Friday, December 22, 2017

The Unexpected

December 21, 2017
Dear Friends,
Thanks so much for your faithfulness as we studied the Word of God together this year. Especially staying in there as we learned about all those kings, whew. So, I just wanted to take step aside and recall the Christmas story. It is mainly found in Luke chapter 2. I remember memorizing the first 20 verses when I was in elementary school for our Christmas program. Over 55 years later, I can still recite most of it. Is that evidence as to the importance of getting Scriptures into the minds of our children and grandchildren?  Sadly, we have drifted away from it in our schools.

Now, take a deep breath. It is okay to breathe and relax for a few minutes amidst the speedy world that has us spinning around in the last minute. I'm listening to Silent Night as I write this. Sleep in heavenly peace.

Did the quiet couple, Mary and Joseph, have their goals, dreams, and plans for their new life together interrupted by God? The Romans required them to travel to register for the census and pay taxes. Jews were not required to serve in the Roman army. Now was this perfect timing or what? God wanted Jesus born in Bethlehem so He used this to accomplish it. (Can you imagine riding on a donkey, being 9 months pregnant? I certainly can't.) Yet, it was an inconvenience for them. did they get upset at this? Do we get upset when an inconvenience comes along in our life. A bumpy road was the way they traveled. Ouch! But they survived the hardships. God was with them all the way. And He is with us, Emmanuel.

So the young couple was obedient. Why didn't things go smoothly for them? There was no room in the inn for them to sleep comfortably that arrival night. Because of the census and taxes, Bethlehem was crowed. Where did Mary and Joseph spend the night? It wasn't in a 5 star room, but a stinky stable or barn or cave. Talk about discomfort again. (Mary was probably looking forward to a comfy bed, don't you think?) Such humble surroundings for them. Jesus was born while they were there. It was time for the Savior to come to earth. It was the appointed time for God's love to come down to mankind. When we do God's will, we are not guaranteed convenience and comfort. How do we react to it? Be assured, it all has a purpose in our life. Where is God leading you? He will provide what you need in order to accomplish His will.

Here this young couple was alone, staying in a barn or cave, dealing with the unexpected timing of the birth of Mary's baby. How do they cope? Hang in there Mary. God sent His angles ahead of time to appear to some shepherds watching their sheep in the fields. They are coming to encourage you and Joseph. They will be with you, worshiping and praising God for the awaited Savior, your sweet, precious baby boy.

Why did Jesus leave heaven to live as a human, live in a hateful world of people, be tempted in the ways we are, and endure beatings, yet did not sin? Such love that I cannot comprehend. He voluntarily came to provide a way for us to be able to join Him in heaven. He is our Redeemer, taking our place, paying for our sins. Hallelujah!

It is not by being born in a prominent family, or a Jew, or the child of Christian parents that gets us to heaven. It is by our individual faith and repentance.

Paul told us in Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 says For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus said in John 14:6, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.

For by grace are ye save through faith: and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:8-10

I must ask you, sweet one, have you asked God to forgive you of your sins, to be your Savior? His loving hand is reaching out to you, offering you His free gift.
Are we sharing with our family the reason for the season?

Later, the wise men came to visit Mary and Joseph and Jesus. They gave the three gifts, though they may have ben more in number. That gold and silver would provide for the family in Egypt. Isn't God's plan the best?

I pray that you enjoy your time off work, with family around you, and obtain rest for the weary.

In His Love,

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

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