Wednesday, February 13, 2019

When Darkness Seems Impenetrable

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it."
John 1:5
(NLT)
Recently, while traveling, we ate breakfast in our hotel dining room.  We knew the minute we walked in that the room was charged with a negative tone.  Everyone was frowning.  Even the breakfast employee had an angry scowl on her face.  The room was crowded—probably about 20 to 30 people coming and going, as I meandered around and made my way through the crowd to fill my plate. I tried so hard to make eye contact. With someone.  Anyone.  I had a huge, beaming smile that I so longed to share with any person who would look at me.  Many were seated at tables, some tapping phones, some seated across from loved ones who weren't looking at each other.  There was not one person in that room who seemed happy or joyful.  Everything in me wanted to make a positive difference.  I wanted them to know that there is a way to find real, true, authentic joy.  I wanted to show them how much it bubbles up inside me and how it forces a genuine smile, even when I don't feel like smiling.  I wanted them to see JESUS—I so wanted them to see Him through a live, physical demonstration.  But, not one person would even give me the opportunity.

After I made my way to and was seated at our table, I sat there, puzzled and perplexed. There was such a pervading cold, unfriendly vibe that seemed to hang like a thick, foreboding cloud in that place, and it frustrated me to no end that I was unable to penetrate it with kindness. Then, I looked down at the t-shirt I was wearing, and a thought crept into my mind. Softly enough for only those at our table to hear, I whispered, "Maybe it's my t-shirt?" Zach bought it for me for Mother's Day, and I love its message. It is such an amazing witness.


An amazing witness, yes, but could those who don't feel the same way about Jesus that I do find it offensive?  Whether the message on my t-shirt had anything to do with my inability to connect with anyone or not, the thought of the possibility got me thinking about how our society is permeated with such disdain for Christianity.  There is a powerful spirit of antiChrist that has infiltrated our world.  
(And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.  I John 4:3)  It started when our Lord was here on the earth, and instead of lessening, all these years later, it has strengthened and become more emboldened, it seems.  It saddens my heart because the light of the Gospel is the only message that will ever make a difference in the lives of those who are unhappy.  It is the only thing powerful enough to break through the steely walls of darkness that have become such a stronghold in our world.  It is up to us to share God's love through the kindness we show and to disprove any misconceptions about who Jesus really is, but when we are around those whose minds are closed and we aren't given an open door to demonstrate who He is, how will we ever make them see?  

Alas, the three of us left that dreary dining room with my mission to make a positive difference completely unaccomplished. I felt so vexed in spirit as we walked down the hall talking, each of us discussing the gloomy atmosphere we had just left. It is still bothering me, all these days later.

It is bothering me enough to cause me to become more determined than ever to keep trying. To not give up just because I failed the last time I tried. To be kind, in spite of who rejects that kindness. To minister, even when the sacrifice is unappreciated or even unnoticed. To love, even when I am despised in return. To smile, even when no one makes eye contact or chooses to return that smile. To verbally compliment one good thing about the person who is so incredibly rude. To speak a word of encouragement to every person I encounter throughout the day. To make sincerely empathetic eye contact with everyone I chance to meet. To reject the thought that I am just one person and what I do will never make a dent in the hate-filled, mean-spiritedness that pervades our society. Isn't all of this what Jesus did? What His Divine nature within us cries out to STILL do?

What if we dared to press through the overwhelming, unprecedented resistance and made up our minds to choose Jesus' path every time? How different would our world be? Sure, there will be those times when it feels like we walk away and leave evil-charged atmospheres the exact same way we found them, but is that reason to throw up our hands and pre-judge every future circumstance we find ourselves in?

I want to challenge you to continue to press through whatever evil resistance you encounter, and choose goodness, in spite of what you see. Be the one to bring the light of Jesus' love into every darkened corner that comes across your path. Choose to keep overcoming evil with good, even when you feel the complete opposite of an overcomer. Do the right thing regardless what everyone else is doing.

Light will always dispel darkness, and darkness can never extinguish light. They thought they ended goodness when they laid our Savior's blood-soaked, tortured-beyond-recognition, lifeless body in the tomb. But, praise His wonderful name, He proved them all wrong three days later, and He came out of that grave alive, never to die again! The power that raised Him is inside each one of us, as believers who are filled with His Spirit!

