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Business as Usual

Do you ever wonder how things got “back to normal” in the minds of a generation that had heard the news of a miraculous star, the vision of the shepherds, the mysterious magi from the east, and rumors of a birth that resulted in Herod’s eventual murderous actions in Bethlehem? (Matt 2:16-18)

Did anyone wonder if Herod had eliminated his competition?

Admittedly, the child Messiah was taken into hiding. Time went on without follow-up miracles. God went silent. Looking back, we can see that his plan for our rescue wouldn’t have worked if everyone lived in the ongoing awareness that God was now living among us.

But 30 years later, when John the baptizer began to announce the coming of the Lord, was there anyone who remembered the unusual circumstances of his own birth? (Luke 1:7) Could some of the lingering memories explain why some thought he might be the Messiah? (Luke 1:13) (Matt 16:13-14)

Or were all of the rumors that swirled around Mary and Elizabeth’s babies lost in the darkness of Herod’s jealousies, the arrogance of religious leaders, and the shadow of Rome? (Matt 2:1-3)

Could any of these questions have anything to do with the way we too can live without the daily expectation that something supernatural could still happen today– as an expected and needed result of “Christ in us”? (Col 1:26-27)

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26 Responses to “Business as Usual”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    It is a very appropriate subject Mart has opened up for us this morning, Christmas is over and now it’s back to normal. “Business as Usual”.

    One obvious fact about human beings is their short attention span as well as appetite for looking over the obvious for something *else* to grab their attention.

    The Magi who came from the east knew more about the coming birth of Christ than any of the Hebrew scholars written of in the scripture, but I have always wondered if there were those who did, just not recorded.

    It was Simeon who was just and devout that the Holy Spirit brought to the Temple in order to *proclaim* little Jesus at the prescribed time of circumcision and the naming of the child, as being his *salvation*. I think there may be a bigger story there. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to be named, by way of Simeon and through the Holy Spirit Jesus was named as the promised Messiah following the law of Jewish tradition. Also recorded is the conformation of Simeon’s comments by way of Anna’s testimony of Jesus. Luke 2: 25-39

    The Holy Spirit has reason to have written down what it is He wants in Scripture, but personally I don’t think any one who had contact with the Holy Family and especially the supernatural events of His birth were ever the same again.

    I also believe that many people just as today can’t see the forest for the trees. The events of the star being passed off as another oddity in the sky, if they heard of the shepherd’s story they soon forgot about it or didn’t believe it. Many I am certain never knew anything about the Magi’s visit as the Magi as well as the Holy Spirit needed to hide the little Jesus from Herod.

    I know that things supernatural happen still today, but people are even more skeptical than ever when it comes to such stories of encounters with God today. I also know how soon those events are faded from memory and the thrill of the encounter dulled by time, a human condition.

    I too have had encounters, sometimes as time dulls the memory they become confused with hopeful thinking and sometimes even lost to doubting what the eyes see or the ears hear making it necessary to rely on blind faith instead.

    I no longer wonder how the Hebrew children could have forgotten the startling miracles of the Exodus so soon. It is a human condition.

    Wanted to say thank you Mart for posting me up yesterday, and that we had a very good day, a rarity sometimes for us, but it was a very good day.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    As we greet the 52nd week of 2011, it seems to me that the world tries mighty hard to press into our consciousness. A line from the Christmas cantata a choir here sang says, “…at the coming of the Christ-child, the world lay in darkness and no one knew how deep the darkness was.” Since old Slew-foot, the Accuser of humankind, is still prowling around – he pulls the wool over the eyes of those of us
    who do not keep vigilant by prayer and meditation on Scripture. The old paradigm keeps pressing in, and it is easy to be distracted.

    For me, as I read 1 John 2:15-17 NIV, I must search my own heart this morning: Am I seeking what comes from the Father, or am I distracted by what comes from the “love of the world?” Tomorrow, the banks and the post office will re-open – as you depict in your photos, Mart, the push to purchase goods at sale prices will be on. “Babylon” tirelessly seeks the advantage…we must remember our Jerusalem citizenship.

    Our hope is sure, even though we are subject to delusion. In our day, the Truth has been fully revealed. Jesus said, when signs of ruin appear,
    “…stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28) It seems we must always encourage one another in Christ. He is not hidden, but humanity can be blinded to his presence.


  3. yooperjack says:

    Mart: Is that last question a “trick Question”?

  4. poohpity says:

    The time between the the birth of Jesus and the Magi’s appearance was an estimated two years. But I find it so very sad after the visit from the Magi it was not business as usual it was a time of death for thousands of little children. I often have wondered, as I have when many things I do not understand, why that had to happen. Horrible things at the hand of a jealous, angry and selfish person.

