Beth Moore - Shining Like Stars in Deepening Darkness - Part 5
In the glorious and holy name of Jesus, everybody say "Hallelujah" and "Amen". You may be seated. Turn back with me to Philippians chapter 1 and 2 please. And I thought that I would tell you a little story of something very dramatic that happened to me this week. For you who are not dog lovers, it will not seem like a big deal, but if you are dog freaks, you will be able to get it and understand what I'm talking about. On Wednesday, had set aside the whole day to study and get ready for you. I always leave on Thursdays and head this direction. I've done that ever since this side of 9/11, when security started being so vicarious and things got so crazy at the airport after that point. I decided to always fly in the day before so that there was no travel drama on the day of and taking no chance of not making it to the conference, so this is just something we do.
So, Wednesday, I'd done my work at the office, Monday, Tuesday. Wednesday, home, getting ready for today and yesterday. And so, Keith had run some errands about mid-morning and he had just been gone a couple of minutes when I around around me and I could... we have two dogs and, well, something happens if you are parents, something happens when you have raised your kids and then you get dogs. I don't know, all that energy, somehow, it just like, they're not just like your outside critters. These are, like, they sleep into the bed with you. It's pathetic, it's absolutely pathetic. But we are dog freaks. We plan our vacations around where our dogs can go. We have stayed in every Motel 6 and Super 8 in the United States of America so that our dogs could stay with us. We're just dog freaks. And I look up and I realize that I don't know where Creek is.
Now, Creek is our third German shorthaired pointer. We just love that breed. I don't recommend it. I don't recommend it, because they're very, very naughty and they're runners. They just love, they just, oh, they're just adventurers. And so we just, we had had one for some 20 years because we had one that lived to be 9, had another one lived to be 9, and then this one is 3, and we're just, like, crazy about her. Absolutely crazy about her. I don't know how to explain what happens with these dogs, but as a friend of mine said, that also raises 'em, she said, "They're just addictive," and they really, really are, and terrible. Absolutely terrible. Cute. Cute as they can be, and so I start looking around me and my other dog, her name is Queen Esther. She's a border collie.
I was writing the Esther Bible study when I got Queen Esther, so I named her that. And so, I nickname her Star and she's just perfect, in every way. She's just perfect. So she's right where she's supposed to be. I look at her like this, go, "Where's your sister"? And I'm out on the back porch with the door open to the house, and I look around the yard like this, 'cause we've got some acreage and then we've got what is our fenced-in back yard and I start calling Creek. And I don't see her and then I go in the house. I look everywhere and I thought, I even looked, started looking under beds because if it thunders even anywhere in the distance, she's under a bed. So I go looking everywhere. I look in every closet to see, well, did she get stuck somewhere? But she would always bark.
And I start, like, I can feel the heat kind of coming up in my chest and sort of up toward my throat, and I glance at the door to the garage and it's cracked open. And I realize that Keith went out of it to run his errands and that the wind, it was really, really breezy on Wednesday, and I realized that that door had blown open and I knew then, I knew instinctively what had happened, that she had chased his truck. Now, we live out in the country, but we live by a highway that is, like, terrifying to pull out on. It's two, it's just two-way and it is just like, I mean, you have to sit there 5 solid minutes waiting for a time to turn left because it's so busy. And I was just, like, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no". And I didn't have any reason to think that except that that door was open and I know if she saw Keith get in that truck, she'd have thought, "I'm supposed to go with him".
So I call him, go, "Do you have Creek"? He says, "No, babe, why wouldn't I have told you that I had her if I had her"? And I said, "Babe, I can't find her". And he said, "Well, go find her". I mean, he feels as strongly about her as I do. So I start looking all over the property. I start calling and calling and calling and calling and calling and calling and calling. I don't have any idea how many miles I walked that day, going everywhere I could think of, up and down by our neighbors' houses. We put a beeper on her when we walk her that I hold in my hand where I can beep, where I can always know exactly where she is, 'cause we have some acreage, she can... I don't have to have her on a leash.
