The Road To Bethlehem

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Luke 2:1-3. And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Caesar Augustus has a political platform you probably won’t hear this coming year in our presidential campaign. He announced to the Roman Empire, “Read my Lips: Lots of new taxes!” It says there in verse 1 and verse 3 that he made a decree for everyone to go to his home town to be registered. In effect, he’s saying, “I need to know how many people are in the empire so I can know how much to tax you.” Of course, the difference between Caesar Augustus and modern presidents is that Caesar was not elected by the people, nor did he have term limits. He was kind of like a king or an emperor. He could do whatever he wanted. And here, he wanted to tax people. And in order to do that, he needed them to register, to take part in a census.  Let me tell you a little bit about Caesar Augustus. His real name was Gaius Octavius. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, and so when Julius Caesar died, Octavius became emperor, and with it, the title of his position – Caesar O. he should have been known as Octavius Caesar. However, Octavius had quite an ego. He was very proud and arrogant. He wanted to be greater than any other Caesar before him, and so, with the approval of the Roman Senate, he dropped his name Octavius, and added the title Augustus. Augustus means “Majesty.” It’s a name of divinity. It carries the idea of being “of the gods.” Caesar Augustus means Caesar God.

In essence, he was proclaiming himself to be god. That is part of the reason he taxed the people so heavily. He figured a god should live in luxury and ease, and that the people, his subjects, should pay for his luxuries. And so he taxed them. He didn’t care how his heavy taxes placed financial burdens on the people, and he didn’t care that his method of registration caused great disruption in the lives of his subjects. He didn’t care that by forcing people to return to their hometown to be registered, he was forcing people to go on long journey’s, and possibly uproot their families, and lose their jobs. He didn’t care if people were sick; he didn’t care if people were old. He just didn’t care. It didn’t matter to him if the subjects of his empire were greatly inconvenienced by his decree, he just wanted his money. He did whatever he wanted, and if people didn’t like it, that’s too bad. If they tried to rebel, he had his vast army to deal with uprisings. And yet even through the journey to Bethlehem would be a difficult one especially with Mary being pregnant, both Joseph and Mary followed through what that had to do. So they headed to Bethlehem the town of David, because Joseph belonged to the house and line of David.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

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Second Sunday of Advent

Peace.pngWe began Advent last Sunday by lighting the first candle, the candle of Hope. We light it again today to remind us that Christ is coming to fulfill God’s promises. Today we light the second candle of Peace. The prophet Isaiah said, “Comfort, comfort my people” to a nation anxious about invasion and exile, as he foretold the coming of the Prince of Peace. Our world is still filled with violence and abuse, where families are torn apart by war and children used as soldiers. Isaiah’s words continue to speak to us that Jesus will bring us to an everlasting peace. Mary and Joseph found no room in the inn to give birth to Jesus, but we can heed John the Baptist’s command to make room in our hearts. Wherever there is war or mistrust between people, families, or our own hearts, God is present and leading us to imagine new ways of living in peace. Christ is our only hope, and our peace is found through him. We light this candle to remind us of Jesus’ life-giving peace to all who trust him. We light it in honor of those who live the Gospel truth that war does not make one great. It is the peace workers who risk much so that others may live without fear.

Prayer: We’re in trouble, Holy God. So many in the world do not know peace in their countries or in their hearts. We use weapons of steel and barbed words to wound one another. We seek balm for our restless hearts in the things that only make is more wounded. Open our hearts to Jesus so we may have the peace of his holy presence and live it in our unpeaceful world. Save us from outside violence and inner turmoil. We need you. Come, peaceful God, come.                            Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

To Become A Child Again

John 13.jpgIn the Gospel of John, Jesus is preparing his disciples of things that were about to happen to him with being handing over to sinners and then crucified. Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you: Where I am going, you cannot come. ” A new command I give you, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.                                                   John 13:31-35

Why is that adults simply cannot love others they way they seem to love themselves, at times they look to another with such hatred. Adults just seem to judge someone because of someone’s race, age, being rich or poor, the color of their eyes, how smart they are and believe me the list of the judgement seems to go on and on for way too long, all because someone is different from themselves. Hasn’t anyone ever notice that God created us in His image but not to look the same as someone else. If you think back when you were a child did it matter at all what another child look like, how rich or poor they may be, or did you simply look at the other child and think to yourself how you would like to have a playmate to play with, if you answer is yes like most of us would answer, then tell me what happen in between being a child and becoming an adult they too many times we seem to have hatred in our hearts all because someone is different from us.

God is love, that is why when you read in John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son (Jesus) into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.                      John 3:16-17

Jesus was without sin, a man who had no home to call his own, and what he had done was always good for another human being and even dying on the cross, why so we as sinners will not perish after leaving this earth, but that we will be reunited with our Heavenly Father for all of eternity. And what did he seem to do with anyone who was a little difference he simply love them.

You have heard that it was said Love your neighbor and hate your enemy., But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  Matthew 5:44   Is it ever easy to love your enemy no it is not, and if it was everyone would do it and they don’t. What is a Christian–it is someone who is a follower (disciple) of Jesus Christ so if we call ourselves a Christian shouldn’t we love all people, just as Jesus would. This is why as Christian we need to have a walk with Christ, to help us to love all, in order for any of us to do the will of the Father we need to have a walk with the Son. In the book of Ephesians chapter 6 Paul tells us to put on the Full Armor of God because our struggles is not against  flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the power of this dark world. You need to understand that is satan w wants to destroy this world, to destroy families, friendship anyway he can. For you and me Paul tells us to Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions. So put down any hatred you have in your heart for anyone and put on the heart of love and compassion for another one of God’s beautiful creation.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends