Let there be Light

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:3-5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

My previous post mentions that “Let it Shine” is my theme for 2018. God dropped this little nugget as I restarted my Bible reading in Gen1 and I had to share it! This is just the tip of the iceberg for me and I plan to study it out. If you have insights please also share!

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When we first read this scripture Gen 1:3 we are tempted to think of the light as the sun and moon. Especially when it says God called the light Day and the darkness Night. But in Gen 1:14-19 we see that the sun, moon and stars are not created until the 4th day!

““Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” Genesis‬ ‭1:14-19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

So then what was that Light that God created from the darkness, that preceded the Sun, moon and stars? James 4:6 tells us that God made this light to shine in our hearts so we could the glory of God that is seen in Jesus!

As glorious as the sun, moon and stars are – especially as they reveal themselves to us every morning and evening- they are not as splendid as God’s first created light that reveals the glory of God that is seen IN Jesus.

Let that sink in….

The very first thing that God created, Light, He makes to shine in our hearts for the purpose of knowing the Glory of God.

This original first light precedes and goes beyond the physical, natural lights that we see via God’s creation of the sun, moon and stars. It precedes the foundation of the world! As one commentary noted “Light was created first and attached to the sun and luminaries on Day4 Thus the sun is merely an obedient light-bearer and its magnificence is only understood in relation to its Creator.”

Jesus is the source of that light, THE creative force, that allows us to supernaturally know the Glory of God. Wow! Wow! Wow!

Remember when Moses asked God to see His glory? God tells Moses that he cannot “see” His face, His glory and live.

“And he said, “Please, show me Your glory. .., But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”” Exodus‬ ‭33:18, 20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

God instructs Moses to stand by a rock and when He (His glory) passes by God hides him in the cleft of the rock, covers him with His hand and then takes His hand away and allows Moses to see His back but not His face. Moses was completely transformed physically and spiritually by this encounter with just the backside of God’s glory!

Jesus is the light of the world. When we receive Him, God makes this transformative light shine in our hearts and as we allow it to shine through us, it transforms others. This is that creative power that sparked creation itself.

My 2018 prayer today is to connect with Jesus more intimately so that I don’t hinder the flow of His light to shine through me. Lord, Help me to align my thoughts, actions, plans etc with Yours so that I am that conduit and vessel of that light. Thank you for clarity of purpose and creative ability and resulting actions to execute your will in its various manifestations that give praise and glory to Your name! In Jesus name!

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Let it Shine: This Little Light of Mine

This old Negro spiritual came to me about a week ago and has stayed with me. As I hummed it in my head, I heard “Let YOUR light shine- stop hiding it! ”

I am reminded of two separate occurrences in college from two different strangers 2-4 yrs apart, saying they SAW the light of God’s glory in me. The very first time occurred within the first few weeks of my coming to Washington DC as a freshman at the McDonald’s on Georgia Avenue. My sister and I were sitting down eating and this lady came over with a wide smile and said “You are going to serve the Lord and it will be beautiful to see. It may not happen right away but you will really love the Lord and it will be so beautiful.” I was so scared I called my mother and told her God was coming after me, since I was not even thinking about God and church at that time. That second semester my cousin would come to visit Howard for spring break and tell us about how Jesus was the answer to all of our problems. My sister and I later gave our lives to the Lord that summer!

The second time years later, I was walking home from class and just said hello as I passed a lady by and she said “Wait a minute, I see the glory of God all on you, all up in here” motioning around my head. I thought it was hilarious at first (because it WAS wacky) but because I had then given my life to Christ, I realized that not everything is by accident.

At my ordination 5 years ago, something similar happened as a minister with prophetic gifting prayed for me.

I realize that I am personally very uncomfortable shining – I’m more comfortable in the background. But the impression was very clear this time. Stop hiding your light- Let it shine!!

After looking up several scriptures about light shining, I realized that this is not optional for us as Christians and especially for me as a minister and elder. This is not about my comfort level! This is God’s command:

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

http://bible.com/114/mat.5.16.nkjv

Why?

