The Wise Still Seek Him

by Candy Arrington

When Jesus was born, some wise men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. Matthew 2:1-2 NCV

Several months ago, I looked online for an unbreakable nativity set. I wanted one my young grandchildren could touch, hold, and rearrange. However, I discovered that most sets do not include the wise men. Although they likely arrived long after the night of Jesus’ birth, the wise men are an important part of the Christmas story.

Some of what we believe about the wise men is based on speculation rather than Matthew’s account. Were they kings as the familiar Christmas carol states? Do three gifts indicate only three visitors? Were their names Melchior, Balthasar, and Gaspar?

The word “magi” most often referred to wise men rather than kings. The Bible says they came from east of Jerusalem, which was perhaps Persia or Babylon. They may have been scholars who studied the prophecies of a coming Messiah. (Daniel, living in Babylon, wrote of the coming king.) Or God may have revealed Jesus’ birth to them in a more personal way, in a dream or vision. Whatever the case, they were intent on finding Jesus and asked King Herod for directions.

In addition, a star guided them. When it stopped, they were overjoyed because they had reached their destination. “When the men went into the house and saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshiped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to him.” Matthew 2:11 CEV

Notice the wise men came to “the house,” not a stable, and Jesus is referred to as a child, not a baby. Can you imagine the scene as these weary travelers bowed down before a toddler and presented him with gold and sweet-smelling spices? And what were Mary’s thoughts as she watched this scene unfold?

Although we don’t know if the Magi spent the night at Jesus’ house, in a local inn, or camped under the star that guided them, we can assume they slept because they were warned in a dream not to return to give Herod the information he requested. They obeyed and went back to their country by another route.

Despite speculation about who they were, where they came from, and how many were in the group, here’s what we can learn from the wise men that we can apply to our lives:

  • They were seekers. Some people today want God to reveal himself in some miraculous way. Instead, the wise men left the security of their homes, traveled many miles, and persisted in their quest until they found Jesus.
  • They worshiped with joy. Many times, we forget that joy is one of the benefits of knowing Christ and living a life focused on him. We get caught up in issues beyond our control or difficult life circumstances, and waste energy and time feeling disappointed or unhappy. Knowing Jesus and worshiping him brings joy.
  • They gave gifts. Often, instead of giving to Jesus, we expect him to give to us. Sometimes, our prayers resemble a Christmas gift list. We want God to do for us, but aren’t willing to offer our time or talents in service to him. The wise men presented gifts to Jesus, with joy, and asked for nothing in return.
  • They were obedient. When God spoke to them in a dream, the wise men obeyed. Perhaps their gifts funded Jesus’ family’s sojourn in Egypt, and their obedience in not revealing the family’s location ensured their safety. Likewise, when we decide to obey God, it is always a wise choice.

No matter how you view the wise men, realize they experienced the joy of seeking, finding, and giving to the King.

If anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! James 1:5 TPT

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Candy Arrington

About the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.

Candy’s book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.

Join the conversation: How has God shown Himself to you after you sought Him?

Dealing with Horrific Circumstances

by Robin Gilbert Luftig @robinluftig

“…you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”                                                        Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB

I stood in horror as the doctor’s words sunk in: your son has a broken neck. Hours earlier he had attempted a backflip—as he had accomplished hundreds of times before—but this time he didn’t make it over. He landed on his head and neck. There in the hospital my son tried to reach for my hand, but all he could do was offer a palsy-like movement.

Finally settled in his hospital room, I watched as the medication slowly took over and guided him to sleep. He lay there, neck braced and tubes of medication and monitors surrounding him. I pulled up a chair, leaned my forehead against the side of his mattress and readied my heart to pray. I knew I had an open channel to the Creator of the Universe and could speak to him about anything. This prayer needed to reach past all the clouds and stars. It needed to grab God’s attention. Yet all I could say was, “Oh God … Oh God … Oh God … Oh God ….”

Have you ever had a moment that shook you emotionally to the point where you had no words to speak, only utterances? Sometimes that’s all we have to offer.

And sometimes that’s enough. Comfort can be found in terrible situations, but it takes determination on your part. Moses told the Israelites, “…you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB, emphasis added).

 So when all you have is Oh God … Oh God … Oh God, know the Holy Spirit is working on your behalf, interceding for you. After I prayed that day in the hospital room, 1 Peter came to mind.

“… though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even through refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV).

The Apostle Peter wrote these words to the first century Christians who were experiencing persecution. He knew they needed encouragement to look beyond their circumstances. Those sentiments continue through today. When those words came to my mind there in the hospital while I waited for the doctor’s prognosis, they brought peace to my heart. I knew no matter the outcome, God was still in control.

Dealing with the emotions surrounding trauma may take longer than you anticipated. Peace seldom relieves a dark situation with a one-and-done prayer. Continue reaching out and listening. That doesn’t mean to return to the Oh God … Oh God … Oh God-type of conversation with God, but it does mean to remember Who is with you, cares for you, and is always in control.

Oh, and my son? His neck healed and he’s an avid volleyball player in Chicago these days.

There are times when we cannot change circumstances, we can only experience them. But we don’t have to experience them alone. Allow God to bring peace in all your storms.

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Dealing with Horrific Circumstances – encouragement from @RobinLuftig on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

SONY DSCAbout the Author: Be grateful in everything—even the bumpy rides, is Robin Luftig’s mantra in either writing for
non-fiction readers or speaking to audiences on the healing after tragedy. She’s an award-nominated columnist for great magazines such as Leading Hearts, CBN.com, and many more. She is the author of two books, Learning to Bloom Again and the just released God’s Best During Your WorstImage result for robin luftig God's Best(Bold Vision Books) in March. Her first novel, Ladies of the Fire launches the end of 2020. Robin enjoys speaking all over the country and would love to be your next keynote presenter or workshop leader for your conference, retreat, or women’s event.

Join the Conversation: Have you been able to be at peace in a terrible time in your life? Please share!