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The Discipline of Darkness

Lowell Hargreaves

Description

Why do we sometimes go through periods of darkness and difficulities?  This sermon explores 4 lessons to learn from times of darkness, and four things to do when going through times of darkness.

Presenter

Lowell Hargreaves

Lowell Hargreaves is a full time itinerant evangelist for Amazing Facts. He and his wife, Sandra, along with their two children, Teresa and Michael, have traveled all around the world with Amazing Facts. Pastor Lowell is also an ordained minister of the SDA church. Recently, his seminars have an added facet with his son Michael joining him in preaching prophecy to the public.

Recorded

  • June 11, 2018
    11:30 AM
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Heavenly Father we thank you that we can open your word together we pray for your spirit to teach us as we study because we ask in Jesus name Amen blackout doesn't happen too often here in America but in the countries we've traveled to many 3rd world countries we've been in blackout it happens quite frequently you may have heard this past week they had a nationwide blackout in Kenya caused by a monkey this was N.P.R. News from Wednesday of this past week it actually happened on Tuesday you can see the little monkey there he jumped down into onto a transformer at the main power station in Kenya and tripped a transformer and when that happened other Transformers because they were overloaded they also trip so trip trip trip pretty soon it was like a domino effect of the whole country was out of power blackout it took more than 3 hours to fix the problem and amazingly the monkey survived he was unhurt blackout Have you ever experienced a blackout in your personal life have you ever been involved in darkness our discouragement Have you ever had the time when it seemed like the lights had all gone out we're told from prophets sinkings into the experience of all how many as all are you part of all so this includes you into the experience of wall there come times of keen disappointment and utter discouragement I hope that's not today or this past week but those times do come to all days when sorrow is the portion. And it is hard to believe that God is still the kind benefactor of his earth born children days when troubles harass the soul till death seems preferable to life and when you rather die than live that's deep discouragement and discouragement is a common problem have you ever had 1 of those dark days maybe this past week a day of perplexity a day of discouragement you have your bible take your Bible and turn to Isaiah 50 verses 10 and 11 we're going to read about this Isaiah 50 verses 10 and 11 today we're studying the discipline of darkness Isaiah 50 verses 10 and 11 the Bible says who is among use it fear the Lord that obey us the voice of his servant that walk us where in darkness and hast no light let him trust in the name of the Lord and stay upon his God Behold all ye that kindle of fire that compass yourselves about was sparks walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks that you have kindled this show you have of mine hand you shall lie down in Sol a lot O. know if you have ever lay down and sorrow seem like everything that could go wrong did go wrong have you ever asked the question why why God did that happen to me why do good things happen or Bad Things Happen to Good People why did I get sick some of you come to the lifestyle center to recover health and you might wonder why God allowed certain things to happen as a pastor. Oftentimes when I counsel with people talk to people they ask the why question why did God let that happen I don't know if you have the experience darkness of financial problem financial darkness or perhaps a relationship problem with your spouse you find out your spouse doesn't love you anymore or is leaving or a problem with your perhaps your health really the and the question we should be asking is not so much why but how how are we going to react when bad things happen how do we react when darkness comes how we react really demonstrates our character what do you do when all is dark today we're going to look at the discipline of darkness and I'm going to share with you for facts or points to ponder relating to the discipline of darkness if you're taking notes and I invite you to do that we're going to consider 4 points in this study on the discipline of darkness number 1 if you're taking notes those of greatest devotion may know the deepest darkness if you still have your Bible open there too is a chapter 50 verse 10 notice that it says who is among you that fear the Lord who is that someone who fears the Lord is that a heathen No this is a religious person a person who fears the Lord and is this person disobeying God The Bible says that obey asked the voice of his servant that walketh where walketh in darkness so even though this person fears the Lord obeys the Lord he experiences times of darkness. Just because you become a Christian doesn't mean that everything is going to go well sometimes we have this mistaken view that it when you serve the Lord he's going to bless your family is going to bless your marriage he's going to bless your health he'll bless your finances and yes blessings do come I hope you experience the blessings of the Lord but with the blessings also come trials and there are times of darkness even for those who are serving the Lord Ministry of healings as many how many MANY who sincerely can see create their lives to God's service have you done that I hope you have many who sincerely consecrate their lives to God's service are surprised and disappointed to find themselves as never before confronted by obstacles and be set by trials and perplexities