This blog is where I can pour out my heart with my longing for God.

Posts tagged ‘light’

Into the light. . .

spring-forwardBlustery cold wind and the threat of snow the first week of March, sun and unseasonable warmth predicted for the second. This weather whiplash makes a body do a double-take. But if you find yourself feeling out of sorts in the coming weeks, it may not be the weather. It could be the time change.

Yep, it’s that time of year again–the time to SPRING FORWARD into Daylight Saving Time. In the wee hours of Sunday, March 10, you will lose an hour of sleep. But for the next eight months or so, you will have gained an hour of light each day. (Well, I suppose it all depends on when you get up, doesn’t it? Your life may not change at all, but the clock will.)

We owe it all to an Englishman who made the first real push for Daylight Saving Time (not “Savings”) in the early 1900’s. He was an avid golfer who wanted to be able to take advantage of an extra hour of light. His DST idea never really caught on.

Saving-DaylightThe real beginning of DST was in 1918 during World War I–for the purpose of saving energy–but it wasn’t a popular idea. It faded away only to resurface in World War II. During the ‘50s and ‘60s, different regions could do whatever they wished as far as observing DST or not.

Because of this freedom of choice, at one point in history, a 35-mile trip from a small town in West Virginia to another town in Ohio meant resetting one’s watch seven times! Finally, in 1966, DST became standard practice legally.victory--daylight-savings-time

Most areas of our country observe the time change. Some have been granted exemptions: Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and much of Arizona.

Be that as it may, DST is an annual fact of life for us, whether or not we want to spring ahead. Another given is that the change will probably affect most of us physiologically. Science has proven this conclusively, so get ready. I’ve always noticed that I feel draggy for a few days after the change, a little “out-of-sorts,” somewhat lethargic. I’ll bet some of you feel this apathy and exhaustion, too.

One explanation is that our bodies have their own clocks—something called our circadian rhythms. When the body’s clock is interfered with, bodily functions will naturally be affected. Take heart–the first few days are usually the worst. However, a disruption in our circadian rhythms can cause problems for a few weeks or until the natural rhythms of our bodies are reset and humming along in the new beat of life.

Princess Bride--daylight-savings-time-15355The time change can even be dangerous. Studies show that there is an increase in heart attacks immediately after we spring forward, as opposed to a decrease when we fall back in November. The number of traffic accidents also jumps up for a few days after the time change in March. (Once we acclimate to the switch, traffic accidents actually decrease, studies say.)

Here are some good tips I have found that help me adjust, since my body seems especially affected by changes in light. For some reason, standing in bright light early in the morning speeds up the regulation of the body’s clock. Some experts recommend limiting strenuous work for a couple of days after the change. (I’m okay with that; how ’bout you?!) Keeping a light schedule and driving less are also smart ideas.

Just think–it won’t be long before we should be sweet and energetic again after a few days of orneriness and slothfulness! And the added advantage is that we can stay outside longer at night after a hard day at work! YES! I am a DST kind of gal.daylight-savings-time-cartoon1

But just why do we need to make the time change each spring? I’ve always heard that we make the switch to conserve energy. In reality, studies haven’t proven conclusively that this is true. In fact, DST may increase energy use. People tend to do more driving with the extra hour of light. They golf and shop more. They even grill out more often. Just because we may not have to turn on the lights until later at night doesn’t mean we aren’t using more gasoline and/or power.

Despite the indications that DST may not avail us in the energy realm, I must admit that I heartily anticipate the extra hour in the evening. Isn’t it thrilling to be outside at 9 p.m. in June while the sun is still up? Yes, I always dread losing that hour of sleep when we make the switch, but it seems worth it to have the light. And when autumn comes, I never look forward to going back to “real” time.

In a sense, though, it’s all an illusion. Moving the clock forward seems to increase the light, but technically that’s not true at all. We still have the same number of daylight hours as if we had left the time the same. It merely increases our time frame–and therefore our opportunities–to enjoy the light.

