It is tough to keep going when feeling alone in the journey. I read my Bible last night and the words from John 1:5 gave me great comfort:
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
No matter how dark our world becomes, the light—God—is always shining.
I guess this is how I am feeling these days. There is darkness all around and I see no evident way to escape. I know that it is only by God’s hand, His guidance, and care that we will remain steadfast in the daily routines of life, our journey heavenward. We must hold on to hope that one day we will reach glory, perfection, our eternal home with our heavenly Father.
John 1:4 says:
“In Him was life, and that life was the lights of all mankind.”
There is darkness in us all, not one of us is good (Romans 3:10) but by God and through Jesus Christ, goodness is born and divinely built upon. God’s light burns brightly within His children. He is the light of the world and we carry His light, reflecting it towards all. It is through faithful, obedient followers of Jesus Christ that God’s light shines forth. Hallelujah!
We are the ones who obscure the light of God. It is through trauma, offenses, mindsets, the news, social media, television, and in what we read. There is pressure coming every which way and it is challenging to keep a steady pace. All of this can and does dim the light and if we hold fast to the things of this world in rebellion to God’s will, plan, and purpose, the light will eventually flicker and burn out. God does not need us to shine forth. It is a gift, given to us freely by God so that we can share His light and love with people. God’s light will never go out.
“The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary (John 5:14) puts it this way:
“The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord and it was the eternal Word that lighted the candle. The light of reason, as well as the life of senses, is derived from him. From whom may we better expect the light of divine revelation than from him who gave us the light of human reason.”
The light shines but the darkness comprehends it not—the discovery of the eternal Word to the lapsed world, even before he was manifested in the flesh.
The light shineth in darkness—the eternal Word, as God, shines in the darkness of natural conscience. Something of the power of the divine Word all mankind has an innate sense of. The eternal Word shone in the darkness of the Old Testament prophecies and promises. He that had commanded the light of this world to shine out of darkness was himself long a light shining in darkness.
The darkness comprehended it not. The darkness of error and sin overpowered and quite eclipsed this light. The Jews who had the light of the Old Testament yet comprehended not Christ in it. It was therefore requisite that Christ would come, both to rectify the errors of the Gentile world and to improve the truths of the Jewish church.”
I am feeling fully comforted by God’s mercy and grace. He has shed light into the dark places of my mind and heart; I am positioned in such a way that my entire being is thankful and in tune with His loving Presence. I sense a change in the atmosphere. I am clued into correction and I am open to my Father’s words. How kind of Him to love on me first before showing me my offense; the places where I have recently strayed!
I am shown A.W. Tozer’s book, “The Crucified Life.” Tozer writes about “The Five Ingenious Ways of Christians.” God has my attention; I am convicted and guilty:
“…seeking our own interests while pursuing spiritual interests under the guise of seeking God’s interests. Being self-serving is where the strange ingenuity of Christians begins. Under the guise and pretense of seeking God’s interest, we have a sly way of serving our own interests. We have become very clever in this endeavor. But we are only fooling ourselves into thinking that we are ‘about our Father’s business’ when we are actually doing our own business.
While pretending to seek the interest of God, people fall prey to promoting themselves. We want God to have the glory, but at the same time we would like a little commission paid to us for all the work we do.”
Tozer mentions five ingenious ways but only two resonated with me at this time, so let me share the second one that spoke to me:
“…talking about the dark night of the soul but rejecting the darkness…The dark night of the soul is not something pleasant to go through and does not end with a fellowship supper after church on Sunday night. It is a grueling experience that requires an absolutely strict detachment from everything that you normally rely on so that you are left with only Christ.
Darkness speaks of not knowing. We want God to do, but we want Him to do what He does within the scope of our comprehension. The dark night of the soul, however, is the work of the Holy Spirit that exceeds the ability of any man or woman to understand. When we come through the dark night of the soul, we do not know what has really happened to us, but we do know who has made it happen.”
At this point in my time of quiet with God, I cannot help but pause and drop my head in prayer:
Thank you, Father, for correction. Thank you, for stopping me in my tracks. Thank you, for hearing my prayers and answering. Forgive me for self-seeking ambitions. Forgive me for opening my mind to false teaching, for coveting and hiding it, using You for gain.
Thank you, for standing guard, and thank you for the warning, danger was sure to come. Oh, how grateful I am for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. All glory, honor, praise, and thanksgiving go to You! I sit lifted because of your care! How sneaky the snake is! Forgive me for falling into his traps, once again. I am not excusing my behavior, simply stating that I let my guard down, and in he crept, unnoticed by my eyes, but fully seen by yours. Hallelujah!
Thank you, for your rescue and victory. Thank you, I can hear your voice telling me to turn back. Thank you, for lighting my way back into the safety of your always welcoming arms. This is where I choose to be. Help me stay here! How good you are, Father. Thank you!
How blind we are to evil, all around us and in our hearts. I am ashamed but because of you, I do not reside there! Father, we need your guidance. We cannot avoid the landmines of the enemy, disaster, and death without you. What is unseen is seen by you! Hallelujah!
We can walk in darkness because it is by your light that we find our way out into glory! The love I feel in my heart is overflowing and it is truly wonderful! There is no place I would rather be!
