Songs for Sunday: We Are

Hear this song first thing in the morning, and you’ll be singing it all day. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

We Are

Every secret, every shame
Every fear, every pain
Live inside the dark
But that’s not who we are
We are children of the day

So wake up, sleeper, lift your head
We were meant for more than this
Fight the shadows, conquer death
Make the most of the time we have left

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine
We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine, let the light shine, let the light shine

We are called to spread the news
To tell the world the simple truth
Jesus came to save, there’s freedom in His name
So let His love break through

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine
We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

We are the light
We are the light
We are the light
So let your light shine brighter
We are the light
We are the light
We are the light

Jesus, you are the light
You are the light
You are the light
We will lift you high and shine, shine, shine

We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine
We are the light of the world
We are the city on a hill
We are the light of the world
We gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine

We gotta shine, we gotta shine (let the light shine) [4x]

This song written by Chuck Butler, Ed Cash, James Thiele, and Hilary McBride, and recorded by Kari Jobe is taken straight from the scripture.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)

We’ll talk more about being “the light” next week.

Here is a video of Kari performing “We Are”. I was able to see her live at Women of Faith a few years ago. She is an incredible performer!

See you in church!

Connie

Reflecting God’s Glory

At the end of Exodus 33, Moses asked to see God’s glory. God’s reply was something like: “I can’t do that Moses. It would kill you. I’ll tell you what. There’s a rock nearby with a cleft in it. You stand in there, and I’ll cover you with my hand as I pass by. Then I’ll move my hand and you can see my back.” (paraphrase mine).

Chapter 34 opens like this:

The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain.”

God had chiseled the stone tablets the first time, but now, God told Moses to do it. I have to wonder if that was to give Moses time to think about his temper that sent the first tablets crashing down the mountain.

So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the Lord had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “Lord,” he said, “if I have found favor in your eyes, then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.  Obey what I command you today. I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. (Ex 34:4-11)

I’m not sure if Moses was in the cleft of the rock when this occurred; it really doesn’t say, but God passed in front of Moses and proclaimed Himself. In response, Moses hit his knees and worshiped God. Once again he asks God to go with them. God says He will make a covenant, or agreement, with Moses, to do incredible things for the people, and drive out the people already living in the promised land. The condition was that they had to obey God’s commands. In verses 12-26 God gives some of those commands, most of which are familiar to us, such as not worshiping other gods, not making any idols, keeping the sabbath, etc.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. (Ex 34: 27-28)

For 40 days and 40 nights, Moses was in such deep communion with God that he went without food or water. This isn’t the only record in the Bible of someone going without food for 40 days.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matt 4:1-2)

Today, the general consensus is that a human being can go 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. Yet, both Moses and Jesus went way past those limits. Obviously, God sustained them during that time.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.

When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord. (Ex 34 29-35)

After all that he experienced on the mountain, Moses was literally glowing. The radiant Moses frightened Aaron and the others, and they didn’t want to come near him. Moses reassured them, and then gave them the Lord’s commands. Then he covered his face with a veil. From the way this reads, I would assume that from then on, Moses kept his face covered unless he was speaking with the Lord.

I have two thoughts about this: one is that Moses covered his face because the glowing unnerved the people and they didn’t want to see it. The other is that Moses feared they might start worshiping him instead of God. Actually, there is no evidence of the second one; unless it is simply the way that people tend to behave. I think that is also why God buried Moses Himself. If the people knew where he was buried, they may have created a shrine of the tomb and, in time, began to worship Moses instead of God.

As for the first thought; Paul, in his second letter to the church at Corinth, says this:

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Cor 3:7-16)

The Israelites really didn’t want to see the glory. They really didn’t want to experience the presence of God. Yes, they were frightened that such an experience might kill them, but I wonder if they weren’t more afraid of the changes that kind of experience might produce in their own lives.

Moses was reflecting the glory of God, and he had to hide his face. How sad.

Paul continues with this:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:18-19).

Christians are supposed to be reflecting the glory of God too, and we aren’t supposed to cover it. We are to let it shine as it changes us daily; transforming us until we look just like Jesus.

