Category Archive: Just Thinking

How Do We Know God’s Will?

Let us know,

Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.

~ Hosea 6:3, NKJV

 

04-25-07 © Kuzma, courtesy of iStockphoto

How do we as Christians obtain knowledge?

This question has plagued theologians, philosophers, and every Christian. Experts debate such queries with verbose and confusing language, while no one provides an answer.  Yet, Scripture notes three important concepts that provide the answer for us.

  • First, we must desire it.

Solomon faced a daunting task: replace the greatest king of Israel’s history. He was but a young man; thus, he knew he couldn’t do it without God’s help. He entreated the Lord:

 

“So give Your servant an obedient heart to judge Your people

and to discern between good and evil.”

~ 1 Kings 3:9, HCSB

 

God gave to Solomon wisdom because he sought the Lord for it. God honored his request for discernment over riches and power. (1 Kings 3:7-28; 4:29-34) And even today we consider Solomon to be one of the wisest of the wise. That’s true only because he desired it of God.

  • Second, we must listen to the Holy Spirit.

God will enlighten those who seek Him in spirit and in truth

Without the Holy Spirit’s influence, all we would know would be what our weak, worldly minds could comprehend. We’d be prisoner to our physical and emotional frailties, and we’d never understand spiritual truths without His inner working.

Paul wrote:

 

But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him’. But God has, through the Spirit, let us share his secret.

For nothing is hidden from the Spirit, not even the deep wisdom of God. For who could really understand a man’s inmost thoughts except the spirit of the man himself? How much less could anyone understand the thoughts of God except the very Spirit of God? And the marvelous thing is this, that we now receive not the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God himself, so that we can actually understand something of God’s generosity towards us.

~ 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 (Phillips)

 

  • Third, we must study Scripture.

All of us have sought God’s will on more than one occasion. If we understand what God is up to, then we’ll delight in His work. The way we do that is through applying God’s Word to our lives. That’s how the Holy Spirit speaks to us – through Scripture.

David wrote:

 

I delight to do Thy will, O my God,

Thy Law is within my heart.

~ Psalm 40:8, NASB

In the original Hebrew version, the word is doesn’t appear. English scholars added the word to make a complete sentence, but a more literal reading would suggest that God’s will for our lives comes when His Word is within our hearts.

Study Scripture. Meditate on it – prayerfully, sincerely. That’s how we know God’s will for our lives.

  • God’s will isn’t a secret to those who follow these simple steps.

The Bible is God’s Word spoken to us as intimately as a father who whispers in the ear of his child. The Word of God is necessary if we are to know God’s will for our lives.

 

How has God spoken His will to you through Scripture?

The Great Unknown

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know.

There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know.

But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

 ~ Donald Rumsfeld

09-16-12 © Sadeugra, courtesy of iStockphoto

Herbert Spencer gave us his theory of knowing, but the intellectual philosopher admitted he couldn’t know everything. Despite all that we know, there exists the unknown – just as Donald Rumsfeld and others have said.

As much as we’ve learned about our world, there’s so much we don’t know. Even Einstein admitted there was more than he could learn.

This query has puzzled humans for generations. It inspired Columbus in his voyage when he found a new world. It drove Martin Luther to his knees as he struggled to understand God’s righteousness. Hundreds joined NASA to explore the vast unknown – space.

  • Trekkies seek the answers in the last frontier.

William Shatner narrated this purpose before each episode:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Thus, astronomers find new stars and galaxies all the time. As vast as people think the universe is, we know it extends far beyond that. How far? No one knows.

  • Oceanographers delve into the unknown deep abyss.

Newer technologies allow us to go further that we’ve ever been. Odd-looking creatures. Giant squids. Species long-thought extinct. Living in anonymity with us.

  • Zoologists and botanists discover new species daily.

From colorful spiders to poisonous frogs, many new forms of life are found sharing our world. Scientists have reported recent sightings of a dinosaur-like creature lurking in the African jungles.

  • Geneticists seek to map the human genome.

After Watson and Crick reported their findings on DNA, researchers have spent millions of dollars and man-hours poring over this most basic of human structure. Yet, there is still much to be known.

  • Microbiologists seek answers in the smallest crevices.

What started with Louis Pasteur has spawned many scientific disciplines. Pharmaceuticals have become a gazillion-dollar industry pursuing the unknowns through the microscope.

