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Devotions for Life

The Somber Side Of the Magi’s Visit

“Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi” (Matt 2:16).
When we think of the visit of the Magi, it seems as if we often think about the gifts, whether there were three wise men based on the three gifts. The Christmas carol says they were kings, but that’s not what the Bible says. We don’t know how old baby Jesus was at the time of the visit, but we know the manger scene with Magi isn’t accurate since they were in a “house” when they arrived (Mt. 2:11).
We certainly and rightfully focus upon the honor they bestowed upon baby Jesus, and the wonderful lessons we find here. The irony of foreigners seeking the Christ child rather than His own people strikes a loud note.
But have you noticed this? Indirectly, the Magi brought death to too many families in Bethlehem. Herod killed all the babies two years old or under hoping to kill baby Jesus. And although this was a horrible tragedy for that community as a result of their visit, they didn’t know anything about it. They went away rejoicing that they completed their journey and discovered the King of the Jews, and gave Him expensive gifts and honored Him. Nor did they know that the gifts would provide Jesus’ parents with a needed source of financial aid while living in Egypt until Herod died.
There are those times when our choices have positive and negative results. We may or may not know what those negative results are. We may or may not find out. Even when we do good, others may suffer. Or, when we do evil, we may have no idea how many suffer as a result.

Plus, often our good intentions carry with them negative results. The Magi were not guilty of the deaths of those babies. Herod was. But it was the result of their good choices. Had they known it would happen, they certainly wouldn’t have gone to Herod.

What shall we do? First, recognize the possibilities of our choices. The good may be overshadowed by bad results. Find a better way. Also, realize that we may have no choice but to do the good regardless of the consequences. Also, be more aware of the effects for the bad choices we make. If more people were seriously concerned about the effects of their choices there would be less heartache in this world. RR
Hymn: “What Child Is This?”

Most Holy Father, help us; we are poor judges of the results of our deeds. Even our best of motives occasionally lead to bad results. Bless the good that we do, and help us to keep our eyes open for any unexpected, negative effects. And please Father, may we realize how far reaching are the things we do, the good as well as the bad. In the Lord’s name, Amen.

Rob Redden, Arroyo Grande, CA

(rredden604@aol.com)



Don Quixote

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). I love the musical play Man of La Mancha based on Cervantes’, Don Quixote. I first became acquainted with this play during a Marriage Encounter Weekend in the 70’s.

After his attempt to defeat a windmill, Don Quixote takes shelter in an inn. There he sees the “fair Dulcinea.” However, Dulcinea is really Aldonza. Aldonza is a kitchen helper and whore working at the inn. Aldonza has no self-esteem as she says, “I was born on a dung heap to die on a dung heap.” Don Quixote refuses to see Aldonza as anything but a fair and noble lady. No matter what happens, he sees her as a person that has worth. At the end of the play Aldonza has changed into Dulcinea, becoming a lady’s maid with self-worth because she finally sees herself through Don Quixote’s eyes.


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Taking Care of Yourself

“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). 

My doctor told me, “Take care of yourself.” I go through a physical checkup every year. I do it to make sure my body is in the best possible shape. I want to watch out for diseases and conditions that sneak in to destroy me. I do it because I want to take care of myself. How do we take care of our spiritual souls? When we give ourselves a spiritual checkup, what diagnostic tool do we use? What, like an x-ray, can see through to our hearts? Hebrews 4:13 says, “And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

God’s Word is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of our hearts. It is not only our diagnostic tool, but it contains the remedy for whatever ails us spiritually. God knows that we can become spiritually ill. He knows that we need constant spiritual checkups. He gave us His Word for our learning and guidance, for spiritual diagnosis and remedies.Many people go to the doctor when they are sick. The doctor prescribes a medicine. The patient gets the medicine, then refuses to take it. So he is out the money he paid the doctor, the money he paid for the medicine, and he does not get well.

So it is with us spiritually. It won’t do us any good to have the Bible if we don’t study it daily and heed its commandments. Taking care of ourselves spiritually is that easy.

Hymn: “Take Time To Be Holy”

 

Donna Wittlif, Denver, Colorado

donnarichmond93455@yahoo.com