Delivered from the Tyranny of Darkness


And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil—In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.—The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple—…since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God


the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.—This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.—for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light—But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.—But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble…

Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.—Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Col.1:13 ESV; Jn.3:19 ESV; II Cor.4:4 ESV; Ps. 119:130 NKJV; I Pet.1:23 ESV; Col.1:13ESV; I Tim. 6:15-16 ESV; I Jn. 1:5 ESV; Eph 5:8 ESV; I Jn. 1:7 ESV; . Prov. 4:18-19 ESV; Col.1:12 ESV; Jude 1:24-25 ESV

I sat this morning for a little while and meditated on the implications of this phrase in Colossians: He has delivered us from the domain of DARKNESS.  I took it one word at a time.  
HE–God has done this, giving me no reason to gloat over those who yet stumble in darkness as though I had delivered myself from its grip  
HAS–It is done.  We who have been delivered no longer need dwell in darkness. 
DELIVERED–I’ve been rescued, again, not of my own devising!  
US–This is not an exclusive deliverance.  We who’ve been brought into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son share a kinship, a common cause for worship and for humble gratitude.
FROM–Out of one system of rule into another glorious Kingdom; what are the implications of this transfer? 
THE DOMAIN–I was stuck under the tyranny of sin and Satan, but no more!
OF DARKNESS–Darkness is blinding, confusing, a place for evil to proliferate, a place of groping and confusion, of tripping and falling without hope or help. This is no longer descriptive of my life trajectory…

I work in a Thrift store affiliated with one of our local churches.  My job is to sift through the enormous quantity of books that come in for those that are best suited for our shelves… This has launched me on a course of reading/sampling many more authors than I would normally have a taste for.  We receive a significant quantity of books in the Health & Wellness category and correspondingly, in what would be the ‘Spirituality’ shelf, if we had one.  People are searching, wanting to be healthy and whole, looking for meaning, open to whatever guru uses nice words and promises them peace, harmony and freedom from stress and tyrannical habits.  But in all the nice words and assurances (and the bizarre claims!) there is no power to implement the needed changes.  Some writers really do seem to have a vision for what God intended to be man’s experience as portrayed in the Garden of Eden…but they bypass the reality of the Fall and pretend we can get back to the Garden on our own steam…

My reading only confirms in my mind this great salvation in which I stand, this dynamic transfer God has done on my behalf, delivering me from a realm of darkness where stumbling, falling and death are inevitable, and into the bright and holy Kingdom of His Son where I can live as was intended from before time began!  I have been made a child of the Light and as I walk in that light, move towards the One who is Light, and revel in His greatness I am made to shine in a dark world.  Such a mystery.  Such a wonder.  Such a cause for awe!





Where are you?

Then the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”—For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.—What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? … And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’—All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that was not called by my name.  I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices—And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming.  Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him…We must celebrate with a feast!

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness—I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance—Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance—And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

Gen 3:9 NLT; Lk.19:10 ESV; Lk.15:4,6 ESV; Is. 53:6 ESV; Is. 65:1-2 ESV; Lk.15:20,23NLT; Ps.95:7-8 ESV; Lk.5:32 ESV; Lk.15:7 ESV; Rom.8:30 NLT

Where was Adam? He was wearing a fig leaf and hiding in the woods from the terrifying prospect of meeting God face to face after having disobeyed His one prohibition.  Everything had been so delightful, so innocent and free up until that point.  And now…what a mess! Shame, guilt, and terror had displaced the bliss of sharing life with the Creator. His presence had morphed from delight to terror. But God came calling, giving Adam opportunity to own his sin, to acknowledge his rebellion, to come clean and face the consequences.  This was no game of hide and seek.  Adam may have lost sight of God, but God hadn’t lost sight of him.

God could have left him in hiding helplessly entangled with the powers of darkness.  He could have let him wander back to the tree of life to eat and live forever lost, damned, shut out from God’s presence for eternity. But God came seeking,  “Adam, where are you?”  Desiring to know and be known, desiring to share Life with His prized creation, desiring to redeem, God came calling.

Where am I?  Where do I run when I have sinned and the guilt and shame of it are more than a fig leaf can cover?  Where am I? When sin has won the day and Satan lurks gloating? When guilt and shame and raw rebellion urge me to run and hide,  to seek relief where it can never satisfy, to make excuses or to hunker down in self-pity…

Where am I?

Thanks be to God for coming to seek and to save, I am in Christ.

I have been adopted by this good Father who knows and loves anyway, who sees all but declares me “holy and blameless and above reproach before him”.

Where am I?  I am right here in His Beloved Son.

