All posts by Lois

02. Someone cares: God speaks to those who hear him

God hears your prayer, your cries and your pain. Jesus is near. Spend time in the light of God’s Word and your answer will come.

God was mostly silent, but he heard Zechariah’s prayer.

Zechariah and Elizabeth

I spent my 15 minutes “in the light” today in the book of Luke. I saw some things I’d never seen before about Zechariah and Elizabeth as I studied this part of the Christmas story again.

Read the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth from Luke 1:5-25 here.

Who were Zechariah and Elizabeth? Zechariah and Elizabeth were both descendants from the priestly line of Aaron and the Levites. They were devout and upright. The Bible says they observed all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. That doesn’t mean they were perfect. It does mean they set their heart and intent to follow God and submit to him in every way.

When God was silent

Zechariah was chosen to burn the incense on this day. The altar of incense was inside the temple, just outside the Holy of Holies where God came down to speak with the priest. The incense represented prayer.

At this particular time in history, God was mostly silent. In times gone by God had given the Israelites mighty manifestations of his power and glory and had spoken to the priests as they were inside the Holy of Holies.

The original purpose for the tabernacle and later the temple was for the priests to make appropriate sacrifices to represent the sacrifice that the Savior would some day make. But even more than this, it was to a place where God could be among his people. As God spoke with the priest and the priest revealed God’s words to the people they had a little part of God with them.

However the people were rebellious throughout the ages. God would forgive them and help them and they would soon be in rebellion again. Finally, about 400 years before the birth of Christ, God decided to remove his presence from them. He still spoke to anyone who would hear him, but he no longer sent prophets to warn the people of their wrongs and encourage them to return to him. He allowed them to go through their religious rites, but they were only making a mockery of what he had established. They were practicing rituals yet their heart was far from God.

God spoke when Zechariah prayed.

Then comes Zechariah. The Bible says he was devout. God sent an angel to tell him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.”

All God wants is for us to be sincere in our devotion to him. He is reaching down to you right now saying, “Do not be afraid. I want to help you. I hear your cries and your pain. Your prayer has been heard.”

Take heart, my sisters. We will share more about Zechariah and Elizabeth later. But for now, just know that someone cares. His name is Jesus. He is with you even now. Don’t give up.

Next Christmas Light

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted

01. Are you SAD? Celebrate light this Christmas.

Are you SAD this Christmas? Light therapy is used for Seasonal Affective Disorder, but our source of illumination is not a lamp. Our light is a person.

Just 15 minutes a day with the Light

Celebrate light this Christmas season

If the word “sad” describes you during the winter months, you are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or cabin fever, affects a half a million people in the United States according to an American Academy of Family Physicians article.

Research shows that in September when the days start getting shorter, many people begin to feel symptoms of sadness, fatigue, and sleepiness. This seems to be connected to the lack of light due to shorter days. Research shows that sunlight or specially made light boxes often relieve the symptoms.

However we can’t write off the knowledge that the holiday season brings increased depression for reasons other than lack of light. At Christmas time, we remember the good times we’ve shared with family and friends. Times change. We can’t live in those past memories and that brings a special sadness.

For those of us in houses divided, especially, there is a deep feeling of loss that no amount of light can overcome…or can it?

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'” (John 8:12)

Therapy for people with the physical symptoms of SAD includes viewing the light of a specially made light box for 15 minutes to two hours per day. We have a Spiritual Light Box and our therapy is the same. Our Spiritual Light Box is the Word of God. The Light of the World, Jesus Christ, is our source of strength and renewal.

Christmas is the time we get SAD because of lack of light. Yet this is the very season that celebrates the light we have:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
— John 1:1-9

The Light was coming, and the Light has come! Let us look to our light in this holiday season. We do not have to be Spiritually sad.

The people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
— Matthew 4:16

Our light has dawned. Let us rejoice and be glad. Let us spend time with our Light, the Savior who came that first Christmas night to bring hope and healing to us. He will lift us from the Spiritual sad we are prone to feel. Our hope is in his Word.

Will you commit just 15 minutes a day to spend with the Light during this holiday season? 15 minutes of God’s light can dispell the darkness and stay with us all day. Let’s do it!

Next Christmas Light

Scripture taken from New International Version unless otherwise noted