Christmas has come and gone. This is the time of year where many people question their new year’s resolutions. As many of you know, it takes three to four weeks to start a new habit. Press on in your new or renewed discipline! Act your way to feeling. Don’t wait for the feeling to act.
Now that we are no longer hearing, “Remember the reason for the season.” let’s focus on a different phrase, “Take up your cross daily and follow Jesus.” With God’s help we can take up our cross daily and follow Jesus regardless of how we feel. With God’s help we can do what is right, even if we don’t feel like it. Now King Herod based much of what he did on feelings.
Do you think King Herod had a star gazing staff? This past fall I visited one of Herod’s Palaces in Israel called Herodium. This visit prompted me to think about the Magi that came from the east looking for the new King of the Jews. I looked west toward Bethlehem and wondered what the powerful Herod was thinking. Did Herod notice the bright star over Bethlehem? Why would he and all of Jerusalem be troubled? To read more about this go to http://www.icr.org/home/resources/resources_tracts_whentheysawthestar/.
In my devotions a few days ago I read Genesis 1:14 which says “And God said, Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.” This passage made me wonder if it was possible for God to put lights in the sky to mark Jesus’ birth for us? Note: the creator person of the Trinity was Jesus. Jesus, pre-human would have said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky” and then a little while later those lights marked this sacred event about his birth. How cool is that!
Matthew 2:1-3 says, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
King Herod was wealthy. Some say his wealth back then is comparable to the wealth of Bill Gates today. He had lots of fortified palaces and one of them was Herodium. The picture above is a picture of Herodium from our charter bus. Herod was buried here on the north side facing Jerusalem. When the wise men came looking for the new King of the Jews they found Heord in Jerusalem just a small distance north of Herodium. Herod was troubled with their question. A wealthy, powerful, King was troubled by one question from some wise guys from the East. Ponder that for awhile and think about your emotions and feelings. Are your actions driven more by your feelings or by the truth we find in Scripture. The take away from this entry is for you and me to evaluate ourselves and be sensitive to the Spirit of God. Are we hiding God’s Word in our hearts so we act in obedience? Are we moving around slow enough to hear, trust, and obey/ Are we practicing the presence of God? Don’t be discouraged by these questions, be encouraged to do what is right regardless of your circumstances or feelings. The life of no regret is the life lived in obedience. John quoted Jesus when he said, “If you love me you will obey what I have commanded.”
God blessed me with a trip to Israel and it has energized Bible study and teaching for me. I have benefited from additional learning in geography and culture. I will be helping lead and serve on Sonlife’s next “Life of Christ Israel Study Tour” on March 31-April 10, 2019. If you or you and your spouse are interested in going along let me know and I will share the prerequisite details and pricing with you.