Beth Moore - Shining Like Stars in Deepening Darkness - Part 2
We're going to make a series of five points. Now listen. Originally I had six points, but I had to lose one of them. Why? Because a star only has five points. So, I'm a very obsessive-compulsive thinker, and so my mind nearly broke over it, and so I had to break up with my sixth point. I'm going to give it to you anyway at the very end of the lesson, but you're not going to put a sixth with it. No, you're not because it can't be. There can only be five points because there's five points on a star, and that's how... if it's your class you do it your way, but with my class we're coming up with five points 'cause that's how many points are on a star.
So, I want you to begin by taking two down in a row. The darkness has never seemed darker. Anybody? I'm saying in our lifetimes in this room that we remember, would it be fair to say that we look back over our shoulder and go, "I don't know if I've ever seen a darker time than now"? So, I'm not saying it is, I'm saying the darkness has never, to us, to this generation, it's never seemed darker than it is right now. Maybe as dark, but darker than it seems right now.
All right, number two is this. We stars have never had a chance to shine brighter. To the degree that the world around us just gets darker and darker, we tend to want to go dark with it. We tend to want to despair with it. We tend to want to get discouraged with it. But do you realize that it is when we contrast with it the most...? And it's not just some of us that were put up there in the black sky, it is all of us. It is all of us. I implore you in the name of Jesus to quit leaving it to your leaders to shine because it is your job and it is my job. And so, when we look around us and go, "The darkness..." 'Cause it's overwhelming, the darkness.
Let's get to where that next thought, that next thought is that with the deepening darkness comes the brighter and brighter radiance. We got the chance to shine right now. Our first order of business is we need to define what a star is, and we're going to do it in very, very basic terms. A natural luminous body visible in the sky especially at night. B is this. A self-luminous gaseous spheroidal celestial body of great mass... Aren't you glad we had A? Which produces energy by means of nuclear fusion reactions. In the most elementary terms, the primary difference between a star and a planet is, that while they are both celestial objects, so they have that in common, a planet has no light of its own. Indeed, that planet is incapable of producing light. All a planet can do is reflect light that is on it, but it has no power within it to create light. That's a planet.
So, in our Milky Way there's an estimated like 300 billion stars, and stars will vary in luminosity. Like we're not imagining things when we look in the sky and that one seems shinier and that one is less shiny. Well, of course, some of that is distance, and you realize how many light years they are past. It's just fascinating to me. But also, even if they were fairly equal distance, they could still look a little bit different in color and a little bit different in brightness according to how much light is being emitted and, listen, listen, listen, what the temperature of that light is. You know that because, when you build a fire or you even light a candle, you are looking at the different colors of light according to what part of it is the hottest and what part of it is the coolest. That is also true of a star. So they vary in luminosity and even color because of the temperature. It dictates those things.
This brings us to point number three that we'll kind of put this down on paper for us. Number three, unlike planets, each star possesses light in its core. Do you remember where Paul said in verse 15, "So that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars," where? In the world. Right here I want you to keep in mind that our world is our globe. Our globe is called earth; and it is not a star, it is a... Tell me again. It is a planet. So when it comes to a planet, understand that our planet... Does somebody hear me tonight? That our planet has no light of its own. Jesus said to his followers, "You are the light of the world".
Paul says shining like stars in the world. This world has no light of its own. All it can do is reflect off of what the sun gives it. I want you to think in that regard the sun as common grace, that he just gives light to us. He gives kindness to us in the seasons. A lot of our soil will grow vegetables. We have many common graces that also were given to those who do not know Christ. But the light that is within a core only comes through those who know the Lord Jesus Christ. Is anybody getting that with me? According to the Scriptures you are the light of the world, he says.
Now, in John chapter 1 it says that he brought the light and that light, this is Jesus. That light was the life of man. In other words, it was eternal life that he was bringing, that when he gives us that, I want you to think of it this way. It is like the Holy Spirit within us. When we come to know Christ as Savior and Lord, it is as if he has lit up... That light then by way of the Holy Spirit comes inside of us. Now, we can quench it. In other words, we can get that thing down so dim where it's just like an ember on that lamp. Think of yourself as a lamp and think of that as the... what do you call that on the lamp? The wick. Thank you. Thank you. The wick of the lamp and think of it like all the way just down to embers, or that thing can be a flame.
But you carry light, and I believe according to the Scriptures I don't think that light goes out. I think we just condemn it and we can cover it. And when he said you are the light of the world, he said but don't hide it. Let that thing shine so that it can bring glory to your Father in heaven. So keep that in mind. Keep that in mind. Another distinction is that planets don't have a twinkling effect like stars do, obviously because they don't have luminosity. But we're not also not imagining that twinkling to a certain extent. I love this. National Geographic staff writer Catherine Zuckerman writes this, and so I'm quoting her right now. "Gently singing twinkle, twinkle, little star may lull a baby to sleep, but beyond the confines of earth's atmosphere the words aren't exactly accurate. A correct, albeit less soothing rendition might be, 'Emit, emit gigantic ball of gas.'"
