Thursday, December 18, 2008

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One Christmas season I saw what might have been the most impressive Christmas decorations I've ever seen. Now, they weren't in midtown Manhattan or one of the many special displays I've seen over the years. They were in a little village on an Indian reservation in the Southwest. This particular tribe is one of the most spiritually unreached in this country. They're pretty isolated and they are a long way from anything else. When I drove through this reservation on a night in the Christmas season, I was struck by the absence of hardly any Christmas lights or decorations until I reached this one particular village. Against the backdrop of near total darkness, the church there was ablaze with Christmas lights outlining the church buildings, along with the windows and the doors.

The missionary who lives there told me that quite a few people were drawn to the church because of the lights. Native folks kept dropping by to thank them for the lights and even to ask questions. I can't tell you what a stunningly beautiful sight this was to see driving along a dark reservation highway toward a village with basically no lights of Christmas, and then suddenly you see this one island of light in that sea of darkness. You just couldn't miss it!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "An Island Of Light In a Sea of Darkness."

That picture - an attractive island of light in an otherwise dark place - is a powerful picture of you and me; at least I hope it is. Spiritually speaking, you may be in a pretty dark environment at your school, where you work, in that group you're in, in your neighborhood, maybe even where you live. And maybe lately you've been feeling a little beat down, intimidated, kind of embarrassed to talk about your most important relationship; sort of quietly fitting into the darkness instead of offering an alternative with your life and with your words.

But listen to what Jesus says you are in our word for today from the Word of God from Matthew 5:14-16. "You are the light of the world. (Now, I'm thinking about that church glowing with light against the darkness that surrounds it) A city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. (That's what happens when you allow your environment to compromise or to silence your witness for Christ) Instead (Jesus said) they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men that may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Those lights in that Native village were attracting people. In fact, the darkness around them made them show up even more. Now, if God's planted you in a dark place, he has you there to be His winsome light. Notice what Jesus said the kind of light it would be that would attract them: "your good deeds." Not all your don'ts and beliefs, the meetings you go to or what you're against, but the positive things they see in you that make you stand out in your setting. Are you known as the one to go to, to find unconditional love, to find total truthfulness, kindness in a harsh world? Do they find gentleness when they come to you? Do they find peace in stressful times? Have they heard you pray for them in their moment of need? Do they know you are the place in their world where Jesus can be found?

Now, if the church in that little Indian village had turned off its lights, the village would have been almost totally dark because the light wasn't on. Don't let that happen where you are. If it's totally dark, don't blame the darkness. It's because the light isn't shining! Without you, without your Jesus, there is nothing but darkness. With you and with your Jesus, you can be the light that illuminates the darkness, and it is a beautiful sight.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)

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