Wednesday, December 24, 2008

...and there was no room for him in the inn

I've watched "The Nativity Story" several times in the last two weeks. I've been struck by a line in the movie where Mary is in labor on the donkey and Joseph is trying to find a place for her to bring forth the child. She simply prays, "Lord, will thou not provide a place for us? At that moment, the innkeeper gives the only place he has, the stable, to them.

I've pondered this. In the stable, they were alone, to behold the wonder of the birth of the Messiah. There was no interruption, no babling, no advice, no arguing, no fingerpointing, no world. It was Mary and Joseph, and perhaps a choir of angels and the Father beholding, beholding Himself as a babe! Oh the quiet wonder of the moment, of the night, because there was no room in the inn. Perhaps even before His first breath, He was saving, saving the moment for those who would bear the greatest sacrifice of all!

So in my heart I am feeling that Mary's prayer was perfectly answered. He kept the moment for them alone. No hustle in the inn, no celebration. A silent night, a holy night......

If it seems like the Lord has forgotten you and hasn't heard your prayer, perhaps you should look again. He may have chosen to still everything else to be with you alone. I urge you to behold Him, wonder silently, alone.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"I desire mercy...."

Amazing! Yes, my God is amazing. I see new things in His word all the time. He is so alive and so filled with new awe and wonder. I think it's funny how we try to figure Him out yet He wants to fill us with wonder. I think I'll be childlike and choose wonder!

I've been reading Matthew lately. I was heartstruck by a You Tube video concerning a group from JHOP who went into a homosexual district and began to worship God. They got noticed alright, and attacked. They escaped with their lives only because of the police who escorted them out! One thing struck me, they kept chanting "shame on you, shame on you". I heard what their hearts heard, "shame on you homosexuals, you sinners". I wanted to see how Jesus responded to those in deep sin.

In reading through Matthew, I was struck by a small statement he repeated twice. In Matthew 9 he invites Matthew, a tax collector, to follow Him and be one of His disciples. Then he goes and eats with him and other tax collectors. The Pharisees see this and comment, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and "sinner"? Then Jesus replys, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Again in Matthew 12, He and the disciples are walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath and some of them pull some wheat to eat because they are hungry. Again the Pharisees accuse Him and He begins by telling them of David and the priests, things they knew from the scriptures and then he says, I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice", you would not have condemned the innocent.

For days and several weeks now this has been resonating in my spirit, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I believe it has something to do with seeing with eyes of compassion those who are lost and in need. And not meeting them with condemnation, the law, or accusation, but with sincere heartfelt love for the person God created them to be, even while they are not yet walking in it.

It was mercy that He gave so freely to each of us, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us! Oh, that is love that I wrestle with understanding. Today, and for now, I choose to wonder in it and to continue to ask Him to help me "learn what this means". I'm after His heart of mercy.