Light In The Darkness

Light In The Darkness

Isaiah 50:10-11
10 Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

There are times in our lives when, as Christians, we are called to serve God in the midst of darkness. There are times when it is difficult to see very far ahead. Like driving on a dark highway on a moonless night in the middle of a rainstorm, our lives sometimes feel as if we are going nowhere fast and we are not sure if we will make it to our destination.

It is interesting to me that many Christians desire to be “overcomers”, but do not want much to overcome. We want to go to heaven, but we do not want to die to go there. We want our faith increased, without having to rely on anyone. We want all good times, all the time, and that is simply not how life works. Life is filled with melody and misery, high times and hard times. You may be experiencing a dark time right now, what many saints of the past termed “a dark night of the soul.” You may be at a point right now where you aren’t able to make sense of what is happening in your life. There are times, seasons in our lives, where we have studied the lessons, learned our formulas, memorized the promises of the Bible and think we have it all figured out — and suddenly we are plunged into a deep, deep darkness.

What do you do when the lights go out? When deep darkness comes into your life?
It has been said that in school one learns the lessons first and tests second. In life, we take the test first and learn the lessons second. Hopefully, today you will come to see that there are lessons to be learned when the lights go out.

Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God

In this verse, the Bible is talking about a faithful servant of God. This person loves and fears God. He or she is being obedient. This is not a backslider or someone who has wandered off from God. This is an active Christian who loves the Lord and is being obedient to God’s voice, yet they are in a dark place.

There is a distorted idea out there that once a person becomes a Christian it is all honey and no bees. Not true. It rains on both the just and the unjust. There are tens of thousands of Christians who love God and are obediently serving Him who are experiencing dark times. Over a hundred thousand are martyred across the globe annually.

Job said, “God has put darkness in my path” (Job 19:8) Habakkuk exclaimed, “How long shall I cry out and you not hear?” (Hab. 1:2) John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus from the cell in which he was imprisoned asking Him if He really was the Messiah. Each of these godly men came to a point in their life that they did not fully comprehend. They experienced a time of darkness, when they did not understand what was happening to them nor why God was allowing it.

When you are in darkness it doesn’t necessarily mean you have sinned or that you are outside of God’s will for your life. It might be that God has put you in a dark time so that His light shines brighter and you can see Him more clearly.

Faith is like film. It is developed in the dark. We grow the most spiritually when we are forced to look to Jesus alone for help. You will never know how much you need Jesus until Jesus is all you have. As Christians, we are called to live by faith – not by explanations. Our verse tells us to trust or lean on the name of the Lord. Even when tough times come. If you do not have the conviction that God is good all the time then you will not stand when darkness falls. Job said – “even if He slays me I will trust in Him.” When walking in darkness we must trust, lean on, God and His promises – which never fail.

When you are in the dark you don’t need explanations. You need God. An explanation sometimes makes things worse. Sometimes God removes all the answers to give us Himself. A relationship with Him is more important than reasons. In his blindness, John Milton wrote Paradise Lost. In prison John Bunyon wrote Pilgrim’s Progress. In exile, John wrote Revelation. In the dark, God develops our faith. Never doubt in the dark what you learned in the light. The test of our character is what we do, how we react, in the dark. God is still God when the darkness comes. He is still reigning on His throne. He still works out things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Some things, some truths in life, are only learned in the dark. For example, have you ever said, “the stars are out tonight?” Did you know they are out in the daytime but you cannot see them because of the sun’s brightness? There are some treasures, some beautiful things that are only revealed in the dark.

Psalm 148:3 says the stars are there to praise the Lord. Do you have a star in your darkness with which to praise God?

Here are some treasures of the dark. In the light, we see things that are near. In the dark, we see far away – light years away into outer space. We may think our brightest thoughts in the day, but we think our deepest thoughts at night. In the light, we see more clearly. In the dark, we see further. There are some aspects of our future God reveals to us in the dark. If you are praying for God to reveal to you what is next up for your life, be prepared for dark times so that He can show you things that are far off. Just ask Daniel and John about that.

Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.

There is a danger in the dark that Scripture warns us about. One of our most dangerous temptations is that we will be tempted to light our own fire. That is the warning of verse 11. If God has placed darkness around you, then you need to wait on God to remove it. It is better to be in the dark with God than to stand alone in man-made light. Do not ever give into despair during dark times. Darkness cannot overcome light. Remember, you don’t open a door to let darkness in. You open a door to spill out light.

If light has been removed from the situations in your life, then God, in His wisdom, has allowed it so that your faith can be developed and so that He can show you a glimpse of the future. If God is the One who has placed darkness in your path than do not be so foolish as to light your own fire. A man made fire is deceptive. It is not a sure guide to follow. God says that if we light our own fire in the middle of a God ordained darkness we will suffer.

Abraham and Sarah could not wait. Abraham created his own fire with Hagar to produce Ishmael. Untold centuries of suffering have followed his decision. Has darkness come into your life? Are you waiting on God or trying to light your own fire?
Even in the darkest of nights the sun will still rise and chase it away. Eventually God’s light will shine again and the lessons you learn in the dark will last for all eternity. You will see things and know truths that you had never seen or known before. Weeping may endure for a night says Psalm 30:5, but joy will come in the morning.

