May 26, 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

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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.

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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.

Breathe

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor
It’s off to the races everybody out the door
I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life
Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it’s a crazy life
It’s ready, set, go it’s another wild day
When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel You say just

Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at My feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day
Wanna make the most of time but I feel it slip away
I wonder if there’s something more to this crazy life
I’m busy, busy, busy, and it’s no surprise to see
That I only have time for me, me, me
There’s gotta be something more to this crazy life
I’m hanging on tight to another wild day
When it starts to fall apart in my heart I hear You say just

Is to take it in fill your lungs
The peace of God that overcomes
Just breathe
Let your weary spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
Just breathe

Jonny Diaz
written along with Jonathan Smith and Tony Wood

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For David said, “The Lord God of Israel, has given peace and rest to His people,”
1 Chronicles 23:25 AMP

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened
[by religious rituals that provide no peace],
and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation].
Matthew 11:28 AMP

On my way home from taking Scott to work one morning, I heard this song.  I was making lists in my head—groceries needed for this week, chores to get done before our kids arrive, Christmas shopping lists, etc.—when I heard it.  All I caught was the chorus.  But that was all I needed to hear…it was as if God was speaking directly to my heart.

1 Chronicles 23:25 AMP reminds us that we have already been given peace and rest.  We need to take advantage of what has been so freely provided to us.  We get so caught up in doing we forget to just be.  We forget to rest at His feet.  Life gets crazy, even when it isn’t the holiday season. Pay attention to the tempo of this song – it is more frantic during the verses and slows down with the reminder to just breathe.  We can slow down the hectic pace of daily life by taking time to just breathe.  I love the line “Lay down what is good and find what’s best”.  Such a great reminder to check our focus, our motive, our purpose.  Sometimes, even when we are doing good things for others, good isn’t necessarily God.  In fact, doing good can often distract us from God.

It’s three days before Thanksgiving.  The hustle and bustle of the holidays has already begun and it is only going to get crazier unless we remind ourselves to stop and just breathe.  Slow down so we don’t miss the joy and the peace this season brings.  I can get so caught up in rituals and traditions, I forget what the holidays are really about.  I wear myself out trying to get everything done.  I want it to be perfect.  When I read Matthew 11:28 in the Amplified Version, I realized I make myself weary, I burden myself.  The rituals and traditions aren’t what give me peace—Jesus provides that peace…that rest…that refreshment for my soul.  So, let’s slow down the craziness of life and fill our souls with His grace. And just breathe.

Worry versus Thankfulness

seekingHimthanksgivinggraphic

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.
Philippians 4:6 NLT

Do not be anxious or worried about anything,
but in everything [every circumstance and situation]
by prayer and petition with thanksgiving,
continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.
Amplified Version

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God does expect us to care about our lives (and about the lives of others).  But when that caring becomes filled with anxiety and fear, it is counterproductive and wrong.  Life presents us with many things to worry about—family, friends, relationships, jobs, finances…and on and on.  There’s no end to this list if we let ourselves go there.  However, God’s Word tells us to do something very different about all those things.  He tells us not to worry, not to be anxious about anything. That’s a tall order, but it is possible.  How?  God says, “Pray.”

I urge, then, first of all,
that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for all people.
1 Timothy 2:1

These Scriptures in Philippians and 1 Timothy tell us to pray about everything-–every circumstance, every situation, every person in our life.  We are to tell God about everything we need (and even the things we perceive we need.)  Why? Because He cares about you (each of us.)

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:7

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—
whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.
Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
Matthew 6:25

When we pray, our focus is more on God and His mercy, grace, and provision. The more we pray, the more our mind is filled with Him.  It leaves less room for worry.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You,
all whose thoughts are fixed on You!
Isaiah 26:3

How often do you start your prayers with “Thank You, God….”?  I know I do pretty often.  In spite of my needs at the moment, I have so much to thank God for that I can’t pray without saying, “Thank You.”  He gave me the gift of salvation many, many years ago.  God has protected my family and me over the years.  He has seen me through many trials, and supplied for my needs.  Because of His faithfulness in the past, I can trust Him to care for me now and in the future.  Even as I write this, I am compelled to stop and say “Thank You, Lord!”

During this Thanksgiving season, make it a point to “thank Him for all He has done,” (Philippians 4:6) for all He is doing, and for all that He will be doing in your life.  Then make it a way of life to thank Him daily.  When caring starts to turn into worry…stop and pray with thanksgiving…reminding yourself how much He has done for you, and how much He cares for you.  Prayer, petition, and thanksgiving will bring you closer to God and farther away from anxiety and worry.  That’s what we all want, right?

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Dear Lord God, as humans we are presented with things to worry about almost daily.  But You said, “Don’t!”  Instead of worrying, You said, “Pray!” And pray “…about everything!”  Lord, we need our hearts and our minds open to Your Holy Spirit to help us to pray without worry, and to pray with thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for, and when we take time to be thankful our trust level goes up, and worry is pushed back.  That’s what we want, Lord.  Thank You for caring for us even beyond our comprehension.  May we grow in our trust that You will see us through the hard times.  You have done and are doing so much for us, thank You, thank You!  In Jesus’ Precious Name we pray, Amen.