Double Vision, Divided Vision, and Darkened Vision

May 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Biblical Eyesight, Matthew | 8 Comments
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It’s been nearly a month since I’ve posted on The Deep End. The reason for this is that I recently had eye surgery, and the recovery period – in which I’ve been gradually regaining enough vision to be able to read and type comfortably again – has taken longer than I thought it would. I must praise the Lord and thank Him for being with me during the surgery, and for the healing and results He has given me by His power. I have, by His grace, been learning not to take His marvelous gift of eyesight for granted. If the Lord decides to take away my eyesight or allow it to be taken away at this point in my life, I would have no reason to complain. I have seen enough wonderful things so far in my life – things that I never deserved to see – that I would (hopefully, again, by His grace) be forever grateful.

I have also been meditating on passages of Scripture dealing with eyesight, such as:

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

Matthew 6:22

During the past few years, as I have struggled with bouts of double (and triple!) vision, I can certainly attest that I much prefer “single vision.” Just as God has given us the gift of light, and the gift of amazingly complex biological organs and anatomical processes that allow that light to place accurate images of our surrounding reality into our brains, so has He given us the opportunity to be “single” rather than “divided” in our devotion to Him. If I am “double minded,” I will be unstable in all my ways. If I have “double vision,” letting the false and vain things of this world blur together with the things of God and His Kingdom, then my body will begin to fill up with the evil deeds of darkness, and I will stumble about, alternately frightened, confused, and depressed, dishonoring God and veering toward danger and destruction.

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Matthew 6:23

May the Lord help me, with the gift of eyesight He has given me, to fill my mind and body with thoughts and deeds of glorious light. May He help me to be united in vision and purpose, seeking to do His will, and to reflect His life-giving light in a dark and blinded world.

clear vision

Beware the Father of the Furtive

April 17, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Posted in The Fives | 5 Comments
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Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

I Thessalonians 5:5

In one sense, to say that Christians are “children of light” and “children of the day,” is a figure of speech. In obedience to Christ, we are to walk in the light of His truth, as He is in the light, and our righteous activities ought to be done honestly and without guile. We should also be awake and alert (I Thessalonians 5:6), on the lookout for opportunities to serve with care and compassion in a dark and deceived world, and on the lookout for the return of our Master, to Whom we will give an account.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

I Thessalonians 5:4

In another sense, though, we may understand that we really are children “of” the light and the day, as opposed to the children “of” the night and the darkness. We belong to the holy God, who is the Father of Lights, not to Satan, whose nickname is “The Prince of Darkness.”

Satan likes the cover of darkness. He has a way of convincing people that those things done in the absence of light are done in secret, though the Bible tells us plainly they are really not. He likes subtility, craftiness, and sleight of hand. Those of us who are in Christ do not belong to this shadowy manipulator any longer, but we need to frequent areas that are brightly lit with spiritual light, and on those occasions when we must venture into his realm to rescue a soul in the power of the Holy Spirit, we should go in with our Gospel lights blazing.

When “closing time” at the nightclub suddenly arrives, those patrons who are behaving drunkenly and lecherously are jerked into a state of shame and revulsion as the lights come on.

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A similar effect may be observed when a Spirit-filled Christian shows up in the midst of the life of a non-Christian reveling in sin. This “moment of clarity” may only last for an instant, but, when it happens to one of your friends, co-workers, acquaintances, or family members, you, as a child of the Light of the World Himself, will want to be prepared to “work while it is day.”

Opportunities / Obstacles

June 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Biblical friendship, Two Sides to Every Comfort | 15 Comments
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Opportunities

Opportunities are a great comfort. Many of us would like to get get a call from someone who says, “Hey, I’ve a got this great opportunity for you!” (Unless it turns out to be Amway.) Advertisers use the enticement, “Stayed tuned for an exciting opportunity!” America has even been called “the land of opportunity.” Opportunities are openings or events where, if you take advantage of a situation, you can really benefit.

God comforts us by giving opportunities. He gave you the opportunity to trust Him and be saved; the opportunity to obey Him in baptism; the opportunity to join a great church; the opportunity for free Bible instruction on Sunday mornings (we call it Sunday School at my church). Life is full of wonderful opportunities given to us by God.

The Bible says that no temptation has taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful in that – with every temptation – He has made a way to escape – an opportunity to do what’s right – so that you may be able to bear it and to get the victory over the temptation. That’s very comforting!

But there is a flip side to opportunity:

Obstacles

You’ve probably been there: You get stuck in a traffic jam. You’ve got three choices. You can turn around and go back. You can cheat and drive on the shoulder to the next exit. Or you can wait. I don’t have any advice for you when it comes to traffic jams (the older I get, the more I just decide to stay home), but I do have some advice concerning spiritual obstacles: Wait on the Lord.

The good [man] is perished out of the earth: and [there is] none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.

Micah 7:2

Micah prophesied in a time when nobody was doing what was right. It seemed like everything was working against God’s people. Everywhere they turned, there were obstacles.

