19 thoughts on “The beauty of a Torch

  1. Love the photo by Chris! Those torches against the black night sky sure bring make the plants and all around come to life!

    Chris’s photo, the torch title, and the scripture made me want to dig out a study book that Sara wrote for a retreat called “Throwing Your Light Forward”. Another photo by Chris graced the cover of this book…once again lights in a different place and setting lighting up the black night sky bringing life.

    Since Sara’s book was subtitled, “Relationship, Friendship, Fellowship”, and the Romans 12:11 scripture she quotes above is embedded in a chapter all about using our gifts in relationship with other believers and demonstrating loving, kind behaviors, I thought I would read up on The Light in this book.

    A couple of things stood out to me in the book and they seem also to relate to the previous blog “desiring community…”. Here is one thing Sara wrote in her book in the chapter “Friendship”: “If the light of a true friend surrounds you, it is an indication that you have been willing to invest your self in others in the way of proverbs (distilled wisdom). The Wisdom writer in Proverbs declares that a good friend will stick closer than a brother.”

    And from the chapter, “The Brilliance of the Light”: “Light shines into my Relationships for exposure of motives. When I join the True Light my Relationships become communion. I John 3:18 “instructs us not to love in word or in tongue only but in deed and in truth.” Then vs. 19 give us our clue to understanding the light within us. By loving in deed and truth we will know that we are of the truth. Bottom line is don’t just talk about love but show love in your actions and bring light to darkness as Jesus threw light forward at Simon’s dinner party.”

    I thought this was a great reminder of how to “be aglow with the Spirit.”

    1. Yes, great reminder Debi.
      The NLT does not have the footnotes for Romans 12:11, but it does for verses 9-10. “ most of us have learned how to be courteous to others-how to speak kindly, avoid hurting their feelings, and appear to take an interest in them. We may even be skilled in pretending to show compassion when we hear of others’needs, or to become indignant when we learn of injustice. But God calls us to real and genuine love that goes far beyond being hypocritical and polite. Genuine love requires concentration and effort. It means helping others become better people. It demands our time, money, and personal involvement. No individual has the capacity to express love to a whole community, but the body of Christ in your town does. Look for people who need your love, and look for ways you and your fellow believers can love your community for Christ.”

      I love the beautiful photo from Hawaii posted above. I love how the torch shows off the greenery. I wonder if they are palm trees, and what kind of plants are in the photo? 😊

      1. I will leave plant material ID to our in-house horticulturalist, Debi!

        But, the footnotes just fired up my spiritual “luau” Just moments before our footnotes (“Genuine love requires concentration and effort.” arrived I had shared with Gary my thoughts on these verses. I shared how I have been practicing “Contemplation” before action. (the act of contemplating; thoughtful observation.
        full or deep consideration; reflection: religious contemplation. purpose or intention. prospect or expectation.)

        A lesson I learned in my studies while in NM 2019…“You can be a high-level thinker and be quite astute about psychology, theology, history, or philosophy (a high stage), but do it all from a perspective of individualism and arrogance about that very information (a low state)—because it is still all about “you.” Conversely, you could be quite unified within and with others, in a high state of loving consciousness, but be poorly informed, lacking in exposure and education to helpful and informative knowledge… Perhaps you know people who are compassionate and kind yet still reveal prejudicial attitudes. They may seem hypocritical but are simply at a high state and a low stage. Love will win out in them and goodness will flow through them,…” That’s why we need good communications in our gathers. (I consider this site a gathering)

        When I was in Hawaii my favorite was the Laua’s. The food was great but that was not the reason because food was great everywhere on Maui. It was the gathering around tables. Ancient stories being told from the stage which ignited the torches around our tables. It didn’t matter if you knew your table guest or not stories opened hearts of genuine love. Quote from footnotes, “ But God calls us to real and genuine love that goes far beyond being hypocritical and polite. Genuine love requires concentration and effort.”

  2. Tammy, it looks like the plants with many small, strap-like leaves in the photo are palms. And further back in the dark area, more palms. There may be several kinds of palms as I read that Hawaii boasts many different varieties. The broader leaf plant in front may be a ginger. I read there are many of those in Hawaii also. There is another dark rounded leaved plant in the background but I can’t ID that one.

  3. I love Chris’s picture taken in Hawaii. What we can’t see in it is the warm soft breeze, the smell of flowers, and the lapping of waters against the shore. The darkness of night with torches giving a peek to all who were there from story tellers, dancers, servers, chefs, and people in attendance at a luau . The torches light up the stage and God, the creator, sat back and enjoyed.

