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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way" (Matthew 2:12).

King Herod instructed the wise men, saying, "Go and search carefully for the young Child."  Searching, they found the Lord.  Presenting their treasures, they found a low position.  A low bend was required, for low was the manger in which He lay.  Lowered and humbly statured, they worshiped Christ and their course was changed.  Being divinely warned, they did not return to Herod, but went another way.  This is the effect of the life of Jesus on those who find Him.  They are humbled; they go another way.

Low and nigh we worship Christ.  Here, any pride in what we have or in who we are is humbled.  The opening of our treasures oft becomes the confession of our poverty.  The One who owns heaven and earth and who is God meets the impoverished confessor with the gift of repentance, that He may be worshiped.  Worship is the livelihood of the repentant.  It is a high calling for which the name "Emmanuel" is the only sufficient response.  "God with us" is a suitable grace for the repentant.  Such recant not, for grace initiates repentance and sustains worship. 

Do, Lord, remind us that our course is changed.  May we never backtrack through Herod's courts, but find grace for the courts of Heaven even this day in this country. 

Author: Carolyn Roehrig

Friday, December 24, 2010

"'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated, 'God with us'" (Matthew 1:23).

A virgin in the family way by the Spirit of God, with the Son of God; it makes no earthly sense except to those who say, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!  Let it be to me according to Your word.”  Those who speak such words know something of what they will exact—humility and courage.  But exacted how?  They leave it to God.  It must be so, for should the how and wherefore be known at once, humility surely would depart and courage would follow it out.  Humility is hedged by God’s omniscience, and courage is captive by God’s omnipresence. 

Hedged and captive, still it was not easy for Mary to be rejected in her hometown, nor Jesus in His; for Mary to travel on a donkey to Bethlehem in her last days of expectation, nor Jesus to Jerusalem in His; for Mary at the end of her time to deliver the Son of God in an earthen stable, nor for the Son of God at the end of His time to be delivered up on a wooden cross; for Mary to place Him in a feeding trough, nor for Jesus to become the bread of life given for the world. 

Yet in that stable and from that trough, what did His infant eyes see when He first looked into Mary’s?  He beheld His maidservant and deliverer, humble and courageous.  The family likeness was unmistakable!  He who came to do the will of God, is conceived in those who would serve Him.  He who came to deliver sinners into salvation, is conceived in those who would offer Him to the unsaved.  He who came, saying, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God,” is conceived in those who have said, “Behold Your maidservant.”  Speak so today, and bear forth Immanuel.

Author: Carloyn Roehrig

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

“He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit” (Proverbs 17:27).

Serving breakfast this morning, a jar of Gramma's homemade Wild Alaskan Currant jam fell and shattered on the kitchen floor.  (Sorry, Mom!)  The toast wasn’t spread, but the floor was, and praise the Lord, after twenty years of mothering I’m tongue-tied.  I’m sure I gasped, but frankly a gasp, no matter how grand, holds nothing over those verbalizations more difficult to wipe away than shattered glass and sticky jam.    

Everything is not always as we would like it to be.  What is needed when something special has been shattered?  Made a mess of?  When the world’s most powerful scrub-brush and detergent named “Joy” end up in the sink and down the drain?  Apparently we need a calm spirit and to hold our peace and, yes, another joy.  Gotten where?  We are told; from the mouth of God come knowledge and understanding.  

God has spoken; know what He has said.  Knowing His word, we know what to say, what not to say, and get understanding that affects the spirit.  Knowing His word, we know that God is familiar with shatterings, messes, and sticky jams, and that His joy is never drained.  If the answer of our mouths, the calm of our spirits, and our joy come from the offerings of His, then we have what we need.  Go to the mouth of God.

Author: Carolyn Roehrig

Saturday, December 4, 2010

“So He said, “Come’” (Matthew 14:29).

If you are like those who seek first to know Christ, then you will not seek first calm seas.  You will seek to know Him even amid boisterous waves.  Like Peter, you will call out above storm noise, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water!”  The command was given. Peter came down out of the boat and walked on water to go to Jesus until he saw the storm, became afraid, and started to sink.  You know the story, but what of the moments between his first step on the water and starting to sink?

The moments between the command to come and the plea to be saved are defining moments.  They are the “I will not turn back” moments; the moments when you realize that you have no one else but the Lord to whom you care to go.  In these moments neither straining at the oars nor stilled waters satisfy; only the divine “Come.”  While the heart that desires such a command is not wont to let fear swamp faith, when fears do arise, the same cries out, saying “Save me!”,  and is saved. 

Had Peter reached Jesus without sinking, he may have been more inclined to exclaim, “I made it!” than to exclaim, “Truly You are the Son of God.”  Had Peter made it to Jesus on an “If,” he may have thought his faith stronger than it was, and sidestepped his highest need.  Peter did not need to meet Jesus without sinking, but needed to be caught up by the hand of the Lord; did not need to walk perfectly, but rather to know Jesus beyond “If.” We have the same need, and when we start to sink, we know it.  When “Command me to come to You” becomes “Save me, Lord,” then “If it is You, Lord” becomes “Truly You are the Son of God.”  This becoming comes only when a-coming.

Author: Carolyn Roehrig