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Learning From the Magi

Learning from the Wise Men…
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”
(Matt 2:11 NIV)

We can learn from observing the Magi. First we see they came looking for the king of the Jews. They were seeking the Lord while he could be found (Isa. 5:6).

Second they found him and worshiped him. They rejoiced in finding him and humbly surrendered to him.  The wise men found who in his infancy is wiser than all.

Third they presented gifts they had to the Lord. They came looking for the king of the Jews and were elated in finding him they worshiped him. They did not come empty but came to give and to be blessed in the meeting. They gave the best they had to give to the Lord of lords.

We can learn how important it is for us to seek to be where Jesus is and be in his will. Seeking to be in the presence of Jesus brings us to his will. Seeking Jesus may cause us to leave where we know to go to new places. God’s great calling on our life will bring us to new and different experiences the world can never offer.

Second we need to know how to surrender and worship the savior. We should learn to be pleased with his presence and be at awe of his great beauty. Jesus by himself is wonderful. Each day is a day to bow down and worship him and be completely in love with the one who loves you most.

Third they gave Jesus there best. Each day we are in his presence and should give him our best. Giving the Lord our best shows our gratitude and brings him glory. All glory belongs to him and the world belongs to him. Therefore we are only giving to him what is already his. Our life is his for Jesus paid the price and what more can we give than our life back to the Lord every minute of our life.

Merry Christmas for the Savior is born. Born in a manger the Son of God.

Samuel T. Duren

Need Directions

Need Directions?

John 14:6 ¶ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

         Where are you in your life journey? Sometimes I wish life were mapped out like an amusement park with a kiosk. On the map I can look see that big red star that says, “You are here!” When I see this I know where I am and where I need to go to get to my destination. But life is not this way. Or is it?

        

Yes, it is. This is because God loves us and has given us a GPS, God’s Precious Son, to show us the way. God is always giving directions through the Son, Jesus.  As Jesus pointed out to His disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” In other words, Jesus was telling them: “Follow me.” You can stop and look at Jesus for direction. Jesus will guide you in your career, relationships, parenting and finances. Jesus knows the ultimate end. The author of Hebrews says, “Jesus is the author and the finisher of our Faith.” Let God’s Precious Son be your source of direction.  He will lead you through this temporary life to eternal life.

        

PRAYER:

         Jesus I surrender my life to you and trust you to lead me where I need to go. You will turn me away from temptation and lead me where I will have peace and joy that all comes from you. This is my prayer. Amen.

I am the Light

Text: John 8:12

 

The background:

    The text in focus comes up after John 7:40–52 (where the Pharisees and Sadducees are doubting Jesus words and him as the Messiah) and John 7:53-8:12 the account of the woman caught in adultery. Because most texts do not have this account originally in the text, does not discredit this account but helps build the context of the Jesus speaking after the Feast of Tabernacles in the synagogue. Therefore the possible understanding is this teaching of Jesus is further done to explain even more of who He is the one from God to deliver the Israelites that would come after Moses as the true Light.

    The Feast of Tabernacles, or Booths, or Ingathering (Lev 23:33-43) began five days after the Day of Atonement (Lev 23:34; Deut 16:13) and lasted seven days. It marked the completion of the harvest and historically commemorated the wanderings in the wilderness. During this festival people lived in booths and tents (tabernacles) in Jerusalem to remind them of how their forefathers wandered in the wilderness and lived in booths.

    When in the wilderness the Israelites were in total darkness in the light they did not know the way to go. They had to follow the Lord to the promise land. The Lord was their light so that they would no walk in darkness. When night did come God lead them in a pillar of fire then during the day God lead them being a cloud by day. “The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night” (Exodus 13:21 NAS95).

 

 

(Jesus says who he is and what our response should be to the reality of who he is.)

1.   First Jesus says :I am the Light (His Revelation)

          Jesus Second metaphorical I am Statement. Each of the “I Am” statements followed by nominative implies that Jesus provides eternal life and a life fulfilled only through him.

         Jesus says, “I am the Light.” This is a very profound saying in the symbolic use of the light and the relations the light has with the Lord of Israel!

    When God is revealing how he created the heavens and the earth he speaks of how he created light and called light good. Take note that nowhere is it recorded that he called the darkness good, but he called the separation of light from darkness good. “God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.” (Gen 1:4 NAS95) This shows that from the beginning light dwelling with darkness is not good. Or as we see in 1 John “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:6–7 NAS95). Or How Paul points out that this kind of fellowship is not of God when he says “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness” (2 Cor 6:14 NAS95)?

    This shows that God from the beginning dwells in light and does not fellowship with darkness because he is light. Psalm 104:2 talks how God is covered with light like a cloak. The Psalmist says of the word of God in Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

    In this dark world there is a great promise of walking in this great light. Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people who walk in darkness, will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.” Therefore as children who “...were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light” (Eph. 5:8). This is because “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Pet 2:9 NAS95). Therefore one has to make a decision on the message that is given. “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John1:5). The light gives direction to those who follow and therefore are not lost. As it says in 1 Thess. 5:4-6 those in darkness do not know what is to come because they are lost and not enlightened to the will of the Lord.