So before we made the entire consecration of our lives to God we didn't seem to have so many problems but now that we've made that entire consecration of our life to God What we face obstacles and trials and perplexities darkness sometimes they pray for a Christ likeness of character is that a good thing to pray for that's really a dangerous prayer because if your read on it says they pray for Christ likeness of character for a fitness for the Lord's work and God answers their prayer they are placed in circumstances that seem to call forth all the evil of their nature did it happen to you this past week or last month you prayed for Christ likeness of character and look what's happening darkness. Faults are revealed of which they did not even sis back the existence that ever happened to you you didn't even know you had this particular fault until God puts you in the crucible of affliction faults are revealed of which they did not even suspect the existence like Israel of old they question if God is leading us why do all these things come upon us that you ever ask that question sometimes we do it is speaking as God is leading them that these things come upon them remember that trials and obstacles are the Lord shows in methods of discipline and has the pointed conditions of success would you read that together with me the last sentence and read all together trials and obstacles are the Lord shows in methods of discipline and his appointed conditions have success so what are the Lord's methods of discipline trials in obstacles tell me how many love trials and. See too many hands those of greatest devotion may know the deepest darkness Isaiah said those is fear the Lord obey Him There are times they walk in darkness can you think of anybody in the Bible that experience that you have your bible back up the Psalms chapter 1 or 5 verses 17319 leave your mark or in Jeremiah 50 will return but we're going Arabs Isaiah rather scuse me Isaiah 50 we're going to Psalms 1 o 5 years songs 105 verses 17 through 19 this is describing Joseph. Psalms 105. Verses 1719 and says he that's God sent a man before them even Joseph who was sold for a servant or a slave whose feet they hurt with tatters he was laid in the iron until the time that his word came the word of the Lord tried am so tell me to Joseph experience darkness he was 1st sold by his brother and he had gone there sort of as a favor and they had thrown him in a pit intending this leave him there to die and then they pulled him out and sold him to the Ishmael lights and he went down to Egypt was sold as a slave that's pretty dark and after faithful service for years he was falsely accused and thrown in a dungeon and no doubt that's where they hurt his feet and was a common punishment in Egypt darkness but out of that darkness God brought Joseph forth to become the prime minister of Egypt we can think of another person in the Bible that experience darkness if you're in Psalms backup 1 book you'll be in job you know the story of Job Job didn't understand what was happening to him he thought it was God's job 19 versus 8 through 14 says Job 1008 he have fenced my way that I cannot pass and he has set what darkness in my bad. He has shipped me of my glory and taken the crown from my head course God wasn't doing this God has allowed this to happen to Job God allows sometimes darkness to come to us verse 10 he has destroyed me on every side and I am gone and my new hope path you remove like a tree he hath also kindled his wrath against me and he counted me on to him as 1 of his enemies his troops came together and raised up their way against me and in camp round about my tabernacle he have put my brother and far from me and mine acquaintance are verily is strange for me my kinsfolk of sales and my familiar friends are forgotten me have you ever felt that way when even your friends turn against you or it seems like they've turned against you or your family job experience darkness we can think of others in the Bible John the Baptist for his faithfulness he was thrown in prison in the dungeon darkness Paul experienced it come with me to 2nd Corinthians Chapter 4 2nd Corinthians Chapter 4 some of you know this passage Paul said he was perplexed you might be perplexed sometimes 2nd Corinthians Chapter 4 verses 6 through 8 says For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness. Has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ but we have this treasure that's the glory of the character of God in the face of Christ Jesus we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence the of the power may be of God and not of us we are Verse 8 we are what troubled on every side but not distressed we are plaques have you ever been perplexed maybe this past week what happened I don't know we are perplexed but not in this pair I like the words where Paul says we have this stranger in earthen vessels that the excellence the of the glory maybe of God and not of us reminds me of the story of Gideon with his 3 hundreds and they had vul light in earthen vessels and when the earthen vessels were broken the light shone out and so it is in the darkness when we are broken the light of God's character can really be revealed number 1 who are talking about the discipline of darkness number 1 those of greatest devotion may know the deepest darkness number 2 taking notes Number 2 the faith that is born in the light is often developed in the dark tell me where do we usually grow the most spiritually in the light or the dark in trial or when everything's going well where do they develop film and darkness and so God wants to develop our faith and sometimes yes to put us through dark experiences to develop a James 1 verses to the fore says my brother in count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations