When Jesus spoke again tothepeople, he said, “Iamthelightoftheworld. Whoever follows me will never walkin darkness, but will havethelightoflife.” John 8 v12
We are living in times of increasing darkness. The darkness is manifest in the violent evil of terror attacks and the fear of terror. You have all seen the news of recent weeks. But darkness also descends in more subtle ways. For instance there is the banning of the Lord’s Prayer advertisement in cinemas and the decision of the makers of ‘Downton Abbey’ to leave out any references to God and Jesus from the script (historically inaccurate for those times) – all for fear of offending an increasingly secular audiences (or is there another agenda?). And there have been many more examples of the drive to eliminate biblical values from our culture. Darkness is trying to drive out the light of the gospel. As the psalmist says:
“The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about indarkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. Psalm 82 v5
As Jesus was being arrested in the garden of Gethsemene, he told his captors:
“Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darknessreigns.” (Luke 22 v53)
But darkness cannot prevail in the presence of light. Even when darkness descended on the land for three hours as Jesus hung on the cross, it could not prevail. The final death of Jesus and his glorious resurrection of Jesus overturned the work of evil.
‘The light shines in thedarkness, and thedarknesshas not overcome it.’ John 1 v5
We are now in the season of Advent. It is about waiting, expecting, hoping and then seeing the manifestation of hope realised. The first ‘advent’ was about the arrival of the Word of God, becoming human and born as a baby in Bethlehem, the arrival of our saviour. The final ‘advent’ will be the return of Jesus as King and Lord of all the earth when all evil will finally be removed and his peace will reign. But what about these present times?
‘...For the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of Godto be revealed.For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it,in hopethatthe creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decayand brought into the freedom and glory of the sons of God.’ Romans * 8 v19-21
It is the sons of God, the children of light (Eph 5 v8) who are expected now to show themselves as light in an increasingly dark world. This is the calling Jesus has put on his church. These verses speak of ordinary believers who will find themselves encountering more and more people and situations into which they can shine the light of the kindness and love of Jesus. The chaos and darkness in our world is increasing so you will not be able to avoid it!
‘I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them fromdarknessto light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26 v 17b,18
So what do we do? How do we bring light into the darkness in peoples’ lives. It’s not about bombarding people with Bible verses, or religious sounding words. It’s about responding with compassion as people share (and they will) the problems they face such as issues with their health or problems at home. Often just saying “Is it Ok if I pray for you, if I ask Jesus to heal you headache/ your sick child/mother or whatever”; “Is it Ok if I ask Jesus to pour his peace into the troubles you face at home”. Let them hear about Jesus. Let them know Jesus is the one who heals. The gospel is literally ‘good news’ meeting the real needs of people, and so leading them to Jesus.
Ask the Lord to bring you into situations where you can shine his light and he will answer you. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t get it right or you miss an opportunity or mess up. God is pleased with those who are prepared to step out onto the water. He is able to gloriously use our weaknesses. The words ‘advent’ and ‘adventure’ are closely linked. And remember, the same power that raised Jesus from the grave now at work in us. May I suggest we speak and act out this word of scripture over our communities.
The people walking indarknesshave seen a great light; on those living in the land of deepdarknessa light has dawned. Isaiah 9 v2
P.S. The morning I drafted this message I then went on to take an assembly early in the afternoon at a local primary school. The song that the children sang at the beginning was:
‘This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine’
It goes without saying, I suppose, but I’m sure you share with us in praying for the folks in Carlisle and other areas that have been flooded. At this time, just before Christmas, the devastation is even more painful. I know people are talking about the community spirit that’s coming through strong at this time and we pray that this will be sustained as the days turn into weeks and months and people are still waiting to get back into their homes and businesses and for settlement of their insurance claims. May they know the comfort of the love of God, expressed through the love of others and in an increased sense of his presence.
AT THE PRAYERHUB
For the two weeks from 21st December to 4th January, we are taking a break from the regular daytime opening on Wednesday and the Bible studies. The regular prayer meetings on Tuesday evenings 7pm and Wednesdays at noon are not take place although there may be some ad hoc gathering for prayer. The normal programme of events will resume on the week beginning Monday 4th January. There will also now be no Bible study on December 10th as we are taking a ministry team to Aroma in Blackburn that evening.
If someone is in need of prayer, please contact us. We are continuing to receive requests for prayer and we often get a good report afterwards. God is good!
Thank you for your prayers.
Blessing in the Name of Jesus on you and all your family now and through the whole of Christmas and the New Year,
Current information about our meetings and events may be found at www.prayerhub.org.uk. If you wish to contact us, that may be by email through the website, or by phone. Landline and mobile numbers are 01706 534382 and 075 999 85836. Since the office is only staffed part-time, you may not get an immediate reply on the landline and messages may not be picked up for several days. The mobile number usually gets you through to us more quickly.
If you would like a leaflet about the Prayerhub, please contact us by phone, email or post. The address is 7-9 Irwell Terrace, Bacup, OL13 9AW.
You are receiving this email because you have expressed interest in prayer in Rossendale, or have asked us to keep you informed about the Prayerhub Ministry.If you do not wish to continue receiving these emails, please go to www.prayerhub.org.uk - ‘Home’ page and click on ‘unsubscribe'. We have no desire to burden you with unwanted emails!
It is our heart's desire to see revival - for many individuals to come to Christ, for many to be healed and for there to be healing of relationships and families throughout our community. Only God can do this and we pray for a mighty outpouring of his Holy Spirit.