And how we love the light! I believe that God–who is the Light of the World–created us to be creatures of the light.

Light works wonders for the body. Many people get SAD when the light begins to decrease in the fall. And that has a double meaning: sad as in despondent and SAD as in Seasonal Affective Disorder—a negative physical/mental disturbance caused by the loss of daylight. So doesn’t it seem logical that an increase in light would make our bodies react positively?

It sure works out that way for me. Can you deny the lilt in your step when the March days begin to tease us with springtime? Don’t you feel even more joyful to be alive on such days? It makes me think of a Robert Louis Stevenson poem I have often read to my children. It’s called “Happy Thought” and is very short: “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

As the Cowardly Lion says in “The Wizard of Oz,” “Ain’t it the truth? Ain’t it the truth?”

That’s the way I feel, and I hope you do, too. The economy may still look dismal and politics are a mess, but when life gives us lemons, join me and let’s make some collective lemonade. We have eight long months ahead of us to enjoy an extra hour of light each evening. And spring arrives in just few days. I say, “Bring on the light!”spring is coming--purple

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Spring done sprung

The poet Joyce Kilmer said in 1913, “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.” If he was talking about the lovely dogwoods in my home state of North Carolina, he was right!

Yes, yes, I know my title is grammatically bad, but somehow it just perfectly sums up the feeling I have in my heart right now. Spring done sprung, and I pert near (“almost” in Southern lingo) missed it again.

How does this happen year after year? I spend my winters longing for spring, dreaming of green and gold days, eagerly watching for the crocuses to decorate the winter-brown landscape.

Some people find the overpowering smell of wisteria cloying, but I find it delightful. I feel guilty for loving this beautiful purple vine so much because it is parasitic and will kill trees if left untended, but I find it to be a lovely plant. (Photo by my friend Billy Payne of Sandy Ridge, NC)

Then late winter finds me becoming engrossed in more and more activities–the culmination of my kids’ basketball season, NCAA March Madness, sign-ups for Little League, practice and even games for my son’s high school baseball team.

Suddenly I look around and the crocuses are gone. The daffodils and forsythia are already fading, and tulips are about to burst on the scene. Where have I been? I lament the passage of the earliest days of my favorite season.

The flowering crabapple trees in Danbury where I live are spectacular in the spring! And the blossoms feel like a handful of soft pink powderpuffs. (Photo by my friend Monty Stevens of Westfield, NC)

Spring and fall seem to be the most fleeting seasons. Summer’s heat and deep green of the trees appear to linger for months. Similarly, winter’s chill and barren landscape drag on seemingly endlessly.

But the pastel greens of spring and the vivid colored leaves of autumn are so evanescent that you barely blink and they’re gone. So I feel a more desperate need to savor every moment of these two seasons, but especially spring when newness of life in nature brings hope to even the weariest pilgrim taking this earth-walk.

In our lives, we won’t truly enjoy many springs. My theory is that we don’t fully appreciate the first 22 springs of our lives. Children don’t usually feel the poignancy of passing seasons the way time-starved adults do. And teenagers become quickly wrapped up in youthful pursuits and other teenagers. Then comes college and the pressures each spring of trying to cram the rest of the semester into our brains before school ends in early May.

Forsythia and daffodils share the vibrant yellow color that always grabs my eye to cry out, “Spring is here!” (Photo by my friend Billy Payne of Sandy Ridge, NC)

Before you know it, you’re out of college and working a job–perhaps even newly married. Pressures of life mount: new babies, new mortgages, new car payments. Life seems to swoosh by you, with spring after spring tumbling unheeded into summer.

Tulips seem regal and stately to me, as opposed to the graceful nonchalance of the daffodil. Ahh, if they only lasted longer! (Photo by my friend Michael Mullins of King, NC)

The next 20 or so years are spent raising the kids, playing chauffeur to their every activity, building a life with your mate, taking care of aging parents. You turn around and you’re middle aged. Perhaps that’s the time you truly appreciate spring. Your own springtime of life is over, and you yearn to experience once more what you know you never can.

