What I Learned From the Wise Men

Keith Nix Ministries

Have you ever seen a satellite in space? Most likely, you have and didn’t realize it. I recently read that twenty-seven satellites on six different orbital planes at an altitude of 12,400 miles circle the earth at 8,640 miles per hour. They each circle twice a day, with four of them visible at all times everywhere on the earth, sending signals to radar stations around the world. These amazing machines form the Global Positioning Satellite system which is amazingly accurate and help make this the most mobile generation in history.

Many people travel more than 30 miles each day, but in the time of the birth of Christ, the average person never traveled beyond a 30-mile radius of their birthplace; this makes the story recorded in Matthew 2 all the more amazing:

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are no longer least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come a Governor, who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, carefully inquired of them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, so that I may come and worship Him also.”

When they heard the king, they departed. And the star which they saw in the east went before them until it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great excitement. And when they came into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary, His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Mt. 2:1-11 MEV

While most believe this happened as just part of the Christmas season, in reality, these wise men didn’t show up at the birth of Jesus but at while later. Sorry, but they were not gathered with the Shepherds around the manger while the cattle were lowing. I take the time to point this out because the lessons I want to share with from the Wise Men are much more than nice little Christmas devotionals for the month of December.

THE WISE SEEK HIM

The first lesson seems quite obvious and has become a cliché: “Wise men seek Him!” Or another way to phrase it is: Wise men and women go out of their way to encounter God! The religious scholars lived just 5 miles away from where Jesus was born, but not one of them traveled that short distance to see Him. Meanwhile, these Magi traveled at least 900 miles, not in a nice comfortable Cadillac but on a camel’s back. It had to be uncomfortable, but they determined it was well worth it! How about you? Are you ready to allow some discomfort in your life in this next season? Why ask this? Because, the last time you were uncomfortable was the last time you grew! To get in better shape physically requires a measure of discomfort. The same is true emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As we enjoy this season and look to enter a new year, we need to make a quality decision that being in His presence is worth every mile, every dime, every discomfort. We will spend ourselves to encounter Jesus like never before!

THE WISE LIVE BY FAITH

The second lesson is also a very familiar one: Wise men and women travel this journey with FAITH! There is no way these men would risk their reputations, their lives, and their fortune if they did not believe prophecies concerning the star and the King it represented. Faith is crucial in the lives of the wise. Hebrews 11:6 teaches that “Without faith, it is impossible to please God…” It isn’t just difficult, it is impossible, to live a life that pleases God outside of the faith place. More than once the Bible instructs that the righteous “shall live by faith.” [See Ro. 1:17, Hab. 2:4] Corrie Ten Boom described the power of faith this way, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Faith honors God and God honors faith. Therefore, let’s make a quality decision that we will live like our God is bigger than our enemies and any circumstances we face. We will live like He is faithful to fulfill every promise He makes. We will live like there is nothing impossible for Him. Let this next season be the season of the big ask! Ask big, believe big and receive big for His glory!

THE WISE ARE WORSHIPPERS

The third lesson we learn from the wise men is regarding worship. The wise men were bold in proclaiming that their purpose for making the journey was simply to worship. Wise men and women understand the true essence of worship! For many today worship is about what God does for us and what we get out of it. But the wise men understood two essentials of true worship: First, true worship is not about being served but about serving. Second, true worship is not about receiving but about giving. They traveled nine hundred arduous miles to simply see the baby and give him gifts valuing hundreds of thousands in our common currencies. What did they hope to receive from their worship of Jesus? Only the honor and joy of serving and giving to Him. They considered it the highlight of their life and worth all it cost them to be part of God’s plan. They counted it an honor to use their resources for His glory.  This is worship! I pray that you and I will make a fresh and quality decision to live the lives of true worshippers.

My prayer for you is that in this season and the upcoming year, you will walk in a new and ever-increasing level of wisdom. As you put these three keys to work in your life, you will become known in Heaven and the earth as someone who is counted among the wise.

 

 

Yes, WE Can! Yes, WE Will!

