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… is courtesy of today’s SU WordLive comments by Mark Keown.

no room at the inn

What would it look like if God came to redeem us? Luke gives his answer. He comes into a world seemingly controlled by mighty emperors like the supreme Caesar Augustus, ruler of the Roman Empire. Caesar commands and people obey. He has commanded all his people (about 100 million) to return to their home towns to be counted. He is not concerned about the inconvenience. What matters is that he knows his resources. So Joseph, a descendant of David, travels with the heavily pregnant Mary 150 kilometres south to David’s home town, Bethlehem. Looking back, we know that our sovereign God was working in the chaos, ensuring that the ancient prophecy would be fulfilled (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5,6).

Luke describes the birth of Jesus in scant terms. They arrive. There is no place for them in the katalyma. This is not an inn with an innkeeper but is ‘either some type of reception room in a private home or some type of public shelter.’1 Perhaps it is the home of a relative, already overrun with returnees. Into these humble circumstances, God’s Son is born in an animal shelter, either on the lower floor or in an adjoining stable or cave. While the situation is unhygienic, Jesus is welcomed with love, clothed and laid in an animal’s feeding trough.

So, when God comes what does it look like? God’s coming is unspectacular, contrary to expectations. It is humble, inconspicuous and unseen by the powers of the world. While emperors shout out commands to their subjects, God comes in obscurity. He is born in a small town among animals. That is our God. It is his pattern to plant seeds that slowly transform; to bring transformation through people who were once babes. He could come with might to smite, but rather comes with love to woo. Whatever the mess, God is at work and he is in control (Romans 8:28).

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Photos like these bring happy memories…

The Great Glen Way

The Great Glen Way October 2008

… walking the Great Glen from Fortwilliam to Inverness by myself at the start of a sabbatical.

St Cuthbert’s Way marker July 2013

St Cuthbert’s Way marker July 2013

… walking St Cuthbert’s Way (this section coincided with Dere Street, the Roman road) this summer with my wife!

Here’s another way marker…

The Way

It is the image from SU WordLive Bible reading John 14:1-14. .

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6.7

In the middle of a day’s walking, whether alone or with company, it is always a comfort to spot the way marker and know that you are on the right track. Nowadays we can find our way on long walks with GPS. In the SU comments this morning Sue Rinaldi says…

Jesus was a ‘sat nav’ for his followers, providing them with the only viable route to reach their preferred destination – his Father’s house. Aware of their obvious concerns, Jesus assures them it’s going to be OK. Even though he’s going away, he won’t abandon them, and encourages them to trust him.

John’s message of encouragement and confidence in Jesus is just one of the messages that everyone needs to hear in the language of their hearts. Yet speakers of 1,967 languages still don’t have that opportunity.

During our years in Ivory Coast, we had a rather battered vehicle which had a message of good news on the rear window sticker. I wish I had a photo of our old Renault Douze to show you…

Jésus dit: je suis le chemin, la véritié et la vie

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A culture of complaint is growing. Nothing is ever quite good enough. We’re constantly dissatisfied. What we lack looms much larger than what we have.  SU WordLive – Main Point Sunday 25 April 2010

Who’s going to compensate me for these extra days in my holiday location because of the volcanic dust?

It’s not our fault! You buy cheap fares with our airline, don’t expect us to pay up if you’re stuck.

All politicians are dishonest; why should I vote for any of them?

It’s a tough world – I’m looking out for me!

Grumbling or grateful … is the title of my Bible reading with Scripture Union WordLive this morning.

1 I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.

2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.

3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.

4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD,
when they hear what you have decreed.

5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.

Psalm 138

Reading Psalm 138 and the accompanying notes this morning prompted me to gratitude to God and a renewed determination to cut down on the grumbling.  Gratitude for the Christian influence of caring parents; for my wife and children; for friends – this weekend we are remembering with gratitude a good friend who died nine years ago; for supportive friends and colleagues in work and in church; for good health and fitness…

Verse 4 above says: “May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD” and Philippians 2:10-11 looks forward to the day when every knee will bow before the Lord!

I’m going to keep on plugging away to get people involved with BibleFresh – as the logo says… it could change your world, our world, God’s world!

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