Monday, April 27, 2020

Red Sea Rule #4 (Exodus 14:10)


Can you think of a time when you cried out to the Lord in a moment of desperation or need?

What do you remember about the situation? If you were anything like the Israelites, you were begging for a life-saving way out. They saw the rolling Red Sea in one direction and heard the approaching Egyptian army from the other. The Message reads, “They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God” (v. 10b).

And this wasn’t really even a cry of faith! They followed it up by asking Moses why he took them out of Egypt just to let them die in the wilderness. “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here to die…?” (v. 11, The Message)

But even if their prayer wasn’t filled with faith, at least they prayed it. At least the Israelites showed us that “when we can’t press forward, move sideward, or step backward, it’s time to look upward and to ask God to make a way” (Morgan, 44).

Do you ever hesitate to cry out to God, thinking that if He was going to fix a situation, He would have done it before now OR that He would never let things get so out of control? No? Just me? Well, it is in the seemingly improbable and impossible times that I learn best to let go and to let God do things in His time and in His way.

I recently cried out to God concerning a financial situation for someone I love. Several voices told her not to expect any assistance from her insurance company and they sounded like thundering Egyptians to our ears. Knowing we needed reinforcements, I invited several others to pray for the ‘Red Sea of bureaucracy’ to open up, allowing the needed monies to become available. Week after week, it was incredible to see claims being approved. The naysayers had said, “They’ll never approve this and, if somehow they do, it’ll just be for a few days of treatment.” And yet, forty-two days later, everything was covered (minus the deductible, of course).

Robert Morgan pointed out, “God doesn’t always say yes to all our requests, but He listens with unusual attentiveness when two or three gather in united prayer – and He responds in His own way and time with power and wisdom.”

Does God welcome crisis-time praying? Here’s one possible response: “Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (I Peter 5:6-7). How can you work on a stronger set of prayer habits during this season?

Questions to Ponder:

·       Can you think of a time when you cried out to God in a moment of desperation or need? Jot down your recollection of the occasion.

·       How can prayer help us transition from panic to peace AND from peace to praise?

Red Sea Rule #3 (Exodus 14:5-9)

Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.

In Exodus 14, we read of the Israelites making their way into wilderness in an effort to put distance between them and the country of their oppression. Having experienced God’s miraculous provision of escape, it seemed a no-brainer that the journey to freedom would be worry-free.

But, meanwhile, back in Egypt … the Pharaoh and other leaders were waking up to the reality that their slaves were gone, really gone. And they didn’t like that one bit. So, they went after the Israelites. More than 600 chariots – along with horses, officers, and troops – began their thundering pursuit.

I wonder when the Israelites knew they were in trouble. I imagine that, even while the Egyptians were a long way off, the ground began to shake (remember the animal stampede scene in ‘Lion King’?) and there was a general feeling of uneasiness and dread. But, sooner rather than later, they knew: the enemy was coming!

Robert Morgan points out that “Satan doesn’t surrender his prey without a fight. He comes racing after the converted soul, chariot wheels churning the dust, seeking to discourage you, to defeat you…. He tries to trap you in difficulty, to entangle you in trouble, to corner you in impossible situations, to lure you into temptation” (34).

In Ephesians 6, we’re directed to “put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Jesus’ brother James reminds us to “resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (4:7-8).

And then there are Peter’s words: ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith….” That lion acts like Scar, not Mufasa or Simba.

Morgan concludes, “When things are going badly, when you feel trapped between sword and sea, when you’re under assault, acknowledge the devil – but keep your eyes on Christ. He will see you through. He will make a way” (40).

Questions to Ponder:

·      Grab a few index cards and write out the scriptures mentioned above. Then place them in strategic places as a reminder of God’s protection amid the enemy’s presence.

·      What are you thinking & feeling when you consider you may be under enemy attack?
Hebrews 12:2 tells us to look to Jesus during times of difficulty. What are some practical ways of doing that during your present set of circumstances? 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Red Sea Rule #2 (Exodus 14:3-4)

Be more concerned for God's glory than your relief.

