of the basic spiritual laws.” We are often warned, to be beware of money. Still, we can’t do without it.

Some people want more and more money, living for it, dying for it, and selling their souls for it. Still, we need the gift of money, for food, shelter, and health reasons. It however might become a way of being an idol in our lives. When we fail to help the poor, sick, and indigent, this is a problem. People who are money lovers don’t know when having enough is enough. They keep hording and hording this treasure, like if it will bring them happiness. It’s only a part of the picture, for what it takes to be truly content in our lives.