• South Lyon Church


It’s been another warm winter week here in South Lyon. Yeah, Wednesday was a little on the cold side, but the forecast is fifty on Friday, with forties some this weekend. Kind of makes you wonder about this global warming that is supposed to be going on. Yes, I have an opinion on the global climate: six years of studying atmospheric science makes you like talking about it. And yes, I will gladly share my opinions--but be warned, it may be a long conversation. Weather is a topic I really enjoy. It is a career I enjoyed, and the jokes about weathermen aren’t as bad as those about lawyers. Forecasting is tough, but short term forecasts have improved greatly over the past twenty to twenty-five years.


In following Christ, the forecasting is just the opposite. Short term forecasts are difficult, but the long range ones are a little easier. Short term, I can’t tell you what will happen tomorrow, next week or a month from now. We can pray about things, put our trust in God, and then trust in Him for what the outcome of events and relationships will be. Sometimes they work out the way we like, other times, not so much. It is impossible to predict what each day will bring.


When we are looking “long range” in our lives, I feel a little more comfortable with predicting. Though it is not really my prediction, it is God’s word telling us what is to come. John 16:33 is key to this, “In this world you will have trouble.” Shortly before this Jesus tells them that as they persecuted Him, well, expect the same (John 15:20). And in the parable of the seed scattered on the paths, it doesn’t say if persecution comes, but when (Mark 4:17). So long term we can expect some difficulties of one type or another.


Now, when we look at “long, long range” forecast, going back to John 16:33, we see a brighter outlook. Jesus tells the disciples He has “overcome the world.” That’s the forecast we like to hear! It’s the forecast that keeps us going through the difficult times. Earlier in that same discussion with the followers, Jesus says that He is going to prepare a place for them (John 14:2). The ultimate long range forecast--it’s looking pretty good!


There is a joke of sorts when it comes to forecasting, a forecast that has never been inaccurate, and never will be. There will be darkness later today followed by daylight tomorrow. That same forecast applies to our Christian walk as well. There will be darkness at times, those times where life slaps you around, when people are just rude or insensitive, times when you experience grief, failure, and doubt. There is no way to get around it, darkness happens. But with the help of God’s Spirit living in us, with the help of brothers and sisters in Christ, we get through that darkness and can see the Light.


So as you look at the forecast each day, maybe you will like it or maybe not. Either way think about the heavenly forecast. Jesus has gone into heaven. He is coming back for us to take us to be with Him forever. Remembering that will get us through the gloomy days of this life.


Forecasting Sonshine,

Randy

  • South Lyon Church


Picture yourself nine months pregnant. Ok, for us guys that may be a little more difficult. Nine months pregnant is not the most comfortable time of the pregnancy. From what I understand, since I haven’t actually been there, you have this child tap dancing on your bladder. They kick and wake you up at night--that is if you get comfortable enough to sleep. Walking can be tricky at times, not to mention the getting up to walk. I am sure glad I have my children, and even more joyful that I did not have to carry them!


Now, take this lovely picture I have painted of the ninth month of pregnancy and put it on a donkey. Yea, that is what most likely happened with Mary. She’s close to the time of delivery when word comes that there will be a census. We could say, and history does, that it was decreed by Cesar Augustus. In reality it was God inspired in the same way He inspired Cyrus (Ezra 1:1) and Xerxes (Esther 6:1). So because of this census, Joseph and Mary have to travel to Bethlehem. In comes the donkey. Scriptures don’t mention one, but it was the most likely form of transportation in a situation like this. Whether walking or bouncing on the back of an animal, it had to be uncomfortable.


Why couldn’t God have made this easier? There were already some aspects of this pregnancy that Mary had to deal with, like what people were thinking about her rushed marriage? Going forward, she was about to deliver this child, not in a bed in a nice home, with family supporting her, but in a manger with animals surrounding her. It just seems like God could have made this much easier on her.


Doesn’t it feel the same way in our lives at times? Couldn’t God have made it easier on me trying to follow Him? Why do I have to deal with these things? It may be dealing with a physical ailment or discomfort. It could be someone or more than one person that you have to interact with. The difficulty could be of the emotional nature, one that no one else sees or knows. Or it could be just the way life seems to slap us around at times. Why does it have to be so difficult?


I remember a conversation about pregnancy I had with Holly once. She was curious if I felt slighted or jealous at all that I did not get to carry our children for the first nine months of their life. AAAAHHHHH!!!! No way! Why would I want to have my body go through all of that?! But to her it was more than worth it to be part of that journey and in the end to hold in her arms that precious baby she had carried for nine months. The end result made the difficulties of the journey not so bad.


The end result of our journey through this life is Heaven with our Heavenly Father. The end result of that rough ride to Bethlehem was salvation for all man. In all the hoopla of the holidays take a step back and think about Mary’s journey and how it ended. Think about the end result of the journey we are on. Find comfort in the fact that though the journey may be rough at times, the end makes it worth it. Have a blessed Christmas as we remember the birth of our Savior, and the eternity He brought each of us!


Focusing on the end of the journey,

Randy

  • South Lyon Church

Ok, so we know that Jesus was born. We also know that before that, Mary and then Joseph were given a message from God about what this child was all about. The Messiah, the Savior, the one that would rescue the world. But what happened in the months in between these two events? Mary went and visited Elizabeth, who was to be the mother of John the Baptist. But other than that, we know nothing about what happened in those interim months.

My curious mind wants to fill in the gaps with what happened. Did Mary stay with Elizabeth a long time? Maybe go back and forth to visit her. Did they live close by each other? We know that Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth (Luke 1:36). We also know that Elizabeth’s husband Zachariah was a priest serving in the temple (Luke 1:8-9), so they most likely would have lived in or around Jerusalem. According to Google maps, which I’m sure Mary would have used, they are 64 miles apart and it would take 31 hours to walk there. That would be a two to three day walk. Was Mary there when John was born? I would like to know what the conversations between the two were in those days.


Then there are the questions of things back home in Nazareth. I realize clothes in those days were not as tight fitting as they are now day, but did Mary hide the pregnancy? Obviously it was going to be known if not beforehand, then afterwards. Remember Joseph was going to quietly divorce her to not expose her to public disgrace (Matthew 1:19). Did people look down on her in judgment? What was it like for her to go out into public if it was known? I don’t know these things, but I can only imagine what it was like to deal with these things. Real people called by God to partake in things beyond this life, while still living out their daily lives.


Isn’t that what we are, real people. Individuals called by God to know that this life is temporary, to know that there is something greater. No, I haven’t been called by God in a dream, or visited by an angel, but I have been spoken to by God, through His word. I know God so loved the world that Jesus was sent to save us (John 3:16). I know He came into this existence in human form and lived a life just like us (John 1:14). I know I am loved by God.

With this “beyond this life” knowledge, how do I go about living my daily life in this world? Seeking what I want? Chasing after accolades and material possessions? Do I put up with things because I know there is something greater? Mary and Joseph were real people who knew something those around them didn’t. They lived a life that allowed others to know the Savior. We may not have the Savior born into our family, but if we have been born into the Savior’s family, we have a responsibility. Don’t get caught up in the spirit of the season, but live out the reality of the reason.


Reality can be hard,

Randy

South Lyon
church of christ

248-437-3585

office@southlyonchurch.com

21860 Pontiac Trail

South Lyon, MI  48178

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