or trials do we rejoice when we are. Tried. Maybe not we're supposed to knowing this that the trying of your faith the work it's patients but let patients have her perfect work that you may be perfect and entire wanting nothing shows of faith that is born in the light is often developed in the dark in those dark experiences of our lives Ellen White says it is good for me to tread a hard and humble path you have that in your bulletin 1 of the it's the food for thought to encounter difficulty to experience disappointments to suffer afflictions and bereavement she said it was good for her now tell me when was the last time you said it was good for you to go through those things it is good for me Ellen White says to tread a hard and humble path to encounter difficulties to experience disappointments to suffer of Licht sins and bereavements the Savior knows what is best too often we complain when we're in darkness but hello ISIS is good for me faith grows by conflict with doubt and difficulty and trial that's only grow the most when we're in darkness of virtue gather strength by resistance to temptation the life of the faithful soldier is a battle in the March no rash fellow pilgrim this side the heavenly Cain are we going to get away from problems and trials not till we are taken the glory while we're here we're going to go through times of darkness the faith that is born in the light is often developed in the dark Someone once said Never doubt in the dark what you've learned in the light. Oftentimes when we go through dark experiences that's when we going to begin to doubt is God really leading me has God lead me is God with me don't doubt the 3rd point to ponder in the discipline of darkness number 3 some things are learned in the darkness that cannot be learned in the light that's a fact some things are learned in the darkness that cannot be learned in the light you have your markers still in Isaiah go back to eyes if 50 were going to begin here in verse 3 verses 3 and 4 Isaiah 50 verses 3 and 4 says God says I close the heavens with what blackness and I make sackcloth their covering sackcloth that's kind of a dark cloth and then verse 4 the Lord has given me the tongue of the learned that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary he waken if morning by morning he waken if my near to here is the alert and so Isaiah saying I woke up after the darkness and I discovered I had learned something we learned some things in the darkness that we cannot learn in the light you may have heard let me just read another text here this is Isaiah 4045 Verse 3 speaking this Cyrus God said to Cyrus and I will give the the to razors of darkness darkness in the Bible has several meanings we often think of darkness as a symbol of sand or a symbol of evil Well yes but sometimes it's a symbol of perplexity and sometimes it's a symbol of difficulty and here God says there are a treasure is in the darkness and if you ever heard somebody say the Stars Are Out Tonight Well the fact is the stars are always around aren't they. We just don't see them during the day it's only in the darkness that we can see the stars that's why someone said in the light we see that which is near in the dark we see that which is far away as true in the light we may see more clearly but in the night we see farther you can see how low how many light years away those stars are you can't see them in the light but you see them I open my eyes at night I look up I see the stars you may think your brightest thoughts in the daylight of lives but you will think your deepest thoughts in the midnight of life when all is dark that's a fact there are some things we learn in the darkness that we cannot learn in the light and that's why we should not rebel against the chastening of the Lord some things are learned in the darkness that cannot be learned in the light reminded me of this statement I read for ministry of healing in the full light of day you want the reference we have them there in the full light of day and in the hearing of the music of other voices the caged bird will not seeing the song that his master seeks to teach him he learns a snatch of this this trill of that but never separate and entire melody so what so Master do but the master covers the caves and places it where the bird will listen to the 1 song he is to saying in the Dell are where. In the dark he tries and tries again to sing that song until it is learned and he breaks forth in perfect melody then and then the bear is brought forth and Ever After he can sing that song in the light please notice what underline the sky God deals with his children that may be how God has been dealing with you maybe this past week maybe these past months he's put you through some darkness because there's a song he wants you to learn song of the experience he has a song to teach us and when we have all learned it amid the shadows of affliction we can sing it ever act toward a man reminds me of heard the story no doubt a Horatio Spafford in the mid eighties 800 he was living in Chicago a very prosperous businessman lawyer had many real estate holdings and then in 871 this Chicago fire broke out he lost almost everything after the fire when he tried to hit was a Christian so he tried to help his neighbors those that had lost more than he for 2 years they labored he and his wife Anna there in Chicago and after 2 years of hard work trying to help others they finally felt like they just needed a break and so they decided to go spend some time with friends in England and anise password with the 4 daughters boarded the ship across the Atlantic to England her husband was supposed to be with her but because of a business issue he had to stay behind to take care of this business problem planning