Keith Nix Ministries

The Bishop stepped to the podium with a determined stride. It was evident to all in the building that something had stirred him and they were about to hear it. With a scowl on his face, Bishop Wright, in holy indignation, boldly rebuked the College President who had just spoken.

“That is, without a doubt, the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard,” began the Bishop, and he didn’t stop there. He continued to talk about how foolish it was for any man, much less, an educated man to make such statements as, “One day in the future men may fly through the air like birds.” The Bishop told the Methodist gathering, that if God had intended for humans to fly, He would have created them with wings!

When Bishop Wright returned to his home in Ohio, he related the foolishness of the College President to His wife. He also told her how he had set things straight and soundly rebuked him in the hearing of the entire gathering. They smirked over the preposterous idea that men would one day fly through the air. What foolishness!

The Bishop told the Methodist gathering, that if God had intended for humans to fly, He would have created them with wings! Click To Tweet

While they discussed this ludicrous idea, two of their sons, Orville and Wilbur, listened intently and a dream was born. What if? Could it one day be true that men could fly through the air? What if?  True, God did not create us with wings, but did he give us the power to create wings with which to fly? These two young boys dared to dream the impossible and through their diligence opened the door for one of the great marvels of the modern era. Flight!

Although I have taken liberties to reconstruct the conversation, the above story is true.  By all I have read, Bishop Wright and his wife were true Christians and wonderful parents. Yet, this man of God could not see the jet age which we now experience. But, Orville and Wilbur dared to dream an impossible dream. If we are to make a difference in our generation, we must also dare to dream!

I love how little children dream. Have you ever watched a small boy with a toy train?  He’ll make train noises as he moves it around the track, complete with whistles and bells. He’ll load the cars then chug around and around, deliver the load and start all over. How about a little girl with a doll?  She’ll talk to that doll, wash it, hug it to herself, discipline it, and change its diaper, and then want you to help her take care of her baby.  This is not mere child’s play; it is preparation for the future.

This is not mere child’s play; it is preparation for the future. Click To Tweet

I don’t believe God wants us to grow up and forget how to use the power of imagination. It is a God given gift to prepare us for ever better and bigger things. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible.” [Mk. 9:23] Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” [Pr. 29:18] We are created to live with vision!   We are created to break through barriers and create!

Here are a few keys to dreaming God’s way:

  • Dream big! God is and always will be bigger than any impossibility we face! He is bigger than all of your insecurities and all of your weaknesses.  “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Eph. 3:20
  • Dream God’s dreams for your life. This is key! When you dream His dream it will happen! How can you know its God’s dream? “Delight yourself also in the LORD; and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Ps. 37:4
  • Hold on to the dream and don’t give up! Year’s ago Margie and I heard Tommy Barnett at his Pastor’s School say, “If you can hold a dream for five years, it will come to pass.” One way to hold the dream is to write it down. Hab. 2:2, “Write the vision, and make it plain…” 
  • Put action to your dreaming. For dreams to become reality there must be action! James wrote, “I will show you my faith by my works.” [James 2:18]
If you can hold a dream for five years, it will come to pass. Tommy Barnett Click To Tweet

These are just a scratching of the surface but hopefully they will help you to dream and keep on dreaming. What past generations could not even imagine, you may be the catalyst to make it the next generation’s reality. “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” [Lk. 1:37] Let’s all become like little children again, and learn how to be trained for future accomplishments, by dreaming the dream God births in us! Through Jesus, we can and we will accomplish the impossible! Spread your wings, it’s time to soar! 

 

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When “Sorry” Isn’t Enough!

Keith Nix Ministries

One thing you lack…” Just one thing; just one area you need to get right. Would you like to have the weak areas of life reduced to just “one thing” in the eyes of the One who sees all? What a relief it must have been for the young leader to hear Jesus say you only need to change one thing to walk into eternal life.

He must have waited with bated breath as he looked eagerly into the loving eyes of Jesus. What is it, Lord? Tell me so I can get it right and receive the assurance of true salvation.