    I look everyday for a supernatural occurrence from the Lord. A changed heart, a show of love from someone we could have been never imagined, an answer to prayer and a long list of other things that would show a touch of the Master. I look expectantly and pray that I always will.

  5. davids says:

    I was reading about how the first century was a time of Messianic expectations, and many incidents and false prophets are recorded in the Bible and outside it. Acts 5:36 “For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered.”

    Taking into account also that the average lifetime was maybe 50 years, anyone that actually witnessed the events 30 years previous would have been well-advanced in years.

    We also live in times of messianic expectation. How many times do we hear about the image of the Christ or the Virgin Mother appearing on a piece of toast or a stain on a wall? Last year an “authority” predicted the end of days in May, and corrected it to October.

    Perhaps some people today experience truly miraculous events, but without an edible or non-edible blury image to report, we are unlikely to hear about it.

    Today I was reminded that if we truly have messianic expectations, we will be concerned with helping “the least of these” (Matt. 25).

  6. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and I hope and pray that you’ll all have a prosperous New Year. I attended a special Christmas service at church yesterday, and I SO enjoyed it. :) We sang Christmas carols, the choir (that includes me) sang, and my Pastor encouraged our hearts with a short sermon about Jesus being the real reason why we celebrate Christmas, and the fact that He’s the BEST gift that we could ever receive (on Christmas or any day)!

    Mart, I enjoyed reading your intro comment. Good questions throughout. Want to comment on this question…”Could any of these questions have anything to do with the way we too can live without the daily expectation that something supernatural could still happen today– as an expected and needed result of “Christ in us”?”

    From my perspective, something supernatural happens in my life on a daily basis. I grew up in a dysfunctional family and ended up in a dysfunctional marriage (and currently seperated from my spouse). So, everyday that LORD provides for my needs (and even wants) is very *supernatural* for me. It’s hard for me to explain…don’t think I’m doing it justice…what I experience in my spirit, soul and body when the LORD provides for me because I know the provision is coming from Him.

    Cloudy and cold in Texas Today (low 40’s).

    Love to all,

  7. bill34sl says:

    When most of the civilized world was ruled by the old Roman Empire, peoples of the nations under its rule, like the Jews, were treated as 2nd class citizens of the empire. They didn’t have much influence in the civil undertakings of the state they were subjected to. The Jews were governed by a puppet king, Herod. Any talks of unusual or supernatural occurrences happening among themselves had no bearing to the Roman Empire. Although Herod was a Jew, he thought and lived more like a Roman because of his position, and was a madman. The Bible said that he ordered the killing of baby boys 2 and under in the small town of Bethlehem and its vicinity to get rid of what he believed will usurp his throne later on. Historians argued that due to the size of Bethlehem, only about 20 infants were killed. That is nothing compared to the fact that Herod orchestrated the slaughter of some of his own family members, notably his wife. That is more of a “front page news” than the poor little babies. In the same way, odd circumstances surrounding John the Baptist’s birth, was just brought to oblivion because of the obscurity of their town and the people themselves. I believe Mart was right to say that these “treasures” were lost in the darkness of Herod’s jealousies, the arrogance of religious leaders of the time and the huge shadow of Rome. But however lost they could be in the pages of history, God preserved them in a Single Book that would endure the test of time, for the benefit of the people which they were written for. People in the past and present generations whose lives experienced the supernatural in one way or another, not necessarily with “lightnings and thunderings” but with much blessings. God spoke these words thru the mouths of His prophets of old, and they came to pass, and will come to completion because as Luke 1:37 says: “For no word from God will ever fail”.

  8. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart and Friends —

    The “unusual circumstances” of the births of the two men, John Baptist and Jesus, wouldn’t be enough to allow generations to re-member the coming of the Light and Life of God into the world. Faith and hope in the Creator God were ignited when John began to preach and teach Messiah. A cult of personality – or a religious power play by the sons of Mary and Elizabeth would have died long ago.

    Noting the claims of Scripture and pointing out their truth is not equivalent to living out the reality of Emmanuel and the promise of eternal life in Him. Scripture teaches, “…former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he (that is Christ) holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25) Keep telling the story, Mart!