"...having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."  Ephesians 1:18-21 (ESV)

"And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power."  
I Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us..."  Ephesians 3:20 (KJV)


Same Power ~ Jeremy Camp

You've got His power, so, keep shining His light!
Allow the power of the Spirit of Jesus inside of you to have full access and control.
Yield to His nudges, and boldly do everything He prompts you to do.
Even when it doesn't appear to be making the slightest difference, press on.
Keep trying.  Keep persevering.  Crucify your flesh and feelings.  
Don't let past defeated missions dissuade you from setting out on new attempts.  
As the old saying goes, Christians are the only Bible some people will ever read.  
What are they reading when they peruse our behavior?  
If we were put on trial for being Christians, would there be enough evidence to convict us?

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

42 comments:

  1. Amen, Cheryl! We must never allow the darkness of this world to discourage us from being the light of Christ to others. We must press on with boldness, kindness and love in His name. And you're so right about this - sometimes we Christians are the only Bible people ever read. We must persevere!
    Blessings, my friend, and keep on shining your precious light for the Lord!

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    1. Dear Martha, Thank you so very much for your precious encouragement today! I am most grateful and trust the Lord will richly bless you!

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  2. We must be a light in a dark world. That is what Christ has called us to do. I think of the cute song: This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
    This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
    This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
    Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

    Oh yes...we gotta shine girl...even if no one else is looking our way because...we never know when they actually may LOOK UP! You are precious. Hugs and blessings to you sweet lady.
    Cindy

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Cindy! Your kind words and encouragement mean so much to me. God bless you!

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  3. Cheryl, I so agree with your observation. It seems like more and more when I’m out in the world, I feel this pervasive sense of darkness. I think I told you that I’ve been rereading the Frank Perretti books, “piercing the darkness” and “ever present darkness”. Although they were written many years ago, they are so appropriate for the world we live in today. I think until our Lord Jesus returns, it will just keep getting darker and darker. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying. I do the same.

    This morning I was at a doctors appointment that had a full waiting room. We have had 35 inches of snow in the past five days. One lady walked in with a big smile on her face and said hello to everyone in the room as she walked by. Would you believe I was the only one that answered her? She ended up sitting next to me and we had a wonderful chat while we waited. Everyone else just glared at her and then at us. How sad. It wasn’t even like everyone was very sick. It was the spine doctors office and most were just there for their check ups. Based on the scowls I saw in that room, you would have thought every person had to shovel their way there.

    Just keep trying to share His light with this dark world Cheryl. It is the best thing we can do. I know you know that.
    Blessings, Betsy

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    1. Oh, Betsy! You are so right! It IS a pervasive sense of darkness. More so than I can ever remember experiencing. I haven't read those books but they sound amazing. Yes, I can believe that you were the only one who answered that sweet lady. I have never seen such miserable, hate-filled people as I see in this society. As Christians, we can't suppress the joy that wells up inside of us, and God's grace creates a happiness that can't be denied. If we can just remember to focus on that and shine Jesus' love regardless, maybe we can still make a difference. Thank you so much for your dear encouragement, Betsy, and thank you for being such a sweet example to us all.

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  4. I try to imagine sometimes what goes on inside of these people who seem so deep in darkness...how sad it is! You most surely are a light in a dark place, dear Cheryl and thank you for writing this inspirational post! Blessings to you!

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    1. Whew, we probably wouldn't want to know what is going on inside their heads. Such misery and darkness! Thank you so much for reading and for your dear encouragement, Debby. It means so much to me. I am continuing to pray for you and believe for a perfect medical diagnosis!

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  5. Love the t shirt your son gave you Cheryl and as I'm about to go and see someone who despises that I'm a Christian it was perfect for me to read this and remember that verse you began with:
    John 1:5 KJV
    "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not."

    Darkness simply does not comprehend light.
    Oh may the dear Lord open their eyes that they might see.
    Lord bless in all things.
    Shaz in Oz.x

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    1. Aw, Shaz! I hope you felt a strong sense of comfort from the precious Holy Spirit when you had the encounter with the one who despises that you are a Christian. Yes, may the Lord open their eyes! Thank you ever so much for your kindness and support. It is such a blessing to me!

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  6. Hello Cheryl,You do it again and again..The blogs get better and better and I wonder what will be your next post..It is real exciting to wait for a new one..You are really gifted..You know although you may have felt defeated that day, one day down the road your sweet spirit and smile may touch a darken life and they maybe real grateful you enter that dining room that day..What our job is to keep trying we never know when what we do will be bread cast on the water to come back..His work will not return void..You are so sweet to try to give your love away to the unloving..The unbelievers have a a really hard life..They have nothing to pull them through their bad days.. I know because I live with one each day..I look up often and thank God for being my best friend..He is my rock!!Keep on shining and know that song you added was a real encouragement to Me..May God hold and bless all 3 of you real good each day!! Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. Oh, Elaine! Such kind encouragement in your precious words! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love the Scripture you shared about casting our bread upon the waters. I have thought of that verse a whole lot lately. Yes, Jesus is surely the best Friend of all. Sending so much love back to you today, my friend, and hoping you are feeling all the way better. Praying for you!

