November 21, 2017

Wise Men

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
Three believed without a doubt
Saw a guiding light
Found Him in a lowly place
And knew He was divine
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Giving gifts of thanks and praise
They called Him a king
Feeling joy that knew no bounds
They fell down worshiping
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Surely angels still sing when someone comes so far
Traveling the distance from the depths of one’s own heart
Searching for salvation, they need not wear a crown
He’s still here for all who seek and He wants to be found

Letting God’s Word be their guide
They went home again
That’s where their story leaves us
And where ours begins
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Allen Krehbiel
written with Trish Matthews

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Matthew 2:1-12 NLT

As Christmas has passed and we are all cleaning up and getting back to our routines, it’s possible that we may unintentionally be leaving our focus on Jesus behind.

We say that we want to keep our minds on Jesus…but do we?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

We don’t know the details of the lives and work of the wise men, but it is fair to say that they studied the stars. They were knowledgeable enough to recognize that something new and important had appeared in the night sky. They were scholarly men who studied various literatures, which included what we refer to as the Old Testament, specifically the prophecies. We could say that they were ‘full of knowledge.’ What made them wise was how they accepted that knowledge and used it for good. With their knowledge, they wisely committed to look for…and find…the prophesied Messiah. According to the prophecies, the King of the Jews had been born; and not an ordinary king, but one so great that He was worthy of their time, their gifts, and their worship.

{Here is an interesting article from the Institute for Creation Research…}
When They Saw The Star

I know some of us are saying, “I took time out from my daily life to focus on Christmas. Now I need to get back to my family and work routines to keep things running smoothly.” God knows all of that is necessary, and He certainly doesn’t condemn that. But He also knows that focusing our hearts and minds on Jesus is important to all aspects of our lives and the lives of our family.

This story of the wise men leaves us with a very good lesson. The wise men used their knowledge to personally seek the king of the Jews, the Messiah. That is wisdom. As we “travel” into the new year, 2016, let’s make the same commitment that the wise men did. As we daily study God’s Word, we will gain knowledge of God and His plan for us. With God’s Word as our guide, we will wisely seek Jesus in a more personal way, and our very life will reflect Him. “He’s still here for all who seek and He wants to be found.”

You will seek Me and find Me,
when you seek Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Wise men—and women—still seek Him.

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Lord, many of us have heads full of knowledge, but we know that doesn’t equate to being wise.  In this coming year, please help us through Your Holy Spirit to be more committed than ever to study Your Word, and then use it wisely to grow closer to You, more like You, and draw others to You. In the Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen, It Is So.

A Living Prayer

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

~  Listen while you read, please!  ~

In this world I walk alone with no place to call my home,
But there’s one who holds my hand through rugged roads, through barren lands.

The way is dark, the road is steep, but He’s become my eyes to see,
The strength to climb, my griefs to bear. The Savior lives inside me there.

In Your love I find release, a haven from my unbelief.
Take my life and let me be a living prayer, my God, to Thee.

In these trials of life I find another voice inside my mind.
He comforts me and bids me live inside the love the Father gives.

Take my life and let me be a living prayer, my God, to Thee.

~  Performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station; written by Ron Block  ~

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

This beautiful bluegrass ballad is an affirmation, a declaration, a commitment. It is the heart-cry of the songwriter to his God. I love that he wrote, ‘take my life and let me be….’  He recognized that, even though he had so much in his heart he wanted to commit to God Almighty, he still needed God’s involvement. He knew he needed God.

The writers of the Psalms often communicated very similar thoughts.

Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning.
Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning You hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for You and watch.
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy,
And spread your protection over them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.
For You bless the righteous, O Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalms 25:1-3, 11 and 12 ESV

Listen to my words, O Lord, give heed to my sighing and groaning.
Hear the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You do I pray.
In the morning You hear my voice, O Lord; in the morning I prepare [a prayer, a sacrifice] for You and watch and wait [for You to speak to my heart].
Psalms 5:1-3 AMP

And as such it is with us, too. We cry out to our heavenly Father with words of commitment and declaration. Truly our affirmation of our trust in Him…our faith and belief that He is Faithful…our acknowledgment of our great need for our El Shaddai.

