Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

something to help you laugh and think about life with Christ

even closer — December 2, 2020

even closer

The mystery of Bethlehem has been solved!  There actually was room at the inn for Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus but – the innkeeper was required to follow social distancing protocols. 

Time to celebrate the birth of Christ – an event that marked a change in the relationship between God and man.

– Prior to Bethlehem God could be described as a God that was “FOR” us. 

The Psalmist wrote, “The Lord did indeed accomplish great things for us.” – Ps 126:3. Why would he say that?  

God had provided a woman to take away the loneliness of Adam and He gave Noah a way of escape. He provided a son for the childless Abraham and laughter to his sullen wife.  He extended patience to the scheming Jacob and elevated Joseph to a position of authority.  

He was on the sidelines, cheering for his people and intervening as needed. 

He still is for us.  If you were running for office, He would vote for you. If you were a NASCAR driver, he would be in your pit crew.  He would be your corner man if you were a prizefighter.   He would be your biggest cheerleader if you ran the 440.   God has always been for us but He has wanted to do more. 

– At Bethlehem He became God WITH us.

Matthew wrote, “This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Look! The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will name him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.”  – 1:22-23

God has been for us, but He was also beyond us, or over us, or above us, or apart from us.  When Christ was born, He became God with us.   God Almighty took on human flesh that He might fully identify with us.   

My daughter was one of the more popular kids in high school.  When she attended the western themed dance, we figured she would be dancing all night. We were right.

She spent the night dancing with the boys with whom no one else would dance.  She did the two-step with the clumsy overweight boy and did a round with the boy with the complexion problem. 

She danced with the shy boy who never said two words at school.  Each one of those boys probably left that dance feeling like they mattered because the pretty girl danced with them.

When Jesus became God with us, He danced with us at a time we suspected that a holy God wanted nothing to do with us. 

– After Bethlehem He became “God IN us.”

Jesus lived, died, rose again and ascended into heaven making this possible: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 KJV

Paul taught us that Christ, in the person of the Holy Spirit, now indwells God’s children.  He lives within us.

And because He does, we now have the power to live God-energized righteous lives.

Headed to the airport this December?  Here’s a hint.  Take that arthritic knee and your 7 pieces of luggage and get on the people mover.  As you walk, it will carry you along and get you to your destination more easily.  

The Christian life is similar.  Don’t try to do it without the power of God.

Another hint: Don’t take your eyes off the end of the people mover or it could be the end of you – but that’s another story.

Man’s relationship with God has changed over time. 

It began as God FOR us, it was then expanded to God WITH us, and now it includes the idea of God IN us.  He moved closer to us each step of the way.

When I was a teen, I had a girlfriend and our relationship progressed in a different way: She was with me, she left me then she never heard of me.

Which is why I am grateful for a God who truly desires to be close to me.

How ironic that the innkeeper turned Jesus’ family away on that cold winter’s night.  How bizarre that Jesus was driven out of His own hometown.  How sad that the apostle John had to write, “His own people did not receive him.” –  John 1:11

Mistakes that we do not want to make!

A PRAYER: Lord I sense your movement toward me, help me scoot closer to you.  

Scripture references from the NET Bible ®

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