Here are the notes from tonight's New Year's Eve Service... "Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” - Isaiah 43.18-19
We all face the old everyday:
Old Memories - Rom 7.5
Familiar Feelings - 2 Cor 10.5
Set Habits - Ps 1.2
Personal Historical experience - Eccl 1:3-9
New beginnings start at the Cross: Gal 2.20, 6:18, 2 Cor 5.17
Picture by faith walking in a new beginning - Heb 11:8
Make it a habit to not think on the old - it was crucified all the failures and the successes. “Remember not the former…"
Get occupied with what God is doing now - thru His Word, His Church, in your personal life. “Behold I will do a new thing"
Face fear with God’s love and Grace. Meditate on the promises. Josh 1.8-9
Talk only of God’s ability - guard your confession - Rom 10.8-10
Stir up your faith by God’s testimony in your life - Is 46.9
Here are some draft notes from our message today on the Humility of Christ on Christmas - you can here the sermon here:http://bit.ly/1d23fhg 2 Cor 8.9 - For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
One of the greatest beauties of Christ was His humility. It was the most attractable thing about Him. He was always attracting humble people around Him and making proud people angry.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not:for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found -- Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Psalm 113:4-6 - The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens. Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!
"Think about that for a moment. God humbles Himself. God condescends to look at, to behold the things that are in the heavens. God has to stoop down to look at what’s in heaven. We have to look up to see what’s in heaven. God has to look down to see the things that are in the heavens. The angels—they are lower than God. God stoops down. He humbles Himself to look at the things in heaven.”
Not only did He have to stoop down to even look at us but it is His amazing Grace that He even is mindful of man - Ps 8.3-4
The Love of God in Jogn 3.16 caused Him to do 7 things
So God doesn’t just look at us, He gets involved with us.
He humbles Himself.
He stoops down to think of us.
He is mindful of us.
He stoops down to care for us.
He became one of us
Christmas is about the greatest theological facts - The incarnation, God being born in the likeness of sinful flesh - Rom 8.3 - the uttermost display of humility. This is what made him guilty, not because of an inherited sin nature but because he associated with us.
Heaven and earth cannot contain God but He became confined to a human body.
2 Chron 2.6 But who is able to build him a house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him.
Heb 2.7 He became man made a little lower than the angels submitted himself in a human body to God.
The devil underestimated God’s humility - underestimated how far God would go.
We are never more like Jesus than when we humble ourselves and surrender to the plan of God
He was circumcised on the 8th day. Not because He was a sinner, He was sinless, He submitted to the Law of Moses to fulfill it. His first pain and suffering for us.
Father Damien was a Belgian priest in the 1800s who went to a village on the island of Molokai in Hawaii, a village that had been quarantined as a leper colony. For 16 years, Father Damien lived with these people that no one else wanted to have anything to do with. He learned their language. He served them. He built homes for them. He organized schools and choirs. Rather than being careful to keep His distance from the lepers as most would have done, He got right up next to them. He bandaged their wounds. He ate with his patients, sometimes out of the same dish. He touched people that others considered untouchable. Gradually, throughout the course of his years of serving there, that village was transformed. Despair was replaced with hope. Yet for years he was still different in one very important point. They were lepers, and he was not. Then one day he stood up before his congregation and he began his sermon with two words. “We lepers,” for he had contracted leprosy while living among the people. From that moment on people in that village saw this servant in a whole different light. Now he wasn’t just living among them. He wasn’t just serving them. He had actually become one of them. Not only would he share their life, now he would die as they died.
On Christmas we celebrate the day that God came to our village. He didn’t just come to help us. He began His message by saying "we lepers." We sinners. He had become one of us. He took on our sin.
"Prayer without watching is hypocrisy, and watching without prayer is presumption." - unknown
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak - Matthew 26.41 (Here is another draft chapter of my up and coming book on Prayer)
The arrival into His Presence at the sweet Mercy Seat is only one aspect of our prayer journey. It is there where it really begins for the worshipper. There the worshipper becomes a warrior in spiritual warfare. It is there in prayer we learn that the weapons of our warfare are not humanly wielded nor carnally commanded. It is prayer that we see in the list of Paul’s armor in Ephesians 6 that is the secret weapon. When we begin to pray we face the onslaught of Satanic forces because Satan believes in the power of prayer more than any of us will ever. We will address this later this week.
"Let us, therefore, forsake the vanity of the crowd and their false teachings and turn back to the word delivered to us from the beginning, "watching unto prayer" and continuing steadfast in fasting, beseeching fervently the all-seeing God "to lead us not into temptation, even as the Lord said, 'The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.'" —Polycarp (69-156).
