In the Cleft of the Rock

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

Sometimes that scripture seems impossible to believe, doesn’t it?

Moments come when the darkness seems so thick you find it difficult to breathe. Your deceiving heart insists it will suffocate you. And yet your lungs fill again.

But with every breath, the darkness murmurs it will have the next one.

It won’t, beloved, unless you allow it to.

Perhaps I need to remind you who gives you breath.

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

The enemy doesn’t own your breath, dear one. He just wants you to think he does.

And there’s something else the enemy doesn’t want you to know. The light that defeats the darkness rests within you. Christ gave it to you. Beloved, you hold the power within you to defeat the lord of the darkness.

And he’s terrified you’ll figure that out.

So the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9) works his illusions, insisting he is stronger than you and that darkness prevails. But his schemes only work if you believe him.

This last month has brought an onslaught of darkness against my family. Serious health concerns have come out of nowhere against four of my family members. The enemy whispers the future holds the promise of more darkness. If I didn’t know my God so well, fear may have crumbled me.

But I do know my beloved Savior. So I told the enemy I would not take his fear. I belong to the Most High God, and I rest in the shadow of the Almighty. And the God I love has promised:

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

No matter how things appear, the God I know always keeps His Word. Always. And love draws His presence. He can’t keep away from it. It’s what He created us for.

So I know that as I turn my heart toward my Savior in praise, glory approaches with Him. And I am reminded of Moses.

“When my glory passes by, I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.” Exodus 33:22-23

These words of God came in response to Moses’ bold request, “Now show me your glory” (verse 18). God responded by saying,

I will cause all of my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence.” (Verse 19)

Beloved, will you consider with me that in your moments of greatest darkness, God has hidden you in the cleft of the Rock to shield you from His approaching glory? As He covers you with His protective hand, the darkness appears thickest, yet He is nearest. While the enemy whispers that God has forsaken you, He is actually holding you in His grasp, causing all His goodness to pass by and proclaiming His name, the LORD, in your presence.

As God covers you with His protective hand, the darkness appears thickest, yet He is nearest. Click To Tweet

You see, we cannot see God approaching. We can’t stare head on into the fullness of His glory and survive the experience, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (verse 20).

And so as He draws near to meet us in our need, He covers us with His hand. Darkness looms, not because it’s winning, but because in that moment, we are unable to see the light of His glory. But as it passes by and He removes His protective hand, we have the privilege of seeing His glory as it departs.

Oh, how I love our Savior. He is near. Always. It’s we who continually depart.

And that, of course, remains the goal of our enemy’s illusions. Because union with God and belief in His Word sets the river of life within us flowing. And when the river flows within us, the power of God releases from us.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

There it is, beloved. The power of God lies within you waiting to be released as you exercise faith.

Believe, dear one. God’s Word remains true no matter how things appear. Offer Him a heart of praise in the midst of your difficulty. Draw near and grip Him tighter than ever. And when the darkness begins to dissipate, your eyes will glimpse the light of glory—glory released by your faith.

Fear of the Dark

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”  even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.. Psalm 139:11-12 ESV

Monsters lurk in the dark.

They like the shadows. Deception. Speculation and fear.

Only recently, some of those monsters decided to emerge from the shadows. Their evil in Paris exposed what they seek.

Hatred. Murder. Terror.

They aim to breed fear.

They reflect the heart of the god they serve, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world(Revelation 12:9).

Did you know that’s one of his names, dear one? Deceiver of the whole world.

Yes, beloved. Satan deceives. Everyone. Always.

He’s probably deceiving you. If you’re afraid, it’s working.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

Look at what Jesus said about the deceiver and his children in John 8:44.

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan lies to get what he wants. And his most deceived followers act just like him. He’s a murderer, and they murder. He deceives, and they deceive. They have set their will on carrying out their father’s desires, convinced the one who speaks to them is an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

If only the children of God lived as dedicated to His cause.

But we haven’t set our wills to carry out our Father’s desires. Instead we’ve allowed the deceiver to convince us to stay focused on our own. Instead of uniting in strength against our enemy, we fight one another. And instead of standing on the truth our Father’s Word proclaims, we have allowed the deceiver to fill our hearts with unbelief.

He has convinced us we can do nothing but hide and wait out the darkness. So we sit in our homes and point fingers of blame to justify our sorry state.

Perhaps it’s time for the people of God to open His Word and receive what it says.