    I just finished reading Max Lucado’s book entitled How Happiness Happens.”
    I will quote and/or summarize what stuck out to me.
    1. “Remember, God invites us to find happiness through the back door. Most people seek joy through the front door. Buy it, wear it, marry it, or win it. The lesser-used back door embraces God’s wisdom: happiness happens as we give it away. It is less about giving, less about being loved, and more about loving others.”
    2. “The source of (love) is not within us. It is only by receiving our Father’s agape love that we can discover an agape love for others.”
    3. “Self-centeredness wants a uniform world……God loves a diverse creation. ‘We are the poetry of God!… Together we are God’s poetry. Independently we are nothing but small pieces on God’s page.”
    4. Then the story that happened in 2017 with USC versus Western Michigan.
    USC Tom the lead 48 to 31. “Then head coach Clay Helton shouted for Jake Olson, a redshirt sophomore, to take the field to deep-snap the football for the extra point……what makes the moment historic and unforgettable was that the player was blind. That right, Jake Olson trotted onto the field that to him , cast in midnight black…He could not see the smiling faces of the other Trojans faces in the huddle…or to see the row of teammates on the sideline all standing and watching…They were watching and seeing a dream come true.”

    The short version here is that both teams came together to make it happen. “ He had lost one eye to retinal cancer at 10 months. At 12 it returns and the doctors determined the only way to contain the cancer was to take the right eye.” The coach, before Jake’s the second surgery knew Jakes life long dream. The coach arranged for him to meet players, participate in pre and post practice huddles…. When the coach took a job with the Seattle Seahawks, he invited Olson to join his team…..that is when the center for the team asked Olson if he’d ever deep-snapped a football.” He learned and could do it. “He made it his dream to play in at least one USC game.”
    With both teams working together and the school cleared the decision with the PAC-12 conference, Jake suited up….shorten version..he was called to the field with everyone’s attention focused on Jake. No competitors, no opposing sides, only a dream being fulfilled. Jake snapped the ball and scored a point for the Trojans.” As Max Lucado goes on to say, “Happiness has a way of cascading forth when humanity is unselfish enough to help others have there moment.”

    5. The last paragraph after talking about ice cream trucks coming down the street and the joy they bring he says,
    ”Be the ice cream truck. Be the person that people are glad to see. Be the voice people want to hear. Drive the happiness truck.”

    There is so much more about loving one another and working in community with God’s agape love flowing out to others.

    1. Seems like we are reading and hearing a lot about the need of community church as Rena and others have reported.

      To the Church in Ephesus
      2:3 ”… Without growing weary, you have persevered and endured many things for the sake of My name. 4But I have this against you: You have abandoned your first love. 5Therefore, keep in mind how far you have fallen. Repent and perform the deeds you did at first. But if you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.…” Berean Study Bible ·

      The Word has the answer. We need to reach for the hand off of the torch and run with it!
      Paul prayed and I join in….
      “I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.”
      —Ephesians 3:19 (CEB)

  4. As I read through the comments of each one, there seems to be sobering theme regarding the standard of real love. Some threads I see that point to the necessity to connect meaningfully in real love with others:

    Tammy’s footnotes: “It means helping others become better people.”

    Sara’s comparison of ‘high stage/low state’ (still all about “you.” ) people vs ‘high state/low stage’ (loving consciousness, but poorly informed…yet “love will win out in them and goodness will flow through them,”) people. “That’s why we need good communications in our gathers.”

    Rena’s quote: “Happiness has a way of cascading forth when humanity is unselfish enough to help others have there moment.”

    Sara’s scriptures and admonition to connect in real love with others,
    “You have abandoned your first love. Therefore, keep in mind how far you have fallen. Repent and perform the deeds you did at first.”

    “We need to reach for the hand off of the torch and run with it!”

    …“know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge”… (this reminded me of the scripture from I Cor 8:1: “But knowledge puffs up while love builds up”.

    And the warning Sara gave, “Without growing weary, you have persevered and endured many things for the sake of My name. But I have this against you: “…
    made me think that all is naught if there is not real love. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” I Cor 13:1-3 …”love never fails”…(vs 8)

  5. Thinking about Torches I first think of the Olympic torch. Last year the ones of us that studied through the Book of Judges with Reggie often heard stories of torches. Here are a few….
    Judg 7:16 “There he announced, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite army into your control!” Then he separated the 300 men into three companies, gave them each trumpets to carry, along with jars into which he placed lit torches.”

    Judg 7:20 “The three companies blew their trumpets and shattered their pitchers. They held their torches in their left hands, their trumpets in their right hands, and shouted, “A sword for Yahweh and for Gideon!”

    Judg 15:4 “So he went out and caught 300 foxes. He took torches, turned the foxes tail-to-tail, and put a torch between each pair of tails.”

    Judg 15:5 “Then he ignited the torches and released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines. He burned up the piles of grain and the standing grain as well as the vineyards and olive groves.”

  6. I was reading Gloria Gaithers’ new newsletter and she was describing a dinner she and Bill were sharing at their local Cracker Barrel.” She admitted they were there because of feelings many of us might be having. She writes, “…there are days when I think the world is going to hell in a handbag, and then my sweet husband takes me out for fried chicken at the Cracker Barrel down the road, and I come home knowing that there are still strong fibers in the fabric of faith and commitment in this country. The roots of goodness are deeper than the news would have us believe, and real people are still making a real difference in real places…”

    These are a few of the community Love bindings Gloria observed that ignited her hope:

    “Three long-term marriages, a middle-aged man enjoying his father, a husband caring for his sweetheart after so many years, a young woman who shows up for work and is full of joy doing it…. These are stories that don’t make the ratings-driven 24/7 news shows. It isn’t likely that they show up in the political poles. These folks probably don’t have election signs in their yards or bumper-sticker banners on their cars.

