Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Well, you have to live under a rock not to know that the new Star Wars, The Force Returns, will come out later this week. People have camped out for weeks at theaters to get a seat with pre-bought tickets. The excitement is at a fever pitch. Why? Perhaps we liked the other movies in this franchise – I think I only saw the first one and I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will go see this one when the crowds thin out. Perhaps we are eager for a distraction from the horrible events of this past year. We want to know the good guys to win.

But I read on the Internet that there is a new religion named, “Jedi ism”. I am not kidding! They even have a “church”. They believe in a unifying force that exists within, around and always return to. There is a 10-part training course. They believe the movie, Star Wars, was fictional and meditation is an important element to rid one’s mind of the negative force. Belief in God is optional. They believe in freedom – there no restrictions on your life.

That’s interesting. A man-made religion based on a fictional movie. Wonder if it works for them.

Well, I believe in the good force that created all things (Genesis 1 – 2:7) and by His will we all exist. (Acts 17:24) I believe in the Holy Spirit who lives within, around me (Acts 1:8, Matthew 15:9). There is a training course based on the Bible and it is important to mediate on it day and night. (Joshua 1:8)

The story of the struggle between good and evil is as old as Genesis 3:1. We can certainly see signs of that struggle all around us in today’s world.

I believe in the evil force called Satan. I believe there will be an epic battle between God and Satan. And I know who wins! (Revelation 20:7-10) Defeat of Satan is assured. The victory is ours.  Every wreath, every tree light, every gift, every cookie, every candle, every carol points to the One who defeated Satan. Jesus Christ is Lord. We can start celebrating now!


At church on Sunday a lovely young, very pregnant woman sang a solo of “Mary Did You Know? That song has become one of my favorites.

But it caused me to think – what did Mary know? We aren’t given many details but from what we do know, she was a remarkable young (teens) woman. And in turn, her parents must have been very remarkable.

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day walk on water? The angel didn’t tell her nor would I think could she imagine it.
Mary, Did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? Probably. When the angel Joseph that Mary was pregnant he told him, “You are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21)
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new? I am not sure Mary knew the specifics but she had hints of it when the angel said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” Mary knew the prophecies about the coming Messiah and would put the pieces together. 
This child that you’ve delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? No. I am not sure she knew those specifics but she knew He was a special child.
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will calm a storm with His hand? No. That is another specific that the angel did not mention. It was hinted at in scripture: “He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea was hushed.” (Psalms 107:29)
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod? I would imagine that since the angel was talking with her that her child, too, was in the company of the Heavenly hosts.
And when you kiss your little baby
You’ve kissed the face of God?  For a young Jewish girl to dare to think she could approach the Holy, Most High God was beyond imagination. I doubt she even thought that way.

Mary, did you know? Yes. the prophet Isaiah hinted of such things when he wrote: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bid up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year off the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all that mourn…..” (Isaiah 61:1-2) Jesus quoted that prophecy as referring to himself. (Luke 4:20)
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
And the dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb. Mary had no way to know these amazing things about her baby. But she did know the Prophets foretold of His special anointing. There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament fulfilled by Jesus. And when John questions whether Jesus is the One or should he look for another, Jesus’ reply was to point John to these things. (Matthew 11:2-15)

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Yes. The angel told her, “The power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the  Son of God.” (Matthew 1:35)
Mary, Did you know
That your baby boy will one day rule the nations? Yes. Again she was familiar with what the prophets foretold. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Matthew 1:32-33)
Did you know
That your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb? It was beyond imagination but, yes Mary knew this baby was set apart by God to fulfill all the promises God made to Israel. (Matthew 2: 30-32)
This sleeping child you’re holding
Is the Great I am? As a new mother, Mary was just enthralled with her baby. She touched His tiny face and counted His small fingers. She breathed in that fresh baby smell. Like any new mother, she was taking it all in. So much was new to her. So much was happening. Overwhelming. We are told, “Mary treasured up all these things an pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19) There must have been many nights she recalled the events surrounding her baby’s birth and pondered their meaning. 

All my children and most of my grandchildren have gathered. I love it. My two 19 year old grandsons could not come due to work schedules and my one son-in-law works for UPS so this is his busy season. My oldest grandson, Walker, turns 19 today! I am sorry he is not with us – we miss him.

But that is what I am most  thankful for. My kids are home and I so enjoy their interaction with each other Each one has their own personality, they each have  heart for God and each has a great sense of humor. There was a time the did not get along – seriously they fought and argued but now I loved to hear their conversations as they give each other advice, talk about what  the Lord is doing in their lives, politics, sports… I have lived long enough to know the joy of being a mother to some terrific people.

The birds are in the oven. We are having many for Thanksgiving dinner and Noelle was going to get one 27 lb. bird. I wasn’t sure I could fit it into the oven! So she got two smaller birds.

It promises to be a day of food, football and family. What a terrific combination!

I trust all that are gather at your house will have a memory-making day.

God tells us to pray for our enemies. Even to love them. That is impossible on our own.

Seeing the photos and news reports from Paris makes my blood boil and I want to bomb our enemies into oblivion. I want revenge. But that is not God’s way. (Not that there isn’t a time for war.)

But how can we pray for these who seek our destruction? These are people who seek to destroy our civilization, our culture, our faith. First, I think we have to ask God to help us pray for them.

When I pray for them I ask God to expose their plans and they be brought to justice. But lately, seeing the heartless evil they commit, I have begun to pray that someone or some event would show them the love of God. They serve a god who is not personal, never says he loves them, wants them to die for him. How sad.

The Christian God I serve loves me totally and unconditionally. He is desperate for a personal relationship with me. He watches over me. He died a hideously cruel death for me so that I might spend eternity in His presence. How marvelous!

What a contrast.

Perhaps they saw the courage and peace of those Christians lined up on the beach to be beheaded. Perhaps they heard them whisper a prayer. Perhaps it planted a seed in their hearts. Maybe they question if their faith is as real. I don’t know…but I can pray. God is a God of miracles. We can pray for those dear Christians in Islamic countries to be bold in their witness. We can pray for their safety, courage and peace.

Yes, ask God to help you pray for your enemies.