December 2004

This month's:

Thought: Seeking in the Wrong Places
Story: Seek the King!
Homeschool Tip: Keeping Warm


Thought: Seeking in the Wrong Places

Have you ever looked all over for something only to discover it was right next to you all along? If so, then you can relate to the surprise I felt the other day when I discovered a missing pair of jeans hanging nice and neatly in my closet. For several weeks I had been looking everywhere for those jeans. I had looked in the wash, on the ironing rack, under the bed, and even in everyone else's closets. Yet all the time they had been right there in my closet.

It occurred to me that we tend to go on similar fruitless searches spiritually. The Bible tells us that Christ is all we need. He is like that pair of jeans, waiting right there for us. Yet we often forget this and search for our spiritual needs elsewhere, don't we?

I know I frequently find myself seeking joy in finishing projects or in improving my circumstances. Or perhaps I might try to muster up the strength I need to get through the day on my own. Yet all the time the joy and strength I seek is right there in Christ. He's waiting in my closet, so to speak-waiting for me to simply look to Him.

As we approach a new year, instead of seeking to reform ourselves, may we all simply come humbly to the King of kings. His arms are always wide open.

"Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28 NIV

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Story: Seek the King!

Ariste stared excitedly at the night sky. There it was-the long-awaited star marking the birth of the great king. "He has come," he whispered, lost in joy and wonder. "He has come."

For the next several days, the magi talked of nothing else save that distant star. They consulted their books and read all the prophecies they could about this uncommon star and the king whose birth it marked. They stared for hours at the wondrous light. And over and over again, they discussed what they ought to do.

"We ought to go find and worship the king," Ariste declared. "We wouldn't want to miss this great event."

While some of the magi laughed at this suggestion, several of the magi agreed. Trusting the light to guide them, they departed to find the great king.

Yet surprisingly, Ariste didn't join them. He stayed behind, trying to convince his countrymen to follow the star. "You don't want to miss this!" he told them.

They sighed at him and complained at the impracticalness and cost of such a journey. Ariste always had a ready answer for all their excuses. "Nothing could be more valuable or important than seeing the great king!" he exclaimed many times, shaking his head in frustration. "You are foolish to stay away."

His countrymen looked at him curiously, then returned to their work. They could not help wondering why, if Ariste really believed what he said, he hadn't sought the king himself.

Ariste spent several frustrating months telling everyone that they were missing the birth of the king. He couldn't help growing discouraged at his results. No one listened to him. Everyone went on with his life, oblivious to the star's beckoning light.

In despair, Ariste finally sought out Nikolaos, one of the magi who had just returned from following the star. Nikolaos listened in sympathetic silence to Ariste's sad tale. "Ariste, did it never occur to you to head your own words? Did it never occur to you to seek the king yourself?" he finally asked.

Ariste looked up in surprise. "What do you mean? I have been trying and trying to serve the king and send others to him."

"I know. But he doesn't need your help. You have tried to serve him, but you have failed to seek and worship him yourself."

As Nikolaos' words began to sink in, Ariste hung his head in shame. The star had beckoned him to go and see the newborn king. And he had failed to go. He had missed out one of the greatest events in history.

Nikolaos gently rested his feeble hand on Ariste's shoulders. "Today is a new day, Ariste. Don't continue to miss the great joy of worshiping the king. Do what you should have done months ago--get up and seek the king. God is still capable of guiding you if you will only let Him."

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near." Isaiah 55:6NIV

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Homeschool Tip: Keeping Warm

Most of us know how to stay warm and keep our families from the winter elements. But how do we keep our hearts on fire for the Lord when everything around us seems to go against Him? How do we pass on to our children a love for God?

Ultimately, only God can keep our family's hearts warm. We simply need to remember to snuggle up in His arms. His love and presence is the only way to keep the spiritual cold away.

As we head back to the schoolbooks this January, let's remember that, much like the winter weather can easily chill our bodies if we don't bundle up, spiritual coldness can easily grip our hearts if we don't keep close to the warmth of God's love. May we continually run to God and ask Him to keep our hearts and the hearts of our families on fire.

--By Cris Loop

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