Today’s Scripture:  Luke 2:32

A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Introduction:

I am sorry that we had to cancel the rest of this series, but I just wound up with a few too many things upon my plate. I started a new route at work that has me working 5 of the 6 days we run that route, and I’ve gone from working 5 – 6 hours a day to no less than 10 hours a day.  I am hoping that by the beginning of 2013 that I will have a better handle on my work schedule, when to rest, and when to write.  I humbly ask that those of you who follow me and my ministry to please continue to bring me before the Lord…that He will help me learn how to balance family, work, ministry, and personal worship time.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity in my spirit to write a Christmas Eve message, and what could be a more appropriate message to do than to write about that Holy Night…when Jesus came into the world as Emmanuel.  Who knew, but God what the significance of Jesus’ birth would be.

Yes, I realize that the prophets spoke of Jesus’ coming, but I wonder if they really had a grasp of how significant what they were speaking of was going to be.  I wonder if they really knew that this Savior that they spoke of wouldn’t just come, but that He would deliver them as well.  The story of this coming King must have sounded a lot like today’s stories of the promised second coming of Jesus.  I wonder if there were people back then who were like those today who keep trying to predict the second coming.  I wonder how many times they thought a certain king was going to be the King that these prophets spoke of…or if there’s just people who do that today.  You know…like the latest who thought the end of the Mayan calendar would bring the end of the world…but it didn’t.  It just became the latest in another failed attempt to predict the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I can tell you that I don’t know when Jesus is going to return.  I don’t even try to predict something that’s not for me to know anyways, but what I do know is Jesus came to the earth, lived a sinless life, and chose to go to the Cross…and the thing that makes it the most humbling is thinking that even if I was the only person in the world who would’ve accepted what He did on the Cross…He would’ve still died upon that Cross and rose again for me…and He would’ve done the same for you.

So, let’s take a moment to look at “Oh Holy Night”, and see what we can learn and apply to our lives from the story of this beloved Christmas Carol.

Today’s Video:

Another opportunity to post a video by one of heavens angel’s…Carrie Underwood was the perfect choice for a song such as this.

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices! Oh night divine…Oh night when Christ was born!

 

Today’s Message:  “Oh Holy Night”

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born!

Before I get too far…if you or I ever have a problem falling to our knees…then we need to find out why that is.  I mean, when I think about the fact that if I was the only person in the world…Jesus would’ve still come for me…that helps remove any inability on my part to humble myself, and fall to my knees before the Lord from time to time.  I mean, maybe you don’t have that revelation…but let me repeat this point…if you were the only person in the world…Jesus still would’ve endured the Cross for you.  If you can’t find it in your heart to humble yourself and fall to your knees before the Lord…then the problem isn’t with Jesus…it’s within your heart.  Not trying meddle or preach too much in this message, but I just sense that there are many of you who are reading this message that haven’t fallen upon your knees before the Lord in quite some time…and if that’s the case…you are full of way too much pride.  We should never have a problem falling upon our knees before the Lord, and if we do…the problem isn’t Jesus…the problem is in our heart.  Amen!?!

In the midst of so much imperfection, the night Christ was born can be considered one of the most perfect nights ever in the history of mankind. God used difficult circumstances (travelling on a donkey with a very pregnant wife) and an uncomfortable location (not even a hotel room, but a barn with only a manger to sleep in) to bring His perfect and holy Son into the world. God could have easily made Jesus’ birth triumphant, but He chose not to.

There’s certainly a little bit of imperfection in today’s world isn’t there?  As I write this I think of the tragedy at Sandyhook Elementary School, the super storm that ravaged the East Coast, and the fact that there are men and women all over the world that instead of celebrating Christmas with their families…are spread abroad making sure that we are safe to celebrate it here at home.

There’s such uncertainty when you hear about the fiscal cliff, the instability of the stock market, the value of the dollar, and the threat of terrorism that still exists no matter who tries to assure us that it doesn’t.  There’s the fact that our President is vocal in his support of abortion and gay marriage, but is working methodically to remove the Biblical principles this nation was founded upon…and then is shocked when tragedy strikes…and tries to make the scapegoat to be guns or weird weather patterns…when maybe he ought to heed the warnings that are clearly written in the Bible that nations who laugh and scoff at God shouldn’t be surprised when He fires warning shots that He’s not happy with how we’re conducting ourselves as a nation…and that we need to get our hearts right with Him before it starts to rain.

The signs of the times we live in is just as perilous as the times before the great flood of Noah’s day.  There’s so many who laugh and scoff wondering where this God that us Jesus Freaks serve is.  They scorn and laugh saying that if there really is a God then He can be a loving one because of all the uncertainty, imperfections, and the unrest that is in not just the United States…but all over the world.