Thank you, Father, for your faithfulness and love. I look forward to the day of completion—glory and perfection. No longer distracted and afflicted by sin, the enemy. All your children will be gathered at your feet, heads bowed low, worshipping, and praising all day long. There will be no pull of the world, no evil hearts and not one obstacle in sight to jump over. Each child of God pure and free! Hallelujah!!
Oh, Lord, what a chaotic mess we are in! This world struck with illness and death, people rioting and treating one another with unfairness and harm. What is happening to your beautiful world? Come Lord Jesus and save us from any further destruction. Take us home where we belong!
Lord, God Almighty, keep our eyes on you! Remind us of your spiritual care, your glory, and victory. Help us to see beyond what is before us. Let it not bring us down, lift us high above this torment and sorrow. Let us not look to the right or the left, speak your direction, and give us the courage and boldness to leap in faith and obedience to where you call us to go. You are a precious gift!!
Guard our hearts and minds and set us apart from this world. Empower us with wisdom, understanding, strength, and endurance for your holy purposes, separate us from sin, help us share your love and goodness with others. Almighty God, do not let us stumble and fall, and when we begin to shake, steady our weak knees so we can stand tall, firm, on the foundation which is built upon the Rock, Jesus Christ. Fill us with the Holy Spirit:, joy, peace, and love.
Father, you are our love, trust, security, constant companion, satisfaction, fullness, our Daily Bread, and so much more. Thank you, in Jesus’ beautiful and mighty name we pray, Amen!
In this time with God this morning, I am shown another level of my evil heart and I am disgusted and guilty. I so love the Lord and I continue to self-seek. How foolish and wayward I am. Oh my goodness, Father, forgive me! Take this from me, In Jesus’ Name, take this from me!!
No more YouTube, no more Google Newsfeeds, no social media, no Huffington Post or other news sites; no more mindless surfing. Did you not just show me several mornings ago what flipping through the Internet does? Of course you did and what did I do with that wisdom. I turned my head in rebellion! It is all useless garbage! Forgive me!
Spiritual Discipline #4
Guard your heart and mind!
As Paul states in Philippians 1:
Rejoice in the Lord.
Beware of false teachers.
Trust in the Lord always.
Reach after the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Set your heart on God, the Heavenly Prize.
My time with God has ended with the very same Scripture from my post, “Farewell.” Let me share Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this passage:
“I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. The fitter we grow for heaven the faster we must press towards it. Heaven is the prize of the high calling; what we aim at in all we do and what will reward all our pains. It is of God, from whom we are to expect it. But it is in Christ Jesus; through His hand it must come to us. There is no getting to heaven as our home but by Christ as our way.
I pursue with vigour. If that I may apprehend that for which also, I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. It is not our laying hold of Christ first, but his laying hold of us, which is our happiness and salvation. Not our keeping hold of Christ, but his keeping hold of us, is our safety.
This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before.”
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have placed my blog on private and told God I was not going to write anymore. I thought for sure the door had been closed to “Our Heavenly Prize.” I now realize that it is only the enemy trying to shut me down. But God…He never fails in giving me a super special revelation to keep me going. I do love to write, and I love to share God with others. I did not realize (praise God that He did) that I was going astray. He told me three years ago, at the start of the blog, to just write. Do not worry about anything else; He would take care of the rest and He certainly has. He has truly worked miracles through “Our Heavenly Prize” and for this, I am grateful!
Guard your heart and mind!
I do not want to give up writing because it is a ministry God has given me. All the above was written yesterday and I did not post it because I was unsure of what to do but in prayer this morning, God reassured me that there is nothing wrong with the way I write about Him and our experiences together. I told a close and trusted friend yesterday afternoon that this way of writing is the only way I know how to tell the Gospel Message.
I felt guilty about the possibility that I write for an “audience of one” which was told to me several months ago. I am self-conscious of this and I do apologize if this is the case. I write what I know to write: it is honest, well-intentioned, and comes from my heart and it gives me great joy to share God with all of you.
I am not equipped at this time to share Him any other way. As He has so clearly stated, “You are not ready.” If He should request of me to write or speak any differently; He will teach me. He has taught me well thus far. I trust that when correction is needed, God will gently and tenderly do just that! Until then, I will push forth, by the guidance and love of the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 1: 27-30 (Matthew Henry’s Commentary)
“…stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. It becomes those who profess the gospel to strive for it. There is much opposition, and there is need of striving. A man may sleep and go to hell; but he who will go to heaven must look about and be diligent.
Steadfastness becomes the gospel.
Those who would strive for the faith of the gospel must stand firm to it.
Whatever oppositions we meet with, we must not be frightened at them.
It is not simply the suffering, but the cause, and not only the cause, but the spirit, which makes the martyr.”
God bless you and thank you to all those who reached out to me in the past several days. Your encouragement was sent straight from God and for this, I am blessed and grateful. I will continue to strive to share the Gospel Message as God instructs us all to do.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary. (1961) Zondervan classic reference series: In one volume. Zondervan Academic.
Tozer, A. W. (2013) The essential tozer collection: The crucified life. Bethany House.