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Two Scary Words in the Christmas Story


This is a guest post from Mike. He told this Christmas story in our Bible study class.

The usually calm town of Bethlehem was bustling with activity this day.  Caesar Augustus had decreed a census.  Joseph and Mary arrived around 5:30 p.m. after the long trip from Nazareth – about 75 miles… walking… by foot… with an expectant mother… due any day.

They were exhausted.  Worn out!  Mary’s back and feet ached.  Joseph was physically and emotionally spent.

Back in Nazareth, their lives had been stressful already.  Joseph’s work was hectic.  Their home was chaotic.  Their betrothed relationship was getting strained.

Lots of preparations for the next family event.  Things to do.  Extra bills to pay.  And, on top of all that, Mary didn’t feel good.  Now, ugh, one more “to do.”  A quick trip to Bethlehem and back to Nazareth before the baby’s due date.

Bethlehem didn’t even notice the pregnant Mary.  (Nor that giant star that was new and must mean something.)

Bethlehem was stressed out.  Busy, weary, overwhelmed.  The whole town was tense.  People jammed together like a holiday-packed mall.  Long lines.  Everybody was extra cranky.

This request from “the boss” (Caesar) had frustrated everyone.  The Jews didn’t like his rules.  The boss was asking for too much.     Everyone was thinking, “let’s just get through this.”

That Bethlehem day was ordinary, yet extraordinary.  Jesus was coming.  He would change history forever.  He’d change lives – forever.  But, no one saw the big picture.

In Bethlehem, the sun was setting.  The two scariest words in this Christmas drama were soon to be spoken.

Luke 2:7
And she brought forth her firstborn Son,
and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes,
and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

The innkeeper spoke the two scary words – “no room.”  Beyond no room in his inn, there was no “room” anywhere.  Not in Bethlehem.  Not in Mary and Joseph’s life.  Not in people’s schedules.  Not in day-to-day lives.  Not in the religious world.  The biggest event in human history to that point in time was occurring, and everyone was missing it.  Missing the Glory of God!  No room in each spiritual soul.

2,000 years ago, the people of Bethlehem made “no room” for Jesus.  This Christmas season, Jesus wants to arrive again.

The question:  do we have room for Jesus in our lives, or do we have “no room”?

Is there room in our busy lives?

In our home, is He welcome?

In our family plans?  Will we include time to worship?

In our work life?  Will we show Jesus?  Will we model his teaching?

In our thoughts, do we even think about Jesus?

In our spiritual lives?  Do we have room for spiritual things?  Enough room for prayer?  Bible reading?  Listening for His still, small voice?

Are we any different than Bethlehem?

Ten years ago, I was listening to Christmas music.  A song by Ray Boltz named Sent By The Father came on the radio.  A few lyrics grabbed me.  (Correction, the Holy Spirit spoke!)

Once a baby in a manger
No room at the inn
Now a King who reigns forever
over death and sin.

The Holy Spirit challenged me.  Do I have room for a baby Jesus (who now reigns as King)?  Does my family?  Does my country?

And, not just a little corner.  Not a meager stable out back.  Not a little manger.  Not second best.  Not leftovers.  But, first place.

Now every Christmas season, those two little words, those six letters, jump out of Luke 2.  Do I have “no room” for Jesus?

What room does He want in your life?

11 Tips for Running Your Parenting Race


God’s Love – for You

Psalm 139:1-18 is about you – wonderful you!  And me.  All of mankind.

Psalm 139 tells us His eyes were on us from the very beginning.  His eyes saw our unformed substance.  Our frame was not hidden from him.   He formed our inward parts.  He knit us together in the womb.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made!  All the days ordained for us, planned for us, were written in His Book before one came to be.  We are His!  Let that sink in.  If our flesh had a manufacturer’s label, it would read “Wonderfully Made for and by Him.”

We were created for His glory, for His enjoyment, for His purpose.  He initiated the love relationship with mankind.  We love Him because He first loved us!  You don’t have to look further than the cross to know how much the Father loves you.

God demonstrated (stood up, shows and clearly proves) His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.
Romans 5:8 AMP

What is our response to this love?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10

Simply put: receive Jesus by faith, repent (change the direction of your heart) and run!  Run for Him and with Him.

Your Path to Run

Last week, I shared a personal story about a new chapter of life.  Jesus said “I have another path for you. Another race that’s cut for you. Run this race now; the one set before you.”

Here’s a list of “mile markers” for your race (based on Hebrews 12 below).  Mile markers of scripture to help you on this magnificent run of life.  Remember, His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path.  Psalm 119:105

* Note of encouragement – slowly read all of Psalm 119.  This particular Psalm reveals to us the importance of The Word!  The Word teaches us how to run.

Hebrews 12 tells us that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV

(1)  Run with endurance the race set before us. Run your race. Not another’s or exactly like another. Run with Jesus’ abiding presence.

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
1 John 2:27 (and John 15 – abide in Him)

(2)  Run with the One who says He is the way, the truth, and the life.  The one in which no one comes to the Father but by and through Him.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

(3)  Run with His Word held tightly in your hand, and in your heart.

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Philippians 2:14-16

(4)  Run with obedience.

If you love Me, keep My commandments.
John 14:15

(5)  Run in constant prayer.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

Pray without ceasing,
1 Thessalonians 5:17

(6)  Run with passion.

… because the king’s business required haste.
1 Samuel 21:8

(7)  Run with joy. J-O-Y. (Jesus-Others-You)

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love others as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22:37-40

(8)  Run with influence – impacting the generation following. And the next one to come.

“As for Me,” says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”
Isaiah 59:21

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.
1 Peter 5:2-4

(9)  Run with other believers in Jesus Christ.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25

(10)  Run for the sake of those not knowing how to run. These who have not met Christ yet.

Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 2:10

(11)  Run for HIM!

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
Revelation 22:12