Monday, October 31, 2016

Light vs Darkness

Teaching I shared today---



I am not a Halloween fan. My kids are because of the candy and costumes!
I AM a fan of lost people though.
 There are great opportunities to reach people in your neighborhood with the gospel during Halloween.
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; 
make the most of every opportunity."
Col 4:5
The book “RedeemingHalloween” gave me GREAT creative ideas to incorporate when it comes to Halloween.
One year, we had a “Fear Not”party in our back yard and turned our backyard into a carnival with booths, facepainting, and balloons. I had banners with Scriptures like “Fear Not, I am with You”.
We invited the neighborhood and paid tons of money for prizes with Bible verses and scripture cards, etc..
It was tons of fun and A LOT OF WORK! 




Another idea is to put your Christmas lights up for Halloween and turn them on so that your house is obviously LIGHT in darkness, then you are one step ahead for Christmas. :)
You can hand out cool gospel tracts.
My kids love doing that. Especially the young ones.


But as I prayed about what to talk about the Lord led me in a different direction.
Because HE knows that it is much more necessary for us to learn to navigate darkness everyday, 
not just on Halloween.
This is kind of funny:I drive past the haunted house at Ruby Falls a few times a week on my way up to Lookout Mountain. I seriously look at it like, PFFFFF… chainsaw man? Scary haunted house guys???… talk to the hand. I am seriously NOT afraid of them. After all I have been through in the last 2 ½ years, I honestly think I could walk through any haunted house without flinching. I would probably scare them more than they scare me!
I would definitely tell the scary guys they need to be rescued from the dominion of darkness and give them a gospel tract.
You see we don’t battle flesh and blood.
We battle unseen forces of evil.


 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Eph 6:12
As Christians, we aren't fighting chainsaw guys… we are fighting THE RULERS OF DARKNESS. Yikes.
I don’t know about you but I am scared of the dark.
And the RULERS of it.
Thank goodness the rulers of darkness were disarmed when Jesus rose from the dead.

"In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. 
He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross."
Col 2:15

I love John 8:12-
Jesus says…
“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

That’s a promise we can hang on to!
We may pass through some spiritually dark places but we won’t LIVE
 in them. He will ALWAYS lead us out with His light.

He has chosen His Word to be our greatest source of light here!

"We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, 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

God's Word is completely reliable and we will do well to PAY ATTENTION to it. In the Greek, that means- 
to apply one's self to, attach one's self to, hold or cleave to a person or a thing
to be given or addicted to
to devote thought and effort to

Until the day dawns and the morning star rises... meaning the return of JESUS!
It's so close, friends.

Unless God intervenes, we are getting to enter into the greatest time of darkness we have ever experienced as a nation and as a Church.
The sin in our country is piled high.
Abortion
Euthenasia 
(packaged in pretty words like comfort care/dying with dignity)
Sexual Sin
Betrayal
Removing God from Schools and Government
Drugs 

Things that are CLEARLY sin against a holy God being celebrated. :(
***************************************

God has put it on my heart to warn you and PREPARE you for what is coming.
I also want to give you some EXCITING truth to stand on.



You probably know a story in the Old Testament about PLAGUES. (By the way, it’s ok if you don’t!) God was angry that his people were being held hostage by a wicked ruler who would not allow them to serve and worship Him.
Because of Pharoah’s wickedness, God sent 10 plagues to get him to let God’s people go.



 Pharoah was a cruel, oppressive leader who HATED the people of God.



The people were trapped under his oppressive power as he laid burdens on their backs too heavy for them to carry. In Ex 6, The Lord tells Moses that He was going to bring them out from under the heavy burdens and the bondage. When Moses tells the people, it says they did not listen to him because of their broken spirits. It was really bad.
"they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage."

Anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. :(
Maybe that is where you are today. Maybe your spirit is broken or full of anguish. Maybe the enemy has had you under cruel bondage and oppression for so long you can’t even BELIEVE there is a way out.
Well, be encouraged because salvation was not dependent on them and it’s not dependent on you either! God’s plan of salvation was already unfolding whether they believed it or not.

If we are faithless,
He remains 
faithful;

He cannot deny Himself.


What were the first words God spoke?
Let there be LIGHT.
He spoke light into the world and He will continue to speak light into our worlds.
Jesus said HE is the light of the world.
When we accept Him as our Savior and He lives IN US, WE BECOME THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. 
Because His light shines THROUGH us.
Like I said before, He has chosen His Word to be our source of light.
When you read the Bible, it is like charging your light.
PLUG IN!
This Book is the only TANGIBLE thing we have to hold on to in the supernatural battle we are in. It is a lamp unto our feet.



