BEatitudes = Attitudes To Be


When I was in college in Atlanta, we traveled over 30 miles on Tuesday night to a Bible study that sometimes had over 400 in attendance.  There was a three-piece band and a speaker.  Simple music, simple truths.  The concept was, “if you teach them, they will come” and we did.  We studied the Bible a passage at a time.  I remember it was the first time I heard the phrase “the Beatitudes are Attitudes to be”.  Most of what God has to teach us and our children is simple truths.  We just like to complicate them.

As parents or workers with children of various ages, we know “attitude”.  We probably get several doses a day.  Have you ever thought about teaching children a conscious attitude; attitudes to be?  Jesus did, and He gave a wonderful lesson that we should teach to our children early on.

English lesson:


TO BE verb and auxiliary verb

  • present singular 1st person: am (I am)
  • 2nd  person: are (you are)
  • 3rd person:  is (he/she is)

Attitudes are something you ARE and choose to BE.  Attitude is a decision.  Very early on you must teach children that they are choosing their attitudes and those choices decide how they act.  Their actions have consequences.   At the first sign of an inappropriate attitude you look them straight in the face and say, “you need to make a decision.  Make a good one.  If you continue in this ____ (name it – action or attitude) then YOU are DECIDING and CHOOSING this consequence“ (name it and make sure you stick to it).  Make sure you are in a right attitude yourself. Lose the temptation of grounding them for life attitude.  Teach them to do as you do.

You can teach them as early as two that they are ‘asking’ for consequences by their choices.  If they are acting out they choose to be punished.  Do not let them blame you.  Encourage them to choose wisely and receive good consequences.

I hear mom’s say, “he/she’s in their terrible two’s” or, “oh, he/she’s carried the terrible two’s into the terrifying three’s”.  Don’t CLAIM it for goodness sake.  Do something about it.  You do not let children control you or your home.

I know I have said it under other sections, but let me say it again.  Parenting is a SMALL minuscule picture on earth of our Heavenly Father’s relationship with us.  Remember what happens when you try to control your life; you try to control God?  Makes a mess of things doesn’t it?  Well, why are you allowing children to control you and the home?    I see toddlers in control of large adults 4x’s their size and I shake my head and think, “when did you hand them the keys?”  Most turn over control before they are two believe it or not.

I won’t mention which daughter, but one of mine wanted something in the checkout line and I said, “no”.  To which I received a tantrum, her first.  I looked at her and told her she was embarrassing herself and me and that was no way to behave in a store.  I told her to make a decision or I would have to embarrass her.  She continued to scream.  So I dropped to the floor and threw a tantrum.  She was mortified.  She told me I was ‘mbearinsing her’.   I told her I would stop if she did.  Quit laughing, it worked.  We were in Winn Dixie and a mom looked at me and said, “Oh, if I only had the courage to do that.”  There were no more tantrums in the store.  There are those that say not to humiliate your child in public.  HOGWASH! (<~ I have become my mom, it was her fav word).  Half of what is wrong with children is we are protecting them from good child rearing techniques for fear of what others will say or think.  Or worse, what some ‘professional in the world’ says will hurt the child.  The world is not in charge of raising your child.  The truth is, you answer only to God for how you turn out your kids.  Any child still living at home and you pay the bills, is your responsibility, your stewardship under God’s eyes.  I am sorry to say that an out of control teenager did not wake up that way one morning.  It started years before when someone stopped parenting and handed over the keys. It is very hard, but not impossible, to get those keys back and start over.  God expects you do to just that. With a preteen or teen you start with a heart to heart of how it should have been and how it wil be going forward  if you have to take away a lot it is hard  just keep reminding them their choices decide the consequences

God gave a manual on teaching attitudes to yourself as well as your children.  These are simple Bible truths that Jesus taught in Matthew 5. (This is greatly simplified due to BLOG constraints – everyone should really do a thorough study of God’s attitudes TO BE.)

