Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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29 Living in the Power of the Lords Light – Part 1

2 Corinthians 4:1-10

Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. 2 We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this. 3 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. 5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Here in 2 Corinthians 4 we see that God’s light has the power to:

  1. Supersede the darkest night.

Verse 8 reminds us of how dark and difficult things can get for God’s kids: “We are pressed on every side by troubles; We are perplexed;. We are hunted down; We get knocked down.” Those things make for some very dark and difficult nights. In the Bible, darkness is used to represent several different things. Sometimes darkness is used to illustrate sin or evil, as John wrote in John 3:19-21: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Sometimes darkness is used to represent God’s chastening people with the purpose of bringing them to repentance. As Exodus 10:21-22 “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even a darkness which may be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days.” Darkness is also used to denote sadness, as the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.” Darkness can also be used to describe profound and bitter despair. It’s what we see in Job 3:1-4 where scripture says, “Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said, ‘Let the day perish on which I was to be born, And the night which said, “A boy is conceived.” May that day be darkness; Let not God above care for it, Nor light shine on it.’” So let me ask you, what dark night are you going through? What is it that is obscuring the light in your life? Is it bondage to some sin, like lust, greed, anger, hatred, rebellion. Sin shuts out the sunlight and causes our lives to be clouded in darkness? Just as David did in Psalm 139:23-24 we need to ask God to search and sift our hearts and show us if there is any sin lurking in our lives so that we can repent and renounce it and return to Him: “23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God has the power not only to sift our hearts and see our sin but to cleans us and make us clean. Or is it the dark and difficult times that come as a result of God’s chastening and discipline? If you are living in rebellion how far are you going to try and run from God? He loves you enough to pursue you to the ends of the earth, you can’t outrun his love. Is it some sadness, depression, sorrow or grief? Identify the source, take time to grieve don’t just bottle up your pain or you will bottle up the bitterness. Invite God into your grief tell Him the hurts of your heart. Is it some despair? Are you focusing on your fears or on God’s faithfulness? Dwelling on despair leads to darkness, but dwelling on the Father leads to freedom. Is it regret, remorse and resentment? Bitterness leads to a life of bondage, but the key to finding freedom from our failures and the failures others have done to us is found in forgiveness. If God has forgiven you then stop defining yourself by your failures and start being defined by His forgiveness. Are you focusing on your failures or on God’s forgiveness? Is it the darkness of addiction to alcohol or the prison of pornography and gambling? Stop trying to fill your pain with a feel good and start filling your life with God the Father. Alcohol is not the answer you need the Almighty. The passing pleasures of pornography that feed the flesh while they poison the soul are not the solution but rather the stench of sin and death. You can’t medicate pain with poison and expect to experience healing. Confess your broken ways and seek God’s solution rather that sin’s. Remember that regardless of what it is that is darkening your life right now scripture tells us that the sun will shine again if we seek the Lord. Whatever challenge you are facing don’t give up, fall back on your faith, keep putting your trust in the Son and look for His light to shine. While the darkness can be discouraging we need to remember that the darker the night sky the brighter the stars shine. As John 1:4-5tells us, “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” There is a story about a young boy who was prone to fear and frequently had nightmares. He imagined the worst believing that a bony hand was just waiting to reach out from under the bed, grasp him by the ankle and drag him under He could manufacture all sorts of flesh-eating monsters out of the shifting shadows. One night he was staying at a friend’s house and saw a horrid monster hand trying to open the window next to the bed. But in the morning it turned out to be a harmless beech tree branch. All those frightening night-time horrors were stripped away by the power of the morning light. As the Sun rose and its light shone forth it shed truth on his situation. As adults we may think that we have outgrown our childish fears but for many of us we have just replaced them with grown up fears that continue to control our feelings and derail our faith. It’s time to stop letting the darkness dictate your life and let the Lord light up your life and shine truth on your fears.


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28. Strength for difficult days – Part 2

Psalms 119:25-32

25 I lie in the dust; revive me by your word. 26 I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees. 27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. 28 I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word. 29 Keep me from lying to myself;     give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. 30 I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations. 31 I cling to your laws. Lord, don’t let me be put to shame! 32 I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.

Aster the confession of My Ways and the conviction of My Ways third we see:

  1. The Contradiction of My Ways – Verse 29

As long as we are living and responding according to “My Ways”, we are going to be living in contradiction to God’s Ways. It is a contradiction for a Christian to praise and pray on Sunday and live like the devil the rest of the week. It is a contradiction to claim the name of Christ, and not live as a blood bought child of the living God. It is a contradiction to call ourselves a Christian and yet not allow Christ to be in charge of every area of our lives. Do those around you know you’re a child of God? Here is a sobering question if it was a crime to be a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you? Or let me ask you this challenging question if someone was looking for a Christian to tell them about Jesus Christ, would they come to you? Many of us have compartmentalized our faith, we claim Christ on Sunday and leave Him in the closet Monday through the next Sunday. Who are you sharing your faith with? Why would you not tell the world about the wonderful marvelous mercy and grace you have received? When you are in love with someone, you share about them and tell the world about how much you are in love with them? So why not tell them about the one that loved you so much He sent His Son to die for you? In contrast to My Ways the last few verses speak second of:

  1. Thy Ways – verse 30-32

It is here that the psalmist realizing his sin, not only comes clean and confesses it but makes a deliberate choice to repent and:

  • Choose God’s Ways

His confession in verse 30 is, :”I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.” It is critical that as Christians we continually declare that we have chosen God’s way. That we choose to let God be the one who governs our lives. We need to choose to declare to a lost and dying world that the only way to life is through the Lord Jesus Christ. That only God’s way can bring lasting meaning and purpose to life. As the old hymn says: I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back; No turning back. Though none go with me, I still will follow. The cross before me the world behind me… No turning back… No turning back. The way of the world leads to death but God’s way leads to life. Next, we see:

  • The Commitment to God’s Ways

Verse 31 says, “I cling to your laws. Lord, don’t let me be put to shame.”  Here we see that the Psalmist doesn’t want a casual commitment but a clinging commitment. As you look at some of the definitions of the word cling it’s easy to see how it speak of commitment: To remain firm, determined, or resolute. To remain loyal or faithful. To persist or endure. We have all heard the story of the pig and the hen and the difference between a contribution and commitment. In the giving of an egg, the chicken made a contribution to the breakfast, but the ham required the pig to make a commitment. The pig gave something of himself. Choosing to make a commitment to follow the ways of God means that we will give of ourselves. I believe that this is one of the reasons why so many Christians struggle and have difficulties in their lives. While they say that they are committed to God many do not serve His church because they are committed to other things but not God. Lastly, we see:

  1. Chase after God’s Ways

Verse 32 says, “I will pursue your commands, for you expand my understanding.” When we chose God’s way we cannot be slow to respond. What about you are you swift or slow to obey God’s commands? What are you running after today, is it righteousness or are you running down a dead end street? Running takes deliberate action and it takes effort. If there is one thing I can’t say strongly enough it’s don’t procrastinate when God speaks to you. If He is calling you today to come to Him then run, respond with swiftness. When He reveals His will to you obey quickly. Just as physical running has many benefits on our hearts so spiritually running after God also benefits and blesses our hearts. The Psalmist says that He will expand our understanding. Running after God’s way and cleaving to His commandments requires more than just an apathetic following. It shouts with an eagerness to follow the set course. Has your heart been enlarged with the Word of God? Do you have the same desire as the psalmist to run after God’s way and follow His commandments? The only way to have strength in the challenging days is to choose to be completely committed to God and chase after His commands.