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2The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:14-17)

2For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:2-3)

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This Christmas season wherein we commemorate Jesus as the Light of the world, great darkness still covers the people. And this darkness is certainly growing deeper and darker, even as dark as before the creation of the world when all was without form and void (Genesis 1:1-2). And as the darkness grows, the shadowy beast system is slinking stealthily upon the world stage for the final countdown of time itself. All secret societies are boldly straining to amass enough of a stronghold, to unite the world under a new world order, like the tower of Babel, before God can reveal the rest of His preordained plan. Nearly every nation is right now flexing its muscles, suppressing its people, creating chaos, slowly demolishing their own money, establishing – unbeknownst to most of its patriots – a new set of laws, and enforcing medical tyranny and moral depravity. The distant storm once seen far in the distance is now upon us. Though not everyone understands why the storm is here (rising gas and food prices, immoral transgender agendas, unfair judicial decisions, legislatures that do not represent the people anymore, warnings from well-known economists about the plunging stock market, and the intensifying persecution of Christians in nation after nation including China, North Korea, and even Ukraine where it is the Ukrainian government that is unfairly intimidating Christians under the false accusation that their church takes orders from Russian based organizations), there are those of us who do know why. But whether we understand or not, the darkness is here and growing more palpable.

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I have heard from various Christians from different walks of life, that there is a heaviness right now. Depression is hitting harder. Discouragement is stronger. Feeling alone or a failure or dismal is a force to be reckoned with more so now than ever. People don’t want to get up in the morning. Along with everything that is happening on the world stage, Christians are facing very real, insurmountable odds in their own lives. They are battling cancer, recovering from major surgery, dealing with deep grief over the recent loss of a loved one, fighting illness, going home for the holidays to unsaved loved ones or unhealthy situations, unemployed, deep in credit card debt, their one child with whom they are close has moved far away or is moving far away, some can’t go to college because they can’t afford it, others are wondering what their purpose is, and the list could go on indefinitely. All in all, everything seems to powerfully overwhelming.

Not long ago, I was overwhelmed. At first I just went with the feeling, and thought it was warranted. So, I felt a little depressed. I had a right to be. But, something was wrong. And as I attempted to shake it, it grew stronger. But, I just kept praising and worshiping God anyway, and kept the worship music on in my home and car. As I called out to God to clean out the room of my heart and to be the Lord and Master of this throne, I felt a burden lift that had been quite heavy. But, that same night I awoke to a terrifying, demonic dream wherein a muscle-bound entity was wrestling with me. After wrestling it off and feeling weak, I moved to reach out to someone I know for help, but the entity made a surprise attack at that point of my weakness. I awoke with a loud cry.

I am sharing this to let you know that it is not okay to indulge any longer is depression, feeling sorry for oneself, discouragement or any of those downhearted feelings, for they are not just feelings. There is a demonic element to it. Whatever you and I got away with before in the arena of emotion, we are not going to get away with it now. It is time to take authority in Jesus’ name, and it is time to stand in agreement with a brother or sister in Christ in Jesus’ name. This is exactly what I did immediately after that nightmare. I rebuked the demon, and then went to my best friend who stood in agreement with me. And though depression has attempted to return, I have not allowed it. I know now first hand that it is not just an emotion. It is demonic, and not to be tolerated.

Yes, it’s dark out there. Yes, it is easier to just give in to an emotion. Yes, our circumstances are disheartening. But, we as Christians are called to shine anyway; we’re called to rejoice anyway; we’re called to praise anyway; we’re called to bless God and accept good and bad from Him anyway.

Jesus called us, in Matthew 5:14-16, the lights of the world. Not only is He the LIGHT of the world, but He gave us the same title. And we must not let our lights go out. We must not allow the darkness to overcome us when we’ve been made more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. We must not give in to the demonic forces when we have authority to trample upon them.

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Paul did not allow his beatings and shipwreck and being lost at sea and intense persecution and opposition to keep him from rejoicing always (2 Corinthians 11). For he knew the sufficiency of God’s grace, and that when he was weakest, God’s strength was strongest (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). For though “we are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4) We are not to lose heart for “Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4).

