KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY

1 Luke: 34 – 40 – Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”             

The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

 “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.

 

God never begrudges us questions when we are facing “impossible” situations. The angel had just told Mary that she was going to have a baby as a virgin. Wouldn’t you have a couple of questions? Gabriel does not get angry and say, “Why are you questioning God?” No, he gives her the explanation and then gives her further evidence that God can do the impossible.

The way Gabriel talked, it was just as impossible for Elizabeth to have a child in her old age as it was for Mary to have a child as a virgin. This is evidenced by the statement, “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” This seemed to convince Mary that what was told to her would also happen.

What Mary does next should be a lesson to us all. Since this kind of thing had not happened to very many people in history, LOL, (everyone knows that Mary is unique in this category), she had no one to talk to about it. As you see in the Bible, even her husband to be did not understand this one. I cannot say that I blame him. I would have needed an angel to come to me and explain that one as well.

But, since Gabriel told her that Elizabeth had a miracle too, it says that Mary went “in a hurry” to see Elizabeth. We must do the same thing. When we are faced with a problem or a supernatural occurrence, do not go and talk to just anyone who you think will listen.

You will have a lot of acquaintances in your life, but very few people who you can call confidants: Maybe 2 or 3 in your lifetime. In Mary’s case, there was one person in the whole world who would understand what she going through. That is why Gabriel gave her the information. One thing I noticed: this was not a FRIEND, it was a RELATIVE. The way it is put in Matthew 1:18, it appears that Mary went to talk to Elizabeth before she spoke to Joseph about it. That is because Elizabeth was FAMILY and Joseph was not FAMILY, YET.

Most of the time, it is FAMILY who love you unconditionally enough to get you through crises. They may not always tell you what you want to hear, but they love you enough to get you through it.

Friends, on the other hand, have very little invested in your life. They can run and even turn on you when things get rough.  Do not look for sympathy; because, no matter how well you think you know your friends, they have no reason to keep a juicy piece of gossip quiet. They have friends that they have known longer than they have known you and, often times, will share what you have told them. Now, the news is out there. That would have been devastating in Mary’s case.

Family always has your best interest in mind and they will, in most circumstances, stand with you until the crisis has passed.

Watch out who you confide in during times of great miracles and great crisis. Do not trust everyone with the information. Even Joseph wanted to put Mary away privately without a lot of people knowing what was going on. Today, we probably would have blasted it all over Facebook and the whole world would know about it. Some things are best kept in the family.                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

 

CHRISTMAS: PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS

 

It is so easy for us to be caught up in traditions that have been taught to us as children. We have learned to accept some things that have been taught for years without even a look in the Bible to see if those things are true. Most of these will not determine whether we go to heaven or not. But the fear is, what if we are accepting things without question and they are important. We should be like the Berean church and check out everything that is taught to be sure “those things are so”.

Acts 17:10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

These people did not even take Paul and Silas’ word for it! They searched the scriptures. I do not know of any pastors today who soar to the level of Paul and Silas, so we must also search the scriptures.

So, having said that, let’s look at a Christmas tradition that we have held for years that may not be exactly the way the Bible says it:

Matthew Chapter 2 gives the story of the wise men who came to see Jesus. We see many manger scenes where the wise men are looking at the baby Jesus and presenting him gifts. When we look at the scriptures, we learn that the wise men never came to the manger:

9When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.  10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 12And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 

The scripture says they came into the house. This is different from the stable where he was born. We also assume that there were 3 wise men. The scripture never says that. It only says that there were 3 kinds of gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. There could have been hundreds of magi who came to worship Jesus: the point is that the scripture never says how many there were.

Also, we have been taught that the wise men followed the star from the east to Bethlehem. The Bible actually says that they saw the star in the east. It does not say how they knew it was HIS star. I believe it was revealed to them by God. Be sure to check the scriptures.

They did not FOLLOW the star until AFTER they went to Herod asking for directions. If they had followed the star, they would never have asked directions of Herod because it would have led them right to Jesus. I believe they knew it was the star of the one born King of the Jews, so they took a 2 years journey to Jerusalem (because it says that Herod killed the Babies 2 years old and under according to the time the wise men said they saw the star.) They were extremely excited when they saw the star AFTER they left Herod. (verse 10). This tells me that they did not follow it to Herod. But it does say they followed it after that.

This is not meant to shoot down any Christmas traditions you have. If I had a manager scene, it would probably have 3 wise men at the manger. The purpose of this blog is to teach us to read the scriptures for ourselves and do not take ANYONE’S word for it in any matter. Pay attention to the details. God put them there for a reason.

GOD’S METHOD TO SAVE THE WORLD

I pray everyone had a great Thanksgiving. God has given us so many things to be thankful for. When we run into trouble, we should try to look back and think about all the things that God has done for us in the past. As we do this, it gives us faith to believe that God is going to take care of us in this situation.

When Moses lifted his staff, and parted the Red Sea, as far as we know, this is the first time that this had ever happened in history. Got up in the Red Sea, took his people across, and killed the enemy in the waters. Afterwards, in Exodus 15, the children of Israel had a great praise service on the banks of the Red Sea.

Exodus 15: 1 Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and said, “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; the horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
2 “The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will extol Him.

Not only did the children of Israel see the mighty things which God had done, but everyone throughout that region had heard of it, even without cell phones or texting! We know this because of the testimony of Rahab in

Joshua  2: 8 – 10

And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;
And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

So, when it came time for the Israelites across over the Jordan River, Joshua reminded them that they were about to see the glory of the Lord. He told them that as the priest entered the water, the waters would part and they would go across on dry land. Some of them were still alive from their experience in the wilderness and had seen the Red Sea about 40 years earlier. With 40 years passing, I am assuming that there were babies born in the wilderness that had not seen the Red Sea, part.

That is why is important for those of us who are older and have seen the glory of God to continually teach and remind the younger generation of the things that He has done. If we will continue to speak of the things that God has done and give Him glory, that will produce faith in the younger generation until they can have their own experience of seeing His glory.

It is become politically incorrect for us to talk about God or to call anything “Christian”. The result of this is a lack of faith in the next generation to believe that God can do the things he says he will do. If we, who have seen God, in his glory, do not continually talk of his exploits, the next generation will have nothing to talk about and therefore will become silent. We will have failed in our mission to teach these things diligently to our children and to our children’s children. And remember, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

People may try to shut you up by saying that it is not politically correct to talk like you do, but keep on preaching. It is the only way to God has chosen to save the lost and dying world.