Remember this, when you are walking on a sunny day, feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays, those rays are 8.3 minutes old when they reach your face. Even though you feel the sun’s warmth, you have never experienced its full intensity. The sun’s surface temperature is approximately 10,000° F. Its inner core is in excess of 27,000,000 °F. You have felt her warmth but not her intensity.

Likewise, we can feel the warmth of God’s presence but we haven’t experienced the full intensity of His glory yet. There is coming a day when we will, but now we only see a fraction of it. When the lights go out God is still there, shining. He wants to give you a star to praise Him more. Our trials become stars in order to praise the Lord. When the lights go out, develop your faith, lean on the Lord, trust in Him and you will see further than you ever have before.

Wednesday Book Reviews

 Deep in the HeartDeep in the Heart by Staci Stallings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good Christian romance novel. Many of the characters experience the transformational power of Christ in their lives, which make the story an uplifting one. The only thing keeping it from 5 stars is that I thought it took too long for the protagonist/antagonist conflict to fully develop. The characters were believable and the story line was well written. If you know someone who is searching for something to fill the emptiness inside of them, toss ’em a copy of this book. You and they will find it a good read.

View all my reviews
Tough Faith: Trusting God in Troubled TimesTough Faith: Trusting God in Troubled Times by Janet Parshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An excellent book that unapologetically deals the issues of our day. Moving past the nominal expression of so-called Christianity in our time, the authors give a compelling case for what true belief in Christ looks like. The manner in which they write is not abrasive and it is laid out in a manner that is easy to follow. I recommend this as a good read

View all my reviews

Hymn Devotions Day 39 – We’ll Understand It Better By And By

DAY 39 – WE WILL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BY AND BY

“Why, God, why?” So many times we ask that question. We cannot always see the plan God has for us. We stumble and crash through life, avoiding some things, falling into others. We watch as lives around us are destroyed. We see plans fall through. One day we are on top of the world, the next we are far below sea level. Each time we ask “why?”

Funny, isn’t it, that when things go well for us we rarely ask why. When things go wrong, we are quick to ask the question. The real understanding of man, though, would lead us to ask God why He blesses us at all.

We could have been born anywhere in the world, to any parents. God put us where He wanted us to be for a reason. Some of us have riches, some poverty. Some live in free societies, others in tightly controlled countries. He places us where He does for reasons that may not be obvious to us. Later, perhaps, we will come to understand the reasoning behind His actions. Sometimes we never will.

In reading through Job, I never find where God ever explained to Job the reasons behind his misfortune. He may know now, from heaven but he didn’t here on earth and that, I think is the point of this hymn. It may not be until we arrive home in heaven that we even begin to see how God weaved the tapestry of our life into that of all the other people on earth. It may not be until much later that we begin to comprehend His plan to bring glory to His name through our circumstances. Let us endure with patience, then, our lot in life and trust in Him to accomplish His purpose with us.

Lord, help me to realize that I do not have to understand, just trust. Help me to see that to develop faith in You, I must come to believe that You are in control and that You do not need to consult me or gain my permission. My life is Yours, do with it what You want.

WE WILL UNDERSTAND IT BETTER BY AND BY

by Charles Tindley

We are tossed and driven on the restless sea of time

Somber skies and howling tempest

Oft succeed a bright sunshine

In that land of perfect day when the mists are rolled away

We will understand it better by and by

We are often destitute of the things that life demands

Want of food and want of shelter

Thirsty hills and barren lands

We are trusting in the Lord and according to God’s word

We will understand it better by and by

Trials dark on every hand and we cannot understand

All the ways that God would lead us

To that blessed promised land

But He guides us with His eye and we’ll follow till we die

For we’ll understand it better by and by

Temptations, hidden snares often take us unawares

And our hearts are made to bleed

For a thoughtless word or deed

And we wonder why the test when we try to do our best

But we’ll understand it better by and by

REFRAIN:

By and by when the morning comes

When the saints of God are gathered home

We’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome

For we’ll understand it better by and by

Simply. Church.

So tired of playing the church game. You know what I mean. Everyone smiles and says they are doing fine. I know better. As their pastor, I see who is hurting. This one is crippled by fear. Another is a worry wart. This guy is losing his job and his wife is scared they may lose their home. This lady is battling cancer, again. This couple desperately wants children but cannot. Another couple is concerned about their rebellious child. Still a third is separated and aren’t sure they want to reconcile.

Beginning today, our church is redoing our services. We have one simple rule – no masks. Honesty is to reign. Trust will be rebuilt. Hope restored. No fluff. No Oprah rah-rah.  Simply. Church. Where we come together to worship God and lift up each other. We will spend time in confession, testimony and the Word. We will plead with God to remake our lives, our family, our church. We will ask for the Spirit’s power to cleanse and empower us to live godly lives. Because, Christ bids us to come just as we are and He loves us enough not to leave us there.

Simply. Church.  I wonder why we ever got away from that.