Luke 2: 15-17, 20
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
What is the pre-requisite for the next level in your life? Before the shepherds could tell anyone about the baby, they had to first GO and see the baby! Before they could go and tell it, they had to first GO and see! This post will deal with the the procedural elements we must process before the manifestation of the promise.
For me, this came true when I went to college. Though I had every intention of finishing college I didn't finish at my first stop. However, I did meet someone who For me, this came true when I went to college. Though I had every intention of finishing college I didn't finish at my first stop. However, I did meet someone who in one decision changed the trajectory of my life. I was at Weatherford College studying to become a professional musician. While at Weatherford, I met Charles who became my best friend. Years later, Charles referred me to his aunt's company which toured Europe playing and singing gospel music. I auditioned and got the job and was on my way overseas and in 2012 and 2013 to Japan to play gospel music.
So, while I didn't finish at Weatherford, I did make the connection that gave me the experiences that have taught me so much about life and made me the man I am, today! Today, I want to use the pericope of the shepherds to talk about what to do when destiny is a destination- where you go to activate God's promise over your life.
I have spent much time in consideration of the Christmas account in Luke's gospel since I began writing "They Saw Him First". I haven't touched each corner of the account but I'm getting there. Today, I want to talk about the shepherds' journey TO Bethlehem. After the angels had ascended to Heaven, the men decided to go see the baby. As we discussed in the book, they were near Bethlehem presumably in a pasture in/near Jerusalem.
The men see the baby but verse 20 grabbed my attention the other day. They returned glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, AS IT WAS TOLD UNTO THEM. Because they saw what they were told they would see, they went telling the people as they were commanded by the angels to. Many times, we look at the end, but not the middle! Before you go tell it, you gotta see it! Destiny is in the destination, it's in the preparation for the message. It's on the back side of the desert before the Lord is getting ready to pull back the curtain and introduce you to the world! Something I want to deal with in this post is what to do when destiny is a destination. There was something the men were to behold, but it wasn't where they were! Read that, again!
Now, allow me to make this plain, what was told to them came to pass WHERE they went to see it! God rewards faith and obedience, as the writer of Hebrews said, "without faith it's impossible to please God..." (Hebrews 11:6). We know we need faith where we are and we talk about faith that will keep us rooted and grounded, but what about faith that will MOVE us from where we are? Abraham had that kind of faith and responded when he heard the Lord tell him to move and go where the Lord would send him. In Isaiah 55:10-11, we hear the Lord say that His word will be accomplished WHERE he sends it!
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
So understand that for the word of the Lord to come to pass, it may require movement on your part. In some cases, you will be required to go where the word of the Lord is being performed! The angel said go TO Bethlehem, that's where the prophecy is being fulfilled. It couldn't be fulfilled anywhere else, it wouldn't be fulfilled according to the shepherds' comfort, but it would happen WHERE the angel said it would.
We may not know how to get there, but God doesn't intend on us getting there without Him. The word of God won't fall flat and He will guide you there! This is faith that requires us to move and be led in response to our movement. The shepherds got to where the baby was, took it all in and spread the news as they returned home. In "They Saw Him First", we celebrate the unique assignment of the shepherds, but don't dismiss the destiny in their destination!
The shepherds became evangelists only after going TO Bethlehem! Many of us are sitting down despondent in disappointment and disbelief because the word over you has yet to manifest. But look at the response of the shepherds after their encounter with the angel, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." (Luke 2:15) The shepherds understood that to accomplish what they were destined to do, they would have get up! I'm writing this to encourage certain of you to, GET UP!
That's not good enough, you need to get up and GO! When destiny is a destination, you don't ever accept staying where you are. "I've got to get there!" In fact, there was an activation upon the shepherds when they saw Jesus. What God had planned for them to do wouldn't be accomplished in Jerusalem!
I surmise that they shared the word of seeing Jesus on the rout back to Jerusalem from Bethlehem. So, not only was there an activation in Bethlehem when they saw Him, the application was on the road back to their priestly pasture. Don't get mad with God once you discover that the activation and application may be in separate places not named HOME!
I don't really know why I always talk about leaving home because I LOVE home! I love knowing just about every corner of my city and being immersed in the culture, here. I'm so Fort Worth, I love and hate the city at the same time! Coming into 2020, I made a GIF that said "let's get uncomfortable!" It looked terrible but that was symbolic of how uncomfortable I thought I would be willing to get this year. We're weeks away from 2021 and whew...I didn't get as uncomfortable as I thought I would need to but I'm still being shaken from my places of comfort for a good reason. Moving? I don't know about that! My family is here and even though technology has made us never out of reach, I want to be able to touch my family when I want to see them.