The warnings of Paul ring out loud and clear today as preachers have abandoned the Cross to preach a prosperity gospel for the purpose of their own financial gain.  Preachers who are willing to allow anyone and all to be a part of the body of Christ without doing the one thing that all of us must do in order to be saved.  Preachers who say that there’s many roads to heaven, and that Jesus isn’t the only way…He’s just a way.  Preachers who would rather preach to itching ears then to preach a message that would confront sin or offend their congregations because empty church pews mean less money in the offering plates.

Pastors are more interested in entertaining than evangelizing the world.  Pastors are more interested in having programs than preaching the Word of God, and have no idea that the presence of God is not in their church because God hasn’t been allowed in their churches for years.  The Church refuses to take a stand for things that are clearly against the Word of God, and are interested in being politically correct.  Pastors and preachers alike are more concerned about offending people then they are with offending God…in fact…they don’t even seem to care that they are offending God.  The openly offend God, and wonder why there’s no power in their churches.  I can answer that…there’s no Word of God being preached in their pulpits.  No Word of God = No Holy Spirit.  No Holy Spirit = No Power.  No Power = Dead Religion.  If you want to restore the power in your church…you must return the Word of God to it’s rightful place in the pulpit…and start being more concerned about offending God than offending the people who are within the sound of your voice.  I can tell you that this pastor isn’t concerned about those who are offended…my only concern is preaching the Word…and making sure that God’s not offended by what I’m teaching…and as long as I do those two things…whether you get offended or not…I can take comfort in knowing that since I’m committed to preaching the Word…what you’re getting is the unadulterated truth…which is more important to me than the number of people following this ministry.  If I wound up writing these messages just to myself…I would continue to write them…and that’s the honest to God’s truth.

There’s so much that if you looked at it all…it’s easy to get discouraged, and maybe even start to think that those who scorn and scoff and laugh at us Jesus Freaks may actually have a point.  I can imagine that even though Noah had faith in what God told him that there were times when Noah must’ve listened at least a little to what the people who laughed and scorned at him said.  I’m sure there were days when Noah was building this ark he wondered what in the world he was doing, and maybe even felt ridiculous building this ark nowhere near a body of water.

It’s not hard to draw a comparison between Noah’s days…and the day and hour in which we ourselves live today.  We have people trying to predict the coming of the Savior, the end of the world, and none of them are right…because it’s not for man to know when Jesus is going to return.  My theory is that if it was for man to know…that man’s name would be in the Bible…but there’s only one name in the Bible that’s said to know the day and hour that Christ would split the heavens and return upon that white horse to destroy satan once and for all.

It’s really not hard to imagine how these two time periods so far apart…are so closely related after all…is it?  I mean there’s been roughly 10,000 years or so between today and the flood…but it’s not the flood that’s important here…what is important is what happened leading up to the flood…God was getting ready to save His people by placing them in the Ark that Noah built before He destroyed the world with the flood.

Friends…the flood gates are soon to be opened again.  The Ark today is Jesus…and it’s important that we all find our place IN Christ…because you don’t have to mark my words…you can mark the Word of God…Jesus is coming…and He’s coming soon…and just like in the days of Noah…once the rain started falling it was too late to get into the ark.  Today, once you hear the sound of the trumpet…or you notice there’s a whole lot of people who have just vanished…it’s too late to realize us Jesus Freaks were right…and therefore I would like to urge you that if you haven’t fallen upon your knees before the Lord…make today the day that you do…and make sure your place in the Ark is secure.

The way God brought His son into the world is much the same way He works within our lives. Oftentimes God takes the imperfections in our lives and uses them to perfect us. God loves to transform physical and emotional scars and use them to grow us into stronger people. He also desires us to take what we learned from our imperfections and help others who may be struggling with the same things.

So, now this message takes a personal turn to look at ourselves, and not at the world around us.  I don’t know about you, but there were (and still are) a ton of imperfections in my life that God is either using to perfect me or trying to remove from me on a daily basis, but unlike the wise men…I am not so wise because I think my imperfections are alright…and because of that I don’t really want to surrender them to the Lord’s workmanship.  Yes, friends, I just admitted that I’m not always in perfect submission to the work of God in my life, and that I don’t always want to surrender the things He wants me to give Him.  As always, I feel I must add my usual disclaimer that if you’re looking for a pastor who is always walking in the spirit, never fulfills the lusts of his flesh, never misses God, never makes mistakes (some of those mistakes I make willingly), and always does exactly what God wants him to do…I’m not that pastor.