Recently, we learned that 'God means for you to be where you are.' Were you relieved OR did you feel a little bit betrayed? Why would He want me here? And not just me ... why does He want THE WHOLE WORLD in this situation?

Author Robert Morgan challenges us to reconsider the questions we're asking. "Instead of asking, 'How can I get out of this mess?' try asking, 'How can God be glorified in this situation?' One's perspective is entirely changed by the spiritual realities behind that approach. It's like switching on floodlights in a dark stadium" (21).

no copyright infringement is intended
You might remember that Jesus faced a pretty tough scenario as He entered the Garden of Gethsemane with his disciples shortly after his ‘last supper’ with them. His agonizing prayer of 'Not my will but yours be done' actually started with 'if there's another way this can go, I'm open to it.' But His anguish-filled submission to the Father's plan modeled for us what it means keep our focus on the bigger, better purpose.

It wasn’t a coincidence that we walked through the first part of our corona-virus quarantines during the weeks leading up to Easter. Perhaps you took the time to read through one (or all) of the Gospels to be reminded of Jesus' journey of purpose and sacrifice, not comfort and self-seeking. (If you didn’t then, you’ve still got time now!)

Robert Morgan points out that "God doesn't waste suffering. If He leads us into impossible spots, He will deliver us in His own time, in His own way, and for His name's sake" (24).

Have you encountered past heartaches which, in time, resulted in your good and God's glory? Be thinking of a word of testimony you can share with your small group (or email me!). Your 'survival' encourages and acts as a reminder that God can -- and will -- do it again!

Questions to Ponder: (RSR, 30)

·        According to Exodus 14:3-4, why did God lead His people to the edge of the sea?

·        Can you think of other biblical heroes or people you currently know who faced great problems in the past that later turned out for their good and for God’s glory?

·        Have you encountered past heartaches which, in time, resulted in your good and God’s glory? (Yes, I know this is the same question as above but hopefully you’ll take a moment and actually answer it now.)

·        Why not compose a simple prayer right now to reflect a changed perspective on the way you’ve been viewing your Red Sea dilemma?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Red Sea Rule #1 (Exodus 14:1-2)

Realize that God means for you to be where you are.

For some, this 'rule' brings a smile to your face because this time of 'social distancing' brings much-needed 'me time' or family time or catch-up-on-projects time or, well, you-fill-in-the-blank time.

For others, this is perplexing because 'social distancing' means too much 'me time' or family time. :) OR it means you can't work which means you can't make money which means, well, it means the dominoes start falling. OR maybe you struggle with anxiety and depressing, and all of this change and uncertainty is making you feel ALL the feels. OR ... well, there are a lot of other ORs.

Author Robert Morgan says to "take a deep breath and recall this deeper secret of the Christian life: when you are in a difficult place, realize that the Lord either placed you there or allowed you to be there, for reasons perhaps known for now only to Himself."

The times in the past when I have picked up this book, I have found myself in places I really, really, really didn't want to be. Somehow, being reminded that where I was didn't surprise God was a huge relief. It was then that I could begin to open my heart and mind to the possibility that He would meet me there and use the situation to teach me, change me, and show me something of Himself I couldn't learn any other way.
So, here we are. Being side-tracked by COVID-19 may be central in our news feeds right now but I imagine a lot of us have other things screaming for our attention as well. Take that deep breath, underline and/or memorize John 16:33, and then cling to this promise:

"The same God who led you IN will lead you OUT."

Questions to ponder (RSR, 17):

·         Red Seas come in all shapes and sizes. What’s the Red Sea you’re focusing on for this journey?

·         Why is life so hard? Why do problems persist? Why do we encounter these Red Seas?

·         Be honest – how have you been initially reacting to your own Red Sea experience, whatever it is?

·         How can embracing Rule #1 affect your response?

