What is Your Candlepower?

Bolivar

Bolivar Point Lighthouse–Bolivar, TX

Matthew 5:14-16 (NLT) You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” [Emphasis added.]

Jesus is the true light (John 1:9).  He told His disciples, “But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5 (NLT).

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Several years ago I did an early morning training run in preparation for a half marathon. As usual, it was dark outside, and I was running alone. In one particular area, the street light was out, and I did not see the uneven crack in the sidewalk. Yep, down I went. I didn’t stop to look at the damage. Instead, I got up and finished the rest of my route. Once I completed it, I saw that I had a huge, bloody mess. The bruise and abrasion took weeks to heal. Both could have been prevented if that street light had been working.

It doesn’t matter if you are a spiritual person or not, people know that darkness fills our world. Take a look at the movies that draw people’s attention. Thematically they are filled with horror, revenge, betrayal, and violence; lives and relationships are destroyed by drugs and alcohol. The cinematography alone is dark and gloomy. Contemporary music isn’t much better.  And people like this stuff. What does that say about the condition of our hearts?

Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT) tells us, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”

Galveston Jetty Replica

Replica of Galveston Jetty Lighthouse at Galveston College

The Why questions that people ask indicate further darkness.

Why is my boss so difficult?
Why can’t I make enough money to care for my family?
Why do innocent children suffer at the hands of evil?
Why does disease ravage our bodies?
Why doesn’t anyone like, or love, me?
Why did God let my loved one die?
Why did my friend take his own life?
Why should I continue living?

And the list goes on. People are living without hope. While we can’t provide answers for these questions,  we can give them hope. When Jesus lives in us, we get to shine His light into the darkness—exposing the pitfalls of life and offering rescue to friends who may have fallen into them. Everything we do can point others to Him.

By sharing our resources with those in need.
By being patient with difficult people.
By encouraging friends who are struggling.
By forgiving people who have hurt us.
By being a friend to the lonely.
By being there for ones who are grieving.

Simply stated, we give hope by showing love and kindness in our words and our actions, especially when we have had similar, painful experiences.  During those times, we are uniquely equipped to meet the emotional and physical needs of those who are struggling (2 Corinthians 1:4).

GJ LR

The original Lantern Room of the Galveston Jetty Lighthouse sits atop the replica.

Ephesians 5:8-9 (NLT) “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.”

Philippians 2:12-15 (NLT) “…Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.”

2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT) “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.”

  

 

There is not a sweeter experience than leading someone out of the darkness and into the light.  To THIS, we were called!

 

Galveston Jetty Lens

Galveston Jetty Fresnel Lens on display at the Galveston County Courthouse

Fresnel lenses are designed to magnify and intensify their light sources so light can travel greater distances.  Some of the older ones are as tall as 5 feet or more.  If you have never seen a Fresnel Lens, you are missing something spectacular!  Check Lighthouse Friends  to see if there are any on display in your area. If so, plan a trip!  You won’t be disappointed.

Candlepower is an old measurement used to measure the intensity of light.  One candlepower is equivalent to the amount of light emitted by one candle. Originally, the third order Fresnel lens shown here produced 23,000 candlepower with an oil vapor lamp as its light source. That was later increased to 230,000 candlepower when the lamp was replaced by a 1,000 watt bulb.
(See www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=154)

Questions

  1. Rate your candlepower as you shine for Jesus. On a scale of 1 to 10, where do you fall?
  2. If you are not at full candlepower, why do you think that is?
  3. Do you ever feel like hiding your light?  What is going on when you feel that way?
  4. What can you do to increase your candlepower for the Lord?

 

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The lighthouse at Bolivar Point is a ferry ride across Galveston Bay from the tip of Galveston Island to the Bolivar Peninsula.

The Galveston Jetty lighthouse used to sit on a platform built on a jetty that extended into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In the early 80s, the lighthouse was deactivated.  In 2000, the structure toppled into the ocean during a strong storm.

A Girl’s BFF

IMG_5844 - Version 2Having a best friend is one of life’s treasured gifts.   If we are blessed, we may have several BFF’s to walk us through life.  As children, we tend to gravitate toward “one friend,” but as we mature, we realize that there isn’t “just one person” who can meet every need we have. As wives, not even our husbands can do that. Hopefully, you have been blessed with a variety of friendships. There are times, however, when it feels like there are none.

But there is One who is uniquely qualified to be a BFF in every way.

When we have something exciting to share, or something deeply troubling, we need a friend who we can call and talk to. When we are lonely, we need someone to be with us. Sometimes, unfortunately, the one we want is not available.  But God is. He is omnipresentor present everywhere at the same time.

Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT)I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.”

