Friday, May 27, 2011

The Ministry of Darkness Part 1

By Scott Myers

Has there ever been a time in your life when you just felt darkness. I mean you're praying, you're living for God, you're trusting Him, you're giving of yourself to Him, you're worshipping Him, yet in all of that it’s like the lights are out. Please understand that I’m not talking about times in our lives when we do a piece of stupid and embrace sin. I’m talking about when you’re doing everything right. You’re walking by faith and from all you can tell, you’re right with God, yet it’s like a spiritual eclipse has taken place in your life. The light has gone and vast darkness has overcome you. Ever been there? I have! It’s like being in a pit. Well that’s what Isaiah is talking about in Isaiah 50:10-11.

"Who is among you that fears the LORD,

That obeys the voice of His servant,

That walks in darkness and has no light?

Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.

Behold, all you who kindle a fire,

Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,

Walk in the light of your fire

And among the brands you have set ablaze.

This you will have from My hand:

You will lie down in torment."

This text seems to give us the picture of a believer going through the inevitable – soul darkness. For many of us it’s unexpected, and for most of us, we just don’t know how to handle it. When the lights go out in our spiritual walk we need to know what to do. Darkness is simply the absence of light!

When the lights go out on this lonely road of faith, I have 3 suggestions.

SUGGESTION #1 - Keep On Walking!

The logical thing to do when the lights go out in the physical realm is to stop!

To stop whatever it is we are doing until we can get the lights back on. Well, in the spiritual realm this is not the right thing to do. If you are a believer, you are a spiritual being. Keep in mind that our emotional needs, our mental needs, and our physical needs all are spiritual needs! So then, what are you to do when darkness falls upon you? When light is withdrawn from your life? First of all, keep walking!!! Keep walking the walk of faith! Keep living for God! Keep doing that which you know is right! It’s so important that we not forsake our faith just because darkness befalls us. You see as a follower of JC we are on a grand journey and the basic need for this journey is 'faith'! It's trust! It's trusting God EVEN in darkness. The lonely road of faith we are called to walk on by God actually implies we walk on in faith in spite of the darkness that surrounds us! We are to keep praying, keep trusting, keep seeking and keep living for Jesus! We must keep the faith and just press on moving forward step by step in faith! Don’t stop! Don’t quit!

SUGGESTION #2 - Do NOT Create Your Own Light!

Secondly, when the lights go out DON’T LIGHT YOUR OWN FIRE!!!

Our natural desire will be to create some light ourselves that will substitute for the light of God. Remember, Remember, Remember, God’s light has been withdrawn. For whatever reason, God has done this! He has withdrawn His light and we should never, never, never attempt to replace it with our own light! Very big mistake if we do! Unfortunately many of us here try to do this. We try to light our own fire to take the place of the light God has taken away. Many reason we shouldn’t light our own fire!

Soul Darkness is Ordained of God!

Darkness is the absence of light; therefore, if there is a darkness that has come upon your life as you walk with Jesus, it is simply because God has withdrawn that light for a purpose. To make any man-made light will be to frustrate the purpose of God in your life and actually thwart whatever it is God is seeking to do in your heart. Think about this. Do you realize that night time is just as much a part of the day as the light is? God created the light and He also created the night! Just like darkness of night has a purpose, there is a purpose for soul darkness! I find it so remarkable that there are some things that you just can’t see except in the darkness! The moon, the stars! Meteor showers! Great lightning shows.! Passing comets! Only when it is dark can you see these beautiful creations of God! Soul Darkness is ordained of God and there is always a purpose for it. I believe that it’s during these times God wants us to see truths about ourselves and also truths about Himself in big ways, like a comet flying in the night sky! Maybe He wants us to see our faith and how strong it really is, or how it’s not, or maybe how faithful He is. Maybe He wants us to see something about ourselves that we can’t see when the light shines brightly!

Another reason we should not light our own fire;

Man-made light is Defective & Dangerous!

Abraham tried to make his own light and Ishmael was born. We are still paying for that attempt! Simon Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane attempted to light his own light and cut off Malchus’ ear. Our attempt to make light is a sure defeat, a mistake, a failure on all levels! Whether it’s church or just life, when we attempt to do it on our own, we mess up and we miss God! Our man-made attempts to fulfill the purpose of God are defective and dangerous and will never get it done!

