February 1, 2013

Israel thought they had God figured out. They thought that their coming King would be a mighty, military leader from a prestigious family. He would surely be wealthy and revered with a well-known and highly esteemed father.
He would establish his Kingdom on earth and make Israel a forcible nation once again. Instead they got a baby in a manger from a family too poor to offer the sacrifice (Leviticus 12:6) and controversy surrounding who his father even was.
When he began his ministry he surrounded himself with a ragtag band of blue-collar workers. Even more surprising, women were a part of his crowd and he not only allowed them to preach the Gospel, he encouraged it (Matthew 28:7ff, Mark 16:7ff, Luke 24:9ff, John 20:17ff).
His students didn’t have a Masters in Social Work. Not one of them had a Bible degree. All they had was what they needed, a few short years with the originator of love.
They had witnessed his compassion. They had watched him listen to the hurting, heal the sick, and offer hope to the depressed. And not long after they embarked on their mission, these ordinary men and women were accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6). 
God is good at providing the unexpected. He uses the broken to bring healing. He uses common people with everyday problems to bring about startling changes. He shows up in unexpected places with unexpected people and changes lives.
As we venture into a new year filled with the same mundane details and less than positive attitudes let us be like Jesus, completely unexpected. May we:
Love others sincerely, putting their needs before our own (Romans 12:9-10).
Reject evil and stand for what is good (Romans 12:9).
Refuse to be part-time Christians (Romans 12:11).
Spread joy and hope and go overboard when it comes to praying (Romans 12:12).
Work for the Kingdom (Romans 12:13).
In a world full of cursing, let us be the blessing (Romans 12:14).
Get out of our comfort zone. Spend time with others, invest ourselves in their lives. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Let them know that we love them (Romans 12:15-16).
Get along with others even if and when we don’t want to (Romans 12:18).
Why did our Lord and Savior leave his precious bride in the hands of the least of these and expect us to further his Kingdom?  Because he loved us and loves us still.  Love is the ultimate power house. It forgives, promotes peace, and offers healing. 
In these dark and trying times, speak words of faith, hope, and love. Is there anything more unexpected?

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