This is not quite the same, is it? Okay. I want you to think with me how in the world stars became synonymous with celebrities in our culture. But isn't that what it means? And I just want you to know something. I can't wait to work through this with you throughout the course of our time together. The thing about it is, we have this lust to shine solo, but when you shine solo in all your successes, the problem is you have no one to celebrate those successes with. And when you suffer after you have been a solo act, you've got nobody beside you. Nobody. Nobody. On the front of, you know, the gossip rags that are where you check out at the grocery store, isn't it true that you'll see like... see what so-and-so looks like now, and it's not going to be good because they were like stars but because they're no longer young, not shining nearly so brightly.
And who would not admit that we will all feel better when JLo gets cellulite? Just finally. I mean, are those eternal legs, or what? None of us... was she born with those legs, or what? We don't know. And I mean, like we wanted to say, "Look at JLo now". But we know if we turn to it, there she's going to be in all her beautiful legs. But see, that doesn't happen in God's universe. Our radiance as sacred stars is totally unrelated to youth, totally unrelated to physical appearance, and ticket sales, and earning power; and it has so much to do with the first two verses in Philippians 2.
I want to spend every minute we've got left in this session right there. Paul uses all sorts of linguistic styles, all sorts; and here he's using a bit of sarcasm to make the point. So, he says to us if there's just like any encouragement in Christ; I mean, if there's any consolation of his love; I mean, if there's like any fellowship with the Spirit, any affection and mercy make my joy complete. Think that same way. Have that same kind of heart. Be united in spirit and intend on one purpose; to glorify Christ Jesus, to be everything he has called you to be.
If there is anything the enemy has interrupted on planet Earth over the last 50 years, it is the element that we are about to talk about because our whole yearning and lust to be the only one in the picture, who could have foreseen that there would come a day when most pictures that we take would be of ourselves? This is that lust for the solo. I mean, we want that. But what we're going to find out is that one reason why we stay so despairing and joyless is because we are independent of the communities of faith that are around us. Now, whether or not that is physical, there are times, we've been through one of those times where for safety we did everything we could to make it online attachment, but let me tell you something.
When it came to the New Testament church, to the fellowship of believers, there was nothing in their thinking that would have had us all scattered instead of invested in a community of faith because we need each other so badly, that we would have compadres in the faith. And I want you to go through those, if any, with me and we'll build on them because the first question is: Is there any encouragement in Christ? Encouragement in Christ isn't just hot air. It isn't just a pep talk, it possesses power. It's also completely unlimited by circumstances. And don't think that this isn't important because, in other words, there is still endless encouragement in Christ when we're not the champions, my friends, and we feel like we're losing till the end.
Everybody know what I'm talking about? We are not the champions. We're not the champions. Nobody's got time for losers but Jesus. All the time in the world for losers. Just think about it with me. Think about the best we can do. "You got this". "No. I very definitely do not. I've been trying to tell you for weeks I really don't got this. I really don't got it". If then there is any encouragement in Christ, I mean the real kind, it really does possess power, truth, promises. If any consolation of his love, I have decided that consolation is one of my very favorite words. I really have. I just love it. I was thinking about, I wrote down that one way we can encourage one another in Christ is to say, 'cause this is why it's not dependent on circumstances. "I know you're having a really rough time, but you're really shining right now. Really shiny". You know what I'm saying? 'Cause there's just no time it doesn't fit.
Now, consolations of love. I want you to think of this, and as you walk with God, in what ways does he just tell you, fairly personally does he just remind you that he loves you, that he loves you? I find that I truly... and there are times that he reminds me through my phone. I'll get a text from someone and they'll say, "I just really was thinking about you today". And it can work. It can work. But I just find so much of what's happening on our phone, especially in social media, is a dopamine hit 'cause I want you to know, listen, listen. The degree that people can keep hitting that like, like, like, like, like, like, like, do not tell me that when there are fewer likes we are not like, "I'm wondering what they didn't like about that. They don't like me".
No, they didn't like your post. But we are our post, remember? And now we're losers. We were champions yesterday. We were champions, and now we're losers. I was a champion this morning, and I was a loser by 4 this afternoon. So just look away from it and just like how does he show you. For me so much of it is outside, and I think there's a basis for that. I think Romans tells us that. "For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, has been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made".
