Behold The Star!

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Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Matthew 2: 1-2 KJV

 

The star that the wise men saw was not an ordinary star. It was His star. The star announcing the birth of the Messiah. The one who would take away the sin of the world. It was the light of one whom the prophets spoke about. Centuries had passed and they were alive to witness it all!  This caravan of learned men, bearing gifts, made their way to Bethlehem, to see this child. By the time they arrived, he was 3 years old.  What kept them going as they travelled over all types of terrain and weather conditions?  Why didn’t they falter in the heat of the day or the coolness of the night air? They followed this star for three years! Who does that and why? It was the light of the star and the Promise that lay beneath it.

Today, that Promise, that Light, that Star is within us. Inside every believer is that Light that can never be extinguished.  But life can be hard, gruesome, unkind, and unrelenting at times. Even the best of us waver and lose focus on the Light within, giving way to situations and circumstances that seem to choke the life out of hope.  Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, financial hardship, or health issues, our “Herods” want to find the source of our Light and quench it forever. Just as Herod the King really wanted to kill the Christ child, Satan’s task is to kill our hope once and for all.

Our only recourse is to focus on that Light, but we cannot force ourselves to focus.  If we could, we would have succeeded by now. The key is the source of the Light and it can be found in this verse of scripture:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16 KJV

The key to this whole verse is that God’s love for us caused an action on His part. He gave. Yes, giving is part of our DNA. It’s the reason our faces light up when we see the smile on someone else’s face as a result of our gift . It’s the joy we feel, not expecting anything in return, while walking away more blessed than the recipient. What if we were to turn the tables on our own tragedies like the woman whose son was killed in the line of duty as a police officer. She had every reason to literally stop living.  I can’t imagine losing a child.  But she chose to give by feeding the other police officers every year for Thanksgiving at her house until she was 70 years old. What a blessing!

Christmas can be a tough time for many people and believers are not exempt from the trials of life.  But instead of focusing on “What do the lonely do at Christmas?”;  How about being a blessing to  someone else. It could be something as simple as a smile, a hug, a listening ear, a sandwich to a stranger; paying for someone’s meal, or groceries; There’s no greater gift than the one we have inside of us!  Let’s “Give Love on Christmas Day!” And when we Behold the Star, it alters our perspective!

 

 

 

Not Good Enough

” You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “

John 15:3 NKJV

………….

I never have nor will I ever be a fan of Chitterlings (If you eat them or know of them the common vernacular is “Chitlin’s”). If you don’t know what they are, don’t ask.  They can be easily identified by the stench while cooking.  It is undeniably the worst, even though they are extensively cleaned as part of the preparation process. I have been told that some people clean them better than others and you can hardly sense the aroma at all.  Unfortunately, the best chitlin’ cooker can’t hide the evidence once the heat is applied. Such are our efforts when we try to clean ourselves. Many say they will one day “get themselves together”. ” I’m gonna stop this, stop that, and stay on the straight and narrow.” That’s about as futile as cleaning Chitlins’.  Our best efforts aren’t good enough.  Once the heat is applied in our lives, we see the stench of the impurities that were hidden from plain view in the intestines of our soul.

Jesus already cleansed us. Before we were born, He knew us.  His death burial and resurrection sealed our redemption and now we are clean.  Not because of our efforts, but because He said so.  Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am? Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”  A revelation of who Jesus is and what he has done will cause the transformation of or present manifestation. Faith for this only comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  This is not natural because it doesn’t make human sense.  After all,”Nothing is free, right?”  Wrong!  For by grace are you saved through faith; that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God;  with no strings attached! On you worst  day, you are clean because He said so! Be blessed.

Unwrap the Gift

More often than not, a really good gift is wrapped. The person giving the gift took great pleasure and care in adorning the gift so that was pleasing to the eye, and to elicit such a response from the receiver that they “can’t wait” to open it. The presenter of the gift chose to express their love and care for the recipient by giving them something they did not have before; something to give them an advantage. The giver takes great pleasure in seeing the face of the receiver light up after opening the present. How cruel it would be for the person receiving the gift to only admire the wrapping, never opening the gift to partake of its contents.

Our Heavenly Father expressed His love for us when He gift wrapped his Son and gave Him to us. Note that the baby Jesus was “wrapped” in swaddling clothes and “laid in a manger“. This feeding trough that the baby was laid in signifies how we as believers should feed on the Word of God. It is this word that gives us the advantage in life. Ironically, many Christians only admire the package, never opening the gift. Yes we love Jesus; We know He’s the Son of God; we’ve accepted him as Lord and Savior; but for many, that’s as far as it goes.  But the Word is full of power and answers for everyday life. Nevertheless,  many fail to feed on the Word, other than a weekly message which is soon forgotten upon leaving the parking area. These layers of truth have to be unwrapped by us.

” Ask and it will be given you; Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7 (paraphrased)

Unwrap the Gift and you will find that He is full of wonder, always doing exceeding abundantly above all you could ask or think.

Unwrap the Gift and you’ll discover that He is a counsellor, giving you inside information that you would not have known had He not told you.

Unwrap the Gift and his ability to do great and mighty things in your life will be evident.

Unwrap the Gift and you’ll know the love of an everlasting Father. You can walk with your head high and your chest out, knowing Dad is always there. No matter what you do or how you act, His love is unconditional.

Unwrap the gift and you’ll come in contact with the Prince of Peace; Oh to have a life with nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing lacking! That’s what I call true Shalom in the home.

The gift has been presented and adorned, let us feed on the truth He holds which makes all the difference in living the abundant life He desires for us.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). “  John 10:10 (Amplified)