Red Sea Rules thru the Lens of COVID-19

Do you know about The Red Sea Rules? It's a small book by Robert Morgan with '10 God-given strategies for difficult times.' Mary Lynn Kirby gave me my first copy about 10 years ago. Since then, I have been encouraged repeatedly by these insights, especially in challenging seasons. I think it's time I revisit them and want to invite you along for the ride. They're based on the story in Exodus 14 of when the Israelites were sandwiched between the Egyptian army in hot pursuit on one side and the vastness of the Red Sea on the other. These 'rules' are reminders that 'even in the midst of seemingly impossible situations, God promises to make a way for us.'

To set up the study of the book, let’s consider the context of the biblical story:

·         Why were the Israelites in Egypt? (Hint: Joseph sold into slavery, etc., etc.)

·         Why were they no longer favored in Egypt? (Exodus 1:6-14)

·         What about Moses’ upbringing made him uniquely prepared for the task God called him to? (Exodus 2:1-10 and Acts 7:20-22)

·         Why was he so hesitant to follow God’s command to lead the Israelites out of Egypt? (Exodus 3:11, 4:1-13 and Acts 7:23-29)

·         What did God do to get Pharaoh ready to finally let the Israelites leave Egypt?
(Exodus 6:28 – 12:36)

·         How did God set the Israelites up for success? What supernatural elements did God provide to direct and protect the Israelites? (Exodus 13:17-22)

·         Curious about what this might look like on a map? Check out this link. Click on the map to get a magnified view.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Waffle or Spaghetti?

As we continue to work our way through the "communicable" attributes of God, it gets harder and harder to look at one particular attribute without considering its relationship with others. Of course, because of the way the book is written, each week we're focusing on one attribute in an attempt to better understand how this describes our God and to see how He has modeled this attribute so that we can follow in His footsteps.

In some ways, we are studying the attributes of God as if they fit easily in the squares of a waffle. God most holy. God most loving. God most good. And now, God most just. Individually, they are separate and strong. Reassuring and foundational. But just because these characteristics can be dissected one by one does not mean they stand alone. I mean, they could. This is God. He could be holy and only holy. He could be loving and only loving. But He's not; at least, that's not how the Bible describes Him. In some situations, we learn of His holiness or His goodness or His love more than others but that doesn't stop Him from being all those things all at the same time.

In other words, He is more like spaghetti. Individual pieces of pasta that intertwine in and out of each other to come together as a whole. Sure, the separate characteristics are important to study and learn and know but what seems to be more valuable is working to see how all the separate characteristics fit together in support of each other ... how God's love is impacted by His holiness which impacts His goodness. Multi-dimensional. Each attribute intertwined with the others.

As I studied this week's focus on "God Most Just," I am struck by his role as Judge. What does a judge do? What does it take to be a good judge? If you were accused of a crime you didn't commit, what kind of judge would you hope to present your case?

On page 59 in In His Image, Jen Wilkin describes God as "a judge who possesses every fact of every case. Though earthly courts labor to reconstruct what really happened, God knows exactly who did what to whom, on what day, in which location, and for what purpose. He knows not only the external facts of the case, but the internal motives of all involved. Not only is He the Judge, He is also the eyewitness who testifies to the facts -- perfectly clear-sighted in his recollections."

In Deuteronomy 10:17, we read, "For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes."

Then, in Deuteronomy 32:3-4, Moses wrote (or, maybe even SANG), "I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He."

