Messed Up Christmas Week 2

Bible verses about strength and courage we can use daily

James Greer
Dec 8, 2019    24m
Pastor James shares the beginning of the Christmas story and bible verses about strength and courage. God took what looked like a mess and turned it into a miracle. Mary and Joseph let God handle it, and that is what we need to do. We need to get right with God and wait on His perfect timing. Video recorded at Pineville, Louisiana.

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This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

James Greer: 00:00 Morning Journey Church. Morning Alexandria campus. Amen? Woo. Man, I'm enjoying our new series going to be messed up Christmas because we've got a messed up church with messed up people. Amen? The new series is going to be 2020 investigation. I want to encourage you to write down anything you'd like for us to investigate and preach on, where we could start studying it now so you can just drop it in and leave it at the kiosk in the back as you get ready to leave. Today is going to be talking about messed up relationships. But the truth is, I believe there's no relationship so messed up that God can't fix, and even turn it into a miracle, if both parties are willing to obey God and God's word. Just like I don't believe there's any problem too big for God. If you'll obey God's promises long enough, God can turn your problem into a miracle.

James Greer: 00:57 So, I'm going to look today at some relationships that looked like they were so messed up that couldn't be turned around. And instead it turned out to be the greatest miracle. One of the greatest miracles that ever happened, The birth of Jesus Christ. Shall I be the first to tell you Merry Christmas. Amen? So why did this Christmas look so messed up for the very first one? Because my goodness, because Mary got pregnant. She was engaged to get married, and she had never had a sexual relationship with Joseph, the one she was going to get married. Now, can you imagine, Hey Joseph, I'm pregnant, but I've never had sex. That's probably not the best way to start out a relationship. Amen? Now I want you to know they both had to have this unbelievable relationship with God, because Mary agreed to do what God called her to do even before she told Joseph.

James Greer: 01:56 And so, what I want to do is I want to read Matthew 1:18-20 and it says, now the birth of Jesus Christ was as followed: after the mother, Mary was engaged to Joseph before they what? Before they came together. She was found with a child of the Holy spirit. Then Joseph, her husband to be really, being a what kind of man? Not willing to make a public example. I will tell you here is part of the key. Part of the key to have a relationship that worked, part of the key to taking A messed up relationship and turn it into a miracle is to be in a relationship with a just person. One that has a right relationship with God, not wanting to make a public example of her, minded put her away secretly. Now most of us know what that means, to put her away secretly, just kill her.

James Greer: 02:51 That's not what he meant at all. Even though it looked like it was messed up, Joseph was going to do the right thing in spite of what it looked like. The key to having a right relationship with anybody whether it's a married relationship or not, is trying to do the right things in spite of what you feel like has been done to you. See, Mary was engaged to a just man, one that was right with God. The way that you can turn a mess into a miracle is because she was in a relationship with the right type of man. By the way, she was the right type of woman.

James Greer: 03:30 Mary is the one that said, Lord, let it be unto me as you said. 2 Corinthians is a verse that we often quote, 2 Corinthians 6:14 it says, don't be unevenly yoked together with an unbeliever. What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness and what communion does light have with darkness? Especially if you're here and you're not married. Whether you're a man, woman, boy or girl, don't get in a relationship with a non-practicing Christian. See, I used to go to church and they say, don't get in a relationship with somebody that's not a Christian. Don't get in a relationship with a non-practicing Christian because a lot of times, male and female today will say they're a Christian, just so they can get in a relationship with you, but they're not practicing Christians. So, the best thing to do if you want to have a good marriage relationship, don't start out with one with somebody that's not a practicing Christian, Amen? But, on the other hand, I don't care how bad it is, I believe God can turn around. Second of all, remember things are not always what they look like.

James Greer: 04:36 Many times what we look like, look at this unbelievable mess is God setting it up to be a miracle. I don't care how bad the relationship is. I don't even care how bad the situation and problem looks. God can and will use it for some good if we'll allow it. That's the whole premise of the Christian life is Romans 8:28, that we know that all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord. To those who are called according to his purpose. It did not say all things that happened to us were all good. Amen? If I get in a car wreck, I'm not going to say, Oh God, thank you, this is so good. If I get sick, I'm not going to say thank you God for my sickness. I'm going to say thank you God because this happened to me because of who you are because you rule the universe because you know the numbers of my hair, which aren't as many as they used to be, but he counts them. I keep him busy. Every time one falls out he knows it. But what he says, everything that happens, even if it's not choice, good or bad, that he can turn it around for something good in the long range for his purpose. We've got to understand God is in control, not me, not you. Amen? God gives us free choice. We live in a fallen world. There's bad things happen. We choose a lot of them. God's still is the beginning and the end. He knows the beginning and he knows the end. He has the key to heaven and he has key to hell. He is in control.

