Love: God’s Embrace

Article by Dr. Les Hollon, Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

One day my father-in-law was drinking coffee at a McDonald’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas, when he asked another customer for his name and where he was from.  The answer came that Dalhart, Texas was the place and the person gave his name.  The following conversation unfolded.  

 

“I bet I can tell you where you lived.” “You can?”  “Yep. Your place was about 6 or 7 miles north of Dalhart, on the Highway towards Clayton.”  “You are right.”  “I bet I can also tell you a story about your father.”  “You knew him?”  “Yep. On a certain afternoon your Dad went down into your basement to check on the butane. When he lit a match, the room caught on fire because there was a leak in the line.

 

And now I can tell you a story about yourself.”  “What?”  “You were just a boy at the time, maybe 12. When you heard the whoosh, you ran downstairs into the fire to rescue your father.  You got burned along with him but you saved his life.”

 

The man then wanted to know how this seeming stranger, sitting at a  McDonald’s in Arkansas, could  know this important story from his life?  My father-in-law clarified that Dalhart was also his hometown.

 

As a result of this conversation, the heroic boy – now a man – felt the renewed strength that comes when the stories of our life are brought together in a way that we can better understand ourselves.

 

A similar strength happens when we read the Bible.

 

God inspired those events and the telling of those stories in such a way that we come to realize that our life is connected to those stories.  For instance the incredible story of Mary & Joseph can inform, instruct, and inspire us in how to allow our ordinary lives to become extraordinary by the courageous trust of faith.  Anyone can but only the willing – will. 

 

Christmas Love Stories

God loved Joseph and God loved Mary, before they were a couple.  Joseph loved God and Mary loved God, before they were a couple.  They had a love life before they loved each other. 

 

When Mary was of age, she wanted to marry.  And her parents wanted her to marry.  Joseph wanted to be married, and he wanted Mary to be his wife.  Joseph proposed his proposal to Mary’s parents.  They accepted.  Mary accepted.

 

Their marriage began with a one year engagement. A legal pledge of marriage – with specific responsibilities and expectations – certainly did not include Mary’s becoming pregnant.  Pregnancy would expose them to public shame and legal disgrace.  Joseph would be accused of violating Mary’s honor and her family’s; or if Joseph was not the father, then Mary would be accused of doing the reverse to Joseph.

 

Life as they knew it and hoped it would become was in danger.  There was a love crisis in Nazareth.  Their first love – God – would see them through the crisis.  If they would trust God during this crisis of mistrust, they would learn to trust each other as never before.

 

Faith enables us to hear and obey God’s instructions.  God’s love does not let go, and through His love we are not abandoned to fend for ourselves against stormy dangers. 

 

Mary’s & Joseph’s love enabled them to:

1) Not panic;

2) Talk & listen;

3) Seek understanding;

4) Put together a response plan that would move their lives forward;

5) Humbly accept that on their own they could not do what was expected & needed from them;

6) Know that God would guide them every step along the way.

 

Consequently they were able to travel to and from Bethlehem as a family.  How they did what they did makes a love story for the ages. 

 

Do you know that your love story begins and ends with God’s love for you?

 

Pastor Les Hollon

 

The Birth of Jesus Christ

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means, “God with us.”

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

- Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

 

This article was written by Les Hollon, Pastorof Trinity Baptist Church.  For more information about God and your place in His world, contact Dr. Hollon, click over to Trinity Baptist Church.

 

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Posted on 24 December, 2009 in Inspirational Stories, Spirituality
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