How does this apply to God as Judge? Think about it. Shows no partiality. Accepts no bribes. Does no wrong. Upright. Just. Is it possible for a human judge to ALWAYS be just and fair? Of course not. He doesn't always know all the facts. He can be pressured to make the wrong judgment by someone more powerful. He is a sinner himself. Here's an example:

In May of 1978, an anonymous caller told police that four men living in Chicago had committed a horrible crime. Dennis Williams, Verneal Jimerson, Kenny Adams, and Willie Rainge were arrested and soon convicted of the crime. The men insisted they were innocent, but the judge declared them guilty and had them taken to prison.
Eighteen years later, new evidence was sent to the police department. The evidence proved that the men from Chicago were indeed innocent! Judge Thomas Fitzgerald overturned (reversed) their convictions and the prisoners were released. The evidence also helped the police capture the real criminals. ( 
What caused the first judge to make the wrong decision in this case? He didn't have all the evidence! Remember what we read on page 59 about God the Judge: He is "a judge who possesses every fact of every case." He is both a "personal, loving Father AND an impartial Judge of the hearts of men." Think of it as two sides of a coin: God most loving ... flip it over ... God most just.

In Psalm 89:14, we read, Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you."

It's important for us to remember that God is working justice even when we can't see it. Jen Wilkin reminds us on page 62 that, "by virtue of our humanness, our ability to perceive God's perfect justice and his loving fatherhood is limited. We see only a partial display of God's justice from our marrow perspectives. One lifetime is not always enough to witness justice served."

This made me think of some dear friends whose daughter was raped and murdered shortly before her 21st birthday. The shock and horror of the situation was so hard to comprehend but here it was, right smack dab in front of us. The perpetrator was apprehended within days and put in jail to await trial. We were faced with the awful fact that, when he committed these horrendous crimes, he was actually out on bond or recently released from another arrest. But most found comfort in the fact that he would stand trial, be found guilty, and then incarcerated for the rest of his life. However, during a day trip to a doctor's office, he overpowered the medical staff, and as he attempted to escape through air ducts in the ceiling, was shot and killed. This was not the justice the family had anticipated.

Again, we have to be careful to not cloud our vision of God's ways with our humanness. Instead, we are called to trust the Just Judge who is also our Good Father. "God sees and he knows. And in his justice, he acts. He will by no means clear the guilty. How comforting to know that no injustice we may suffer goes unseen or unrepaid" (63).

Do you get it? The grace we received at the Cross was not God saying, 'your sin was no big deal; let's just move on.' No, it had to be dealt with. Here's one 'earthly' example to try to make sense of this huge concept:
Over the past number of years, we have lent our kids money for different things -- usually it was to cover a debt they incurred unexpectedly that they could not possibly pay back without a huge or prolonged penalty. We lent the money expecting that somehow, someway we would be paid back.
When our son came out of his 18-month rehab experience with Teen Challenge, we 'forgave' his debt. In tangible ways, we considered his commitment to recovery as payment. But, honestly, the truth is, the debt didn't just go away -- there was still a large outlay of money that remained unpaid. But we wanted him to have a fresh start, a chance at a new beginning without this hanging over him, so we made the sacrifice. We covered the debt and said, 'Now, live your life.'
God -- the just God -- says, "The wages of sin is death," eternal separation from God ... and just in case you think you might be exempt, don't forget that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 6:23, 3:23).
Something HAS to cover that sin. The JUST God can't just say, 'Poof, it goes away.' Someone has to -- HAD to -- pay the debt. After years and years and years of animal sacrifices to make temporary atonement for sin, God sent Jesus "at the proper time" to be the Ultimate Sacrifice -- once and for all -- not to make it magically all go away but to call us into relationship with Himself ... for us to understand that, without Him, we are nothing. (See Philippians 3:7-11).

A few more scripture to consider:

Psalm 9:7-10
The Lord reigns forever; He has established His throne for judgement. He will judge the world in righteousness; He will govern the peoples with justice. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in you, for you, Lord have never forsaken those who seek you.

Deuteronomy 10:18-19
"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the wido, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

God calls us to respond to the justice we've been shown.

Psalm 82:1-4
God presides in the great assembly; He gives judgement among the 'gods': "How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?" Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Jen Wilkin reminds us that "God's will is that we do justice" (68). The prophet Micah said this first in chapter 6, verse 8: "And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

What might this look like in your life? Dana Spinola of fab'rik offers 'justice and kindness' to women coming out of sex trafficking. Brooke Henze offers 'justice and kindness' to women standing in the gap through foster care and adoption. Need suggestions? Go back to Deuteronomy 10 and Psalm 82: care for the fatherless, the widow, and the "alien."

