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Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Sugar maple (click on photo to enlarge)
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"The Light Is Still Shining"
"The light shines in the darkness" (John 1:5). "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them" (Ephesians 5:11).
For about 7½ years we served the Lord Jesus Christ in New England, pastoring a church about 35 miles south of Boston in Taunton, Massachusetts. Once we drove through Salem, Massachusetts, which is about 16 miles north of Boston. Although Salem is best known for the witch trials held in late 1600's it is still a center for witchcraft and other deeds of darkness. In fact it's known at the "witch city". * I recall sensing the darkness even as we drove through.
There are several Bible-preaching churches in the city and certainly in the surrounding area. What a mighty job they have in letting the light of Christ shine through them to the darkness that pervades the area. Today is a very significant day for witchcraft and satanic activities in Salem (and elsewhere), and yet the true church will have mission outreaches. The light of Christ will shine as they expose the fruitless deeds of darkness. May the Lord bless these worthwhile efforts! Thankfully, God has a light shining in the midst of this darkness and the true church has seen many people turn from darkness to God's marvelous light.
The first daily verse fundamentally speaks of Christ. He is the Light and indeed He shines in the darkness. Wherever you live there is darkness, although some places are much more spiritually dark, such as Salem and other caverns where those of satanic devotion gather. By contrast there is a comparatively remarkable amount of spiritual light here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Brooksyne and I ate at a restaurant last week and we reflected on our first visit to this county some 25 years ago. We were amazed to see book racks in the entryway of restaurants and other retail stores that carried Christian books exclusively.* Some businesses stock devotional booklets on the counter by the cash registers free for the taking. We've grown accustomed to these local Christian blessings and often take it for granted.
The verb "shines" is in the present tense and can be understood as "the light keeps on giving light." Today, all over the world serious believers are allowing the light of Christ to shine through them. This light exposes the fruitless deeds of darkness and this is the essence of spiritual warfare. Darkness hates the light. Yet faithful followers of Christ will continue to let their light shine, essentially reflecting the Light, who is Christ. May each reader today shine brightly!
In our second daily verse the Apostle Paul makes a very unambiguous statement. "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." It's a call desperately needed in our culture, but one in which by obeying will subject us to ridicule among many who "love the darkness rather than the light" (John 3:19). You see, when we get used to the darkness it just may not seem as dark anymore. Remember the childhood phrase "my eyes got used to the dark." I believe that can be true of our spiritual eyes as well. As the old song says we must "in the light of His presence continually dwell."
As for me and my house we will stand up for the One True God today!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Jesus, You created us to be people who function and thrive by light. Your placement of the sun by day and the moon by night is the way You provide for our physical needs enabling us to see as we carry out our multitude of duties. As important as light is for the eyes to see, it is even more essential that the eyes of our heart see the magnificent light of Your glory. As we walk in Your light we will be able to discern that which is evil from that which is good. Jesus, we know that goodness cannot be a partner with wickedness for there is no harmony between You and the devil. We do not cringe in fear at the presence of spiritual darkness, for we know that Your Spirit who lives in us is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. We partner with You as we walk in Your truth and dispel the darkness everywhere we go. Amen.
II Corinthians 6:14,15, I John 4:4b (portions of these verses were implemented into the prayer)
Note from Brooksyne: We usually go to Plymouth when we visit New England since it is a favorite site we often traveled to when we lived there. Plymouth is a lovely setting where most of the town's activities are located right on the harbor next to Plymouth Rock and a full-sized replica of the Mayflower. We were grieved to hear a few years ago about a group of satanic priests and witches from Salem who have settled in this small town. When we were browsing the storefronts a couple years ago we saw them in their places of business. There was an instant sense of darkness that filled the air as we viewed them from the other side of the glass windows. I immediately sent up an arrow prayer for God to bring them out of darkness into His marvelous life-saving light. We are friends with a former pastor of Plymouth who frequently conducted prayer walks throughout the community. We actually joined his church for one of these prayer walks years ago. What a wonderful way to saturate prayer into an area where spiritual darkness resides.
This photo was taken in Plymouth.
One more note: We receive many comments and inquiries from our readers regarding interest in the lifestyle of the Amish. One of the very popular writers featured in the book racks mentioned in today's devotional is Beverly Lewis. She's a fictional writer but writes the stories in a non-fiction setting. If you read her works you will learn alot about Lancaster County. Mrs. Lewis grew up in Lancaster and her grandmother was originally Amish. Of course this stirred her interest in the Amish people and she has a great respect for them and is close to many of them. Though her stories are fiction-based the traditions, lifestyles, and religious beliefs of the Amish are factual. She consults with several Amish friends who live here as she is writing her books to check out facts, etc. Though she has authored 70 books, she is best-known for the first three books that are now compiled into one volume; "Heritage of Lancaster County."
Heritage of Lancaster County, 3 Volumes in 1
By Beverly Lewis / Bethany House Publishers
The Shunning: Katie Lapp stumbles upon a satin infant gown in the dusty leather trunk of her parents attic and determines to discover the story behind it. Why would her mother, a Plain woman who embraces the ways of the Old Order, hide such a beautiful worldly gown?
The Confession: Now torn from her close-knit community in the frightening ordeal known as shunning, Katie sets out on a journey of discovery.
The Reckoning: Katie--now known as Katherine--is living the fancy life she always dreamed of. Yet she still grieves the loss of her Amish family and longs for the peace that reigned in her mother's heart.
Shine, Jesus, Shine! (audio file)
For many years we've enjoyed and sung the music of Graham Kendrick, a British musician who takes a strong stand for Christ. His lyrics are rich and very Scripturally based. It is amazing how many well-known songs he has written!
* Website for Salem Police department (notice badge)
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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