  • 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (our BEatitude is recognizing we OWE all to God) God is teaching us and we need to teach children, that we are blessed by Him and stewards of all that we have; we should have a humble and thankful spirit and not a proud and greedy one
  • 4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (our BEatitude of SORROW  for sin that brings repentance, recognizing when we do wrong and REALLY being sorry) God is teaching us, and we need to teach children, that we should be sorrowful over sin and wrong doing; that we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to walk daily in Him and that we cannot do so without Him. Teach them to yield to that conscience; yield to the tugging of the Holy Spirit.  We know when we are doing wrong and we know when we are ignoring that tugging on our conscience.  If we ignore, the Holy Spirit within us grieves.  We ignore that, we harden.
  • 5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (our BEatitude of  SUBMISSION to God) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children,  to be quiet and rest in Him, to not get upset when we are wronged but to turn the other cheek and show His love to others as He has shown it to us.  We are to be patient with others as God is with us, that includes being patient with the children you are teaching patience!
  • 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (our BEatitude is one of SENSING our need for God and striving to be more like Him) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, through two things the human body can understand, hunger and thirst.  These needs keep us alive and our hunger and thirst for righteousness are vital to our spiritual life just as food and water are to our physical body.  Priorities must be set and followed.  Putting God first makes everything else fall in line.
  • 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Our BEatitude is one of SHOWING Christ in our actions) God is teaching us that when we hunger and thirst after Him, our ACTIONS will show Him.  This is our testimony in action.  We show love for others as He has loved us.  For a long description of LOVE see my “For The Greatest Of These is Love” post.  We give forgiveness as we are forgiven.  We show compassion, pity, patience, just as we have been shown them by Him.
  • 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Our BEatitude is one of seeking His Holiness) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children,  to put away the world and seek only that which is pure.  God cannot look on iniquity so having it in our heart separates us from Him.  To see God, we must have a pure heart.  Pure hearts come from what we put in our minds through our eyes and ears.
  • 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Our BEatitude is one of SOLVING not creating problems) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, to strive to get along and find good in others and situations.  To establish Peace through Him.  Our light in a dark world should bring comfort and peace.  As the old saying goes, “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”  When actions display God in us and not us in the world, then we are part of the solution.
  • 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”(Our BEatitude is one of SELFLESSNESS) God is teaching us, and we should teach our children, that when we take on all of these BEatitudes, the world will not understand.  Sometimes you will be walked over, made fun of and some will even give their lives.  This is hard for us as adults and certainly not something little children can grasp.  We simple must teach them that sometimes, even though we are doing right, bad things are going to happen; people are going to hurt us.  This is when it is even more important TO BE the BEatitudes through His strength in us.
  • 11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”(Our BEatitude is one of STEADFASTNESS standing strong in the Power of the Blood).  In America today, Christians are being picked apart and ridiculed.  You and children will face more and more verbal, if not physical, persecution for standing in the testimony of Christ. During these times our resolve may weaken, or we may become apathetic if we do not stand in His Power.  There are times when I just get quiet and pray, “Lord, by the Power of the Blood, for the Victory that HAS BEEN ONE, I bind satan from this situation.  What is bound on earth is bound in Heaven. (Matthew 16:18)  I claim this VICTORY.”  And then I move in His Power, not my own.

Learn the BEatitudes and pass them on to your children.  What’s your BEatitude today?

Renee’ Green                            Copyright 2012
RBGreenDesigns 2020

Peace In The Valley, Still

Peace in all through Him

In 1937 Thomas Dorsey wrote “Peace in The Valley” for Mahalia Jackson. It has been recorded by everyone imaginable. The lyrics are hopeful, a FINAL day of peace. It talks about peace in the valley in the future. Well, my future in Heaven will not be a valley. Valleys are in the here and now. Yet, I can have PEACE in the VALLEY now according to scripture. God’s word says,

Psalm 23:4 (NASB)
”Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

It seems with every year I have found myself saying on December 31st, “next year will be better.” I look over what has been and think it cannot get worse, then it does. So, four months in to this year and the world has been closed months. Who knew? Ahhh, satan* raises his ugly head. Fear? Doubt? No, remember where I have been, what I have been carried through.

