Where is He?

Image result for picture of the wise menEhud slowly mounted his camel.  He shook his head.  “Looks like another cloudy night!  How are we going to find the King of the Israelites, if we can’t see His star?

The sunset was beautiful–shades of yellow, orange, and red–as the last of the sun’s rays reflected off the cloud-filled sky.  “This is the fifth night in a row, that we have not been able to see the stars,” complained Elah.

“We were so amazed when we first spotted this maverick star in the night sky.  It stood out from all the rest.  Searching the ancient manuscripts we were excited to find out that such a star predicted the birth of a King in Israel who would have impact on the known world.  The star seemed to beckon to us to follow it, to search out this infant King.  But now…”  Eloth’s voice reflected the doubt that all of them felt.

“Those first nights of following the star were incredible,” recalled Elah.  “The star lit the whole countryside.  Our camels had no difficulty traversing the uncharted roads.  Now I am not certain that it is even safe to travel.  Even the moon’s light is blocked by the clouds.”

“But we have come so far,” Ehud rejoined the discussion.  “We are in the land of Israel.  We are not far from Jerusalem, the Capitol.  I say that we wait to travel until morning, then seek out the present king of the land.  If a new king is about to be born, he will certainly know about it. Maybe the new king will be his own son.”

“That sounds like a wonderful idea.”  Eloth’s voice reflected his restored hope and enthusiasm.

The three dismounted, unpacked their camels, and waited for morning.  It would be good to get a good night’s sleep.

Next morning, as they were saddling up, Eloth began to express his doubts.  “In the beginning we were led by the star.  It was like God, Himself, was guiding us to His Son.  Now we are about to rely on the wisdom of a man.  I have an uneasy feeling about this king, Herod.  I think we should wait for the star to show up again.  Then we would know that we have God’s guidance.”

Elah vehemently disagreed.  “Maybe you have all the time in the world to just sit out here in the desert day after day waiting for the sky to clear, but I have work back at home, students to teach, and a wife and family to care for.”

“We have already waited six nights for the sky to clear.  Now it is time to use the brains that God gave us to find this new king.”  Ehud was clearly also against waiting longer for the star to show.

The two wise men over-ruled Eloth and before the day was out, they all stood before Herod surrounded by all the beautiful trappings of his court.  He had sent them out of his throne room while he conferred with the principals of his court.  Although none of them had seen the star, some were familiar with the prophecy in Micah 5:2 promising that a king would be born in Bethlehem.  On the advice of his court, Herod sent Eloth, Elah and Ehud to Bethlehem to find the king promised in the scripture.  They were charged with returning with the information of the Child King’s exact location to Herod, who proportedly intended to worship Him.

It was already night when they left Jerusalem, and, wonder of wonders, there was the star, shining brightly and once again seeming to lead the way.  Before the night was out, they found the unpretentious house flooded with an unearthly light.  Reverently they knelt before the infant.  Each man felt in his innermost being  God’s pleasure  rewarding his diligence in seeking His Son.  It was an unforgettable, life changing experience–one that they would never forget.

The light of day found them on the outskirts of Bethlehem with another decision on their hands.  Should they report to Herod all they had seen and experienced, or return home another way?  Eloth, who had never wanted to meet this Herod in the first place, was against returning to reveal the location of the Christ-Child.  This time Elah agreed with him.   He was still eager to get back to his family and his students as quickly as possible.

It was Ehud who wanted to return to Herod.  “It is not our business what Herod does with the information that we gave him.  We promised!  That settles it!  We must report to Herod.  After all Herod did help us by giving us the name of the town where the Child King was.”

However, Ehud’s camel was lame so they had to seek out someone in the town, who could attend to the camel’s foot.  They spent another night in Bethlehem.

The next morning when they awoke, each man announced that he had received a troubling dream.  “I saw Herod with a sword, and an evil grin on his face,” reported Eloth.

“I saw Herod placing swords in the hands of twenty soldiers,” reported Elah.

“I saw decapitated babies lying on the ground,” exclaimed Ehud.  “It was terrible!”

“I don’t know what all this means, but I change my vote, to returning without a second visit to Herod,” urged Ehud.  They mounted, and urged their mounts to move quickly down the road away from Jerusalem.

These three men, who were wise enough to seek out God’s son, were also wise enough to listen to God, and He was able to spare His Son from the jealous wrath of King Herod.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5,6  NIV

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Just One Word

Speaker, Boy, Talk, Scene, Concert, SingDanny ran up to Mr. Elan who was bent over the drinking fountain adjusting the height of the water flow.  He loved to chat with the middle-aged school custodian, and frequently sought him out in his free time after lunch.

Mr. Elan was a favorite of all the third graders whose passing periods coincided with his.  One of them even referred to him as the black Santa.  It was not only his scruffy white beard that stood out against his dark skin.  It was also his warm personality.  He took an interest in each student and could call each of them by name.

