Friday, December 8, 2017

KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS WITH CHRIST

When you assume something, you take the risk of making an "butt" of "u" or "me". Expectations are a synonym. You can expect a certain result or outcome and be vocal about it and in the end be anywhere from spot on to just off target (a few details missing) to dead wrong (missed the whole picture).

Through hundreds and hundreds of years, the Jewish people had prophetic inspired writings from God informing them of their coming Messiah or Savior. Many descriptions in the Old Testament depict The Christ as a victorious, militant - Prophet, Priest and King - Savior. Other prophecies pictured the Messiah as a Suffering Servant. What was overlooked, as we peer through our 20/20 hindsight vision, is the order in which Christ would manifest Himself in these depictions. Why would anyone, especially the Savior of Israel and the world, come first as a conquering hero, then proceed to come back and suffer later on for His victory. No, the payment is up front. There is not a Crown, without a Cross first. 

After so much bondage as a people and so much suffering along the way, I can see why the Jews were looking for a forceful over-thrower of their oppressor to come along. Many claimed to be Israel's savior over the years, especially during the Roman occupation. However, the physical Sword was not going to win the battle this time. There will come a time when Christ will speak, defeating the nations coming against Him and His Words will be as a double-edged sword proceeding out of His mouth (Rev. 19:15). But we are still waiting for the manifestation of that militant coming/visitation.

Placing myself on that wonderful day and night of Christ's birth - as a citizen of Jerusalem or Bethlehem, I would not have thought that day or night any different from the rest. However, there were a few people that did have some high expectations. 

The three wise men were consciously looking for the Christ child. They had evidently studied all sorts of Scripture and other documents, plus they had a Star. This was no ordinary star in the sky. "After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was." (Matt. 2:9) Balls of gas do not just up and move, then stop over a given point. This was an angelic being! They followed their leader, found their Treasure, worshiped and gave their offerings.

Meanwhile, shepherds were tending their flock on the night shift. Considered the lowliest occupation of the time, shepherding was not frowned upon by God. In fact, Christ would be called The Great Shepherd. The shepherds keeping watch over their flock that night were blessed enough to receive an angelic summons - first from a single angel, then from an angelic choir (Luke 2:8-15). While the Three Wise Men looked for Christ, the shepherds were invited.

Last, but not least were Simeon and Anna. These two individuals had known about the prophecy of the Messiah and knew that they would behold Him before they died and they did (Luke 2:25-38). For these two, Revelation was the key as to whether or not they would see Christ in their lifetime. Luke specifically states for Simeon -  "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah." (Luke 2:26) So, the Three Wise Men looked for Christ, the shepherds were invited to Christ's birth and Simeon/Anna received Revelation that Christ was born.

God did not want Christ's birth to go unnoticed and unidentified as The Birth of The Savior. God's selection for His Bethlehem Cast of Characters was and is interesting. It still speaks about those that wait on The Lord. The Wise Men waited as they studied the prophesies from afar and were rewarded with an angelic guide to the Christ child's side. 

The shepherds waited as they diligently performed their duties, no matter what social status or working hours was attached to them. They too were awarded angelic aide, but this time the shepherds got an angelic choir and choir leader delivering the message and invitation.

Simeon and Anna waited on the Revelation they received to be manifested. There is nothing like witnessing a promise of God materializing before your eyes and Simeon and Anna had the ultimate one - glimpsing and holding in their arms The Christ.

The encouragement today and all days forward is for me and everyone else to screen your expectations through God's Word and His Holy Spirit. God led who He wanted Manger-side some 2,000+ years ago and nobody else. In fact, God protected Jesus and the family from Herod's attempt to kill the Christ-child. So, if He wants you somewhere at some time, He will either move you or place that expectation that a change is needed or coming soon from Him. I know it is hard sometimes to walk in - "If God said it, I believe it and that settles it." - type of mentality and attitude. But, as Paul said, I say to you - "now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling," (Philippians 2:12) and Keep Your Expectations With Christ.