I can’t even try to pretend that I always make the right decisions, that I always surrender everything God wants me to surrender, that I always love the person God puts in front of me, that I never miss God, and that I always do exactly what God says for me to do.  I’m a real person, and because I’m a real person…I still give into my flesh, I still allow myself to become enslaved to sin, and I some times even willingly do things I know God doesn’t want me to do…but that’s just me being real, authentic, and genuine.

I could fake it.  I could tell you that I never listen to rock music.  I could tell you that I never utter a cuss word.  I could tell you that a drop of alcohol never passes my lips.  I could tell you that I love every person God puts in front of me.  I could tell you that I never get angry or frustrated because I know God’s grace is sufficient for every circumstance.  I could tell you that I never forget to bring a situation or circumstance to God for Him to take care of.  I could tell you a lot of things…but just because I could tell you those things doesn’t mean they’re true.

Part of being a real, authentic, genuine person who happens to be the pastor of this ministry is being real enough to admit I don’t have it all together.  I don’t have all the answers, but I do know the One who does have ALL of the answers.  However, it’s up to me to submit and surrender to Him.

The more that God teaches me…the more I can teach.  The more God reveals to me the more revelation I can speak about.  For instance…one of the greatest things I’ve come to understand is that the abundant life that Jesus speaks of has very little to do with earthly treasures or wealth…it has to do with discovering the fruits of the spirit that are growing within you…and the only way that continue to grow is that you have to stay grafted to the Vine…

I already know what my theme for 2013 is going to be.  It’s really quite simple:  “Abide”.  It’s going to require more time in His Word, in His presences, and seeking His face.  Abiding in Christ is going to be the key for 2013…because there’s a lot of things coming our way that we’re not going to be able to do with our own strength and abilities.  We’re all going to have to rely more upon God than perhaps we have ever done in our lives…it’s important to remember that we have a High Priest, and that we can boldly and confidently come to His throne of grace…because we’re going to need His grace and mercy to help us.

So…Abiding in the Vine is going to be more important than ever!  Who’s going to do that with me!?!

Jesus was a light to reveal God to all the nations, and we can reflect that same light as well. Don’t let your imperfections hold you back. Instead, allow God to use them to shape you into the person He designed you to be, which is a light in a dark world. Give God your weaknesses so that He can turn them into your greatest strengths.

As much as I let you know that I’m no where near perfect the other thing I’ve learned is to not allow myself to get discouraged, and allow my imperfections to keep me from walking with God, and fulfilling the calling into ministry that’s upon my life.  I know that no matter what, God loves me, and that He’s on my side.  I know that there’s nothing that I can do that can separate me from Him or His love, and that His grace is sufficient.  His love is sufficient.  The Blood of Jesus is more than capable of covering and cleansing all of my sin…and while I may tend to feel unworthy…that’s because I’m humble enough to realize the only reason I am worthy is because I am abiding in Christ.

Friend, I would like to encourage you to not look at your life, and wonder like I did for so many years why God desires to use you…instead…ask yourself why not.  In addition, all that’s really necessary is for you to be willing to be used by God, and He will use you imperfections and all.  How do I know that?  Because that’s what He does through my life every single day…and every time I sit down to write a message.

“Give God your weaknesses so that He can turn them into your greatest strengths.”

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!

O night divine, O night when Christ was born!

I can’t think of a better way to close this message that with these words.  Some times, friends, we’re at our strongest when we fall to our knees…Amen!?!

Questions:

What weaknesses do you need to give God so that He can perfect you?

In what ways do you see yourself as being a light to reveal God’s truth to others?

In Closing:

I would like to take a moment to wish every last one of you who follows this ministry whether by Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress a very Merry Christmas.  I would like to thank all of you who have clicked the “like” and “follow” buttons.  You are all such an encouragement to me, and I thank God and pray for all of you.

I want you to know that 2012 is just the beginning, and that 2013 is going to bring some great things.  For the Kizer family…it’s going to bring a new addition around August, but for Christlike Ministries NWA…it’s going to bring more of the same messages you’ve been reading for all of 2012.

We’re committed to bringing you nothing, but good…solid Bible based teaching, preaching, and messages.  Our main goal and mission as always is to help you to develop and maintain your own personal and intimate relationship with God.  I hope that you’ve been able to do that through our messages.  I hope that our messages have helped you to know the love of God, the importance of personal devotional time, and the importance of attending a good Bible preaching church.

I look forward with great optimism to 2013, and am thankful for the blessings that came in 2012.  I love you all, and thank you so much for being a part of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family.

“My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 16:24 (KJV)
Blessings & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer
Christlike Ministries NWA

Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and a safe and Happy New Year!

The Kizers Too

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