Tag: light

Why Do People Choose Darkness?

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…the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light…

Darkness versus Light. The battle of the ages.

But how could there possibly be any real battle, when light is immeasurably more powerful than darkness? The smallest flicker of light has darkness trembling with fear.

Both darkness and light are tenacious and competitive.

And eternal.

If one can understand darkness…

Darkness uses its mysterious ways to lure and entrap. It boasts of hidden treasures, obscure facts, and shrouded meaning. It advertises the unknown and entices the inquisitive; the curious to venture past the warning and danger signs, beyond the rope separating the shallow end of the pool with the deep. It bids each of us to its eternal lair.

Darkness calls to the skeptical, the doubtful, and the unsettled one, “Come, ask, seek, knock, explore.” But darkness never reveals, never fulfills, never completes the enigma. It’s like a giant puzzle without a solution. Like a maze in which, when entered, one is lost forever.

Darkness dwellers who have adjusted to the world of shadows tell of all the wondrous things to behold. In the darkness. In the fog. Things which can’t be seen for what they truly are.

People become accustomed to darkness.

In the land of darkness there are no rules about coloring within the lines, no boundaries or fences with “No Trespassing” signs posted, and no defined right or wrong. Darkness keeps the shades drawn and the curtains closed over the windows of one’s soul.

It promises happiness, but cannot deliver contentment. Intimacy is touted as a product of darkness, yet intimacy without light is impossible.

Darkness is the land of groping, of stumbling, of half-truths and fuzzy images. It is the place of the hope-so’s, the want-to’s, and all the misconstrued ideas about light.

But if one can really understand light…

Light never entices, it simply reveals.

God is light. In his light we see, we know, we experience true intimacy. With God, with one another, and even with ourselves. We can know as we are known.

Light came into the realm of darkness and conquered it using only three things.

Wood, nails, and truth.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5 ESV)

“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 ESV)

“…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5 ESV)

With only a decision one can step from darkness to light.

But darkness still promises a world of pleasures and treasures, though light reveals what darkness really is, what it truly contains.

Darkness is the absence of light. The absence of truth, revelation, and real intimacy. It is the place of broken promises; temptation without fulfillment.

A story to be read, without any words.

No meaning, no future, no life. No God.

So why do so many people choose darkness? Is it because they can’t see, can’t hear, can’t know?

Which have you chosen?

Dance The Night Away

20130519-213754.jpgEver had a day that seemed a month long? A night that would never end? How about sorrow that only deepened, never giving up, for months and years?

An old song by Leo Thayer, “You make me feel like dancing”, jumped to the forefront of my mind yesterday. The phrase, “gonna dance the night away”, seemed to have the touch of God on it. It’s a corny song, the falsetto singing is hard listening to, and I’m really not into dance music; but there’s a truth in the “dance” phrase God wants us to catch.

“Night” represents darkness, and “dance” is related to joy, or an expression of joy. Many times, during periods of sorrow and grief, the thought of dancing is the farthest thing from our mind. What we’re most comfortable with during those seasons, and what we’d much rather do is lock ourselves away in the dark somewhere, curled up in the fetal position, chewing on our lip, and wishing we didn’t have to face another day.

Despair, night, and spiritual darkness are each related to the other, and have the ability to smother the life out of a person. Their nature is to flood a person’s thoughts and feelings with ideas of everything that could possibly go wrong. It’s like living in a small, crowded room with no windows, and little by little the walls move closer and closer until there’s absolutely no room left, and no way out. And though there’s ALWAYS a way out, it’s usually not seen because of the spiritual darkness pervading the mind of the despaired one. They PERCEIVE they are trapped, and the perception becomes their reality.

But God has something much better for you and I. It’s called JOY!

Despair forces you and I into a small dark corner, but God’s joy releases us to enjoy wide open spaces!

“He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy and from those who hated and abhorred me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted and came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay and support. He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:16-19 AMP)

So what should a person do when the nighttime of despair begins to close in on them? Call upon the Lord and start dancing! By faith, act on the word of God and release the power of joy! If necessary, dance on the ceiling and the walls, like Fred Astaire did in the movie, “Royal Wedding”.

Fred Astaire 1Fred Astaire 2

Dance the night away! Away from you, from your loved ones, from your situation! Dance the night – AWAY!

You don’t feel like dancing? Then begin to tap a toe. Tap it by faith; faith in the love and ability of God Most High! Then tap the other one, shuffle your feet, shake a hip, swing an arm, AND DANCE THE NIGHT – AWAY!

Say it out loud: “God, You make me feel like dancing; I’m gonna dance the night – AWAY“!

“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.” (Exodus 15:20 ESV)

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…” (2 Samuel 6:14 ESV)

“As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before The Lord…” (2 Samuel 6:16 ESV)

“Let them praise his name with dancing…” (Psalm 149:3 ESV)

“Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe.” (Psalm 150:4 ESV)

” A time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:3-4 ESV)

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12 ESV)

“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 ESV)

Joy comes in the morning, and “dancing”, releasing joy, drives the night away! Night leaves, morning comes, and joy prevails!

Dance!

What Do We Really Expect?

20130502-141303.jpgWhy do we, as Jesus followers, act so surprised, and even mad, when the world doesn’t treat us like their own?

What do we really expect? What do we really want?