The year my parents both had open heart surgery and my oldest brother was in the horrible car wreck that ruined his life, also brought a loss job for my husband, an unfavorable medical diagnosis for myself, a car wreck and several other calamities.

The year I picked up my oldest brother on his birthday to take him to his oldest son’s funeral was a roller coaster of ups and downs. My nephew died too young from a brain tumor. We had a wedding, a birth, another car wreck, a death. Four Friday’s in a row. Roller coaster emotions.

In what seemed a very short span Dad died after 7 months in hospitals following a stroke during his 5 bypass surgery. We lost my middle brother in a plane crash. Then my nephew; three generations of men, dad, brother, nephew, all gone in a short span. A spirit of fear hovered. It is how satan* attacks.

Another corporate buyout resulted in another job lost. My youngest daughter was almost killed in a collapsed building at college during an E4 tornado. The same week my 2 year old granddaughter needed her stomach pumped from a bottle of cough syrup. Mom had just gone to be with the Lord after 18 months of care following a fall.

Another job lost , the foreclosure and losing my custom designed house. We moved into a rental the realtor said was secure. Four months in, owners were foreclosed. My body had enough.

We will never know the cause of the double bleed stroke that resulted in the air flight of myself from Florida hospital to TGH’s NICU. The DVA in my brain was congenital and waited six decades to rupture. The struggle to relearn, to keep on fighting was a hurdle. The medicines and side effects overwhelm me. The perpetual headache from the lesion. The difference in the way people treat me. Handicapped is not disabled. Brain damaged is not brain dead. Circumstances I choose not to focus on, though ever present.

Trial after trial. Life in a fallen world. One heart-break seems to follow another. When trials keep coming, falling one behind another like dominoes, you ask yourself, “when will the feasting years come?”. In the Bible Joseph had bad years followed by good years. King Solomon had great years. So then why not me? That is not a question from God? Eternal blessings are what we look at and count.

I will not allow satan* to fill me with theses lies. I do have so many blessings. At times I do not see them because I start looking at the current circumstances. So many times I could look at my life and think “poor me”. But, all I need is to look around me or, across the world, and see just how good my life is here. My very worse is still blessed by comparison.

No matter what you are going through, God does NOT make mistakes. With the bad comes His presence. If you focus on the bad of the circumstance you stumble. When you look back and see all He has brought you through you know He can carry you through anything. Remind yourself daily all God HAS brought you through, all HE has done for you. Do not let people tell you He will not give you more than you can handle. That is not what 1 Corinthians 10:13 says. It means He will never allow more to touch you than will cause you to lose your faith and give up. You might feel like you are going to, but, He will be there and He will remind you who He is and what He has done. He will carry you through; He is your out. We truthfully have no idea how much we can handle anyway. Just remember that all goes through His hands before it ever touches us.

So, I will not worry about if it is all going to turn around and be great. Neither will I “borrow trouble” as mom liked to say. I will take each day as He gives it, thanking Him for all the blessings that satan* tries to make me forget by enticing me to look at the circumstances in life. Life will bring what He allows. Good or bad does not matter as I can rejoice in Him regardless. I have seven Grandchildren, wonderful blessings. My two daughters are blessings. We celebrated 43 years of marriage in January.

Today. The forecast says clear blue skies. I can see a variety of large wading birds, and listen to the songbirds in the trees. The coffee smells wonderful. My cat is purring. Bacon is sizzling. It is another day. God’s creation is beautiful, He cares about every detail. He cares about me and all my details. He is not ignoring them, He is allowing them. I can take comfort in knowing they will work to my good regardless of whether they or good things or bad. Blessings are everywhere.

Romans 8:28 NASB
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I am looking forward to today Lord. Help me to trust You today, keeping my focus on You and not whatever the day brings. Teach me.

*satan is always lower case in my writings, because he is one.

Renee’ Green Copyright 2020 2020

Life’s Hard

Which way to turn? Which way to go?

John 16:33NASB
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Social media is swamped with everything from pity and woe, to beware and be scared. It is not that I do not understand these emotions, these fears, I do.