    The apostle Paul sent words of encouragement to Timothy(2 Timothy 1:6-7) – perhaps doubting himself (1 Timothy 4:14). May we lay hold of our Christ-likeness by praying and interceding for one another! God has no seasons of discouragement like we have as human beings. E. Stanley Jones wrote fifty years ago, “..the gladdest sight on our planet is a graveyard with a cross – and hence a resurrection! There is no doom in our relationships!” (How To Be a Transformed Person, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press) Christ dwells in and among us – and is eternally our hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)

    In Him,

  9. oneg2dblu says:

    It is a good morning as His Mercies are new agin, and as His Son rises again today in the hearts of every believer. Many more today will “wake up” to the world of knowing Him! That is supernatural!
    It is beyond description, how this God we get to serve lives within us, because He awakened us. He provides our every need to live for Him. Whether we do or not is a choice He also allows.
    Even your next breath is really His to allow or deny. The supernatural is all around us, needing only to be discovered, by those who realize their very fate depends totally on Him alone.
    To Him, be all Glory, Honor, and Praise, as He has made himself known to us. We are blessed! Gary

  10. remarutho says:

    Let me correct myself. Jones wrote sixty years ago, not fifty! I hope we all can smile over our errors in the New Jerusalem! When loss and discouragement come at Christmas-time, the pain of that remembrance can be so deep. I pray today for those who have experienced loss this or any Christmas. Maru

  11. BruceC says:

    I agree Mart that we can get ‘dulled” so-to-speak in our world. Not even expecting a supernatural occurrence; or explaining it away when it does arrive. In today’s culture all one needs to do is look at the reaction of the unbelieving when a believer gives a testimony. The “world” just keeps grinding on and grinding up people in the process. Folks are taught about the ‘natural” all through school and taught that the supernatural is fantasy or superstition.
    When people congratulate me on quitting cigarettes I get weird looks when I tell them I didn’t quit; but that the Lord delivered me. I get that “well, that’s nice but….” look!
    The Wednesday before Christmas I had to go to the small city our church is in to pay some bills. On the outskirts my brakes got a little spongy and I thought I had some air in the lines; which has happened to me before. One block away from the Main St. intersection I had to stop at a light and the brake light came on. I began to pray to the Lord. When I got to the Main St. intersection, I got a red light and the brakes went to the floor. So I quickly used the emergency brake lever on the console and stopped. In my stereo was a tape of Celtic praise and at the moment the car stopped the song “Amazing Grace” began to play!! Wow!! I had the willies all over me!! Just down the street about 200 feet was a repair shop that took me right in and replaced the brake line that had blown and got me on my way! So when these things happen I give praises to my Lord and retell them even if I do get a “look”. Our God is a supernatural and miracle working God. And even though many may have been dulled by time and unbelief he continues to work and nothing happens out of “coincidence”. That is why he comes as a thief in the night. Few are looking for Him.
    Sorry for the long post.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  12. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Bruce for your story, it touched my heart, as i was pondering shall I tell my story of my day after Christmas? Because for me it was not business ans usual yet. We visited old time friends, here in our country we have a 2nd christmas day, as familyday too, no church going. My friend had told me previously how well she was doing, and had invited me several times to go to a meditation seminar, a spiritual seminar, seeking spiritual guidance in meditating, and being quiet, stillness or so. I had written to her that I really would like spiritual encounters the name of Jesus Christ. And yesterday she old me how deillisioned she was about my writing, that she believed God and Jesus were One, but that she didn’t need His Offer, Christ, (she did not want to saymentione the name Jesus) Christ showed the way of being an offer, she followed in being her own offer, and now she was with God. And Christ was one of the holy people who showed the way, so was Mary, and Muhammed, and some more she mentioned, forgotten which. And while I was listening, and getting uneasy, the songs we had sung glorifying Jesus came into my mind, they filled so much, that I stayed calm and peaceful. That is who our God is, He helps us when help is needed. I remember 8 years ago someone else told me the same sort of story, at that time I was bewildered, the peace and calm came back after a night of praying. You can see how slow the improvement is, but there is improvement. I am writing this to encourage those who read, and do not get the peace and calmness: keep on praying, it will improve in years, if we pray to and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One we have been exolting at Christmas time.
    Anyway, this is still work in progress, if anyone has a prayer for her. And I pray we grow closer and closer to God and will be more and more people through which Jesus can talk to lost people around us, but the prayer is so needed.
    And I want to make it my business as usual, praying more, and glorifying Jesus more and more as we do more then usual on Christmas day, but to keep this habit alive.

  13. InHisHands says:

    It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget to give Christ the proper place on the throne of our hearts, that we become discouraged seeing an unGodly society doing what unGodly people do. Spending time in His Word and having wonderful inspiration from ODB and this blog are ways that keep me focused on keeping Christ at the center.

