"Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."
(James 4:4 NIV)
Some churchgoers are quite happy being in church and in sin at the same time. They are very comfortable, thinking that they can have the best of both worlds; they are enjoying the lusts of the flesh and will one day enjoy the pleasures of heaven also ... so they think!
However, the Bible makes it clear that we cannot be in sin and in Christ at the same time. James 4:4 makes this very obvious where it says,"Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."We can't be a friend of God when we have one foot in this sinful world and one foot in Christ, like someone sitting on a fence. The following story brings out this truth:
There was a crowd of people standing in a field with a fence dividing them into two groups. Jesus came and took the little group of people who were on His side of the fence and then the Devil came and took the larger group. After this, there was one man left sitting on the fence. The Devil came back and told the man to come with him but the man said, "I don't belong to you, I'm sitting on the fence." The Devil replied, "Oh, but you do belong to me. I own the fence."
We are either saved or lost, there is no in between. Either Jesus is our Lord, keeping us from continuing in sin and preparing us for heaven, or the Devil is our lord, helping us to enjoy the pleasures of this sinful world before we are taken off to hell. We can't be in sin and in Christ at the same time. Let's be like Joshua who told the Israelites that they had a choice of serving the Lord or the gods of this world and then he said,"... as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD"(Josh. 24:15).
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The Man And The Birds "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (John 1:14)
This is a story of an average man, not a scrooge but a kind, decent and mostly good man. He was generous to his family and upright in his dealings with other men. However, he just didn't believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas time. It just didn't make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn't swallow the Jesus story about God coming to earth as a man.
“I'm truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, “but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve.” He said he'd feel like a hypocrite and that he'd much rather just stay at home but he would wait up for them. And so he stayed home and they went to the midnight service.
Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another and then another...a sort of thump or thud. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window.
He went to the front door to investigate and found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They'd been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window. That was what had been making the sounds. Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it.
Quickly he put on a coat and galoshes then tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds wouldn't go in. He figured food would entice them in so he hurried back to the house to fetch bread crumbs. He sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted, wide-open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow.
He tried catching them but could not. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction except into the warm, lighted barn. And then he realised that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me. If only they knew that I am not trying to hurt them but to help them. But how? Any move he made tended to frighten them and confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him.
He thought to himself, “If only I could be a bird, and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid and I could show them the safe, warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, hear and understand.” At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. He stood there listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas …
and he sank to his knees in the snow. (Author unknown)
Jesus became a man to show you and I the way into His eternal, heavenly barn. The Bible says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). God has shown you His love. Please don't refuse to repent of your sins and be saved otherwise you will die in your sins and never know the joy of eternal life.