So I got it and I beeped it where she would know, that's your signal, come to me. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Well, what you need to know is that after a while, by this time, I've called her and looked for her for a solid hour and a half. What you've got to know, though, because I believe this is something that God wants to work in somebody here, what you need to know is that when our last bird dog, who was, her name was Angelina. We call her Jelly. When our last bird dog was 9 years old, this exact same thing happened, exactly, and she had been devoured by coyotes. And I would go all day long, calling her and we would find her at 5 p.m. that afternoon, in the most traumatic, I cannot even tell you, I still... when I go by that part of our acreage where she ran through, she ran after some deer and ran straight into coyotes and it was during a freeze and they were up close to the house.
And I cannot tell you when I look at that particular place that she ran through to the other side of, someone else's property, when I look at it, the hair on the back of my neck can stand up. It was so traumatic to us. And I had called her all day long. Well, I was reliving the whole thing. And so, we get to the mid-part of the afternoon and Amanda mentioned something to me. She said, "Mother, do you know that", 'cause now my girls are all upset about it. I said, "I can't find her anywhere". I'm just like, I'm out of my mind. I'm out of my mind. I called Keith. He said, "You still haven't fond her"? I'm crying by now. I say to him, and a husband knows when a wife means it: "Come home". You know what I'm talking about? "Come home".
I said, "I cannot", and he knows what's going through my mind, because he knows I've already been through this. He knows what that trauma was like. And so I am telling you, I am just beside myself, and Amanda says, "Mom, you're not on Facebook, but," she said, "sometimes, neighborhoods have a Facebook page and they'll say if they found..." She said, "Do you know anyone in the neighborhoods around you"? Well, no, because we live out in the country. I know people that own the pastures around us. We don't live in a neighborhood. So it's like, "No, no, I don't". Well, I could think of one person that lives across the highway, on the other side, and that was my co-worker's daughter, and I thought maybe she could look at their Facebook page and see.
Y'all, I'm gonna tell you something. In about five minutes, as soon as I got a hold of K-Mac, my assistant, and I said, "Just chance it, just chance it". In no time at all, I get this picture back. It's on their Facebook page, and it's Creeky. And she's standing in front of a Mexican food restaurant, y'all. It's so Moore, I cannot even tell you. It was so Keith and Beth Moore that she found refuge at a Tex-Mex. I cannot even tell you. I'm sure she was looking for a fajita. Y'all, she chased Keith's truck. How he never saw her and how he didn't run over her, I will never know, because she's naughty. She's naughty. Then she would have chased him out on the highway. How she did not get hit, I will never know. But she went to the Mexican food restaurant and, there, someone found her. Someone put on the Facebook page that she's here.
Within about 45 minutes, we had her in our possession, but I wanna tell you something, I wanna tell you something. All day long, I was anticipating the bad ending and I wanna speak this over somebody and let God let it land where it needs to and with whom it needs to. But I wonder if somebody here, like, you've had such a hard time, you just constantly expect the terrible ending. And I wonder, maybe, if we could get freed up from that today? I wonder? Does anybody know what I'm talking about, if maybe we could get a little bit freed up from that today? That if there be any encouragement in Christ, not every discouragement. If there be any consolation of love, to be consoled instead of in constant dread. If there be any fellowship with his Spirit, I'm so loved by God. He's merciful and affectionate to me. I want you to know, I lived in a cycle of falling back and forth into a pit.
I lived in it. And I would truly repent but because I had such a cyclical pattern to my life and my insides were still the same old insides, I'd never known the freedom of the Holy Spirit through the knowledge of the Scriptures, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free". That never had just operated. I just thought, "Forget what's behind you, and just like, go, go. Don't even think about it anymore". I'd never let the Lord just come and work that healing in me. But I want you to hear something. He broke that cycle. He broke that cycle. And he can break yours. He can. Your history does not have the right to read like prophecy in your life. No, no. Just because of that bad ending, doesn't mean this next season of your life ends badly. Get out of your head that it's always, always going to go wrong. Trust yourself to Christ. He is the glorious good ending that never ever, ever ends.