That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge [asketh] for a reward; and the great [man], he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.

Micah 7:3

Sometimes this is how it seems to us. We look to the government for help, but we meet an obstacle. We don’t qualify or we’re left waiting on hold. We go to court, but we find out the law isn’t just. We appeal to wealthy or influential individuals, but they are unwilling to help.

The best of them [is] as a brier: the most upright [is sharper] than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen [and] thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.

Micah 7:4

We remind ourselves that God will make sure the wicked get what they deserve, and we turn to our close friends.

Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.

Micah 7:5

But even they are no help.

For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies [are] the men of his own house.

Micah 7:6

Even your family tuns out to be unreliable! So what do you do? Do you say, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?” Do you cheat? Go around the obstacles unlawfully? Do you go back? Give up? Do you say, “This can’t be the opportunity I thought God was giving me, because it has turned out to be an insurmountable obstacle?” No.

Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.

Micah 7:7

Instead, you wait on the Lord to turn your obstacle into an opportunity. If we are willing to wait upon the Lord, obstacles make great opportunities. When you are prosperous and healthy and well-loved by men, people in general don’t give God glory for that. They think you’re lucky or smart or strong. So, how are we going to give God glory? We are going to praise Him in our obstacles, and treat them like opportunities.

“I know God will deliver me when I’m poor, when I’m sick, when I’ve been betrayed.” That’s what we tell people when they ask us why or how we can be so happy just waiting. Then:

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD [shall be] a light unto me.

Micah 7:8

New lights don’t shine bright in already-existing light. New lights shine bright in the darkness. Now when you are delivered, the heathen and the pagans will know Who gets the credit.

The New Girl Arrives

August 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Isaiah, John, Uncategorized | 13 Comments
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This has probably been the longest period of time I’ve gone without adding a new post to The Deep End. Although I’ve taken a break or two in the past, this time the occasion was very special. On August 21, 2013, God placed our fourth daughter, Lucy Nicole, into our family and into our care. It had been 13 1/2 years since the birth of our third daughter!

My wife was extremely brave throughout a difficult ordeal, and it was a little touch-and-go for a couple of days. During the night before Lucy was born, we found and claimed this promise from the Word of God:

Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut [the womb]? saith thy God.

Isaiah 66:9

I know that someone will probably say that this is out of context – that the verse is talking about the nation of Israel rather than the literal birth of a little baby girl – but we found it extremely comforting, and believe that God used it to help us through a difficult time. The Bible contains both principles and precepts, and I refuse to be disabused of the notion that God is 100% faithful and has the ability to finish absolutely everything that He starts, in a way that perfectly serves His ultimate glory. Nor do we discount the possibility that God arranged her birth on 8-21, when Romans 8:21 and 22 talk about the pain of childbirth and the deliverance of the children of God. The Lord was (as He has been throughout our marriage) amazingly gracious and loving to us, and mom and baby are home safe and sound and doing well. We thank Him and worship Him for this great gift placed into our trust and stewardship. May we, with His help and in His power, be faithful to teach her about Jesus and His Gospel, and to bring her up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

We kept the baby’s name a secret throughout the pregnancy, and my wife and her friends referred to her simply as “The New Girl,” but the main reason we like the name “Lucy” is that it is derived from the ancient word for “light,” and “Nicole” is from a word meaning “victorious people.” Certainly, Christians are victorious people of the Light!

There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe. He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light. [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

John 1:6-12 (emphasis added)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:12 (emphasis added)

But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:57 (emphasis added)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

I John 5:4-5 (emphasis added)

Post Tenebras Lux

January 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Biblical Light | 8 Comments
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The Latin expression for “after darkness, light” became one of the chief mottoes of the Protestant Reformation. The Magisterial Reformers recognized the contrast and the battle between the ever-encroaching darkness of evil in this world and the bright and shining Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is one of the ironies of history that the so-called Aufklarung (German for “Age of Enlightenment”) substituted human reason for Divine revelation as the great hope of mankind. Such a substitution ultimately brought about more darkness than light.

The Bible patriarch Job grew tired of the explanations and platitudes of his friends, as they tried to tell him that increasing darkness was merely as sign that the sun was about to rise:

They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness. If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.