“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/2co.4.6.nlt

It is time to really let the light of God’s glory shine through me (us) in every way. In these seeming dark times, all of creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons(daughters) of God”, This world needs to see God’s light shining through us in all that we do – our God given gifts/talents, our God given “Let there be” creativity, our God given purpose & calling. We have the solutions because He has given us Everything to life and godliness.

So Shine On!

This Little Light of MineThis little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
Oh, this little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
Hallelujah
This little light of mine
I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Ev’ry where I go
I’m going to let it shine
Oh, ev’ry where I go
I’m going to let it shine
Hallelujah
Ev’ry where I go
I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

All in my house
I’m going to let it shine
Oh, all in my house
I’m going to let it shine
Hallelujah
All in my house
I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

I’m not going to make it shine
I’m just going to let it shine
I’m not going to make it shine
I’m just going to let it shine
Hallelujah
I’m not going to make it shine
I’m just going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Out in the dark
I’m going to let it shine
Oh, out in the dark
I’m going to let it shine
Hallelujah
Out in the dark
I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

God’s Thoughts & Plans: Hope & Destiny

I first discovered this scripture Jeremiah 29:11 at an all night prayer meeting of my former church when the church was just getting started a few months after I graduated from college. I remember with great clarity when the Lord revealed this great promise to me personally, but it was a word for this new ministry barely a year old. We were mostly in our 20s, in college or just out of it and starting our careers. Our prayer ministry was about 20-25 strong on a Friday night, committed to seek Jesus and strengthen our Christian faith and fellowship.

The Pastor had asked me earlier that day to prepare my heart to speak prophetically that night, and that he would let me know when to share. Well, I prayed and prayed all that day, and nothing came to me before prayer started later that night. I had to completely trust God for what He wanted to say to us.

As with most gatherings, the night of prayer started off with praise and worship. Out of that worship, the prayer points and following exhortations began. In one of the quiet times of prayer I literally heard or had a strong impression to read Jeremiah 29:10-15

The words leapt off the page, and I knew that this was the word of the Lord for the church! As I prayed this scripture and meditated on it, the Pastor called me up about 15 min later to share what God had placed in my heart to share to our church members. It was such a great word with following instructions in the next verses.

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. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/jer.29.11-14.nkjv

It was so powerful because we were all ready calling upon Him in prayer and this scripture let us know that He was listening! But God goes further- we seek and find Him when we search for Him with our whole heart! God wants our undivided attention.

Ps 86:11 says “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
http://bible.com/114/psa.86.11.nkjv

God has to “unite our hearts” so that we can worship and seek Him wholly – with our entire beings. We need His help to us stay focused, to reign in our thoughts, needs, desires and “cast down” those things that seek to exalt themselves over His word and plan for our lives.

Every time I read Jeremiah 29:11 now, even 30 years later, I am reminded of my first time seeing it- how comforting and exhilarating it was to know that we are in God’s thoughts and He has specific plans for a hopeful destiny! Even though we might get confused or unfocused, God is not confused.  HE KNOWS what the plan of action is. Wow! What a word for a young Christian in a young ministry. What a word for me today!

As we grow older, we think we may know the plan or we may confuse our plan with God’s plan, and He has to give us course correction. We have demands of careers, family, community and life events that may pull our attention. He unites our heart and refocuses our attention back to Him.

When we seek him with our whole hearts, we find Him and He unfolds His plans for our lives. He gives instructions on next steps. He gives a word of grace to bring healing and hope so that we can walk in truth and in the destiny we are called to fulfill with great excitement and joy.

Nee and New

 
For some reason every time I would try to type “new”, “nee” would come up and not auto correct to new. This was happening since late yesterday, as I was wishing everyone a Happy New Year. So after about the 20th time I got fed up changing it and something said look up the word “Nee”. This word I’ve seen many times!  it is actually used as a French term née often used to denote a former or original (maiden) name. So I would be Sharon Zimmerman, née Bryant.  The former me.

I immediately heard the Spirit of the Lord say there are things trying to pull you back to your former ways, your former self.  You have been born again! 2 Cor 5:17 states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Isaiah 42: 9 says“Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

God is saying something new! Have ears to hear/ He is telling us before the come to pass. 

