Days
Andrew 12:00-7:00pm

The Word For Today

Seeking God (2)

Notice two more things about the wise men: (1) How God guided them. 'The star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was...And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him' (Matthew 2:9-11 NKJV). Never limit God. And don't lock Him into a personal experience you had in the past where He guided you in a certain way. If God can move a star, He can rearrange any circumstance in your favour. How did the wise men know about the birth of Christ? Maybe because of an alignment of the planets, or because they were students of Old Testament prophecy. We don't know. But one thing is certain: they were seeking God - and that's the point at which we must all begin.

(2) How God protected them. Herod wasn't happy about the news these men brought. Indeed, he was downright enraged. Think: if he was willing to kill every Jewish baby boy under the age of two in order to get at Jesus, what were the chances that these men would get out of town alive? Not great - until God stepped in! 'Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way' (Matthew 2:12 NKJV). The devil is real, but you don't have to be afraid, because Jesus has already defeated him.

The main thing is: when your heart is set on seeking God, He will guide you, protect you and reward you.

Soulfood : Is 7:14, Mt 1:18-25, Mic 5:2-5, Is 9:6-7

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Seeking God (1)

Notice two things about the wise men: (1) Who they were. Astrologers. Jews considered astrology to be a counterfeit to true prophecy. Be careful; there are people whose lifestyles you may disapprove of, who are honestly seeking God. So be gracious in your dealings with them. The Greek philosophers on Mars Hill had a pantheon of gods. Was Paul shocked or put off? No. He commended them for being willing to search for God, adding, 'He is not far from each one of us' (Acts 17:27 NKJV). Don't jump to conclusions and write people off. In God's eyes every weed is a potential rose and every loser is a potential winner. And you should be glad about that!

(2) How far they travelled. They left their families and the comforts of home to travel thousands of kilometres in order to find God. Their round-trip journey took two years, and ended in a Jewish village where they were cultural outcasts. Meanwhile, leaders who had access to the prophecies of Christ's birth wouldn't expend the time and effort to check them out. We often quote Jeremiah 29:11, "'The plans I have for you," says the Lord... "are plans for good...to give you a future and a hope."' But don't stop there, read on: 'When you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me' (Jeremiah 29:12-13 NLT).

Poet Julie Carro wrote, 'Now wise men still seek His face as they did in days of old; to give the Lord their hearts, more precious than silver and gold.' How far are you prepared to go in your search for God?

Soulfood : Job 24-28, Jn 1:6-18, Ps 113, Ecc 10:10-14

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Brokenness

If your goal is to be used by God, don't be surprised when He permits seasons of adversity and brokenness. Jesus experienced it, and He said, 'A servant is not greater than his master' (John 15:20 NKJV).

Jon Walker points out: 'God's intent isn't to hurt us, but to expand our capacity to carry His love to a world in need of compassion... Sorrow clarifies our thinking. In the school of Christ, brokenness is a good thing. It's impossible to become intimate with God unless we're broken of independence, pride and our insistence that our way is better than God's. Brokenness is the last stop before we finally confess, "I can't; God can." It's Paul confessing, "What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death" (Romans 7:24 NIV)? It's the Prodigal fighting with the pigs over food (Luke 15:11-32). It's Joseph, still in prison, forgotten by the cupbearer (Genesis 40:23). It's Jonah in the whale's belly confessing the consequences of running from God (Jonah 2:1-9). It's Peter weeping bitterly outside Jesus' trial (Luke 22:62). It's Jesus abandoning everything to God, praying, "Father...not My will, but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42 NIV) ...God in His ruthless, loving pursuit will break us of pride, sin, folly and independence (Matthew 21:44). Like Jesus serving bread at the Last Supper, God takes us, breaks us, blesses us and uses us.'

Are you going through a season of brokenness? Be encouraged; in God's Kingdom brokenness is the path to blessing. Watchman Nee put it this way: 'To have God do His own work through us, even once, is better than a lifetime of human striving.'

Soulfood : Job 21-23, Lk 2:1-7, Ps 128, Ecc 10:5-9

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