Wednesday, December 20, 2017
It was truly an amazing time. Mary was going on with life as usual. She was engaged to be married to Joseph and they were planning life together. Nothing extraordinary. Then, the angel, Gabriel, appears to her and says, “O favored one, the Lord is with you!” She was troubled and tried to figure out what kind of greeting this might be. I think I understand her concern. How many times have you seen an angel of the Lord?
He knows this is a surprise, “Don’t be afraid, you have found favor with God.” Whew, that’s good! But wait, there’s more. “You will conceive and bear a son and call him Jesus. He is God’s Son and there is no end to His Kingdom.” Mary was astonished. This perhaps sounded great, but the first question, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Her first question was practical. Sometimes, we may be too busy looking at the practical to see the God-sized possibility.
The Holy Spirit will enable this to happen. This is God’s Son. You may be a virgin, but God is in the miracle business. Your cousin, Elizabeth, in her old age, has also conceived a son, before she was barren. God is the worker of miracles and the giver of life. God, who created the universe, can give life. Nothing is impossible for God.
Mary asks no more questions, but says, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” God may want to do something extraordinary through you. Will you let me?
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Zephaniah has some beautiful words about the Lord. He reminds God’s people of his love for them. Have you ever felt down or discouraged? Have people made you feel like your sense of worth is very low? Maybe at times in your life you have not felt loved by anyone? Life may not be what you want or wish, but please know God has never left you and he loves you.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
God is with you. His is mighty to save. Like a proud and loving Father he rejoices over you with gladness. When was the last time you felt someone rejoice completely over you? His love can quiet the restless questions that keep us awake at night. His love for us shows us that he will always be with us. God will exult over you with singing. Our Heavenly Father sings over us for our comfort and his pleasure. God delights in you his child.
He will deal with things in his time, take care of the oppressors. He will gather the lame and outcasts. God flips the script changing the shame put on us by others, to praise from our loving Heavenly Father, the God of all creation. Never forget his love and delight for you.
Monday, December 18, 2017
The story of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin is the most tragic story I know. This one event shaped the direction of human history and humanity’s relationship with God. Why share this story during Advent? Ever since the sin of mankind there has been a separation between the holiness of God and the sin of humanity. In our humanity there is still a longing and desire for a great and wonderful, personal relationship much like when God would walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening in the garden.
Romans tells us, the wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The curse of sin is passed down to each person who came after Adam and Eve. God sent his Son, holy and perfect, to redeem all who believe in him. He paid the wages of sin, death. Giving life, hope, and peace. Through the baby born in Bethlehem the condition of humanity was conquered in the cross of Christ.
Why this story of the fall? Without understanding our lost condition before God can we fully understand how great the sacrifice and salvation of God through his Son. When we don’t acknowledge our sin, it is easy to take grace for granted. Some may then be tempted to believe God owes it to us, making grace an entitlement instead of an amazing act of love for us. Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see.