  • Many other disciplines seek the unknown.

Electron microscopy. PET scans. MRIs. We’re constantly trying to understand what we don’t know, but our pursuits demonstrate there’s too much our finite minds cannot understand.

Why? Because we’re looking in all the wrong places for answers.

  • We don’t need a telescope or a microscope to know.

Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything…

But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him.

~ Colossians 2:8-10, MSG

 

  • The problem: the Great Savior is unknown to most people.

Those of us who know Him must share Him with others by letting them see Him live through us. The one true God knows what is best even when we don’t, and He enlightens us with all we need to know in each and every situation. Nothing is unknown to Him.

 

Where do you go when you don’t know what to do?

Are We Too Smart for Our Own Good?

He’s too smart for his own good.

~ Anonymous

04-22-09 © MaximShebeko, courtesy of iStockphoto

My grandfather applied this idiom to anyone who boasted about his own intelligence. Granddaddy wasn’t an educated man. He dropped out in the second grade to work alongside his father, but he possessed as much wisdom as some of the most educated people I know.

  • Brainiacs sometimes outsmart themselves.

Herbert Spencer was just such an Einstein. His contemporaries considered him to be one of the most intelligent men of his day. A discipler of know-it-alls. An intellectual’s genius.

  • This nineteenth-century philosopher’s influence persists today.

Even though most don’t know who this man was, we don’t have to look far to see his impact. Among many things, he created the precursor to the paper clip, a little device that still collates all that knowledge in our possession.

Everyone from politicians to attorneys, bankers to educators, doctors to homemakers employ the Gem clip, and Spencer claimed to have birthed this ingenious invention of mankind.

  • Spencer also coined the phrase: survival of the fittest.

We know this expression from our education. Spencer was a contemporary of Darwin and a supporter of his theories. His catchphrase was his summation of Darwinian evolution. Academia parlayed his lingo into the modern classroom.

  • Even Hollywood entertains us with his paradigm.

Take the Jurassic Park series. The fast-paced thrillers are man’s efforts to survive in a hostile world, where only the wisest survive. Books. Movies. Theme parks. Millions upon millions entertained by Spencer’s assessment. His jargon far outlived him.

  • This genius also developed a theory of how we can Know truth.

His premise was simple: for something to be known required certain criteria. He opinioned that we just needed objective evidence of Time, Force, Action, Space, and Matter to know anything.

  • Spencer believed evolution was the key to this knowledge.

By obtaining knowledge of each element in his theory (time, force, action, space, and matter), nothing could elude a human’s capacity to recognize it. Or him. Or her.

  • Of course, science has discredited much of Spencer’s beliefs.

That is, in regards to his faith in evolution. The scientific community’s theories as to how life began continue to evolve – because scientists uncover data that prove previously held beliefs are riddled with fallacies and miscalculations. What evolutionists triumphed as truth a century ago wasn’t fit to survive modern research. Even in Spencer’s lifetime, people recognized errors in what Darwin, he, and others had promoted.

But his theory of how we can know truth still has some merit.

  • Spencer’s supplication argues against atheists and agnostics.

Atheists allege there is no God. Agnostics hem and haw that if God exists He can’t be known. Spencer probably agreed with one of these positions, but he’d have been wrong to do so if he applied his own theory of knowing truth.

  • Let’s put Spencer’s theory to the test:

 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

~ Genesis 1:1, NKJV

 

In the beginning … TIME

God … FORCE

Created … ACTION

The heavens … SPACE

And the earth … MATTER

 

  • It’s true that we can know God and His Truth.

It seems Spencer’s theory holds true for how we can know our genesis … and how we can know God. And if we’re smart we’ll agree with God’s assessment of it all, for God called it all good.

I just hope we’re smart enough to recognize His good and don’t try to be too smart for our own good.

 

When it comes to spiritual things, are we too smart for our own good?


An “Oh, God!” Moment

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked.

For whatever a man sows he will also reap.

~ Galatians 6:7, HCSB

09-16-12 © Sadeugra, courtesy of iStockphoto

All of England watched as famed atheist Richard Dawkins riled against the Christian faith. The author of The God Delusion had done this many times before in speeches and in books. And he did no less during this national BBC telecast, attacking followers of Christ as being untruthful about their profession.

