The Yard Light

I love light!

I mean, if we had no light, we couldn’t see things.

We couldn’t see each other. We couldn’t see where we are going and would step on really sharp toys that weren’t put away! We would not know how to stay on the highway at night. We would struggle to get a tan. We would be colder. We wouldn’t wear matching clothes.

To walk around in the dark all the time? Awful.

We would miss so much beauty. There is actually a form of depression some people suffer from when they are living long periods of life without sunlight. The list is infinite about how hard life would be without light.

You get the picture. Light is pretty important.

As we enter into this Advent season before Christmas 2013, I want to spend time looking at the message, power of, need, and reason for light. Specifically the Light of World that comes to us in Jesus Christ.

I remember on the farm we had a single yard light that was right in the center of our homestead. It was probably a 75 watt light bulb at the top of a telephone pole that was turned on and off in the house. It was there for the purpose of helping you see where you were going from building to building at night.

Walking from the steel shed or the barn or chicken coop on a dark Minnesota night back to the house could be nerve-racking for a seven-year-old who thought Scooby Doo haunted mysteries could be real.

The yard light, though, was a lifesaver. If I needed to flee from any monsters lurking in the near by woods I could run freely with worrying about tripping over a bike, running into clothes line, or falling in a trap set by enemy trying to take over the world starting at my farm!

(Yes, I had an imagination…go figure).

As long as that yard light was on, no worries.

But I’d lose confidence when I was closing up the barn door for the night and my older brother (let’s call him Tom) was watching out the window to turn off the yard light. He’d force me to walk in the night without a light.

It changed how I walked, hoping I wouldn’t bang my shin on something. The wind, the creaking of branches, gates swinging, and squirrels running were all way more evil than ever before.

My breathing would speed up, my senses on alert, and I’d move towards the house in total fear but with one single goal: don’t die before giving paybacks to the brother we’re calling Tom.

We need light. Not just physically but spiritually. God the Father knew it. It was why He sent His Son to a darkening world. We are meant to live this life in the light not in the dark.

Do you feel any of those emotions in your day-to-day life I was feeling when my brother turned off the yard light? If anything at all, then that’s why this Advent is important for you.

Wouldn’t it be great if this Christmas you discovered the light of Jesus in a new way so you don’t ever have to fear the dark?

The best part about the light of Jesus? There is no one who can ever turn it off with a switch. It is always on.

Let’s get ready to run in the light this Christmas, my friends, because darkness cannot overcome the Light!

God is good all the time!


Over Prepared

Hey my friends,

I admit I’ve been slow to blog as of late. I apologize to you who have continued to stay faithful to reading the devos and follow me on social media. I therefore make my January 19th resolution to blog more consistently, creatively, and just down right better! If I fail, well then…hmm…not planning on that so I will take that conflict when it comes.

I say that because I am a guy who likes to be prepared for any situation. Depending on what I’m doing, I sometimes will actually play all out all scenarios in my head of what might possibly happen so that I can plan a course of reaction. In many regards this ability has made me handle emergency crisis moments well. Anything from spur of the moment changes on stage during a concert to coaching adjustments during a game to bigger things like one my kids choosing to do something that requires a trip to the ER (Yes that’s definitely been more than one time).

I think I handle these well because I think ahead.

It can and has also many times been a handicap to me…

Honestly I need to suck up my pride to even present this side of me because it makes me more vulnerable than I like. Still I’m praying it might be an encouragement to anyone reading this. Really because when you end up in these traps, if you can relate, they are no fun.

There is nothing wrong with being prepared in fact its biblical to have a heart preparedness (I Peter 3:15, I Corinthians 16:13).

The problem is when it starts to grow out of fear and wanting to control outcomes.

Yes, that’s me sometimes.

I want to make sure my kids grow up strong in the Lord and with hearts for others. Yet I will sometimes spend a whole car ride telling them what do if this happens or if that happens, overwhelming them with information that they already know or may not need to know. They get exasperated and frustrated and sometimes even fearful because I brought up some crazy possibility.

Allison with her horse

Allison and Hunter

For example, I will be taking Allison to ride horses because it’s a deep passion of hers and I will double and triple check that her helmet is secure, she obeys the rules, and that the horse meets my approval. Like I really know more than the trainers, my wife (who is a strong rider herself), or even Allison for that matter and that my interrogation and boatload of “what ifs” is really that valuable every single time!

It’s then I realize spent a whole bunch of time covering every possible situation that could happen (most of which will not) and I missed the best part:

I missed being absolutely present with my 13-year-old daughter who is so excited to ride and talk about horses. I missed a whole bunch of potential laughter, joy, relationship because I wasn’t there mentally. I was in some future place that did not really exist and was only filled with possible misfortunes and tragedies.

Living with one foot in a bucket of fear is awful. What I need to remember is that I can’t change my past and I can’t influence something that hasn’t happened so I need to be involved with the present.

There so much going on the present. It is, as they say, “a gift.”

So what does that mean for you and me? For me it makes Luke 12:25 a little more blunt when it says, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”

It makes sense that we worry about keeping those we love around us safe, wanting things to turn out how we want them to, wanting to be prepared for certain things, etc. It’s good to be prepared.

Just don’t allow yourself to become so about what could happen and then you end up missing what IS happening.

Usually what is happening is the most amazing thing going on.

God is good all the time!