Some people don't do well with blood... and guts. They like to keep things on the surface. Warning... this message contains some spiritual blood and guts. This isn't surface, this is warfare. Humility...
People often think of spiritual warfare as supernatural paranormal manifestations. But more often than not, it is very 'earthy'. In John 8 Jesus tears the mask off of an earthy argument with the Pharisees to reveal the spiritual warfare beneath. They claim to be children of Abraham and children of God, but Jesus reveals through their purpose and life action a different spiritual heritage. What does your purpose and life action reveal? Who are you Jesus... to me?
The Christmas season followed upon by New Years day is a mixed bag of feelings and focus. Christmas looks back at Christ's birth; New Years looks ahead at what needs to change in the year to come. In 2 Timothy 2:1-4 Paul uses the illustration of soldiering to compel Timothy toward discipleship. In this "At War" series, we look to God's Word to fight the good fight in 2017. But we do so in the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christmas! Hope, peace, joy, love, and war! They go together!
What is your measure of hope? While their seems to be much reason for confusion and despair, the God of the Bible gives Hope! And that hope is in His Son Jesus Christ! Come indentify with the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in both his despair and in his hope! "God is not dead nor doth He sleep! The wrong shall fail the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men!"
Love... it's foundation, it's definition, it's expression, it's... presence. There is nothing more confused and misguided in our culture than the meaning of love. This advent topic of love, the love of God in and through us as presented from John's gospel, and the epistle of 1 John will challenge and encourage... and SAVE!
Joy to the world the Lord is come! Joy is meant to be expressed, while pleasure can only be experienced. God expresses joy in Christ! When Christ is received by faith, that joy is received and can then be expressed again out into the world! Jesus said "I tell you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete." What did He tell us and what difference does it make? All the difference in the world... and beyond!
We begin a series of Christmas messages paralleling the advent topics. We are looking at Peace, then Joy, then Love, and lastly hope. Luke 2... "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." When the angel pronouncedd peace on earth, what did he mean? Jesus had a lot to say about peace. Are you at peace in this world filled with conflict? Are you at peace with God?
1 Thessalonians 5:18 commands us to '...give thanks in all circumstances...' How can we be genuinely thankful in the midst of suffering, knowing that this is the type of NEW people God wants to make us? Let's learn from history and see how the Pilgrims did it!
One coin has two sides. Paul's 'one thing' in Philippians 3 is like a coin. It has two sides also. One side is a perspective on your past and the other side is a perspective on your future. Both of these perspectives from Paul can form the 'one coin' of your present that allows you to walk with Christ in your now, such that the life in you influences the world around you. Such is the power of ONE THING!
Why am I here? What should I do with my life? You really can't answer the second question until you answer the first. And to answer the first you need to be on the same page with God. Your purpose in life should be the same as God's purpose for you. Philippians 3 shows Paul's purpose in life and, more importantly, it shows us God's purpose for Paul's life. Are you on the same page as God with your life? Why are you here?