Aloha Friday Message – December 15, 2017 – Light and Darkness

1750AFC121517 – Light and Darkness

John 1:7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. (See also Matthew 4:13-16)

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Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! As I write this, the day is December 12 – Chanukah (or Hanukkah if you prefer). It is the Festival of Lights, a beautiful eight-day celebration of the Miraculous Power of God. It is also the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe which is celebrated across the Americas. In these dark hours across the world, we will take a little time today to shed some light on things that are pushing back the darkness.

Just above our Key Verse in the Gospel of John, we have this:

John 1:3-5 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

In the past several weeks, we’ve seen way too much of what happens when you shut out the light. Many people, especially several previously-powerful men, have had their dark deeds exposed. They are all rightfully disgraced for their lewd and greedy sexual immorality (fornication). We are rightfully all disgusted with what we are learning about their actions in the past. It seems no one is exempt from this darkness or the Light that is now shining on it. At this point I don’t believe anyone can accurately predict what the final outcome will be for some of the most famous people in the Nation. We know, though, that the Light has overcome the darkness, and that this is explained well in Scripture. I was going to just give you a link, but in this case I have been led to insert the complete passage I was planning to reference. You will find comparative translations here:

Ephesians 5:3-20 But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10 Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”*

15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Emphases added.)

*Some authorities posit this may be derived from Isaiah 60:1-3.

How has this come to be? Have we fallen into the abyss of sin that characterized the Land of Canaan in the days of Abraham and Lot, and are therefore liable to judgment as were Sodom and Gomorrah? Why does it seem this advancing tide – indeed, tsunami – of evil is overcoming all that is good and right and just? We most certainly see those “wars and rumors of wars,” and “signs in the heavens;” earthquakes, floods, fires, famine, pestilence, and all manner of immoral conduct in much of humanity (See also Matthew 24:6-14 and Luke 11:8-14). Are these truly, truly the “End Times?” Jesus said he didn’t know when that would be and that only the Father knows; I’m not going to hazard a guess (as some have). I can only say, “See what you are looking at and take Scripture at its Word!” We are most assuredly at war: Ephesians 6:12 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

I’d like to show you an example of how that war is fought and how some battles are won. Some among us “of a certain age” can remember a very popular recording by the Edwin Hawkins Singers called Oh Happy Day. (↔ Music Link) That was popular from about 1952, when it was written through the 70’s – and we still love to sing along with it today. Are you listening now? How in the World did a Gospel chorus get such air time? Satan must have hated it every time it came on the radio. People sang it while they were out walking, around campfires, in church services, in revival meetings, and in the shower. Not long after that – around 1976 – there was another song that sure sounded like a Gospel chorus and it got lots of air time as well: You Light Up My Life by Joseph Brooks, as sung by Debby Boone. (↔ Music Link). I mention this one because there is a story behind it that illustrates our topic, Light and Darkness. The composer was one Joseph Brooks.

He wrote the song, then wrote and directed a film by the same title. The lead role was played by Didi Conn. When Brooks was asked about the meaning of the song, he declared it was an interpersonal love song. When Boone was asked about the meaning of the song – who it was about – she said simply, “God.” Every time I hear it, that’s what I think too. HE certainly lights up my life! The record became so popular that DJ’s got sick of playing it. It is, perhaps, a little overly-sweet, but it is still a powerful statement about the Presence of God – his Sh’khinah Glory – that glows inside and around those living their lives closest to him. After that success with the original song – which won a Grammy, a Golden Globe, and, finally, an Oscar for Best Original Song – and the movie, Brooks was invisible to the entertainment world for many years. But, he resurfaced again in 2009 charged with multiple counts of fraud (bogus casting calls), and multiple accusations of sexual assault, and even rape. There was a 91-count indictment. He was awaiting trial in 2011 when he killed himself. He never turned to the Light that could light up his life, but instead lived his life in disobedience. When the Light was directed toward his choices in life, we could all see that we should 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible …

Belovéd, there is a great deal of darkness presently. We who have walked in that darkness also have seen A Great Light. How do we overcome this Darkness? We know about the Whole Armor of God (See Ephesians 6:10-18), but once armed, how do we fight?  Once again, instead of just a link to a great passage in Scripture, I place all of it here for your examination:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.

23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

We can know the will of God in Christ Jesus if we walk in the Light. We must abstain from every form of evil. Yes, Belovéd, what’s done in the dark will come to Light. Which of us loves the Darkness? We know many who do. We have all seen and/or heard John 3:16-17, but we need to read a little farther down the page to find John 3:19-20 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. “Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow Death, I will fear no evil.” (See Psalm 23:4) Little children, walk in the light. (See 3 John 1:4) Which way do we go to be in the Light? The answer is here: John 8:12

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

NEXT WEEK WE HAVE A GUEST AUTHOR WITH A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS MESSAGE!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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