Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Wrong Spirit of Christmas

In Luke 2:1-20, Luke records the Christmas story.  In the silence there was Music and in the darkness there was Light!  The Angels’ message to the Shepherds prompted a statement as they pondered what they had heard.  Their statement was “…Let us go to Bethlehem…” 
The question I’d like for you to ask yourself as you read this devotion is “Is my life a Bethlehem for the Son of God?”  Today, in a very real sense, our lives can become a Bethlehem for the son of God.  For you see, Bethlehem was a place of Potential, a place of Providence and a place of Privilege.

“But you Bethlehem, - Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of you shall come forth to me, the one to be ruler in Israel…”.

Bethlehem shows us the small will be great, that there is strength in weakness and that the last shall be first.  In essence there is Great Potential in you and in me.  For God looks at us and He sees us not for just for who we are, but for who we can become. But “No Room” signs hung on the city where Mary and Joseph sought to bring God’s Son into the world.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:25, “God has a way of confounding the wise” and in Isaiah 57:15 “I live in a high and holy place, but I also live with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit”.  God specializes in coming to the lowly estate of men.  You see, Jesus prepares us for a greater service.  Like Bethlehem some have not awakened to the fact that Christ can be born in you.  But we must first remove the “No Room” sign.

A sovereign God was moving the events of the world to fulfill His purpose and His Word.  Micah, many years before, said this would be the birthplace of the long awaited and promised Messiah.  Herod summoned the wise men askingWhere will the little king be born……Bethlehem of Judea”.

But, how could this be?  Mary and Joseph didn’t live there but rather in Nazareth of Galilee.  The decree by Caesar Augustus that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world was as from God himself.  Caesar was nothing more than a pawn in God’s hand.

Hebrews 1:1-3 simply states that God was putting the world in motion to fulfill His Word socially, politically and religiously.  Daniel 4:17 states, “…the most high rules in the Kingdom of men…”  Solomon tells us “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord”.

God has not abdicated His throne.  He is still at work in the world and moving in the affairs of men today.  Bethlehem tells us that “God’s in control”.  He is fulfilling His plan in your life too.  On the surface you may be unable to see God working in your problems, your circumstances and your situation.  But right now God is moving you; He’s orchestrating; His hand’s at work.  You can’t see it but His hand is at work, pushing you to a place where He can do something grand and glorious in your life.

Why Bethlehem? 
Why not Jerusalem, the seat of religious power?  Because the Hope of the World is not in religion.
Why not Rome, the seat of political power?  Because the Hope of the World is not in politics.    “the government was to be upon His shoulders.”

Why not Athens, the seat of intellect and philosophy?  Because the Hope of the World was is not in philosophy. 

Jerusalem was called the “City of Peace”.  Bethlehem was called the “City of David” and the “House of Bread”.  The Bread of God had come down from Heaven.

What a privilege but they almost missed it.  They said, “No Vacancy; No Room!”   Knowing life’s moments, life’s most important times, is hard to recognize and realize sometimes.  All too often we’re wrapped up in what’s going on about and with us.  In faith allow Jesus to awaken in you an unparalleled privilege.  Take off that no vacancy sign.

Scripture to Claim:                                                                               
“When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child (Jesus).  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.  The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” Luke 2:17-20

(Submitted by Donnie O’Fallon)

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