Light Pollution

by Julie Zine Coleman

Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This happened so that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled:

The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
By the way of the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—

‘The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a Light dawned.”
Matthew 3:12-16 NASB

When Steve and I were dating, one of our favorite things to do was go for a drive in Maryland’s Calvert County to watch the night sky. It was truly dark there—unable-to-see-your-hand-in- front-of-your-face kind of dark. In the middle of a mostly farmed area, no light pollution from cities invaded our view. The Milky Way and many planets from our solar system were easily seen. Together we learned the winter constellations. We spent hours watching meteors streak across the sky. It was awesome.

In the dark, any spark of light will be noticed. Perhaps that is why Jesus chose to begin His ministry in the region of Galilee. He came as the Light of the World to people walking in darkness.

That northern region was despised by the pure-blooded and educated Jews of Jerusalem and Judea. They hated the Galileans’ accent and lack of religious adherence.

In the south, the religious leaders in Jerusalem and Judea had vigorously taught the Mosaic and Oral Law. Many were convinced that in obeying the Law, they would be OK with God. But that kind of self-sufficiency would ultimately keep them from recognizing their very real inadequacy and need.

Paul tells us “Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though they could by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone…” (Romans 9: 31-32 NASB). All that religion and law-keeping had only inoculated them.

It was a situation similar to light pollution from a city—keeping us from seeing much of a night sky’s offerings.

In contrast, Galilee was in the dark, still searching for what Jesus had come to offer. So they came to Him in droves, ready to listen to what He had to say, open to regarding Him as the promised Messiah.

That can be a lesson to us. The more we inoculate ourselves with rule-following and judging those who do not follow our personal moral code, the better we think ourselves to be. We lose the understanding that Jesus has already done it all—and we wear His righteousness, not our own. Nothing we have done could earn any favor with God. Grace is undeserved favor. There is only level ground at the cross. No idea of self-sufficiency can survive in light of those truths.

Keeping our focus on Jesus and what He has done for us will keep us clinging to Him, knowing how our dependence on God will continue for the rest of our lives. And it will keep our hearts sensitive to His light, leading, and purposes.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).


About the authorJulie Zine Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or crafting. More on Julie can be found at her new website and Facebook.

Many Christian women are torn between the church’s traditional teachings on gender roles and the liberty they experience in secular society. But what if the church’s conventional interpretations aren’t really biblical at all? Julie’s new book, On Purpose, is a careful study of the passages in the Bible often interpreted to limit women in the church, at home, or in the workplace. Each chapter reveals timeless biblical principles that actually teach freedom, not limitation. On Purpose was awarded the Golden Scrolls 2022 Book of the Year. 

Join the conversation: Can you think of something in your life that could deaden your response to the grace of God?


As Numerous as the Stars

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  John 1:4 NASB

While living in Honduras to help a missionary doctor, the town lost power. We prepared for many nights of darkness.

I looked to the heavens, holding my flashlight. as I walked the dusty street to Bible study. The stars pierced the sky and I was reminded of God’s covenant with Abraham. “Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars.”

I prayed, “Lord, use me to add to those descendants while I’m here in Honduras.”

As we studied John chapter eight by candlelight, we took turns reading verses. I loved hearing Scripture read in Spanish. Some ladies learning English read their verse in English with some help from me. What joy to share in God’s Word in any language, especially by candlelight. A few ladies did not know the Lord, but came because it was something to do in the quiet little mountain village. They just listened.

My turn came and I read John 8:12 from my ESV Bible. “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

As I declared the second “light,” all the lights suddenly came on. We looked at each other shocked, smiled, then jumped and cried “Gloria a Dios.”

We cried happy tears at God’s faithfulness and clear sign He was with us.

Rosa remained sitting, her mouth wider than her eyes. I had been told Rosa lived a life of gossiping, sexual immorality, and bitterness. She looked at me and said, “We never get power that quickly. I want your Jesus.”

That night, Rosa accepted Jesus’ free gift of eternal life and went home to tell her family. She had been rescued from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1: 13).

Rosa reconciled with her husband, and the family attends church and Bible study on a regular basis.

A few months later, I said my goodbyes with tear filled eyes, knowing, God continues to fulfill his promise to Abraham by shedding the light of the Gospel in the darkest hearts and tiniest places.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer and speaker. As a certified Christian Life Coach Minister, and Ordained Minister, she aims to share the love of Christ wherever God leads. Cherrilynn is a speaker with Women Speakers. She contributes to the Blue Ridge Writers blog, is published in four compilations books, and her book Shine Don’t Whine released in 2020. Cherrilynn served in the military for twenty years, earning the John Levitow Military leadership award. She lives with her 19-year-old son Michael, Jr., and her husband of 22 years, Michael. She fondly calls them her M&M’s.

Join the conversation: Has God ever given you a sign that He is with you?

Bright Light and Covered Eyes

by Melissa Henderson @mimionlife

Mask, gloves, hand sanitizer. Yes, I am prepared to enter the local grocery store.

I have tried my best to follow the current rules and regulations concerning staying safe from the Corona virus. My husband, Alan, and I wash our hands frequently; we don’t touch our faces and wear masks when needing to be in public. Yes, we are rule followers. We want to stay safe and healthy.

A shock came when Alan went for routine testing before a surgery and was told, “Sorry, the surgery has to be postponed. You’ve tested positive for the virus.”

He is one of the people who has no symptoms and he feels great. I immediately called the prayer chain at church. Prayers from family, friends and strangers began and kept going.

