Genesis 1
In the beginning God is the Creator of life. Not only life itself, but He is the creator of the environment in which life is supposed to grow and flourish. He begins with the Earth itself covered with water. Then He creates light with Himself as the source (which is how things end in Revelation 21). He then creates an atmosphere suitable for life, followed by places for life to live, then all vegetation to maintain the atmosphere and serve as a food source for other forms of life. After this He fills space with the sun, moon, and stars so that life will have a way of knowing when they are supposed to do what. Next he fills he seas with sea creature and the air with birds. Life has arrived. After the birdies and fishes He creates the land animals, and finally humans. At the end of creation God calls it all “very good.” He is the creator, originator, and sustainer of life. Yet this world wants to blame Him for death, disease, and suffering. When we experience some kind of loss or suffering it is important to remember that God brings life, hope, and love. Perhaps someone you know needs that message. Perhaps you need that message. When we look at the ups and downs of life through Biblical lenses things make sense. More than that, they make life worth living.

Psalm 2:1-4
The struggle between mankind and God really isn’t much more complicated than this; God has His way, man has his way. That’s really all that it boils down to. That’s what it was in Eden and that’s what it is to this day. It may manifest itself in different way, but that’s what it really boils down to. This plays out in the lives of individuals and it also plays out on a national level. A people, a culture gets to the point of anger and violence over the conflict of God’s way vs. man’s. They do rage. They do plot and plan ways to eliminate God’s ways from having any authority over them. From reducing God’s way to one of many ways, to making the Biblical perspective on moral issues illegal to share publicly, in their anger they try to get rid of God. They elect and appoint rulers that will support man’s way. Speeches are made proclaiming freedom from oppression, change from the way things were to a new way, and people cheer and cry tears of joy. What does God do? He laughs. He laughs. It’s ridiculous to Him. And here is the kicker. While the world is raging and making empty, ignorant plans, the blood of the Son of God declares God’s love for the world. It demonstrates His continual offer or love, acceptance after repentance, grace, and mercy. While the world spits in God’s eye, Jesus extends His nail-pierced hands to His sides and says, “I love you this much.” We are not worthy of this. We do not deserve this. This is exactly the point. Praise God.

Matthew 1:18-19
From a human perspective, before He was even born, Jesus was in the minus column. The story would follow Him for the rest of his life. He was illegitimate (see John 8). While not so much a big deal in our culture today, this would have been huge in Jesus’ culture. he would have suffered ridicule from kids and adults alike. “Oh you’re that kid.” It would appear from other passages that this also came from his one family. Jesus had some six half-siblings. Even though Jesus was the oldest son, he didn’t get the respect he deserved for his position in the family alone. From the very beginning Jesus didn’t have it easy. Growing up is hard enough without stories of illegitimacy, angels, foreign dignitaries, and “were you born in a barn?” jokes. Can you identify? Do the words of others hurt just as bad as sticks and stones? Take heart. Jesus went through it too. We often think of Jesus only in this Son of God, ascended on high at the right hand of the Father light, when He went through the human experience we are going through now. He laughed, He cried, He got angry, frustrated, teased, had friends, lost friends, He’s been through it all. The next time you feel alone, remember that Jesus has been there, and that He is here with you now. Not only Jesus, but the Holy Spirit is here as a comforter, and the Father is in you as well. You have the God of the universe to comfort you, encourage you, empathize with you, and be your strength. You can be ahead instead of behind. Just follow Jesus.