Have we forgotten something Jesus said?

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.” (John 15:18-23 NLT)

No one likes to be hated. No one enjoys being rejected or persecuted.

But what can we really expect?

We can’t win their love or appreciation by acting like them; not and stay connected to the Spirit who sets us apart!

We cannot divide our allegiance between the two kingdoms. We belong to one or the other.

Friendship with the world is equal to war with God.

God so loved this world He gave His best for it. But He didn’t compromise with it. His love could change the world, but not if His love was compromised.

God’s love is for others first and foremost. The world’s love is for themselves, first and always!

God hates things because of their destructive, hellish affect on others. The world hates things that inconvenience, embarrass, or somehow affect their own lives.

So why are we surprised to find the world doesn’t really appreciate our input, much less our presence?

Tell you what I’m going to do…I’m going to love the world as God does. I’m going pray for them like Jesus does. I’m going to speak truth like The Spirit of truth does.

And I won’t be surprised when they don’t throw a party in my honor.

Arise and Shine

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Light always overcomes darkness. God has caused His light to shine in us, through us, so it is time for us to ARISE AND SHINE! We do not have to fear the darkness – it has to fear us!

When light invades the darkness, one of two things must occur. The darkness will either FLEE or BE CHANGED into light!

Rise up, man and woman of God!

Arise, shine; For your light has come!
And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see: They all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side (Isaiah 60:1-4 NKJV)

Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever (Daniel 12:3 NKJV)

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6 NKJV)

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:4-5 NKJV)

…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15 NKJV)

The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV)
Arise and shine as His Glory shines through you!

The Master Plan… my short story

Jan and Phyllis2It was a dark and dreary night, which seemed to last a lifetime.

In fact, it was lasting a lifetime. The first 20 years of my life.

Darkness and chaos describe my early years. Oh, sure, there were glimpses of light and order, hope and joy, now and then. But dreariness described my life as a whole.

Kind of like when “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. There wasn’t a sign in the heavens inviting change. No. Darkness, disorder, decadence, and dismay screamed constantly at Him and His plans, “We cannot, will not, be changed. We will forever remain like this!” That seemed to describe my life.

But, the entrance of His Word brought light; and the rest, they say, is history.

I had times, as a kid, really enjoyed my life and thought things were great. Like the times we’d have the neighborhood over and play ball in our backyard. Kids everywhere, running, laughing, without a care in the world. Or the time the ice cream truck would come down the street, beckoning us with its happy tune. All the neighborhood kids would stop what they were doing, run to find their parents, and literally beg them into buying a Buried Treasure, Drumstick, or some other sweet and cold treat. Ah, the good old days.

There were a few times of hope and joy as a teenager, but those years were primarily filled with strife and unrest. Not much hope for the future. No promise of life, that I could see anyway. Have you ever known someone who seemed to be okay and in great health, but was really losing a battle with cancer? That’s how my life was. Looked alright on the outside, but inside I was dying. If something happened I didn’t like, couldn’t control, or attacked my vulnerable heart, I would pack up and leave. I tried fighting back, but eventually concluded leaving was the best way to preserve what life I had.

A few people told me about this Man named Jesus. Fairytale stuff, as far as I was concerned. Besides, I didn’t need religion. Darkness and chaos were serving me just fine. It was something I was used to.

When I was 17, darkness seemed to ease up a bit. I met this girl who began to love me; darkness, chaos, hurt and all. I was so energized by her, hope for the future began to grow. Plans for a life together were forming. Buying an old “Bread Truck” decorated with colorful flowers, travelling the country, playing music, seeing the sights, living the dream, became known to us as “The Master Plan”.

We finally did get married and started living the Plan. No bread truck, just a cool 1964 Rambler Classic 770 named “Roger”. Life was but a dream, sh-boom, sh-boom.

Something happened during our second year of living our dream. I can’t really explain it. I only know we met this couple who had a “light” shining in their life. Love and life seemed to exude from them, attacking the darkness surrounding us; as though God was looking at our world, commanding His light to shine in our dark places.

Light be! Light was!

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of Life.”

That was close to forty years ago. Never did get a bread truck. We have done some traveling, played some music, lived a few dreams, had a few nightmares. But we discarded the Master Plan. Traded it in for something full of love, life and hope. A future and a hope! We call it “The Master’s Plan.”

And the rest is, as they say, His Story.

If darkness and chaos has filled your life, there is a God in Heaven Who knows how to change your world.

“The Times They Are A-Changin”

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The Times They Are A-Changin’
Lyrics by Bob Dylan

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin

Words and music by Bob Dylan

The times they are a-changing. That’s a word The Lord keeps speaking to my heart. Changing times. Dividing times. Light getting brighter and darkness becoming darker. Gray areas turning lighter or darker, but not staying the same. The middle ground is diminishing. In or out. Up or down. Right or wrong. Heaven or Hell.

The times they are a-changing. Changing, becoming, turning to the final chapter of the Redemption Story. The Story of love and fellowship between God and man. The Story of how fellowship was broken, but love never was. The Story of love giving itself to redeem and restore the broken fellowship. God’s eternal purposes finally completed.

The times aren’t changing just because God wants to do something new. After all, it’s not new to Him. No, He’s just bringing things to a close, so He can then open all of Heaven and Eternity for His Redeemed and Restored Family.