“The unfolding of your words gives light” Ps 119:130



One of the plagues that God used was darkness. Let’s look at it in Ex 10
“Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had LIGHT in the places where they lived.”

I wanted to turn out the lights and give you a visual of light pouring out when I opened my Bible. I was going to use a flashlight. But there is no way to make it dark enough in here. This darkness was darkness that could be FELT. I don’t know if you have ever been on a cave tour where they turn out the lights for like 10 seconds and you have a heart attack. It was that kind of darkness. They couldn’t see ANY light or each other for 3 days.
They couldn’t even move it was so dark.
But it wasn’t dark in Goshen where the Israelites lived!
You have to wonder what this looked like?
You know how I talked about putting your Christmas lights up on your house for Halloween? This was even better. The houses of the believers had a supernatural LIGHT in them EVEN IN THE MIDST OF DARKNESS.

So I started jumping up and down when I realized that not only did the people of God have LIGHT in their homes in the midst of DEEP darkness. But, y’all get this…this word “light” is talking about the light of their faces too! Their countenances had light!
They were HAPPY!
They had light in their faces! They had JOY!
They weren’t sitting inside their homes crying and complaining, they were HAPPY!
Honestly, this really convicted me. Because I have gone through deep darkness during the last 2 years. My dad died, my mom got diagnosed with cancer, 3 of my grandparents who I ADORED died… it has been darkness that has been felt. My countenance has shown it too. I have wrinkles from sadness. I haven’t had much JOY.
When I realized that the people of God were full of JOY, my countenance changed.
I think this whole teaching was for me!
I thought, wait… I don’t have to keep walking around in sadness. Light and JOY is available to us in Christ!
Ask Him to make His face shine on you so that your face can shine!
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” ’
Numbers 6
That makes me want to dance!
Our homes should be full of light and JOY. They should look different than the world’s! We have been rescued from the dominion of darkness! Now and forever!!!!
So, mommas, let’s make sure our homes are FULL of light!
And also make sure you aren’t letting “the Egyptian darkness” in. Be careful of what you allow in your homes through TV and computer and anything else that belongs to the Kingdom of Darkness. The Word says our EYES are the lamp of the body. If they are good, we are filled with light. If they are bad, we are filled with DEEP DARKNESS.
Fill your homes with the LIGHT of God’s Word!
With praise music and dancing and worship!
We have MUCH to celebrate! We don’t have to live in depression and despair. Ask God to LIGHT up  your home and your countenance! Focus on light, not darkness.
There is a time to grieve. I’ve been grieving for years over darkness and death.
But the JOY OF THE LORD is our strength. Remember, it says
“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Grieve and be sad over the enemy’s work here but don’t STAY there. 
That isn’t where you belong.


This isn’t the only time during the plagues the Israelites were supernaturally protected.  Look at God’s hand of protection on His people.
"Tell Aaron, 'Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,' and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats." 
Ex 8:16
“But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.” 
Ex 9:4
“The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.”
Ex 9:26
“No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.” 
Ex 10:23
“But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.' Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.” 
Ex 11:7
Even in captivity, even in the MIDST of evil, God protected His people.
Is darkness coming? Yes, I believe it is. 
BUT... God protects His people.
We may get persecuted and be surrounded by darkness but it cannot overcome us.
 "I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
Matt 16:18


Why did God tell Pharoah to let the people go? 
What was the goal?
What does the Lord keep telling Moses to say?
Let my people go so that ?????
They can play select soccer?
They can go to Starbucks?
They can watch Dancing with the Stars in their recliners?

SO THAT THEY CAN WORSHIP ME.
Isis and terror attacks aren’t trying to wipe out America. They are trying to take away our freedom to worship the LIVING GOD.
The enemy’s goal is to oppress people SO THAT THEY CANNOT WORSHIP GOD.
Worship is a privilege. It is a freedom.
It cost God the life of His Son.
We take it for granted.

This election, freedom to worship hangs in the balance.
Our pastor said, “Vote for the candidate who will provide the safest atmosphere for the Church”.
You don't have to love the candidate but be shrewd.
Cast your vote.



Darkness is coming girls. You need to be prepared. We need to mourn over the freedoms that the enemy is robbing of us and our children. The loss is REAL. But we will always have light in our homes. No matter how deep the darkness is.






