A Golden Highway

golden highwaySunsets on coastal waters can be beautiful. I was standing on the west end of Dauphin Island sometime back as the sun was sinking below the horizon. It looked like a golden highway stretching from my feet to setting sun. It was an inspirational sight. As I begin to develop the devotional thought I want to share here, let me recount a humorous Kentucky mountain story. It relates to my devotional thought.

Arze came down to the bank of the north fork of the Kentucky River. He was set to ‘catfish’ all night. Tricky Tom, a cousin who had earned his nickname, was on the other side fixing to do the same. The night grew dark, and strange sounds were coming from the woods around them. Tom had a powerful flashlight and shined a beam across the water to Arze. He said, “Arze, it sure is dark and scary over here. Why don’t you walk across the beam from my flashlight and come over here and fish. There was a long pause as Arze cogitated on the proposition. Finally, Arze said. “You must think I’m pretty stupid. I’d get about half way across and you’d turn off the light”.

Like Tom and Arze in the story, it sometimes gets dark and scary for us in this world. Thankfully, God has made provision for all who are in the darkness of sin; for all who live under the fear of death.

  • Isaiah 9:2 (NKJ), “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.”
  • Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is the light of my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
  • John 1:4 (NKJ), “Then spoke Jesus to them again, saying, ’I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Unlike Arze, we don’t have to worry about the light being turned off. Isaiah 60:20 assures us that the ‘light’ will never go out.  The Lord will be our everlasting light. There is a golden highway stretching from our feet to heaven. Isaiah 35: 8:A highway shall be there, and a road. And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.” 

Lord, let me walk in the Light. Set my feet on the golden ‘Highway of Holiness’. Let me follow it all the way to heaven.

~ Brother Roy

Tried and True

Edmund Halley & Isaac Newton

Edmund Halley & Isaac Newton

Edmund Halley was an English geophysicist, mathematician, and meteorologist who is best known for computing the orbit of Halley’s comet. On one occasion, he was strongly denouncing Christianity. Upon hearing Halley’s remarks, Sir Isaac Newton said, “Halley, when you speak of astronomy and mathematics I will listen to you, but not when you talk of Christianity. You have never tried it. But I have tried it and know it to be true.”

There are scores of strident voices in our world today denouncing the Christian faith. Many are academics, successful business types, celebrities, and etc.  Because they have had a measure of success in their various endeavors, they believe they can speak with authority on things they know nothing about. I have much the same response as Newton did so long ago. I may listen when they talk of things they have studied and for which they have earned respect in the larger community. But I have no interest in listening to people speak on things they know nothing about.  When it comes to faith in Christ, I have tried it, tested, and proved it over and over.

When people make grand pronouncements about things of which they know little or nothing, Shakespeare’s line in Hamlet seems to me to apply, “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and furry signifying nothing”. Speaking to the sages of His day, Jesus said, “You see these signs in the sky and know what they mean. In the same way you see the things I am doing now, but you don’t know their meaning” (Matthew 16:3, NCV).

Words in Psalm 34:8 (NCV) call for careful examination before jumping to any conclusion: “Examine and see how good the Lord is.”

The wonderful old hymn “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” expresses my position beautifully:

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His word;
Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know ”Thus saith the Lord”.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him, How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more.

My advice to everyone, those who know Him and those who don’t, is simply this:  “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him” (Psalm 34:8, KJV).

~ Brother Roy

The Lighthouse

lighthouseWhat picture comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘lighthouse’? For most people, the image of a tower on the coast with a bright warning light on top is likely to be the picture. If you are from Bayou La Battre, Alabama, it may be different than folks from other parts of the country. The Lighthouse Restaurant is a longstanding tradition in that community. It is synonymous with the biggest and best crab claws to be found anywhere.

While those images flash across my mind, the one that lingers is far more meaningful to me. In my mind’s eye, I see the Cross of Jesus Christ.  When I think of His death in my place, my heart rejoices. To think that the Light of the World died in sin’s darkness that His light might illuminate my lost soul is too wonderful to fully comprehend.

A wonderful gospel song by Ronnie Hinson tells my story:

There’s a lighthouse on a hillside that overlooks the sea.
When I’m tossed it sends out light that I might see.
But the light that shines in darkness will safely lead us o’er;
If it wasn’t for the lighthouse my ship would be no more. 

And I thank God for the lighthouse I owe my life to Him.
For Jesus is the lighthouse and from the rocks of sin.
He has shown a light around me that I can clearly see;
If it wasn’t for the lighthouse tell me where would this ship be?

From my childhood, I still remember the little white Mt. Zion Church singing Let The Lower Lights Be Burning:

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From His lighthouse evermore;
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.

Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

PRAYER: Lord, dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar. Eager eyes are watching longing, for the lights along the shore. May this little light of mine shine and shine and shine!

~ Brother Roy

Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls

wheatWho doesn’t love the spring? The winter in my old Kentucky home has been especially harsh this year. It makes the coming of spring even more exciting than usual. The arrival of the first robins, while the weather is still inhospitable, is a sure harbinger of spring. The Jonquils and Crocus pushing through the cold sod bring joy to the bleak winter landscape.  The buds swelling on trees and the song of birds that stayed around and survived the winter echo the joy.

Chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, colored eggs and Easter baskets fill the aisles of the stores. The children become hyper as they anticipate what’s coming. But, the artificial grass and glitter, the sugary candy, and the Easter Bunny can easily obscure the true message of Easter.

Even as we caution children about missing the true meaning of Easter, we need to be vigilant ourselves. The commercialization blitz can turn adult heads as well. We look for “an Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it”. Display windows, newspapers, and television ads hype new Easter clothing, special meals, bigger and better Easter Baskets for the kids and more. Special music at church, spring flowers in the sanctuary, and perhaps even a special Easter treat at church can draw our attention away from the devastating impact of sin. There is sobering reality of the words of Jesus in John 12:23-24 (NKJ)“But Jesus answered them saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it produces much grain.”

The analogy Jesus used here is of a physical law.  However, it also referred to the most important law – the spiritual law.  In reality, this is an instance of the great ‘law of life’, which God has given to the physical and the spiritual worlds alike.  A grain of wheat, though containing in itself the germ of life, remains alone, unless it falls into the ground and dies. Then, in its own death, it gives life. The life germ in the seed bursts forth-giving life to blade, stalks, and ear that produces many grains. Its death was necessary for the release of the inner life power, which the husk held captive. Jesus was surely speaking first and foremost of Himself. He is the grain of wheat. He died for our sins in order to release inner spiritual life now and physical resurrection later.

Certainly, we celebrate the resurrection! The bursting forth of new life in the Easter season is phenomenal. But God forbid that we should race to the glory and the beauty of the resurrection and gloss over the horrible suffering and excruciating pain of the crucifixion. Our redemption cost God His only begotten son. Because Jesus bore our sins on the cross, the Father had to turn His back on Jesus as He died and ‘fell into the ground’. In this Easter season, as we celebrate the explosion of new life and the resurrection; let us be ever mindful that our hope of new life came at a great price. Our eternal life must be anchored in Jesus’ humiliation, sacrifice, agonizing death, and burial. All these events must be understood before the Easter celebration begins.

~ Brother Roy