James Greer: 06:09 I know couples, true story, that go to our church and their relationships, one or the other was already involved in another relationship and the other one knew it. The other one, one or the other already wanted a divorce. They were already involved in another relationship. One or the other said, I think I want to try it God's way. True story. They both decided they would do that. I could have them on the platform today and they would both say, God so radically changed their marriage. They're happier today than they've ever been in their life. So, you can't tell me that God is not in the miracle working business. Amen? He took these couples, these marriages, and he radically changed their marriage. They were in relationships on the way to divorce. They said they're going to try it God's way. God transformed their life, transformed their marriage, and they both gave their testimony to me. They said, we're happier and in a better marriage than we've ever had. God could take what looks bad, was messed up, and turned it into a miracle. Amen? And what he did in their life he can do in your life. There's absolutely nothing too hard for God.

James Greer: 06:36 Third, how we respond to what looks like a mess greatly determines the outcome. How we respond to the mess greatly determines the outcome. The main reason that Joseph and Mary's mess, what looked like a mess, turned into an unbelievable miracle because they were both agreed to do the right thing even before they understood the outcome. It's okay to agree to do the right thing when you understand the outcome. Amen? But, Mary agreed to do the right thing before she knew the outcome. Joseph agreed to do the right thing just through a dream. Expectations get us in trouble. Expectations. Man, Joseph and Mary planned on having a marriage and then they were going to have a family. Neither one of them expected for her to get pregnant before they got married.

James Greer: 07:44 Wrong expectations causes the greatest problems in every relationship there ever was and how we respond does. We often react, instead of respond. We often react because we feel hurt, disrespected or we are frustrated. Reaction, I mean reactions determine the reach. In other words, how far we can go and how successful we will be. We need to learn to respond correctly, instead of react, I often react when I really need to be thinking before I respond. Amen? And they both did that many times. We try to handle a situation that only God can.

James Greer: 08:40 If you're in an unbelievable problem, you have an unbelievable situation. What you can do today is determine that I'm not going to just react to it. I want to think about and I'm going to respond to it, and I'm going to let God respond. In other words, Romans 12:19 says this, beloved, do not avenge yourself, but rather give place to wrath. Vengeance is mine. I will repay. You know why I love this so much? When somebody hurts me, I'll usually want to hurt them back. Amen? But really, God's saying revenge is his. Why don't you let me take care of it and get out of the way and then he says, I will repay.

James Greer: 10:01 Alright, second. How do we get out of this mess? Say we're in a mess. How do we get out of it? Matthew 1:20 kind of walks us through the story. Joseph is in the mess. He finds out that Mary's pregnant, he was already engaged. Everybody knows it. He's deciding what he's going to do. He said, I don't want to make a public spectacle of her so, I'm going to try to do what is right. But while he though, So important, our thoughts can transform us into something great or they can transform us into something evil. Most of the time right here is when you see it, we react. But, while he thought about the things. What things? He thought about the things like, who he is going to marry, who he's engaged to was pregnant, but why he thought about it, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, Joseph, son of David. Don't be afraid.

James Greer: 10:48 Don't be afraid to take Mary. God's got a word for you. Whatever you're going through in your life right now, don't be afraid. Some of you have financial fear. Some of you have a relationship fear. So, I don't know what your fear is, but God has a word for you in the word for you today is don't be afraid. He was telling Joseph, don't be afraid to take Mary. Don't be afraid of what other people are thinking of you. Don't be afraid of what people say. I've never seen a time where so many people do something and they say, I'm afraid of what so and so is going to think. Don't be afraid. Amen? And that's what God was telling Joseph. Don't be afraid what other people think. Don't be afraid what other people are going to say. Don't even be afraid of what your own family's going to think. Be afraid of what I'm going to say. For that which it's going to conceive is going to be of the Holy spirit. She's going to bring forth the son and you are going to call his name, Jesus. He's going to save his people from their sins. The real truth right now, listen, what looked like the biggest mess in the world that ever happened.