Those that learn watching in prayer enter into another phase of prayer. They move from worshipper to warrior. Those that learn learn this secret of watching are most threatening for the forces of the Accuser. You will note that the primary tactic that our Adversary uses to thwart watching-prayer is sleepiness, dullness, lethargy due to the point that the novice in prayer is always looking by sight and waiting for the answers that are self-pleasing and preference oriented. They miss the action because they are looking in the wrong direction and the Enemy slips in unnoticed.
To draw a little perspective to the immense importance of watching prayer Jesus in Matthew 26, in His hour of conflict in prayer he three times goes to His disciples and petitions them to watch in prayer. The battle for the cross was won not at Calvary but in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was inundated with a flood of demonic hosts to try to steer him off the course to the cross. This is when he asked His disciples to pray. There is something that we see here. Jesus in prayer and battle wanted His disciples engaged in prayer and discernment because of the host of demons pitted against Jesus in the garden to try to kill him.
When we learn watching-prayer we learn to pray with Jesus in his hour of personal heaviness. There are not many that are asked to pray in this hour with Jesus but his three intimate disciples; Peter, James & John. Watchers in prayer are those few that are God’s “special forces” in warfare that don’t sleep when the rest of the army is asleep in their barracks. That is actually the connotation of the word “watch” in in the original script of Matthew 26.38 - “grēgoreúō”. This word means to be set on the special towers of the walls on the sober lookout for enemy movements and ambushes to the point of sleep deprivation. My wife and I recently were in Puerto Rico and one of the most impressive sights for me was the fortress at San Juan. It guarded the gateway to the Caribbean. From the watch towers at the peak of the fort hundreds & hundreds of miles could be monitored along a 180 degree span along the sea’s horizon for enemy vessels’ movements. This is what is explicitly meant by Jeremiah 51.12 - “Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the Lord hath both devised and done -- that which he spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon” - Jeremiah 51.12. Jesus also referred to this in context to what he said to his Three: “watch and pray that you enter not into temptation”. When we exercise ourselves in watchful-prayer we effectively avoid and escape so much unnecessary temptation.
Ezra, the author of Psalm 119 and the leader of the Jews returning to Jerusalem to rebuild also was a watcher in prayer - when he said his eyes “prevent the night watches” - Psalm 119.148.
In the case of Gideon - God could not use any of his army except those that looked to the horizon in careful watch as the drank the water from their hands at the brook - Judges 7.6
Therefore, there are those few that as we read in Proverbs 8:34 that are the blessed watchers that receive a measure of wisdom and skill in warfare - “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.”
Watching in prayer means we leave the realm of the feeling, the sullenness of the passive human nature and we stir ourselves up in attention watching for the next Word from Christ our Commander and the movement of the foe. The watcher is one who has much insight, compassion, loyalty and wisdom. He may not speak much or express much of his opinion but watches and prays with His Master in the most critical hour. Thus being an often unseen aid in the spectrum of Warfare against the Savior and His Church.
Here are a few brief notes from a recent message we preached on Tough Love. Enjoy! And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ - Phil 1.9
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth - 1 Cor 13.6
Lovingkindness vs. Sentimentality. Sometimes our love may be tough love, but His lovingkindness is still our environment and He never deals with us out of Lovingkindness
Loving Truth: Ps 119
A person who does not love Truth - does not love themselves
A person who does not love themselves does not love the truth told.
Marked or governed by feeling, sensibility, or emotional idealism
Resulting from feeling rather than reason or thought.
Decision making based on need rather than principle.
Loving self more than God or people.
Is subjective and never objective.
Bears evil, but it does not tolerate it.
It bears the sins of others, but it is not broadminded about sin.
Real love involves real hatred. Whoever has lost the power of moral and the urge to scatter the buyers and sellers from the temples has also lost a living.
Loving in Truth:
When people forego the integrity of God’s love, they often enter into sentimentality instead of entering into tough love. Tough love is just as valid as any other expression of the love of God.
Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws.
Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it
Speaking the Truth in Love.
Deviation from the word of God is sentimentality and says 'you're absolutely right' to this one, and 'you're absolutely right' to that one without telling the Truth.
Your enemy will never tell you the truth because he wants you to be just like him and never free from bondage.
Don't settle for a relationship based on need - The unequal yoke of 2 Corinthians 6:14
Parents: (Ephesians 6:1-4). They cover children with love, with investment, with prayer, with kindness, and with discipline when they must discipline in tough love.
Chastisement: When God chastises a believer, as He did King David, it is to help him, to deliver him, and to make him realize that he can have peace. Though God loved David tremendously, it was tough love. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. Ps 119:67
Lovingkindness - creates in us a capacity to grow securely into who we are in Christ and into God's Plan for our lives.