Lighting the Dark


“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light” (John 1:5, Common English Bible).

I love this picture. As you look at it, we obviously can see the candle and the flame. What isn’t so easy to see is the table on which the candle sits. Light is what makes the real difference.

Even a single candle can make a tremendous difference in a dark room. The light from the candle overcomes the darkness. Does it become brightly lit with a single candle or even a dozen candles? No, but it sheds enough light to function, even in the relative dark. You add more candles to the mix and you can do even more.

You could fill the room with candles and it would never become as bright as a room lit with electric light bulbs, but no one would really expect it to do so. The light has chased darkness out.

Many things can over power the candle. The wind or a breath can blow out the candle. All the wax can melt thereby removing the fuel and the light would go out. If it is an airtight room, if the candle has enough fuel, eventually all the oxygen would run out and the flame would die. It is the simple principle of the fire triangle. The triangle is made from heat, fuel and oxygen. If you remove any one of the sides of the triangle the fire dies. The light would go out.

But here is the deal. Any number of things attacking one or more sides of the triangle can remove the light, but darkness is not one of them. Light can overcome darkness but darkness can never overcome light without something else playing a role as well.

John says, “Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot put out the light.” The light is Jesus and the darkness is the evil in the world around us. And, evil cannot overcome the light without something else playing a role. We are that something else. We can play a role in the light not shining in the darkness.

In truth, we can’t extinguish the light. We can’t overcome the power Jesus has in the battle against evil. But, we can certainly hide the light. Unfortunately, we often do hide the light by the things we say and do. We block others from seeing the light and cause them to wander aimlessly in the dark in the evil that exists in our own lives.

I have always loved the old Sunday school song, “This Little Light of Mine.” I thought about the verse that says, “Hide it under a bush, OH NO, I’m going to let it shine.” All of us need to have the determination the song speaks of, determination to let the light shine brightly in the darkness, to let the light go unblocked by the “bushes” of life so we can let Jesus shine. In the words of yet another song, “Shine Jesus, Shine.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord,

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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