  • His claim: Christians didn’t treat the Bible as God’s Word.

He argued most “Christians” couldn’t name the first New Testament book. Even less could they recite other books of the Bible, which he found odd if Christians believe the Bible to be the Word of God.

  • His argument held some truth to it.

Many people who profess to be followers of Christ aren’t true to their claims. While professing Christians should be students of God’s Word, it’s not evidence of God’s inexistence when they’re not. It speaks more to insincere people who are faithless than it does to God’s existence or to the Bible’s Truth.

This is the problem: many who claim to be Christians aren’t. They’re pagans.

  • The smug skeptic thought he’d struck a major blow to Christianity.

The theologian who accompanied him on this program, a self-professed liberal, politely chided the atheist for his reasoning on this matter. Reverend Giles Fraser asked the famous nonbeliever if he could recall the entire title of Darwin’s magnum opus (On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life).

  • Dawkins accepted the challenge.

He bragged that he could. The nihilist had always proudly proclaimed Darwin’s prima facie manifesto as his gospel.

  • Of course, he knew the full legend … or so he thought.

When Dawkins began naming the title, he recognized he couldn’t recall it. As he struggled to joggle his gray cells, he uttered the words on live television: Oh, God!

How embarrassing that had to be for an atheist.

  • Of all the words he could’ve said, God’s name just slipped out.

Michael Brown wondered if it could’ve been a Freudian slip. Another apologist assessed of this incident:

 

The ultimate evidence of the sovereignty of God is that even someone who doesn’t believe in Him calls upon Him to remind him of the name of the book that says He doesn’t exist.

~ Ravi Zacharias

 

  • Because an unbelieving world is watching us …

I’d caution all of us about how we use the term Christian. I’d also exhort us to treat God’s Word with the reverent attention He desires.

 

If you claim to be a Christian, do you treat the Bible as the Word of God? 

Rebel with a Cause

Pride … is not in wanting to be noticed but in wanting to be the most noticed.

~ Billy Graham

08-31-11 © Miha Peroša, courtesy of iStockphoto

He no longer attracted the attention he once had, nor did he draw standing-room-only crowds. Most of his fans had sought out another who had eclipsed him.

  • Many thought of him as a washed-out has-been.

But that’s not how he started out. When he arrived on the entertainment scene, he skyrocketed to be #1. No other contemporary could match his tenacious energy, and none could move the audience like he did.

  • Charisma and moxie exuded from him.

He stepped on the establishment’s toes with a brash freshness – at a time when everything seemed so faded and stale. Perhaps, that’s why everyone loved him. He possessed what others dreamed of having, and he used his God-given abilities in ways none had seen among his contemporaries.

  • He even inspired his own clothing line.

Many imitated his attire. Not because they were sincere – people just wanted to be like him. A rebel. A free spirit. A new breed.

  • But that was before people treated him as a one-hit wonder.

Many who looked back on his career as a forerunner of what could be. But now, his protégé eclipsed him. The masses all but forgot him.

  • And he was okay with that – a rebel with a cause.

He had never pandered to the crowds. He never sought the popularity he had achieved. His desire had always been to do his best with what God had given to him.

  • And he did just what he set out to accomplish.

When his disciples approached John the Baptist about his former followers now trekking after Jesus, he made a simple but profound statement that was at the heart of his ministry:

 

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

~ John 3:30, NKJV

  • It’s the same philosophy every Christian should live out daily.

Or, does our pride require life to be about us?

 

Are we willing to forego our interests to enable people to see Jesus?

ADD: a Christian Malady?

09-19-13 © ArtemSam, courtesy of iStockphoto

My daughter had what the family called a blond moment. She had recently dyed her hair a lighter shade – somewhere between vanilla and gypsum – when she said it. We knew it wasn’t really the hair color that made her proclaim something she wished she hadn’t, but we enjoyed teasing her all the same.

  • My daughter professed that her classmate had ADD.

We knew the friend well, but the revelation was new to us. We were very familiar with this diagnosis since physicians had treated several family members for the disorder.

  • It’s not that her disclosure shocked us.

It’s become chic to say one has ADD. Many parents and school officials push the pediatricians to get medications to improve the kids’ performances and behavior in school; according to experts, too many.

