How does God provide for you? Does He send an Angel to knock on your door to provide money when you need it? Or, does Jesus appear at the foot of your bed to give you wise counsel in making a decision about a job, a move, marriage, or any one of numerous difficult circumstances that arise in our lives?
Why wouldn’t someone want to take the time to look on the inside to see what could be done better?
Just before Christmas a wise Christian leader met with employees of his rather large church. They were mostly lay people and the meeting included their families. He asked them to do ten things in the New Year. I think you will agree that his admonitions are worthy of our consideration.
Some weeks after Jesus was born and his parents, Joseph and Mary, had found a house to stay in while in Bethlehem, wise men appeared bringing gifts for the Christ child. These men, traditionally three in number and called Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, had travelled a long distance from the East (perhaps Persia) to witness an epiphany—God’s revelation to them that that Jewish child was divine.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.- Isa 9:2
So, how do you know what God’s will is concerning a matter that you bring to Him in prayer? Should I marry this person, or not? Should I take this job? Buy this house? Move to that city?
Many of you saw the movie The Matrix starring Keanu Reeves, who played the role of Neo. Neo discovers that his existence is not what he thought it was. He thought he was a regular guy with a normal job leading a normal life…free and independent. Neo meets an intense, compelling man named Morpheus, who offers him two pills. The red pill will answer the question “what is the Matrix?” (by removing him from it) and the blue pill allows for life to carry on as before. As Neo reaches for the red pill Morpheus warns Neo: “Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.”
St. Paul was making a swing back through some of the areas in which he had preached and established churches. He encouraged them and said: “We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,” (Acts 14:22).
Some would have us think…or maybe we even want us to believe…that once we come to Christ and His atoning sacrifice on the Cross the road to heaven won’t be so rough. It doesn’t take too long for anyone who has bought into that to realize that it’s just as Paul said. The King James version uses the older word “tribulations” for “troubles.”
Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. –I Cor. 15:1-6 (NLT)
A little research on the origin of Valentine’s day reveals that Valentine’s Day, which we celebrate in February has a long history. Its roots have to do with a Christian Feast called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, which honors an early Christian saint named Valentinus. There is a legend that St. Valentine was imprisoned in Rome for performing marriages for soldiers forbidden to marry as well as for ministering to Christians persecuted by the Roman Empire. Further, a legend tells of Valentine restoring the sight to the blind daughter of his judge, and just before his execution in AD 269 he wrote her a farewell letter signing it “Your Valentine.”