June 22

Today's Bible Readings
     Deuteronomy 27:1-28:19
     Psalms 119:1-24
     Isaiah 54
     Matthew 2
''When they heard the king, they departed; and behold; the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy." (Matthew 2:9-10)
            Have you noticed how conduct is controlled by expectation? Compare, for example, children's activity to get out of bed on a school day compared to Christmas morning. Helen Hayes tells about the first time she ever tried to cook a turkey. She explained to her family that this was going to be her first attempt and if they didn't like it, they could leave. When she brought the turkey in the room, she found them sitting there, with their hat and coat on, ready to go.
            The truth is, we don't always find what we expect. In the story of the Magi, the Wise Men in Matthew 2, we discover that these men from the East were looking for a palace but found a barn; they followed a star, but found a stable; they were looking for a crown, but found a crib.  What they found was nothing like what they expected. Imagine their disappointment.
            You may want to search your high school annual. Many of your friends who had high aspirations and noble ambitions never achieved them. Think of newlyweds, filled with such tremendous anticipation, only to find themselves, in a few years, in a divorce court with a shattered dream. I think about a mom and pop who save for many years for a business, and believe they will really make it. They are surprised to discover that no one else is quite as excited about their new business as they are.
            You may feel that your life has been just flops, failures, and fumbles. In the cartoon by Charles Shultz, Lucy had just put up a sign that said ''Psychiatric Help - 5 cents''. As usual, Charlie Brown was her first customer. She said, ''Listen to me, Charlie Brown, you are a foul ball in the line drives of life. You are in the shadow of your own door post, three putts on the 18th green, a seven-ten split in the tenth frame, a dropped rod and reel in the lake of life; you are a missed free throw, a shanked nine-iron, a called third strike, a bug on the windshield of life. Do you understand? Do I make myself clear?'' You may believe you are the way Charlie Brown was.
            I think about the Deep Sea Diver who was on the bottom of the ocean when they radioed to him, ''come up quick, the ship is sinking." But I have good news for you. What you find may take you by surprise, but it never takes God by surprise. Learn some lessons from these Wise Men. When they found the stable, they looked for God there. They realized God is always there, even in a stable. You can trust God. Just give Him time - He can be found even in the stables of life.
Wise men offer their all to God. When these Magi arrived, they brought their very best and laid it at the feet of the Christ Child. He desires your all given to Him today.
            Wise men allow the stable to change the direction of their life. When these men discovered the Incarnate Son of God, they disobeyed the instruction of Herod and returned to their homes a different way. This is because wise men obey God and not men. King Herod had told them to return, but God said to go another way. Will you listen to God or the world?   Will you obey God today? Wise men still seek Him, and they are never disappointed with what He shares.
            Between the Ukraine and Romania, you will find the landlocked Republic of Moldova. This country claims 95% Christian. It is the Orthodox Church that is predominant in those numbers. Very few of the people would have a personal relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ. This land is now fertile ground for the Gospel. Most evangelical churches are growing and multiplying. Moldovan spiritual renewal is occurring, and the vision for evangelism and missions is increasing. God is giving some great crusades of evangelism with great harvest, using American and Moldovan preachers. Pray for great revival to come in Moldova and a great harvest of souls to continue to be gathered for our Lord.
''An egotist is a man who believes that if he had never been born, everyone would wonder why."
Dick Mills