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Run away, now!

satanTemptation.  You know, Snickers bars, buttery popcorn, ignoring speed limits, yelling first asking questions later, even pretty ladies.  We all deal with temptation in our own way.  How do we overcome it?

Here we go!  Let’s look at a guy named Joseph.  He gets sold into slavery and bought by a rich family.  He’s a really smart guy and the man of the house sees it.  Joseph is given incredible responsibility to run the household because he does it so well.  The family prospers.  You must also know that good ole Joe is a pretty handsome guy too.  His owner’s wife notices this fact.  Uh Oh.  She wants Joe to pay attention to her if you know what I mean.  Joe isn’t into that at all, and he runs away from her repeatedly because he was taught to not mess around with another man’s wife!  Eventually, this lady is so fed up she traps Joe and he gets away, but he has to leave his coat because she is holding on to it.  Talk about a prima donna who must have always gotten her way!

Well, this lady goes on to tell a lie to her hubby.  She says Joesph tried to rape her. This leads to Joseph getting tossed into jail.  Fun, right?  Well, this all ends well.  Joe is so smart he is given a high place in running the jail, he helps others in jail and eventually is noticed by the King.  In the end Joseph is 2nd in command of the entire land and he helps everyone survive a severe famine.

Here’s the moral of this story.  No matter what evil temptations are coming your way, run from them.  You may have guessed this is a paraphrased version of the Biblical account of Joseph in Genesis 39-42.  God blesses Joseph in all that he does and even the bad circumstances lead to even better situations.

Do we trust God that much?

 

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The Real Story – Another Christian Conspiracy? [Updated]

Hey! I came across some new info to consider, I added some dialogue in italics below.

So, we all know Jesus was born in a manger and visited by shepherds and wise men that wonderful night.  It didn’t smell bad and all the animals were clean.  Um, no.  For anyone who says the Bible is inaccurate, please don’t prescribe to this version of Christ’s birth.  Sorry to ruin any well versed Christmas renditions, but the Bible really says…

(From the books of Luke and Matthew we find all the information we need.)

From Luke 2:1-5, Mary and Joseph headed to Bethlehem due to a Roman decree that a census was being taken.  Everyone went to his (the man’s) own town to register.  Joseph was of the house and line of David, so Bethlehem was his town.  Mary was pledged to marry Joseph so she had to go along. Luke 2:6-7 explains Jesus was born at this time in Bethlehem.  Since it was very crowded due to all the travelers being there for the census, they had to stay in a stable.  Whatever happened to helping out the pregnant lady?  Anyway, you can read all about more accurate stables of the time and you will find that many were actually under homes, and others were built in caves etc.  We have no idea what the stable looked like.  We know that Jesus was placed into a manger or feeding trough.  This feeding trough was also most likely carved into the stone of a cave wall (interesting insight considering Jesus was buried in a cave).  We also know Jesus was wrapped in cloths, which was a typical practice of the time.

Luke 2:8-15 relates the story of the shepherds.   They were visited by an angel of the Lord, who according to the original Greek (noting the use of “host” later), would better be described as a warrior.  They were also visited by a great company of the heavenly host (an army).  This heavenly army announced Christ’s birth.  This multitude was not an army of cute little harp wielding wing fluttering cotton balls.  I would have been scared to0 like the shepherds.  So, the shepherds decided to listen to this army of angels and head to Bethlehem post haste.  Luke 2:16-20 details that the shepherds did in fact find Jesus still lying in the manger.  The shepherds DID see Jesus in the stable!

So, what about the wise men or Magi (or the three kings)?  Keep in mind that Luke 2:39 notes that Joseph and Mary did not return to Galilee until they had done everything required of them by the Law of the Lord.  This is where the account in Matthew becomes very relevant.

Matthew 2 describes visitors (note no specific number) from the east called Magi.  We really have no details about these men, only theories.  Camels or horses?  No idea.  Three Wise men?  No idea.  Really.  Matthew 2:11 notes gifts of gold, etc…not specifically just three gifts.  We DO know they were welcomed by King Herod.  Matthew 2:11 also gives a key bit of information.  “On coming to the house,…” The Magi visited a house, not a stable.  So we know some amount of time had passed.  The obvious question of “why hadn’t Joseph and Mary returned to Galilee?” comes up.  That’s why I mentioned Luke 2:39 and the fact they stayed to fulfill the Law of the Lord.  BUT, that’s not all.  We also know from Matthew 2:13-16 that Mary and Joseph were warned by an angel to leave and go to Egypt.  This occurred soon after the Magi left (who were also warned not to return to King Herod).  Why did Joseph and Mary leave?  Because God knew King Herod was planning to kill Jesus. I believe all of these events occurred before Joseph and Mary returned to Galilee.  You could also quite easily view this as Mary and Joseph had returned to Galilee to their house and that is where the star led the Magi.  Just because Herod thought Jesus was in Bethlehem doesn’t mean he was still there.  Just because Herod told the Magi to go to Bethlehem doesn’t mean the Magi went to Bethlehem…the Magi followed the star.  So there is a lot to this event that is truly unknown.

I’ll also toss in some info about the star.  It moved.  Matthew 2:9 notes that the “star went ahead of them and stopped…over the place where the child was” (not over a stable).

We next learn about how old Jesus most likely was at this time.  From Matthew 2:16, King Herod has all the boys two years old and younger killed in Bethlehem and the surrounding area.  We know from Matthew 2:7 that King Herod had learned from the Magi the “exact time the star had appeared” which tradition and theory says the Magi believed had indicated the birth of the king of the Jews.  The obvious conclusion to me is that the Magi visited Jesus before his 3rd birthday, living in a house in Bethlehem (also, we must take into account…was Jesus 1 when he was born or “zero”?).  How convenient that the Magi would give Joseph and Mary gold right before they needed to travel to Egypt!  Kind of like getting a bonus right before Spring Break!  So, here is where I feel Bethlehem was the location and not Galilee, why would Jesus have been in harms way if he were no longer in Bethlehem?  Was Galilee considered “the surrounding area”?  I don’t think so, but they are tough questions.

So, getting back on track, the “three” wise men, as tradition calls them, did NOT visit Jesus in the stable.  They could have been 5 wise men or 17.  They were probably on horses with some camels too.  So, all those nativity manufacturers have it dead wrong…but I think the simple act of studying this story is far more intriguing and insightful than those phony nativity’s!  Of course, I have one of those nativity’s and now YOU know the true (and complicated) story behind it!

Blessings and Merry Christmas!