June 18

Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 23
     Psalms 112-113
     Isaiah 50
     Revelation 20
''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)
            Have you ever walked through a time in your life when it seemed that all the lights had gone out? For many Christians, such times come upon them unawares and they do not know what to do. If you live long as a Child of God, dark times will come to you. It is not a matter of if but when. I am convinced that this darkness of soul is an inevitable experience for the believer.
            Isaiah made a point here. He said, ''the way you can tell a believer is obedient and really fears God is the way he responds in darkness, not how he acts in the light." Anyone can behave himself properly and seem happy in the light. The question is, ''how do you respond in the darkness?'' Isaiah gives us three suggestions of what to do when the light goes out, and the darkness comes upon us. 
            #1. KEEP ON WALKING
            I know many who have turned back when the lights went out. These individuals have regretted it a million times. I know others who continue to move ahead. It was painfully tough, but they kept on walking. Keep praying in the dark, keep witnessing in the dark, keep giving in the dark, and keep ministering in the dark. What do you do when the lights go out? You keep on doing what you were doing when the lights were on - keep on walking.
            #2. DON'T LIGHT YOUR OWN FIRE
            One of our knee-jerk reactions, as a believer, when the lights go out, is to light our own fire. We try to create some light for a substitute for the light of God, which has been withdrawn. That is a mistake. You do not need man-made light when you are walking in darkness. Do you know why? Have you ever considered that the darkness may be ordained of God? The truth is, there are some things you cannot see clearly except in darkness. For example, you cannot see the moon and stars well until the darkness comes. The darkness is ordained of God to help you see some things more clearly.
            Look at verse 10 again. The word ''rely'' is a Hebrew word that means to ''lean for support." The root of that word is a word translated staff. In Psalms 23:4, David says, ''Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staffhold me up." This means that ''they support me," and ''they encourage me." God often sends the dark that we might be able to discover that there is something better than light - it is Jesus.
            The African island of Mauritius lies just off the eastern coast, and is a country where 50% of the population is Hindu, and most of the rest divided between the Christian community and Islam. Evangelism has been very difficult in the country of Mauritius, but there has been good growth among evangelicals, mostly within Pentecostal and charismatic groups. Probably the greatest hindrance to the church is internal division, but a new group has been formed in 1995 called ''The Fellowship of Christian Churches in Mauritius." This has been very helpful in uniting the churches. Pray that evangelicals might be united in their presentation of the Gospel to non-Christians.
''It is better to be in the dark with Jesus than to be in the light without Him."