    They are not naïve, uneducated, or susceptible to campaigns to cultivate the swing vote. They don’t look to empty platitudes to solve their problems, take care of their aged, or escape responsibility for caring for the less fortunate across the street or down the road. They read, think, love their families, and seek out enriching relationships in their neighborhoods, their churches, and their families. They care about the hungry and the disenfranchised and show up for organizations that try to address these issues.“

    We find torches whenever and wherever we choose to look. Tammy mentioned, “Samson sure lit 🔥 up the grain field with those torches…” Debi and Rena gave reference to lamp light info to help ignite our torches much like Gloria relive hope on her community visit to Cracker Barrel.

    I’m pausing to candlelight my fragrant “Target” candle to refresh my study/prayer room with 4 very unique special doggies laying quietly at my feet. Yes, the music 🎼tune, “it only takes a spark to get a 🔥 going” lights my thoughts of knowledge that a spark might just be to stop long enough to observe the life of another and help write their story.

    Gloria also shared the story of a farmer in her community she didn’t know that stopped by their table to share how their music was woven in many parts of his family’s life. (my words of understanding the story) Read Gloria’s Love letter to her life…. https://www.lovesongtomylife.com/blog/the-fly-over-zone

    I find the torch is the table candle for our first blog for 2020. Our table story featured flowers in pint jars as Center piece. Now, we’ve added the candle for the invited guest.

    I find Holy/wholly connections in sharing the spiritual food for my soul.

  7. Thank you, Sara, for sharing the weaving of Gloria’s blog with what you wrote above as well as in the previous blog. All the different forms of light seem to have such varied and important functions in making connections…from the fire in the fireplace in Gloria’s blog connecting her senses back to their farm kitchen to your comment, “I find the torch is the table candle for our first blog for 2020.” Reading and thinking on all and looking at the torch picture made me think of Psalm 36:9…”In your light we see light.”

  8. I’m in total happy joyful agreement when beauty is the theme. Torches for the “grain field” as mentioned seems to me in this setting we are speaking of we might need some oil.

    “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.” Matthew‬ ‭25:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    “…Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as in heaven”…

    How do we find oil for our torch?

  9. Sara asked, “how do we find oil for our torch?” My preacher referenced the Scripture above (Matt 25) and preached from Hebrews 4:1-16 this morning, in his sermon. I wonder if any of the message I heard this morning could help with answering Sara’s question? I will share some of my notes 📝 from the message this morning. “We don’t lose by giving God our whole hearts. Hebrews 4:7 says:’today, do not harden your hearts.’ The Word of God revives the soul. Faith comes by hearing the Word. We can draw near to God by reading His Word and being in prayer with Him.” Any thoughts?

    1. Tammy, I think your being in church this am and hearing the Word of God spoken increased your faith because your heart was opened to the Holy Spirit and you acquired oil. The oil you acquired has multiplied because you received and shared.

  10. What Tammy shared and then Sara’a response, “…hearing the Word of God spoken increased your faith because your heart was opened to the Holy Spirit and you acquired oil…” sure shed a light of light for me on Sara’s question, “How do we find oil for our torch?”

    As I searched some scriptures to find out more about this oil question, I came across this from Lev. 24:2: “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil from beaten olives for the lamp, that a light may be kept burning regularly.”

    So, this oil came from fruit. And we had been looking at the fruit of the Spirit quite a bit in the previous blog, “2020 desiring community, create it vs waiting at the shore.” If I am connecting the dots right from what I read in Tammy and Sara’s comments regarding one of the fruits, faith (and there are 9 named in Galatians 5:22-23), it seems oil will be obtained from the fruit that is produced in our lives.

    1. Spot on Debi! Imagine getting to the BEMA seat of Christ with no oil. For isn’t that the very place the Bridegroom will judge our works/fruit?
      (1Corinthians 15:51-52).

  11. “Imagine getting to the BEMA seat of Christ with no oil.”

    My imaginings on this statement of yours, Sara, sent me looking at a red alert and an oil lamp warning:

    “Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad. That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment.” (2 Cor. 5:10-11 Message)

    “In the middle of the night someone yelled out, ‘He’s here! The bride-groom’s here! Go out and greet him!’ The ten virgins got up and got their lamps ready. The silly virgins said to the smart ones, ‘Our lamps are going out; lend us some of your oil.’ They answered, ‘There might not be enough to go around; go buy your own.’ They did, but while they were out buying oil, the bridegroom arrived. When everyone who was there to greet him had gone into the wedding feast, the door was locked. Much later, the other virgins, the silly ones, showed up and knocked on the door, saying, ‘Master, we’re here. Let us in.’ He answered, ‘Do I know you? I don’t think I know you.’ So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.” (Matt 25:6-13 Message)

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