As believers some of the biggest struggles we have in our lives are the battles that go on within ourselves. It’s a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. Many times the desire to do what we want is at war with the desire to do what we ought.
The problem is we’re trying to live out our lives for the Lord while living in a sin sick world. So, how do we win the war within? We begin by understanding the problem. Let’s take a look at what James has to say:
“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him. And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” James 4:1-10
James says we are to humbly seek God with a pure heart...resist the devil...truly repent of our sins and draw close to the Lord.
The Apostle Paul says: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” Romans 8:5-9 NLT
Paul writes to the church at Ephesus: “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” Ephesians 4:20-24
Scripture: James 4:1-10, Romans 7:15-25, 8:1-14
Prayer: Lord, I surrender to the leading of your Spirit. May my life be so in sync with your Spirit that your desires for me have become my desires, even to the point that my ought to has become my want to. Amen
How many of you have spent time in recent weeks or maybe plan over the next several days to ride around and look at the lights of Christmas?
Can you imagine what it must have been like when the shepherds saw the original light of Christmas… “Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared…and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them… ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.’”
The Good News…The Message of Christmas
“The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” John 1:9-14
One Man’s Encounter with the Light & the Word
“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ ‘What do you mean?’ exclaimed Nicodemus. ‘How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?’ Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.’” John 3:3-8 NLT
All True Believers’s Encounter with the Light & the Word…The Good News
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
What about you?
Today…you have heard the message…but have you received it…have you accepted Him?
Jesus is the Good News.
Scripture: Matthew 1:18-2:12, Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-20
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank for loving me so much that you willingly sacrificed yourself so that I could be saved. May my life be a reflection of the one true light to the world around me. Amen
One of the greatest promises of God is at the heart of Christmas. It is found in Isaiah 7:14: “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”
“God is with us”…Immanuel…the promised presence of God to be with His people. It began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve when we read that God was walking in the garden looking for them. God was with them. Throughout the Old Testament we read of the promise of God to be with Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon and David. It continues throughout scripture and comes to full fruition with the birth of Jesus ... Immanuel, which occurred some 700 years after the prophecy spoken through Isaiah.
God’s revelation of himself was not limited to a humble stable in a small town called Bethlehem. It continued in the life of the man who walked the shores of Galilee, who healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, and eventually was crucified for the sins of the world. “God is with us”…Immanuel
The Apostle John in his Gospel account tells us the story of his best friend, who was also his Savior, Jesus Christ. John wrote: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). That is the reality of Immanuel—God taking up residence among His people.The Creator choosing to become part of the creation so that He can show them the way back to their Creator!
Jesus promised His disciples that He would not leave them alone, but that He would send the Holy Spirit to them. John records Jesus’ words: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to BE WITH YOU forever. He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains WITH YOU and will be IN YOU.” (John l4:16-17)
The Holy Spirit, who is the personal presence of God within us, is where we find our hope for living today.
Remember…God is with you.
Sunday - Acts 18:9-10
Monday - Isaiah 7:14
Tuesday - Revelation 21:3
Wednesday - John 14:16-17
Thursday - Matthew 28:20
Friday - John 1
Saturday - Matthew 1:22-23
Prayer: Lord, thank you for fulfilling the promise of your presence to always be with me. You have truly been with me in the hard times…the good times…all the time. I don’t want to go through life without you. I love you, Jesus. Amen
When you look at the state of the world today, do you sometimes feel the darkness is growing more and more everyday?
The answer to the darkness in our world today is found in the Word of God…
Let me ask you a very personal and individual question: Are you allowing God’s glory to be reflected in your life?
God wants to use each of us as a reflection of His glory and grace, but this can only happen if we are fully surrendered to Him and His will in our lives.
May the light of Jesus that’s in you shine through the darkness around you.
Scripture: Matthew 2, Luke 2
Father, I want my life to be a reflection of you. I want to shine as bright as that first Christmas ornament, the Star of Bethlehem. May my life be a reflection of your glory…a guide to bring others to your Son so they can receive the true gift of Christmas: Jesus. Amen
Did you survive Black Friday? Are you doing any of your Christmas shopping online? Do you remember the Sears catalog or Wish Book?
It’s a different day…gifts stuffed in a decorative bag with tissue paper…gift cards in envelopes…convenience and ease…it really is all well and good…just different. Times have changed…
How do you go about choosing what you will give someone for Christmas? Do you consider such things as: who they are…what they like…what they may need…how much you have to spend? All of these are legitimate considerations.
Have you given any thought to what you will give Jesus for Christmas?
Let’s go back to the first Christmas and those first gifts given to the baby Jesus.
“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’ …the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
They gave Him gifts from their treasure chest...they gave from the best they had...strange gifts for a baby, but appropriate gifts for a King.
What do you have in the treasure chest of your heart that would be a gift fit for a King? May I suggest a few gifts for your consideration?
Maybe...just maybe, would you be willing to give it all to Him?
Scripture: Matthew 2, Luke 2
Lord Jesus, I seek you with all of my heart and desire to follow you with all my life. My spirit overflows with the Joy of your love for me. I worship you as my King and my Lord. Out of the treasure chest of my heart I give my life to you in service...I give you my all. I love you Jesus. Amen.
Bro. Joe Metts