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  7. Cheryl so many people out there feel they have no hope. We must let our light shine as we never know if someone we run into might need to know there IS hope! That hope is Jesus!

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    1. Yes, Regina, Jesus is surely our only hope! SO very thankful for the great sacrifice He made to give us that hope. He is SO precious to my heart. Thank you for your sweet visit and kind words!

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  8. Your tender words spoke to me today, Cheryl. I am dealing with a very oppressive situation like this when I drive to Phoenix to see a new doctor. This surgeon is impressive, but his staff lacks sensitivity and capability. They lost my referral three times, do not return phone calls and it took ten days just to get a prescription called in! There is a lack of joy in the place but I know God gives strength in times like this to witness his love in how we respond and to trust Him that even if they don't follow up and do their job, He's got me. You bet I pray often and maybe that's why I'm there, to lift them up in prayers. Hugs and lots of love!

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    1. Oh, Mary! That surely does sound so oppressive, and I can only imagine how much you must dread going there. Like you said, perhaps God has brought you into that situation to pray and shine Jesus' light. You do that so sweetly, my friend. God bless you!

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  9. Dear Cheryl,
    Oh thank you for sharing these encouraging thoughts to hold onto the hope of Jesus in these dark days. My husband faces such heaviness at work, and some days it feels impossible to go on. But thank the Lord that HE keeps us from fainting as we press forward in Him and His light. You are an encouragement to me even as I keep praying for my husband too! Blessings, love and hugs to you Dear Friend!

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    1. Bless your husband's heart! I trust God will keep him strong and encouraged in Him, in spite of all that is coming against him. Thank you for your dear encouragement and kind words, my friend. Many blessings and much love and hugs back to you!

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  10. Cheryl, thank you for sharing this post and I so needed to read it tonight. The darkness can seem so dark sometimes, but God is always the light in this sin-darkened world. Your light was shining that day, whether you sensed any response or not. I had a hard weekend that is much too long to explain. I needed your words, to be kind to those who reject the kindness. Thank you my friend for your encouragement, it was much needed.

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    1. Oh, Pam! I am so sorry to hear of your hard weekend, sweet friend! Oh, the days are so dark, and I do not know what any of us would do without dear Jesus. HE is the light that keeps all of us going and pressing forward. I am so, so thankful this post encouraged you. Sending hugs and much love and gratitude your way!

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  11. I'm so sorry that you experienced such a mean-spirited darkness at the hotel, Cheryl. At least some good came out of it, by your trying even harder to spread the light and goodness of Christ. It doesn't take much to smile at people and try to show the love that we have within us. Thank you to YOU taking the time to share the warmth and kindness to us.

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    1. You are so right, Kitty, it just makes me more determined than ever. Thank you ever so much for your kind words, and may Jesus blessing you today!!

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  12. Oh, I have been in those situation where darkness surrounded me, a desire would arise to give some light. Sometimes it works , sometimes it doesn't but I have always been glad I have someone who gives me joy and light to share. Today I was in the waiting room at the hospital, my husband was having some screws taken out of his toe. There was one lady who was looking sad and finally I was able to start up a conversation with her. She poured who life story out to me as we waited, I was amazed. So today, just by a few questions she finally smiled when we said goodby and I felt as if I walked out with more joy. Only wish everyone was as receptive as her but I know you, like me will continue to try even when we are met with resistance because how can we do anything else but share our joy, it over flows at times. Blessings.

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    1. Yes, amen, sweet sister! SO thankful we have the joy and the Light within us...the way, the truth, and the life is there, present inside of us, working and always longing to bring positive change. I was so blessed to read of your story of being able to listen to that dear lady and to bring a smile to her face. You changed her life, even if it was only for that moment in time. You shared Jesus' love and joy, and that is something to feel thankful for. Sending many blessings back your way today!

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  13. I've felt this too! Your post spoke to me as I feel God is currently making the burden heavier on my heart to want to break through the darkness through persistance of joy and goodness. This encouraged me!

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    1. Praise the dear Lord for sending encouragement your way, Amy! Thank you so much for your sweet comment.