Only one thing will prevail against the evil that threatens this earth, dear one. Jesus revealed the answer in Matthew 16:18.

 “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The deceiver doesn’t want you to know the power you wield, beloved. He’s tricked you into thinking you’re a powerless victim. But God’s Word says you’re anything but powerless.

You are the answer to the darkness.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1-3

Your Father never deceives, dear one. What He says always proves true.

And His Word tells us that evil will increase. Thick darkness will spread its cloak over the earth to smother all people. But our Father also delivers a glorious promise. The people of God needn’t fear the darkness.

Light has come, beloved. The glory of the Lord has risen. Did you notice where people will see it rising?

Upon you.

You hold the light capable of dispelling the darkness. Jesus gave it to you the moment you put your faith in Him. Now He asks you to believe and fervently join His agenda.

You must become who He is.

Darkness advances as the sons of the evil one more fully reveal their father. Light can only advance as the children of light take on the character of our Father.

Darkness advances as the sons of the evil one more fully reveal their father. We must reveal ours. Click To Tweet

Our Father does not fear the enemy. Our Father rests in truth. Our Father loves.

So must we.

A deceived world is desperate for truth. We must give it to them. Love is the way.

Light is, indeed, greater than the darkness. The One who lives in us is greater than the one who deceives the world.

Let’s show the world who Jesus really is.

Playing in the Sand

“ . . . But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:12

In case this is news to you, let me make something very clear: Satan knows he has been defeated. You should know it too.

In the great battle between good and evil, victory has already been declared in heaven. Satan and his demons have been cast down to the earth and rendered powerless by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:7-11).

You and I aren’t waiting to see who wins this thing, dear one. It’s been decided. Now we wait to see the victory God accomplished in heaven realized on this earth.

Perhaps this is a good time to remind you how Jesus taught us to pray.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

The enemy knows full well that one day his defeat will become abundantly evident here on earth as well. So in the meantime, he has set his fury on the one thing that can hinder his movement and power here. He comes with a vengeance against Christ’s bride, the church.

Why? Because of what Jesus declared in Matthew 16:18.

“ . . . and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Notice that Jesus didn’t say that hell would not prevail against Him. He clearly states that His church will secure the victory, a church built on this rock.

It seems appropriate to ask a significant question: Upon what rock will Christ build His prevailing church?

Let’s check the context of Jesus’ statement. He had just asked His disciples a question.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16

Look carefully at Jesus’ next words.

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:17-18

Peter had only one way of knowing Jesus was the Christ, the same way we do today. God revealed the truth to him. Jesus called Peter blessed because he had discerned and trusted what the Father had spoken to his heart about Jesus.

Peter heard and believed, and Jesus proclaimed,on this rock I will build my church.” Only a church founded and built on believing God’s words will prevail against our enemy.

Jesus gave a similar message in Matthew 7:24-25.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”

Only the house established and built on hearing and living the words of God prevails.

You might be interested to read how Revelation 12:15 describes the enemy’s attack on Christ’s bride.

The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood.

What pours from the mouth, dear one? Words. The ancient serpent, the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9), spews lies at the bride of Christ to carry her away like a flood.

And he isn’t passive about it. Verse 17 reveals he is furiously making war on all who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. But the ESV, heralded to be one of the more literal translations from the original Greek, adds these words about Satan.

And he stood on the sand of the sea.

Several other translations put the phrase at the beginning of chapter 13 as if John, the writer of Revelation, were the one standing on the sand. But when I read it in the ESV, something stirred in my heart.

You see, Jesus didn’t only teach about the strength and safety that comes from building on the rock in Matthew 7. He also warned of the dangers that come when we establish our foundation on the sand.

“And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:26-27

The torrents of lies flowing from the mouth of the serpent have one agenda: to convince us to stand with him on the sand.

When we believe his words over the Word of God we willingly step from our secure position onto his ground. As we move onto his turf, we give up all authority Christ provides.

But when we stand on the Word of truth, refusing to believe the enemy’s deceptions no matter what our eyes might see, we invite the supernatural power of the Word to reveal itself.

Only believers standing on truth and living the Word of God can defeat our enemy and reveal Christ’s victory on this earth. So Satan’s plan is simple: keep us from actively believing God’s words.

Know the power you wield, dear one. It comes from aligning your life with truth.

Let’s quit playing in the sand—and crashing in the surf.

Instead, let’s stand on the Word. Let’s feed on it. Live it. Believe it. Wield it.

It’s time we tossed our enemy in his own waves.