  • But that’s not what surprised us.

What astonished us was what our daughter thought Attention Deficit Disorder was. She misunderstood the condition.

She believed it’s what young people had when they sought to be at the center of attention. In her mind, teenagers doing things to gain popularity lacked for attention, and thus had ADD because they wanted their peers to “like” them the most.

  • If that were true, it’s a malady more common than we admit.

 

Supreme and abiding self-love is a very dwarfish affection, but a giant evil…

We erect the idol self, and not only wish others to worship, but worship it ourselves.

~ Richard Cecil

 

This eighteenth-century philosopher spoke of his observation of human nature. What was true in past generations is on full display today. Whereas such attitudes were limited to local affairs before, modern self-love is broadcast all over social media for the world to see today.

  • Even in Christian circles, it’s prominent.

How many congregations have in-fighting, cliques, and self-centered promotions?

How many of those conflicts occur because certain people are complaining because they have attention-deficit?

How many result because the pastors aren’t seeking their advice on matters?

  • They want their agenda “liked.”

Not only do they think their ways are best, but theirs is the only way they’ll accept. They gauge ministry success based on whether they’re at the center of the decision-making.

  • Just like many, they’re in denial about the real problem.

It’s always someone else’s fault. We hear it when they talk about it being my church. My Sunday school class. This is what I think so-and-so should do.

Maybe that’s the type of attention deficit my daughter was thinking about. For certain, it leads to division and disorder in the work God’s called us to do.

  • Scripture is clear who deserves the attention.

Jesus proclaimed about Peter’s confession that He is Lord:

 

And I also say to you that … on this rock I will build My church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.

 ~ Matthew 16:18, HCSB (emphasis mine)

Instead of seeking favor here on earth, we should focus our attention on the One who deserves our worship instead.

Are we taking attention away from the Lord by focusing on our deficits or the deficiencies of others?

2014: the Year of Global Warming?

Milton has carefully marked, in his Satan,

 the intense selfishness

which would rather reign in hell

than serve in heaven.

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

03-19-04 © gremlin, courtesy of iStockphoto

Coleridge speaks of John Milton’s classic, Paradise Lost. The angel who was a worship leader in heaven fell from his position because of selfish pride.

2013 was the year of the selfie, but humanity is (and has always been) selfish by nature – following Lucifer’s lead in Eden and ever since. Just as it was in Bethlehem, we see this throughout Christ’s life … and in those who claim to follow Him now.

  • We see those closest to Jesus were selfish in the New Testament.

The Gospel writers portray the disciples as jockeying for positions in God’s kingdom. Everyone wanted to be first. It’s like they were warming up their singing voices by proclaiming: me, me, me.

  • We see selfishness in Gethsemane.

None of the disciples could stay awake even though the Lord pleaded with them to intercede for Him. Even as He agonized to the point of sweating blood, none remained with Him in prayer.

When the soldiers arrested their Messiah, it was each man for himself. They ran as far away from their Savior as they could.

  • We see selfishness in His Passion.

The high priests wanted Him dead so that He wouldn’t threaten their illegal activities. With Jesus out of the way, they’d remain little gods over their enterprise and over the religion they had feigned as the source of their righteousness.

And the formerly bold Peter had to eat his words of not denying the Messiah when he did just that for fearing a servant girl’s identification of him as a follower of Jesus.

  • We see selfishness as Christ agonized on Calvary.

Just as the Bethlehemites turned a deaf ear to Mary’s screaming with birth pangs, the people in Jerusalem did the same to the Suffering Servant’s agony.

If you want to understand the excruciating anguish that Jesus suffered, then I invite you to read Crushed: a Physician Analyzes the Agony of Jesus. This book describes the how, what, and why of Christ’s sacrifice to redeem us.

His anguish wasn’t silent or invisible. Everyone in the city that day heard and saw the brutal torture. But His followers remained mum.

  • Many are still running from Christ.

At a time, when people have come under attack for their Christian worldviews, now is not a time for silence. For those who would rather live in subjection to anti-Christian rhetoric and pressures here are choosing to succumb to the one who’d rather reign in hell than serve in heaven.

  • The selfless face fiery ordeals.

It’s time we wake up to realize Milton’s devil is alive and well on planet Earth. The true global warming’s coming from the fanning of hell’s flames all around us.

