“For once you were in darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.” Ephesians 5:8
Let’s start with a story. There was once a king. “He had a beautiful ring, and he had three sons. Each son wanted the ring. When the king died, he left three rings for his sons with a note. The note said, “My dear sons, one of these rings is real and two are fake. The way you will know who has the real ring is that the son with the real ring will always be kind and generous to all people.” Each of the three spent the rest of their lives proving they had the real ring.”
It is the same with religion. What changes us is when we live it– when we become our religion, when they look at us, and they see there is something in us they would like to have. It begins with a positive lifestyle, with a positive mind, with positive thoughts. Are you positive all the time? Are you filled with a faith, a zeal, and a knowledge of God who gives you the extra power to know God is with you every second of every day?
It’s not easy as I can attest to since injuring my back two weeks ago. Nothing seemed to help relieve the pain and walking was an exercise in futility. Staying positive with zeal and knowledge of God, knowing he was me every second was difficult. I knew so many were praying for me, especially the prayer warriors in our internet prayer room – http://www.thespiritualfamily.chatango.com/.
Yet, was I “in darkness, but now in the Lord, am I light?”Ephesians 5:8
We all work on our spirituality and nearness to God and focus hard to stay in the “light.”
There is a humorous story told about two men named Sam and Jed. They determined they could become wealthy by hunting wolves.
So, they started out, because in their part of the country a live wolf was worth a $5,000 bounty. They went out and searched for wolves day and night. They searched until they were exhausted but didn’t see one wolf. Then one night they fell asleep and when one of them woke up he noticed they were surrounded by about 50 wolves with flaming eyes and bared teeth. Sam gently nudged his friend and said, “Jed, wake up! We’re rich!”
That is a funny story, but it is the type of positive attitude we could have; even when things don’t look good to every one of our five senses. To know with God, somehow, someway, this is going to turn out to be a positive. We have such faith in God that we know that we know that we know God is going to turn around this situation for our betterment.
We will use every situation in our life, the good times, and the bad, to praise God. We are going to have an awareness that God is with us so much that only good can come out of this situation even if it appears in the beginning that only bad can come out of it.
“There is a story of old Evinrude. Evinrude wanted to take ice cream to his girlfriend to propose to her. So in a very romantic way, he got some ice cream and he asked her to join him on the shore and they got into his rowboat with the gallon of ice cream. They were going to row over to an island where he would serve her ice cream, maybe sing a little bit and then propose. By the time he got to the island the ice cream was all melted. The problem was that it was all melted over the bottom of the boat and all over the girl.
It is hard to be romantic when you have sticky, smelly, homemade ice cream melted all over you. It did not go well. He never married the girl. He vowed that day he would spend however long it took to make things better. Old Evinrude invented the outboard motor so that sometime later on someone could make it to the island with frozen ice cream.”
When your ice cream is melted and when you feel sticky, how is God going to turn it around? You have to take it into prayer and you have to ask and wait to be Divinely inspired. You have to have courage to act on things that other human beings haven’t acted upon. When you do, everything is going to turn out all right. But much better than just satisfactory, your whole life could change as it did for Evinrude.
Look at a rose; we remember it takes a lot of dirt and fertilizer on the rosebush to make it bloom after winter. A lot of times we look at our lives, we see only the dead rosebush and the dirt that is on the ground. We forget that with God, there will be a blooming! If any of you are in that particular situation today where a certain area of your life isn’t blooming, it appears dead, and it appears like nothing good could possibly come out of this–give it to God and just wait and see what will happen.
There WILL be a blooming!
When you give it to God, God may hand it back to you, but God never gives it back to you the same way.
God may hand it back to you and say, “Ok, you want frozen ice cream? Here is my idea for an outboard motor.” God doesn’t do it for you; you have to do it. But every step of the way, every moment of the day and night, God guides you, helps you, and shows you the way to get there. God is an ever-present help with you every moment. God is as near to you as your breath. Prayer to God works so wonderfully each and every time. That is what we are celebrating.
“There was an apple grower who was very proud of the apples that he sent out by mail order around the world. His business was thriving because people knew if they ordered apples from this particular mail order business, the apples would always be perfect. They would be juicy, they would be delicious, and they would be the best apples in the world.
