Summary: There are some adjustments we can make in order to have a more productive New Year. Are we willing to discipline ourselves in order to see it happen?
“Making Necessary Adjustments for the New Year”
STORY: A supermarket in the Midwest could not understand why at a certain time every winter there sales plummeted. They studied their product line and interviewed customers. They did everything possible to uncover the mystery. Finally someone made a remarkable discovery that changed everything.
It seemed that whenever it was really cold outside the manager raised the temperature in the store. When customers came into the store it was too warm for them, and they took off their coats and put them in the shopping carts. This resulted in less room for food and resulted in reduced sales overall. They lowered the temperature, and the sales climbed back to the levels they were accustomed to. That little adjustment resulted in restoring previous sales levels.
Adjusting our lives to God is the first thing that has to happen in order to begin experiencing Him in our daily lives. The new year is a good time to re-evaluate where we are in our Christian walk. We can experience growth in our spiritual lives in 2007 like we have never known before, however, it will mean making some changes in our priorities and commitments. It will mean becoming more disciplined in some areas than we were. When we adjust our lives to God, we will begin receiving His blessings and become more productive. We will have a greater sense of peace an joy and excitement in living our lives knowing that He is guiding and directing. We will experience the overcoming life that we have been looking for all along rather than being constantly defeated by the attacks of Satan.
Today’s scripture tells about a person who made critical adjustments in his life for the benefit of his family and for the protection of the baby Jesus. The glorious time of Christmas did not stay as bright and wonderful in the weeks and months ahead as it was on the first Christmas night. Mary and Joseph and the baby were facing the problems of the real world just as we face today. The daily routine begins again, the mailbox is filled with bills, we drive into the traffic jams and go to our jobs, and deal with a myriad of problems. Mary and Joseph soon found that everyone was not happy about this important event in history. Everyone was not singing praises and rejoicing. King Herod was threatened by this birth, fearful of losing his kingdom to this new king of kings. He vowed to put a stop to any attempt of takeover by killing all baby boys born within the last two years.
He was, in fact, successful in carrying out his destruction to some extent. Although Herod was a threat to baby Jesus, God delivered Him from Herod through a message by an angel. Joseph was warned in a dream of Herod’s plan. Joseph may have had plans of his own for his family and ignored the message of the angel as being insignificant, or at least not urgent. He could have procrastinated in taking any action. He could have felt it really wasn’t all that important. Joseph, however, has something to say to all of us as we stand at the beginning of a new year.
1. Joseph’s Decision Concerning the News: After the wise men left, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and the baby Jesus to Egypt. You might wonder why he was instructed to go there, but Herod’s power did not reach Egypt and Jesus would be safe there. Historically Egypt has been a land of refuge for those fleeing from danger in Palestine. It was in Egypt that Jacob and his family found refuge during the years of famine in Canaan (Genesis 42). In light of past history, it was only natural that Egypt was the place they could go for safety.
The distance from Bethlehem to Egypt was about 200 miles and this was not a quick or easy trip for this young family. The trip could involve hardship for them and danger of robbers on the way. It would have taken them about 10 days to get there. We often don’t think of some of the obstacles that faced people in Bible times.
Joseph could have said, “I think I will just stay where I am and take my chances.”
He might have thought, “Herod makes threats but it won’t happen to us.”
“We will be OK.”
“Besides I have just made some career plans and this is not a good time for us to move to Egypt.”
We had the choice to take heed to the dream or shrug it off.
What would you have done? Would you have said, “Maybe this is not REALLY God. Maybe it is just ME thinking this. Or would you have simply said, “I don’t want to do it. I’m getting along just fine. This is my life and I can only be expected to do so much.”