James Greer: 11:48 Because he was right with God. Listen to me. He started being able to hear from God and he said, guess what? I may be a part of the greatest purpose in the world. It's all this was done, that it might be fulfilled, which is spoken to the Lord through the prophet saying, behold a virgin. Uh oh, a what? She's going to be with child, she's going to bear a son. They shall call his name, Emmanuel, which means God is with us and he still is. So, this unbelievable. God starts giving the message, start giving him the dream starts. Tell him what's going to happen. Joseph is being aroused from asleep and guess what he did? He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took her to be his wife. First thing, Joseph did is what? He did what God told him to. The first thing you need to do, no matter what it looks like, you've got to do what God says to do. It is always the first step to doing and have an unbelievable marriage. But, because Joseph was a just man and you all ready, he was able to hear from God. See, if you're not right with God, that's the first thing you need to do. I don't care what else is going on in your life. What you need more than anything else in your life is you need to hear from God. And when you're in a have a problem, when you have a decision to make, when you have something great in your life, you need to, you need to hear from God. Proverbs 28 13 says, he that he that covers sin will not prosper.

James Greer: 13:16 What you need more than anything else in your life, is you need to hear from God. And when you're in a have a problem, when you have a decision to make, when you have something great in your life, you need to, you need to hear from God. Proverbs 28 13 says, he that he that covers sin will not prosper, but whoever confesses, forsakes him, God's going to show mercy. Thank God he doesn't want to give us what we deserve. God wants to give me and he wants to give you what we need. He says we need to confess it. We need to own up to it. We need to say I'm guilty of this sin. We need to unveil it. We need to unfold it. We need to uncover it. We need to reveal it. We need to acknowledge that we are guilty of the sin. You know, confess it and forsake it. Why? Where we can prosper. God said, I want you to prosper financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually. Okay, you ready? Here's the part that we missed on deliverance and freedom. Repentance without restitution is not genuine. Repentance without restitution is not genuine, it's not complete. In other words, say you stole something. God forgive me for stealing. That's not complete. God, forgive me for stealing, And then you go back and bring back what you stole. God, I just lied. God, forgive me for lying. Huh? Go back and tell the truth and see what had happened in the Christian life. We've turned grace almost into a sin.

James Greer: 14:45 We've turned grace almost into a sin. See, God's grace is wonderful. I want God's grace. Amen? You want God's grace, but I also want freedom and deliverance for the Christian. And what you have to do is do the whole circle. You've got to make it complete. And when genuine repentance comes with restitution and you make the whole circle, then you get God's mercy, God's power, God's freedom and God's deliverance. Amen? And some of people here today what you need is you have confessed it, but you haven't made repentance. You hadn't made restitution and so you hadn't been freed from it. That's good brother James.

James Greer: 15:23 Don't be afraid to do what God's word says, even if it doesn't make sense. I can't tell you how many times that's happened to me. Don't be afraid to do what God's word says, even if doesn't make sense. That happened to me when God called me to preach, that happened to me the first time I started to tithe, that's happened to me the first time I tried to teach, they are unbelievable. The greatest victories of my life was when God asked me to do something that didn't make sense. When God asked me to get baptized after I was preaching. Can you imagine? God what are people going to think? Are they going to think I've been preaching and I'm not saved? I know I'm saved, but I haven't been baptized. Just do it. It doesn't have to make sense. Amen? I can remember getting in front of the church and saying, yeah, I know I'm saved. I think I am saved. I'm saved. I'm saved. Well, I wasn't really baptized after I was saved. I was baptized as a child and I want to get baptized. Now, I'm preaching at the church, I'm the pastor and I can remember having Mike Scott baptize me and I can remember said, Hey, if any other adults, I remember we had three, four, five other adults. That didn't make sense, did it?

James Greer: 16:41 You just do it anyway. See what was going on in their life. Didn't really make sense, but they just do it anyway. Have you had people hurt you before? And God says, just forgive him. That doesn't make sense, but do it anyway. Do you have enemies in your life? And God says, be good to them. Doesn't make sense. Do it anyway. Romans 12:20 says, therefore, if the enemy is hungry, feed him. If he's thirsty, give him a drink and doing so you heap coals of fire on him. Don't overcome. Do not be overcome by evil. Overcome evil with good even though it doesn't make sense. Do it anyway. Amen?

James Greer: 18:03 Third, be willing to wait upon God's timing. This is hard, in Asia instantaneous gratification is very hard to wait on God's timing. We want it now. And, uh, but you know, it said that Joseph, he did not know her until he brought forth the son and his name will be called Jesus. Did you know he didn't experience the miracle for nine months? They get married. They go on the honeymoon. Mary tells him, here I am great. No sex for nine months. that's exciting, huh guys? You all just lied. You all would not make a good Joseph, neither would I. But anyway, that's really what happened for nine months. He had to wait. Everybody's making fun of him. They'll walk down the street, that's not really Joseph's kid. Nine months later, Jesus was born, Hey, son of God. I'm the stepdad. Amen? He had to be willing to wait.

