Holy-Day Inn

I owe this lesson to my pastor who has been adding to the trove of knowledge that I keep and making it seem that my trove is minuscule compared to his, although he is years younger than I.  As we have ever heard the Christmas story, Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem as a result of Caesar’s decree that all should be counted in their area of origin.  This was Joseph’s home town though he had been living in Nazareth of Galilee.
And as the story is related by Luke the physician, Mary went into labor and delivered her baby but there was no room in the inn.  The Amplified Version of the Bible says there was no [private] room.  This gives me pause.  How can there be no private room for a couple who are expecting in the “any day now” category?  How can this be when Joseph is in his home town where supposedly he should have some influence and relatives? Yes, I get that this was an extraordinary circumstance, but through my 21st century eyes, this is ludicrous.
No room in the inn implies that they searched for accommodation and found none. I can imagine the real frustration of a “newlywed” expectant father who is just trying to make the best of a bad situation.  He is mandated to appear for the census.  Feeling overwhelmed and of course exhausted as he has had to make a 90-mile trek on rising terrain only to arrive with no recourse but to sleep in an odorous stable.
I’m quite sure that I would be questioning my sanity and my history, not to mention God himself.  I’m the guy who would be asking “Is this the way you intended things to work out?”
In hindsight, we see that everything worked out but it was not a smooth seamless “A to B” transaction.  Joseph was required to trust God and trust the message given to him by the angel.  As always, things appear chaotic and it is up to us to expect that God will fulfill His will no matter what.

Peace of the Prince

It’s early December and traditionally we hear familiar music with the lyrics “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  How does Christ get the title “Prince of Peace” and how does he enact his duties?  
Lately we’ve seen so many absolute distractions, many of which seem peace threatening and even life-threatening.  Wars and rumors of wars, insults and harassment,  threats to our livelihood, health and well-being are all in the news and even in our physical space.  We are moments away from some new disaster, plot or illness predicted to spoil our future, our children or our legacy.  These distractions are merely but they are so easy to fall prey to time and again .  Circumstances can tempt us into feeling overwhelmed,  anxious, even forlorn.   
“But God, who is rich in mercy”,   made it so that we are free from these torments.  We never have to worry, or grow depressed.  Our King has provided us with a supernatural gift.  It is His peace.  It is unlike peace given by the world. [John 14:27] Like all of his gifts, its scope is beyond our imagination.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians provides the detail of how this peace works. In context the Apostle encourages us not to be anxious about anything [4:6],  then he says that God’s peace transcends all understanding, that is, its functioning is beyond anything we could know.  Finally, the classic Amplified Version reveals the full meaning hidden in the original Greek:
     7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  [AMP]
His peace shall “garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds” that is, it will fortify and keep watch over your heart and mind.  This action is not passive, but active.  This action is not static but ongoing as long as we live in the Anointed Overcomer!  His peace adapts to your needs and carries us through our trials and tribulations.  Our need is to believe it and hold fast!  He is the reason for the Season!!