Black Friday to ‘Turn Back’ Friday

As we journey through a very hectic Holiday season I have returned to the blog after almost a month away. I am not apologizing for my prolonged absence, because I have decided to enjoy more freedom to write or not as I please. I do plan to return to a more regular weekly blog, but there are seasons on the rise that might make that more and more difficult. That is my way of saying, “WE ARE PREGNANT!” My wife, Lariza, has just completed her first trimester and the due date, God-willing, is June 3rd, 2013. As we prepare for the growth of our family we’ve also been blessed by the purchase of a larger house on our behalf. This means renovating and moving are on my mind in increasing measure right now. All that is to say that we have been up to a lot lately and more to come 🙂

Since my last post, God has gripped me with tons that I wanted to blog about, but never found time to devote to sharing. Today, however, I feel like the timing couldn’t be better to express what is on my heart.

As I write this, I am still full from a great Thanksgiving feast last night and approaching time for the family to journey out and explore the world of Black Friday sales. We’ve determined we will not fight over big screens with the crazies, but we will see what’s available and take advantage of the huge discounted items that we might need for the new home. The fact that today was named due to the insane traffic and chaos makes my post the more appropriate.

Today has become a day of darkness. A day when consumerism runs wild. A day when the politeness and mercy of many becomes greed and violence. Today I suggest we take Black Friday back for the kingdom of light. What if we made today ‘Turn Back’ Friday? What if today in Christendom became a day devoted to repentance? What if we as a people intentionally made today a day of apostolic mission to dispel the darkness with the light?

We can be the Light!

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

God is Light!

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” ~1 John 1:5-10 NLT

About a week ago, God brought an issue to light for me. It was an error that I knew needed to be addressed but it was one in which I had continually done a great job of deceiving myself. TEXTING and DRIVING.

I know that a gasp has now just fallen over many of my readers. I know that it is against the law. I know that it is against common sense. I know that it is dangerous. I know. I know. I truly do KNOW. The problem is that my arrogance can sometimes outweigh wisdom. Let me explain…

I will justify what I am texting.. Well It is a message to a friend who really needs some counseling right now.

Or the light was red and it just turned green…I’ll stop as soon as i finish this sentence.

Or I am tweeting a powerful scripture right now that people need to read…It can change someone’s life.

Here is where I find I always get myself in trouble… LET ME EXPLAIN. Justifying my actions is my most direct sign that in that area I am walking in darkness. When I live in the light, the Lord’s justification is a constant lamp. He walks before me and makes the way bright. When questioned, there is no need inside of me to develop a defense. The Lord is my shield.

When I came to Christ, the Lord gave me a sentence that has been a game changer in this area.

“The devil in me makes justifications “ I placed that on my car visor as a reminder and it has helped me tremendously. However, that phrase has faded from my visor with wear and…about a week ago I found myself acting as we all do when we’ve been in the dark long enough. I began to consciously hide there.

With daylight savings time upon us, it is now darker earlier in the evening. What that meant for me was that the drive home which is normally in the light is now often in the dark. This is a non-issue outside of the fact that the glow of my cell-phone is quite apparent. As the Lord has worked on me about this issue, I recognized that I should not be texting as I drive, however what that first created was a willingness to prevent others from seeing me texting. In the dark it was too obvious and so…I found myself going into my phone’s settings to turn down the brightness of the glow…and BAM!

That was when God hit me very loudly and clearly. “I see you.”

I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me.” Jeremiah 16:17 NLT

“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” ~John 3:19-21 NLT

In that moment, I could have made the easy choice. I could have dimmed my light and kept on trucking. Isn’t that what the ways of our sin nature would instruct us to do. But God caught me red handed and I couldn’t keep running to darkness. I was literally refusing to shine.

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46 NIV

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” ~Daniel 12:3 NIV

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” ~Matthew 5:14-16 NLT

This is something that I could have been silent about. This is something that damages my reputation and possibly the reputation of Christ followers, but this is the truth. I could have simply left this between God and I, but the fact is…it has been between God and I for a while and I have found justifications for my misdeeds. Bearing this before a public audience is an appropriate response for my desire to hide this. It is my hope that we grow in the power that comes from opening up about our struggles. The enemy gains power over us as we hide our sins. We gain strength as we share them.

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13 NIV

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16 NIV

Ok folks. I have gone first. I have shed light on my darkness. I have got the ball rolling for you.

While the malls are crowded with shoppers and prices drop all over your town, let us crowd the houses of our friends and family. Let us drop to our knees in repentance to the Lord and in the sharing of our sins with one another.

Let’s turn Black Friday – – – into – – – ‘Turn Back’ Friday.

Flee from your sins. Turn Back to the Lord.

Find someone right now to open up to.

Ready, Set….GO!

p.s. My daughter shared this video with me and I had to share it with you all.

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