Job 17:12-13

Thankfully, God has illuminated the darkness of this world with the revelation of Himself in His Word and in His Son, Jesus. He is the Father of lights and there is no “dark side” in Him.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17

Here are the links to a series of posts, high”lighting” what the Bible says about God’s light:

This Big Light of Mine
Light Can Be Offensive (*)
Light Shows the Truth
Light Shows the Way
Light Produces Life
Light Gives Safety
Light Wakes You Up
Light Is Attractive
Light Measures Time
Light Is Stronger than Darkness
Beware the Father of the Furtive
Where the Sun Don’t Shine
The Father of Lights (James 1:17)
Life and Light (John 1)
Doubling Down on the Hypocrites (Luke 11:33-34)
Witnesses to the Light (John 8)
From Dark Death to Living Light (John 12:24-46)

* most-read post in series

Light Is Stronger than Darkness

December 16, 2011 at 11:38 am | Posted in Biblical Light, II Corinthians, John | 8 Comments
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When we find ourselves in darkness, and that darkness is scary, inconvenient, depressing, frustrating, or confusing, our minds turn immediately to a simple solution: Turn on the light.
The world in which we live, spiritually speaking, is often dark, disturbing, and dismaying. Therefore, it is crucial that we have a dependable source of light. Jesus says:

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John 12:46

It is difficult to make a room totally dark. Even with the lights all turned off and the windows covered, one little ray of light shining from under a door will soon begin to illuminate the darkness. A tiny spark will, if only briefly, totally defeat the darkest dungeon. The same is true with Christ. His light is stronger than all the powers of darkness.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 4:6

Light Measures Time

November 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Biblical Light, Jeremiah, John, Salvation | 3 Comments
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We live in a day and age of clocks. From our wristwatches to our cell phones to our bedside wake-up alarms to our on-screen television programming guides to our vehicle radios to the flashing signs in front of banks and churches, everywhere we go, we are reminded of the time. However, even without mechanical timepieces, we would still have a pretty good idea that the day is over when the light fades. We count weeks and months and years by how many times the sun has risen and set. Therefore, when it comes to spiritual reality, God has made light to behave in such a way as to remind us that our time and opportunities in this world are coming to an end.

Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

John 12:35-36

In an attempt to defeat the darkness which ends each and every day of our lives we have come up with many ways to “light up the night.” However, batteries in a flashlight will run down eventually. The wax which feeds the wick of a candle will burn down in time. Even long-lasting light bulbs and tubes of fluorescent neon are not eternal. There is only one Light which shall shine forevermore.

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

John 1:9

Jesus, the Light of this world, has already finished the work of redemption, and He has made it available to unbelievers for a limited time only. Will you receive the Light which shall give you comfort, peace, beauty, and joy in the world to come? Or will you cling to the temporary false light of the here-and-now, which will one day burn out, leaving you in an eternal darkness from which there shall be no escape?

Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the LORD hath spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.

Jeremiah 13:15-16

Light Is Attractive

November 2, 2011 at 10:27 am | Posted in Biblical Light, Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
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There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.

Psalm 4:6

For the pious Jewish person in Old Testament times, one of the most common ways of describing the blessings of God was to speak of God’s countenance (His “face”) being turned toward, instead of away from, His people. God’s countenance was described as beautiful light, and the attractiveness of it was awe-inspiring.

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.

Psalm 89:15

These days we still have an innate understanding of the attractiveness of light. The planner of a big event will often use a big spotlight to attract people at night. Satan, when he attempts to seduce Christians, does not always utilize the darkness of his evil. He often disguises himself as an “angel of light.” Therefore, while light is attractive, we must discern the true Light from the false. Just as bugs, which can’t resist flying into bright lights at night, seal their doom by doing so, people who desire a superficial worldly “light” are sometimes enticed to their own destruction.

As Christians, our goal should be to desire that God look favorably upon us so that His glory, reflected through us, will attract people to Him.

Light Wakes You Up

October 14, 2011 at 10:22 am | Posted in Biblical Light, Isaiah, Romans | 8 Comments
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Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

Isaiah 60:1

The human body can only operate in a state of wakefulness for so long before exhaustion sets in. Mental and physical fatigue are remedied by sleep. Sleep is our minds’ and bodies’ way of recovering and recharging. With the invention of the light bulb and all the artificial forms of light we have today, people acquired the ability to work and play during the night as well as the day, but night time is certainly the traditional time for sleeping. I’m one of those people who just doesn’t sleep as well unless my surroundings are absolutely dark.

Spiritually speaking, however, Christians should live in light and not in darkness. God wants His people to be alert and vigilant, not dull and inattentive. Furthermore, although physical sleep is necessary for good health, there is no place in the Christian life for spiritual sleep. The Lord wants His people to be active. Are you alert, attentive, and active, or are you dozing through life in a state of spiritual passivity? “Rise and shine!” says the Lord. It’s time for Christians to reflect God’s goodness, grace, and glory in a dark, desperate, dreary, depressed, and dying world.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Romans 13:11-12

Light Gives Safety

September 12, 2011 at 9:53 am | Posted in Biblical Light, Selected Psalms | 8 Comments
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It is a pretty well-accepted truth that most children are afraid of the dark. What’s more, this fear is not always as baseless as we like to claim. Darkness can provide cover for many dangerous things. Light gives safety because it informs us of what sort of environment we are in, and what sorts of things or creatures are occupying that environment with us. Light tells us what our true condition is.

[A Psalm of David.] The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1.

People are afraid of the dark because we fear the unknown. Knowing God brings light and security when we trust Him. If you know and fear God, you need not fear anything else. If you do not know and fear God, you should fear everything else.

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