A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Friday, August 14, 2020
"When You Feel The Shadows Deepen"
Message summary: Some of you especially feel the shadows deepening today. Thank God for His Word! It’s steady, sure and dependable! We need to remind ourselves of this and the glorious truth that He is indeed worthy!
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“And we have the Word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
For several years we have enjoyed a song titled "Is He Worthy?" by Andrew Peterson. Brooksyne was introduced to it in her choir before I ever heard it and during rehearsal told me how blessed I would be in hearing it. She was right. We'll provide links to several versions below. The song begins with several contemplative questions.
Do you feel the world is broken?
Do you feel the shadows deepen?
But do you know that all the dark won't stop the light from getting through?
Do you wish that you could see it all made new?
A question that really strikes a chord in our hearts and increasingly so as the days seem to darken and chaos ensues is this: "Do you feel the shadows deepen?". We do. This may certainly be true during a time of personal trial in our lives such as a worsening medical diagnosis or seeing a loved one suffer.
But today I especially have in mind the sense of the shadows deepening in the state of our country and world. Many opine on these matters daily and some look to politicians as saviors. But, bluntly speaking, how incredibly despairing such an outlook is when considering it our source of hope!
The Covid isolation has affected so many. The other day I saw a prayer request from Paul Caruthers, a healthcare chaplain in Arizona, who wrote regarding conditions in the nursing facility where he works:
"A spirit of depression has settled over the residents. We do what we can during Sunday services to encourage and build up their faith and spirits. One of the activities staff shared, ‘There is so much sadness here. Only two people came to play Bingo. They made popcorn, but no one wanted any. All they do is sleep.’ Nine residents have left to go home due to being bored, depressed, sad and not being able to interact with their family members. From what we hear from other facilities, this is the same situation there: sadness and depression."
If the deepening shadows become our focus we will despair and in times like this we must rest our hope in God. When it comes to insight into spiritual matters we do well to delve deeply into the Word of God. We need to ask questions, search for answers, learn and apply all that we can during our earthly sojourn. One of the foundational teachings of the genuine Christian faith is the sufficiency of Christ and His Word.
Our first daily verse is most interesting, “And we have the Word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."
Peter, of course, was one of the eyewitnesses to Christ’s ministry. In the previous verse he refers to what surely had to be among his most memorable events of life; his presence at the Mount of Transfiguration. Can you imagine Peter, years later, hoisting his grandchildren to his lap and telling them about his seeing the prophets of old, Moses and Elijah, along with Jesus Christ, in person! There’s little doubt that it was a story repeated so often that Peter’s grandchildren could recite it word for word. He had an amazing, miraculous experience that no other follower of Christ had with the exception of his fellow disciples, John and James.
Yet he writes, "We have the word of the prophets made more certain". The written word of the prophets was deemed a more certain word by Peter than even his own eye witness account on the Mount of Transfiguration! He goes on to advise his readers including each of us living in a very perilous 2020 concerning the word of these prophets, "You will do well to pay attention to it".
That’s right, fellow believers, we indeed do well to "pay attention" ("take heed" KJV) to the Word of God today in our present generation. The claimed “most certain” findings of science will change. How many times have they already done so in our own lifetime? The philosophies of "experts" will continue to vacillate and evolve. Pet theories and faddish experiences will come and go. Fanciful psychological explanations and treatments will soon be discredited, only to be followed by others, and then there’s almost always a recycling of old philosophies.
But the Holy Word continues to be "a light shining in a dark place". We need the light of His glorious Word to expose just how dark it really is in the world. The song has this thoughtful line, "But do you know that all the dark won't stop the light from getting through?" It won't, it can't! The Psalmist wrote, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" (Psalm 119:105).
"Until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts." Today may each reader, no matter how daunting the darkness may seem, truly experience the glorious light of Christ dawning and shining brightly in your heart! The second verse of the song also asks contemplative questions but they point to the deepest spiritual realities bringing hope and assurance:
Is all creation groaning?
Is a new creation coming?
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst?
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this?
Thank God for His Word! It’s steady, sure and dependable! We need to remind ourselves of this and today we remind you of the glorious truth that He is indeed worthy!
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this?
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, all wisdom, knowledge, and understanding needed for life and godliness is contained in the Holy Scriptures. Help us to be careful, attentive students of the Word, ever learning, and always applying that which the prophets of old and disciples of Christ have revealed to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That which may seem to shine so brightly on the horizon of our lives today may someday fade and vanish away, but the Word of our God stands forever and is demonstrated in our lives for all eternity. You are indeed worthy, eternally and absolutely. Amen!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Is He Worthy?" Video Andrew Peterson (original writer)
"Is He Worthy?" Video Shane and Shane
"Is He Worthy?/Hallelujah, What A Savior" Video Calvary Church Choir (This was the first time Brooksyne and the choir sang it in church.)
"Is He Worthy?" Video Fellowship Worship (Zoom style)
"Is He Worthy?" Video West Coast Baptist College Brooksyne recently came across this group of young people singing the song in a very dynamic arrangement.
"Is He Worthy?" Video Praise And Harmony This song just lends itself to creative presentations!
"Is He Worthy?" Video Mount Paran Church Atlanta Given the increase in racial strife these last several years what a blessing to see the colorful composition of this choir in a church in Atlanta.
This prompts a consideration of a very thoughtful article I read several weeks ago titled "The Bible on Race" which begins with this line, "The Bible pays no attention to race". If you disagree or that statement intrigues you read the article for a very interesting perspective!
1) I seem to be recovering OK from the neck injury we shared about on Wednesday in a close call. My throat still hurts but not quite as bad. My voice is still raspier than usual.
2) I had an email problem beginning yesterday morning and stopped getting new email to my firstname.lastname@example.org account after about 8:00AM. Using my limited skills I determined that many, many years of accumulated emails and rarely deleting had caused my account to go over quota. I did some massive deletions and this morning the email started working again. However:
Yesterday we saw this bench in the back of a transport truck at Kleen-Rite!
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