Julie and I send you our love. Moreover this Christmas may you freshly encounter the love that Jesus has for you! I woke up today hearing Matthew 4:16 in my heart. It says, “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.” Please, I want to share what the Lord gave me about this.
At 336 AD, Christmas was a special mass (Christ’ Mass) that organized as a holy day to celebrate Jesus. December 25th, being the winter solstice on the Roman calendar was chosen because it is the shortest and thus the darkest day of the year. All of us have some dark days but in the middle of them, including the very darkest, we have Jesus. John 1:4 tells us, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”. Jesus said that He is the light of the world. As we follow Him we will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.
The darkness takes many forms. Sin of course, but it is also the pain suffered in life coming to our heart and manifesting in many negative emotions. Whether it be fear, anger, sadness, loneliness, guilt, shame, offense, rejection, or feeling devalued. These pains or the darkness must be released out of us and dissolved. They are not to be carried or stuffed inside for a season. Not even a day. We should not sit and suffer in any form of darkness. Let me share how this works for me.
First, I don’t try to resist or fight the darkness myself. I look at it, feel it, and accept that it is happening. Why, because I am not the light. Then I come into the presence of Jesus who is the light. I bring whatever darkness I am experiencing with me into His presence. The darkness (pain and/or negative emotions) is not me. It is not my identity, but it is something being experienced that wants to tell me this is who I am. However, it is not. So I sit or stand in the presence of Jesus and experience His love for me. This is His light and it dissolves the darkness. The goal is to be with Jesus and to be in the light. This is very tangible. Sometimes I feel His touch and the darkness dissolves. Sometimes I hear His words and the pain dissolves. Sometimes I find Him simply in the silence and the fear leaves and His peace comes. Sometimes I initiate and talk to Him first. Other times He communicates first. Other times, when I read scripture, His light and presence come and the darkness fades into non-existence. When I am blocked and not connecting with Him, I usually find I need to forgive someone. Many times that someone is me. My goal is simple and singular. To connect with Jesus, who is the light.
In the natural, light overcomes, dispels, and dissolves darkness. Darkness has no power over light. The sun always wins. The Son always wins. Deeper or more extreme darkness functions only to make a light brighter. If I am standing in a room with the lights on, I can bring a thousand boxes filled with darkness, open them, and try to pour the darkness out. But what happens? The light dissolves and destroys it. Not only in the room but it destroys the darkness inside the box.
I hear this in my spirit, “So open your heart, pour out the darkness to me. If it’s needed to cry to open the box, cry. If you need to shout or scream, do it. It’s ok. Whatever it takes to open your heart, I can handle it. It will not affect me, I am the light. Just get your heart open and let it out and let me in. I am the light and I am the healing. I don’t want you to sit and suffer in the darkness. Let it out. Let it all go. I am coming in. Light is coming in. Healing is coming in. Freedom is coming in. It is me your light, your life, and your love. I will raise you up and you will stand again. You will be free and shine again. We will walk forward together.”
There have been times in life when I suffered physical pain and sickness. As a new Christian, I suffered a torn rotator cuff in a skiing accident. There was so much pain while attempting to stand in faith, confess healing scriptures, and trying to receive my healing. As I remember, this painful condition carried on for a little more than two weeks. Finally, I went out into the pasture to be alone and pray. I said, “Jesus I am doing everything they taught me and that I know to do. I am confessing what your word says. Lord I am trying to have faith.” Then I got honest and began to cry as I remember and said, “But Lord, you know and I know, that I really don’t have the faith to receive it so would you just have mercy on me and heal me anyway?” As soon as I cried out, His presence came upon my body and it felt like a warm oil went into my shoulder and all the pain left and I could raise my arm up. Looking back, that was faith in that moment. Not trusting in my faith or the little light I had but trusting in His love and mercy for me.
In October and November of last year, I witnessed the celebration of a major holiday called Diwali (the festival of lights). Everywhere there were beautiful decorations made of colored rice and little oil lamps and candles. All kinds of parties, festivities, and the stores were decorated. It’s a major time of buying and giving gifts. It means many things to the different religions in that part of Asia. For some Hindus the little lamps / lights signify personal enlightenment or spiritual state coming from their personal god or gods. There of course, they have millions of different gods. Christmas is not to celebrate my light or enlightenment. Nor a light of my denomination, doctrine, or theological strain of thought. We celebrate Jesus Christ and the light that He is. But more than celebrate, may we experience His light and live in the light that He is every day. May we walk in the light of Jesus and truly live. I want to reflect Jesus and to shine.
In 2021, we shall continue to preach this Gospel that transforms men and women into the image of Christ. To shine with this light. Soul Harvest is continuing with the Bible and missions schools in Asia. Also, we are looking forward to having Gospel crusades in those nations as well as in Colombia. We will continue our church planting, feeding the hungry, and other assignments that the Lord will give us in the new year. We look forward to experiencing and being used as a catalyst for revival in the U.S. The Son always wins!
Please agree in prayer and stand with us to reach this goal. We have been constantly grateful to God and to you especially these past nine months. Because of your prayers and generosity, Soul Harvest did not lose any ground in 2020. We were able to sustain all ongoing ministry in Asia and Colombia and to even take on a few new assignments.
We wish you a joyful time as we celebrate Jesus,
Charley & Julie