    All that to tell about a Christmas miracle that I prayed for. My hubby is so often discouraged. Between physical pain and working for the government he often appears as though he is chained down in discouragement. He loves the LORD, that isn’t the problem – just sometimes he can’t see the little daily things that
    God is doing. On Friday 12/23, he noticed a black lump on top of a high wire pole about a 1/2 block from our house, it was a cat. My hubby made calls, enquired from neighbors about what they new and tried in every physical way to get help for the suffering animal. He was told it was up there for over a day or two already, and the electric co. would be sending a crew out on the 27th. He worried and fretted over the cat’s situation and felt completely helpless. I began to pray for a Christmas miracle, one he would be able to know the outcome of. Yesterday, the 26th, the cat was gone when we got up. My husband was so down all day – thinking the worse and feeling that he had somehow let the cat down.
    This morning, the 27th, he was talking with some of the electrical guys at work and learned that Edison had sent a crew out at 11:30pm on the 25th and gotten the cat down – and that they thought the cat was still alive. Praise the LORD for my little Christmas miracle. My husband has is happy back in his voice, as he called me to let me know.
    For Christians Christmas shouldn’t be just once a year -we should be experiencing and showing Christmas qualities all year through, because we have CHRIST in us, so we should exude love, joy and PEACE to the world around us.
    MERRY CHRISTMAS, a little late (yet, right on time)and may 2012 be a blessed year for all of us.

  14. BruceC says:

    Thank you foreverblessed and InHisHands; your stories touched my heart and I will share in your prayers and praise!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  15. yooperjack says:

    foreverblessed: Be very careful not to get sucked into this new age spirituality, many famous people are involved in that movement. They use Bible verses and are just one big happy family. Jesus is not their strength or their Lord. They believe their spirituality comes from deep within their inner being. And their not talking about the Holy Spirit. Are they bad people? No!! Just confused and are looking for our Lord in the wrong place.

  16. davids says:

    Hi Bruce, still praying for you and your wife, as well as others here.

  17. BruceC says:

    Thanks for your prayers davids! You have no idea how much they mean to wifey and I. We’re just going through a difficult time the last few years. But the Potter’s wheel is never easy. God bless you brother!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  18. oneg2dblu says:

    Great stories about the super “natural,” or the supernatural.I wonder if those who are misled by another spirit, also feel they are experiencing the supernatural?
    Probably yes! Most assuredly yes! Both right and wrong, good or evil, can play into that realm.
    To me the difference is in the confirmation of which spirit gets the glory. For us, it is the Christian story, and to God be the Glory, with Christ in the Center. For others I can’t really say.Those were great stories about the super natural, or supernatural. I wonder if those who are misled by another spirit feel they are experiencing the supernatural?
    Probably yes! Most assuredly yes! Both right and wrong, good or evil, can play into that realm. But to me, the difference is in the confirmation of which spirit gets the glory.
    For us, it is the Christian story, where God gets the Glory, but with Christ in the Center. For others I can’t really say. But, what I can say is this… To God goes the Glory that my Buddhist practicing friend, an old ex-lover, is now asking me to give her advice, for more reading into the Word of God!
    I know that is not “another spirit” asking, it is a birthright of something greater than I could ever lead her to. It is to me, confirmation that the very Hand of God is doing what comes natural, and that is the supernatural to me.
    After leading her to the Prayer of Habakkuk, by telling her to read the intro to the book first, knowing I gave her an NLT a while back, with some other stuff, like that little book called Our Daily Bread.
    I said if she could put herself in his shoes/sandals and realize how dependant his very existence was upon that land which he lived, the animals that also lived on it, and the prevailing weather which had to sustain it, it all adds up to whether you live or die!
    She would find the last three lines of his prayer found in Habakkuk 3:17-19, would capture her into truly knowing what sustained him. Soli Deo Gloria!
    Then, I was led to send her directly to Hebrews 3. Praying that, perhaps Today!
    Please pray for my friend Laraine, that “His Awakening,” would overtake the world that now holds her captive. Gary

    But, what I can say is this… To God be the Glory that my Budist practicing friend and ex-lover, that is just before my conversion, is now asking me to give her advice, for more leading into the Word of God!
    I know that is not “another spirit” asking, it is a birthright of something greater than I could ever lead her to. It is to me, confirmation that the very Hand of God is doing what comes natural,and that is the supernatural to me.
    After leading her to the Prayer of Habakkuk, by telling her to read the intro to the book first, knowing I gave her an NLT a while back with some other stuff, like that little book called Our Daily Bread.
    I said if she could put herself in his shoes/sandals
    and realize how dependant his very existance was upon that land which he lived, the animals who also lived on it,and the prevailing weather which had to sustain it, it all adds up to whether you live or die!
    Then, she would find the last three lines of his prayer
    Habukkuk 3:17-19,that would capture her into truly knowing what sustained him. Soli Deo Gloria!
    Then, I sent her directly to Hebrews 3. Praying, “Perhaps Today!”
    Please pray for my friend Laraine, that “His Awakening” would overtake the world that now holds her captive. Gary

  19. oneg2dblu says:

    Sorry, I still don’t proof properly!