Many-hued azaleas lend vibrant color to the spring landscape and are adored by not only me, but also by the butterflies! (Photo by my friend Melinda Campbell Ring of Danbury, NC)

As old age creeps upon you, often there is failing health, less access to the great outdoors. And so spring may pass by you again nearly unnoticed.

Daffodils, buttercups, jonquils–by any name, the sunny yellow-gold harbingers of spring seem to nod in agreement to the new warmth of the season. (Photo by my daughter Chelsea Evans of Tobaccoville, NC)

Let’s savor every spring that we are blessed with. If you start with the first daffodil exploding into blossom and count the days to the final blooms of the dogwood, you get about 30 days. The calendar may say it’s spring for two more months after that, but by late April to early May here in the South, everything already looks pretty much like summer.

The brilliant palette of spring seems so vivid to our color-starved eyes that have grown accustomed to the drab grays and browns of winter. (Photo by my friend Kathy Flanary Nelson of Winston-Salem, NC)

So you really only get about 30 days each year of the true wonder of spring. Multiply that by 70 years and you get 2100 days. Sounds like a bunch, but in the grand scheme of the days of your life, it’s not.

How can we doubt the resurrection of Christ when spring cries “Resurrection!” on every hand?! (Photo by my friend Denise Coe of Walnut Cove, NC)

And remember that you don’t even recall the first few springs you lived through, so those 150 days or so are gone. By the time you factor in the oh-so-bustling years of early and mid-adulthood and then the later years of life when the quality of life often diminishes, you lose another several days of spring that you never appreciated.

Suffice it to say that the final tally of true spring days that you get to enjoy is very small. Let’s make the most of every spring the Father gives us to enjoy!

God always keeps His promises. Seedtime and harvest will not fail, so spring will continually return until this earth is done. (Photo by my friend Billy Payne of Sandy Ridge, NC)

“My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (Song of Solomon 2:10-13)

Also check out another of my blogs with gorgeous spring photos by local photographers at:

https://timesofrefreshingontheoldpaths.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/springs-pleasing-palette/

I just couldn’t help it

Last night's full moon with its rainbow ring

I just couldn’t help it, I HAD to GO
Outside on the deck in the moonlight’s glow,
(Yes, I know it is late and I should be abed,
But the moon calls my name–I can sleep when I’m dead!)

I just couldn’t help it, the moon was so bright
And around it a ring shed a rainbow light,
(Yes, the deadbolt was locked and the kids are asleep,
But I flung the door open–this beauty won’t keep!)

I just couldn’t help it, the clouds scudded fast
O’er the face of the moon, gleaming white as they passed,
(Yes, the night air was chill, and my poor feet were bare,
But the moon was so full, and I knew God was there!)

I just couldn’t help it, the night seemed like day
As the moonbeams poured down, keeping darkness at bay,
(Yes, I know I am grown, not an impulsive kid,
But my soul cried out, “Go!” and I’m so glad I did!)

The power of words: part I

When discussing the power of words, what is key is making sure everything relates back to THE WORD, JESUS!

I’ve been meaning to continue blogging my thoughts on the “once saved, always saved” doctrine but have been so incredibly busy–what with spring sports starting–that I have been a poor blogger. However, the subject that is burning a hole in my soul these days has to do with the power of our words.

Do you believe that what you speak has power? I do. And no, I’m not on some New Agey kick. If the New Agers believe in the power of the spoken word, then they stole the premise from God’s Word. The ancient Jews put great stock in the power of words. For goodness sakes, they wouldn’t even say His name YHVH out of respect for the power and sacredness of it and the scary potential of using it in vain. When they gave their word, they kept it even when it meant great heartache to them.

