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And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Luke 2:8

When you have a really big announcement to make, you want to make it known to the largest, most influential audience. That’s one of the keys to marketing. Market to the most influential people, the largest number or people and in the best location.

But God never has followed the rules of the world. When he decided it was time to send us a Savior he broke every rule in the book.

  • He made the announcement to the lowest class citizens in the then-known world. No body paid any attention to Shepherds. They spent most of their time away from the mainstream of society, watching sheep and looking at stars. Yet that’s who God chose to make the first announcement to.
  • He made the announcement to a small group of people, in an obscure place, at a time of day when most people were asleep. The angels brought their message of joy to a small group of shepherds, of all people. Not only that, but often, when shepherds joined together for the night they took shifts. One or two watched while the others slept. So when the heavens exploded in light that night it startled the few who were awake and awakened those who slept!
  • He made the announcement in a place where most people never went due to safety, distance and remoteness. The hills of Judea were beautiful, but rugged. Few people chose to visit them just for the joy of it.
  • He made the announcement to a group of people who had little chance of being, or becoming influential in society.

 

Lonely.

Forgotten.

Scorned.

Fearful.

Little or no hope of advancing on the social ladder.

Those were the people God chose to give the news of the arrival of Messiah.

Why is that important? Because God is still in the business of reaching out to those who feel forgotten. From the very beginning God chose the weak to conquer the strong; the insignificant to be significant; the forgotten to be valued; the scorned to be restored.

In our world, even in the church, we often measure a person by his or her giftedness, talents, financial stature or ‘spirituality’. Our Heavenly Father does just the opposite. He looks for those who are least to make strong. He gives his greatest messages to those least likely to receive anything from him at all.

Feeling small this Christmas? Feeling like everyone else is moving forward while you are falling back? Just can’t get into the ‘Christmas Spirit?’

Maybe you lost a loved one this year and there will one less gift under the tree.

Perhaps you lost your job this year and for the first time in your entire life, you are being forced to rely on others’ help to make it financially.

Maybe you are going through, or have recently gone through divorce and feel your entire world crashing in around you.

Perhaps the doctor gave you a bad report on your check up.

I have news for you, and so does the Creator, Sustainer of the Universe. He came to give joy. Joy that pierces through everything that wants to pull you down. His message is just for you, just for this time, just because he loves you.

You can come to him-He’s waiting for you.

PRAYER: Father I thank you for revealing yourself to us in times, places and ways that go against the world’s wisdom. I pray for those who are going through tough times this season. Give them the message of your joy. Reveal to them the message of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 


On that day when the Law of Moses was read aloud to everyone, it was discovered that Ammonites and Moabites were forbidden to belong to the people of God. Nehemiah 13:1 (CEV)

For those who think there is no hope; who feel that you’ve messed up too bad, that your rebellion has exhausted God’s ability or desire to forgive; who have resigned yourself to the ‘fact’ that the bad choices of your past have will plague you for the rest of your life, take a look behind the scenes of Nehemiah 13:1.

It had been years since the Law of Moses had been read to the people of God. At that time there were no dusty scrolls sitting on the coffee table. The only way to know the word of God was to go to the priest and have them read it to you. With the Israelite exile, and rebuilding the wall, there had been little time for reading.

When the scrolls were opened, the people were awakened to God’s demands for purity among his people. The Israelites had defiled themselves by associating with Moabites and Ammonites. This was a great issue for all those who wanted to follow God.

When the people found out they were living against God they removed all the ammonites and Moabites. Cruel, you say? Perhaps. But God didn’t forget the Moabites. Turn the clock back a few hundred years.

Picture a young Moabite woman in a strange land. She’s still mourning the death of her young husband. He’d died way too soon. He left no son, no legacy to be remembered by. Now, all she has was memories, the challenges of being a Moabite woman in a strange culture, and a mother-in-law who gave her love, but no guarantees of a future.

Ah, yes, Ruth. Remember her? Young, alone and widowed in a foreign land. Looked down upon by most, pitied by few…that is until Boaz came along. Then her world changed Fear turned to confidence. Loneliness melted into hope. Poverty gave way to wealth. Separation from God dissolved in grace.

The result? A place in the lineage of the Messiah, the son of the Living God! There was nothing she could do to deserve her position of grace. She was unworthy of any sort of blessing or privilege. But God sought her out and blessed her richly.

God sees hope in us regardless of our actions or our past. No matter how alone you feel; how deeply you have been hurt; how forgotten you feel; how hopeless the situation you find yourself in, the God of Heaven has provided a path through the wilderness to bring you home.

PRAYER: Father, I worship you today for the reminder that I am never far from your loving, merciful and guiding hand. I thank you for the provision of Jesus and the hope we have through your grace. Amen.

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