Does the darkness challenge or defeat you?

My teacher challenged me.

Do remember when your Sunday School teacher or maybe your children’s church teacher challenged you to memorize God’s word?
If you were like most of us that first verse was “Jesus wept.” And probably the second one  was either John 3:16 or Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 
 

Wrapped with a prize.

 
My teacher’s challenged was usually wrapped with the promise of a prize…they were usually about as valuable as a cracker jack prize, but oh how I loved those prizes. Something even better happened as I memorized Scripture I also learned to love God’s Word and God.
 

I learned to take Scripture personal…

 
for instance Genesis 1:2 NIV “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
 
When I read that verse, I feel like I’m standing beside God as he describes what He saw with two words…empty and dark. Then He continues by explaining His Spirit was there, hovering over the waters.
 
The two words God used to describe the earth are tuho (to hoo) and boho (boo hoo). 
And believe me the sight that is being described here could make anyone boo hoo!
Tohu (to’hoo) means formless and chaotic.
Buho means empty.
 
Only God could have seen the chaos and emptiness, because it was totally dark-darken than you can even imagine. This disorder and confusion definitely NOT God’s plan for the earth. 
 

So what did God do? 

     He spoke.

 
In the midst of the darkness He said, let there be light.” Like a well aimed arrow pierces the skin and flesh of an apple, the word of God pierced and shattered the darkness.
 

And what about you,

when you look into the chaos and emptiness of our culture, or when you stare into the darkness and deceptiveness of the pleasure crazed masses, does it make you want to boo hoo too? It is easy to become cynical and critical, but instead what we see should unlock our passion.
 
I’m talking about the God kind of passion that spoke the Word and sent the Living Word, JESUS, into the darkness.
 
The love of God, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, should propel us as, children of God, to do the same thing.
 
We…
no, I need to really get personal with you my dear friend…
 
you,  but you know this already, I’m just reminding you…
 

you are called to carry the light…

to do the works of Jesus.
 
Matthew 5:14
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
 
 
Frankly, as a general rule,
I don’t see believers responding with passion and compassion– 
instead I see apathy and fear. 
 

I see people…God’s people

playing the blame game or excusing themselves with “It’s not my job!
Let the preacher…
teacher…
politician–
you get the idea…
let somebody
anybody else do it!” 
 

Listen I get it!

I really do! 
I realize things look dark around us…
the enemy…whispers,
actually he’s started screaming lately…
and he’s in our faces screaming stuff like–
it’s hopeless…
there’s nothing you can do…
 

While God’s powerful church cowers

with fear,
frozen in place
by unbelief and hopelessness.
the demonic darkness grips the hearts of many leaders and educators, people of influence with deception and outright lies. These deceived leaders have followers. So the story grows darker.
 
I must remind you it’s not just a story, it’s a heart breaking reality.
 
People both young and old follow these leaders with crazed delight like the children in the fable of the Pied Piper.
 
It doesn’t take a weather forecaster to warn of the impending storm. We can see the encroaching black storm already darkening the sky…
so what have we done? What have we done?
 
Way too often, we have simply dropped our gaze, hurried inside our safe little place where we have medicated our fears with entertainment-
our phones,
movies,
reality TV
and games.
 

It’s scary! 

As we stare into the cultural fissures and crevices created by the earthquake of lies and deception…we wish that God would do something.
 
Like the account in Genesis where God looked into the darkness and saw the chaos and the emptiness of it all…
oh if only once again God would hover over His creation.
 

But I want to tell you something…

please listen carefully…
 

God is in you!

You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
God wants to do it through His church…his family…you!
 

This is no time to be complacent. 

There is thick darkness over the land. The earthquake of lies and deception is shaking the very foundation of our culture. It is dividing the nation, families and the church. God has called you for such a time as this.
 

You have a role to play in God’s plan.

God could have done it different, but He chose to partner through His sons and daughters. God made the rules. Just like God used the womb of a woman to birth Jesus, He uses the spiritual womb of a believer to birth His will in families, communities and cities through prayer and presence.
 

God works through people.

He wants to use you. There are things that He wants to do in your life, in your church, in your community that must be birthed in prayer and/or walked out as you let your light shine through acts of obedience and faith.
 
Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
2For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:1,2 ESV
 

Stop believing the lies

that you aren’t talented enough or that the situation is hopeless. Believe the truth! If you are a child of God you are not weak…you are not powerless because the almighty God lives in you! Become the agent of change that God intended you to be right where you are.
 
John 14:12 NIV
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
 
 
 

God looked into that dark world and He spoke.

 
Genesis 1:3 NIV And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
 
The English Wesleyan minister William Lonsdale Watkinson said in his sermon called “The Supreme Conquest”

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

 
Our human response is to curse the darkness. We
gripe
grumble
gossip.
 

It’s time to light a candle.

That candle is prayer.
 
It’s time to speak into the darkness. Don’t speak what you see…speak the promises of God.
 
Send the arrow of God’s Word into the darkness.
 
Romans 13:11 & 12
This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.
 
The role of every believer is to pray.
I want to challenge you like my Sunday School teacher challenged me…pray.
 
Pray for leaders in places of influence.
Pray for people that you used to pray for, but you gave up on them because you didn’t see any change.
 
Go deeper in prayer than you’ve ever gone before.
 
I want to challenge you…

Arise and shine for the light has come…

    let His light shine through you!