Day 36: Jesus shines the light into dark places and the light wins

John 9:4-5

By Aaron Ferry

light-in-darknessThis excerpt of scripture comes from a larger perspective where Jesus’ disciples are questioning why a certain man is blind, when in fact he has been blind since birth. Did he do something wrong? Did his parents or family do something wrong?

There was a common thought process that if something is wrong, then there is someone to blame; that God is punishing people because God is displeased. Unfortunately, that mind-set is still prevalent today. It is far too easy to blame the victim or say, “If I don’t do what they did, then ‘that’ will not happen to me.”

The unfortunate reality is that there is a tremendous amount of evil in our world that we cannot account for. But here is the good news.  We hear Jesus’ declare and reveal one of his many names in this scripture. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus shines light into the darkest of places and the light wins.

There is symbolism and irony in this perspective; there is blindness and darkness. And then there is Jesus and healing and … LIGHT. May we see the light. May we step into the light. May we follow the light.

The light of the world shines into the world, into the darkness, and darkness cannot overcome it.


Gracious God, you are the discerner of our hearts.  Remove the blindness in us that prevents us from seeing your light and your truth. Help us to see your light, love and compassion with new eyes, that have been opened wide by the grace and mercy offered to us in Christ Jesus. Amen.


Light a candle and let it burn throughout the day as a reminder of God’s presence.

Day 35: Seeing the beauty through the Light that guides us

Isaiah 9:2

By Rachel Sommers, receptionist and administrative assistant for adult formation

It’s hard to imagine what pain, sorrow, and confusion these poor souls felt for so long. It’s not hard to imagine pure joy – joy in God’s wonders, his love, his protection.

God was the light guiding them. God showed them compassion and has shown an even brighter light on those that didn’t even know they were lost in darkness.

For people to have endured so much for so long and then in the end, to walk out and see the Light – the love of God – it must have been incredible.

God has given us the power to feel that relief and wonder if we only look to and live in sunshine.


Lord, whenever I feel sadness, pain, anger or confusion, guide me in your light. Help me see the beauty of the world you created and to let that beauty shine through me onto others.


“Live in Sunshine” by The Rapture (below) is a simple but beautiful song that refocuses your attention on the beauty, love and pure light that is always surrounding us.

My favorite verse:

If you’re lost and you can’t live
Alone inside your tiny head If you call and no one comes
Look to Me I’m in the sun
Live in sunshine
Live in sunshine
Live in sunshine
I’ll be there.

Day 34: God’s work continues, even if we don’t believe

Acts 13:45

By Myles Fish, director of stewardship

the-lightGod’s purposes are never thwarted by our unbelief, petty divisions or jealousies. In this passage, Paul and Barnabas have been preaching at the synagogue in Antioch.

By the second week, the whole city gathered to hear them, but this created a number of problems. First, there were many Jews who wouldn’t accept the message of Jesus. Second, the Gentiles were filling the synagogue.  Third, the Gentiles were accepting the very message that the Jews had rejected.

The Jews were filled with jealousy and began to be abusive toward Paul’s message. Paul’s response was simple and unexpected. He explained that he had gone to the Jews first, but since they didn’t consider themselves worthy of eternal life (ouch!) he was now taking the message to the Gentiles.

In fact, said Paul, God has commanded us to be a light to the Gentiles so we may bring salvation to the whole world. With this simple statement God completely shattered the cultural and religious norms between the Jews and Gentiles.

The stage was now set for the whole world to hear about Jesus, and the Jews who wanted to thwart the message were left behind.


God, help us in our times of disbelief. Open our eyes so we can see and understand your purposes.  Help us to get past our own prejudice, jealousy, and divisions so we can see the world as you see it.  Help us, God, to be your light in darkness.  Amen.


It is so easy to see prejudice in others and so hard to identify it in ourselves. Take a moment to honestly reflect on how others see you. Do they see you as being open and accepting of everyone? Do they notice in you attitudes of superiority or do they notice when you treat someone as being less important as yourself?  Their perceptions may not be correct, but at least it is a starting point for your own self-evaluation.

Day 32: Overcoming fears with God’s help through prayer

Psalm 27:1

By Kevin Geurink, Cynthia Price Pastoral Resident

“The Lord is my light and salvation whom shall I fear?”

OvercomeFearI am sure that many of you have heard these words of strength and comfort. Our Lord is one that is a guiding light in our lives. Recognizing that light is a big thing for us.

Fear can be very paralyzing. It can stop us from doing things that we enjoy.

Think of something that you are fearful of? What kind of control do you have over it? If it is spiders, you can research them and find out which are poisonous. Perhaps go to a zoo and check out some spiders.

But some fears are more serious. Whatever fears you have, take them to God in prayer. Find a way with God to break free from fears that chain you down.


Lord of our light and salvation, be our strength. Give us the power to overcome our fears and lean on you. Amen.


Find something small that you are afraid of. It could be spiders, heights,swimming, etc. Find a way to research the object of your fear and to safely encounter it with a friend or family member. Use prayer and read this Scripture to find that strength in God to overcome your fear.

Day 31: On the darkest of paths, God still knows where we are going

2 Samuel 22:29

By Wendy Duncan, director of adult formation and discipleship

dark-night-beach.jpg“Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord, the Lord lightens my darkness.”

