Showing posts from December, 2013

Luke 1:51-53 — Let’s Do This

“He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. “He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.” —Luke 1:51-53 NASB Mighty deeds are often done by ordinary people. Those whom we consider heroes of the Bible were not heroes to themselves. They were ordinary people who collided with God during their walk of faith. Let’s look at some of these heroes. Elijah was “a man with a nature like ours” (James 5:17). Moses begged God for release from his role as a “liberator.” Jacob foolishly wrestled with God. Job begged God to kill him. Jonah ran from God. Peter denied Jesus. Thomas doubted Him. All in all, these men and women of the Bible did not see themselves as the

Luke 1:46-50 — Defeat Depression with Praise

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. “And His mercy is upon generation after generation Toward those who fear Him. — Luke 1:46-50 NASB Mary must have longed to understand her mysterious God. Her giant doubts must have terrorized her as she tried to reason how she could do all of the will of God and not be destroyed by it. But here Mary teaches us the way to joy. When the burdens of life are too much for you, do not see it as a suffering that has come only to you. Read the Scriptures and you will see that nearly all of God’s servants have suffered from depression. Men and women throughout history have felt despair, and endured a spiritual depression that can rarely be shaken off by intention alone. But there is a way to

Luke 1:39-42 — Be a Blessing

Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" —Luke 1:39-42 NASB How glorious of God, who is everlasting Spirit, to put Himself at risk—to make His hazardous journey into flesh. In doing so, He affirmed every person whom He touched. No idea is so essential to our hope as that which teaches that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Consider Mary and Elizabeth. Both wonderful and fragile, they were the means by which God became a human being. They share a heavy secret. One was so old that she was well past childbearing age. Elizabeth’s old-age pregnancy must have been the brunt of community gossip. Then Mary came and affirmed Elizabeth

Luke 1:26-38 — Thanks, But Why Me?

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall

Luke 1:13 — Faithful Trust

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. —Luke 1:13 NASB Trust can be difficult to maintain. Trust affirms that we believe when we have no evidence to do so. Trust demonstrates that we believe that God is in charge and will do what He has promised. Zacharias was old. He had served in the temple all of his life, giving God his all. Zacharias and Elizabeth had no children. But even then, Zacharias still hoped that God would so bless him. Zacharias then received his answer. He would have a son and name him John. This was a child of significance. God had special plan for this child, and that made an old man very glad. When we trust, we become partners with God. We are never through trusting. The older our trust, the greater is our confidence. Consider the image of a leathery old man holding a newborn baby. A child of purpose held in the arms of fait

1 Kings 17:8-16 — Flour and Oil

Flour and Oil by James M. Thomas The LORD’s word came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her, and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” As she was going to get it, he called to her, and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” She said, “As the LORD your God lives, I don’t have a cake, but a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jar. Behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and bake it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go and do as you have said; but make me a little cake from it first, and bring it out to me, and afterward make some for you and for your son. For the LORD, the God of Israel says, ‘The jar of meal will not run

Titus 2:11-14 — Celebrate His Coming

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. — Titus 2:11-14 NASB Christians are are currently celebrating the season of Advent. The word comes from the Latin term "adventus," meaning "arrival." The time is marked by the four Sundays preceding Christmas, and is a season set aside to help Christians prepare. Advent prepares us not only to commemorate Jesus' first, humble arrival in a manger, but also helps us more fully invite Christ into our present lives while anticipating His final, glorious coming. Christians of all backgrounds can benefit from preparing for Christmas throu