James Greer: 18:44 Psalms 37:9 says for evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Isaiah 40:31 says this, but those who what? Wait upon the Lord, they shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings like Eagles. They shall run and not faint. They shall walk and not faint. Jeremiah 14:22 says this, but he, the God can give us rain. They can't give us rain who but you alone. Oh Lord, your God can do such thing as this. Therefore we will wait on you to help. In other words, quit looking into the world and the things of the world to give you for what only God can give you. So, no, no, no, just wait upon the Lord and then, one of my favorite verses is Psalms 46:10,11, be still and know that I'm God. l will exalt thee among the nations. I'll exalt thee in the earth, the Lord of the hosts, he's with us. Another translation says, our God said, just calm down.

James Greer: 19:54 Learn from me and God of all nations on earth will honor me. I'm the Lord. All powerful God with me. Did you know I'm learning when I get upset, God is trying to teach me to calm down and know that he's in control? You do know it says the Lord of hosts? Do you all know when David was going to fight Goliath, David said I'll come to you and the name of the Lord of host? It was with the Lord of hosts that went with David to kill Goliath. And so what God's saying, you've got to wait on me. You've got to slow down low enough to focus. That I am the one that's with you. I'm going to give you some checklists on some things to do on how to wait on the Lord.

James Greer: 20:42 Luke 21:36 says, watch you therefore and pray always. Why? That you may be counted worthy to escape all the things that are come to pass and you stand there for son of man. Okay, you ready? We should do it expectedly, consistently, according to God's word. Here is what you do while you're waiting. Checklist number one, check your relationship with your mate. Number one, when your relationship with your mate is not right, it hinders your prayer life. So nothing should hinder your prayers. Check your relationship with others. Mark 11:,25 so when you stand praying, if you hold something against them, forgive him. In other words, do you have a problem with your mate? Do you have a problem with somebody else? The Bible says, if you have a problem with somebody, leave what you have at the altar, go and get it straightened out to them and then come back.

James Greer: 21:36 So, there's a relationship checkup while you're waiting your motives, if your motives aren't right. There's a lifestyle checkup, is your lifestyle right? For effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Proverbs 15:29 the Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of a righteous. Check your faith life according to your faith. It will be done unto you. Check is it God's will, if it's God's will? This is the confidence we have according to God. If you ask anything according to God's will, he hears us. John 9:31 says, so if you know God does not listen to the sinners. In other words, God says, while you're waiting, have a checkup time. Get into God's word. Find his problem. When you do a good checkup and you cleaned up this way and this way, start expecting God to do a miracle in your life. Hebrews 11:6 says, without faith it's impossible to please God, but he that cometh to God must believe that he is and he is a war that him, that diligently seek him. So, as we get re get ready to close, this is what I want to know, what are you focusing on?

James Greer: 22:46 So, as we get re get ready to close, this is what I want to know, are you focusing on being the right person? Are you focused on doing the right things? Are you focused on waiting the right way? Are you focus on expecting the right results? Because I'm going to tell you what God did, which an unbelievable miracle in Mary and Joseph's life. God wants to do it in your life. He wants to do in my life. Would you stand? Let me pray with you and pray for you.

James Greer: 23:34 God, I just thank you for this time of year. I thank you. The miracle of Jesus Christ, the Virgin birth. I thank you for how it shows that you can take impossible situations and turn around the something good. It shows the dynamic relationship that Mary had with you. It shows that how Joseph because he could hear from you that he did the right things. God help us to learn to do the right things even when it doesn't look right. Help us to forgive those people that have hurt us. God, we can't hear from you unless we've had a time where we've invited Jesus Christ into our heart. Is there somebody here that's never done that? I pray that they would do that today. If there's those that need to get right with somebody, I pray that they would do that today. Is there somebody that's hurt them? I pray they would forgive them today. God, I pray that they would say, Hey, they would believe there's absolutely nothing too hard for God. If they're here today and they had something that looks impossible, God, I pray that they would say, Hey, I'm going to call on the Lord of the host, the same Lord that was with David when he beat Goliath, and I need him to be on my side today. Whether you need to join the church, follow through in baptism, I pray you let God have his will and his way in your life. It's in the precious name of Jesus. I pray. Amen.

Recorded in Pineville, Louisiana.
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Journey Church
2900 Donahue Ferry Rd
Pineville, Louisiana 71360