And finally, a warning of sorts. In Luke 11:42 (NIV), we read, "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue, and other kinds of garden herbs but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."

Perhaps it speaks more directly to us from The Message version: "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God's love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required."

What is God's will for our lives?

  • Be holy as He is holy.
  • Love as you have been loved.
  • Be good as He is good.
  • Be just as He is just.
Definitely spaghetti!


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

God is good all the time

For 22 years, I lived on the campus of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary which also happens to be the home of the LifeSongs radio station. Plastered across the banner of its website ( are the words "God is good all the time."

When we say "God is good," what do we mean? One source I looked up defined the meaning as "morally excellent, extraordinarily beautiful, deeply glad, and extravagantly bountiful." While these are abundantly descriptive words, my thoughts on God's goodness are a little more simple: deeply caring, free from selfish motive, and action-oriented.

How do we know God is good? The Bible tells us over and over. Consider these scripture verses:

1 Chronicles 16:34 "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is GOOD; his love endures forever.

Psalm 100:5 "For the Lord is GOOD and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."

Psalm 34: 8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him."

Nahum 1:7 "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble; He cares for those who trust in Him."

Have you ever heard someone say "It's all good"? I heard those words coming out of mouth several months after our Hurricane Katrina experience even though we were displaced from our home in New Orleans indefinitely and life was full of uncertainty. It just seemed like an easy way to sum up what was happening but truly it wasn't accurate. You see, someone would ask how we were doing and I was quick to brag on how God was providing for us in so many ways and I typically punctuated my comments with "it's all good." One friend, upon hearing me say that, responded, "Judi, it's NOT all good. Your home was flooded. You lost a lot of things you loved. That's not good. But God is good!"

You're right, my friend. All of that wasn't good but it got me to the place where I could say without doubt, "God is good."

Last week, before I had given any thought to this week's focus, I reflected about our Katrina experience on Facebook through the lens of last week's emphasis on the love of God:
Thirteen years ago, I never questioned God's love, even as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina flooded my home, my community, and my world as I knew it at the time. It was hard -- really hard -- to walk through those days and weeks and months displaced from NOLA. But today, more than ever, I am in awe of the people who stepped up as the hands and feet of Jesus in our lives. "I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Ps. 27:13) I saw God's goodness in the faces of a family who gave us a place to stay for five weeks; in the church and individuals who filled a gift registry wish-list to stock our new home; in gift cards and checks that came at 'just the right time' to remind us that God would supply our every need. God's goodness didn't spare us from an horrific natural disaster but His goodness gave us hope for what would come from it.
We were banking on His character ... the goodness in His character. He can't not be good!

On page 47 in In His Image, Jen Wilkin described God as ...

  • "infinitely good" -- we can't know all of his goodness ... just what we see and experience and yet he's more good than all of this. I am reminded of how a young mom with a special needs child described her response to the words of the bridge in the song "Good Good Father" by Chris Tomlin. "You are perfect in all of your ways." She said, "I struggled with this because of my child and the challenges that come with his condition. I finally had to lay down my perception that God had made a mistake. Instead, if I say he's perfect in ALL of his ways, then this includes my child." Her honesty in this journey was (and is) inspiring because we all have to process our disappointments in life with the truth that God is "infinitely good."
  • "immutably good" -- meaning, unchangingly good. "His goodness undergoes no increase or decline, nor does it waver. In him there is no darkness at all, nor has there ever been, nor will there ever be. He is good and he goes good. There is no better version of him to come, no progress from good to better to best for him. God's goodness is his utter benevolence, the complete absence of malice. God does not, cannot, and need not improve with age. He is as good as he has been or will ever be. Perfectly good. Utterly good" (47).
What a source of security and encouragement! God will always be good. His character does not change.

