From Deep Darkness To Light

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

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From Deep Darkness to Light – Encouragement for Today – December 5, 2017

Arlene Pellicane December 5, 2017
From Deep Darkness to Light
ARLENE PELLICANE

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

Twelve years ago on Christmas Day, I looked down at my pregnant belly with both sadness and relief. The doctor had told me the day before Thanksgiving my unborn baby girl would die in the womb due to severe chromosomal defects. Yet, there I was, a few miraculous weeks later, still carrying that sign of hope within.

Ever since sitting in that doctor’s office, God had truly been my Prince of Peace, filling my life with divine order and calmness. Yes, there were dark days filled with tears and questions and prayers. Some days, I doubted; other days, I was filled with faith. My baby’s heart kept beating.

But between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I lost that little 26-week-old baby.

As I lay down on the hospital bed and prepared to deliver the baby, the door opened, bringing what felt like the light of God into the room. The nurse assigned to me was the exact same nurse who’d helped deliver my first child. She knew my name. I couldn’t believe out of all the nurses in that huge hospital, the only one who knew me was not only working that night, she was working my room.

In that moment, it was divine assurance that God saw me. He was with me in my pain and sorrow. I wasn’t alone, and neither are you.

Today’s key verse from Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” When we live in the deep darkness of disease or death, lack or oppression, we’re not beyond hope. Light always penetrates darkness. Darkness, no matter how deep, doesn’t stand a chance against a ray of light.

Later in that same chapter of Scripture, Isaiah 9:6 proclaims the good news that a child would be born, and a son given. He would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

God stands ready to be all this to you today, whether you’re walking in soft light or deep darkness.

We named our little baby girl Angel Rose, because she was a messenger from God to us, and her life was both beautiful and thorny. I can honestly say my memory of her is sweet because she taught me to trust in God like I never have before. She taught me to be thankful for every breath of life God gives. I experienced God’s presence in such a real way when I was pregnant with her. The worship song Blessed Be Your Name became my anthem:

“Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering

Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name

You give and take away

My heart will choose to say

Lord, blessed be Your name.”

The more I sang and trusted, the more God flooded into my life to give me strength. Living in peace isn’t living problem-free. It’s living a messy life in the presence of a living God. God can and will provide divine order in your broken world if you invite Him into your deep darkness.

Before Christ came as a baby, we were doomed to eternal darkness. But now we live in the light of salvation through the messianic King. The dark gloom of judgment is past. The bright light of salvation is ours.

Christ’s birth doesn’t just impact all our tomorrows in eternity. His peace is for us today. He can increase our joy right now — no matter what burden we may carry.

Lord Jesus, thank You for being my Prince of Peace and the Light of the World. I trust You with my life and lift my burdens to You. You reign forever and ever with justice and righteousness. Increase my joy today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Outsiders

From: Our Daily Journey

Outsiders

Read:

Matthew 1:1-17
It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed . . . . For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies (Hebrews 11:31).

All too soon, we’ll be hearing New Year’s resolutions. Check out this clever social media post from several years ago: “Increase my relationship status from ‘forever alone’ to ‘slightly desperate.’ ”

Funny. Yet a tinge of despair lurks beneath that wry tweet, and we can all relate. At one time or another, we’ve all known the discomfort of being the lonely one. The outsider.

The New Testament begins, “This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). Ho-hum, right? But don’t miss what follows. In verses 5 and 6 we read, “Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth).”

Rahab and Ruth—two foreign women amid a list of Jewish men. Their stories could fill novels. When two Israelite spies hid out at Rahab’s place, she was more than slightly desperate. Prostitution is a desolate existence (Joshua 2:1). But Rahab recognized God at work in the people of Israel. Because of her actions, God preserved Rahab and her family when Jericho was destroyed (Joshua 6:22-25). The author of Hebrews honors “Rahab the prostitute,” who came out of the idol-worshiping Canaanites (Hebrews 11:31).

Ruth, too, epitomizes the outsider. She was from Moab, a pagan nation whose existence might embarrass us. Her people descended from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughter. Yet Ruth made this classic statement of faith: “Your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16). She went on to become King David’s great-grandmother.

As we read the Bible, let’s not skip the genealogies. There we meet the God of the outsider. The God who does amazing things with the stories of all who turn to Him.

 

“The Temple of the Holy Spirit”

By Oswald Chambers

 

I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. Paul said he did not “set aside the grace of God”— make it ineffective (Galatians 2:21). The grace of God is absolute and limitless, and the work of salvation through Jesus is complete and finished forever. I am not being saved— I am saved. Salvation is as eternal as God’s throne, but I must put to work or use what God has placed within me. To “work out [my] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means that I am responsible for using what He has given me. It also means that I must exhibit in my own body the life of the Lord Jesus, not mysteriously or secretly, but openly and boldly. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection . . .” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Every Christian can have his body under absolute control for God. God has given us the responsibility to rule over all “the temple of the Holy Spirit,” including our thoughts and desires (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are responsible for these, and we must never give way to improper ones. But most of us are much more severe in our judgment of others than we are in judging ourselves. We make excuses for things in ourselves, while we condemn things in the lives of others simply because we are not naturally inclined to do them.

Paul said, “I beseech you…that you present your bodies a living sacrifice…” (Romans 12:1). What I must decide is whether or not I will agree with my Lord and Master that my body will indeed be His temple. Once I agree, all the rules, regulations, and requirements of the law concerning the body are summed up for me in this revealed truth-my body is “the temple of the Holy Spirit.”

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