I would like to share a beautiful prayer that came out of this Christmas Season:
"Loving Father, help us to remember the birth of Jesus that we may share in...
The songs of the angels...
The gladness of the shepherds...
And worship like the Wise Men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessings which Christ brings...
and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.
May Christmas Morning (every morning) make us happy to be Thy Children.
May Christmas Evening (every evening) bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven.
For Jesus' sake, Amen"
2007 is like having 365 clean sheets of paper upon which our lives are to be written out.
What is written will depend on: "Christ in you, the hope" (Col. 1:27)
Zerubbabel was leading 30,000 from captivity over mountains to Jerusalem and the word from the Lord was:
"It's not by might nor by my power, but by my spirit saith the Lord Almighty.
The mountains before you shall become a plain and you will shout 'It is by God's grace and power that this will happen.' Zach.4:6-7
How deep did your Christmas go this year? (I don't mean money, parties, food, etc.)
Christmas is all about Christ....and about our hearts being yielded to Him.
It starts there...to be saved.
grows there....to be sanctified.
And is committed there...for service.
I preached my first sermon in March of 1954, after committing my life to preach
(while coaching and teaching). I have preached hundreds of sermons since then.
Sometimes as people left the church, someone might say,
"You sure stepped on my toes today, Pastor".
I usually replied, "I was aiming higher"....as I pointed to the heart.
In his good book, 'Farewell to Fear', pastor Nelson Price illustrates this point.
Jim and Tom were toying with the idea of doing something wrong....
(something their fathers would have disapproved of).
Jim said, 'No'.
Tom said, 'Are you afraid that your Dad will find out and hurt you?"
Jim replied, 'No, I'm afraid that he'll find out and it will hurt him!"
I come to you in this 1st message of 2007 with God's Faith-arrows aimed at the heart.
You probably have gathered by now, that my favorite subject is Faith.
1) FIND YOUR FAITH (by finding and knowing the only true object of Faith....
Jesus Christ our Lord)
When you do, you will find the faithfulness of God. (Rom. 3:22-23; Phil. 3:10)
2) FAITH YOUR FAITH (by putting it into action)
As a grain of mustard seed when planted, can produce the miracle of a tree.
In the Korean language, they take a noun and put 'do' with it.
For example: 'Me-dum-hahm-nida' is 'do faith!"
If you 'faith your faith':
you will have faith to go up (in prayer for directions)...
you will have faith to go out (to witness for Christ)....
and faith to go on (for whatever doors are open).
3) FEED YOUR FAITH ("Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God"....Rom.10:17)
We feed our bodies 2-3 times each day.....let's be sure and feed our faith also!
Faith is really 'taking God at His Word', so we need to KNOW the Word of God.
4) FINISH WITH FAITH
("Fight the good fight, keep the faith and finish the course" II Tim. 4:7)
In Exodus 14, the Israelites were at the Red Sea with many of them rebelling, wanting to go back to Egypt.
Moses told them, "Don't go back, fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord."
With the enemy approaching, Moses (in an act of faith) said....
"Go forward"....and they crossed the Red Sea victoriously!!
By faith, we need to 'lay hold' on all of the I AM'S of JESUS...
for not only the present, but all of our future!
By faith, His Love can take care of whatever we lack.
We need to read often: Hebrews 11 (The 'Hall of Faith' of the Saints of the Lord)
Remember, you are also a saint and need to have their kind of faith!
To me, the Christian life is first and foremost 2 acronyms that spell 'FAITH':
FORSAKING ALL I TAKE HIM
FOR ALL I TRUST HIM
A song that we've sung many times (and have tried to live out) is a good one to begin this New Year.
Friends of our's in Seminary, brothers Dick and Bo Baker who were full-time evangelists, wrote the song: 'His Way-Mine'.
'God has a place for every planned creation,
A path for every star to go.
He drew the course for every river's journey...
Now I know He has a way for me!
He counts the sand on every island seashore
And turns the tide with hands above.
The wind, He beckons into changing motion,
With His love, He gives each blossom birth.
Now in His Will, my soul finds life worth living,
Each day, new blessings from above.
Though shadows come and valleys seem unending,
Still I know, He makes a way for me.
I place my life in the hands of God...
Those hands so scarred, now outstretched for me.
Wherever it may be.....Over land, over sea....
May Thy Will sublime, Oh Thou God Divine....
Our Prayer for you in 2007, is that you will have the FAITH...
to face the 'knots' that can come with fear!
May Our Lord BLESS you abundantly in this New Year!