Perhaps this promise is what boosted Anne Graham Lotz (one of Billy Graham's daughters) when she recently received a diagnosis of breast cancer three years to the day after her husband drowned. Instead of being devastated, Anne has chosen a very different perspective.
What fuel has the Refiner added to the fire as He works to reveal Jesus in and through you? He has recently stoked the fire under me! I'm encouraged when I remember that when a refiner purifies gold, he melts it in a pot over the fire. He keeps turning up the heat until the dross, or impurities, rise to the surface. He then bends over the gold to skim off the dross, and continues doing so, until he can see his face reflected in the surface of the gold. (Latest from Anne, accessed 9/5/2018)
Anne Graham Lotz is choosing not to despair but to cling to God's goodness, to hope in the Lord.

Goodness is not in our character. Any goodness in us comes from God ... as he grows us in the Refiner's fire.

And like his holiness and his love, God does not make us play hide-and-seek until we find figure out his goodness. In Psalm 119:68, we read, "You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees." We can look to God as the perfect role model of goodness and how to do good things.

And just as we are called to love as God loves us, I believe we are called to "do good" just as God does good in our lives!

Recently I was listening to a podcast featuring Dana Spinola, creator and CEO of the store fab'rik. While she has an impressive back story for starting her business, what really caught my attention was what happened after God got a-hold of her heart on a mission trip to Haiti. She changed her business motto to "High Style with Heart" and felt like she couldn't continue with business as usual. While she still oversees the business in her boutiques (40 stores in 10-11 states), she also created "free fab'rik," a styling experience for women transitioning from sex trafficking (funded by donation, run by volunteers). Check it out at Dana also takes her different staff members on mission trips to Africa (where she adopted her daughter Asher in Ethiopia). Truly Dana is set on doing good even as God is doing good in her life.

Another example of doing good is in our book on pages 51-52. Did you read about Osceola McCarty? She quit school after sixth grade and, from then on, helped her family by washing and ironing clothes for people in her Hattiesburg, MS community. "In 1995, at the age of 86, she contacted the University of Southern Mississippi to let them know she would be donating a portion of her life savings to fund scholarships for African-American students to receive the education she had missed -- a sum of $150,000." WHAT? Jen Wilkin pointed out that "Osceola McCarty, child of poverty and child of God, wanted to do good, and generously so.... Those who know good awaits them in heaven can afford to be generous on earth."

Note that Dana and Osceola have followed God's leading in goodness. They responded to God's touch on their lives. They've done good and been recognized for it in a positive way.

But if we reflect on Jesus' time on earth, we know that Jesus, the ultimate do-gooder, was not only NOT recognized in a positive way, he was put to death!
"He went about doing good. . . . They put him to death by hanging him on a tree" (Acts 10:38-39). Peter's words to the Gentiles about how evil responds to good instruct us. If we are to walk in the light as he is in the light, we will strive to be good and do good, and we should prepare to be treated as he was treated. There is no room among the children of God for any goodness aimed at securing favor with God or others. Only a goodness aimed at expressing our gratitude to a good God will do. (53)
And finally, take a look at Galatians 6:9-10. Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

What are our take-aways from these verses?

  • Don't become weary in doing good. It takes time and effort! Sometimes MUCH time and MUCH effort.
  • A harvest is coming IF we don't give up! We're up against "internal resistance" and "resistance of others."
  • Do good to ALL people (remember my story about serving the homeless? ALL people!).
  • And especially to those who in family of believers! My friend Courtney Veasey uses the analogy of a water sprinkler ... we get so set on doing good to others and take for granted our family of believers. The grass under the sprinkler needs watering too!
So, "what is the will of God for your life? That you would be good as he is good. That generosity would be your first impulse in the morning and your last thought at night. That you would walk in the light as he is in the light. There is no darkness in him and no room for it in us." (54)