to join with the family later 4 days out into the trip the ship they were on was struck by another ship an iron clad ship. And in 12 minutes that ship that the Spafford family was on sank all 4 daughters drowned those 4 little girls Anna was juggle the water by a rescuer almost unconscious she hardly even wanted to be saved because she lost her lost everything and when she arrived in England he telegraphed back to her husband saved alone what shall I do well of course he boarded the next ship from America to England 4 days across the Atlantic as they were passing the captain of the ship called her a shows Pfaff IRD to his captain's quarters he said we are right now passing over the spot where the ship that had your family on went down this is where your 4 daughters drowned and you know that as Horatio was there thinking grieving a song began to develop in his mind and you know the song it is well with my soul that song was born out of darkness and yet what a blessing that song has been for so many when peace. Like a river come on let's sing it when the love. Of her. Way and slow room like we. Are row watch your. Mind a lot the last Fall over to me. I solo here. With my solo. Here. Here to. Fool. Some saying it's our learn in the darkness that cannot be learned the like that was number 3 now moving on to number 4 the 4 points to ponder in the discipline of darkness number 4 it is better to be leaning upon God in the darkness then to be standing without God in man made light and you can notice that again from our scripture reading Isaiah 50 notice verse 11 you still have your marker there Isaiah 50 verse 11 says Behold all ye that Kindle Fire that compass yourselves about which sparks walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks that you have kindled. This shale you have of mine hand you shall lie down in sorrow 1 of the greatest dangers of darkness listen to me 1 of the greatest dangers of darkness is that we may be tempted to light our own fire try to sort this out ourselves this is a myth like got to get out of this reminds me of Abraham God has been promising us as a seed all these years in it you know I got to help got out his image just not working out. Abraham he lit his own fire if you are surrendered to God in following God's leading and darkness comes God has allowed it for a reason don't try to undo the reason just let God work it out don't try to start your own fire let God work it out and that brings us today to the 4 keys to use when dealing with darkness someone might be thinking Well Pastor I'm not in darkness today well just hold on just wait. You should take notes and put this in your medicine cabinet because they will come a day when you'll want to pull this off the shelf all experience this discouragement disappointments at some point and if it isn't now just wait. But the 1st key that we can see in dealing with darkness number 1 way the Lord's number 1 wait on the Lord that's why the Bible tells us and Isaiah 40 verse 3031 Isaiah 40 verse 31 they that what wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength they shall mount up with wings as he goes up to where the light is they show run and not be wary they show walk and not say so number 1 wait on the Lord if you find yourself in darkness Don't start your own fire. Just wait on the Lord let him work it out Isaiah 50 verse 3 says I close the heavens with blackness and I make sackcloth their covering Now tell me 1 when the heavens are covered with darkness What's that when is that that's a night just as I clothed heavens with blackness and then verse 4 says he way Kenneth when morning by morning he waken as mine ear to hear is a lower listen if your son has set if you are in darkness now remember for those who trust in God What MORNING is coming you're not always going to be in darkness you might be right now or you may have been this past week but after the night comes the morning that's why the Bible says put it in your note Psalms 112 verse 4 unto the upright there are Rise of light in the darkness he is gracious and full of compassion and righteous Psalms 30 verse 5 weeping may endure for a night you may be in the darkness right now and with darkness often comes the tears the an emission the perplexity the discouragement weeping may endure for a night but joy come at them the morning if your son has set in here in darkness now remember for those who trust in God MORNING is coming so number 1 these are the key 3 dealing with darkness number 1 wait on the Lord number to focus on the light not the darkness. That's a key principle and dealing with darkness focused on the light not the darkness so almost 27 verse 1 the Lord is the Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear the Lord is the strength of my life of whom shall I be afraid Psalms 119 verse 105 guy where it is a lamp unto my feet and a light into my path if you're in darkness then you need to get out the ep the other night I needed I get up in the middle the night and I needed a lamp and so I got out the flashlight I could see we have a flashlight right spiritually if you feel discouraged if you feel you're in darkness then get out the light you'll find the light in the Word of God use it number 2 when dealing with darkness focus on the light not the darkness Have you ever noticed when we focus on the darkness all the problems and all the difficulties and all the misunderstandings they just don't understand me the more I think about the darkness the darker it gets the deeper the darkness but when I start focusing on the light the lighter it can. Step to Christ as it is not wise to gather together all the unpleasant recollections of a past life its inequities and disappointments to talk over them and mourn over them until we are overwhelmed but discouragement