Take my life and let me be a living prayer, my God, to Thee!

Esther: Chapter 3:1-4

This week we are studying the 3rd Chapter of the Book of Esther.  Things were getting really serious!  Remember when Esther came and shared the story of God’s provision for her life with us?   If Esther were here sharing with us now, I think that she would be crying her beautiful heart out!  And this is why…

  • Uncle Mordecai is refusing to bow to  Haman.
  • This enraged Haman who decided that to kill Mordecai would be silly…why not destroy all of Mordecai’s people—the Jews.
  • Haman somehow has convinced Ahasuerus that the Jews are a threat and that they all should wiped out.
  • A date has been chosen for the annihilation of God’s people.
  • An edict has been issued, signed, and sealed with the king’s signet ring and sent round to all 127 provinces in the kingdom.
  • Mordecai and Esther’s people are to be wiped out of Ahasuerus’ entire kingdom…all this in Chapter 3!

– – – – – – – – –

Today in our study of Esther: the Beauty of Courageous Submission, Mrs. Schacht asks an important question:

If Vashti was rebellious when she refused to submit to the King in chapter one, how then was it okay for Mordecai to refuse?  We can find a clue to that answer when we read Acts 5:27-29.  What do you deduct from the example of Peter and the apostles?” 

Have you considered her question yet?  How about we look deeper in detail at this record….   Whenever I read this chapter in the Book of Esther, I always think that Mordecai was so similar in heart and his actions to Jesus’ apostles.  He would not bow to any other than Almighty God; and they would not bow to any other than their Lord, Jesus.  Let’s look at the Book of Acts, Chapter 5.   Acts 5:18-41   Take a few minutes, if you would, and read through this incredible record; then come back here, ok?

We see this record opening with some of our Lord’s apostles being put in jail (verse 18).  One of these men was Peter.  Don’t you just love Peter?

  • He was a fisherman who cast down his nets when Jesus said, ‘Follow Me.’
  • He was one of Jesus’ closest companions
  • He was one of the three that Jesus took with Him to pray on the night He was arrested
  • He was a very passionate man
  • He was the one who lopped off the ear of the high priest’s servant in the garden of Gethsemane
  • He was also the one who denied being with the Lord three separate times during Jesus’ trial
  • He was also the one who heralded forth the truth about Jesus on the day of Pentecost

Peter, and the others, were committed to telling others about the Lord Jesus Christ.  They weren’t afraid.  They weren’t timid.  They didn’t hold back.  Now, it doesn’t appear that they were trying to be radical or revolutionary.  They just were NOT going to back down, close their mouths, and not speak.  Just Like Mordecai could NOT bow down to <hiss!> Haman <hiss!>….they just could NOT not speak!  Now the following, I think, is the ‘clue’ that Mrs. Schacht was referring to in her question.

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison,
and taking them out he said,  “Go, stand and speak
to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.
Acts 5:19 and 20

They were directly following the command given to them by an angel sent to them by the Lord.  How about you?  If an angel brought a message to you from the Lord, would you hesitate to go and do it?  Not at all, I am sure!

As we read in the context of this record, upon being sprung from prison by the angel, they immediately went to the temple and began to speak.  Needless to say…they were confronted and accosted again.  When asked why they would continue to do so, here is what they responded.

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.  He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
Verses 29-32

I am sure I do not need to tell you that the officials (the Sanhedrin) were livid upon hearing their words.  But one them spoke up and suggested that they just let Peter and the others go…and see whether anything would come of it.  “…for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God”  (verses 38 and 39).

They went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Acts 5:41 and 42

So, do you have an answer to Mrs Schacht’s question?

* * * * *

Lord, You have given us so many examples throughout the Scriptures of Your people who have boldly stood for the TRUTH.  Help us, Lord, to have the same commitment, the same —the same love and devotion to You, and You alone.  We love You, Lord!

Amen.