SUGGESTION #3 - Lean On Jesus!

The passage said 'let him trust the Lord and lean on His God'! This isn’t a deep concept, but it really is a powerful one to say the least! Lean on Jesus! I do not mean to be simple, but it really is that simple. Trust He’s there; believe He's there with you and lean on Him! You see, God sends the darkness in our lives so that we might discover that even though the light is good, there is something even better than the light – Jesus! Even though the light may be gone from your life, God isn't! Jesus is always there! He’s always right there with you! Just reach out and take hold of Him! EVEN when you don't feel Him!

Soul Darkness will come at times in our lives and it's so important that we understand that it's during these times that there is something very important God wants to teach us. Or just maybe He wants us to enjoy Him instead of the light.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Putting On Socks

I have recently been reminded  that we truly are creatures of habit. We like that which is familiar and that which causes less friction and less problems. I noticed that every morning it's the same routine, day after day. Lay in bed till alarm clock goes off, turn it off, roll over and pray for my family and the day ahead, get out of bed get that first cup of coffee with my bible in hand, then the news on to see what happened in the world, shave, gym, back home, shower, dress, eat, off to work. Every day the same thing, over and over and over and over and ... I am sure you get the picture. Well, this morning something or someone said - DO IT DIFFERENT! I DID and I LOVED IT!

This morning I got out of bed, didn't drink coffee, went for a jog instead of hitting the gym. Wow! It was a little strange, but it was good! As a matter of fact it was real good! I enjoyed my jog and I got to see the beauty of the fog as it hovered just above the pond. I got to listen to the unusual hum of the 'red-eyed locusts' as they do whatever it is they do. As I returned refreshed, I continued to do things a little different. Such as ... instead of putting my right sock on, then my left, then my right shoe, then my left. I started with my left foot. To be honest, that really was strange for me, but I did it!

OK, I can hear it now ... WHY? WHY would I do that? Why even discuss it? Well, it hit me early this morning in my quiet time before I even got out of bed- so many of us go through life just going through the motions, doing the same thing every day, over and over and over again, never deviating a bit. Then I was hit again much harder! How many believers get stuck in religion, church life, and just a big ole religious rut all because they refuse to change. Sure, I understand that change is not fun for most (I actually like change most of the time!), it's not easy (thinking back to my socks and shoes), and it's definitely not popular (especially in traditional churches). One thing for sure is that while changes are not permanent, change is (Geddy Lee of Rush). Even so, because so many refuse to embrace change and take hold of something new, believers and churches all over America have become stagnant in their faith and are dying in the deathbed of routine. It's a sad reality.

Certainly Scripture tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever and that God does not change. Thank God that He doesn't change, but that does not in any way imply that He does not do 'new' things do things differently than before. Neither does it imply that we reject change. When was the last time you saw a lamb sacrificed or blood wiped on the doorposts? You haven't. Why??? Because God chose to do a NEW thing! He chose to do something different! Can you see Jesus bringing it up in a deacons meeting or a church business meeting to get their approval of feeding the 5000 or healing blind man? I can just hear it? "Are we sure this is what we want to do? I mean we have never done this before." or "Is it going to cost anything?" Or how about a favorite of mine; "What do the by-laws say?" AAAAGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! You may laugh, but this happens all the time because churches are filled with people who refuse to do something new or different and who refuse to even consider change.

Do you get the picture? So many believers get plugged into a church and get caught up in a religious routine and DIE! That's right! They DIE!!! Do we even realize that becoming a member of a church is not the goal? How many believers miss God all because they refuse to embrace newness and change? How many churches are dead and just filling up an acre of land all because they refuse to break out of the religious junk called tradition? More serious than that. How many lost people will never embrace Jesus because His children refuse to step out of their cozy comfort zone of routine church life and tell them about Him? This happens all the time all because we are creatures of habit and we buy in to the lie of settling into routine church life that never embraces real life. I have wondered about those who refuse to change when it plainly states in Scripture that the sanctification process is God 'changing' us into the likeness of His Son. Hmmm...! While change is not always good (I defer to our current political state), God calls us to be people who embrace newness of life that comes from intimacy with Him and that newness obviously requires change.

Start today, try something new even if it is to just get out of a cozy routine of putting your right sock on first. God is the same, yet He is always calling us to change and embrace newness of life. O yea!