Our official quarantine began. We stayed inside, watched more movies, read more books, tried new recipes with food we had delivered from the local grocery store. Hours and days passed. We stepped outside onto the back porch from time to time to watch the wild life in the forest behind the house. Alan and I often remark how blessed we feel to see turkeys, deer, ducks, herons and egrets out back. Even the occasional coyote will quickly pop out of the forest on the journey to find food.

But recently, I noticed something unusual when I opened the back door and stepped outside. My eyes hurt. I instinctively covered my eyes as the bright sunshine was actually causing me pain. I squinted and blinked as my eyes began watering like a bad allergy attack. I tried to stay outside on the back porch, but finally gave up. The sunshine-induced pain would not quit.

Back inside the house, I wondered if other people were experiencing the same trouble. Glancing out of our front window, I saw several friends coming out of their homes. The first thing I noticed was that each person was covering their eyes from the bright sunshine.

One the first day of creation, God created light. He said “Let there be light,” and there was light. He “saw the light was good and He separated it from the darkness” (Genesis 1:2-4 NASB).

Then, many, many years later, God sent a different kind of light to the earth. John wrote: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5 NASB). The great light that Jesus shone while on earth had those who preferred the darkness shrinking back into the shadows. But while it illuminated with truth, His was not a harsh light that revealed every flaw and failure. His light was, and still is today, a warm, welcoming glow that beckons us out of the darkness.

We do not need to cover our eyes from His light. The light of the world came to save us.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.                              John 3:17 NASB

Bright Light and Covered Eyes – encouragement from Melissa Henderson, @MiMiOnLife on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Melissa HendersonAbout the author: Melissa Henderson is a writer of inspirational messages. Her first book for children, Licky the Lizard, was released in 2018. She also has a story in the compilations “Heaven Sightings” and “Remembering Christmas”. She contributes articles and Licky the Lizard by [Melissa Henderson, Mark Brayer]devotions to various magazines and websites. Her passion is in helping her community and church. Melissa is an elder, deacon and Stephen Minister. The family motto is, “It’s Always A Story With The Hendersons”.

Join the conversation: What does Jesus’ being the Light of the World mean to you?





Let There Be Light

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

...God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:5b

A wonderful part of the Christmas season is the plethora of lights on houses, trees, and shining from windows. The Christmas tree in our home glitters with white lights, reflecting off the ornaments and giving the room a festive glow. Light is a very appropriate symbol to be used at Christmas, since the holiday is all about the birth of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.

God’s glory has been revealed in light since the beginning of time. In His first recorded words, God said, “Let there be light.” With a blinding flash, creation was revealed.   Genesis tells us that the sun, moon, and stars were not created until the fourth day. What was the source of light that lit up the formless, watery creation that existed at that command? Revelation 21 gives us a possible answer when it describes the future New Jerusalem: “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it.” Creation was made to reveal God’s glory. Maybe God’s glory revealed creation as well.

We read of many examples where God’s glory is revealed as light. When Moses spoke with God on Mt. Sinai, his face had to be veiled when he came down the mountain because it shone. God’s presence filled the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, revealed with a pillar of fire that glowed throughout 40 years’ worth of nights. At the Transfiguration, Matthew tells us Jesus’ garments became as white as light. The light of God’s glory stunned anyone in Scripture who was privileged enough to experience it.

When the world was new, God’ glory continued to be revealed at the creation of Adam and Eve. Were they reflectors of a literal light? We do know that God made them in his “likeness.” As originally created, they certainly reflected God’s glory. Then came the moment when they submitted to the temptation placed before them by the Prince of Darkness. At the first bite of that forbidden fruit, the light went out. The curse of sin had descended on creation. Adam and Eve looked at each other, saw their nakedness, and for the first time, knew the sting of shame.

The world plunged into darkness. The sun, moon, and stars continued to provide physical light, but the darkness this time was much more crushing. Man was now spiritually blind. It would take a miracle for him to be able to “see” once more.

The people lived in darkness for many years until God once again gave the command: “Let there be light.” This time, instead of a blinding flash of brilliance, the command was fulfilled in the quiet, unseen miracle of the Holy Spirit planting a baby within a young girl. In a dirty animal stall one night in Bethlehem, the light snapped on for the lost. The Light of the World had come to a people who were blind and hopeless.

As he lived here on earth, he lit up the darkness around him. With his glory he exposed the sin of the proud, hard-hearted religious leaders. From place to place he traveled, healing all kinds of sicknesses and even reversing death, freeing fortunate ones of the consequences of living under the curse of darkness. His teachings exposed the darkness of the burden of sin and revealed the glory of God that had come to save.

Those living in darkness hated the Light and finally managed to orchestrate his death sentence. Even the skies went dark that day as the Light of the World hung on a cross, suffering under the unimaginable burden of the sin of the world. At his death, for a short while it seemed the light had been snuffed out and darkness had finally won.

But in a sunburst of glory that first Easter morning, the Light of the World banished the darkness, dealing Satan a fatal blow. No longer would darkness have the victory. Death had lost its sting.

The command continues today: “Let there be light.” Those who seek him are rewarded with the light of spiritual vision when they are given the priceless gift of salvation. Then they, in turn, are charged to be light reflectors to those within their sphere of influence. They bear witness to the truth, endeavoring to live lives of love while guiding others who remain in the darkness to come into the light.

As we string the lights around the tree and place candles in our windows, let us give thanks to the Light of the World whom these lights represent. The glory that is God’s continues to shine in the hearts of those who love him, made possible by his coming to Israel over two thousand years ago, when God said, “Let there be light.”

Let There Be Light – encouragement from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailydevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: Is there another symbol present at Christmastime that reminds you of spiritual truth?