I have lost loved ones too soon. The list is long. I lost a sibling tragically. I did not understand. I was not asked to. I know death up close and personal. I have watched it suffocate. I watched my dad crash. I watched his lung suctioned. Scripture asks me to trust. Obey. Faith.

I have walked through hard times of jobs lost, savings and retirement gone, car and home lost. No income. It is hard. It is devastating. But, God had a plan. I was not asked to like the circumstances I was passing through, just to stand on His firm foundation and trust His plan. It does not matter if I ever understand the reason this side of Heaven. I am asked to trust. Faith.

Seniors are missing end of year memories. It is hard, I know. I did not go to homecoming or prom. I had worked all summer with 8 girls; made them 3 uniforms each. Those 27 uniforms saw little use when my senior year world was turned upside down. A boy was stabbed in the heart in front of me. Memories? I was 16 years old. My brother turned to protect me and push me out of the way of the five boys attacking. The police took four of us as witnesses. They let my brother stay with me. It was an away game. Cell phones were not invented. My parents met the busses, heard there was a stabbing. My brother and I did not get off the bus. Someone told them we were ok and I was a witness. They had to go home and wait for a call. They caught all but one of the five that night. The guy that stabbed the boy in the heart got away. They lined them up in front of us and we pointed them out. No two way mirrors, face to face. Three days later I came face to face with the guy that stabbed the boy in the heart. Fear unimaginable. I got the detective. He got him. The threats came on the phone in the middle of the night. Dad took the phone off the hook. The threats and more came at school then. The school was suspended from all extra curricular events. My 17th birthday came and went. Two witnesses dropped out due to threats. The nightmares. The trial was horrible. The tranquilizers didn’t help. The stress and fear were overwhelming. I alienated friends, and eventually my high school sweetheart. Senior year? We got back activities after dad and another father threatened to shut down all 64 high schools if superintendent did not lift ban. Our teams, band, chorus, drama, etc., were able to do some events. I graduated. It is a blur. All the years of dreams gone. In the next six months dad had lung cancer. Senior year. It is not good for everyone. Focus on the good circumstances and memories you had and be thankful. You do not like the circumstances but, God has a plan. Grow. Look for the His plan. I did not at first. I dwelled on disappointment and lost dreams. I was grounded in faith, found I was still on His firm foundation. He carried me through. People look to see how you handle these circumstances if you are a Christian. You may never understand. Will you learn anything? Will you grow? Do they see faith?

These current circumstances are no different. Life is hard. Are these the end times? Does it matter? We entered the end times with the fall of Adam. There are no new trials or circumstances, no new sins. We should always live as this is the last days. Never take for granted our Lord’s grace and mercy. The Romans persecuted Christians in arenas for sport. The idol temples were filled with debauchery and sins unimaginable for profit. Plagues and famines have been recorded since Pharaohs’ days. Only the Holy Spirit can bring someone to salvation. You cannot scare them into it. So point to God’s sovereign love, mercy and grace. Show them trust and faith in your Lord, not fear of circumstances.

This too shall past. Be steadfast.

Psalm 26:12 NASB “My foot stands on a level place; In the congregations I shall bless the LORD” 2020

Epidemic or Pandemic?

I live in an area of Seniors+. Some are so afraid, literally being scared to death. I tell them to turn off the news.

I am not a conspiracy theory person. I do not fall for them. I like facts, literal facts. I consider and evaluate circumstances based on facts.

I want to share facts about epidemics and pandemics to give the frightened a common denominator for comparison. The panicking of people by the media needs to stop. The hoarding needs to stop. While common sense isn’t common, people need to think before they sensationalize facts. Unfortunately, yellow journalism sells better.

Report facts. Don’t editorialize, don’t scare. Facts. People can deal with facts. Instruct, teach but, don’t fear monger. Enough is enough.

FACT: The difference between an epidemic and an pandemic is simply a wider spread of an illness. In other words, cases reported in more areas. It is not number of cases. Literally, a pandemic can have fewer deaths than a concentrated epidemic (fewer areas and/or localized to one country).

