Last night in my class, Essentials of Business Communication, my professor taught us a lesson on listening skills and speaking using the Indian Council method and a talking stick. The object of this exercise was to learn patience when waiting to speak and only the person who held the stick could speak. Everyone else had to listen and wait for their turn. I had suggested this would be a great exercise for married couples even those who are engaged. I might have a hard time with this one and try to break the stick in half so I would not have to wait for my turn. Just kidding.
Our discussion topic for the Indian Council exercise was about Christmas and each person had an opportunity to express their feelings or opinions about Christmas. Some said it was their favorite holiday, some expressed how the meaning of Christmas has been lost by the intense commercialization of the holiday with sales, shopping, gatherings and other events. All of the students in my class agree that it is about celebrating the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
When it was my professors turn, she described how she, her husband and their son went to see The Nativity Story. After the movie was over, they discussed the movie and its significance since it was December and near to Christmas Day. Her son's comment about a particular scene really got me, one that I have missed every Christmas until now and one that I won't forget. He said to his mother that he was sad for the children that King Herod ordered to be killed because of Jesus.
I have no idea how many children were killed, but we are always so caught up in the busyness of Christmas, we miss this important biblical event too. These children were martyred because of Jesus because King Herod could not allow someone else to take his throne, let alone a child!
When he had heard the wise men say, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2). Herod knew there could not be two kings in a kingdom. He had asked the wise men to return to him and let him know where the King of the Jews was so he could go and worship also. (Matthew 2:8). I don't think he really wanted to go and worship Jesus. He probably wanted to kill the baby himself.
The Gospel of Matthew records that King Herod issued an order to have all children who were two years of age and younger to be killed (Matthew 2:16-18). He did this because the wise men were warned in a dream, not to return to Herod, which he became infuriated by this I'm sure and set out to find the child's location on his own. Innocent children were murdered, martyred really, because of the jealousy and envy in the heart of a man that drove him to choose the worst possible solution. King Herod's life could have been completely different had he allowed the love of God to enter his heart, rather than allow it to be poisoned by envy, jealousy and murder.
Here are a few questions to ask honestly, to find out what is the condition of your heart toward God?
- Is my heart pure before God? "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8).
- Am I speaking flattery or telling the truth when I say that I know God, that I know what His Son has done for me, dying for me sins? "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." (Matthew 15:8).
- Am I really looking for God in His Word, to know who He really is to me? "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13).
- How much do I love God? “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’" (Matthew 22:37).
- Are the words that I speak, words that reflect God or Satan? "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Matthew 15:18-19).
- Am I saved from God's judgment of my sins? "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10).
The truth lies within the heart of every man and woman. How well does God know your heart? What is the condition of your heart?
As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. Proverbs 27:19, NLT
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.