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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Assurance for tomorrow

There are 23 verses in the first book of the New Testament, Matthew, the second chapter.  As you read those 23 verses it is not difficult to follow the story line with what is happening.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea and was visited by the Magi, or "Wise Men" from another country.  There was a star that appeared that led them to where Jesus was born.


The story continues with the Magi stopping in Jerusalem to talk to King Herod, to find out where the "King of the Jews" was to be born.  After finding out they set out for Bethlehem with instructions from the King to let him know where they found the new King so he could go and worship him as well.


Of course the Magi found the child Jesus and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and Myrrh.  But being warned in a dream, the Magi returned to their own country by another way.


Joseph, Mary's husband was also warned in a dream to take the child and his Mother and run away from Bethlehem and go to Egypt.  King Herod in Jerusalem had become very angry at being tricked by the Magi and gave orders for every male child in Bethlehem who was under the age of two years should be executed.


Finally, after Herod had died Joseph was again told to return to his own country.  From Egypt Joseph, Mary and Jesus traveled back to Israel where they settled in Nazareth.


That is a familiar story and is repeated in many different forms usually around Christmas time each year.  Most every Christian and many who are not Christians know about Jesus and His being born in Bethlehem.  They know about King Herod, the Magi, the killing of the "innocents" at Herod's orders, and Joseph, Mary and Jesus escaping to Egypt.  Those are the facts of the story and are well known by millions of people.  There is another story in those same verses we might consider.


The focus of those verses is directly on God and the plan He had worked out through the course of mankind's actions and the fact that God has special powers of foreknowledge.  God is not "paranormal" in the sense we normally speak that word, but He is the Creator of everything in existence.  He is able to see well beyond the "here and now" and know what is going to transpire tomorrow, into a thousand tomorrows.  Consequently He can voice those actions in an earlier time period even before they happen, to inform the people from that day forward what is going to happen.


The reason the Magi stopped in Jerusalem to inquire about where the Messiah was to be born was because it was "foretold" in God's Word several hundred years before the actual event.  In Micah 5:2 the prophet, through the inspiration from God, told the people that out of the insignificant little town of Bethlehem the ruler would be born.  When King Herod asked his Chief Priests and scholars about this, they were able to give him the answer he needed.


When Jesus' family escaped to Egypt it was no insignificant thing.  That plan had already been worked out hundreds of years before.  From Hosea 11:1 we read where the prophet told the people that God was going to call His Son out of Egypt.  It was already a fact that God's plan had established this trip to Egypt for Joseph and Mary with Jesus, God's Son.


Now, why do bad things happen to good people?  Why is it that good people suffer and the bad people seem to get away with things?  Specifically, in the case of King Herod ordering the execution of all the male children in Bethlehem who were under the age of two years.  None of those children were guilty of anything; they were innocent of any wrongdoing.  Hatred and murder, jealously, envy and sin resides in the heart of the individual.  Herod did not want anyone to be referred to as "King" because he believed he was the King and would not stop at anything to destroy anyone who would dare to stand in his way.  God did not cause the death of all those children; the evil King Herod did.  Hundreds of years before God had seen the heart of Herod and saw the destruction and hatred he possessed.  And God warned the people through His word.


Jeremiah 31:15 says,  "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud wailing, Rachel weeping for her children, and she did not want to be comforted, because they were gone."  Matthew was telling his readers that God had already seen this tragedy manifested from the heart of mankind's sin, even hundreds of years before it happened, and the people who were familiar with Scripture knew immediately where this scene had first unfolded.


This brings us to our responsibility relative to our personal faith.  Christians believe in a personal God of Creation; the God Who personally intervened into the affairs of mankind by providing a sacrifice that would be acceptable for salvation by the forgiveness of sins.  When we understand the fullness of the power that God possesses in that He not only knows little things, but He knows big things as well.  When we arrive at tomorrow we should know that He is already there.  His protection is not just for today, it is for all time.  In fact it transcends time itself, because He sees what people are doing a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now if He has not yet returned.


When we decide, by our own choice, to accept the fact of Jesus and the work He did on the cross, and through our faith believe in Him and receive His Grace for salvation, we have assurance that He will make us into new persons and He knows about future events.  He will not make robots out of people and stop their actions, but He will confront them many times through each of us for people to believe and accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  

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