3 Truths I Learned From The Wise Men

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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 planet, sending signals to radar stations around the world. These fantastic 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 sweet little Christmas devotionals for 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 went at least 900 miles, not in a beautiful, 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 merely 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 of 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 real 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 counted among the wise.

 

Stretch Your Faith

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Weakened to the point of exhaustion by years of loss, she sat hoping to regain strength. Few in the crowd glanced at her as they passed. Those who saw her either looked at her with pity or disgust. As she stood and began to shuffle forward, the words of the last doctor rung in her ears, “We have tried everything and with no improvement. Sorry, but you don’t have a month left to live.” The words had relieved her. For the past twelve years, she had spent her fortune searching for a cure. The things they had done to her and prescribed for her were more dreadful than the horrid disease that drained her of her blood. At least, now she knew. Weakened by illness and now by the pronounced death certificate, she headed for home. It was a long journey back to Cesarea Phillippi, but she determined to make it. She refused to die along the way. No! If she must die now, it will be in her home.

Though she kept to herself as she traveled, she could not miss the buzz of excited talk about “the Jesus.” This was the term given to distinguish Jesus of Nazareth from a multiple of other men with the same name. They said this Jesus was a rabbi with extraordinary power. He taught as one with actual authority, and He exercised that authority over demons and diseases. She felt strangely warm on the inside as she listened from the edge of the crowd. One by one they spoke of the things they saw and the words they heard from Jesus. Someone loudly declared, “He is certainly a prophet! Like Elijah and Elisha of old.” Most in the crowd nodded their agreement. Others shook their heads in disbelief, but then another voice cut through the cacophony, “I am not sure who He is but this I know, I once was blind, but now I see!” Something leaped inside of her and as she listened hope gave birth to faith!

She began to speak to herself in a soft whisper what her heart was now saying, “If I can just touch His robe, I will be whole.” In her mind, she questioned the reality of such an idea. But she somehow believed it to be true! “If I can touch the symbol of the promise, the promise of Jehovah Rapha will become real in me!” The idea took root in her, and she began making her way to Capernaum where the crowd said Jesus made His home.

“Oh my! Heaven is smiling on me today!” She whispered to herself as slipped into the large crowd following the Rabbi. So many people pushing to keep up with Jesus made her feel like she would suffocate! Weakness washed over her like an unwelcome yet familiar guest. She said again and again to herself, and anyone who happened to hear, “If I can just touch him, I will be healed.” It would be so easy to give up. Only turn around and vanish into the day. Voices of reason, voices of religion, voices of doubt, voices of self-pity jumbled together in her mind until she almost stopped and sat down. But she kept talking to herself, “If I can just touch Jesus, I will be whole! She knew she must stretch for the change. She must stretch for her miracle, and so she determined to stretch to touch Jesus or die in the process!

She said again and again to herself, and anyone who happened to hear, “If I can just touch him, I will be healed.” Click To Tweet

A lady whose name we do not know identified to us only by the issue she struggled with in life. By an incredible act of faith, she becomes known to us by her miracle! She chose to believe and stretch her faith to touch Jesus. BOOM! Her faith released His power and His power rewrote her story! He is the same today as He was then. [Hebrews 13:8] When we touch Him in faith, He gladly helps us rewrite our story. To touch him we need to do what she did!

STRETCH BEYOND SCIENCE!

She had gone to “many physicians” and tried all they prescribed for her. In fact, the treatment proved to be more painful than the disease. She spent all the money she had, which must have been substantial since it lasted twelve years. She didn’t improve at all but only grew worse. The best of the best told her there was no medical cure for her. They sadly but “matter of factly” instructed her to go home and prepare to die. But when she heard the things concerning “the Jesus,” faith rose in her spirit to go beyond the scientific community and reach out in faith. While we are thankful for science and are not ignorant of it place in our lives, we must stretch our faith beyond the limits of science and dare to believe that God is greater and in the name of Jesus, “All things are possible to him who believes.” [Mark 9:23]

...we must stretch our faith beyond the limits of science and dare to believe that God is greater and in the name of Jesus... Click To Tweet

STRETCH BEYOND RELIGION!

