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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Mohawk Valley, New York state 3/23/19
A high spot overlooking the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York.
The Adirondack Mountains are in the background.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"Loving Darkness"

Message summary: Nyctophilia is a word describing those who love darkness. When it comes to spiritual things we should not be nyctophiliacs!

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"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed" (John 3:19,20). "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).

Last weekend, during my trip to the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York, I had two rather interesting lodging experiences.

The first night I stayed in a rustic non-winterized cabin with no electric or running water. The boys had started a wood stove before I arrived so I placed my sleeping bag on a couch near the stove. The wind was howling but I still managed to sleep relatively well.

I was awakened periodically by a noise rustling in my overnight bag. I shook the overnight bag and the sound would stop for awhile. The next day I found a small Ziploc bag of candy-coated pecans Brooksyne had sent up with me to munch on. But after eating a few I noticed the plastic bag had been chewed into! Mystery solved, but unfortunately the remainder of the candy coated pecans Brooksyne had made were tossed as I'm not in the habit of sharing my sweet morsels with a rodent!

(I'll share a bit about my second night's lodging experience below in a footnote.)

Dark night!Being way out in the country there was very little light "pollution" so it was very dark. John, who owned the cabin, quipped, "It gets so dark you can't tell whether your eyelids are open or closed"! Sadly some people live in the spiritual darkness to an extent they can't tell whether their eyes are opened or closed.

Nyctophilia is a word describing those who love darkness. Now there may be some settings where we like it dark. For instance when I sleep I like the room to be dark. Even the back light on an alarm clock or other artificial source may be disruptive to my sleep, although I am not bothered by the natural light of the stars or moon coming through our window. Some people actually prefer working the night shift or traveling at night.

But when it comes to spiritual things we should not be nyctophiliacs!

However many people love the dark side spiritually speaking and readily admit that this is the condition their heart is in. Some even proudly flaunt their desire to live evil lives and shamelessly expect hell to be their final destination. You've probably heard people unabashedly say, "So what if I go to hell; that's where all my friends will be" or "Hell will be one great party!" Of course many admittedly serve the devil, the prince of darkness.

In communicating with people like this at least they recognize the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, light and darkness. They are living in darkness and proud of it.

One of the most familiar statements by Jesus was heard in the Sermon on the Mount, "Youare the light of the world" which prompted the children's song "This little light of mine" and so many other songs written for all ages.

The radiant light of God's Holy Word exposes and dispels darkness. When God's servants live as children of light, darkness is dissipated and that's a great spiritual reality to consider today. All of us, in one way or another, are exposed to darkness though some far more than others. We are called to let our light shine and, by God's grace through His might, we want to shine ours brightly to expose and then dispel the darkness!

The daily text says we were once darkness but are now light in the Lord and thus we are to live (or walk in some versions) as children of light. We are to have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. At this time when crusaders of darkness are especially applauded and given a platform, let us hear the resounding call God has placed upon our lives to "live as children of light!"

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, as genuine Christians we have forsaken the darkness and chosen to walk in the light of Christ. In doing so we don't want to substitute darkness for light or light for darkness. Otherwise we are expecting You to alter Your commands to accommodate the errant principles and philosophies of every nation, culture, and generation. You are the One True Supreme God who established Your unchanging, inerrant truths and commands before the world came into being. We choose to obey You not because it's popular, rather we choose to obey You because You created us and made it possible through Christ that we would spend eternity with You in heaven. Though shadows surround us they will never conceal our Saviour, our Guide, and constant companion; for He is the light; in Him there is no darkness at all. Amen.

Seedy motelA lodging place I will not revisit:  The second night my friends lodged with their relatives and I stayed in a motel. This remote part of New York didn't have any brand name hotels so I used the internet to decide on a place and the pictures didn't look all that bad. The one I chose had a fancy name so I figured ah, it's just one night, so I reserved a room.

Knowing the general location of the motel I went without using GPS but I only found one called "Budget Motel" not the one I had reserved on the internet in the same location so I went to the office to ask. After walking past piles of clutter, old equipment, stacks of unopened mail and cats to get to the front desk I asked the Indian (not native American) lady if I was at the right spot in spite of the different name on the sign. She told me I was but it was just too hard to find someone to make a new sign! Well, I knew I was in a rough place when it was a step down from "Budget Motel".

The room was similar to the places I stayed in as a child when my depression-era Mom insisted on thrifty accommodations the few times we traveled and didn't stay with relatives. In fact I don't think this room had been renovated since that time. The bed did not have a fitted sheet so the bottom sheet came out revealing a yellowed, crinkly plastic mattress cover from about 1955. Oh well,
I soldiered up and prepared to hunker down for the night, leaving my clothes on, including my socks and trying to see that no part of my body touched anything except my head on the presumably clean pillow.

There was a lot of noise outside and shady looking characters walking back and forth. The exterior door only had one flimsy lock so I thought about putting a chair up against it like I had seen in the movies but reasoned what good would that do against a muscular 300 pound man if he wanted to break in. I found out later the state of New York uses these motels for people getting right of prison. It was sure nice to get up early the next morning and head out of that place!!!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Send The Light"  Video  Altar of Praise Chorale

"Until Then"  Video  Calvary Church Choir and Orchestra special concert. They have not posted the concert to YouTube but I think this will open for any who may care to watch the concert. It starts with silence but the sound comes on in about a minute and a few minutes of introduction are given  before the singing begins.
There are few technical problems at times but they resolve quickly and if you watch you may see Brooksyne or even better you might recognize someone in the choir that you didn't know sings in it, most especially if you're a local. Unfortunately one of the best songs is the last which is cut off.

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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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