“Then Jesus looking at him, loved him and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven, and come, take up the cross and follow Me.” Mk 10:21

The words crashed into him like a powerful stream of cold water that made him stagger. “No! Not that! Anything else, yes. But no to that!” Conflicting thoughts raced through his mind. Warfare escalated. Hope like a great light flashed in front of him, but a deep sorrow rose up within him.

He so wanted eternal life! He so wanted to be a part of what Jesus was doing. “But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Mk 10:22 Unwilling to do the “one thing,” he turns and walks away. Sorry? Yes. Willing? No.

I am constantly amazed at how many people are willing to give up on their destiny over one thing they are unwilling to lay down. One thing that they determine is more important to them than the future Jesus offers.

Many walk away from salvation because of one thing they will soon discover they cannot hold onto anyway: A relationship with a man or woman, addiction, a genre of music, a cultural style, or sexual desires. Whatever it is, it cannot last. And even if it would last and even if someone could gain it all, Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mt. 16:26

Self is a horrible deceiver and a tyrannical taskmaster! Click To Tweet

Sadly, millions have turned their back on the ONE who loves them enough to die for them because of one thing they refuse to surrender! Self is a horrible deceiver and a brutal taskmaster! We know this is true because we all have struggled with our greatest enemy, SELF.

How do we deal with this enemy? How can we overcome? Can we reach an agreement where we can live peacefully with the flesh? Jesus’ answer is that we cannot, dare not, make a treaty with the sinful nature of fallen self! Self can only be dealt with by:

1.) the act of “denying – losing sight of” self
2.) the taking up of the cross [the instrument of death to self]
3.) fully following Jesus! [See Mark 8:34-38]

I am constantly amazed at how many people are willing to give up on their destiny over one thing. Click To Tweet

These thousands of years later even professing follower’s of Christ are still trying to make treaties with self. Some even in ministry, hold on to jealousy and seethe with envy toward fellow Christian workers instead of rejoicing in God’s work. Too many choose to hold on to insecurity and smallness of heart. Instead of surrendering their fears and competitive nature to Jesus they surrender much of their destiny!

Whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey make the decision now that your life is entirely HIS. The only way to arrive at the destiny of God for your life is the way Jesus outlined: deny self, take up the cross and follow HIM!

Don’t miss this Powerful Weekend!

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Are You Tired of Believing?

Keith Nix Ministries

I seem to be meeting more and more “unbelieving believers.” Almost everywhere I travel I encounter believers who are settling for the status quo. People who act as if we should add the old song, Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) to our worship set. Many seem to be “tired of believing.” They have grown weary while waiting for the promises of God. Though most in the church can quote the words of Galatians 6:9, many are not heeding its admonition.

You remember it, don’t you? “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  The breakthrough is coming for you unless the enemy can talk you down. We should pay careful attention to the words of the prophet recorded in Hebrews 10:35-39, “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward, For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise; For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” 

On the eve of the crucifixion, Jesus gives Peter a sobering yet hope-filled message. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” (Luke 22:31-32) It is important to notice that Jesus didn’t pray that Peter would not fail. He knew Peter was going to blow it big time. He prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. Even if Peter stumbled, Jesus knew his faith would get him up again.  Guess what? Hebrews 7:25 says, He is praying for me and you too!  I am sure that He is praying the same prayer for us that He prayed for Peter and the other disciples: that our faith will not fail. He gave us this faith, and this faith is His own. He is the originator and the finisher of faith and His faith works when we work it!

Faith works when we work it. Click To Tweet

Yet, the reality is that sometimes true believers are really tempted to grow tired of believing. Maybe this is why the Bible calls this war we are engaged in “the good fight of faith.” [See 1 Tim. 6:12]  Peter said that all of the “heaviness through manifold temptations” is the “trial of your faith.” (See I Peter 1:6-7) The enemy is after your faith! Faith is what pleases God, and the devil certainly doesn’t want you or me to be pleasing to God, so he comes to try to steal, kill and destroy our faith. But, we win!

