SHINE ON

Ps. 117:1,2 – Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! For His merciful kindness is great toward us, andthe truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!

Praise may be the hardest thing for the lost person to understand. Praise is a spontaneous response to beauty or greatness. We praise great works of art, great athletic accomplishments, great business endeavors, and even beautiful creatures. We praise the things we admire. True praise cannot be faked. The lost man has no concept of God. They cannot see is magnificence or appreciate His kindness. You cannot worship what you don’t know. This is why Jesus told the woman at the well we worship what we know. What a person worships reveals a lot about their character. Here are some thoughts from a Hebrew word book on the word praise.

halal; a primitive root; to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence, to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate;

The word for “praise” is taken from the word shine.

Here is how Spurgeon describes our praise.

“Praise him, all ye people. Having done it once, do it again, and do it still more fervently, daily increasing in the reverence and zeal with which you extol the Most High. Not only praise him nationally by your rulers, but popularly in your masses. The multitude of the common folk shall bless the Lord. Inasmuch as the matter is spoken of twice, its certainty is confirmed, and the Gentiles must and shall extol Jehovah—all of them, without exception. Under the gospel dispensation we worship no new god, but the God of Abraham is our God for ever and ever; the God of the whole earth shall he be called.”

Have you had a glimpse of the greatness of the Lord for yourself? That is the place worshippers are created. I remember the first time I was around true worship. It was at a funeral when I was about four years old. I didn’t understand it at the time but the authenticity of true worship even in grief has always stuck with me. Seeing Christ for ourselves and worshipping Him causes us to shine with His glory. This is how we appear as lights in this dark world. When you see Him you too will shine on.

HE SHINES OUT OF ZION

Ps.50:1,2 – The God of gods, the mighty Lord himself, has spoken! He shouts out over all the people of the earth in every brilliant sunrise and every beautiful sunset, saying, “Listen to me!” God’s glory-light shines out of the Zion-realm with the radiance of perfect beauty.

David often sang and prophesied about the glory of the Lord displayed in God’s creation. His most famous creation Psalm may be this passage from Psalm 19:1,2 –

“God’s splendor is a tale that is told;

his testament is written in the stars.

Space itself speaks his story every day

through the marvels of the heavens.

His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky,

showing his skill in creation’s craftsmanship.”

In today’s passage David describes an even greater display of God’s glory, he says that God is shining out of Zion. Zion is the Lord’s trophy, His redeemed sons and daughters. God’s glory is shining all over the earth through His church, Zion, made up of those washed in the blood of His only Son. Here is how Spurgeon describes this passage.

“The Lord is represented not only as speaking to the earth, but as coming forth to reveal the glory of his presence to an assembled universe. God of old dwelt in Zion among his chosen people, but here the beams of his splendor are described as shining forth upon all nations. The sun was spoken of in the first verse, but here is a far brighter sun. The majesty of God is most conspicuous among his own elect, but is not confined to them; the church is not a dark lantern, but a candlestick. God shines not only in Zion, but out of her. She is made perfect in beauty by his indwelling, and that beauty is seen by all observers when the Lord shines forth from her. Observe how with trumpet voice and flaming ensign the infinite Jehovah summons the heavens and the earth to hearken to his word.”

This is why redemption is such a powerful blessing. Each one of us are part of this glorious display in these last days. We are His radiant bride, called out of sin and darkness shining as lights in this dark world. As the world gets darker the light shining out of Zion is getting brighter. Let your light shine displaying the glory of the Lord in our hurting world.

THE CELESTIAL CITY

Rev.22:5 – Night will be no more. They will never need the light of the sun or a lamp, because the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign as kings forever and ever!

The light in this beautiful city is a different kind of light. The light from the sun carries warmth, energy, light to see, and a healing nature but it is created and flows from a created object. The light in the New Jerusalem is similar containing all of the mentioned characteristics but is totally different. This light flows from Christ Himself, there will be no need for the sun in the New Jerusalem. This light in the New Jerusalem is more than light, it is the very life of God, it is the Spirit of God. This heavenly light will not only light up our world, it will light up our beings. This light will flow into us and flow out from us. We will be radiant, corporately a radiant bride. The glory of the Lord will be on full display shining out from this New Jerusalem. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes the light of the celestial city.