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  14. Oh my, yes I do know just what you're talking about! It seems the darkness can be almost palpable in a room! Isn't it just the saddest thing to experience! It would bother me deeply as well... but indeed it seems the darkness is drawing in ever closer but more amazing is that our light can really shine so much more brighter... the darker the darkness, the brighter the light will shine. I love the T-shirt Zac got for you, what a great way to witness for the Lord! I think the most important thing to realize is that everywhere we go we can shine a light into the darkness, and soon enough there will be someone who reaches out for that light! I know you are making a difference in your corner of the world! May the Lord bless you richly sweet friend, you are continually in my prayers!

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    1. Yes! It surely is palpable, like you could cut it with a knife. Such misery and hate and sadness, indeed. Zach is such a sweetheart, and that T-shirt has brought many comments from those who love Jesus, too. Your words were so encouraging to me today, sweet friend. So very thankful for your visit and support and encouragement! Sending hugs and much love your way today!

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  15. I have to admit that I am often easily 'swayed' into not wanting to bother. I feel like it's fighting a losing battle to try to show Light to some people. But I think I'm also often reminded that I just don't know what is going on in that person's life at that moment. They may look fine on the outside but inside, only the Lord knows so I have to just press on and show Light whenever and where ever I can . . . and leave the work to the Holy Spirit. Thank you for having such a tender heart Cheryl!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Lauren. Your support and encouragement truly means so much to me! The thoughts you shared reminded me of a bluegrass song that I love called, "Some Kind of War." Here is a link to it, in case you would like to hear it - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbRGwLo86kY. Every heart has its own sorrow, and we never know what another person's sorrow consists of. God bless you, sweet friend.

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  16. Keep shining the light of Jesus' love friend. I have heard that the atmosphere is friendlier in the Bible belt where I live even though there is still plenty of evil. When you described the way the folks were acting, it reminded me of one day at the chemo center when I suddenly grew unnaturally quiet. My friend thought I was upset with her so she asked me about it. I told her I was feeling strange. She said she was feeling strange, too. I immediately realized it was something spiritual in the room. We began to pray, and it was gone in a few minutes. It was like something left the room. It sounds like something was in that room with the guests.

    Keep at it friend, and keep praying. We can only do what we can do, but the Holy Spirit can make a world of difference. BUT~ Be careful not to allow that spirit to cling to you. I encourage you to pray and ask Holy Spirit to lift any residue off of you and your family. Then the joy of the LORD will be your strength.

    Bless you,
    praying now.
    Laura

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    1. Thank you for your prayers, Laura. I have felt things like you felt in that room, and it surely requires a strong resistance against satan and the pervading evil, in Jesus' name. I think of when Jesus walked the earth and how the evil spirits in people who were walking around would cry out when they came into contact with Jesus. They recognized who He is, and they knew He had power over them. I believe evil spirits sense the Holy Spirit in those who are filled with His presence, too. It behooves us all to stay close to God, to remain super-sensitive to His Spirit, and to rely heavily upon His discernment. As I once heard a minister say, if we could pull back the curtain and take a peek into the spirit world around us, we wouldn't believe what we would see. It is happening all the time around us, and we surely need to keep our armor on. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  17. Hi Cheryl, Thank you so much for sharing from the heart here. I feel like in today's world there are more people unhappy than not. I'm actually taken aback when a cashier or a receptionist is actually nice and offers a smile. That's a sad commentary.

    I always try to smile at everyone I make eye contact with. I remember reading somewhere that we can never know home much a random smile to a random stranger could mean to that person - a Divine appointment.

    Thank you for encouraging us to shine our light. I loved the practical application of the verse about light dispelling the darkness. I also appreciated your insight that even when someone is rude to us, to try to find something to genuinely compliment them on.

    I appreciate and love you so much!

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    1. That surely is a sad commentary, but you are SO right. There is so much sadness, misery, and divisiveness in our culture. Jesus is our only hope! I know you are a bright, shining light for Him everywhere you go, sweet friend! You surely are a blessing and encouragement to me. Your support and encouragement means so much to me, and I love and appreciate you so much, too! Many blessings to you.

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  18. Dear friend, your words are so very true and unfortunately we can probably all relate similar experiences in our lives with people we encounter. Sad indeed but as you have so aptly told we can all make a small difference by projecting happiness and kindness to others and hopefully bring a smile to someone else's face.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, dear friend! God bless you!

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  19. Amen...
    thank you to remind me about boldness, kindness and love of God.

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    1. Thank you very much for your stopping by and leaving such a sweet comment!

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