Joseph did not lose heart though his brothers at first conspired to kill him, and then decided to sell him into slavery instead. Joseph did not lose heart when he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and unjustly imprisoned. He knew his God was bigger and would fulfill what He had promised through the dreams He had given. (Genesis 38-50)

Job did not lose heart, and said to his dear, grieving wife that she must not be like one of the foolish women but instead was to accept from the Lord both good and evil (Job 2:10)

And a modern day example is that of my friend Don. For ten years his wife faded away into the darkness of Alzheimer’s at a care center where I was chaplain a number of years. But, unlike so many who only visit a few times and don’t stay long with their loved one, he came daily for around 5 hours at a time. He fed her, watched over her, attended hymn sings and Bible studies with her, and wheeled her down to get her hair done. And one time, I unbeknownst to him, saw Don and his wife dancing – she in her wheelchair and he twirling her around to music in the activity room. It was a sight I will not soon forget and still impacts me today. For that man could have been out on the golf course in denial about everything or could have been depressed or angry with God, but instead, he chose to dance. He chose to shine.

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There is much in this life that does not make sense. There is so much heartache, hardship, unfairness, injustice, pain and grief. But, just like Paul and Joseph and Job and Don, they did not let their light, momentary affliction destroy them. Instead, they chose to shine.

For, whether you know it or not, there is always someone watching you. It might be a co-worker, a neighbor, or a relative, and you have absolutely no idea that they are seeing your response to things. They are observing your reaction. They are admiring your ability to rejoice in spite of suffering. They are inspired that you’ve chosen to smile, to sing, to dance, to press on no matter what your burden or insurmountable obstacle. I was one of those who saw. I was one of those impacted. I was one of those who still sees in my memory, Don dancing with his beloved wife in the midst of a trial turned to gold.

Even so, I call on you, dear overwhelmed brother and sister in Christ, chose to shine like the stars in the universe as you stand blameless and harmless before a watching world, even a crooked and perverse generation, holding fast to the word of life (Philippians 2:14-16).

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In this Christmas season, as you admire all those beautiful lights around you, may you reflect on Jesus who came as the LIGHT of the world. His own did not receive Him (John 1). He was rejected and despised, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53). But, did He diminish in His brightness? No. He is the LIGHT, and as such cannot help but shine!

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Do you think you can top Jesus in your suffering or challenges or disappointments? Do you think you are poor? Think of Jesus born in a stable/cave around animals. Do you think you have no purpose? Think of Jesus who was born to die. That’s right. He was born the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. This means He was born as a sacrificial Lamb for us. Born to die. Do you think you are unloved or rejected? Reflect on Jesus was was rejected to the point of being crucified. Do you think you are treated unfairly or unjustly? Well, meditate on Jesus was was given a mock trial and condemned to die through no fault of His own by those who knew that He was innocent. Do you think your pain is greater? Think on Jesus who was beaten mercilessly, had his beard plucked out, thorns pressed harshly into His scull, was forced to carry a heavy cross, and then nailed to it where He took upon Himself the weight of all the sins of the world and died of heart failure.

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This same LIGHT calls US His lights in this world (Matthew 5:14-16), and thus, we too ARE lights. And as lights, we are made to shine no matter what the storm, no matter what the attack, no matter what the injustice, no matter how fearful the situation, no matter how deep the darkness. You ARE light (Ephesians 5).

So, this Christmas season, choose to dance; choose to rejoice; choose to love others to Jesus; choose not to worry about anything but to pray about everything and let Jesus protect your hearts and minds with His peace (Philippians 4:6-7). Choose to shine as the lights of the world that Jesus has commissioned and created you to be, and do not lose heart! We can do all things in Christ who strengthens us, for He is greater in us that he that is in the world! (Philippians 4:13; 1 John 4:4). And Jesus has overcome the world! As Jesus said, “33These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” (John 16).

Jesus is coming soon. Let’s be found faithful, and as people of faith. Let Him turn your trial to gold. Let’s be ready!

Choosing to shine,

Holy Light Ministries

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