Those who take a stand will be tested by the fire. Take it from Peter who knew of what he wrote:

 

I beg you not to be unduly alarmed at the fiery ordeals which come to test your faith, as though this were some abnormal experience. You should be glad, because it means that you are called to share Christ’s sufferings…

If you are reproached for being Christ’s followers, that is a great privilege, for you can be sure that God’s Spirit of glory is resting upon you…

If he suffers as a Christian he has nothing to be ashamed of and may glorify God in Christ’s name.

~ 1 Peter 4:12-16, Phillips

The Year of the Selfie

12-03-13 © AleksandarNakic, courtesy of iStockphoto

In this photo, it’s almost like Santa believes the lie that Christmas is about him – not the One for whom it is named. But, we shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve created that monster by how modern society celebrates Christmas and promotes selfishness.

This was the year of the selfie. The Oxford Dictionary announced selfie as the 2013 International Word of the Year. Everyone did it.

The New York Post recently ran a front-page article entitled “Selfie-ish.” It displayed a woman snapping a self-portrait with a background of a suicidal man about to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • We live in the calloused age of the selfie.

The hullaballoo includes teens capturing their mugshots with dead grandparents in the background. At bloody auto accidents. With severed heads. All to show themselves off.

  • People seem oblivious to their surroundings.

Even President Obama received criticism for his inopportune group selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. (Although the picture doesn’t portray the story as some see it.) Whether one views it as right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s still part of today’s culture.

  • We live in a society where it’s all about me.

That’s why reality shows exist. That’s why Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites thrive. That’s why the modern millennial will die without a smartphone. (That’s supposedly the argument, but the world will never know since they all have one.)

  • But selfishness isn’t limited just to our time.

John Flavel assessed in his day that household gods were man’s own self. He said that in the seventeenth century. If he believed that in his generation, what would be his critique of us in this new millennium?

Selfish pride is probably the worst it’s ever been. But since Adam and Eve took their first bites of the forbidden fruit, life’s always been about what enables each individual to be his own god (or goddess).

In the last post, we discussed how the people in Bethlehem had to hear Mary’s screams of agony. The townspeople weren’t ignorant of her plight. Yet, no one helped this poor teenage girl. They lacked empathy and compassion.

A man is called selfish, not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.

~ Richard Whately

 

  • The question is: are we any different?

 

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

~ Philippians 2:3, NKJV

Restless at Christmas

07-17-12 © BenAkiba, courtesy of iStockphoto

No one slept through the blood-curdling screams. They blared every minute or so, for hour after hour … after exasperating hour.

Because the small village sprawled atop a countryside crest, the halloos for help echoed throughout all the nooks and crannies of the town, into the hills nearby and the valleys below.

  • None were immune to the nuisance.

Lucius had just finished his watch, and he’d have to return to his post in a few hours. This was his only chance to get some shut-eye, but closed eyes couldn’t deafen the teenager’s wailing in the otherwise quiet night.

“Can’t someone make her shut up?” he yelled as he buried his head in his blanket.

  • How could anyone sleep through the ruckus?

Eliezer and Sarah had just arrived from a several-day journey. Their exhaustion begged for peaceful sleep, but rest didn’t come. They complained to the shoulder-shrugging innkeeper, but he reminded them that her agonizing cries kept him and his missus up as well. By the menacing expression of the nag behind him, it was obvious he’d already suffered her ire.

Shiphrah and Puah, the town’s midwives, recognized the girl’s travail, but they made no effort to aid her agony. They tossed and turned all night instead, jostling their covers like the restless baby fighting for freedom.

  • Not one person offered compassion.

No. Mary writhed in labor with only her teenage fiancée at her side. No comfort of a mother, a grandmother, a midwife, or even a bed.

  • Natural childbirth isn’t pain-free.

The process lasts for hours, and the birth pangs hit in wave after wave after unrelenting wave – with no relief until after delivery. The mother of the Messiah bore no less woe. This blessed maiden suffered Eve’s curse like all others before her.

Remember what God uttered:

 

“I will intensify your labor pains;


you will bear children in anguish.”

~ Genesis 3:16, HCSB

 

  • But no woman’s birth woes were comparable to Mary’s.

