December 14, 2017

Wise Men

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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.

What Would You Have Given Him?

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They entered the house and saw the child with His mother, Mary,
and they bowed down and worshipped Him.
Then they opened their treasure chests
and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11

In manger scenes, either on coffeetables or mantles, there is Mary and Joseph, the baby Jesus, a few animals, the shepherds, and the wise men.  As we know, though, Jesus was around one or two when the wise men found Him.  Herod was king then and he had called a meeting with his religious leaders.  He wanted to know where Jesus was to be born.  “In Bethlehem of Judea” they told him.  “For it is written by the prophet: for from you shall come a Ruler…Who will shepherd My people.”  Herod was threatened.  He told them to go and search for the child, and come back and tell him so he could worship Him.

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.
Matthew 2:6

The wise men went on their way, guided by a star in the east, and they were filled with joy.  The wise men brought gifts and worshipped Jesus for Who He was.  These gifts were extremely valuable and each one stood for something:

  • Gold – a gift of royalty
  • Frankincense – a gift for deity
  • Myrrh – a spice used to anoint a body for burial

The wise men were so excited to meet the Christ-child that they were willing to part with these gifts, out of love and respect and just joy.   They were honoring Jesus for Who He is and they worshipped Him because He was and is perfect.

There is much more to this story and I encourage you to finish reading the whole story of Herod and the wise men. (Read the whole account here.)  But for now, let’s search our own hearts.

What would you have been willing to give Him?

What is most precious to you and would you have  been willing to lay it at the foot of the manger on that cold night in Bethlehem? I would like to think that I would. And what about today?

Sometimes the things that we hold onto aren’t really so precious yet we have a hard time giving them to Jesus.  Sometimes our own ideas of how our life should go are hard to give over to God, and to wholly trust Him with it.  Even though we know in our heart of hearts it is the best thing for us and that God is our Sustainer and He does know what is best for us.  Yet we hold onto it.  Some days we lay them at His feet, only to pick them up not too long after.  We may not have a star to follow like they did, but we have the Spirit of God guiding us and directing us.  We owe Him so much…we can never ever repay the debt.  But on that night, so long ago, the wise men didn’t have a debt to pay. They just wanted to give all they had to the Baby Jesus.

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Oh, friends, we too have so much to give Him!  It may not be gold, frankincense, and myrrh but we have our praise and we can honor Him with our lives every day.  Do you know this Jesus?  I really want you to.  He is so in love with you already, even if you aren’t yet.  But you will be once you get to know Him.  Why not start today?

Pray this simple prayer with me:

Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I need forgiveness for my sins. I believe that Jesus is Your Son, Who was born and lived here on earth and died to save me from my sin. He rose again and is preparing a place for me.  I ask You to come into my heart and be Lord of my life.  Guide and direct me.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.