Posts Tagged ‘Kate Middleton’

Matthew 2:1-23 – COLLATERAL DAMAGE AT CHRISTMAS

Collateral Damage at Christmas

Collateral Damage at Christmas

TWO YOUNG RADIO JOURNALISTS in Australia make a prank call to the King Edward VII Hospital where Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, was being treated for acute morning sickness. They pretend to be Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth. A young nurse, Saldanha, takes the call and unknowingly passes the phone to another employee who provides personal information about Kate to the pranksters. Some days later Saldanha is found dead, having taken her own life due to the furor caused by this event. An aftermath of devastating proportion. Never intended!

A bomb explodes in Syria. The term “COLLATERAL DAMAGE” is used on the TV. It is a cold term and seems to seek to insulate those involved from any feelings of moral responsibility. The military authorities speak of wanting to minimize collateral damage of innocent civilians and speak of it in terms of PERCENTAGES, not lives lost. “UNINTENTIONAL” is a keyword. Collateral damage is damage that was NOT INTENDED but somehow expected as necessary to get the job done. One person’s collateral damage is another person’s son. A mother suffers the unbearable grief over the loss of her children. We see her on the news weeping and wailing.

When the wise men see King Herod they never intend to cause harm to innocent children. They couldn’t have foreseen that he would react to the birth of Jesus in such a violent, unpredictable way. After finding Christ, God warns them in a dream not to return to Herod and they return to their own country using another route.

An intelligence report from the Lord in a dream alerts Joseph of Herod’s intentions to kill Jesus. Joseph and Mary have to get their boy out of harm’s way, and the Lord gives them a contingency plan on the run. It is as if Jesus was trapped behind enemy lines, so God conducts a “rescue at any cost” operation for Jesus by getting Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt. He needs a quick recovery extraction by friendly elements.

On that first Christmas, we tend to skip over the collateral damage inflicted on Bethlehem by King Herod’s rage when Christ was born. He slaughtered all the male babies 2 years and under of Bethlehem in an effort to eliminate Christ’s birth causing a problem to his reign. Herod saw it as collateral damage! Necessary to achieve his objective! Necessary to get the job done! And Matthew 2:18 (NLT) speaks of “A cry heard in Ramah— weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead”

But Herod’s rage was the fruit of the ongoing collateral damage inflicted on the human race when Adam sinned by disobeying God way back in Genesis 3. But listen to Romans 5:8-10 (NLT). It says “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from (the direct strike of) God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son.”

Herod’s sin reaped its consequences. Our sin always reaps a harvest of unexpected, unintentional, collateral suffering and pain. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Spiritual death. No peace with God.

The innocent Son of God came into the world. 33 years later He died for the collateral damage produced by our sin. All of us have the opportunity to have peace with God and live under His promises and He is giving you that invitation today. All of us have the opportunity today to receive forgiveness, peace with God and the gift of eternal life this Christmas by believing in Christ. The Saviour was sent into enemy territory to extract us from the firestorm. The message of Christmas, endorsed by an army of angels to certain poor shepherds, is that the Saviour of the world has come, King of kings, Lord of Lords and Prince of peace. Collateral Healing and Hope!

Pastor Ross

See also this excellent article https://theriverwalk.org/2017/12/14/25-songs-of-christmas-14-o-little-town/

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Genesis 24 – HOW TO FIND AND BE THE RIGHT PERSON – Part 5.

Cross = Love

Both have beautiful jewelry, except that one has a sapphire ring on her finger and the other wears a nose ring. One woman arrives to her wedding in a limousine. The other on a camel. One veils her face as she walks the aisle of a huge Church building to her husband whom she has known for 8 years. The other veils her face when she meets her husband for the first time.

Kate Middleton and Rebekah are both beautiful women but what is it that sets Rebekah apart? Perhaps it is that although Kate marries prince William, who in the future will be crowned the king of England, Rebekah marries Isaac from whom will come Jesus, who in the future will be acknowledged as the Prince of Peace and King of Kings.

Genesis 24 brings us to the outskirts of the city of Nahor. A stranger goes to one of the local wells. He knows that this is the local gathering place for the women of the city as they will come to collect water for their households in the cool of the evening. He rests the camels by the well and prays. Abraham has sent this trusted servant to find a wife for Isaac. But the question is “Who is right for Isaac?”

How is he going to find the right girl? He prays a simple, straight forward prayer for a clear sign to lead him. Matthew 21:22 (NLT) says “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” What CHARACTERISTICS would you be praying for? In the musical “Annie, Get Your Gun”, the lead sings a song called “The Girl That I Marry” and lists off a series of characteristics. What would you sing about concerning a girl for Isaac? Or perhaps for you?

The servant prays that the girl who is right for Isaac will be the girl who comes to the well and gives the servant water to drink at his request, and then shows extra consideration over and above that. She will suggest watering the rest of his camels, which is an enormous amount of work. (Apparently a thirsty camel can drink up to forty gallons of water, and there are ten camels!) This is a big ask. It will take some hours of her time. But it will solve two problems for the servant. A girl like this has to be right for Isaac, and he’ll have his “limousines” looked after in the process.

In the cool evening air she comes with no idea of how her life is to change. Rebekah must have sensed the presence of an angel as she arrives because God answers the servants prayer immediately. As far as she knows she is here to fill her clay jug with water and take it back to her household. The urgency to be first on the scene to draw water did not come from the whining commands of her mother but from the inner RESPONSIBILITY she feels to contribute to the needs of her family. Genesis 24:16 says “Rebekah was very BEAUTIFUL and OLD ENOUGH TO BE MARRIED, but she was STILL A VIRGIN. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up again.”

The servant makes his request for water and watches to see if this is the right girl. Her beautiful eyes glance briefly into his with curiosity and she is careful to show him courtesy and respect. “Yes, my lord,” she answers, “have a drink.” CONFIDENT, WARM, FRIENDLY.

And then, as if compelled by an angel, this young woman, who knows what it means to carry a heavy pitcher of water back and forth from the well, immediately offers to draw water for all his camels. She adds the words “until they have finished drinking.” The servant is thinking “God answers my prayers even before I have finished asking.”

There is no reluctance in the melody of her voice as she makes this man she has never met before feel valued. SERVANT HEART to servant, Rebekah recognises opportunity to invest her time to help others (and get a workout at the same time). The INITIATIVE and RESPONSIBILITY she takes is a good deal for Abraham’s servant. He just stands there and watches.

Blessing so often comes when I take initiative and work hard in the everyday things of life without the expectation of reward. I see in Rebekah that she is a person who doesn’t live just to satisfy her own needs or just the needs of her family. She goes the EXTRA MILE. When you know God personally you will CARE FOR OTHERS. You seek to go a step further. She looks beyond what people want to what they need. She is THOUGHTFUL and CONSIDERATE and looks for ways to make life better for others. SELFLESS. She sees the chance to be GENEROUS and takes it. She is so much like my wife Julie.

Although she didn’t do the work expecting to get paid for it Rebekah is given some valuable jewellery in return for her help. This is the principle of sowing and reaping. Luke 6:38 (NLT) says “Give, and you will receive.” She gives over and above what is expected and she will also receive over and above what she expects – a husband. She may not realise it but she has just stepped into the purposes of God.

The invitation today is to be willing to go the extra mile without thinking “what’s in it for me?” Jesus knew what it meant to go the extra mile for us and die for our sins to bring us the water of eternal life. May God bless you in the random-acts-of-kindness opportunities that He brings along your way today. They could answer someone’s prayer and end up changing your life forever if you are willing to step into the purposes of God. We are blessed to be a blessing.

Pastor Ross