Well, I told you some of the things about Willow, my 5-year-old granddaughter. One of the things she said to us last time she was here, she was in the back seat in her car seat and her mother and I were in the front seat and her sister in the car, and her brother was with her daddy and she said, "Mom, did you know that heaven is like jail"? And we were both like... She said, and she realized that she might have said it a little bit wrong. She said, "But good jail". Some of us in this room think that. We do. We think, "Well..." 'Cause I can remember when I was a little bitty kid, I thought, "Well, when I was thinking through salvation," I thought, "Well, you know, you've got two options, either hell or heaven, and heaven doesn't sound all that great, but it's better than hell".
That's how I thought about it. You know what I'm saying? Because, I don't know, I just thought, "We're gonna play harps forever and ever". And I thought, "Oh no, can we throw in some volleyball? You know what I'm saying? Can we have a dance"? But I wanna tell you something: it's gonna be so good. It's gonna be so good. And do you understand that time will pass away. We won't be up there, going like, "Man, it's been a long time". 'Cause I don't know about you, but thinking about, like, forever and ever, but we're thinking that we're gonna think in terms of time. We won't have any concept of time.
So it won't be like we're up there, like, 10,000 years is a long time to be alive. You know what I'm saying, like? Y'all, we'll be in the holy presence and we're gonna eat and we're gonna drink and we're gonna dance and we're gonna worship and we're just gonna live in the presence of God and the kingdom ground will be of greater substance. You've gotta understand that we're so afraid to leave this behind because we can see it and touch it. Listen, this is a shadow of the reality to come. I think we think we're gonna live like a ghost and that's not appealing to us. It's like, we're going to "good jail," huh? No, we're going to the glorious presence of God where we will be happy, where every tear will be dried. Where all our sorrows will pass away. Remember that I told you that we were gonna make five points 'cause a star has five points and that I had six, but I had to take it off. Remember that?
So this is not a point. Don't think it is, what I'm about to say. This is not a point. I just wanna kind of go toward an ending with it, but it's not a point, even if I've got it down with highlighted yellow in my notes, it's not a point. But here's what I wanna say to you. I want you to see, based on that 4:4, Philippians 4:4, do you remember I read it to you early. "Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say, Rejoice"! Remember at the end of Philippians 1 when he said, "And I'm glad and I rejoice with you and I want you to be glad and, like, I want you to rejoice with me". "Rejoice, and again I say rejoice". And so, this is the corniest statement I may have ever made in my entire speaking ministry, and I don't mind telling you that is saying something. I have been corny. If I have been nothing else, I have been corny, and this is not a point, it's just a statement. But I wrote down in my notes: "REJOICING CAN PUT THE TWINKLE BACK IN A TIRED STAR".
Now, I want you to think about it because we have seen two different words for it. We have seen, he said, "Then make my joy complete". He talks about joy, joy, joy, joy, joy. Joy is an overriding, overarching them in the glorious four-chapter letter to the believers in Philippi. But then he says to us in 4:4: "Rejoice. Rejoice. And again I say rejoice". And I wanna tell you what I think of every single time I think about rejoice and joy. I think about how, when we think about how can I get... one of our whole driving points this weekend has been claiming our joy back. It's our birthright in Christ. And how, when we feel like dim of light and tired and weary, how in the world can we reactivate that joy and we talked about these things that help make our joy complete. We talked about encouragement in Christ. We've talked about consolations of love, fellowship in the Spirit, affection, and mercy. But one of the things that God has taught me is that I can, stay with me here, rejoice my way back to joy.