R.W. Schambach would end his radio broadcasts when I was a child by saying, “You don’t have any troubles. All you need is faith in God!”  Guess what? He was right! John the Apostle wrote, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” Jesus said to a weary, hurting daddy, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23

You are a believer but what do you do when you are tired of believing? The answer is simple. Keep believing anyway! Make a solid decision that you will not live as an “unbelieving believer.” Decide that you too will do what Jesus instructed Jairus to do, “Stop fearing, only be believing” [See Mark 5:35-43] You may say, “Yeah right.  Easy to say, but nearly impossible to do!” I understand where you are coming from but don’t overestimate your inability and underestimate His ability! 

Don't overestimate your inability and underestimate His ability. Click To Tweet

When He says, “Be believing.” It is the same as when He said, “Let there be light.” Light manifested at His word and invaded the darkness backing it into a corner. If you will simply say “Yes, Lord.” His word will cause faith to manifest in you and fear will be pushed out.

Jairus’ little girl rose from the dead! Peter walked on water! Paul survived the sea and saved all who were traveling with him. The woman no longer had an issue of blood. Bartimaeus was no longer blind. A devil no longer possessed a little boy. All by faith in God!  Don’t give up! Hold on to God’s word and keep believing: The mountain will move, and His victory will become real in you, for you and through you!

Let’s talk about it: What are some practical things we can do to stay in the faith place?

Don’t miss this Powerful Weekend!

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Losing Jesus in Church

Keith Nix Ministries

Thousands are losing Jesus in the very place they should find Him. It is estimated that 70 percent of churched young people leave church after the age of 18, with only 35 percent returning *(LifewayResearch.com).  These are just the numbers for the young, what about those older who are also dropping out?  This is a serious issue facing our generation!

It could be argued that the first people to lose Jesus in church were Joseph and Mary.  When Jesus was twelve years old they went to Jerusalem for the feast. This was a yearly trip for them, and the Bible says that when the feast was over they traveled back to Nazareth assuming that Jesus was with them in the crowd of family and fellow travelers.  They went a full day’s journey before realizing that Jesus wasn’t with them.  They had left him behind in Jerusalem.

They immediately turned back and began the search. And although they had only traveled one day away from Him, it took them twice as long to find Him. They found Him in the temple, the recognized house of worship. When they questioned Jesus with concern and perhaps a bit of aggravation (as parents are apt to do when anxious about their children,) His answer is one of gentle rebuke, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (See Luke 2:41-50) In essence he was saying to them that they should have known where to find Him. He would be in His Father’s house and doing His Father’s work.

If Joseph and Mary can lose Jesus in church isn’t it possible that we can too? The sad truth is that multiplied thousands have lost Jesus in church. Some, like Joseph and Mary, go on their journey supposing that they are on His path when they really aren’t.  Others like the religious leaders and learned people in the Temple marvel at His wisdom but never come to know Him.

Multiplied thousands have lost Jesus in church. Click To Tweet

How can we be certain not to lose the true Jesus in church?

  1. We must be careful that formulas and tradition never replace the reality of His powerful presence. 2 Timothy 3:5
  2. We must love the truth (even when it makes us miserable, it will still make us free!) 2 Thessalonians 2:10
  3. We must keep His kingdom and our being in right standing with Him the highest priority of our lives. Matthew 6:33
  4. We must keep His final words before ascending into Heaven the primary focus of all we do in ministry. Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-18, Acts 1:4-8
  5. We must know and believe the love He has for us. I John 4:16
  6. We must keep the flame of His spirit burning brightly in our own hearts. 2 Timothy 1:6
  7. Above all we must love God with all we are and loving others like we love ourselves. Matthew 22:36-40

While this list is certainly not exhaustive, I hope I have gotten you to think.  Our generation desperately needs to see Jesus:  the living, loving Savior King who is the Great I Am! We must help our young people and every age distinguish between the junk sometimes so evident in our churches, and Jesus who is busy doing the work of the kingdom in all who believe and yield to Him.  Let’s do all we can to lift Jesus high, to get preachers, singers, musicians, organizations, etc. out of the way, and lead people to Him. When people genuinely meet Jesus their lives can never be the same!

When people genuinely meet Jesus their lives can never be the same. Click To Tweet

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