Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Devotion- King Herod

Good morning everyone! I hope you are all having a great start to your week. I know Mondays aren't particularly a fantastic day but I am here to share some great news! As we all prepare for Christmas coming up this month I am going to be doing some devotions that revolve around the Christmas story. Today we are talking about King Herod.
If you don't read through all of this devotion just know: Following Jesus will cost you something but not following Jesus will cost you everything.
What are some of the visions you have for your life? What is it that you dream of being when you grow up or have the ability? How do you see yourself as a college student, an adult, etc..?
Have you dreamed about your wedding? How many kids you want? What their names will be?
What happens when it doesn't go our way or our lives don't turn out the way we planned?
More importantly, what do we do with Jesus because as wonderful as he is, he can change our plans quite often and asks us to do things we don't particularly want to do.
Think of your life like a puzzle? In a puzzle there are certain pieces that have to fit together but you only know what goes together and where to put each piece based on what you want the final image to look like- the picture on the box.
As we go through our lives, every person has hopes and dreams and we all have that picture on the box we want to get to. Some times it is an Olympic gold medal, or to be the president of a corporation and  be rich and powerful and not worry about money. Or maybe you want to cure cancer through science. We all have that picture on the box of what we want our lives to turn out like and as we read about King Herod we learn that people had their picture perfect boxes even back then.
King Herod was king at the time Jesus was born. He called himself "The Great" and was obsessed with his kingdom so much that he had his own children killed so they wouldn't threaten to take his throne. He didn't want anything to interfere with his plan. You can imagine that when there were rumblings about this king being born and wise men showing up at his door looking for the messiah that he experienced some major anxiety.
1-2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.” (Mathew 2:1-2)
King Herod went to the Priests whom he thought would know where the Christ was supposed to be born. The leader responded:
They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, because that is what was written by the prophet:
‘O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
    you are by no means least among the rulers of Judah,
because from you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd[a] my people Israel.’”
 (Mathew 2:5-6)
Herod wanted to kill this Christ and ordered that every child under the age of 2 be killed but Joseph moved the baby and his mother to Egypt to spare Jesus' life.
13 After they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt,” he said. “Stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and kill him.” (Mathew 2:13)
If you are like me you are reading this story, your are going "Come on Herod, chill out man!" But like you and me Herod had dreams and had the box picture he was striving for and Jesus threatened his perfect image.
Don't miss this guys: Because for Herod, just like for you and me, to allow Jesus into his life meant he would have to let something go. There was a conflict between Herod's puzzle picture and God's. For Herod there was only one king and it was him. He died an unbeliever.
Sometimes to embrace the manger and the baby interrupts our hopes and dreams. One thing that is hard for me personally to grasp is that accepting Jesus means I cant be the planner and controller of my life (which I will be honest, drives me crazy sometimes) :) One of the most beautiful sights is seeing someone so moved by God that they take things out of their lives to make God the center of their puzzle.
If you really embraced the Christmas story today, what would you be willing to give up?
 Herod made the decision many of us make which says that it doesn't fit your plans and it isn't worth the cost. Herod was struck with a terrible disease and five days before he died he ordered that all the kings and servants of him be killed so when he died it be a day of mourning not of celebration. His dream of power turned into a nightmare.
I find it amazing that all he wanted to be remembered as was a great king but here we are 2,000 years later talking about how horrible he was.
Jesus came to this earth not on a white horse, or a white robe on. He came wrapped in a blanket and long before the cross, this baby came to be our missing puzzle piece.
Comment or email any questions. I hope you enjoyed.

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