SHINE IN THE DARKNESS

“In a fallen world, we must be willing to face the fact that however lovingly we preach the gospel, if a man rejects it he will be miserable. It is dark out there.”

― Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who Is There

We are seeing today darkness becoming increasingly darker.


Jesus laid it out:
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed (John 3: 19-20)

The light that came into the world is Jesus.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Remember, dear Sister, when you deal with someone who doesn’t share your faith, the light they think they see is darkness and until they repent and believe it will stay so. Deal with them in mercy; tell them the truth.

Remember, dear Sister, ours is a light that can never be extinguished. Our light is from the eternal Son of God. Live like children of the light.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:14-15).

Remember, dear Sister, only Jesus can dispel the darkness, but he has called us to be a flashlight in the world.

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Shine in the darkness!

Shine on!

You are loved.

THE EXILED ROAD

The Exiled Road is a lonely business. So come with me along the way.

It’s the road just on the other side of the narrow gate.

It’s a narrow, but straight, smooth road, yet with valleys and mountain tops, potholes and ruts.

The one who built it, the Master builder promises abundant life while on it.

It’s a road of denial, not indulgence, of obedience not rebellion.

Not for you? Doesn’t sound abundant?

Patience, I haven’t told you the rest.

It’s a road of peace, not violence; a road of delight, not despair; a road of joy, not depression; a road of love, not hate.

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Other roads may seem wide and easy to travel, but their end is destruction and death.

Go down the Exiled Road with me. The Master Builder, who created all things, including you and me, holds all things together, including you and me, by the power of his word.

Traveling with us he guides us, helps us, comforts us and waits to welcome us home at the end of the road.

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So come with me. Hear him calling? Take my hand we will go together.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14).


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth (Hebrews 11:13).

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TIRED

My life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). According to John MacArthur, this verse means “believers are eternally secure, protected from all spiritual enemies, and with access to all God’s blessings.”

Just prior to this verse, in Col. 3:1, Paul tells us that if we were raised with Christ (if we have been born-again), and we are to seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all the earthly things you need He will supply (Matt. 6:33).

In Colossians 3:2, he gives us a commandment to set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth. Here is the key to contentment and peace and sanity: rivet your eyes upon Christ!

We are heirs to the greatest kingdom ever – and we are discontented, in confusion and fear? No, I don’t think so! Our life is hidden with Christ, and where is He? Christ is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Our Father. The Father has given us all things that belong to Christ. We sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

I try to remember all this as I pray as one pastor did, “Lord, would you just punch COVID-19 right in the mouth and get rid of it?”

I am tired of all of this. When I look at the stats, I am more tired of a culture that panics over so little. Don’t get me wrong, I think Covid-19 is a horrible disease. I grieve over those who have lost their lives to it. But, I grieve also for those who will die this fall because of the flu. Those deaths, according to what I read, will be as many or more than COVID.

“Help, Lord! Restore our sanity. Revive our common sense. Cause us to run to You for refuge and keep our eyes on Jesus. Amen!”

Am I the only one?

You are loved

LIFE JACKET JOY

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:11).

Our Pastor this morning gave us his definition of joy. Before he did, he pointed out how hard it was to define joy.

Check out the dictionary. It only causes more questions. Joy is according to Webster, if using as a noun:
a state of happiness or felicity: BLISS or
a source or cause of delight
If a verb: to experience great pleasure or delight: REJOICE

See what I mean? Happiness, felicity, bliss, delight, pleasure, rejoice, how do those words feel?

What does joy feel like?

We know when we feel it, but how to describe it. I might say, “Well, I am happy.” Or, “How blissful I feel.” (Probably not.) But, what does that do for you? How long will it last? Until someone or something takes it away from you? Why can’t we keep it? Why does it have to go away?

Am I the only one having a problem with this?

Nehemiah said the joy of the Lord is my strength. Now, that really confuses me. It’s not my joy, but Jesus’. He experienced joy on the cross, for goodness sake!

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Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).

Why is he so joyful? Because, he wins. He knew what the end result of enduring the cross would be. It would bring glory to his Father, himself, and it would bring my salvation and yours.
So, in Jesus we win! No matter what this crazy broken world throws at us, we win. No matter how Satan tries to detail us, we win. No matter how horrible my sin was, is, and will be, I win!

Our Pastor defined joy as a life jacket for your soul. Knowing Jesus always wins is a life jacket for your soul.

I like this definition. You can have those vague, mushy, feel good words. I’ll take a life jacket any day.

Does your soul need a life jacket today? Go to Jesus.

You are loved

GOING TO CHURCH

Tomorrow we are physically going back to church. It has been a long time coming. Quarantine has taught me all over again the importance of the Body and its coming together to worship.

Another thing I have learned is when life is a disaster and all I know as normal is taken away and I am drifting toward the path of despair and ungratefulness, I have to remember I have been given Christ! What greater gift, what greater possession could I have? What could I want more than Him?

Over and over again I have reminded myself to rivet my eyes on Christ. If I studied his word and meditated on him for the rest of my earthly life, I would never reach the bottom of the depths of his glory. He is infinitely holy, righteous, good, faithful, true, just, merciful, long-suffering, compassionate, loving, and forgiving – and He is mine!

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So, tomorrow will be a special Sunday of reunion not with Christ because he never leaves me, but with Christ in his body of believers.

I pray tomorrow you are able to join your local gathering of believers, but if not remember WHO you have been freely given and rejoice.

You are loved!