Historical FACTS on previous pandemics to give you a common denominator for evaluating current facts:

Black Plague 1346-1351

Also known as the Bubonic plague, or Black Death. Originated in East Asia in early 1340’s, transferred along the Silk Road trade routes. It was then carried by fleas on mice that boarded merchant ships in China and bit sailors. Ships landed in Mediterranean ports; sailors spread the disease as they and people they infected traveled up and through all of Europe. It is estimated that 75 to 200 million people died in Eurasia. Unsanitary conditions. Poor health care and lack of medical knowledge was a lot of the problem.

1918 – Spanish Flu (misnamed, it did not come from Spain). 17-50 million died worldwide (may be as high as 100 million) from complications (more than the 16 million WWI deaths at the same time). Reporting varied so it is hard to have a true estimate. Troops moved all over. No origin is for sure. However, it was one of two H121 human virus’ outbreaks. The 2nd was the Swine FLU of 2009. (See note below).

1957-58 Asian FLU –

Type A H2N2 virus. Avian flu (which had been around a long time) met a human flu and mutated. Reports of 1st cases were in E Asia in Feb of ‘57. Arrived in US that summer via travelers. Infected school kids just as school started back. Kids started to school and it spread. 70,000 Americans died. 1-3 million died worldwide. Quarantines were done where needed, mainly ports. Local authorities decided and some did not quarantine because they wanted sailors at the local bars to increase revenue. There was no fear mongering, no mandatory closings. Modern hygiene had already developed. It went dormant and mutated.

1968 Hong Kong Flu

H3N2, was a mutation of Asian flu (mentioned above and mutated from Avian flu). 1-4 million deaths worldwide. I spent two weeks in bed. It was nasty. Again, no quarantine. Media reported facts. Common sense instructions used. No hoarding, fear mongering, hype. Facts. No panic, closings or quarantines. No market crash.

1975 Lymes Disease

Per CDC Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. The first recorded case of Lyme Disease is described by physician Alfred Buchwald in Breslau, Germany in 1883. Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to CDC by state health departments and the District of Columbia. They admit it is a low number because all cases are not reported. No quarantines. No fear mongering. Common sense cautions. No hoarding or market crashes. Just facts each year.

Legionnaires’ Disease 1976

Legionnaire’s disease, it is not an influenza virus. But needs to be in the list because of impact. Bacteria called Legionella causes Legionnaire’s. 1st cases were actually in 1973 in Spain due to a hotel’s shower pipes. It is a type of pneumonia. Bacteria grows in moist areas like old AC ducts at the Legions convention. It can also grow in unkept pools, spas, hot tubs. The convention brought it to the attention of the world. Still active if not using proper cleaning. Less than 2000(?)cases reported in over 4 decades worldwide(?). You have to be exposed to water source. Not contagious. Quarantines to specific outbreaks only. Facts. Caution. Common sense. No hoarding, panic, market crashing.

Flu Epidemics: Bird Flu 1997 and 1999

There were two outbreaks of the avian or bird flu (H5N1) in 1997 and in 1999, but neither turned out to be flu epidemics. Facts. Caution. No panics, quarantines, market

2002-2003 SARS

(acute respiratory syndrome) is not a flu. Though both are contagious diseases, they are different viruses. SARS is viral and was caused by a new coronavirus(common cold). The first cases were found in Asia during the winter of 2003. Again. Quarantines where specifically needed. No panics, hoarding, closures, market crashes. FACTS.

Flu Epidemics: 2009-2010

The H1N1 sometimes called swine flu. It spread throughout the world. The first U.S. case was diagnosed in April 2009. It first appeared in Mexico. I pig farmer’s kid contacted from swine. The swine got it from birds (avian flu, always around). This flu epidemic is important in the history of flu because it taught the world about flu facts. According to the CDC, 43 to 89 million people contracted H1N1 within a year of 1st cases, and 8,900 to 18,000 people died (testing and reporting differences). I spent two weeks getting acquainted with it. My youngest daughter also contracted at college in a different state.

I have not contacted a flu since 2009 (no flu shots, but Hong Kong and Swine = antibodies. (Scientists have noted that those who had Asian flu did not contract get Hong Kong flu).

