Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
The devil works overtime to keep us remembering the times in which we were hurt, remembering and holding hostage the thoughts that have made us bitter. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light.
Merry Christmas. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear our teaching today. It's titled Winning the Fight for Joy as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire teaching today, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. As you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org.
That's PastorAlan.org or call 877-544-4860. And here at the end of the year, we certainly appreciate all your support through the year. And more on this later in the program. But right now, let's dive in and get started with today's Christmas teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. We're not yet married, but it still would require divorce to break off the engagement. And he was going to quietly do that so that she would suffer less shame until an angel said, Don't be afraid, Joseph. Her life had been poor.
You can visit Nazareth. You can see the well where surely Mary was going to carry water like all the young women of her day. You could see that she was, for all intents and purpose, destined to live a simple peasant like life in an obscure little town unnoticed by anyone. And she'd settled into that. And then this scandalous thing had happened. And our world was turned upside down. Something happened when she went and visited Elizabeth, who might be her cousin.
We're not sure. And they're just rejoicing in the Lord together. And suddenly she realizes, I am so blessed. From now on, people are going to call me blessed. Everything else in my life now pales in comparison to this moment and this blessing. There can be blessings so great in your life that everything within you says, From now on, I see myself as blessed.
I may not have up to this point, but now I do. What a gift from God to live in the moment and to live from now on. The substance of her praise is that she knew that she had a humble estate and didn't deserve it. And yet God had come and that because of it, she could live from now on as a woman who knew herself blessed. And also this, that she saw that God is both mighty and merciful.
This is the thing that will make you pray of God more than anything. Verse forty nine. He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. Everything that makes Christmas good news is that God, who is infinitely holy and powerful, came to us because of mercy. It's it is that the Old Testament concept of the chesed of God, the steadfast love of God.
This is what Mary speaking of. That God is simultaneously absolutely holy, glorious and awesome in his splendor. And yet he is his nature is merciful. He wants to save. He wants to redeem.
He wants to be near. And when you see Jesus, that's where you understand it, because in the cross of Jesus Christ, God's holiness and mercy met. Justice and compassion met. His wrath and his grace came together. But there on the cross where Jesus became your sin and mine, there we see he's both mighty. Because he will not allow sin to go unpunished, and yet he's merciful because he would not allow us to perish apart from him.
He came for us for that reason. This is what I'm talking about, the substance. What was its joy about? God's grace is both personal, she recognizes, and from generation to generation.
When you see that God's grace is for me, but God's grace is for generation upon generation and will not end, you praise him. So that's the substance of it. Let me just finish with this. What is the giant secret behind this? How how is it that there are some people whose lives just become like one big song of praise? I think that this is the secret. There are some people who by the Spirit recognize the love song and the joy that God has for them from all eternity. And then you begin to join into it.
I think that's actually what happens with praise. Pastor Brandon writes, most week he's the author of it, a study guide that is fantastic. Very few, I think, are aware that we have it. It's available to all.
You can use it in groups or you can use an individual study that's related to the sermon that week. It's just brilliant as it usually is. But he was he really focused in on this idea. Our praise is a response to his praise.
And he pointed me in there to this from A.W. Tozer, which is one of the greatest definitions of the secret of Christian joy I've ever seen. True Christian joy is the heart's harmonious response to the Lord's song of love. Wonder if all praise is actually this. The Lord is first singing over us and our spirit finds harmony with it. You had that like, you know, someone singing and then other voices join in. But the first song starts the melody and then the others just join in.
And I think maybe Tozer's right. Our our praise, all of our songs of praise are just harmony to what God has already been singing over us. If you were to read the book of Zephaniah, the first two and a half chapters of that prophet, you would see that the first two and a half chapters are all most exclusively about the consequences of the sin of the people of God and the judgment that is necessary. But in Chapter three, midway through, Zephaniah prophesies something that is absolutely breathtaking.
At verse 14, sing daughter Zion, shout aloud Israel, be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter Jerusalem. In the context of all of the talk of judgment, suddenly there comes this giant hope. He's pointing to the Messiah, pointing to the day that everything will change. And at verse 15, we understand that the Lord has taken away your punishment.
It's a picture of what Jesus has done. He has turned back your enemy. He's defeated Satan and the Lord, the king of Israel, is with you.
Never again will you fear any harm. This is our inheritance as Christians. On that day, they will say to Jerusalem, do not fear Zion, do not let your hands hang limp. That's a sign of discouragement.