that's focusing on the darkness a disk carried soul is filled with darkness you may have been there how many people Eric discouraged at times we started out our sermon today says all well if you're part of all that's part of you you're included. But when you're discouraged don't focus on the darkness a discouraged soul is filled with darkness shutting out the light of God from his own soul and casting a shadow upon the pathway of others focus on the light prophets and King says in the darkest days are there days of darkness Yes in the darkest days when appearances seem most her bidding fear not have faith in God He knows your need he has all power he is infinite love and compassion never weary fear not that he will say el of fulfilling his promise number 2 if you're going through darkness when you go through darkness numbered 2 for ocus on the light not on the darkness number 3 dealing with darkness number 3 sang hymns of hope not those pop songs you heard when you were in your youth. Not going to encourage you sang some hopeless Hymn of Hope were told from ministry of healing song is a weapon that we can always use against discouragement next time you're discouraged use this weapon because we all experience discouragement. I think of Elijah did I just get discouraged he got so to scary he was ready to die I said Lord take away my life have you ever been that to scare it's where is illegitimate A in heaven so if you think you won't be discouraged will think again. Elijah was expects perience discouragement song is a weapon we can always use against discouragement as ways that open the heart to the the what sunlight of the Savior's presidents we shall have health and his blessing. Yes we all go through times of darkness but when you're going through those times of darkness sing a hymn of hope number 3 seeing him Zulu we sang 1 as we started the Lord is my light the board is my love. And was. Fear by. And by night here is prayer. Is in the air here is myself a From saw a row and in this. Purse. And there it brings it and the lower It is my love and my joy and my. By day and by he actually in me L. law on the law it is my love my joy and my own by day and by he really does me a lot it's pretty hard to sing a hymn like that and be discouraged right so number 3 saying Hammes of hope in it for those of you taking notes number 4 keys for dealing with darkness number 4 trust in the Lord when you're perplexed when it seems like all the lights have gone out lean on the Lord that's the time to exercise faith Romans $828.00 says and we know that all things how many people experience discouragement at some time or another all here's another all we know that all things even trials even problems even darkness even 2nd is. Your thinking or. And we know that all sayings work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to his purpose number 4 trust in the Lord to lean on him when you're going through darkness Proverbs 3 verses 5 and 6 as trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not on his I know an understanding in all that I am sick knowledge him and he shall direct I pass when you go through darkness that's a time to exercise faith trust in the Lord if you missed 1 there they are the 4 keys in dealing with darkness number 1 wait on the Lord don't try to start your own fire wait on God to work it out number 2 Focus on the light not on the darkness number 3 saying him is of hope and number 4 Trust in The Lord how is your soul today is it well with my soul are you dealing with some trials or some difficulties or some discouragements or maybe some pain as it seem like all around you is darkness trust in the Lord there's a story of a father and his little girl who came home 1 night and they had just come from the funeral of a wife and mother and when they arrived in the home the lonely home the motherless whole the little girl said to her daddy said Daddy can I sleep with you tonight I'm so lonely and of course the big man the father he didn't want to go to his bed room with. The loneliness without his wife he said yes honey you can sleep with me tonight so after they got in the prism is he tucked his little girl into bed. And then he turned off the light. And when he crawled into bed next to his little girl she said Daddy it's so dark it's so dark Daddy Daddy I've never seen it this dark before daddy I can't even see you Daddy are you there yes dear daddy is your face toward me yes dear my face is facing you OK Daddy goodnight and in a few minutes he could hear his little girl drifting off into slumber land trusting in her father she went to sleep and after she went to sleep he got out of bed and began to pray he said it's so dark is your face toward me and in the darkness he felt the sense of God drawing close how is it with you friend are you facing darkness there are 4 key to use whenever you're facing darkness where you like to ask God to help you when you go through darkness to wait on him to hope you focus on the light to help you to sing even when you don't feel like singing to help you to trust in Him How many want to ask him to help you do that means the your hands yes there is hope for you when all is dark and life is drear. There is hope for you the savior sees your every tear there is hope for you in your darkest hour God is near so there is hope in Christ for you there is hope for you the night of pain will soon be or there is hope for you the golden morning is out there all are there is hope for user darkness Well then you know more so Fran there is hope in Christ for you this media was brought to you by audio post a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like to listen to more sermons Please Visit W W W dot audio Verse dot org.

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