August 22

Encouragement for Today

 

“Chasing the Sun”

Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member


Key Verse: 

 

John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’” (NAS)

 

Devotion:

 

On my recent trip to Japan, I found myself ‘chasing the sun’. My adventure began with the note of the first song bird.  Squinting out my window I realized it was no longer dark. The early gray that follows sunrise had appeared and the clock assured me I should get moving. By the time I dressed, kissed my sleeping son good-bye, loaded my suitcases into the car and made my way to the interstate toward the airport, I had to grab my sunglasses.  The dazzling sphere that warms our lives was in a showoff mode. “What a day to be alive!” I exclaimed.  I headed west to catch my plane. Mid-morning, the huge craft taxied for take off. I wondered how the captain could point the nose of our jet straight into the blinding light, rising directly into the face of the sun. I spent the remainder of the morning winging my way toward Chicago surrounded by shining rays of light that would not be ignored. My journey continued west with a brief layover in O’Hare Airport.  Once again, this time shortly after noon, the pilot guided his plane full of passengers onto the runway and carried us higher and higher, not into the clouds, but into a sunny blue sky.  It was there I remained for 13 hours – high above the earth, chasing the sun that never set. Although I left the Southeast the morning of one day and arrived in Tokyo mid-afternoon the next, I never experienced darkness.  I felt like I was chasing the sun all day and into the night.

 

I thought about my experience and gained some valuable lessons from my 24 plus hours of chasing the sun. Because I remained right behind the sun, following it day and night, there was never a time that I was in the dark. When God’s children stay close to His Son, Jesus Christ, they will always find themselves in the light.

 

Jesus told his disciples that He was the light of the world and then He said that those who follow Him will not walk in darkness, but would have the light of the world. What does it mean to follow Jesus?

 

The first time Jesus told His disciples to follow Him, He also told them they would become fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).  Following Jesus means that we bring others into the Light. We tell those around us about Jesus, the Son of God, and how He came to earth to save us. Those who heard the words, “follow me,” immediately dropped what they were doing and gladly began to walk in the Light.

 

Shortly after Jesus chose His disciples, the book of Matthew goes on to say that He traveled in Galilee, teaching, proclaiming the Gospel, and healing people (Matthew 4:23-24). He was followed by “great multitudes."  Chapters 5, 6 and 7 repeat Jesus’ lessons, teaching anyone wiling to learn, how to live a life that pleases God. A person who follows Jesus learns because Matthew 7:29 says, “He was teaching them as one having great authority.”

 

Jesus’ words were so powerful that a scribe stepped up and proclaimed that he would follow Jesus wherever He went. Jesus responded that He had no place for His head to rest or His body to lie down (Matthew 8:20). Following Jesus may not always be comfortable.

 

What does it mean to “chase the Son,” to follow after Jesus?

 

It means to invite others into the Light.

While traveling I made a conscious effort to be positive. I had a few opportunities to discuss spiritual matters and mention Jesus’ Name.  Of course the purpose for my trip was to bring the message of Good News to the women who attended the retreat where I spoke.

 

It means to listen to His teaching.

We don’t just listen to Jesus; we allow our lives to be changed by His words of truth. During my trip I had many opportunities to pray and ask for wisdom and guidance. While I waited to catch a plane, took a long bus ride, and sat buckled into my seat I opened my Bible and concentrated on a few verses, pondering how God might want to teach me the lesson I needed to learn. I might have appeared to have been staring mindlessly out the window, but, in reality, I was asking God to use the landscape and my environment to stretch the boundaries of my Christian comprehension. I wasn’t disappointed. He showed me how my trip – chasing the sun – was a lesson for life.

 

It means life may not always be easy.

We will face circumstances where we do not feel we belong. If we get too comfortable, finding a nice place to relax or a cozy environment where we can stop for a while, we may never answer God’s call. Once I arrived at my destination, the ever-dreaded jet lag hit. I went to bed, woke up in the middle of the night, and when it was time to get up and give my weekend presentations, I was in a just-let-me–sleep mode. A child of the Light stays out of the darkness by obeying, whatever the cost. God had called me to share a message. Rolling out of bed, I knew that comfort was not my goal; being obedient to His plans for my life became my focus. 

 

My Prayer for Today: 

 

Lord, You are the Light of my life. I never want to experience darkness. Life without You is a vast and empty void. I am lost and can’t find my way when I don’t have You to guide me. I want to turn away from the dark and step into Your presence where my life finds meaning and my future shines with hope.

 

Application Steps: 

 

Read Ephesians 5:1-21. Make a list of those activities Christians can do in order to walk in the light, being obedient to God’s commands.  Circle the ones that need your attention so you may find yourself always walking in the light.

 

Read 1 John, chapter 1. Write in your own words what the verses of this chapter state about light and darkness.

 

Reflection Points:

 

Reflecting on your recent life, are you aware of having lived in darkness? In which dark activities have you participated?

 

Why do you step into the darkness?

 

Can you create a plan of action so you might find yourself always in the light, chasing the Son?

 

Power Verses:

 

Psalm 4:6b, “Lift up the light of thy countenance upon us, O Lord.” (NAS)

 

Isaiah 2:5, “Come … let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (NAS)

 

Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (NAS)

 

Ephesians 5:8, “… you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” (NAS)

 

1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”

 

Additional Resources:

 

P31 Woman Magazine

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/woman.htm

 

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_whatHappens.htm

 

A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life, by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_secretBalanced.htm