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In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Luke 2:1-5)
Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah’s mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?
Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige? If you have, don’t let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people—the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
God wields an empire to bless his children. Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that He seeks with all his heart. And to that end, he rules the whole world. As Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Source: Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper
“This man receiveth sinners.”
Observe the condescension of this fact. This Man, who towers above all other men, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners—this Man receiveth sinners.
Balances and Scales
“Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have.”
Weights, and scales, and measures were to be all according to the standard of justice. Surely no Christian man will need to be reminded of this in his business, for if righteousness were banished from all the world beside, it should find a shelter in believing hearts. There are, however, other balances which weigh moral and spiritual things, and these often need examining. We will call in the officer today.
It is well there is One who is ever the same, and who is ever with us. It is well there is one stable rock amidst the billows of the sea of life. O my soul, set not thine affections upon rusting, moth-eaten, decaying treasures, but set thine heart upon Him who abides for ever faithful to thee. Build not thine house upon the moving quicksands of a deceitful world, but found thy hopes upon this rock, which, amid descending rain and roaring floods, shall stand immovably secure.
My soul, I charge thee, lay up thy treasure in the only secure cabinet; store thy jewels where thou canst never lose them. Put thine all in Christ; set all thine affections on His person, all thy hope in His merit, all thy trust in His efficacious blood, all thy joy in His presence, and so thou mayest laugh at loss, and defy destruction. Remember that all the flowers in the world’s garden fade by turns, and the day cometh when nothing will be left but the black, cold earth. Death’s black extinguisher must soon put out thy candle.
Oh! how sweet to have sunlight when the candle is gone! The dark flood must soon roll between thee and all thou hast; then wed thine heart to Him who will never leave thee; trust thyself with Him who will go with thee through the black and surging current of death’s stream, and who will land thee safely on the celestial shore, and make thee sit with Him in heavenly places for ever. Go, sorrowing son of affliction, tell thy secrets to the Friend who sticketh closer than a brother. Trust all thy concerns with Him who never can be taken from thee, who will never leave thee, and who will never let thee leave Him, even “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” “Lo, I am with you always,” is enough for my soul to live upon.
Excerpt from Charles Surgeon’s Morning & Evening.
He who is a believer in Jesus finds enough in his Lord to satisfy him now, and to content him forever more. Put him in a dungeon and he will find good company; place him in a barren wilderness, he will eat the bread of heaven; drive him away from friendship, he will meet the “friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
There is such a fullness in Christ that He alone is the believer’s all. The true saint is so satisfied with the all-sufficiency of Jesus that he thirsts no more – except it be for deeper draughts of the living fountain.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Source: Morning and Evening, Charles Spurgeon