VIDEO Seeing in the Dark

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.  Matthew 14:25

Darkness is the absence of visible light, in which humans are unable to distinguish shapes or forms. Those who have experienced total darkness know what a disconcerting feeling it is.

In the “fourth watch of the night”—3:00–6:00 a.m.—on the Sea of Galilee it would have been dark enough for the disciples to be afraid of a form they saw moving toward them across the water. Indeed, they thought it was a spirit of some kind: “And they cried out for fear” (Matthew 14:26). But it wasn’t a spirit, it was Jesus coming to help them as they battled against the rough waves of the sea. While this is an event unique to the disciples, there is a principle imbedded for us: Jesus sees as clearly in our darkness as He does in our light. Our vision may be limited in times of darkness, but His is not.

If you find yourself in a dark place where it is hard to see Jesus, do not worry. He sees you in your moment of need and He will come and comfort you.

I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.  Mary Gardiner Brainard


Faithfulness, Matthew 25:14-30 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

A Light in the Darkness

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

In These Are the Generations, Mr. Bae describes God’s faithfulness and the power of the gospel to penetrate the darkness. His grandfather, parents, and his own family were all persecuted for sharing their faith in Christ. But an interesting thing happened when Mr. Bae was imprisoned for telling a friend about God: his faith grew. The same was true for his parents when they were sentenced to a concentration camp—they continued to share Christ’s love even there. Mr. Bae found the promise of John 1:5 to be true: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus warned His disciples about the trouble they’d face. They would be rejected by people who “will do such things because they have not known the Father or me” (16:3). But Jesus offered words of comfort: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (v. 33).

While many believers in Jesus haven’t experienced persecution on the level of that endured by the family of Mr. Bae, we can expect to face trouble. But we don’t have to give in to discouragement or resentment. We have a Helper—the Holy Spirit Jesus promised to send. We can turn to Him for guidance and comfort (v. 7). The power of God’s presence can hold us steady in dark times.

By: Linda Washington

Reflect & Pray

What trouble have you experienced as a believer in Christ or witnessed others experiencing? What is your first reaction during hard times?

Heavenly Father, please protect Your children who are experiencing persecution.

Contending With the Flesh

Romans 8:1-14

As you read today’s passage, did you see the conflict presented in it? The apostle Paul is explaining that even though believers struggle with sin, we are no longer “in the flesh,” because God’s Spirit dwells in us (Rom. 8:9). The word flesh signifies the natural part of each person that desires to operate in opposition to God. That’s why Paul says, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8).

Even though Christians have been freed from the domination of the flesh and now have the Holy Spirit, the conflict is not over—that’s because our old fleshly patterns have not been eradicated. However, we don’t have to succumb to living by them. In fact, we are “under obligation” to put the deeds of the flesh to death by the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:12-13).

To fight this battle, we need powerful spiritual weapons, and that’s exactly what the Lord has given us. In Ephesians 6:10-17, we find the full armor of God, which helps us stand firm and guards our mind and heart with truth. We have the shield of faith to extinguish Satan’s lies and the Word of God as our weapon against temptation.

Romans 13:14 tells us, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust.” Are you using the resources that the Lord has provided to help you put to death those sinful desires and deeds of the flesh? Since the battle begins in the mind, that’s the place to start. As you reprogram your thoughts with God’s Word, your desires and deeds will follow suit.

Holy Spirit Power

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8)

This promise of our Lord signaled the beginning of the immense change from the old covenant to the new. Prior to the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16) on the day of Pentecost, the saints of God were empowered both selectively and infrequently.

We, however, upon whom the “better thing” has come (Hebrews 11:40), are all temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Since we have been “quickened” (made alive) by the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18), we surely should then “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). What, then, is the dunamis (power) that the Holy Spirit provides to us?

Obviously, the power comes from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit Himself (Ephesians 3:16-20). Our flesh has “no good thing” (Romans 7:18) to provide for an empowered, Spirit-filled life. Apart from the dwelling of God’s Spirit in us (Ephesians 1:14), we would be unable to live righteously (John 15:5).

But thanks to the omnipotent and omniscient Creator, the Holy Spirit gives us gifts to use in Christ’s assembly to mature and to encourage each other (Ephesians 4:7-16). The Holy Spirit also grants us the ability to develop His “fruit” in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Then, with the encouragement and maturity we gain through our churches, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit being obvious in our daily lives, the great privilege of sharing the gospel with the lost becomes a delightful exercise of “power” (Romans 1:16) that is clear, not only in careful words of testimony, but in and through a life empowered by the Holy Spirit (1Thessalonians 1:5). HMM III

Unsung and Singing

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses… as unknown, and yet well known.

—2 Corinthians 6:4, 9

Unsung but singing: this is the short and simple story of many today whose names are not known beyond the small circle of their own small company. Their gifts are not many nor great, but their song is sweet and clear….

Well, the world is big and tangled and dark, and we are never sure where a true Christian may be found. One thing we do know: the more like Christ he is the less likely it will be that a newspaper reporter will be seeking him out. However much he may value the esteem of his fellowmen, he may for the time be forced to stand under the shadow of their displeasure. Or the busy world may actually not even know he is there—except that they hear him singing.   BAM054-055

Father, may my song today be a sweet sound in Your earseven if in Yours alone. Amen.

 

In quietness and in confidence

In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.—Isaiah 30:15

 

Be still, my soul—for just as thou art still,

Can God reveal Himself to thee, until

Through thee His love, and light, and life can freely flow.

In stillness God can work through thee and reach

The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach

His lessons—and His power in weakness show.

Bessie Porter.

 

We are always wanting to be doing, to be giving, to be planning for the future, to be mapping out all our life; instead of resting and receiving day by day, leaving the morrow to our God, and rejoicing in Jesus Christ amidst all our falls and failures. Instead of going on rejoicing in Jesus, we are tempted to despond, and to go on desponding, after every failure, negligence, and sin.

George H. Wilkinson.

 

We seek God afar off, in projects perhaps altogether unattainable, and we do not consider that we possess Him now in the midst of confusion, by the exercise of simple faith, provided we bear humbly and bravely the annoyances which come from others, and our own imperfections.

Francois De La Mothe Fénelon.

 

A Thorough Cleansing

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” Ezek. 36:25

What an exceeding joy is this! He who has purified us with the blood of Jesus will also cleanse us by the water of the Holy Spirit. God hath said it, and so it must be, “Ye shall be clean.” Lord, we feel and mourn our uncleanness, and it is cheering to be assured by thine own mouth that we shall be clean. Oh that thou wouldst make a speedy work of it!

He will deliver us from our worst sins. The uprisings of unbelief, and the deceitful lusts which war against the soul, the vile thoughts of pride, and the suggestions of Satan to blaspheme the sacred name — all these shall be so purged away as never to return.

He will also cleanse us from all our idols, whether of gold or of clay: our impure loves, and our excessive love of that which in itself is pure. That which we have idolized shall either be broken from us, or we shall be broken off from it.

It is God who speaks of what He Himself will do. Therefore is this word established and sure, and we may boldly look for that which it guarantees to us. Cleansing is a covenant blessing, and the covenant is ordered in all things and sure.