Let me say that again. That what we can do, sometimes, you've got the word "joy" and you've got the word "rejoice". Now, joy is a noun; rejoice is a verb. At some times, the way to get our joy back is if we're gonna verb our way back to the noun. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? So I'm depleted of joy, so what am I gonna do so that I can reactivate my joy? Well, I'm going to rejoice my way back to my joy. I'm going to verb my way, action verb my way, back to my noun. We gotta learn to verb our way back to our noun, 'cause a verb is not a noun. But a noun's a noun. Is anybody tracking with me? Do I have an English teacher in the house? I'm an English minor so this means a lot to me, here. Everybody say, "I gotta verb my way back to the noun".
Now, I'm gonna give you an example but you do it all the time. You do it when you get in your car and you think, "Oh man, I am so sleepy today. I have not one drop of energy," and you might put on some really, really good praise music. Maybe you're gonna put on "Rattle" by Elevation. You're gonna put on something that's gonna have you up, singing it. And you know what you're doing, because in a little while, the Lord has lifted your spirits and you have verbed your way to your noun because you've rejoiced your way back to joy. Do you have nothing to rejoice over? If any, he says. Any encouragement, right? Any consolation of love, any fellowship with the Spirit. Any affection out there? Any mercy out there? Make my joy complete. What is there to rejoice over? I wanna give you one little way to practice it.
You know it, you've done it a million times, but I'm gonna make a statement and when I get to the end of that, when I make the statement, I'm gonna point to you and it will be your turn, and I simply want say to say the words, "And I will rejoice," just to give you a little feel of it, okay? So, I'll make a statement, then it will be your turn, and all you're gonna say, four words, "And I will rejoice". Rejoicing is an action of the will. We cannot just, like, will ourselves to joy but we can rejoice our way. I will myself. Is anybody tracking with me? I will myself to rejoice. I'm gonna praise my God. I'm gonna thank my God, I'm gonna have gratitude before my God. I'm gonna rejoice my way back to joy, and see if this kind of stuff doesn't help. I'll make a statement, then you make yours.
What's your statement? "And I will rejoice". Kids don't have to turn out just like their parents. "Our past has no hold on our future. God's mercies are new every single morning. The Evil One will not get the last say. Our enemy will fall into the trap he set for us. For those who love God and are called according to his purpose, every single thing has to work together for our good. We have not outsinned Christ's ability to forgive us. Christ will return and claim his kingdom, and There will be no more crying, no more pain, no more suffering, no more strain, and The last enemy Christ will slay and... is death itself. For you were called to the joy of Jesus". Because it's your right by an act of your will to verb your way back to your noun. Sometimes, that's also true in love. Beautiful thing about love is it's both a verb and a noun.
But I'm gonna tell you something. When we're real cold to people, we can't feel the love ourselves. To open our hearts up and to begin to love and to receive love, all of a sudden, we're in that place of love. One of the things that I became extremely concerned about many, many years ago, in my speaking ministry, was that we would just study this thing all weekend long. This is what I love. I'll go someplace and I'll speak, like at an evening gathering or whatever. I love to do that. I love anywhere I get an opportunity to serve. But my thing is this. And my thing is in-depth Bible study. I want a group to move from A to B to C, that we're going somewhere together.
But I would be frustrated at the end because I would think, "Did they own it"? Because, we can talk about this kind of stuff all day long. We can talk about it till summer turns to autumn, and autumn turns to winter, and winter turns to spring. Years on end. But if you don't own it, and I don't own it, nothing happens. If we don't just like, really like, let the message get in us and work its way out of us into our actions, then nothing happens. So I began to just pray, "Lord, give me a way that we end where we have to own it ourselves and we walk out with it. And you beautiful little star, you shine, girl. You shine. You shine all around". "Look into the sky, count the stars, if indeed you could count them. So shall your offspring be". Would you repeat after me, if this is your conviction:
Lord Jesus, I confess to you that the darkness around me has nearly enveloped me. I say to You Lord that I've felt overcome at times and so outnumbered Lord I've felt completely defeated but here is what I know today the darker the darkness around me the brighter I have a chance to shine.