 I have given you a handout full of verses about light.
You get this bright yellow piece of paper out when you are in darkness. Read it out loud and remind yourself of the truth. The enemy can throw us into a downward spiral when we let go of the TRUTH of   God’s Word.

Light
“Then the Lord said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt. So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had LIGHT in the places where they lived.” Ex 10
“And God said, “Let there be light,”  Gen 1:3
“In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” John 1:4
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
 “You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14
“God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.” Gen 1
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” Ex 13:21
“Let the light of your face shine on us.” Ps 4:6
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Ps 18:28
“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?  Ps 27:1
“in Your light we see light. Ps 36:9
“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”  Ps 44:3
“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.” Ps 89:15
"Light shines on the righteous and JOY on the upright in heart." Ps 97:11
“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Ps 112:4
“The unfolding of your words gives light” Ps 119:130
“For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light” Prov 6:23
“for darkness is as light to you”. Ps 139:12
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Prov 4:18
“He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light.” Job 12:22
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Is 42:16

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” Mic 7:8


“ what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Cor 6:14

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” Eph 5:8

(“Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.” 2 Cor 6:17)


“You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” 1 Thess 5:5

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
 “the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Rev 22:5



Be Blessed~
Steph












Friday, October 14, 2016

Rhett


 Everett Hart Blackiston
He is my little HIGH ENERGY dreamboat baby.
His story is a story of God's power. 
Tim named him Rhett after a long battle for the first name.
I wanted to name him "Hart".
A hart is a strong deer.
The Song of Solomon girl compares her hunk-of-burning love to a "hart".

"My beloved is like a roe  or a young hart"
Song of Solomon 2:9

And then you probably have heard this verse...

  "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God."
Ps 42:1

I hope and pray Everett "Rhett" Hart is a studmuffin :) whose soul thirsts for God and His Word! 


I had him au naturelle.
I had an amazing delivery with him.
Had never felt the closeness of God like I did in that hospital room.











Everything about his delivery was dreamy. Tim gave me boots as a push present.
Life was good.
Until Rhett started projectile spitting up across the room.
Something was wrong. He could not keep anything down.
It went straight back up or straight into his diaper in weird slimy poops.
He was sickly.
He dropped into the "failure to thrive" category.
I will NEVER forget hearing those words.
Meanwhile, my dad was dying.
My mom got diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer also.
They were in TX at MD Anderson while I was desperately trying to figure out what was wrong with my baby.
He was getting sicker and tinier. I was nursing 24 hours a day.
The doctor made an appointment to test for Cystic Fibrosis.

I just broke down beside his bed and begged God to heal him and make him strong like Samson.
Soon after that, a man came up to me in HomeGoods and asked me if he could pray for my baby. 
????
I was in the rug section. 
It was VERY BIZARRE.
I said, "sure".
He prayed for exactly all the things we were experiencing. I hadn't told him anything. 
He prayed for me too.
I said, "thank you".
My mom saw it.
After I walked away, I decided to go back and thank him. I wanted to tell him the truth and how God had used him in my life in a very powerful way.
There was no man in the rug section or in the store.
I am not an angel-experiencing-girl. 
That HAD to have been some sort of messenger from God.
Soon after, Rhett began to get better and stronger.
I call him my little "Samson".
God did it.
He gave Rhett strength!
Tim made those cakes.
This party soon after my dad died.
I remember praising God for life after death.
Not only one life to celebrate but TWO!
"Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; 
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you."
Zec 9:12




They call this babysitting...

 Rhett makes me LAUGH. He is so happy. So loud and SO FUN.
He is about to be the death of me. I chase him every second.
He is constantly into everything or trying to escape.
He refuses to use the potty! I have bribed him with everything from skittles to large amounts of money. He was a late talker but now he talks all the time.
He calls Worth, "Worf". So does Crew. Crew even spells it like that.
He is still in his crib because I can't imagine him with total freedom to roam the house in the night!
He may be in a crib until he is 10.
He still loves pacis.
He SINGS. I think there is another singer in the family.
He loves me and I love him.
I love him like he was my only child.
He truly is my best friend.
I don't want to parent him out of my left-overs but Tim says our left-overs are probably better than what we started with.
Rhett looks like exactly like Tim to me.








I do pray God continues to give him the strength of Samson with the wisdom of Solomon to go with it. May God help me teach these little ones how to follow Him and worship Him!
I want them ALL to live in freedom.

 "Let my people go, so that they may worship me "
Ex 9:1