so there are a few things i want to mention about luke this week. we read Luke 2 last week.
the first part of Luke addresses the birth of Jesus. Jesus, as you know was born of the virgin mary, who was basically "engaged" to Joseph. Luke 2:1 - 7 states this...
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world... And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house & line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him & was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, & she gave birth to her firstborn, a son."
now it would seem here that caesar was behind all this. he issued the actual decree, he was in control, he was causing joseph & mary to go to bethlehem. caesar was physically "in control" but, it had been prophesied in Micah 5:2 that "out of you (Bethlehem) will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." this is referring directly to the messiah, the savior, Jesus. God knew what he was doing. He knew that mary & joseph would go to bethlehem. He knew that Jesus was going to be born in a manger, in a stable, in the little town of bethlehem. even though at the time, no one else could see his plan.
how does this make you feel about the upcoming election? are we in control of where this nation is going? will one president's actions decide the fate of our country? or should we have faith that God will use whatever systems we put in place to still do His work, work through His plan, not ours. whether the human outcome is good or bad. how will the Lord use this to grow our faith? will we trust that He still loves us & is still Lord over all?
the second part of Luke that i really took from was Luke's description of mary, Jesus' mother. mary was probably an important woman. (insert a little sarcasm) i mean the Lord did choose her to be the mother of Jesus. yeahhh... i'd say she's probably a good picture of a woman. don't you think? i'm sure we could probably learn a little by looking into the mother of our Savior.
we learn through luke that mary was a thinker, a ponderer, careful reflector. even when the shepards arrived after Jesus' birth & told them about the angel Gabriel & all he had told them about Jesus, Luke stated "mary treasured up all these things & treasured them in her heart." luke choses to include this important information in regards to mary's character. she chose introspection. she was a woman who would carefully reflect on all she knew. she knew the scriptures well & she was in check with her heart... careful reflection.
we live in a culture that doesn't encourage introspection. we are way too busy. not many of us are encouraged to really challenge ourselves, our hearts, to look inward as to who we are, to contemplate our motives behind our actions... daily... or monthly for that matter. we are too busy on a day to day basis from going to point A, B, to C & making sure our "to do" list is checked completed. we are distracted by finances, elections, work, families, friendships, duties, & the list goes on.
we rarely take the time to stop & ponder anything. i'm sure mary took the time to really marinate in the scriptures she knew, to ask God to reveal to her His truths & how those should be applied to her life, her heart.
our teacher this week brought a psalm to light where the writer really asks the Lord to help with introspection. Psalm 139 has been on my mind this week. i've also included a few of the last verses 23-24 & 2 translations to help see it in a few different lights.
"search me, o God, & know my heart. test me & know my anxious thoughts. see if there is any offensive way in me, & lead me in the way everlasting." - new international version
"investigate my life o God, find out everything about me; cross examine & test me, get a clear picture of what i'm about; see for yourself if i've done anything wrong - then guide me on the road to eternal life" - the message
i'm challenging myself & anyone else to thing about careful reflection & what that looks like for you.