The pandemic put the kibosh on that though, didn't it? Maybe that was practice for somebody...everything you did to keep in touch during the pandemic was practice for relocation! Is that for you? I'm not claiming that, just yet! LOL Seriously though, when destiny is a destination, you gotta go get it to work it! It ain't at home...Jesus was rejected in Nazareth, and they threatened His life for asserting His Kingdom authority there! Home base for you isn't necessarily home base for what God has called you to!
Saturday November 30, 2019 after 16-18 hours on the road, we were finally home. We headed home from Chicago, after spending the week of Thanksgiving with my wife's family. We had fun and lots and lots of good food. By Wednesday, I was convinced that Chicago has some of the best food spots in America. We spent the week with family, saw friends and before hitting the road, made one final sightseeing stop in Chicago...the Obama home. Because we left before sunrise, our taking the moment in looked more like scouting the place! LOL
We rode to St. Louis to take more pictures at the Gateway Arch then we were on the road with Texas on our minds. We made many restroom and snack stops so the trip that began at dark, concluded way past dark at home. Tired, yet somewhat energized by the safe arrival home, I began bringing our luggage in. On the second to the last trip inside though, I heard: "you're gonna write a book and release a song!" I'm working on that song, y'all...but I somewhat had an idea of what the book would be about.
I was already working on making my dramatization an ebook so, there it was! Fleshing it out was no easy feat! I had already completed it in the design program but couldn't finalize it in there because I sized it wrong. After transferring the work to Word and back to the design program, I was stuck. I went back to Word to finalize it there and all that was left to do was present it. That's where I had the biggest problem. All the hours of research, all the months of learning book formatting, typography and the book industry didn't prepare me for the anxiety I regularly feel when it's time to present my finished product to the public!
On one hand, it's procrastination and as I dealt with in "The Journey to Genesis", not even perfectionism is an adequate excuse for procrastination. So now that I've pressed through all the duress of preparation, what next? PRESENTATION! That's the scary part! You can pray in your private prayer closet and day by day check off items on your vision board, but everything changes when you have to take it outside, to the people! People can be mean, cruel and let's not even talk about the people who will try to be YOU and crush what you have.
Going outside is dangerous, that's why most of us want to keep our kids in our sight when they go play. There's danger outside, but don't stay inside so long that your forfeit the DESTINY also waiting for you, outside! After recounting the shepherds' journey to Bethlehem, the gospel of Luke then tells us that Mary took the baby to the temple, which was customary. Jesus the baby was to be circumcised on the eighth day. As Mary and Joseph approach the temple, Luke begins to tell us about Simeon an old man. He was waiting at the temple for Jesus...unbeknownst to Mary and Joseph. Before he died, he was see the Messiah, that was the word promised to him and as he saw them approaching, the Holy Spirit told him who he was looking at.
This was Simeon's praise after seeing Jesus, Mary and Joseph, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:29-32, 34-35).
As Simeon's blessing concluded, Anna began to also bless the Lord, "and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem." (Luke 2:38) So while Simeon's life's promise had been fulfilled, Anna in her old age told the people about Jesus, also. Take a moment and drink that in...
Now, back to us and this anxiety we face. After seeing Jesus, Simeon asked the God to take him because the prophecy over his life had been fulfilled and Jesus had another walking press release in Anna. We're not Jesus, but can I tell you that people are waiting on what God will (has) birth(ed) in/through you? Do you need more convincing? Not only do you need to go outside, but there's a set destination for your destiny. Don't be afraid when you have to take that "thing" (your baby) to a specific place or that you discover that it is destined to prosper in a specific place.
While Mary pondered all she had experienced in her heart (Luke 2:19), the baby was not for her only, He came to save the world. She would go from pondering it in her heart to placing Him in the temple to be circumsized. The immaculate conception and miraculous birth weren't for Mary to keep to herself. What God has birthed in/through you isn't for you to only marvel at God's goodness. On some level, it will have to be shown.
I have gone a full year having not said much about "They Saw Him First" though I have the copyright form, ISBN, cover I created and bookstore to buy it from. Yet when it came time to make the announcement, I couldn't do it. I put my phone down, I walked away from the computer. I struggled to find the words to put in the post. I didn't know what to do...well, I did, I was just too insecure to do it.
The same thing happened earlier this summer when I released "This Crisis Is Not Cause for Alarm". I can't keep these book releases to myself because they aren't for me, they're for YOU! They're for the people waiting for answers from God, the people who have lost hope and the people looking for inspiration. Even more, it's for the people I don't know and have never met that the Lord will allow my words to speak to. The least we can do is go outside and make it available. Don't keep the people waiting, their faith in God is on the line!
Luke 2: 21-39
Mighty Pen Publishing
In our book blog, we're continuing the conversation with readers. We know that writing a thought provoking book will make you think, but what do you do then? Well, we hope to continue the conversation began by reading the book with posts here.