Gene Cunningham - January 1, 2011

Message for 2011, Jan 2nd

Looking ahead by looking back. It can seem things aren’t going the way they should, but in God’s plan, it always goes the way it should. What part will we decide to play.

How much was Jesus a part of Christmas, how much will He be part of 2011?

Watching believers as they encounter death. 

Why does God allow people who have been faithful to His plan, Word, purpose, to come to the end of their life in struggle? It seems unfair, but it’s perfect. God takes that time of weakness and suffering and refines it into a very beautiful thing. Their faith in that time will mean a great deal in eternity. 

What is life but a test of whether we believe or reject the promises of God? God doesn’t give special favors to the favored ones of His kingdom, in fact for those most favored He gives suffering, pain, and affliction as the evidence of His favor.

He begins the book by saying “I have loved you,” and they ask, “How have you loved us?” God talks about all the things He’s done for them, and they don’t recognize any of it.

MAL 4:1-3 As we look around the world we see a real mess. The economy around the world is failing. Politically and militarily the world is unraveling. Countries across Africa are fighting and fragile. Spiritually, Europe is apathetic to the Word of God. America has increasing apostasy. In Australia, people want more prosperity, not more of God. But there is an awakening in Africa, India and China. Islam is not the fastest growing religion; Christianity is exploding around the world. It is under the radar because it’s not happening under the organized establishments. 

What is there in your life that He would look on with an eye of judgment? What of your thoughts, words, attitudes, time and money spent, actions would go up in smoke? What is there in my life of weakness and sickness that He wants to bring healing?

LUK 2:1-14 Historical vv. 1-3 this was a time of tyranny, as today is becoming a time of tyranny as well. Personal vv 4-7 Imagine Joseph and Mary’s perspective, in a dark and unsympathetic world Prophetical vv 7-14 God has accomplished and will accomplish what He has said He would do

1. Even in times of tyranny, the levers of political power work for the plan of God.

2. Those who are highly favored by God will not find favor on this earth.

3. When God has a message to the whole world, He usually shares it with a few.

Are we willing to hear the voice of the Spirit of God? Are we prepared for His message? How much of your life in 2010 got burned up? How much of your life has been made whole?

TIT 2:11-14 It is possible to live this way in our present age, if we are learning from the manifestation of God’s grace, Jesus Christ.

What we are asked to do is simple: learning (are you a student of the grace of God? Are you cultivating every day a teachable spirit? If not, we assume He is not speaking. Christ continues to speak to us every day in His Word), living (that which we reject and flee from, and that which we pursue and value and seek), looking (keeping our eyes fixed on our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, the blessed hope)

We can feel so far from Him, though He is near to us. We become numb to Him through our thoughts and actions

1PE 4:7-11 if you want 2011 to be a blessing for you, it’s the same things we saw in Malachi, Luke and Titus

1. Live lives of serious watchful prayer. Don’t put it off. It is the wellspring of your spiritual life. A lot happens between what we absorb in the Word and our response back to Him. How much time to you spend in intercessory prayer? Prayer is the greatest power and promise given to a believer. Pray and you will receive what you ask for in faith.

2. Love fervently. Extend yourself on another’s behalf. A love willing to reach into the life of another, to put ourselves at a disadvantage to put someone else in an advantage. Love the way God loves, forgive the way God forgives, give the way He gives, encourage the way He encourages you.

3. Serve relentlessly. Christ is doing what He came to do. He asks us to participate in His plan. What is He asking you to do? It’s not going to be difficult for our Lord to bring us to His kingdom. In the meantime, we can choose to be faithful in our prayer, to love, to forgive, to encourage whoever needs it. Serve how you can serve. This is how Christ changes the world, one soul at a time. Redemption and transformation. What God whispers in your ear, shout from the rooftop.

Scripture References: Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14, Malachi 4:1-3

From Series: "2011 Message at CRBC"

Given by Gene just after the new year to Cross Road Bible Church Jan 2011.

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