So, a lot of times I don't know about you, and you don't have to have places to walk. We can just go out and stand under the sun for a minute and just like feel it. Like today it was cool. You just, you're not from Houston. And that breeze, it was just unreal. I did all of my preparations this morning outside at the hotel. I was like, "I can't get over this. I can't get over this". But what is it he does? What is it he does? For me it can be the smallest thing. It could be a butterfly. It could be anything. That I just like... that if I'll just walk with him, I'll just be with him just to see something.
There's a third one, and it's fellowship with the Spirit. I just love the passages in 1 John chapter 1 where he says that, this one they speak of. They said, "We've seen him with our eyes. We've heard him with our ears. We've touched him with our hands, concerning the word of life. And we have seen and heard declare to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son". And we know with his Spirit. I mean, I want you to under... do you realize that as people in Christ we fellowship with the entire triune God?
My preacher, two Sundays ago, he was using the C. S. Lewis metaphor of the Trinity. You know, C.S. Lewis just was obsessed with the Trinity, and so he wrote tons on it. But one of the things he said is, he said it's not just this like stayed kind of thing. It's just like dramatic and it's... he said further than drama, perhaps dance. And so, what my pastor was saying is, he said, fellowship with the Spirit is if the Spirit is like the three in one are just like engaged in this gorgeous drama, this dance, if you will, and the Holy Spirit puts out his hand like this and says, "Come and join us".
I just love the picture of it. And the two others I want you to pull up. We're going from encouragement, consolation, fellowship. I want you to go over here to affection now. I want you to go across and write mercy, and then I want you to come all the way back down to encouragement. I want to say a last couple of words about affection and mercy, and you're not imagining things if according to the diagram you're beginning to conclude how much these have to do with whether or not we have joy. Make my joy complete. If there's any encouragement in Christ, any consolation of love, any fellowship with the Spirit, any affection and mercy, make my joy complete. Affection, some of your translations will say tenderness or tender, and that is the meaning of the word. It means something that comes all the way from the innermost parts or innards.
A deep, deep feeling, deep, deep feeling down inside. It's when we treat one another, listen carefully, with tenderness. And it very often is a tenderness that is associated with vulnerability. In other words, somebody has shown us a tenderness in such a way that they were vulnerable in it. When was the last time somebody just dealt with you tenderly? Because what we need in this day and time is a little tenderness because this is a mean, cold world. Wouldn't you agree? One of my co-laborers in Christ was telling the story 'cause I asked them. I said, "When were you treated tenderly when you weren't expecting it"?
He loves his pastor so much, works for his pastor. But he said they came to a situation that they just vehemently disagreed in, just vehemently disagreed. And he said he spoke his disagreement and, I mean, they just like had a moment, but he said what got to him later was a thought to himself, "That was my boss. I should not have spoken that plainly to my boss". But he said you know what? He never ever exploited that power. He said there was nothing that came from it. Nothing. Nothing. No retaliation of any kind. Tenderness. Tenderness. I was telling them earlier, I was on a walk with Keith out in the middle of nowhere and I stepped on a thorn. I had kind of an open shoe like that. A rubber bottom, almost like a tennis shoe on the bottom but at the top it was almost like a ballet shoe. And a thorn went straight through my foot and all the way up through my foot, sticking out the top of it and literally I was like... I couldn't even tell what was hurting.
My whole foot hurt. And my husband, if you just knew what he was like... you've never met a gruffer man except with his wife. He dropped to his knees. He pulled that shoe off and pulled that thorn out. Before he could even think, he picked up the bottom of my foot and he just kissed all over it. I'll never forget it. He couldn't have planned it. I mean, he could, it was 2 seconds later, just second nature to him kiss it, kiss it, kiss it, kiss it. But it was one of the most tender things that had ever happened to me. Vulnerable, tender, mercy. Be merciful with folks. Be merciful because you know what? We need mercy so badly. And James, the half-brother of Jesus, has told us mercy trumps over judgment.
Jesus said, "Really be careful what you meet out in mercy 'cause I'm going to use that same measuring cup". Be merciful to people. Keith and I were on safari some years ago after I had spoken in Cape Town and in Johannesburg, and we were staying in a tiny little cabin that was on an overhang that looked over a lake, and we had seen earlier that day there were hippos in the lake, and you could see giraffes, and there were monkeys. I had walked all that area. We'd gone to sleep that night, and Keith woke me up about 3:30 in the morning.
He leaned over and said, "Elizabeth, Elizabeth, get up". He said, "Grab your covers," 'cause it was winter there, "and come out with me on the porch". He said, "I made a pot of coffee". And we went outside and the whole sky was filled with twinkling stars, but it was reflecting off the lake. And every one of those stars, there was not a single breeze. Every one of those stars were radiating off of that water and we were hung midair in between the stars. "Abraham, look up at the sky. See the stars. Can you count them? So will your offspring be".