Jesus said,

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)

Let-Your-Light-Shine

Let it shine!

Connie

Let There Be Light

Good morning! As I write this, the sun has yet to come up, although the sky is beginning to lighten. My living room has an east-facing picture window, which gives me a glorious view of the sunrise every morning. Daylight will be here soon!

img_1743
Sunrise picture taken from my front porch last September.

The Bible mentions light a lot; 263 times to be exact. That number is based on a search I did at Bible Gateway. The search results included a few other light including words, such as “lightning” and “lighten”, but most were simply “light”.

The first book of the Bible is called “Genesis”, which means “Origin” or “Beginning”. It is the record of the beginning of the earth and the beginning of mankind. The first thing we learn in verse one of chapter one is that God was there, in the beginning. The earth was formless, empty, and dark. It was also wet, because we are told that the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the water. (Genesis 1:1-2)

Then, in verse three, we read the first recorded words of God: “Let there be light”. The rest of the verse, and the two after, tells us there was light, and God saw that the light was good. That was the first day (Genesis 1:3-5).

Verses six through eight tell us how God created the sky, nine and ten tell how He gathered the water so that dry ground appeared, and 11 through 13 describe the creation of vegetation. On day four, God called the sun, moon, and stars into being (Gen 1:14-19).

img_1794
This picture of the moon was taken from practically the same spot, last October.

Did you catch that? God called the sun, moon and stars into being on day four, after he had created the atmosphere, dry land, and plant life, and after he had created light.

If it wasn’t the sun, what was that first light? We don’t know for sure, but the scriptures give us some clues.

John says, “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5).

Daniel writes that “He (God) reveals deep and hidden things, He knows what lies in  darkness and light dwells with Him.”(Daniel 2:22).

The most revealing verses, however, come from Revelation. Jesus has returned, Satan has been defeated, and everything is new. In describing the “new Jerusalem”,  John writes,

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23)

Then he says,

“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5)

Again, we can’t know for sure, but that sure makes me think that the light of creation came from God Himself!

Next time, we’ll look at what the scriptures say about some human encounters with that kind of light.

A  friend shared this video from Patsy Clairmont on Facebook the other day. I thought it relevant to our discussion.

Isn’t God awesome?

Let there be light!

Connie

Hi There!

If you grew up in church like I did, there is a very good chance that you know this song…You probably know it if you only occasionally attended Sunday school or Vacation Bible school.

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

Hide it under a bushel, NO!
I’m gonna let it shine
Hide it under a bushel, NO!
I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

Won’t let Satan blow it out
I’m gonna let it shine
Won’t let Satan blow it out
I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

Let it shine round (your town’s name)
I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine round (your town’s name)
I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

Let it shine til Jesus comes
I”m gonna let it shine
Let it shine til Jesus comes
I’m gonna let it shine

Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

You sang along didn’t you?

Doing a little research into the song itself, (you’ll find out that I’m a bit of a history buff), I found that, according to Wikipedia, the lyrics were written by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, and the music by Harry Dixon Loes, some time around 1920.  You can read the Wikipedia article here. Other sources did credit Loes with the tune (here’s one), but I haven’t found any other sources giving Christian credit for the lyrics. Some sources list it as a Negro spiritual.

While the identity of the lyricist is up in the air, the ultimate source for the lyrics is not. They come straight from scripture. Matthew chapter five begin what we now know as the “Sermon of the Mount”.  Jesus is speaking to a large crowd of people. In  verses 14-16 he says,

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

So, this blog, what is it all about?

Well, first of all, its about Jesus, the Light. Everything we do here is for his glory. So, we’re going to talk about him as the Light and as the Word. We’re going to dig into scripture to see what God has to say to us.

Then, it’s about us…the light bearers. It’s about letting his perfect light shine through our less than perfect lives, and allowing that light to transform those lives. When others see His light shining through us, it guides them to Him. That’s why we’re here!

Because music is an integral part of worship, we’ll be talking about music too, as well as composers and lyricists. They are light-bearers too, and many serve as great examples for us.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by for my first post. I’ll be back soon.

Connie