If you have ever been in a barn you know how dirty and smelly it can be. Animals do not give off the most pleasant aroma.
Now imagine yourself having to sleep in that barn. Not a delightful thought.
“and she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)
Not only did Mary and Joseph have to sleep in a stable, Mary gave birth there. Today we’d never consider putting a new born baby in a feeding trough, but that’s what Mary had to do.
Jesus is the Savior of the world, yet He had an extremely humble beginning. The King of kings was born in a stable.
But because of His lowly start in life and His living as a man, feeling all the joys, sorrows, tiredness, hunger, etc. as we feel, we know He understands when we go to Him. He’s been there, done that.
We have a Savior who can relate to every emotion we feel.
During this Christmas season remember how Jesus was born and lived on this earth. He is not unapproachable. He is very aware of what we go through each and every day. Share the moments of your life with Him through prayer. Keep the picture in your mind of the baby lying in a manger who wants to be your Savior.
I have been “adopted” into a new family. I spent Thanksgiving with the family of my daughter’s mother-in-law. Every other year they go to Kentucky for Thanksgiving with the other family members. This year I was invited to go along. I would have spent Thanksgiving alone otherwise, since my daughter went with them.
I immediately felt at home. Most of the people I met at my daughter’s wedding last May, but that day was so busy I didn’t have a chance to talk with any of them.
From Wednesday to Saturday I had the opportunity to really get to know them and I fit right in.
All of us have the opportunity to be invited into another family – the family of God.
“He (God) predestined us to be adopted as His children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.” (Ephesians 1:5)
Only by believing in Jesus Christ can we become heirs with Him of the glories awaiting in heaven.
Have you been adopted into the family of God? Jesus can make it happen. When it does you will feel right at home.
One of the first things we teach our children is to say “Please” and “Thank you”. All of us like to be thanked when we’ve done something for someone else. Receiving a thank you note or even just hearing the words “Thank you” makes us feel good. We know what we did was appreciated.
How about when we talk to God? Do we get so wrapped up in what we want or need we forget to thank God for what He’s already done?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.” (Phillipians 4:6
God wants us to bring our cares, wants, needs, joys, sorrows to Him. He also likes to hear “Thank you” from us, just as we like to hear those words from others.
Have your prayers been centered around you lately? How many seconds have you spent today thanking God for what He’s provided.
It is so handy to use a vending machine. We pop in our coins, select what we want, and out it comes.
Sometimes people think the same way about God. Their prayers are the coins. They tell God what they want and expect Him to just give it to them immediately.
GOD IS NOT A VENDING MACHINE
We need to keep lifting up our prayers to Him. However, He has a plan for each of us. We’ll get an answer to the prayer, but it will be in His time, and it might not necessarily be the answer we were looking for.
Jesus prayed in the Garden, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Jesus knew He would die the next day. He really didn’t want to so He asked God to do something to stop it. But Jesus also knew God’s will would be done. Therefore, Jesus accepted whatever God planned for Him.
We should pray the same way, asking God to fulfill our wants and needs, but acknowledging it’s His will that will be done.
God does not work like a vending machine and we should never expect Him to do so.
We have insurance for our homes and cars. It gives us assurance that if anything would happen to our homes or cars we will get help to pay for repairs.
We have life insurance so our families will have some financial assistance with our final expenses.
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence (assurance) forever.” (Isaiah 32:17)
Through God and Jesus Christ we have assurance forever of eternal life. Once we accept Jesus in our lives we know nothing and no one can talke us away from Him. We are His forever, now on earth and throughout all eternity.
Our insurance is that God will help us take care of issues with Satan and the temptations he places in our way.
As our home, car, and life insurances give us peace of mind should anything happen to our possessions, our insurance through Jesus gives us peace of mind about our spiritual, eternal life.
Have you invested in the insurance and assurance only Jesus provides for your life?
On Thanksgiving many churches and community centers sponsored dinners for people in the communities who had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving.
Why do we provide free community dinners only around the holidays? There are people who would love a home cooked meal more than only once or twice a year. I know there are shelters that provide meals for the homeless, but their funds are limited.
I’m not just talking about homeless people. How about those who are on very limited incomes or the elderly who might not be able to prepare full meals anymore?
Jesus told a parable about a great banquet in Luke 14. In it He said:
The owner of the house “ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ ” (Luke 14:21)
Are there people you know in your church or community who would enjoy a good meal? Have you ever thought of inviting them to your house for dinner or bringing a nice cooked meal to them?
Has your church ever thought to reach out into the community and offer a free meal at the church maybe in the summer and not just during the holiday season?
There are hurting people out there who need us. Are we going to step up to the plate and reach out to them?