When Eyes are Opened:

[Image by Toni Blay]

Marcia's eyes were puffy the moment she came out of the womb. They were tightly closed, shutting out every penetration of light from the real world. Even when she screamed, fluttering her little arms and legs about, almost kicking the nurse as she was being given her first bath, her eyes still remained close.

Nevertheless, for the first time in fifteen hours, she blinked twice and opened her eyes. Andrew and Marian, the newest parents on the block, smiled and cooed at her as she lay bundled up in her mother's arms. They waved with excitement because their baby could now see them. "Hey, little one. This is mummy, and here's daddy," Marian said. The baby actually smiled like she understood. She kept staring at daddy, and he kept making funny gestures. It was a beautiful sight to watch, the first time her eyes were opened.

* * * * *

The first time a baby opens his or her eyes is truly a beautiful thing to watch. I'm sure you parents out there can testify to that. In fact, even more beautiful is the first moment the baby distinguishes who the mummy is and who the daddy is, and then forms a different kind of bond between parents and siblings.

But there's something even more amazing: the first time our spiritual eyes are opened to see the unseen things that are not visible in the physical world. Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

"Therefore...I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of the inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe..." Ephesians 1:15-21

How can you see the sun if you don't open your eyes? How can you recognize the characteristics of a person's face if you haven't trained your eyes to recognize it? In just the same way that a baby's eyes are opened to see the world, we also need to open the eyes of our spiritual understanding, which are not unveiled on the day we are born but on the day we get "born again."

When we are born again, our eyes are opened to understand that the spiritual controls the physical, and that things happen first in the unseen before they translate into the physical. Battles are fought for you and I before we even wake up in the mornings. As I reflected on this on Friday, I began to realize that the Red sea was already separated in the unseen before Moses stretched out his rod to separate it, obeying God's command. I also perceived that Jesus was already sacrificed for the world long before He was led to the cross; the decision had already been made.

Therefore, we must never relegate the unseen to a level of irrelevance. It is highly important that we understand that when we pray in our closets, battles are being fought for us in the spiritual realm. So my prayer for you today is that you become sensitized to the Holy Spirit, so that He will show you secret things even before they get manifested in the physical world. So go beyond the physical to see God's handiwork in your life. Make yourself available for the Holy Spirit to teach you more about your purpose by spending more time in His presence, and by reading the word of God. Gradually, you will be able to identify how the unseen plays out in your physical world.

Question for the Day: Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit leading you to do something, and then you find out later why you had to do it? (although at the time you were being led to do it, you thought it was the most absurd thing ever?)

Things to Do While Waiting for Your Testimony (And My Own Story):

[Image by Alejandro Groenewold]
God has done a great thing in my life that deserves to be shouted on the rooftops.  

For the past three years, I've only had part-time positions, and I've been waiting for a door of opportunity to be plunged into a full-time professional setting. So I waited, and I prayed, and I cried, and I waited. I applied for so many positions and heard nothing. One year turned into two years, and two years into three. But still nothing. Yet, God knew the right position for me...and the right time. So He allowed me to dabble with these part-time positions until last week. In this past week, I applied for a position, I got a call and was scheduled for an interview. All in one week. In the next two days after the interview, I was told the position was mine; I'd been selected out of four great candidates who were interviewed.

I've never had my own office, but now I do. I can design it, organize it, and arrange it the way I want. On my first day, I was also plunged into the concepts of project management and an area of leadership. One beautiful thing about this testimony is that this job is higher than any other thing I've applied for over the past three years. So in those moments when I heard nothing, I did not understand fully that God was preparing a better place in the background. I'm sharing this with you just to let you know that if you haven't heard any answers, please just stay in the presence of God...don't go away. He's right there with you, and He is preparing a place for you.

Things to Do While Waiting for Your Testimony:

1) Praise God All the Time: In the good times and bad, He is still God. He isn't with you only when things are looking bright. But He is with you ALWAYS, He said, till the end of time. This means that if you have the knowledge that He's with you, you will praise Him in and out of season. You will thank Him for your past testimonies, and for the things He is about to do with you.

2) Know what His word says about you: There are things God has already written concerning you. Let me give you an analogy: if you have a map of a maze in your hand, and you are in the middle of the maze, there's this confidence that will come over you that will let you know you're going to make it out of the maze. Why? Because you have a map and you can read it. Even though the maze takes you through many alternating paths, you will still have confidence that in a few hours you would be at the end. It's the same thing with knowing what God says about you. If your circumstances try to lie to you, you won't be moved. How do you know? By reading His word.

