The Christmas season always makes me remember the testimony of a well-known Christian minister I heard a long time ago who was recollecting the first time he stepped into a church. At that time he was a prosperous Rock musician with long hair and tight fitting clothes. He stated that when he walked into the church he suddenly and unexplainably had the desire to give so he emptied his pockets and stuffed hundreds of dollars into the hand of the Pastor at the end of the service.
At the time he had no understanding of the event, but later when he received Jesus as his personal Savior and Lord he began to realize that he was just imitating his new found Papa God. As he read from John 3:16 one day he understood that just as God had given His best, so he was compelled to give his best on that Sunday morning… much to his surprise as well as the Pastor’s!
I experienced a similar event the first Sunday we attended our new church. When the offering time came I suddenly remembered that I had “hidden” a large bill in my wallet just before we moved out to North Carolina. My thinking was that it was for any emergency that might come up during the move. Then I actually forgot about it! On that Sunday morning a few weeks back, I heard the Lord softly but quite clearly say that I was to give the best I had on me… and that bill was it! Well surprisingly, I found myself in total agreement and placed it into the bucket without any hesitation. I figured that I was planting a good seed for the church and its ministry as well as for our new beginnings in our new home.
As you read today’s Advent message, I would encourage you to see it as an example of Papa God giving His best to you, your neighbors, your family and the guy you bump into as you meander through the Holiday shopping crowds! Born that day in a lowly manger in the tiny town of Bethlehem was the answer to all of mankind’s needs, wants and desires. And as God gave His best, consider how you can give your best to someone in need during this time when we remember and honor that event.
In The Fullness of Time
Wednesday, the second week of Advent
Today’s Readings: Psalms 118:23-26 / Daniel 2:44 / Luke 2:6-7
There are many life lessons that can be derived from our small but most important part of our look at the first Christmas. Luke 1:26 in the American Standard Version states that “while they were there, the days were fulfilled…” God’s perfect timing had come. That which had been prophesied throughout the previous ages was actually happening on that wonderful night over 2000 years ago. The anxious moments that Joseph and Mary went through finally came to a sweet conclusion as the baby Jesus was born in the stable of an inn.
How appropriate that the King of Kings was born in that lowly place and then laid in a manger for His introduction to the world. What is an inn but a place where temporary sojourners in a land stay as they are passing through while they complete their immediate responsibilities. Jesus was manifest as a man for only a short and temporary time so that He could complete the greatest deed ever known to man. He was to live His abbreviated stay on this earth as a sinless man so that He could suffer and die in our place, for our sins as the full and total payment to legally free us from the domain of darkness that had ruled mankind since the original sin in the Garden of Eden.
An inn is also an establishment that receives all who come into its abode, as is the same with Christ. I believe that God had it planned all along that the Holy Family would stay in the relative quiet and privacy of the stable so that they could humbly receive those who would come that night in awe and in worship to their newborn king!
When Joseph and Mary arrived with every intention of staying at the inn, they discovered that there was no room left vacant. This is similar to those who know of and may even desire to accept Jesus as their Lord, but never make room for Him to come into the inn of their hearts. Then there are those of us who have received Him as our Savior and have every intention of making Him to be Lord, but as with the others, never make room for him to abide in a preeminent position in our will and with the daily activities of our busy lives.
Our loving heavenly Father greatly desires that the days be fulfilled in us where His perfect plan for our lives can come into fruition. Let this season of giving be the time where you give yourselves totally to Him so that He can have a preeminent hand in the events ahead. Just as He worked out all the details and took loving care of Joseph, Mary and the baby, He will do the same for you! Then you can shout like the Psalmist did when he exclaimed “This is the Lord’s doing (and); it is marvelous in our eyes!” (Psalm 118:23 KJV) Go ahead… shout that out right now! Rejoice and be glad that His ways are marvelous for you today then pray about and consider how you and/or your family can be a blessing to someone else this year by planting a seed of giving into their lives. And with that in mind, have a terrific day! Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What SEED am I expecting to plant today?”