2019 COVID19

This leads us to coronavirus 2019 (COVID19). Coronavirus’ come every year, hence the “19” in ID. It is the common cold. No cure. This one is on steroids. Started in Asia as early as October. First cases reported in December. Most likely already in US by then. I have know several who had horrid colds and even pneumonia but, no tests then. Another mutation of coronavirus, not a surprise. So do a common denominator and fact check per CDC:

“As of early March, the coronavirus outbreak had infected more than 100,000 people and killed more than 3,000 globally, the majority in China, where the illness was first detected in December. More than 750 people in the United States have been diagnosed, including at least 25 people who have died.

By comparison, influenza

— known as the common flu — has infected as many as 45 million Americans since October and killed as many as 46,000 according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Our flu season began in October in the US. No media hype. No fear mongering. No panic. No quarantines. No hoarding. No market crash.

So, all the media needed to do was evoke common sense practices. Educate, not panic. Stay calm. They cannot run amuck for much longer. Yes, cases will continue to be reported through summer. Common sense hygiene will limit spread, like any flu or cold season. Nothing has changed from previous years.

As a Christian I know God is in control and satan* cannot stand it. God has won the war and satan* keeps fighting, still has dominion (that God gave him because man listened to him) over the world’s actions. The devil wants to try to keep churches suppressed and to try and destroy the one country founded on Judea-Christian teachings: One Nation Under God. In God we trust.

Crash the market through fear. Hoarding. Limit supplies. It is an agenda that satan promotes through all too willing pawns. No agenda happened at start of flu season or previous more devastating epidemics and pandemics. Suddenly one was needed within two weeks of a China trade deal signing that would boost America’s economy. Not a coincidence and this not a conspiracy theory. It is simply a fact. Look at the history of pandemics. This coronavirus , though serious, is not new or news. It is the mutation cycle. Why is there fear mongering, hype, sensationalizing? It needs to stop. Quit scaring people, especially the elderly and chronically infirm. Stick to facts. Stop the drama. Be responsible. Demonstrate, educate and encourage common sense cations and practices.

The agenda is satan’s* and he has way too many willing pawns. Yes, satan* has tried through the ages, and is still trying, to destroy worship by God’s people. Trying. Not succeeding. Real worship services are still scheduled. Maybe via YouTube, PodCasts or even Drive-In Style services in church parking lots. One church rented a local drive-in theater, people worshipping in their private cars yet gathering together. People accustom you weekend drive-in flea markets may see cars and drive in to service. Neighbors if Drive is ad church parking lots will hear sermons. People will stumble across YouTube, Podcasts and social media sermons. And God will smile as satan* stomps his disgusted feet. While satan* has dominion God gave him of our world, God is still in control. God is still on His throne. He cares. He loves us. He is not surprised by any of this. He has a plan. We can trust Him.

*lower case because he is one

Truth or Tradition?

Traditions are great. They help us remember and pass on family, heritage and faith to next generations. Until they do not. When traditions morph into legends that take over to the point that the original point is obscure, then it is time to rethink, reevaluate and reform. I believe that some Christmas traditions need to be evaluated.

Growing up mom said, as did many preachers and older Christians:

“If it does not ring true,… if you are not sure … if it sounds different from what you have heard, go to The Word, His Word. What does The Bible say?”

I challenge you to check it out. Check me out. Do not blindly accept what you hear or read. Always compare to God’s Word.

Over the holidays I finally caught The Three Kings celebration performance at a local public presentation. I also viewed many manger scenes. Many churches put on a “walk through Bethlehem” or, a Christmas pageant. While many were impressive, I was stunned at what was presented as fact. In this day and age, when the Bible is readily available in most people groups’ native tongue, what does God’s Word actually give as an account for Jesus’ birth, the shepherds, and the wise men? Bottom line, The Gospels give facts. Facts matter. No words are there by accident. They are there for a reason.

