The Horn of my salvation

Sought by Saul, David lived a life on the run. His enemies were powerful and determined to snuff out his life. But David had the only ally that matters. Looking back on the deliverance that God accomplished and the salvation that God won for David, the king of Israel praised the King of all creation.

“I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies” (Psalm 18:1-3 ESV).

David describes Jehovah as “my rock and my fortress and my deliverer.” To David, God is a “shield” and a “stronghold.” We have no trouble visualizing those illustrations. We can envision God as a fortress built upon a high mountain. He is impenetrable. “None of those who take refuge in him will be condemned” (Psalm 34:22).

The phrase “the horn of my salvation” is more puzzling to us. Only twice is the phrase found in the Old Testament and both are the words of David (see 2 Samuel 22:3). What does David have in mind? Continue reading “The Horn of my salvation”

The need of the hour

The need of the hour can color the approach a teacher takes to the runway of eternal salvation. Jude changed his writing topic, so urgent was the topic he was required to address. In Galatians, Paul charges quickly into his subject, skipping over his usual introductory thanksgiving for the readers.

Some might believe that in many places in the world today the church of God needs to hear a special message. Some are already speaking it, so these words join themselves to a growing chorus of speeches and words on the theme.

The church needs to return to its one subject matter: salvation from sin and eternal life in Jesus Christ. Continue reading “The need of the hour”

Your impact as light

Decades ago I read church bulletins and missionary reports as a student worker in the Missions Information Office at a Christian college. My work entailed compiling relevant notes and data into an occasional report for interested faculty, students and staff.

As might be expected, some reports and bulletins were more engaging than others. I always looked forward to what John Gipson would write.

I have never met John nor do I know much about him. I doubt he knows I exist. Yet, he impacted at least part of my life. Your influence as salt and light might be greater than you think.

Continue reading “Your impact as light”

Let your light shine

Life is different here today than it was one week ago. I suspect that it is for you as well. Tomorrow, life will be different than today. Trying to imagine what life will be like in a month seems a fool’s errand.

When life moves so swiftly it is easy to become insecure. As the unknown advances, darkness fills people’s hearts. Jesus told his disciples to let their light shine before men. What does that mean during a time like this? How can we shine the light of Jesus into this world of dread? Continue reading “Let your light shine”

Life and immortality

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8-10 ESV).

Life and death. It is a lesson we learn early on; that which is born is going to die. It seems to be an unbroken cycle. Life is a gift, death is a curse. We rejoice with those who experience new life, and we mourn with those who experience death.

For thousands of years people lived and died without knowing the full measure of God’s grace. The faithful longed to see it (Matthew 13:17). The prophets wished to know the fulness of their message (1 Peter 1:10). What is the meaning of life? How will God deal with sin and death? Continue reading “Life and immortality”

As shining lights

Fathers want the best for their children. Most of all, fathers want happiness for them.

My father, a gospel preacher for more than 30 years, always wanted me to be a preacher. My first name came as a result of my father’s love of scripture. His vision for me was to become like Jesus and develop a love of the truth so that I might be saved and proclaim the gospel to others. Continue reading “As shining lights”

A Light in the darkness

As we descended farther into the cave, the natural light grew dimmer until the only light that reached our eyes was artificial. It was then that the tour guide gathered us and had all light extinguished. As our eyes scoured our surroundings for light, a small match was produced. When the match head ignited, the whole room seemed filled with light. So it is that in the midst of great darkness, the smallest hint of light shines like the brightness of the sun.

Following the first sin in the garden, mankind’s relationship with God changed swiftly and drastically. The first murder was committed by Cain against his own brother (Genesis 4). It was not long before “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5 ESV). Imagine a world where every thought is bent toward wickedness, and every deed is depraved.

This is the generation among whom Noah lived. A generation whose obscene conduct caused God to be grieved (Genesis 6:6). A generation whose darkness caused God to want to start all over. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8), for Noah was a “righteous man” (Genesis 6:9).

Continue reading “A Light in the darkness”

The Value of vision

Have you ever bumped your toe, banged your knee, or walked into a wall? I’m not talking about pain that comes from being a walking phone-zombie, but rather from the blindness that comes about from walking in the dark. Walking without sight presents great challenges. Those with good eyesight only experience those challenges rarely. But those experiences provide great lessons for us. It should not surprise us that God uses the physical realities of blindness to teach far more important spiritual lessons.

Jesus healed the physically blind as proof that he could give sight to those who were spiritually blind (John 9:1-7). The blind receiving their sight was one of the signs demonstrating he was the Messiah (Luke 7:22).

Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:5-9; 8:12). He came to shine light into the darkness (John 12:46), so that we might see where we are going (John 12:35), and not stumble (John 11:10). Continue reading “The Value of vision”

Light from beginning to end

The Bible begins with the creation of light by a word from God, Genesis 1.3. It ends with a mention of the light of God, tying it with the privilege of his people reigning forever: “Night will be no more, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will shine on them, and they will reign forever and ever” Revelation 22.5.

Light is important as a Bible theme because:

1. God is light, 1 John 1.5

Light comes into being as a result of God’s power. The creation started with light. God spoke and it existed. Its creation before the heavenly bodies speaks to its nature as emanating from God. We speak, rightly so, of the moon not having its own light but only reflecting the light of the sun. Similarly, no heavenly body — sun or stars — has, in one true sense, any light of its own. God put them there. He caused them to exist and to shine. He is the only real source of light. Continue reading “Light from beginning to end”

Surprising benefits of spiritual darkness

Sin is pure evil and completely antithetical to God and goodness. It corrupted the world by birthing sin and putting Christ on the cross (Romans 5:6-12).

Throughout Scripture, darkness represents sin and light signifies righteousness (Isaiah 9:2; John 8:12; Acts 26:18).

“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5, NKJV). Continue reading “Surprising benefits of spiritual darkness”