Remember when Jacob took his family back to see Esau and the home folks? Unbeknownst to him, his beloved wife Rachel had made off with her father Laban’s household idols. When Laban chased them down to see who the thief was, Jacob cried out, “But if you find anyone who has your gods, that person shall not live.” (Gen. 31:32) Rachel was not caught at that time and did not die immediately, though the curse had been pronounced by her husband. Not long after that, however, she died an untimely death while giving birth to Benjamin.

The spoken word has been vital since creation. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3)

Jesus is called the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4) This Scripture shows the power in the Word–it creates, it gives life, it brings light.

So if that has been true of the word (Word) all along, why do we negate the power of the spoken word today? Yes, I know that some preachers involved in what has been called “The Word of Faith” movement have abused this truth. I shudder to think of the preachers who taught that Christians could go lay hands on what they wanted and speak it into existence–the whole “name it, claim it” movement. I remember reports of people laying hands on Cadillacs at the dealership, naming it and claiming it. I am embarrassed by that.

I wonder if they got their Cadillacs. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)

In some cases, the movement has given way to “faith in faith” rather than “faith in Jesus Christ and His words.” My daughter believes that in a sense, it has become a religion in itself, like using the Scriptures as a magic mantra/formula to try to get what one wants–a hoodoo voodoo incantation to get results.

That being said, I DO believe that there is credibility to the Word of Faith movement when applied correctly and according to the Word of God. There’s no way that the spoken word had such power long ago but suddenly doesn’t today. You can’t convince me of that.

And yes, I’ve read myriad teachings against the Word of Faith movement. I’ve read testimonies of people who have escaped a cultish-style of teaching in some of these churches. They make a lot of valid points. But just because some leaders and churches have abused and misinterpreted Scripture doesn’t mean we throw out the baby with the bath water. Don’t veer back too far to the right just because you got mixed up with some folks who were too far to the left. God’s true way is not found in either extreme.

Joyce Meyer, in one of her books on healing, tells this story:

“There was a man who was sick and who was confessing the Word over his body, quoting healing Scriptures and believing for his healing to manifest.  While doing so, he was intermittently attacked with thoughts of doubt. After he had gone through a hard time and was beginning to get discouraged, God opened his eyes to the spirit world.  This is what he saw: a demon speaking lies to him, telling him that he was not going to get healed and that confessing the Word was not going to work. But he also saw that each time he confessed the Word, light would come out of his mouth like a sword, and the demon would cower and fall backward.  As God showed him this vision, the man then understood why it was so important to keep speaking the Word.  He saw that he did have faith, which is why the demon was attacking him with doubt.”

If the Word was a light in John 1, then why can’t the Word of God still produce light and healing? (The point is to make sure one is speaking the true Word of God, not some “name it and claim it and get a condo in Hawaii” word.)

If the Word was life in John 1, then surely speaking the Word of God produces actual life (not just eternal life in Heaven). “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;” (Hebrews 4:12) His Word is living!

Speaking (literally) and applying His Word to our bodies (through Godly lifestyles) could, according to my interpretation of the Bible, produce light, life and health. “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)

But what should it all point back to? Faith in faith? Faith in words as a magic formula? NO. God forbid.

It should all point back to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross–the shedding of His blood that we might be made whole–spirit, soul and body.

(I have TONS more to write on this subject; this is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until you hear how I think quantum physics supports the theory of power in our words. I am studying things such as frequencies and vibrations of the spoken word. And before you make the sign of the cross and say, “Ooh, New Agey!”, remember Who created this Earth with the frequencies and sound waves. He certainly had a purpose in this, and I believe He intends for Christians to make use of His creation. There’s a reason that playing heavy metal music to plants eventually kills them, while peaceful music makes them healthier. . .something about those sound waves and vibrations. Tune in soon!)

Cringing in the light

Increasing the light of Christ

I’ve been wanting to blog for a long, long time but seem to never find time to set up a site. Well, sometimes its takes desperate situations to move a body to action.

