“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17
Originally, God created and placed Adam and Eve, our original parents, in the Garden of Eden. But our parents sinned greatly against God by partaking of the fruit of the tree God had told Adam (See Genesis 2:16), ‘…From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” (See Genesis 2:16-17). And, take careful note of Genesis 3:6, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took (underline, mine), from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
The Bible tells us that from the beginning, God “gave…!” He established the beauty of creation including the rich bounty of the Garden of Eden with which to provide for all of Adam and Eve’s needs! The Bible also tells us however, that into that Garden crept the Sin of all sins through the serpent’s cunning tongue: PRIDE! And the result? We became “takers” by nature, instead of being “givers” in the manner of our Father’s heart! The remedy-the only remedy?
The sacrificial death of God’s only Son on the cross “…that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life!” God’s gift to the fallenness of man! God’s gift to you! (Read John’s Christmas Story: John 1:12-14). Merry Christmas!
Joseph and Mary’s Christmas Story
“And the angel (Gabriel) answered and said to her (Mary), ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring 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 bond-slave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.”
“But when he (Joseph) had considered this (See Matthew 1:18-19), behold, and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. ‘And she will bear a Son; and you shall call his name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
The account of Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus is a miracle of both history and heart! Jesus’ birth was miraculous for it was of the Holy Spirit’s power. And the wonderful news of Christmas announces not only God’s coming to earth, born in flesh in an animal’s feed-box, but also that any person who repents of sin and turns to Christ at the cross will be miraculously born from above to eternal life and given abundant life now for all of life’s challenges. The Christian’s heart becomes God’s Bethlehem for Jesus is born and lives there through the power of the indwelling Spirit of Christ! And the God who came to and cared for Joseph and Mary when life was everything but easy and uncomplicated for them, cares for you, too! Nothing is impossible with God!
In Bethlehem Inn: Between Verses Six and Eight
“And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
Luke was, among other things, a physician, and with that comes an eye for detail! It’s very interesting that in his gospel, strategically located between the birth of Christ (verse 6), and the announcement of his birth to the shepherds via the angel (verse 8 and following), we find the account of the Bethlehem Inn that had no room for “them” (Joseph, Mary, and the baby she was carrying), to stay for the night.
This past weekend, we presented a dinner play entitled, “In Bethlehem Inn,” written by John W. Carter. It is a delightful and heart-transforming story adapted from Luke’s account of the birth of Christ in which we see the heart and life of an innkeeper by the name of “Eli Merriman,” his wife “Sarah,” along with their daughters and four wild n’ crazy servants who are just as different as they can be, along with a couple of shepherds, all fall in love with a baby named “Jesus” the Son of God, wrapped in cloths “…and lying in a feedbox!”
In a world and in our nation of today, we must agree with the Christian group “Casting Crown’s” probing our hearts with the question: “Are we still sleeping...[and]… have no room…?” for the Messiah, in like fashion the night He was born in Bethlehem, so long ago? The question remains…have you invited Jesus to be born in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit…to grow, and live in you by the power of the Cross and His resurrection? Or, have you missed Him because you have said there is no room in the inn of your heart for Him?
This is the most important question you will ever face: one positioned between verses six and eight! To one day close your eyes in death without Christ is greatest loss of all! There is a real heaven and a real hell! What is your decision this Christmas? Room or No Room? Jesus loves YOU! He was born to die and live again, for you! (Read John 3:16-17 and I Timothy 1:15)
In the Forgiving Love of Jesus Christ,