3) Celebrate With Other People: Don't cut yourself off from the world. Because something great has not yet happened to you does not mean it will never happen. The bible says in Romans 12:15 that we must "rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." When you celebrate someone else, when it is your turn to be celebrated, you will not lack a person to celebrate you. But when your nose is turned off to the world and you become dejected, in your own time, there won't be anybody left to celebrate with you.

4) Don't Give Excuses: Don't say you cannot do something for God because you don't have the finances. If God has led you into doing something, He will make a way. He makes a way when there seems to be no way. Walk by faith, not by sight. Don't wait. Every second counts. Also the bible says in Luke 16:10, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much." There were some things that God asked me to do, which I struggled with, but I still did them. If I didn't do them, how would God hand over the bigger tasks into my hands? The key is faithfulness to little things.

5) Surround Yourself With the Right People: From my experience, when I've surrounded myself with the wrong sets of people, they never lifted me up. But when I surround myself with people who have a purpose in life, who know where they're going (although they might not have reached it yet), they fill me with so much hope. Also, I surrounded myself with friends who made me laugh and made my situation light. There's this friend that cracks me up so bad, that I'm even giggling as I'm typing this.

Question for the Day: Are you waiting for a testimony right now? Stay in the presence of God. He will come through for you. I'm a living testimony that He came through.  

When Crowns Do Not Matter Anymore

[Image by BaconStand]
You can also listen to this post: 

Something spectacular happened to them that night, those twenty-four elders. Something very strikingly sobering. It was as though a group of twenty-four great men suddenly became only tiny specks of dust in the presence of a majestic God, and as though they became nothing more than a bleak mirage in the middle of a tyrant storm. 

They weren't nobodies, but were men of extreme importance, excellence, authority, and relevance: kings, warriors, leaders, senators, prime ministers, ambassadors, and possibly even presidents. The chapter of Revelation 4 simply calls them a title I really like: Elders. 

But something mysterious happened to these great men on a night when they stood around a greater throne. They witnessed something that went way beyond the grand schemes of their areas of leadership, and they became undone. Unclothed. Dis-robed. Undressed. Unimportant. Insignificant. Less competent. Less of elders. Less of kings. More of servants. More of children. More of sons than fathers. 

They touched their heads, removed their crowns, and lay their crowns on the ground in front of God.

"....the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before His throne, saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created." Revelation 4:10-11.

Only few men truly deserve crowns, out of these the most hardworking of them all. The ones who start from scratch, without anyone there to hoist them up the ladder. Those who become rich out of only a few pauper's coins. Those who inherit no wealth from their fathers or mothers, but still make something good out of their lives. Those who show kindness and generosity, even when they have nothing much. Those who give to other poor people, even when they are poor themselves, these ones deserve crowns. 

Pastors, Farmers, Vine-dressers, Artists, Bricklayers, Fashion Designers, Architects, Medical doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Researchers, Authors, Scholars, Kings, Presidents, and men and women of other hardworking professions...these ones deserve medals, and crowns, if I may add. Those who didn't get there without shedding some form of pain and hard-earned sweat. These ones are great men and women who deserve crowns. 

But there comes a time when crowns don't matter anymore, and this, my friends, is when we are thrust into the presence of a God who wears a greater crown. The Life-Giver and the Master Architect, for without Him, nothing else can stand. 

There comes a time in our lives when we will understand that this life, and the acquisition of material and spiritual crowns, cannot compare to the majestic nature of who God is. Even if we want to spend our lives acquiring more than one crown, one day we will leave this earth without a robe, and there will be no crowns in the graveyard. 


Today, I join the twenty-four elders to place my crown at the feet of God: every accomplishment, every accolade, every significance, every writing, every degree, every praise, every word of kindness from a stranger, I lay them all at the feet of God, because to HIM BELONGS ALL THE GLORY. 

Question for the Day: Are there any crowns in your life that you need to lay at the feet of God? When you see yourself standing in front of His throne, like the twenty-four elders, and when you become undone, please do not withhold your crowns from Him. Have the most beautiful week ever. Your best days are ahead of you. 