Don't let your hands hang limp. The Lord, your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves, and he will take great delight in you. In his love, he will no longer rebuke you, but he will rejoice over you with singing. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at PastorAlan.org. Can you imagine what it would be like to be accepted perfectly? Envision it, being free to be yourself with no fear of rejection. If you mess up, people don't roll their eyes, make fun of you or love you less.
Imagine no more of that anxious feeling that you get deep down in your gut that makes you feel like the pressure is always on so you can never really relax. What you're imagining and longing for is a life with no shame. In Paradise, before sin came into the world, the Bible tells us only one thing about Adam and Eve's relationship.
They were naked and felt no shame. Ever since the fall, the human heart has been riddled with shame. It's a lie that says, until you measure up, you can't be truly acceptable. Shame causes some to say, I'll try to be perfect in order to be accepted, and others to decide, since I'll never measure up, I might as well rebel.
Either way, the heart is poisoned by shame, and there is only one antidote, the grace of God in Jesus Christ. In his highly acclaimed book, Free Yourself, Be Yourself, Pastor Alan Wright not only exposes the lies of shame, he leads you into a revolution of God's love that heals your soul. Discover freedom, joy, and destiny as you shed performance-based living and let God take the shame off you for good. It's a life-changing, full-length book from Alan Wright.
Free yourself, be yourself. The Gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. I wish I could give you for Christmas ears to hear Jesus singing, celebration, love, and joy over you. As we were looking back through Ann's little notebook, I stumbled upon a story from nearly eight years ago. I'd forgotten it, but then when I remembered it, I remembered as if it's yesterday. Things in the spirit for me feel so timeless.
I may not remember all the chronological details, but if something happens in the spirit, it's like it's timeless to me. I have moments where I just love God so much. And in worship and in the context of ministry, sometimes I will begin to feel, I don't know how to describe this, but I will feel God's affection for you. It's a wonderful feeling. I wish I could just live in that awareness. I wish I could just live constantly with the capacity to see people through the eyes of the love of Jesus the way he does. It is intense, his love.
It is unquenchable, and I've got glimpses of it. And sometimes I'll know in ministry that there is a ministry that God wants to do because I began to sense, I don't know how to say it, but it's like an attraction in the spirit, a holy attraction in the spirit towards someone. And I know that the Lord is wanting to express love and ministry towards this person.
That's all I know to say is that I just know it. So one night nearly eight years ago was in a meeting we call encounter on Wednesday night, a time in which we would have very short amount of teaching and much more emphasis on our times of praise and worship and prayer for one another. And spontaneity sometimes just in following what the Lord seems to be doing that night. And on this night we had, as we often did, we had begun to just sing spontaneously like the band was leading us in a song. And then we just began to go and sing a new song to the Lord. And there was beautiful harmonies, new words that were being sung and just singing to the Lord together. Just beautiful. And while we were doing such, I looked and my eye called that of a young woman.
She was in her 20s sitting over here. And again, it's one of those moments where I just I couldn't I would I would just worshiping the Lord and then my attention would come back and my attention would come back to her. And I just began. And even while I talk about it right now, I can just feel the love of God for her. It's a beautiful thing.
I can feel it just intensely right now while I'm speaking. And I began to it was almost as if I heard in the middle of all this beautiful song with just people singing in the spirit and just I just began to have this very holy. Feeling that God was singing over her uniquely, and I felt like I was supposed to risk a lot because I didn't know how she would receive it. And I certainly didn't know what it would appear to be like to just go over there and put my hands on her shoulders, stand behind her and just sing over her.
And I just said, I'm going to do it. And I just went and I just put my hands on her shoulders and I just began to sing and I think it was a God through this poor human voice singing a song. And it was like a lullaby. It was like a love song.
It was like it was beautiful and others are harmonizing and we're just singing. I just let it be. I had forgotten that sometime after that, she sent me this note. I want to read you part of it.
It was actually two full pages. I'll give you some excerpts. I spoke to her again this week. I would, of course, keep her anonymous, but she said, please do share it. She said, I've been praying for almost a week now about emailing you. I know I want to start by thanking you for your vulnerability, sensitivity. I'll never forget how God spoke to me and reached me through the music and prayer. She said, I'm another injured soul, just like so many others whom the enemy has tried to destroy.
I feel God has made me a beautiful creation, that he created me for a defined purpose and that the enemy has tried everything to kill that beauty, creation and defined purpose within me. I'm not going to share all the details of this, but I will share. She says, I was molested as a child by the pastor of the church that I grew up in. Can you imagine the erosion of trust in God that she has to face and overcome? I hurt for a person who's gone through something like that.
