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The Way

    by Kevin Pauley

Date Posted: April 2, 2024

And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. – Luke 2:36-38

Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Anna lived her whole life in expectation of God’s redemption. As a result, she recognized the Promise when she saw a little baby in the arms of a young rough looking couple from the wrong side of the tracks.

Meanwhile, the Pharisees had accurately predicted where the Messiah would be born (Bethlehem) and some say they had successfully predicted the timing of the Messiah’s arrival to be within their generation. They were busy digging tunnels under Jerusalem and stocking weapons and supplies so that the Messiah would have the wherewithal to kick the Romans out. But because their minds were made up on what the Messiah would look like, they didn’t recognize the young carpenter from Nazareth. And when Jesus failed to be grateful for their efforts and lead them to military victory – when He refused to play ball – their anticipation turned to jealous, murderous outrage.

Hindsight is usually looked down upon in favor of foresight. But I believe that it is at least as valuable, since it does include a few facts. We need to learn from Anna and the Pharisees. We need to learn that God does not think like we do.

We think we must push our way forward to be recognized as leaders. Christ says the way to leadership is through humble service.

We think that in order to lead a fulfilling life, we need to cling to our rights. Christ says that those who cling to their life will lose it and those who are willing to lose their life will gain it.

We think that we need to accede to our family’s machinations so that we can keep our relationship with them. But Christ says putting Him first and being willing to lose them if need be is the only hope we have of keeping them eternally.

We believe that political activism and global mobilization will allow us to solve the world’s problems. Christ says that it is through individual one-on-one efforts to restore justice that help will be had.

Look back on your life. How many times has God intervened on your behalf so that you might be at this particular juncture in life? I don’t just mean times when your physical life has been threatened. How many decisions have you made in your life? At each one, Proverbs teaches that “there is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” At each step, the Holy Spirit was present, seeking to give us His guiding hand. Angels and demons were all around, fighting for our souls. Christ was watching from heaven to see which direction His errant sheep would go. A “great cloud of witnesses” waited with bated breath. We can learn from this process or go through our lives stricken with “hindblindness”.

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Biography Information:
I make no claim of superior wisdom or originality. I am a student, just like everyone else. My goal in writing is to simply share whatever God chooses to teach me (many times by my children or parishioners) on any given day. I hope the devotionals are a blessing to you.

Kevin Pauley is a pastor and writer. He lives in Illinois with his wife, Lynn, their five children and two dogs. His internet address is Berea.
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