Broken Toys | A Guest Post by Michael Perkins

Michael Perkins is someone I admired from the first day I started reading his blog. He is a pastor, husband, father, and a family man, and he's someone whose trademark is the simplicity of life. He is young (28) and has been married for 7 years to his lovely wife, April. Ethan (5) is their only child. His blog is called "Untitled," showing that He really is not interested in taking all the glory, but giving all the glory to God. He loves God, and he has a passion for connecting with people from different places, and for spreading the hope of Christ to those who are hurting. He also has the COOLEST handwritten blog posts. You can also find him on twitter as @MichaelDPerkins (you should follow him).
"Broken Toys"
[Image by AdamCohn]
 My son, Ethan, has a lot of toys.  Actually, that is probably an understatement.  He has way too many toys.  The other day I was in his room going through them.  I had every intention on throwing away the ones that were broken or missing pieces.
The Spiderman with one arm…
The Incredible Hulk missing his head…
The GI Joe Man with faded paint…
The Hot Wheels Car that is missing a wheel…
The puzzle that is missing pieces…
Ethan came in and asked what I was doing.  When I told him that I was going to throw the broken toys away he said this, “But dad, I can still use them.  They are still good even though they are broken.”
John 4:28-30 says, “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,” Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him.”
The woman in the story had a fidelity problem.  She was broken.  Christ didn’t throw her out.  He used her.  She witnessed to a whole town.  Lives were changed.
There are many modern-day-woman-at-the-wells out there today.
The person who was a jerk in the past…
The person who slept around in college…
The person who has been through divorce…
The former drug addict…
The person who is in financial ruins…
Can I be honest with you?  I’ve been the one broken toy.  I’ve been the one who has done things I’m ashamed of.  I am the one God didn’t throw out.  And for that I’m grateful. 
We’re all still good, even if we are broken.

Question for the Day: Have you ever felt like a broken toy? 

PS: When you feel like a broken toy, remember that God will put you back together again, and that He can still use you in your broken state, you only need to trust him. I hope you enjoyed Michael's guest post. Please make sure you have the best weekend ever, and see you next week. 

The Rise of Ranks & Ten Thousand Troublers

So you think you can fight one demon? Well done, comrades. How big your strength! But can you fight ten thousand demons?

You see, as David rose in ranks, one day he realized something so profound that would completely change his outlook on life. He observed that in his most abysmal state of life, in the days where he had nothing else to do but take care of sheep, in the days where the most complex mathematical calculation he needed to perform was simply to keep count of sheep, in the place of no accomplishments, he had the greatest tranquility and hardly no demons or troublers coming his way.

But when he got anointed as the next king, and big things began to happen to him, although he received many accolades, he also fell into the trap of a bunch of haters. So could it be that if we want peace, we must not strive for anything big? Could those who dare to dream big experience an increase in ten thousands of troublers?

David cried out to God, "Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, "There is no help for him in God." But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head." Psalm 3.

Yes, if you dare to dream big, you will have an increase of troublers. It is not a curse, it is only due to the envy your blessings are bound to cause from people who cannot focus on their own blessings.

Those who buy estates will experience harsh competition from their peers; stock brokers will experience the drowning effect of the economic downpour, architects will be downgraded by others for the flaws in their designs, and writers will continually face the growing challenges of finding their unique voices in the midst of ten thousands of others.

But do not be afraid, my friends. For with each new promotion comes a new challenge. The bigger your dreams, the bigger the devils you're going to have to fight. Why shouldn't you be afraid? Because Exodus 14:14 tells us of a God who is bigger than ten thousand troublers. It says, "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace."

So if you believe in the one true God, you should take a hold of your promotion without fear. You shall hold your peace, because ten thousand troublers ain't big enough to topple your God.

Question for the Day: Are you faced with a new promotion where you have to fight a bigger devil than before? Then this message is for you. Hold your peace, and be confident and fearless, for God has already gone before you to fight for you.

PS: This Friday, please watch out for one of my favorite bloggers, as he would be writing a guest post for the Light-A-Lamp Blog. Did everyone in the U.S. enjoy their three-day labor weekend? I sure did. Please have a blessed week ahead. 

On September 3rd, 2006, A Blog Was Born (4th Anniversary + Give-away)

[Image by TuTuWon]

This blog was born with a fiery post called, "One Day of Dominion." It was on a late Sunday afternoon, right at that moment when the sun was tired of working and was moving away so the moon could come and take its shift, that this blog began. I had received a message that would forever change my life. It was called "Taking Back Dominion," (or something along those lines) based on the garden of Eden story and how God wants us to have dominion over every thing in this world.

Since that lovely September, this blog has not just been a medium for sharing, it has also served as my accountability partner. I am more excited to read my bible than ever, just because I know how lovely it feels to find a mystery that I didn't know before. Also, this blog has been my teacher. Comparing my earlier posts to my latest, I've observed a tremendous growth and a greater sense of maturity. I've made mistakes along the way, I've fallen, but God always has a way of using it all for His glory.

Please enjoy this little gift I created for you, the Lamp's faithful readers and first-timers. It's a free e-book and it's a compilation of some of my favorite posts on this blog. I hope you enjoy it. Happy 4th anniversary to the Light-A-Lamp Blog.


PS: I've never remembered this blog's anniversary date. This year is the first that September 3rd is in my stream of consciousness, so I'm sure you can tell I'm excited that I remembered. Lol. Have the most fulfilling weekend.