Not even Eve’s. The thirteen-to-fourteen-year-old’s birth canal would’ve been narrower than that of other mothers because it was virginal. As agonizing as it would be for other females, it was much worse for this teenager who had known no man.

  • Babies don’t come in secret … or silence.

That’s why it’s unfathomable that the innkeeper or Bethlehem’s other inhabitants didn’t answer Mary’s agony. The walls in first-century buildings weren’t soundproof. The soldiers, tax collectors, and pilgrims had to hear the commotion caused by Mary’s labor, for the village was very small. Every home was within shouting distance of every other. Everyone was within earshot of her excruciating screams.

  • That’s why the midwives of the town had to hear.

Since the Talmud reports that Hebrew midwives assisted in the deliveries of domestic animals, it makes their calloused inattentiveness to Mary’s plight among the animals even more perplexing. (Hul. 43a)

  • No one had concern for Christ at the first Christmas.

Perhaps, that’s why Luke subtly informs us that Mary had to deliver herself. She had to care for her newborn Child … because no one else would. Note the physician’s birth certificate:

 

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

~ Luke 2:7, NKJV (emphasis mine)

 

Scripture seems to indicate that only the shepherds came to check on the couple or their Child. No one else. The wise men came later.

  • The others didn’t have room for Him in their hearts or lives.

And many still lack interest in coming to know the Savior – especially at Christmas.

 

What keeps us from having room in our hearts and lives for Christ?

No Room for Jesus?

So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

Luke 2:3-7, HCSB 

06-30-13 © Chiyacat, courtesy of iStockphoto

Keep Christ in Christmas. Remember the Reason for the Season.

These slogans in Christian circles remind us that Christmas is supposed to be about the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The reason such jingles resonate so often at Christmas is because most people ignore the One for whom the holiday originated. This shouldn’t surprise us because it was the same on the day that Jesus came.

There were many reasons people didn’t acknowledge the Messiah’s arrival. Let’s just consider why Joseph and Mary had no place to stay.

  • A pragmatic observer might blame it on logistics.

The Roman government had ordered a census to raise taxes. To avoid missing anyone, they required the Judeans to travel to their ancestral homes to register. The hometown of David was Bethlehem, still a small village one thousand years after David lived. There weren’t enough inns for the out-of-towners.

  • But such mentality violated Eastern custom, if not rabbinic law.

The Judeans had perfected the art of hospitality during the various festivals in Jerusalem. The pilgrimages brought in millions to the capital city, which normally housed a fraction of that size. They didn’t have a Motel 6. These tourists bunked with citizens who opened their homes to strangers.

The Pharisees didn’t want any man to say: “I have not found a bed in Jerusalem to lie in.”[1] Thus, many homeowners surrendered their own beds to allow the less fortunate to stay in a place of honor.

And Bethlehem was much smaller than Jerusalem. That’s why there weren’t enough inns for the deluge of people flooding in. Thus, the only solution was for homeowners to share their living quarters.

  • For some reason, the Bethlehemites lacked hospitality.

Maybe they felt they had sacrificed enough. Maybe they believed someone else should shoulder the burden. After all, they were already filled to the brim with weary strangers.

  • Perhaps, they catered to the more distinguished guests.

After all, the people flocking to Bethlehem were David’s descendants; one of them could’ve been the rightful king. Some were wealthier than others. Some, like Mary and Joseph, were very poor. There was no room left to accommodate the less regal peasants.

  • A pregnant teen was nothing more than an afterthought.

Mary and Joseph were left out with the animals – the horses and the mules ridden by the other guests. They bedded with cows, goats, sheep, and chickens.

  • Isn’t that how we sometimes treat Jesus, too?

He’s the Lamb of God who came to take away our sins, but we just don’t have the time or the energy to give Him what He deserves.

  • It’s just logistics.

We’ve got too much work or shopping or football or whatever. We have no room or time for Him at Christmas … or ever.

We know we should be thankful to Christ for our redemption, but we love the shopping, the games, the parties, the decorations, the jingles, etc. Worship of Him just slips our mind because we’re too busy.

This Christmas, make room for Jesus – not excuses.

Take time to remember:

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:29, NKJV

What reasons have you given for not making room for Jesus?



[1] Hastings, Bib. Dic. “Guest-Chamber and Inn,” quoted by W. E. Vine, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, nda), 524.