When we are struggling with something and we need advice, we call up our BFF and explain the situation.  When she dispenses her thoughtful counsel, sometimes it’s clear that she didn’t “get it.” So we try explaining it againand still, our friend doesn’t understand what we’re going through, and so she is unable to give us the help we need. But God can. He is omniscient—knowing and understand everything. When the Bible says that God knows our hearts, it means that He understands our hearts even better than we do.  And He gives us direction through His Word (Psalm 119:105).  [Check out Light For Life.]

Psalm 139:1, 4 (NLT)O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me … You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.”

1 John 3:20 (NLT) “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.”

Acts 1:24 (NLT) “Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart.”

When we have a problem that is beyond our control, we need help.  Sometimes things are beyond human help.  But they are not beyond God’s help! He is omnipotentHe has infinite power. When life seems to be spinning out of control, He gives us His power to walk through it, and sometimes He actually stops the spinning.

Job 42:2 (NLT)I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.”

Matthew 19:26 (NLT) “Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.’”

We need friends. And although it’s nice to have a flesh and blood person, sometimes that isn’t enough. But God is! He is always available. He understands exactly what we’re going through.  And when something needs fixing, He has the power to do something about it.

JESUS is the LIGHT of the World

Old Point Loma Lens-San Diego

A Fresnel Lens on display at Old Point Loma–San Diego, CA

The Feast of Tabernacles is one of three pilgrimage festivals the Jewish people celebrated.  They traveled to Jerusalem to remember God’s provision for them in the wilderness “A major feature of the Feast of Tabernacles was the lighting of giant lamps … [that] reminded the Jewish people of how God was with them in their wanderings … a pillar of cloud [during the day] which turned to fire at night (Num. 9:15–23).” 1

In the midst of joyous celebrating, Jesus declared to the people, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12 NLT).  

I remember when my children were much younger—and naturally, afraid of the dark.  They were terrified that something bad would happen to them when they were alone in the darkness.  Sometimes I feel that way, too; especially when my husband is away on a business trip, and I am the one in charge of our household.  You know what I’m talking about.  The sounds of darkness and silence fill the night.  Every creak in the house is intensified.  There have even been times when I inadvertently left a door unlocked, and a storm came in. The wind blew the door wide open, setting off our burglar alarm.  Talk about fear!

We all know what it’s like to face the fear of night.  It is somewhat appropriate. How many of us had parents who reminded us, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”  In reality, bad stuff happens all the time.  When we are guilty, typically, we try to hide it.

In the Bible, darkness often symbolizes sin, which makes Jesus’ declaration of being LIGHT so amazing!  In Isaiah 9:2, God promised His people, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”  This LIGHT is JESUS!

Old Point Loma-San Diego

Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the Summit of the Point–San Diego, CA

Genesis 1:1, 3 (NLT) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth … Then God said, ‘Let there be light,” and there was light.’”

John 1:4-5, 14 (NLT) “The Word [God] gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it … So the Word became human [Jesus] and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

In the Old Testament, the Lord was present with His people, giving them light.

Psalm 18:28 (NLT) “You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.”

Psalm 27:1 (NLT) “The Lord is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?”

Darkness fills our world—nations fighting with each other across the globe; innocent people (including children) losing their lives for no good reason; the senseless deaths of ones we love; the selfishness of those we thought cared about us—but actually don’t; anger, depression, jealousy.  All of this is a result of sin in our world.

I certainly don’t have a simple “fix it” answer.  There is none.  But I know that God is in control of all of it—and eventually, His justice will prevail.

In the meantime, there is JESUS.  He brings His Light to the darkness around me so that I don’t have to be afraid or fear stumbling.

New Point Loma-San Diego

New Point Loma Lighthouse at the foot of the Point–San Diego, CA

 

 

There are two lighthouses at Point Loma in San Diego, California.   “Old Point Loma” was built on a hill in 1858 and was in service for thirty-six years.  Concern that fog would obstruct the light at Old Point Loma was confirmed and “New Point Loma” was built on Pelican Point in 1889.

 

 

 

 

1Walvoord, John F., Roy B. Zuck, and Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985.

 

He Holds My Hand

Hearts10Psalm 73:23-24 (NLT) “Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.” 

Isaiah 41:13 (NLT) “For I hold you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.'” 

Psalm 18:35-36 (NLT) “You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.” 

Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT) “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” 

Psalm 63:6-8 (NLT) “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.” 

Psalm 139:9-10 (NIV) “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

I don’t know which of these verses I like the best.  What I do love, though, is that the Lord holds–my–hand.  He leads and guides me, and keeps me from slipping and stumbling.  With my weak hand in His strong hand, I don’t have to be afraid.

 

Photo Credit:  http://www.dailyclipart.net/clipart/holding-hands-clip-art/