When I was little we would travel to a remote area of western Florida to a fishing village where my grandparents had some property. To get there we had to venture down a back road that had no street lights. Sometimes we would go after dark on a Friday evening for a weekend with my grandparents.

My grandfather, always trying to make it fun for the kids, would turn off the headlights on the car for a brief moment as we travelled down this back road. I remember it being so dark that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face! My grandmother would scold my grandfather for scaring us and not being safe. He would turn the headlights back on, and we would see the way again.

We (the kids) always found it amusing and would request that he do it again. We were never really scared as we knew our grandfather was in control and the lights would always come back on and illuminate our path.

God’s light is much like that. We can trust that even in the darkest of dark times, God knows where we are going and will light the darkness so that we can see the path before us.


Shine your light, O Lord, on the path before me and enable me to see the way.


The next time you are out of the city (at the beach or in the mountains) where there are very few lights, notice how dark it can be. Look at the sky and remember that even in the darkness, God is present.

Day 30: Because God sees our inmost darkness, God can shine a light

Daniel 2:22

By R. Colin Burns

abide-with-me.jpgWe have a perception of God as being omniscient. This can sometimes feel unsettling as we realize that we often are guilty of doing or thinking things that stray far from the path of what we are called to do by God. Even in private, God knows our thoughts and actions.

But remember that it is a two-way street, and that God knows our deepest thoughts and desires when we are too afraid or unable to speak or pray them out loud. God can see our inmost darkness, and he will shine a light for us.

Above all, God loves us and wants us to love him. We are told that we are forgiven for the things we may do or think in darkness – God will shine a light for us. Whenever you feel that you are in darkness, look for God’s light.


Radiant and illuminating God, you know the deepest secrets of our hearts; shine your light into our darkest times that we may see your love for us, demonstrated for us in Jesus Christ, your son. Amen.


Read through the hymn “Abide With Me” (No. 543 in the Presbyterian Hymnal), the lyrics of which are a poem by Henry Francis Lyte. This hymn reflects on God’s presence through the dark of nighttime, but in a more metaphorical sense, we can interpret the dark of night as any period of darkness in our life. Read the hymn through this lens and reflect on God’s light shining into our lives when we need it most. If you feel led, sing through the hymn as well.


Day 29: God’s glory and light blesses and honors us

Isaiah 60:1

By Anne Albert, worship and music coordinator

god-images-forest“Arise, shine, for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!”

This passage in Isaiah speaks of a day when the Lord shall be our light, when the sun is no longer needed, and we, the people of God, will reflect the glory of the Lord, shining God’s light all around us.

One of the things that this passage communicates to us is the way that God loves to bless us and to honor us with God’s own glory and light. Praise God, who has chosen to bless us with God’s light and grace!


Lord, thank you for the gift of your light and the glory that you so graciously bestow upon us as your children. Help us to look for your light in others, and to celebrate your light among your people! Amen.


Today look for God’s light in those around you. Take a moment to recognize the light of God in others and tell them what you see. Practice looking for God’s glory among us, and thank God for it!

Day 28: A GPS unto my feet and an app unto my path

Psalm 119:105

By Lisa Witherspoon, associate director of children’s ministry

9293-Orange-Street-LightsI have a terrible sense of direction. Even around the town where I live, I often plug addresses into the GPS app on my phone so that I can get to places efficiently without risk of getting off track. The app has different voices that speak directions as I drive and my children find this highly amusing.

Sometimes, we can lose our way in life as well. With many distractions, it is easy to get off the path and find ourselves disoriented and confused. There is no app that gives us direction in life – or is there?

This Scripture reminds us that we really don’t need technology to guide us; we simply need to put our faith in God. In The Message, this verse is translated as, “By your words I can see where I’m going.”

If we study God’s word and listen for his voice, he will guide us in the direction we should go.


Loving God, forgive us when we forget that you are our ultimate tour guide. Help us to listen for your voice and let it guide us in the direction we should go. Amen.


How many apps are on your phone or “device?”  Which ones are the most distracting?  (Candy Crush? Facebook? Instagram?) What would happen if you deleted one of those distractions and replaced it with a devotional app?

Give it a try – at least for a day or even a week this summer. Every time you are tempted to check social media or play that game, read a scripture passage instead. (Need a devotional app? Try D365, Bible Gateway, or Jesus Calling.)

Day 27: Living fully and spiritually now, in all aspects of life

Romans 13:11-13

By Neil Dunnavant, executive pastor

water.jpgMore recent understanding about Paul suggests that Paul believed that the world as we know it was soon coming to an end. Jesus would return to earth, and finally God would establish God’s peaceable kingdom where there would be war no more and the lion would lie down with the lamb.

This did not happen (or hasn’t happened yet!), so we interpret this passage to mean that salvation is near to us because we now understand how we are to live, how we are to conduct ourselves, how we are to think about things.

Salvation is close at hand when we know what it means to live fully and spiritually now in all aspects of life – family, work, how we treat others, how we take care of our own bodies, our health.

Salvation means healthiness. It means being saved to a wonderful life and from a life without meaning, purpose, or dignity.


Dear God, help us fully understand that we are saved now and not just after we die. Help us most of all to lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.


Consider today how your life is so much better because of your belief in salvation now and salvation as having a full and rich and noble life as a follower of Jesus. Consider all the difficulties you are currently avoiding because of your salvation.