Then there was a problem. The apple grower had more orders than ever before, thousands of orders and there was a freak winter storm with hail. There was hardly an apple that didn’t have a hail mark or a blemish on it. The apple grower said as he looked at the apples in the groves, “If I sent out these apples people would send them back; my business would dry up overnight. What am I going to do?”
Instead of just looking at the apples in the grove, he looked to God. He said, “God, give me an idea because I have thousands of orders. If I fill the orders, they are going to send them back, complain, or they will never order from me again. If I don’t fill the orders, I will surely go out of business because I won’t have any money coming in to pay the bills. What do I do?”
He tasted the apples. The apples had a taste incomparable to any apple he had tasted before. He was given an idea in prayer. He decided to go ahead and fill the orders. With each shipment he enclosed a card that said, “Note, the minor skin blemishes on some of these apples are proof of their growth at a high mountain altitude where sudden chills from hail storms help firm the flesh, develop the fruit sugars, and give these apples an incomparable flavor.” Not one person sent the apples back, but he had another problem. The next year, 90% of the orders wanted hail damaged apples. God can turn around any situation in your life no matter how bad it looks in the moment.”
That is the way God does it.
2 Samuel 22:29(NIV) 9 You, Lord, are my lamp;
the Lord turns my darkness into light.
There was a little boy the other children named Sparky after the comic-strip horse named Sparkplug. Sparky never did shake the nickname. School was all but impossible for Sparky. He failed every subject in the eighth grade, each and every subject. He flunked physics in high school, receiving a flat zero for the course. He distinguished himself as the worst physics student in the school’s history. He also flunked Latin, algebra, and English. He didn’t do any better in sports. Although he managed to make the school golf team; he promptly lost the only important match of the year. There was a consolation match. Sparky lost that too.
Sparky prayed the kind of prayer you pray when you are a little boy and you don’t seem to be good at anything and nothing is turning out right in your life. Sparky prayed and said, “God, please, give me something that I can be proud of. Everybody laughs at me. Nobody will even say, “Hi,” to me outside of the school building.
Sparky could draw. He submitted his cartoons to the school yearbook. They said to him, “Sparky, you have to stop this foolishness now. You have no talent and it is quite obvious to us. We aren’t going to accept your cartoon for our school yearbook.” So later on after high school, Sparky got up the courage again and he sent some of his cartoons to the Walt Disney studio. He had read the story of Walt Disney, where everybody turned him down Sparky said, “Maybe Walt Disney studios will understand.” They wrote him back telling him he had no talent at all and he should find another way.
One of his college courses was to write his autobiography. He decided to write his autobiography about the underachiever little boy in cartoon form. That cartoon of this little boy who could never get his kite to fly, Charlie Brown, became Sparky’s (Charles Shultz) success that still lives on today.
God can turn the greatest underachiever in the world into the greatest overachiever. There is nothing you can’t do when you team up with God. Everything will come up with roses on it, even though now it may appear dead, if you have faith and stay constant in your awareness to the power of God. It is so real.
There was a message that came with Jesus. It was not just a message for the people of that time; it is a message for you. The message is that you can go beyond who you think you are. A lot of people identify themselves with their failures. They think they are their failures. They are so much more. Because with God, they can go beyond their past, beyond their pain. They don’t have to be locked into it. They can go beyond anything they have experienced thus far. They can get out of the darkness.
Carol Burnett once said, “I have always grown from my problems and challenges, from the things that don’t work out; that’s when I’ve really learned.”
Positive thinking is more than just blind faith. Its power is awesome.
That’s when we go from darkness into light.
God is a good God. For each of us, God has an individual specialized miracle that will turn it around, and will make it good, because everything in your life is coming up roses.
Let us pray.
I pray for each you to have a major turnaround and shift, and for God to bring it to you. God has to get it through you and you have to cooperate with God by believing it is possible, by believing in the power of God. Right now as you gaze upon this writing, I ask you to look to God in your mind, to believe and have hope again, and to know that with God everything is going to turn into good.
Dear Lord, in Your mercy, where a person’s need arises, I pray you will give a Divine idea to turn around the situation and make everything unfold as the petals on that rose to Your good. I pray and I dedicate each of us to this type of positive thought, belief in God and a knowing that we are one; and we will walk from the darkness into the light..
In Jesus Christ’s name. Amen