The ultimate flashlight

Flashlights. What a wonderful little versatile tool. They have so many uses… reading a book at night, searching through the attic, flashlight tag, finding the bathroom at night during the camping trip… so many uses. Most years, I put a little flashlight in my kids’ stockings. Just for fun. Because you can’t have too many flashlights. One Christmas I got a flashlight in my stocking, too. It was different, though. It was special. This thing can light up my whole back yard!


Perhaps the most necessary use for a flashlight is during a power outage. Specifically, the moment the power goes out. You are sitting there doing whatever you are doing and then it hits – dark. Everything goes black. The first thing you do? Look for a flashlight. Well, I guess you probably just use the flashlight app on your phone, but the point is the same. When it’s dark and there’s no source of light, you are quick to find one. In Exodus 10, God sent a plague of darkness on Egypt to get Pharaoh’s attention. Everything went black. Instant power outage. Except there wasn’t power in the first place. And there were no flashlights, so it was just plain dark.

Exodus 10:22-23 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

That’s pretty impressive! It was dark everywhere for three days. Everywhere… wait. Not everywhere? How is it possible that the Israelites had light in the places where they lived? I mean, God would have had to block out the sun, somehow. So how do you block out the sun and still make it light in one specific place? Ya, no idea, but somehow He did it. He is God after all.

I found it fascinating in this story that it was dark everywhere EXCEPT where God’s people lived. Isn’t that how it is spiritually still to this day? Or at least that’s how it should be. In this world, there is much spiritual darkness. But where God’s people live, there should be light. Yet we continue to live in places of darkness and stumble around like we don’t know what we are doing.

We are called by God to live as children of light. You know what that means? We are called to be the ultimate flashlight! We are called to have the light of Christ in us in all areas of our life. And we are to bring that light to the darkness around us. The world may be dark like Egypt was for those three days, but where God’s people are there should be light. So be the light. Be the flashlight. Shine on, my friend. Shine on!

Are you paying attention?

I live in Washington; it rains a lot. This time of year, outdoor furniture is on sale everywhere. I have a hard time understanding why in Washington, they sell the kind that has the thick cushions. Don’t people know that those are just going to be wet all the time? It doesn’t make sense for the Northwest, yet it continues to be what I see the most. Is anyone paying attention? It is going to rain! And because it is going to rain sooner or later, you can’t leave stuff outside like you can in places like Arizona. The kids have to bring their shoes in at night. Bikes must to brought into the garage. Stuff must be sheltered or else stuff will get ruined.


In the book of Exodus, God was sending plagues on the land of Egypt so that the Pharaoh would let God’s people go. In chapter 9, God sent some hail. Now it hails here sometimes, but this was some serious hail. Like giant hail that destroyed stuff. Unfortunately, some of the people didn’t pay attention to the forecast. And their stuff got ruined.

Exodus 9:20-21 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. But those who ignored the word of the LORD left their slaves and livestock in the field.

It baffles me, really, that people who have just experienced other plagues would not pay attention to God’s weather forecast. He said there would be hail and there was hail. Crops were ruined. Livestock was killed. People died. All because people didn’t want to pay attention to the Lord’s warning.

God warns us today, too. Sometimes it is the gentle caution of the Holy Spirit that tells us to change course. Or maybe it is His Word that tells us that the wages of sin is death. But we continue to sin. We continue to live our lives contrary to His leading. He has told us what will happen, but we don’t pay attention. 

It’s avoidable, really. I mean, not ALL trouble is avoidable, but much of the heartache that we get ourselves into is. If we would just heed the voice of the Lord. If we would just pay attention to what He is saying to us, we might find that He actually knows what He is doing. And we might avoid some of the consequences of our poor decisions. So be like those who feared the Lord, believed His forecast, and saved themselves the heartache!


I just wrapped up another season of coaching indoor soccer. It’s been a busy season coaching two teams, with one of my daughters on each team. I have been coaching for several years now and I absolutely love it. The transformation that takes place from the first practice to the last game truly is astounding. Kids sure are fast learners! Speaking of the first practice, it was a little chaotic.

indoor-soccerIn fact, the first week of practice was that way! You see, in order to develop skills, I thought I would split the team in half and run a scrimmage. Great idea, but they couldn’t remember who was on their team. That’s when I realized I needed to buy some pennies (practice jerseys) so they could figure out who to work with. Once I got those jerseys on them, things changed. They could more easily remember who was on their practice team. Red with red and blue with blue. They weren’t the same anymore; they were different.

In Exodus 8:21-23, God used the plague of flies like practice jerseys. He said this to Pharaoh:  “If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them. But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.”

I will make a distinction. That’s the heart of God for His people: that there would be a distinction between them and the world. That they would be different. He wants us to be different!

The question is, in our own lives, is there a distinction? Can anyone tell the difference between the people of God and the world? The whole point of these plagues was so that God’s people could “come out” of the land of Egypt. And we, too, need to come out. We need to step out and be different. To be distinct. To be set apart. So in examining your own life, are you hanging out in Egypt with the flies or are you in Goshen… where life is different?


Yoda didn’t need the cane

There’s this scene in Star Wars Episode II that remains one of my favorites. Yoda comes limping in to a room and confronts the evil Count Dooku. He’s got the little cane in his hand and leans on it as he walks. Poor old Yoda; the guy can barely walk. But then it happens… his lightsaber comes out and he starts fighting like a young man. He’s jumping around the room, doing 360’s and somersaults. He transforms into the ultimate Jedi Warrior. Wait a minute… Yoda doesn’t really need the cane, does he?


There were a couple of old guys in the Bible that had canes, too. Well actually they were staffs, but same idea really. Their names were Moses and Aaron – brothers. Old brothers.

Exodus 7:6-7 Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. 

Now both of these guys walked around with staffs in their hands. Very practical, really, as they were in their 80’s. Old dudes sometimes need canes, or staffs. But it turns out that the staff was more than a walking stick; it was a tool that was used for God.

It says in verse 10 that Aaron threw down his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and it became a snake. Then Moses threw down his walker and it became a giant spider. Okay, not really – but that would have been cool! The point is, God used ordinary walking sticks to show His power!

I bet we’ve got some ordinary things in our lives that God could use to show His power. What would happen if instead of looking at the things we rely on as things that meet our needs, we look at those things as potential tools for God’s glory? What if our jobs became more about a mission field than a paycheck collection service? What if we viewed our money as a tool to accomplish God’s vision for our lives? What if we used a place a weakness to share about God’s faithfulness?

If Moses and Aaron could use walking sticks to display the glory of God, then surely we can find some things to do the same. God isn’t limited by our age, our weaknesses, or our disabilities. He is limited only by one thing: our obedience. Because He gives us the freedom to choose His ways. At ages 80 and 83, Moses and Aaron obeyed. What followed was a ridiculous outpouring of the miraculous. Imagine what might happen if we respond to God in the same way. Accomplish great things, we will!