(Respond to the call of Jesus will provide change.)

1.   Jesus call us to follow him (Our Response is to follow)

1.    Our Response to who he is will lead us to follows Him  -

    Following Christ implies surrender of your will and desires to do exactly what the leader does. Jesus says follow me I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19, Mark 1:17), follow me he says in calling other disciples (John 1:43; Luke 9:23, 59) be my disciples he states if you serve him you will follow him (John 12:26), to list a few examples of Jesus calling us to follow him. Jesus as a leader goes before his followers as their light to fight off all that will come against them and protects them as the Lord of light.

 

1.   Our Reaction to the Response - We Will not walk in darkness

    To walk in darkness is to reject the light and embrace sin and wickedness. Jesus says “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. John 12:26 “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:25–26 NAS95).

         The Father honors us when we reject the darkness of the world and choose living in the light. The revelation of Jesus is the Light shows the direction we shall go. Walking in the light following after Jesus brings shows the change that is happening in our life.

         Jesus calls us to be transformed and live in him to accept the light and reject the darkness. The darkness does not comprehend the light (John1:5). The loving of darkness because the deeds are evil (John 3:19). The shift from darkness can only happen with the shedding of light.

(Which leads to our new reality and understanding of our life in Christ)

 

1.   Our New Reality - We will have the Light of life

    Following the Light leads to having the Light of life. In other words Jesus will show us how to have life by following the Light. The giver of life does what he can do best and give us life.

    The light of the world is not a universal statement for being the Light to all but to those who follow him is walking in the Light. Jesus is the True Light to those who follow him and who receive the light of life by believing in him. If you are not following him then you are in the dark left open for the devourer to attack and destroy with no protection and no life.

         Walking in pitch darkness is embracing the darkness (sin and death) and rejecting the Light of Life who is Jesus the Christ. Ephesians 5:8 instructs us to walk in the Light who is Jesus our light as children of the light.

         Following Christ leads us to not walking in darkness but having life and light. When we have this we are able to say

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread (Ps 27:1 NAS95)?

         Then you are able to understand when the Lord spoke the prophet Isaiah saying:

““No longer will you have the sun for light by day, Nor for brightness will the moon give you light; But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And your God for your glory. Isa 60:20 “Your sun will no longer set, Nor will your moon wane; For you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, And the days of your mourning will be over. Isa 60:21 “Then all your people will be righteous; They will possess the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified. Isa 60:22 “The smallest one will become a clan, And the least one a mighty nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time”” (Isa 60:19–22 NAS95).

         You will face life knowing you are following the Light whom shall you fear. You will be at peace with yourself knowing you live in the light not in darkness. Not concern with sin guilt weighing you down to be open for the enemy’s attacks. You will instead be walking in the promise that God has given you in Jesus who is leading us to the promise land. This is because you are Walking in the Light of God!

 

The Lord Requires

The Lord require...
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic 6:8 NAS95)

What the Lord requires of you. What the Lord ask is good because he is good. The commands for living are do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly before your God.


This emphasizes your devoted life to God when he says your God. This shows that there should be personal relationship with God the Father with his children. Being in God’s presence demands a life that is acceptable to God. Being in God is liberty, because where the Lord is Spirit and where the Spirit is there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).


Therefore do justice that is what is right and honest.


Love Kindness for the Lord our God is full of loving kindness.


Walk humbly for God apposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.


Following these instructions embodies the precepts God has given summarized in these statements. God desires holiness from his people and you to should desire holiness from yourself to please our great God.

You are our Father...

You are our Father...
 
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isa 64:8 NAS95)
 
            Do you see the Lord as your Father? God defines Father and shows us how He is the example of fatherhood. As the Father it puts the children in a subordinate role open for the Father’s instructions.
 
The potter guides the clay into the shape the potter desires. So much more our Father guides us through His word and Spirit to be who He has designed us to be. If we do not meet our purpose it is our fault, not the potter’s. “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’ ’’ (Isa 45:9)?
 
            Do not argue with the Father but simply submit and say, “You are the Potter and I am the clay. Mold me, Father, in your fashion.” God showed us when He formed Adam that He knows how to form His creation to do His good and perfect will. As clay we are in a weaken state that need to be shaped and then put through the fire.
 
            Know this that if God will take you to the fire He will also bring you out! Let the Father, the Shepherd and Potter be Lord and you be His child. The goodness of God will see you through. No matter how hot it gets He will mold you to stand the fire and be a precious masterpiece. You are a work of His hand to do great and wonderful things.

          
 

Believing is Seeing

Believing is Seeing
“By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.” (Heb 11:27 NAS95)

    Moses led the people from Egypt not fearing the wrath of the king. He believed in the Living God believing that God is right there with him, even though he may not see him. This faith comes from Moses being stretched out to his limits seeing how limited he is all by himself. Moses was equipped by the Lord and instructed on what to say, where to go and what to do. Moses by faith faced his obstacles and enemies not fearing.

