Ever felt like you are stuck in a dark place? Then this post is written just for you….
Gods first words in the human story were words spoke in the darkness – words from the darkness. Spoken by God. Spoken to breathe life into the darkness.
Out of the darkness these words were uttered:
“Let… there… be… light!”
And there was light. The first light in the universe came from the voice of God in the darkness. Gods first breathe in the universe created light.
This was the beginning. The first beginning. The first of many beginnings. This is the work of God in our lives. God enters into the darkness, unperturbed or disturbed, to bring light, growth, love, joy, peace that surpasses understanding, and all other manner of blessings as he wills.
Whenever God wants us to grow he leads us into the darkness where we are led by the spirit into the place of deepening faith and holy trust. And into our darkness He speaks ever so gently… let there be light, and Christ enters our darkness. He walks in it with us to lead us through the dark wilderness into his promised land for our lives.
Where there is darkness today God is already at work. New life will spring up at the sound of his gentle voice. Do not listen for a booming voice in the darkness. Look for the still small voice of the Spirit speaking and breathing the new life of God. God is speaking light into your darkness.
How can we ever know that the Gospel of Jesus and the words of the bible are really true? I mean, they were written thousands of years ago in a culture that is so different from ours – no phones, no bank accounts, no McDonalds! It was orally passed down before it was written down! How can we believe that today?!
I hear this a lot. It doesn’t surprise me any more. There’s no simple answer except to say that faith is both simple, yet difficult. It’s hard to believe facts that you can’t verify easily (unless you have a time machine, which so far we don’t Dr!).
It’s hard to believe when you have not yet experienced the power and presence of the Gospel in true encounter with God.
As a Church we need to be encountering God more than we do. We should be seeking to meet with God daily. Our experience and our bible understanding need to come together to infuse into faith that is solid and certain. The Bible claims we can have certainty of what we have been taught, and we place our faith/trust in those teachings. This does not mean there is no doubt – Thomas was not removed from Jesus for doubting – in fact he was blessed as a result of it. Perhaps doubt is part of the strengthening process of faith?
In the Gospel written by Luke he writes the book to show the stories surrounding the life and work of Jesus in order that…
…you might know the CERTAINTY of the things you have been taught (Luke 1:3-4).
Our faith can be certain and steadfast. We can know the certainty of what we believe. Remember, there can still be some doubt – faith is not the removal of doubt: it is trusting God in the midst of it. In the aftermath of Christmas we have opportunities to share our faith with friends and family – it’s a time of year when discussions about Jesus are in the social consciousness.
I pray that we will take these opportunities to share our faith with confidence in the Gospel, understanding of the truth, and sensitivity to those we are sharing with.
It shuffled silently through the undergrowth, the stench of its breath illuminated like mist under a cold full moon. I could almost feel the darkness within it as I hid, trembling in the tree trunk, heart bursting in the fear of being found. It wandered past slowly and I exhaled my relief. That was when he stopped, turned, and looked directly into the darkness where I crouched.
There are many things in life which can leave us feeling paralysed in fear: other people, job insecurity, terrorism, etc. Fear has this way of making us feel helpless, and so we hide. We hide our true selves. We lock ourselves in the inside of our bodies and we hope that no one will see who we really are, or what we really feel.
What if we’re not meant to live that way? What if the story looks more like this:
It shuffled silently through the undergrowth, the stench of its breath illuminated like mist under a cold full moon. I could almost feel the darkness within it as I stood before it, heart bursting in fear, yet determined to slay this beast once and for all. It wandered slowly and menacingly towards me. I exhaled my determination to stand my ground. That was when he stopped and looked directly at me in the moonlit darkness where I stood. I stood silent as a sentinel, staring him down, refusing to be the first to look away. We were like statues, cold and hard in the night until just when I was going to loose my stare, he lowered his head, turned and walked back into the darkness from where he came.
Sometimes you need to face what you fear. Sometimes you need to find out that you are stronger than you think. It’s not easy; it doesn’t mean you don’t feel afraid, but it does mean that you don’t let fear shackle you and hold you down as helpless.
May you find the strength to stand your ground, look fear in the eye, and put fear in its place.
Ever have those moments when your head is full of worry, anxiety and stress when you look at the world around you? I know I certainly do! It’s so easy to feel like you are drowning. We all have times like this – so how should a follower of Jesus respond to such moments?
One of the key discipleship principles Jesus consistently taught was to have ‘faith (in God) not fear’. All through the bible we see this theme – Jesus was always telling his followers to ‘fear not’, ‘worry not’, and to ‘have faith in God’. Jesus understands our human psyche and he meets us in our weaknesses and in our need. He does this gently and compassionately, and never with condemnation.
A few days ago I was really blessed in reading Psalm 37 because it offers some great points to help us with anxiety and stress:
Do not fret
Three times the writer states “Do not fret…” (vs 1, 7, 8) when you look around and see much wickedness and bad news. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it is possible to change fearful fretting to fiery faith
Three little remedies
v3. Trust in the LORD, and do good.
v4. Delight yourself in the LORD (make the Lord your delight!)
v5. Commit your ways to the LORD
Yes, but how?
v7. Be still before God and wait on him
v34. Wait for the LORD
I love this phrase ‘wait on the LORD’ – it means to spend time deliberately with Him. It means tarrying with him; hanging out with Him; listening to Him and learning from Him; Loving His presence and all that comes with Him. It is being with Him long enough to see His character; his love; his solutions. It is being enveloped by him and reassured that he holds all of the world with it’s worries and its wonders in His strong, love-filled hands.
As you look at the world and people around you today may you find peace in God’s presence – a peace that melts fears, worries and anxiety – and may you draw close to Him.