When God led me to take the eight days of Hanukkah this year to dedicate myself more to Him and seek to increase His light in my life, just as the Jews increase the Hanukkah lights each night on the Hanukkiyah, I never dreamed what this would lead to.

I imagined glorious days of God’s brilliance in my life, jumping from mountaintop to mountaintop in the light of His splendor. I pictured beautiful nights of lighting each new Hanukkah candle, being filled with His peace and love in such a way that surely everyone around me could see me glowing.

I never expected that drawing aside to seek Him more fully would result in painful times of realizing just how much darkness still dwells in me. You would think that after all of these years of serving Him, I would’ve expected that you never draw closer to Him without having to shed more of what is you.

And cutting off our flesh is never pleasant.

Trust me. I am there this morning, and the pain is sharp.

Almost so bitingly sharp that  you consider just staying the way you are because you have grown very comfortable there. After all, this is the bed you’ve been lying in for some time now, and you have the pillow molded just right to your head and the covers pulled up just the way you like them.

But whenever the Master said, “Come, let’s cross over to the other side,” you can bet your fishing boat there were some rough waters to traverse.

It is only logical that as you attempt to bring more light into a place, you will find things that need tidying up and that you would be embarrassed for everyone to see because unhealthy things grow in darkness. Shine a flashlight into that old junk closet and you might find cobwebs, a disheveled state of things, a film of dust on all that is stored there.

And so it is with me. Where light comes, darkness must go. Light exposes darkness, and everything must change.

Basking in the Light of the World this week has indeed brought the joy of His presence that I expected. But at the same time, it has exposed creepy, crawly things in me–things that I was blind to before, my senses being darkened.

Last night, a comment was made to me by another person which showed me how that person views me. It was painful, it was hard, it was embarrassing. Those three adjectives are actually much too mild for what it felt like to me all through the night, until about 4:30 a.m. when I finally began to drift off to sleep out of sheer exhaustion.

And as I pondered what had been exposed in me, other comments by other people over the Christmas holidays began to echo in my mind. Seemingly harmless comments made with laughter by people who love me, but comments which carried enough of a taste of truth to them that I must examine the root of that truth in me. Comments that made me ask, “Is this the way people see me?”

When the emperor’s eyes were finally opened, he realized he wasn’t wearing those new clothes after all and was actually naked. This morning, I am not dressed up in my usual mental attire. When my eyes were spiritually opened in the night, I realized that I am naked in many ways myself.

I don’t like what I see.

But be warned: there is a fine line between the light of Christ exposing darkness in us in order to help us progress and satan being the accuser of the brethren. When the light searches out darkness, it is not for the purpose of us becoming so discouraged that we consider giving up or that we enter into a state of self-condemnation that leads to self-pity which is actually is a form of pride.

But don’t be fooled. Ole slewfoot will try to take what God means for good and twist it in such a way as to cripple you. And it’s actually easier to let him do this and wallow in the pigsty of “poor pitiful me” than to face the truth with courage and determine to walk closer to the Master.

I will confess that I walked that tightrope between pigsty and palace in the tossing-turning hours of the silent night.

But even when my mind says, “Just give up on any callings and gifting you have. It’ll be easier just to live out a normal life, serve the Lord as best you can and hope you make it into Heaven with your pitiful self,” deep down I know that I will do the right thing. Even in the midst of this horrendously painful cutting of my flesh, I will hold to the lifeline of His Word.

His Word that says in Jeremiah 29:11–“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” His Word that says I am His beloved, that ALL things work together for good to them (me) that love God. His Word that says I am His sheep and I hear His voice.

I will not follow the voice of a stranger this day after Christmas. I hear the Savior calling, and I run toward Him to be sheltered in His loving arms as He helps me deal in HIS way with the darkness in me that has been exposed.

I wish to move from cringing in the light to dancing in His light.

(Click on the link below to hear “We Are the Light of the World” by worship leader Kari Jobe.)

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