    Moses did not fear the king means that he did not see the king to have the power to defeat him. Moses knew the task was hard and stressful. He knew the dangers that were ahead of him. Moses also knew the God has commissioned him and commanded him to do this great work in Egypt. God told Moses I will talk you down and I will bring you out. Moses faith in God lead him to be a blessing his family and kindred. By Moses showing his faith the people followed him as he followed God.

    The people of Israel along with Moses were stretched to their limit. Every time they reached their limit, God would make up what was lacking. God provided ways through their enemies. God provided water in dry lands and food to eat. Their clothes or their sandals wore out from being in the wilderness 40 years.

    This belief they had gave them the ability to see the impossible being done before them because they believed that God would do what he said he would do for them. What are you facing? Who do you fear? There is nothing to fear when you are in the will of God. When obstacles and trials come hold on to God’s word and endure as you are seeing him delivering you before you see it being done. Endure in the work of the Lord.

Keeping Me

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,” (Jude 1:24 NAS95)

 

Jude 24 opens with “the one who is able” modifying God as the one and only able God. God is the subject and 1) God is able to keep us from falling or stumbling. This shows how the enemy will try to make God’s saints fall. But God is able to keep us from temptation and falling (Psalm 140:4–5; 141:9; 142:3) Then 2) God will present us or place us before his glory. His glory points to his holy and majestic being. 3) When he presents us before him faultless. We can only stand before God in his glory without blame or spotless. This word is used 8 time in the NT showing how the called of God are to be holy by being blameless and spotless. 4) Our responses of God keeping us from falling and blameless will be with great joy rejoicing being in his presence.

 

What a joy are the ones who stand before the throne of God and behold his glory! The joys of knowing all troubles are over and no more pain. Death is no more and time no longer matters. The ones kept by God will stand before his majesty celebrating how God through Jesus has delivered them from all their sins and now enjoy eternal life. We rejoice because God leads us not into temptation but delivers us from the Evil One. Be delivered by calling on the name of the Lord.

He Heard My Cry

He Heard My Cry
“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Ps 40:1 NAS95)
 
Grateful the Lord our God hears our cries. He is near the brokenhearted and heals the afflicted. But the cry of David was in the midst of his longing and patience for the Lord to come to his need.
         The psalmist is confident that in living in obedience to God that the Lord will take up for his child. Where are you standing in obedience of the Lord? Obedience to God will bring conflicts and trials and even persecution. Through all of this David waited on the Lord to fight his battles.
         Be of good courage knowing that no matter what you face God is seeing exactly what you are going through and is able to defend you. The response then should be as the close of this Psalm:
 
Ps 40:16 Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
         Let those who love Your salvation say continually,
         “The LORD be magnified!”
Ps 40:17 Since I am afflicted and needy,
         Let the Lord be mindful of me.
         You are my help and my deliverer;
         Do not delay, O my God.
 
Prayer:
God, we turn to you in the midst of our trials, test and persecutions. We need not to defend ourselves or become self-righteous but in all humility we wait on you Lord to deliver us and will praise and honor you for who you are now and for ever more. Amen.

Fighting Dryness

Fighting Dryness

“There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. Num 20:3 The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the LORD! Num 20:4 “Why then have you brought the LORD’S assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die here?” (Num 20:2–4 NAS95)
 
Times in God moving us to our destiny we encounter wilderness experiences that will lead us to dry places. It is in these times of dryness is when we should focus on the Living Water.

The alternative is “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13 NAS95). When we forsake God we go to broken cisterns that will never satisfy or even give relief. God is the only one who can satisfy us.

As we journey with God we need to daily draw closer to him and surrender all we have to him and let him be our source. Truly may we hunger and thirst for righteousness and the Lord our God will fill you and fully satisfy you.
 
Prayer:

         God, you are all I need and desire. I repent for allowing comforts of the world to make me think I was satisfied when only you can bring peace in my life. Lord, you are my desire; it is you and you alone. Amen.


 

To Know Him...

To know the power of His resurrection...

“[T]hat I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; Phil 3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:10–11 NAS95).

 

            Living in the flesh brings pain and depression. Things I no longer desire to know. I desire to know the Joy of being in Christ and to know Him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings. To be dead to the world is to conform to Christ death and to live as a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) in Christ Jesus.

            To live in your presence to seek after your face brings me to clarity and peace that shows me truly who I am and that is a saint, a child of God a vessel meant to be filled with God’s fullness.

            Knowing your power will be evident of me saying no to what is against your will and yes to what pleases you. This leads to living holy to you and not living to satisfy the lust of the flesh. Jesus did not satisfy the flesh but satisfied your good and pleasing will in obedience to death. This is my soul desire to know you in this way as Jesus did and truly say, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

 

Prayer:

Lord, I repent for allowing the world to be what I have desired. I truly desire to know you and the power of your resurrection. I want to be alive for you and dead to this world. Holy Spirit I submit to you and allow your will to be done in my life.
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