I feel something, so much she has to overcome. I began struggling, she said, with an eating disorder by the age of 12. I started experimenting with drugs at an early age. I was an addict by age 17. My first dating relationship began when I was young and ended up in an extremely abusive relationship.
It lasted for six years. February, the month this has happened, seven and a half years ago, she says it's a difficult time, but this February has been the worst thus far. She said because it was in a February of a year that she had overdosed on cocaine and she shared that Valentine's Day.
She was raped. She shares more details of this. I'm just saying, you never know who's sitting in a pew or what's going on in somebody's life, do you?
But God does. He always knows. So she said, I've really suffered more than usual over the past month and I've been consumed with nightmares and flashbacks and I've felt empty and numb and alone. And she said last Wednesday, the night of that encounter, I called my mom at work and asked if I could meet up with her and ended up just breaking down and sobbing in the middle of an Arby's restaurant with my mother holding me.
She mentioned encounter that Renolda hosts on Wednesday nights and I wanted to go badly, but I have night classes on Wednesday. She said I prayed about it and asked my professor if I could leave a little early. And she said yes. And I remember feeling earlier this month while struggling with flashbacks and shame that what I needed was comfort, like childlike comfort and nurturing.
That I couldn't really explain. I didn't need a pat on the back and a hug, but I needed to be held and rocked back and forth and to be told that I was loved and everything was going to be okay. I'm crying while writing this next part. Needless to say, last Wednesday night was a miracle. God answered the desires of my heart in a breathtaking way. When you said that God wants to hold us and love us like a mother nurtures her baby and sings at a lullaby, the tears started streaming down my face and I needed God like that. I needed God to hold me and sing me a lullaby.
And that's what happened. People started harmonizing to the music in such a beautiful way that I knew I was in the presence of God surrounded by angels. I talked to her this week, that was nearly eight years ago, and she said this has been the best spiritual year of her life.
She's doing great. I wish the whole world could hear the song that God is singing over them. I'm telling you, God is a God of celebration, joy, and praise. And He's not just celebrating and praising His own glory, He's celebrating and praising the glory that He has shared with all of humanity. And through Jesus Christ, God has done the unimaginable.
He has remained holy and just, by no means excusing sin, and yet releasing through His mercy and kindness the song of love over the world. The secret behind Christian joy, Tozer is right, is to hear God's song and then harmonize with it. We're in a fight for joy and I know that it's been a difficult season, but I wonder if we could say this Christmas from now on, from now on, every bit of hardship from the year, that's over. From now on, we know ourselves blessed.
And that's what causes joy and praise and celebration, and that's the gospel. Alan Wright, our Good News message winning the fight for joy this Christmas. Pastor Alan is back with us here in the studio sharing his parting Good News thought for the day in just a moment.
Stick with us. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at PastorAlan.org. Can you imagine what it would be like to be accepted perfectly? Envision it. Being free to be yourself with no fear of rejection. If you mess up, people don't roll their eyes, make fun of you, or love you less. Ever since the fall, the human heart has been riddled with shame.
It's a lie that says, until you measure up, you can't be truly acceptable. In his highly acclaimed book, Free Yourself, Be Yourself, Pastor Alan Wright not only exposes the lies of shame, he leads you into a revolution of God's love that heals your soul. Discover freedom, joy, and destiny as you shed performance-based living and let God take the shame off you for good. It's a life-changing, full-length book from Alan Wright.
Free yourself, be yourself. The Gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Back here now in the studio with Pastor Alan sharing a parting good news thought for the day. And you know, at Christmas time, I think there's a lot of thinking back and having some good fond memories of childhood, nostalgia. But there is a point also where you have to say, okay, we're marching forward and we're looking ahead from now on. I think it's very challenging for all of us when we've been through any disappointment or trauma.
And so much in recent years, the traumas that we've experienced with the challenges of pandemic and polarization and unrest, that it becomes like a kind of a tape that's playing in our mind over and over. And this is why I think this is so important is that there is a process, a process of praising God, of thinking on God's goodness that is available to us and leaving you with the thought, every listener with this thought, that your father in heaven, he loves you infinitely. He's like a father who sings a lullaby. He's like a bridegroom rejoicing over his bride, singing over you.
And you see him that way. And the more you do, the more that you understand the nature of his love for you, then you can begin to live in this moment where his mercy is fresh to you. You can live from now on in praise. And in this Christmas, that's my prayer for you, every single listener, you live in this moment to receive God's grace afresh and know his real joy. Write to your email inbox free. Find out more about these and other resources at PastorAllen.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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