Monday, October 2, 2017


Light – that which makes things visible, illumination
Keep – maintain custody of, protect, care for, preserve in good condition

A song was brought to my mind by a very unlikely source, and I couldn’t get it out of my thoughts.  It’s called, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning”, and I had not thought of it in years.  It kept playing over and over again in my mind, and I felt compelled to find a copy of the words.  I knew the song spoke of a lighthouse, but my question was, “what are lower lights?”  That term was a puzzle to me.  Of course, many years ago, before GPS and all the other equipment we have now, sailors navigated by the sun, moon and stars.  They especially used Polaris, or the North Star as we sometimes call it.  These were called the upper lights, lights that God had placed above for guidance and illumination. The lower lights were simply the lights from the lighthouses. These lighthouses were placed strategically at harbors where ships could dock safely without running aground on rocks.  Their beams of light signaled a safe harbor ahead as they shone a welcoming beam across the water and guided the pilot safely into the port.
Today, most lighthouses are automated, so they do not have a lighthouse keeper.  But that wasn’t the case in the past.  The lighthouse keeper’s job was all-consuming.  They were on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The safety of the ships and the many lives on those ships depended on them.  Some lighthouses had two keepers to lessen the load, but most had only one who had dedicated his life to it completely.  His duty was simple, but not easy.  He was to help the ships see more clearly in the obscurity of early morning, in the darkness of night, in the fog and in storms.  These keepers saved many lives.
Jesus came to bring Light into the darkness.  He came to make His kingdom visible, and to guide us through the fog and storms of this life.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”  He placed this light into whoever would receive Him, then left us to be keepers of His light, saying, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”  A city on a hill.  That sounds a little like a lighthouse, doesn’t it? A city standing tall and shining the light to show the way to those journeying through this world, letting them know there is a safe harbor accessible even in the most treacherous environment.
Jesus is unquestionably the Upper Light.  But He left us in this world as the lower lights, to guide others to Him.  The light of Jesus Christ shining through us is a welcoming signal to those in darkness.  It beams across the sea of humanity to offer hope.
            Are we carrying out our job to keep the light shining, to help wayfarers make it into the kingdom of God safely?  Philippians 2:15-16 says, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life”. Every time I read that verse, I envision the word of God as a torch we hold high to help others see truth and come to freedom.  If we let that light grow dim or go out, we snuff out the only light some people have.
            If we are to be faithful custodians of the light Jesus has given us, we will realize it is a 24-hour a day job.  We will make sure our lights are fueled and the glass panes are consistently clean and clear.  If our earthen vessel dims the light of Jesus, people will not get a clear view and won’t be able to navigate their way to Him.  We cannot be part time Light Keepers.  Our job is too urgent.  Too many lives are at stake.

“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.”

            Being a faithful light keeper is the most crucial responsibility anyone can have.  We are called to direct the “fainting, struggling seamen” to Jesus.  Souls are desperately in need of saving, and I wonder if we are too complacent in spreading the light.  Are we sending the “gleam across the wave”, or do we hide it among ourselves?  Jesus said, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”   Are we really holding forth the light, or have we become an elite club that focuses only on what God will do for us?  If so, our light will become dim and fade away.  We were made, not only to be receptacles of His light, but to shine that light into the hearts of others.  The light of Christ is to be passed on without fail, because every soul is heading toward an eternal destination of either heaven or hell.   
            God said, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”  God saw the evil and darkness of the world and its inhabitants, and He searched for someone who would stand up and make a difference, who would sound the alarm of danger and light the way for people to navigate to the shelter of God’s kingdom.  The sad part was that he found no one.  Where were the light keepers?  Are we doing any better?  How much progress are we making?

“Dark the night of sin has settled; Loud and angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights along the shore.”

            As a Christian, you are the light along the shore.  Picture in your mind those caught in the storm with no one to intervene and pull them out, no one to shine a light so they can guide their ship to safety.  Are we willing to help them?  Are we available at all times, or just when it is convenient?  It seems no one wants to be on duty as a light keeper all day, every day, but that is what we are called to do. 
            We shine light into darkness every time we give a word of hope and encouragement, give testimony to what we have personally seen and heard in our spiritual walk, when we are a godly example during a tough circumstance, when we communicate the word of God through preaching, teaching, writing, singing, radio, television, social media and many other venues.  We need to learn to wisely use every tool we have available to us.  Time is running out for many souls.
            We are responsible for shining the Light of Jesus Christ, but we are not responsible for their response to the light.  Some may see the lighthouse and refuse to come to it because they have their sights set on faraway places.  But the prophet Ezekiel wrote these words that God had spoken to him.  “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”  (Ezekiel 3:18-19)
            We need to hear the cry of those who are drifting and dying and let them know of the mercy of God to save them.  “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire…”  (Jude 1:22-23)  Where is our compassion?  Where is our fear of God that causes us to reach out even when we fear to do so?
            If we are so absorbed with the things of this world, we will be deaf to the cries of the dying.  If we do not keep our lamps trimmed and burning, we will be of no use to them.  They will die in their sins, but their blood will be on us.  We need to examine our motives.  What is our personal mission?  Are our priorities eternal or temporary?  Let’s wake up and shine.  Dare to ask God what that means for you personally.  Ask Him to give you His plan for you to save the lost.  He uses different people in different ways.  If you keep the light shining brightly in you, your eyes will be open to see those who need your help.

“Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, In the darkness may be lost.”

            We need to trim our “feeble lamps”.  We tend to look at the Scripture in the light of this world rather than looking at this world in the light of Scripture.  So, we have a dingy, obscure view that compromises the Scripture to make it fit in with our culture, and to look as though we are all okay.  When we look at the world in the light of Scripture, we will see it as God sees it – desperately in need of being rescued.  Yet we will also see the glory and grace God has extended to us all, the life in the Spirit realm that lifts us above this world.  And this life is available to “whosoever will”. 
Once we become a light keeper, the light of Scripture will guide us, and the power of the Spirit will enable us.  Then it is impossible to keep from shining.  Only when we become distant with the “Upper Light” will our lower lights be obscured or put out.  So, take care to tend to your light and keep it burning strong. 
            Let our prayer be, “Send me, Lord, into the world, the fire of Your Spirit guiding.  Send me, Lord, into the world, revealing Your holy presence.”  I can hear the Spirit calling; “Shine the light of Christ in darkness.”  That is our responsibility.

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