WHERE WILL YOU SPEND YOUR’S THIS COMING YEAR?
When you think about your life, do you focus on the negative facts about it? Were you raised in poverty? Did your mother or father leave your family? Have you lost a business, an election or had to declare bankruptcy? Did you not have much of a formal education? Do you suffer from a physical or mental disability? Do you focus on these facts and believe that they are the sum total of who you are?
I just want you to know that the negative things that have happened to you do not define who you are. They are NOT the sum total of who you are. In other words the facts about your life are not equal to the truth of who you really are. Those negative things are just a part of the story of your life, they are not the totality of who you are. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few examples:
This man was born into poverty. He had about eighteen months of formal schooling. He failed at his first business. He lost eight times he ran for public office. He was estranged from his father. He battled depression for most of his adult life. Who was he? Abraham Lincoln. We all know that he was not the sum total of the negative facts about him and he made one of the greatest contributions to the history of our country.
This man was born into poverty. His parents were on the run from the authorities for the first few years of his life. He lived as an immigrant in a foreign country during those years. He worked as a skilled laborer. The last few years of his life, he lived as a transient. Who was he? Jesus. I don’t need to tell you the contribution he made to the planet.
Just remember one thing: THE FACTS DON’T EQUAL THE TRUTH.
The truth of who you are is so much greater than any negative facts about you. Everyone has negative things happen to them. It is only part of the story of their lives. The truth about each one of us is far greater than any negative aspect about us. If we want to be productive people, we need to focus on the positive things in our lives and not focus on the negative things that have happened to us. When we do this, we can live our lives knowing that the facts about us don’t equal the truth of who we really are!image by geralt. courtesy of Pixabay
A few weeks ago, I was reading these verses in Matthew and I was struck by the sheer enormity of what these men did:
“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” Matthew 2: 1-2 NKJV
photo by Geralt. Courtesy of Pixabay.
Here were wise men, Magi they were called in the Greek, from the Persian word Magoi, meaning men who studied the stars, and they were from the East. The Bible does not tell us anything else about them. Tradition says they many have been from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, or India, but we do not know.
This is what we do know: they studied the stars and saw something extraordinary in the heavens. It may have been a conjunction of planets or a comet. Whatever it was, they studied it and determined that a King was born to the Jews, and His birth announcement was in the night sky. This event was so immense that they decided they had to come find this King and worship Him. They were men on a mission.
We don’t know how far they came, but they were probably not from Israel. Once they made the decision to find this King, they were going to have to plan a trip, spend a lot of money and travel a long ways to find what they were looking for. They could have come from as far away as five hundred or a thousand miles. If they came by camel and rode every day, they may have made the trip in a few weeks or a month, but the trip could have taken a lot longer. This was not going to be a comfortable undertaking.
There are a few things that really strike me about what these men did. First, they recognized the fact that the universe was making an announcement. They saw the star and from their studies, whether it was from star charts or the Hebrew Scriptures, they figured out that a King was born in Israel. They knew this birth had immense significance. Second, they were willing to make an effort to go find this King and worship Him. These men were probably court advisors in whatever kingdom they lived in. They were men of status and probably lived in great comfort. In spite of this, they wanted to travel to Israel to worship this newborn King.
During this Christmas season, I will think about the wise men and the lessons I can learn from them. First, I need to study and know what is going on around the world prophetically. If there are actual signs in the heavens of His Second Coming, I need to be aware of them and find out what they mean. Second, I need to be willing to get out of my comfort zone and go where I need to in order to serve and worship the King.
Men on a mission, an example to us all.
A few weeks ago, it got really cold outside. I thought perhaps if I curtained off the door to the inner porch it would make the house warmer. It did in fact add warmth to the house, but it also cut out a lot of light coming in. After a few days, I decided to remove the curtain. I preferred the light to the warmth.
That little incident got me to thinking, “So how does this apply to our lives?” Do we in fact, prefer illumination to comfort or is it usually the other way around? After pondering it a bit, I thought, “I bet we usually prefer comfort to illumination.” Do you think that is true?
Is it much easier to hang out with people who think like we do, watch newscasts that support our point of view, and read magazines and articles that confirm our pre-existing ideas? I think it is. It usually takes effort to spend time with those that think differently than we do, read books that challenge our thinking, or watch another news channel. Do we want to remain in the orbit of those that are similar to us or are we willing to move out of that orbit and seek to understand others that are different than ourselves?
I’ve been asking myself those questions and I don’t like the answers I am getting. I am going to have to be intentional if I want to expose myself to those who think differently than I do. If I do that, then perhaps, I will have a better understanding of others and also the world around me.
A New Year is starting, and it is full of the breath of promise of things to come. The past year is almost gone, and takes with it the successes, failures, blessings, and trials that came with it. I don’t know about you, but I am thankful for its passing and hopeful for the year to come.
I’ve been thinking, what do I want this year to be like? I decided that I would like this year to be full of JOY. If it is full of JOY, then everything will turn out well.
J – Jesus. Let this year be full of Jesus. Let me make pleasing him the priority, and may I keep my eyes on him.
O – Others. May I think of others before I think of myself. May I put the needs of others (especially my family) above my own.
Y – You. Help me to live this year intentionally. Let me keep my goals in the forefront and persevere even when I don’t see the end in sight.
I want to find joy in the small things and be able to look and see the beauty of nature that surrounds me. I can hear the call of geese in the morning as they go to their feeding grounds. I see the Mallards along the creek bank and look for their little ones in the late spring. The Juncos are at my feeder all day long and provide entertainment for me. The sky is usually blue (except in January and February) and is filled with beautiful clouds.
There are a hundred reasons to find joy in and around me. I want to see them, experience them and be full of the joy they bring. This is my hope for the New Year.