“Everyone and everything there shall conspire to promote love, and promote the enjoyment of each other’s love. Heaven itself, the place of habitation, is a garden of pleasures, a heavenly paradise fitted in all respects for an abode of heavenly lovers, a place where they may have sweet society and perfect enjoyment of each other’s love. All things there, doubtless, remarkably show forth the beauty and loveliness of God and Christ, and have a luster of divine love upon them. The very light which shines in and fills that world is the light of love. It is beams of love; for it is the shining of the glory of the Lamb of God, that most wonderful influence of lamblike meekness and love which fills the heavenly Jerusalem with light. The glory which is about him who reigns in heaven is compared to the beautiful sight of the rainbow for its pleasantness and sweetness,”

Edwards describes this light as the love of God. We will be living in an environment totally immersed in the love of God. This love that attracted us to Christ and sustains us now will be our reward and our treasure in heaven. There will be streets of gold and incredible structures of unparalleled value all around us but it will not even concern us. Our focus and our joy will be the radiant light of love that floods our lives. Heaven is a world of love and this Celestial City is the very heart of all the action.

SHINE

Mal.4:2 – But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

Malachi is describing the light and life that flow out from the Lord in today’s text. There are actually beams (wings) of light that shine out from the Him. This light is a healing light, it is the very life of God emanating from His nature. The Lord is good, totally good throughout His being. There is no shadow or darkness in Him. The outflow of His very nature is what we receive as we take in the Lord. This nature heals and beautifies everything it touches. God is infinite, His power and love are infinite. This life of goodness emanates from Him. As this nature touches us we are radically and permanently changed. This is how Jonathan Edwards describes the effect of God’s beauty on us.

“God is with his people as they have fellowship and communion with God and as they are partakers with God in his good, possessing infinite good, and those are partakers with him in the same excellency and happiness. God communicates himself to his people. He imparts of his own beauty. They are said to be partakers of the divine nature . They are partakers of God’s holiness. So God communicates to his people of his own happiness. They are partakers of that infinite fountain of joy and blessedness by which he himself is happy. God is infinitely happy in himself, and he gives his people to be happy in him. . . .Grace and holiness, that divine light and love, and that peace and joy that is in the hearts of the saints is a communication fr God. Those are streams, or rather drops, from the infinite fountain of God’s holiness and blessedness. ’Tis a ray from the fountain of light.”

Its hard for us finite beings to comprehend infinite and eternal. We are so comfortable with the status quo that we don’t recognize the stunning beauty of Christ all around us. He can be seen in the ant through displaying incredible strength and creativity, He can be seen in light streaming at 286,000 miles per second from the sun, and we see Him in the mother duck (who taught her to get her ducks in a row?). So how do we respond. This life that flows from the Lord flows into us. We are carriers of this glory. The results, we begin to be filled with this light of life, Our job is to acknowledge the light and give out His glory. As we participate in this flow of light and life, Jesus is making us whole.

BURNING AND SHINING LIGHTS

John 5:35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

This is one of those scriptures that I used to just skim over until I read a sermon by Jonathan Edwards called THE TRUE EXCELLENCY OF A GOSPEL MINISTER. In that message he explained what Jesus was talking about when he described the prophet John to his followers. Edwards used John the Baptist to explain what Jesus was saying. Edwards said that John was filled with a light of revelation. John prophesied about the One coming after him who would be more than a prophet but was the Lamb of God. Edwards went on to say that John was also a burning light, burning with a contagious love for the Lord. Those two qualities, burning and shining, tell us plenty about the ministry of John. These qualities should not only describe preachers, but every Christian. This changes what being ‘on fire’ is all about. On fire Christians are shining with revelation and burning with passion for God.  Here are some thoughts from Edwards on the burning and shining of John.

“John was a burning and a shining light. He was a light to the church of Israel, to reveal the mind and will of God to them, after a long continued dark season, and after they had been destitute of any prophet to instruct ’em, for some ages. He arose on Israel, as the morning star, the forerunner of the Sun of Righteousness, to introduce the “dayspring,” or dawning of the gospel day, “to give light to them” that till then had “sat in the darkness” of perfect night, which was “the shadow of death; to give them the knowledge of salvation”; And he was a “burning light,” as he was full of a spirit of fervent piety and holiness, “being filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb”, having his heart warmed and enflamed with a great love to Christ, being that “friend of the bridegroom, that stood and heard him, and rejoiced greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.”

In our spiritually dark age we need an army of bright and shining lights. We need more than positive words, slick presentations, and well organized programs; we need what John had. This generation needs a shining revelation of Christ and His plan of redemption. It also needs to see hearts inflamed, burning as Jesus said, with a love for God. Let this burning and shining start with you.