So This is Stable? Luke 2:6-7

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Christmas Message ’15
“So this is Stable?”
Luke 2:6-7

The message that greeted Mary & Joseph in Bethlehem is one that has greeted many in 2015!  While the economy continued to search for balance, many people and families found themselves having to find stability amidst circumstances that were unstable.  They, despite being chosen by God, endured traveling miles while pregnant to a distant place to account in the census ordered by Ceasar Augustus.

Which brings us to our first revelation; God is always fulfilling His Word.  Though Joseph and Mary were being obedient to the order by Ceasar, the order of Ceasar was aiding God in fulfilling His Word as to the birthplace of the Messiah.  Yes, all things work!  God allowed Ceasar to make the decree in order to fulfill the scripture.  He honored His Word, aligning with His promise, to ensure there would be no questions as to who Jesus was. manger

Because of this, we can survive the changing winds and the punches produced by life, knowing that each challenge and circumstance we face are under God’s supervision.  He is working things out for our good!   Thus, being chosen people, we just need to keep leaning on His Word which not only never returns void, but is true and in the process of being fulfilled in our lives.  God’s Word is true, proven over and over not to be a lie from those who have walked the path and dared to trust Him at His Word!

While in Unstable circumstances, we can find ourselves questioning the Word that has come to us.  Mary & Joseph had the words of the Angels to lead them and comfort them, and we are privileged to have the word of our Shephards.    This Word comes from the Lord, and is often received by the heart, but is later challenged by circumstances.  Our life situations cause us to have doubts about the Word God has given to us, and often attacks early before the seed can take root.  God sent the Shepherds first and the Magi second to confirm the Word that He sent to Mary and Joseph. I praise God for a confirming Word.  When we get to moments of doubt, God will send a word to us that will give us the confidence to continue walking forward towards our destiny.

Not only does God send a Word to confirm with us, God uses our circumstances to speak to others.  God placed them in the stable so that they could be identified by others to find the Messiah.   They watched as people traveled from near and far to both Worship and the Sacrifice.  The stable allowed them to follow the star, which sat watch over him as the gave praise, adoration and tribute to the true and living God.  While we are going through, we must be aware that God is not only preparing us, but He is using use as examples to others to display His love and His character.

One of the challenges we face is the desire to be in the “Inn Crowd.”   The “inn crowd” are those that have been included.  As Mary & Joseph made their bed in the stable, they laid in view of the inn that had all the comforts and conveniences that they desired and were accustomed too.  Though they were excluded from the inn, God had made provision in the stable, and had placed them in the place where He desired for them to be.  Though our hearts may be set on the inn, the place for us might be the stable.  For in the stable, God is able to teach us, cover us and expose us to what we need to carry out the mission He has for us.

Though true, many of us focus to intensely on the inn that we loose focus of what is in the manger!  Worse, some of us would trade the manger for the inn.  While going through, we must place our focus and hope on that which God has provided for us.  In the stable lay the avenue to obtain not just what was on earth, but what was in heaven.  In the stable, lay to key no to the inn, but to heaven!  We grow so concerned with earthly, the things of the spirit often take a back seat.  Mary and Joseph looked at their surroundings and made it home; for now.  We have the power to declare stable.  We must open our mouths and speak forth God’s will and live God’s way, knowing that He is at work!  Stable is the place where God directs us, and the place where He prepares for us!

Stable is where God is in the midst!  Mary & Joseph lived out the scripture “where two or three are gathered”.  They came together in agreement, and declared this to be the place where God had led them too.  I am so glad that Mary & Joseph stayed focused on the manger.  They headed the words of the Shephard and Magi, which reminded them of their task and not to focus on their circumstances.  Not only did they move on from the stable, but were in a house by the time the magi arrived, and were able to receive gifts from them  when they came.  Only God can do this!  Truly He has a cattle on a thousand hills, and the earth is truly the Lords and the fullness there off.  He can instruct a blessing, perform a miracle, deliver us, elevate us, exalt us whenever He chooses too!

