Tag Archives: destiny

When the lights go out

Derek Prince tells of a young Swedish woman named Barbara, who stayed with him and his wife Ruth for a period of three months to learn English. While staying with them, she told them a story.

Barbara was a pastor’s daughter and had lived a very sheltered life. But her friends at school had started telling her about some of the pleasures of life in the world, and she decided that she wanted to experience what she had been missing. She told her parents that she appreciated the way they had raised her, but that now she wanted to taste and see what the world had to offer.

Her parents wisely decided not to correct or criticize her. They simply told her that they would pray for her. And so they did.

That night, she had a powerful encounter with God in the form of a dream. In her dream, she saw two cities. One was a big, modern, beautiful city filled with flashing, glittering neon lights. Across the valley from the flashing city was another city of light, but this city did not flash and glitter. Its light was steady, calm and clear. As she considered the two cities a well-dressed, well-mannered and cultured man approached her and offered to show her the flashing, glittering city. She went with him, and he began to show her around. But the farther they went, the uglier he became. Soon she realized the man was the devil in disguise. As she considered this, horrified, she saw the lights in the flashing, glittering city begin to go out one by one, until it was in total darkness. She looked across the valley at the other city, and its light was as steady, pure and clear as ever.

At that moment she made her choice. She would pursue the city whose light never goes out.

It’s easy for us to think we are missing something if we don’t see the latest show, have the latest iPhone, go on every vacation trip imaginable, and so forth. And in themselves, many of the attractions of this world are innocent – though some are far from it. But if we let ourselves be enticed by what the world has to offer, we are walking a dangerous path. And once the lights begin to go out it’s too late to choose. We need to choose now.

Way back in 1979, Arlo Guthrie, son of the legendary Woody Guthrie, wrote a song with these compelling lyrics

Just one question still remains
To which we must respond
Two roads lead from where we are
Which side are you on?

Arlo Guthrie, Which Side, © 1979

Abraham, our father in the faith, was “looking for the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God“. That’s the city I am looking for as well, the one that is coming down out of heaven from God.

When the lights go out in the city of man, will you still have light to walk by? You can, if you have fixed your eyes on the City of God.


In God’s image : destined for glory

This will be my last post on the theme of our creation in God’s image.   To see all the posts on this theme in sequence, click on the category Basic Principles.

Today I listened to a colleague at work share her pain regarding some different aspects of her family situation.  One of the greatest sources of pain was that her mother seemed unable to accept her own children.  As a result the whole family is dysfunctional, torn apart by constant strife.  Because none of the children truly feels accepted, they can’t accept each other.

The greatest emotional need in our lives is unconditional acceptance – and even the best human parents can’t provide this perfectly.  It’s really only available when we surrender to Jesus and allow Him to wash us clean and reconcile us to His  Father.

Yes, it’s a great blessing to know that I am God’s child in this life.  But there’s more!  According to the Apostle John ( 1 John 3:1-3 ), I not only have the assurance of being God’s child now; I also have the assurance that when Jesus returns, I will be like Him because I will see Him as he is.

This is the truth that most inspires and motivates me to pursue God – the promise that those who belong to Christ will one day share in His glory ( Col. 1:26-28 ).   I want to be in God’s presence – to see Him as He is – to see His glory and to be like Him!

Both Lucifer and Jesus were motivated by this desire for glory.   The key difference was that Lucifer sought his own glory and was at war with God.  Jesus, on the other hand, sought his Father’s glory and was content to share in that glory.  If we are willing to have it on God’s terms, the desire for God’s glory is a powerful motivator for good.

For the sake of the joy that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross ( Hebrews 12:1-3 ).  Because he knew what lay ahead of him, he was willing to suffer, to pay the price.  And what lay ahead of him was not only his own glory, but ours – for if we endure, we will be like him, we will share in His glory, we will reign with him.  This was his reward – what He died for – the completion of His glorious bride.

Does that inspire you?  It inspires me.  When I’m tempted, discouraged or weary, the thought that I am made in God’s image, for His glory – and that Jesus died so this promise could be fulfilled – motivates me to choose what will please God.  More and more, I find that I am motivated by eternity.


When your destiny is under attack

The last few days I’ve been re-reading the exciting story of the first Christian community as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.  Talk about adventures – for those guys, it seems every day was an adventure.  Church was anything but dull.

In Acts chapter 7, everything seemed to be going great!  The church was growing in numbers, community life was vibrant, and they saw the Holy Spirit at work to such an extent that miracles were common.  They even managed to solve a conflict that had threatened to divide the church, by creating a team of seven servant-leaders to assist the apostles, preparing the way for further growth.

Then – disaster struck, as the church began to encounter persecution from the religious police.  First one of their new servant-leaders was attacked and killed.  Then the whole church began to suffer one attack after another.  People were getting thrown in jail just for believing that Jesus was the Messiah.  Most of the Christ-followers left town, running away from Jerusalem to the surrounding towns and cities where they’d be harder to track down.  Only the apostles (main leaders) were left.  This seemed to be a disaster – the worst thing that could have happened.

We can probably all understand why these persecuted Christ-followers might look for a safe place when things got dicey.  It only made sense for them to stay out of harm’s way for a while, waiting for things to settle down.  Except that’s not what they did!  Instead of staying quiet, they proclaimed the good news of Jesus wherever they went.  Philip went to the city of Samaria; he told the people about Jesus, and so many paralytics and cripples were healed that they had a major revival.

This story got me thinking about how we respond when everything is turned upside down, when our world no longer feels safe and secure.  We all like it when things are going well, but what do we do when the rug gets pulled out from under us and our visions and dreams are under attack?

Philip and his friends probably weren’t looking for persecution.  No-one in their right mind would do that.  But when it came, they didn’t doubt God’s faithfulness – they assumed that God was with them in it, and acted in faith, not fear.  As a result, what seemed like disaster became a stepping-stone to seeing their destiny fulfilled.

What about us ?