Lift Up Part Three Love & Good Works by Crossing Barriers Ministry

Where are you with your first two week’s challenges? The first week you were to support someone that needed support in some way.  Last week you were to instill the three Christian graces and start a prayer program.  Have you made it past week one yet?

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Lift Up Part 2 Love, Faith, Hope & Prayer by Crossing Barriers Ministry

How many of you remember our challenge from last week’s message.  Just as a reminder, I challenge you all to reach out and lift someone up that needed encouragement or support.  This could have been by praying for them, listening to them, or assisting with physical needs.  If you met the challenge, you started to make the world a better place and God is pleased.

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Lift Up Part One Encourage by Support by Crossing Barriers Ministry

Johnny was a happy man.  He had a great job at the factory working 3-11 five days a week with weekends off.  Along with his wife, they shared a single-family home with two cars.

Then the pandemic hit.  The factory started reducing hours due to the shortage in orders and Johnny’s savings started to evaporate.  Times were getting tough. Johnny was getting discouraged and worried – just needed to see a sign of encouragement that it would turn around.

Then Covid hit.  Johnny got the call at the factory Friday afternoon that his wife was diagnosed with Covid and would be staying at the hospital.  Johnny was required to quarantine. Lonely, heartbroken, and angry were some of the feelings that came to mind for Johnny.

Thirty days later, Johnny’s wife passed away with Covid complications.  There was no funeral, just a memorial where only a handful of family & friends could attend. 

Then Covid hit again.  Several workers at the factory had tested positive and the factory was closing till further notice.  Johnny was clear because it happened while he was quarantined but still no work.

Eventually the savings expired, credit cards were to the max and Johnny was selling belongings just to survive day to day.  They repossessed her car, and the foreclosure notice came.  The days were numbered. He sold the rest of the belongings in the house, put the rest in a storage locker, and packed some belongings in his car.  They came and took the house and while he was at a meeting in town, they towed his last car. 

Johnny was officially homeless and the pandemic still raging on. There were no openings at the shelters leaving Johnny to find a store doorstep to curl up with a blanket that someone gave him for the night.  He joined the thousands of unhoused looking for meals every day.  He was down on his luck and for Johnny, he thought life was over. The sad part, for some in this position, they believe life is over.

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Our Laws Part Two by Crossing Barriers Ministry

I remember one Easter holiday when I was young there was a disagreement about what we children were going to do that Saturday.  As I was the oldest, I wanted to go snowmobiling with my uncle while the others went to a dog show with the adults. My mother had other ideas and I lost my cool.  My Grandpa took my side but not before I got the twitch for disrespecting my mother. That stung and it is a memory many years later.

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Jesus Part Two Jesus As a Child by Crossing Barriers Ministry

At my age, the only thing that I remember about my childhood is in and out of hospitals and playing hockey. We all have memories of our childhood.  Today, childhood memories are preserved with pictures galore and social media.  Stay with me to learn of a story that includes birth to death.

Luke 2:21-38 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,

Two weeks ago, we started a five-part series titled Jesus.  We started off with revisiting what we always celebrate at Christmas time which of course is the birth of baby Jesus.  We know that Mary was impregnated by the spiritual power of God.  We learned that Joseph continues to have Mary even after he found out she was pregnant although not married and this has a lot to do with the power of the angel sent.  They travelled to Bethlehem where they had to respond to a census.  There was no room at the Inn but was offer space in the shelter.  This is where baby Jesus was born.

We already know that baby Jesus was given his name back when he was conceived in His mother’s womb.  He is also referred to as Immanuel translated meaning God with us.

After the birth of baby Jesus, Mary had to undergo a time of purification.  This was time that Mary had to make herself spiritually or ceremonially clean.  This was a process before presenting baby Jesus in the Temple.  Today, it is generally some time before a mother presents her newborn to the church or even publicly.

Leviticus 12:1-4 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.

The next step in the process is in a separate ceremony from Mary’s purification, Jesus is consecrated. This took place in the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after the birth of Jesus to complete Mary’s ritual of purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the first-born son, in obedience to the Torah.

Numbers 3:13 Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the Lord.

We all belong to Jesus.  However, the first-born has special meaning with God.

There must be an offering which generally is a lamb.  However, if the women could not afford a lamb, then she could offer two turtle doves or pigeons.

Leviticus 12:8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

While Joseph, Mary and Jesus were at the temple, they were introduced to Simeon. Simeon was an elderly prophet to whom God had made a promise.

Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ

With the long-anticipated wait, the introductions were made.  It is at this point that Simeon delivered a message of hope and sorrow to Joseph and Mary. After delivering this message, Simeon accepted that he could die because the Lord had kept his promise.

There is not written in the bible about Jesus as a child.

Luke 2:41-52 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, how is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

This story, which is unique to Luke’s Gospel, shifts from the birth narratives to Jesus’ early adolescence. It shows that Jesus was devout and understood His role from even the age of 12.

They are on the way to Jerusalem for the annual Feast of Passover.  This also refers to the time that many Jewish people made pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Jews’ annual commemoration of the exodus—God’s deliverance of their ancestors from bondage in Egypt. It is considered the most important feast of the Jewish calendar. As they traveled, they most likely were traveling as part of a caravan.

After the festival, Mary & Joseph left for home not realizing Jesus was not with them. It was here that Jesus was asking questions but later the teachers started asking Jesus questions. After a day of traveling, they realized that Jesus was not with them and returned to Jerusalem.  Three days later they found him in the Temple.  They were amazed at His learning especially at a young age. This is where Jesus says to His mother, “Why must you seek me? Do you not know I must go about my father’s business?”

We are a week behind but as we celebrate Easter today, next week’s lesson will be the part of Jesus dying on the cross.  Please join us as we continue this series  for the next three weeks.

 When Jesus next appears in Luke’s narrative, He is about 30 and beginning His public ministry.

He came to show us the way and then our debt He paid

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