Arise, my soul, arise,
shake off your guilty fears:
the bleeding Sacrifice
in my behalf appears:
before the throne my Surety stands,
before the throne my Surety stands,
my name is written on his hands.
My God is reconciled;
his pard’ning voice I hear;
he owns me for his child,
I can no longer fear;
with confidence I now draw nigh,
with confidence I now draw nigh,
and “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.
–Charles Wesley (1742)


Here I Live to Worship…

When Christ came into the world, he said to God,“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer.”—He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach–if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard…

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true and proper worship.—I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.—And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them—For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.—Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Heb.10:5 NLT; Col. 1:22-23 NASB; Rom.12:1 NIV; Gal.2:20 NIV; Rom.6:13 NASB; Rom. 12:6 ESV; Eph.2:10 NASB; Col 2:6-7 NASB

Just as I am though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt.
Fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come.  I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in Thee I find, O Lamb of God, I come.  I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come.  I come.*

Me, myself, and I seems a paltry offering for the King of Kings.  And yet because of Jesus I can give my life to do His bidding gladly, boldly and humbly all at once.  Because Jesus died freely in a fully human body, by faith I in turn can offer this body with all its life energy and quirks and strengths to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and know that He is pleased.

I don’t have to be a Handel offering an oratorio, or a brilliant scientist, or an eloquent apologist in order to bring God acceptable worship.  I just need to live out what He’s instilled in me–this human vessel designed to bring Him pleasure. The very act of submitting my life to His Lordship brings Him great glory; for this I was created.  Any glory that shines from our beings and doings is glory He put there to reflect His own.  

And so, as one made alive from the dead and freshly aware of the incredible privilege it is to be brought near Almighty God, here I live to worship.

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yous.  Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.  Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.  And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name!**


*Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871)
**I Chronicles 29:11-13

Who rules my heart?

For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. … Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! 

Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. 

To whom do I turn in distress?  This tells me something about who’s the king of my life. There are options…

He makes an idol and bows down and praises it!…He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it.  “Rescue me!”  he says.  “You are my god!”… Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this thing, this idol that I’m holding in my hand, a lie?”  

My idols are not carved from wood. They’re harder to recognize.  Where do my fears drive me?  What lies do I live by?

And the LORD…delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in safety.  And when you saw that Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the LORD your God was your king. 

And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them”.

But only One brings the counsel, the deliverance, and the PEACE that I most need.

If the peace that passes understanding is not ruling in my life today I had better  consider who is holding the reins of my heart.  Am I hanging on tight for a semblance of control?  Am I trusting in my own ability to figure things out, to get on top of things, to  ‘grow up’ and ‘get over’ pre-occupation with myself?  Where am I turning for answers, for relief, for escape!? May it be only Jesus.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Jesus is the only rightful Lord of the human heart, by right of Creation and Redemption.  All knees will bow to Him in the end. But in the meantime He leaves with us the choice of allegiance and its consequences. Self, sin and Satan jockey to be that potentate.  They are tyrants promising life but bringing doom.  Only as we yield to Jesus’ rule, dying to self’s demands and yielding to His Spirit’s governance moment by moment will we find rest for our souls and peace of mind in a world at war with God.  

Our Lord Jesus Christ…the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords…

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 

Ps. 95:3, 6; Ps. 5:2; Is. 44:15,17,20; I Sam. 12:11-12; I Sam. 8:7; Is. 9:6; Phil. 4:6-7; Col 3:15; I Tim. 6:15 KJV; [ESV unless otherwise noted]


Good beginnings and Epic endings!

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth—Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?…The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable—In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God—For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him…And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

And he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised…. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly…The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance—And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new”…  And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”

Who has done such mighty deeds, directing the affairs of the human race as each new generation marches by?  It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last.  I alone am he—But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand—And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Gen 1:1 ESV; Is. 40:21, 28 ESV; Jn.1:1,2 ESV; Col. 1:18 ESV; II Cor. 5:15,17 ESV; II Pet.3:7,9 ESV; Rev 21:5-6 ESV; Is.41:4 NLT; Ps. 31:14-15 ESV; Phil.1:6 ESV

What are the implications of God being both beginning and ending of all that we are and all that we know?  Clearly our lives are His rightful domain.  Subjects of this King are in good hands for He is immeasurably mighty, incomprehensibly wise, and unimaginably good. The most blissful of fairy tale endings can’t compare to life in His coming Kingdom.  In the meantime, we can trust Him for the rest of the story when the page turn isn’t what we expected and when all our wishes are not granted, not yet anyway. 

While the world slides into rebellion and confusion (the two inevitably go together) we can know that God’s decrees are sure. Cultures and the individuals that shape them may flaunt or embrace God’s design, but they cannot escape its reality. There will be an accounting.  God will preside.  May our stories reflect the glory of life as He intended it to be in such a way that others will be drawn to bow to our Good King and find in Him a new beginning and an epic ending!