Isaiah 43: 18-19 “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Don’t dwell on the past because God is doing a new thing! Don’t you sense it?! It is new territory no matter where  you are standing. Even  in hopeless places, He is carving a path and bringing life in dry barren places. 

The old is passed away! We do not have to reject the past, because God has done great things! The past is a part of me (us)  but it’s over- A new chapter has begun. 

 But I/we must act- take the first step! I must willfully make the corrections, because (like my phone keyboard) auto correct does not apply here. As we mature, God gives us (demands that we activate) our gift of choice! Choose life! Choose ye this day whom you will serve! Lay aside every weight AND the sin that besets us. (Heb 12:1) Forget! 

In Phil 3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:13-15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Paul says to forget those things that are behind and reach for those things before. 

God will not take it away, I (we) have to choose to lay aside, forget, leave the former things and reach for the new things before, the PRIZE of high calling. This is the mindset we should have and Phil 3:15 says that if we are “otherwise minded” or have a competing mindset,  God will reveal it to us. God is so faithful! 

Like a good trainer, God reminds us the things we have to stop doing and the things we must start doing. 

Keep declaring and reaching for the New things! Keep making those corrections to forget, let go and lay aside those former, old past habits, situations, relationships etc that hinder us from reaching that high mark in 2016. As we seek God and acknowledge Him in all our ways He will direct our path – and will reveal anything in us that competes with His plan in our lives or may slow us down. 

Happy NEW Year – the Year of Our Lord 2016! 

Love your Seasons of Transition

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” Ecclesiastics 3:1

Earlier this year, after the longish winter,  I fell in love with Spring as never before – and now this November baby is  back in love with Fall again.   Just a few weeks ago I lamented that a month into autumn, the leaves were still green.   It seemed August/September’s lack of rain caused many leaves to go brown and fall prematurely.  But now, in the past week – like a male peacock preening, Fall displayed its plumage triumphantly! And while there ARE less leaves, the remaining leaves have peeled off chlorophyll’s green mask and unveiled their glorious authentic colors as temperatures cool and daylight shortens.Image

The profusion of color as the leaves turn in the Fall is on its best display during rainy grey mornings.   There’s something about the yellows, oranges, reds, maroons and eggplants against that grey palette of the skies that takes my breath away.  The rain darkens the bark of the trees and makes the leaves a little translucent.  The diffused lighting of the cloudy grey skies softly passes through the leaves making them glow against the elegant dancing arches of the darkened tree branches.  Oh yes, Fall is best viewed on inconvenient slightly cold rainy days.  

This morning my daughter begged me to stop my comments about the foliage and exclaiming aloud how beautiful everything was.  I could not promise her that I could hold in my joy if some pop of red/orange color revealed itself in the landscape.   I am completely smitten again with my first love, Fall.  

Fall, like Spring, is a season of transition.  Lots and lots of change is occurring, and only Mother Nature and God who created it all  can predict the rate of change and how the transformation occurs.  After I commented about how the landscape was mostly green last week,  my daughter impatiently remarked “Mom, the leaves can change at any time – it doesn’t’ have to be slow.  Things can change very quickly.” She nailed it!  Change happens when IT is ready.   

I then began to wonder why,  if I’m smitten with transitional seasons of Fall and Spring, why don’t I embrace and fall in love with my own seasons of transitions and change.   Don’t just endure, but embrace, celebrate and flow with the transitions.   God’s grace is in abundant supply in every season.  Like the transitional seasons, it can rain too much for periods of time, or get too windy for our liking.  But the rains are necessary for all living things and the wind too!  The winds may knock off all the leaves but it is also carrying and spreading the seeds of new growth on its wings bringing new life to places that a tree’s limbs just cannot reach.   And who can deny the breathtaking splendor of showers of falling yellow, orange and red leaves as the wind blows.

So embrace and celebrate the transitions in your live – let God’s grace empower you to use every inconvenience as an agent of growth and new life. Let the wind blow you around and spread your glory.  It really is beautiful in every season. May God open your eyes to the beauty of your ever changing life.