To get her breakthrough, she had to break with the traditional understanding of the religious protocol. It was risky to stretch beyond the confines, and she knew it might result in harsh punishment but what did she have to lose? She is one of the few people in history who tried to steal a miracle from God. We must let God stretch us out of the box of our religious understanding. He will never move us beyond the boundaries of His truth, but far too often we confuse His truth with our flawed understanding. JESUS is the word of God made flesh. So although she seemed to be breaking the law, she did so reaching out to the One who fulfilled every letter of the law. When Jesus is truly your target, you won’t go wrong.

STRETCH BEYOND ISSUES!

Perhaps the most difficult thing she did was to stretch beyond her issue. To say she was weak would be a massive understatement! Twelve long years of blood loss plus the painful treatments had taken a tremendous toll on her body, her mind, and her emotions. All of her money gone in the process and not one little improvement to show for it all. If anyone ever had a valid reason to “sit this one out,” she did. If anyone could ever feel justified in thinking it must not be God’s will to heal her, she could. If anyone’s excuses were valid, her’s were. She chose to stretch beyond her issue and stretch her faith. STOP making excuses and STRETCH! If this unnamed lady can do it, so can we!

She chose to stretch beyond her issue and stretch her faith. STOP making excuses and STRETCH! Click To Tweet

STRETCH TO JESUS!

Our stretching is good but futile if the goal is anything or anyone less than Jesus! He must be the object of our faith! “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” [I John 5:4-5] She refused to stop short of Jesus. She pressed her way through the suffocating crowd. She pushed past everyone, including the great disciples, to touch the garment of Jesus. When her faith touched His character, the explosive power of God flowed out of Him and into her.  HEALED! FREE! WHOLE! Whatever you are facing today, stretch your faith to Jesus and receive Heaven’s best for your life!

Our stretching is good but futile if the goal is anything or anyone less than Jesus! Click To Tweet

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We Have Today!

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “One day, today, is worth two tomorrows.” The Apostle Paul may have had this thought in mind when he wrote to the Roman church, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”(Ro. 13:11 ESV) Tomorrow is coming for most of us, but we all have today! What are we going to do with today? We cannot afford to sleep through our God-given opportunities. It is time for the church in 2017 to awake to our calling to impact the world for Jesus!

Benjamin Franklin once said, “One day, today, is worth two tomorrows.” Click To Tweet

World changers have always been dreamers. You must “see it” on the inside before it ever becomes your reality on the outside. Vision is key to living a life of impact.  Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish:” [Prov. 29:18] Joseph certainly understood this truth. Remember how God gave Joseph dreams about his future?  If you know the story, then you know that these dreams sustained Joseph through the tough days he endured. [Take a look at Gen. 37 – 41] What about Moses? The writer of Hebrews says it this way, “…he was looking to the reward.  By faith….he (Moses) endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” [Heb. 11:26-27]

Vision is key to living a life of impact Click To Tweet

Hebrews 11:13 speaks of the patriarchs who “died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them and embraced them…” We too must be people of vision. We must dare to dream the dreams that God gives us. Not just “small” dreams either. God is looking for men and women who will dare to dream the impossible and trust that if it is His will, “all things are possible to him that believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Vision is the birthing place for great accomplishments. But it takes more than dreams.  “World Changers” are not just those who dream but those whose faith moves them to act upon their dreams. Hebrews 11 records the victories of men and women who envisioned future “promises” and saw them become a reality by faith. Faith puts into action what it imagines! Faith seizes the opportunities of today and if there doesn’t seem to be any opportunities; faith in God creates them! Faith is never passive. Faith always produces action. (See James 2:18)

Dreaming (or vision) is a necessity to accomplishing anything great for God but as John Mason said, “To only dream of the person you want to be is to waste the person you are.” We cannot afford to waste the moment we have under the guise of waiting for God. Seize today! “This is the day which the Lord has made;” (Ps. 118:24) Yesterday can be a great teacher, tomorrow can be a great motivator, but today is the great opportunity. We have today! What will we do for God today?

Yesterday can be a great teacher, tomorrow can be a great motivator, but today is the great opportunity. Click To Tweet

Never stop dreaming but remember tomorrow’s dreams will never happen if we don’t do all we can do today. It is time for the church to awake to purposes of God for our lives. This is our day. 2017 is the year of the Open Door. Walk through it! As Moses prayed so we pray, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) We have TODAY!

Remember, tomorrow’s dreams will never happen if we don’t do all we can do today. Click To Tweet

 


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