JANUARY 1

Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 11
     Ezra  10
     Matthew 10
     Acts 10
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops." (Matthew 10:27)
 
LEARNING FROM THE DARKNESS
            God's children need to understand what to do when the lights go out. Our family has discovered that we have learned far more in the dark than we will learn in the light. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego learned more in the furnace than they learned in the fair times of life.  The disciples learned more in the storm than they did in the still times.
            In my travels throughout the world, I find myself in places so physically dark I could not see my hand before my eyes. Sometimes it can be just as dark and dreadful in the spiritual realm. Have you ever walked through a time in your life when it seemed that all the lights had gone out?  If that hasn't yet happened to you, believe me, it will.
Isaiah talked about darkness - ''Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light?  Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.  Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks: Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled - this you shall have from My hand: You shall lie down in torment."  (Isaiah 50: 10-11)
            The point Isaiah is making is that you can always tell a believer who is obedient by the way he respond' s to the darkness. Isaiah gives us three suggestions of what to do when the light goes out and we are consumed by darkness.
            Keep on Walking: You must not quit in the darkness. You have heard the phrase many times, ''when the going gets tough, the tough get going." This is especially true in the spiritual realm. Keep praying in the dark, keep witnessing in the dark, keep giving in the dark, and keep ministering in the dark. Keep on walking.
            Don't Light Your Own Fire: One of our normal and usual reactions as a believer, when the lights go out, is to light our own fire. We try to create a substitute light and that is a mistake. God said through Isaiah, ''When you walk in the light of your own fire I will see to it that you will lie down in sorrow." The gravest mistake you can make as a Christian is manmade artificial light when you are walking in the darkness.
            Remember Abraham and Sarah? They tried to do it their way instead of waiting for God to provide the son He had promised. The result was Ishmael who came from the union of Abraham and Hagar. This was man made light and the land of Israel still suffers because of it.
            Here is my definition of darkness - ''Darkness is the absence of light.'' God is able to deliver you from this darkness and bring His light back into your life. He now has a purpose for that darkness and you will make a mistake by trying to light your own fire. Whatever great mistake and failure you have had in your Christian life has come because you have tried to make your own light.  God doesn't need our help.  He will meet your need if you will trust Him.
            Lean on Jesus in the Darkness: In Isaiah 50:10 the word ''rely'' is a Hebrew word that means, ''to lean for support." You can lean on Jesus; He will support you in the dark. It is better to be in the dark with Jesus than to be in the light without Him.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
We are commanded to pray for kings and all in authority. (I Timothy 2:1-2)  Pray today for the leaders of the nations of the world, beginning with the leader of your nation. As you pray, remember that all authority has been given to the Lord Jesus Christ the King of Kings. No other ruler can rule without His permission. He has established them and He can just as easily remove them.  Pray that God will raise up Godly leaders throughout the world.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''When God intends great mercy for His people, the first thing He does is set them a-praying."
Matthew Henry