25 Devotions – Day Seventeen

The Native: Eleven Til Midnight

Luke 2:7-8

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

Pause after verse seven for a moment. Suppose you were in a far country, that Christianity was foreign to you. Instead of reading this in the book of Luke, you’re listening to a man share the story with you. Would you interrupt when he began verse eight? He tells you this amazing story about this couple, and suddenly shifts gears to some shepherds.

You and I know why Luke wrote the way that he did. We know that the Shepherds and the Angels will bring everything full circle to Bethlehem, but that’s because we know the story. If you were a stranger, would you see the connection?

I ask this to highlight something, the fact that two seemingly unrelated events, three separate groups of people, all tie together. When you add in the Star in the Heavens, the Wise men journeying from the far East, and Herod’s plot, it’s a whirlwind of activity.

The same is true today. Things are happening so fast, events that appear to have no connection with the other. The same day that one government makes a judicial decision altering an entire nation’s laws, in Europe the Vatican signs a treaty with the Palestinians.

While this is going on, Greece, which has not been prominently on the world stage since after the time of Alexander, is now the concern of every European leader. The head of Russia met with their Prime Minister to offer support. Some would argue that they were mere coincidences, until you consider something else. First of which is the words of Zechariah that referenced Zion and Greece.

The second, the same year that contains four blood moons, at least two of which occur during Jewish feasts, Jupiter and Venus align. Whether you believe this is the same as the Wisemen’s star or not it’s still significant. They form a pattern that has not been seen in two thousand years, since the birth of Christ.

Lastly, the seventeenth of Tammuz is a Jewish fast day. It commemorates the breach of the walls of Jerusalem, and begins a three week period of mourning. According to the Mishnah, five calamities occurred on this date through the years. Every 10 to 20 years, this coincides with July 4. This happened both on July 4, 1776, and on July 4, 2015 as well.

Seemingly unconnected groups, events that would appear to have no tie to the other. Isn’t that what a stranger would see in the pause between verses seven and eight of Luke? It’s made clear in verses eleven and twelve, which I believe points to the time on history’s clock. Spiritually, we are somewhere around eleven minutes until midnight.

It is my heartfelt belief that soon, The Native Of Bethlehem, will call for those who have anticipated His return to join Him. All signs point to the fact that our world needs more than a religious Herod, a political cleric, or an economic powerhouse of a leader. Although it will seek out one, expecting hope, only to embrace chaos.

What this world needs today, is the same thing it needed over 2,000 years ago. A savior, One who didn’t merely promise Heaven, He delivered it. On a mountain spanning a bloody cross and an empty tomb, He opened the passage to Eternity.

I encourage you today, if you don’t know Him, to pause and examine the claims of the shepherds. If they had not seen the Angels, what connection would they have with an out of town carpenter, his pregnant wife, and a newborn baby? Oh, but if they did see an angel, if they were there by invitation, what then?

You and I have been invited to salvation, an opportunity to trade this world’s pain for Heaven’s peace. I don’t know how long we have until that day arrives, but I know this. The shepherds wasted no time reaching Bethlehem.

I would encourage you to make a decision today, reach out to a God who’s arms have been wide open for two thousand years. You will find Him powerful enough to wash away your sins, wise enough to dry your tears, and strong enough to keep us in these last days. For like the shepherds, I believe we will see Him very, very soon.

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