When times get rough, we must keep our focus on the manger.  While surviving in a stable environment, we must have confidence in our salvation, protect the promise, and nurture ourselves with the Word.  Many nights, the two things they had to hold on too were Jesus and one another.  We too must reach out to each other in the midst of our struggles, supporting each other and encouraging each other until life changes.  We also must hold on to “God’s unchanging hand” as our forefathers would say.  These are the things that make stable liveable!  We can exist!  We can survive in the stable!

#PastorJDO3

 

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Joseph; Righteous above Right (Matthew 1:19)

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 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
Matthew 1:19

This just in; God knows what He is doing!  God chooses Joseph to be the husband of Mary.  She is picked out, as was the custom, and leaves her in her fathers home to prepare a place as well as to possibly carry out his dowry agreement.  While working in service or bringing the agreed dowry price, Joseph returns and finds that his bride to be is with child.  Knowing the law, Joseph knew what could be done about the situation, as well as what would happen to Mary because of her decision and actions.

Though she had made a mistake he thought, Joseph decided to deal with her in private, and not to destroy her.  Joseph knew that she would be stoned if she was exposed, so he sought a way to deal with her sin that didn’t end in death.  Isn’t this just like our heavenly Father?  He caught her, in what he believed to be sin, and as opposed to destroying her, sought a way to forgive and deal with her sin.

Bethlehem Christmas. Star in night sky above Mary and JosephI praise God that he is compassionate towards us, and though the laws deemed for her to be punished, he had in mind to show mercy towards her.  In my life time, I have been found in some circumstances that are wrong, but praise be to God that God sought not to give me what I had earned from my own actions.

Joseph was a man that had mercy as a part of his character.  From this, we can summarize that he was not just merciful, but that he administered grace to those he dealt with.  Even when wronged, Joseph was willing to move on without having the full measure of the law taken towards a person whom was found to be flawed or in error.  Thank God, that He is just in every way!  That He is filled with grace and mercy, and that He considers the person as he considers the offense.

I thank God that He sought not to expose each of my flaws, and protected my name for Kingdom usage.  Joseph could have exposed Mary, much like God could completely expose us.  Truth be told, the world knows only 15% of our story, and the rest is on the editing room floor of the sea of forgetfulness.  Yes, He chose the Right man, a Righteous man.  A Righteous man is not about exposing sin, but exposing the sinner to grace that they might be restored through love and forgiveness.  

Joseph knew the penalty associated publicly with the sin, but also new the wages of the act she committed.  Without loosing her life, she would pay dearly for her decision.  She would be tied to her fathers house, not desired by others and un-marriable because she has been tainted.  Often, we might believe that the avoiding of stoning is getting away with the act, but the righteous know, the wages of sin pay off in many ways.  Joseph was satisfied with allowing her decisions to impact her life as opposed to longing for the release of hurt through casting the first stone.    He chose the right one!  Many of us long for the release through releasing the stone that inflicts pain on the one that has harmed us, but not Joseph.    What about you?

How are you with people that break covenant with you?  Joseph faced one that was joined to him in covenant, and now had to address the dishonoring of the agreement made between the two.  How are you with covenant breakers?  Are you still filled with mercy?  Are you still guided by peace?  Are you still filled with forgiveness?  Are you still fortified with love?  Chances are, most would have had a few harsh words with Mary for breaking the covenant.  But not Joseph.   Joseph understood that the disgrace is not on the one who has covenant broken, but on the one that breaks the covenant.  Because we are focused on self, we always consider the effect on our person hood first, and the feeling associated with the breaking of covenant cause us to feel disgraced.  We must understand that the offense to us is minimal than that of the one who breaks the covenant.  Their breaking of covenant does not change who we are, but demonstrates the character and integrity of the one breaking the agreement.  Thus, Joseph was willing to walk away, name and integrity in tact, not desiring to build or protect his name at the destroying of one of God’s children.  What about you?

Are you the Righteous Man?

 

#PastorJDO3