Luke 2

Joseph and Mary WERE NOT immigrants. Joseph was returning to his homeland for a government required census. Shame on churches that used Jesus’ birth as a political statement and presented them in separate, caged stalls; as detained illegal immigrants. Joseph was obeying man’s law for God’s sake. (Romans 13) He was not an immigrant, and he certainly was not detained against his will. Nor was he separated from Mary and Jesus. Jesus’ birth as a political statement by a church? There was no tradition or legend to blame here. It was simply changing facts to suit an agenda. You do not change a character, a story line or setting to suit an agenda, regardless the author. Shame on those churches. Not hard to figure which church type in Revelations they represented.

vs 4-5 NASB “Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.”

He was placed in a manger. The manger was the feeding trough. There was no hay. There were no animals. It was most likely of a harden, clay/brick form. The shepherds were in the field with the flocks. The manger was empty. The stable was empty. That is why they could use it.

vs 6-7 ESV “And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

According to Jewish historical facts the temple had shepherds for the sacrificial animals. It was springtime in Bethlehem. (Not December, but that’s okay). That is why they were in the field at night. It was warm enough. These shepherds may have been guarding the temple flock from which the sacrifices came. Temple shepherds would know what an unblemished lamb wrapped in a manger meant.

vs 11- 12 “unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

When a sacrifice required an unblemished lamb, the newborn lamb was wrapped in swaddling cloth so it could not be marred or bruised. Then it was placed in the unused stable’s manger awaiting sacrifice; protected from bruising or marring. It was a sacrificial lamb. Jesus was the unblemished, sacrificial lamb. That is why He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in the manger. He was the last sacrifice ever to be needed.

Yes the song says the cattle were there. They were not. Again, that’s okay. This traditional idea does not deter from the meaning of Jesus’ birth. Spread out your nativity figures throughout the room. Make a field for shepherds and animals. Place the magi on the East side of the room. If Jesus is separate from your manger, place him in manger Christmas morn. Wrap Him in a bit of cloth. Be detailed in teaching children and grandchildren as well as visitors. Makes for a great conversation start up.

There are other unfortunate traditions but, I will end with the Magi ones. Three kings at the stable? No, the scriptures say Magi. Nowhere in the Bible does it say kings or that there were only three. May be there were a dozen traveling together. Some beliefs state there were a dozen. That they were actually kings is a tradition that seems to be linked by some to Isaiah 60 and Psalm 72 referring to kings bearing gifts. It really does not matter. It is like the three crosses on Calvary Hill. Only three crosses are shown at Easter because Jesus had a man on either side that spoke to each other. There were many more crucified that day as there were on most days.

There were three gifts so there must have only been three kings? We take tradition as fact. It simple is not in the bible. So no. Nowhere does it say three and certainly they are not named in the Bible. Somewhere along the 6th century a historian decided there were three and that was their names were . Tradition was born. The names came out of traditional, supposed Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior from Persian history. Magi were wise men. It is in the plural form so more than one. Wise men; scholars of law and historians. Advisors to kings.

Three gifts meant three kings to someone and it soon became fact, tradition, the legend. They brought three gifts. Gold, frankincense and myrrh. Again, three gifts specified for specific reasons. That should be the emphasis. The gifts had a spiritual significance as well. Gold was offered to kings on earth and frankincense was offered to deities. Myrrh was an embalming substance and symbolized death. Very specific details of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection. The gifts were brought to the house where Jesus lived. Jesus was not a baby but, was still under two years old.

So, here are the facts. Magi were never present at the stable, neither should yours be in your nativity scene. I always place mine on the other side of the room, as though traveling from afar. On the East side of the room actually.

According to historical references, wise men, educators, and philosophers in the east studied history from other areas, including Hebrew scrolls. They knew of prophecies and references to the star, to the Messiah. So when the star appeared they went searching.

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah: because out of you will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel.”Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.”After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure. 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men.

Herod killed children up to two years of age based on when they had seen the star. The star was over Jesus birth place. Jesus was no longer in the stable, not a baby. The wise men entered into a house.

Much of what is wrong with the world’s views of Christians is because of the discrepancies that traditions have brought into the various portions of the Bible through the years. It is never too late to set the record straight. It is never unimportant to stick to the facts. It might be difficult. But, I think it is important we go back to His Word and tell the story of Christmas as it was written with all the significance and emphasis’. 2020