Mr. Elan straightened up from his job with the drinking fountain putting his hand on his back as he did so.

“Does your back hurt, Mr. Elan?”  asked Danny.  He put his small hand on his back and gave it a few light rubs.

“Thank you, Danny.” smiled the older man.  “How are the rehearsals coming for the school play?  You have such a good speaking voice–loud and easy to understand.  You must have a good part.

Danny’s face fell. “I only have one word to say.  First the teacher gave me two lines.  I memorized them easily but couldn’t remember a thing when I stood in front of the group.  Then she gave me one line to say, but I forgot that one too, so last week she gave me just one word to say:  ‘Jesus!’  Bobby comes up to me and asks,  “So what is the real reason for the season?”  I am supposed to answer ‘Jesus!'”

Mr. Elan stroked his straggly white beard thoughtfully.  He was glad that he worked in a Christian school and could speak freely to Danny’s problem.  He laid his dark hand on Danny’s shoulder.  His face was serious.  “Danny,  have you asked Jesus to come into your heart?  Because if you have, He is there just waiting for you to trust Him.  He wants to help you, to do something great through you.”

Danny nodded his head.  “I have asked Jesus into my heart lots of times.  I have been baptized three times, but I am still afraid that Jesus doesn’t want to help me or that I won’t trust Him enough or…”

Mr. Elan smiled.  “See there Danny.  That’s your problem.  You are focusing on you.  You are weak, fearful, and full of doubt.  But there is nothing wrong with Jesus.  He is strong and wise.  He is perfect.  You need to be focusing your thinking on Him.”

The night of the school play came.  The full auditorium was darkened to enhance the lighting on the stage.  In the very last scene, Danny’s turn came.  He hesitantly walked out on the stage.  Billy repeated his line, “So what is the real reason for the lights, carols, celebrations, and gift giving?  What is the reason for this season?”

Now it was Danny’s turn.  He opened his mouth but nothing came out.  He took a step forward but still there was nothing.  Another member of the cast, tried to prompt him, and whispered “Jesus”.  Then several students whispered: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”

Danny managed a hoarse, half-whispered version of the Name that is above all Names!  His eye caught Mr. Elan standing in the back of the auditorium with a big smile on his face.  Danny’s ears heard the Word from his own mouth,  and understanding came to him!  He spoke the word loudly, “Jesus”.  He began skipping and jumping around the stage, shouting “JESUS, JESUS!”  Running up another actor, he took hold of his hands, and shouted again, “It’s JESUS!”

His enthusiasm was catching.  All the cast members on stage began jumping and shouting.  “It’s JESUS, It’s JESUS!”   Then the curtain fell.

When the lights came up, there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience!   What a powerful Word!  What a powerful Name!

“… God has bestowed on Him the name that is above every name…”  Philippians 2:9

Never Alone!

Peace Of Mind, Woman, Girl, Outdoors, Forest, AloneEmily sat on her porch holding a letter in her hands.  Tears streamed from her eyes as she  gazed  at the woodlands before her.  Gone were all the vibrant colors of spring and summer.  Now the scene was characterized by subdued shades of tan, gray and black –the colors of late fall and winter.  The somber scene matched her mood.  She was going to be alone this Christmas.  Her husband  had passed on during the year.  Her son and his family were going to spend the vacation with his wife’s  parents.  Her daughter had planned an exciting trip to Europe.   The letter she held in her hands brought the disappointing news that her sister had also declined her invitation to come for a visit.  She felt her heart would break with the loneliness she felt.

Suddenly, just before it slipped below the horizon; the sun emerged from behind the clouds and transformed the scene with shades of orange and gold .  Scriptures began to flood Emily’s mind:  “And God…will supply all your needs from His glorious riches which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19  “I can let Jesus fill this emotional need for companionship,” Emily thought.

A warm feeling seemed to envelop her very being.  “My God is here right now, making Himself real to me.”  More scriptures came to mind:  The eyes of  all look to you [Lord]…You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad.”  Psalm 90:14

“The Lord will guide you always:  He will satisfy your needs” Isaiah 58:11

“Oh, I understand,” Emily shouted aloud in delight!!  “I see it now.  I have been expecting people–family members–to satisfy an emotional need that only God can fill.  I just need to spend more time with Him (and He is ALWAYS available).  Then I won’t be trying to get people to satisfy my needs!!  Thank you Lord for showing me how to let You meet the needs of my soul–my emotional being.  And thank You for giving me lots of time to spend with You !!”

“Blessed is the man whom You choose, and cause to approach You that he may dwell in Your courts:  We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house even of Your holy temple.”  Psalm 65:4 KJV

The sun had fallen below the horizon, and the temperature was dropping rapidly.  As Emily reluctantly rose to go inside, her cell phone rang!  it was her sister saying she had organized a family gathering for New Years.  They were sending Emily plane tickets so that she could join them!