  20. SFDBWV says:

    It was raining yesterday, but I needed to get Matthew out of the house for a while so he and I went to the nearest big town to a Subway shop and got some lunch, stopped then at a grocery store for some junk and home again.

    We drove through nearly every weather event possible yesterday, hard rain, drizzle, dense fog and even sunny skies all within a few miles radius as the crow flies.

    Safely home we awaited the arrival of one of Glenna’s daughters and her husband. They were driving up from North Carolina and are in for a stay in the United States from missionary work in a predominately Islamic country. I won’t say exactly which country as it is illegal for them to be in the country for the purpose of doing Christian missionary work.

    They called about two hours out and said they had had a flat tire and would be finishing the trip on one of those donut spares cars come with these days.

    So we were naturally anxious until their arrival, you can’t get signal very well or very often here in the mountains which is why Verizon abandoned West Virginia all together and won’t even offer cell phone service here. So we could not keep in contact with them as they drove along on a *spare* tire.

    They arrived just after dark and we were relieved, it started snowing about 2 hours latter and though it isn’t much still it makes driving more dangerous.

    Today we will get them new tires and squared away for their next trip to St Louis to see a sister who lives there. For now they will rest here for the next couple days.

    Matthew continues to wonder why his old friends never come around and complains about his inabilities and his disappointments and being stuck here at home.

    This is our life and yes it is business as usual for us. Even though there have been great spiritual events and miracles in our lives, we still must go on with our tomorrows, as each day is an entirely new life and with it comes joys and sadness, troubles and successes…Business as usual.


  21. oneg2dblu says:

    I’ve accidently asked you to pray twice today.
    Now I ask, was that was just a natural mistake, or was it a supernatural leading? Gary

  22. yooperjack says:

    Gary: When I paste I bring MS Words up along side of this post; then write my post on MS Words. When I’m finished I press Ctrl and A, then Ctrl and C, then I move my curser to the post, press Ctrl and V that’s it.

  23. poohpity says:

    Because God’s mercies are new every morning today we do not have to live a “Business as Usual” kind of life. We can make a choice to live by Grace rather than trying to earn God’s love. We can make a choice rather than being a negative ned/nancy to concentrate on those things that are true, trustworthy, kind, peace loving, admirable and loving. We have been saved by the Grace of God and have so very much to be thankful for, we no longer live under condemnation, judgment or the law but a new freedom found only in what Jesus did for us. We have freedom to do good, show kindness, be merciful, be patient, learn self control and show how much grace we have been shown.

    After receiving Christ there is no more business as usual, we are to be about God’s business of being the Lord’s Army to spread peace, acceptance, love, forgiveness and mercy to those who are like us, an undeserving lot, but by the grace of God we are now children of the King.

    Who wants to be around someone who is always angry, bitter, resentful and nasty? I sure don’t. I want to be around someone who is kind, loving, ready to listen, is full of joy and forgiving. That is why I like to start my day with the Lord who is everything I am not. :-)

  24. yooperjack says:

    Mart: The reason I asked you if that last question was a trick question, was this. Every born again believer in Jesus Christ missed the first two greatest supernatural events in the history of this world, the virgin birth and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Every born again believer should be looking an anticipating the next supernatural event. Dead or alive we will not only see it we will be part of it. Praise God just the thought gets me excited. Praise the Lord!!! Come up here will be the call; we will all rise up to meet Him in the air.

    Just a note: Walking in the Spirit is not natural so don’t expect every body including some Christians to understand and will in their minds explain away all your supernatural experiences. Some would say the reason Jesus walked on water is because he couldn’t swim. LOL I don’t even talk about it except to those that have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. There’s something wasteful about feeding pearls to swine.

  25. poohpity says:

    bill, I was wrong by stating thousands of children died. You were right that some historians have said that due to the 2 or 3 thousand adults that lived there it may have been 20-30 male children between birth and two that were killed. oooops!!

  26. dust says:

    i will try to send the graph again. sorry, still cann’t send graph.

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