God’s Power in our Lives!

Our story of Advent began even before Gabriel approached Mary and Joseph as it was in the mind of God from the beginning of time.  The arrival of the Messiah, one who would save mankind from their sins, was told throughout the Old Testament.  Scripture also mentioned one who would come before this Messiah, Savior, and prepare the way for His arrival.   Today in Luke 1:11-17 we find two people, Zechariah and Elizabeth who were consider devout and blameless (verse 6).   This didn’t mean they were sinless, but that God recognized their devotion and love for Him.  They had been married many years and had no children.  Zechariah was a priest and Elizabeth his wife was called barren.  They were both considered old, and she was beyond child bearing age.

Zechariah was serving in the temple and an angel appeared to him.  Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.”  The angel told Zechariah their prayers for a child had been heard and would be answered with a son he was to name John.  Then the angel continued and told him about this unusual child, what he would be like and what purpose God had for him.  “He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

luke 1 13Can you imagine Zechariah and Elizabeth’s surprise at hearing this news?  Their prayers had been heard and the answer was forthcoming.  It was not only their prayers but the prayers of the nation of Israel for a Savior, Messiah, that would to come and save them from their sins.  Zechariah and Elizabeth’s son would go before this coming holy one and prepare the way for Him.  What honor and joy they must have felt!

How do we see God in this portion of our Advent story?  As I began yesterday, knowing that God would hear my cry for understanding through His Word so Zechariah and Elizabeth were assured by Gabriel that their prayers had been heard for a child.  They had prayed for years for a child to raise and love.  God had chosen them to parent this coming one who would proclaim the Messiah.  What joy they must have felt at knowing God heard their prayers and that they would have a child.  On a bigger scale they would have understood that they would all be part of God’s  plan for the redemption of mankind.

This reveals that God is accessible to us in prayer.  He hears us and responds in His own way and in His own time.  All God’s plans are for His glory and our good.  I also see God’s infinite grace in revealing His plan to them, showing them how He was going to use them GodsGraceand their son.  God did not need to tell them all these things but showed them His grace in revealing it to them.  Grace is God showing us kindness or favor we do not deserve.  One does not earn grace, it is freely given by God.   Psalm 84:11 says “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor;  no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”  We also see God’s ability to know the future and have all things under His control, Sovereign.  His supernatural power to provide an impossible child for Zechariah and Elizabeth also shows His love and care for us as individuals.  

May you see our Accessible, Gracious, Loving, Caring and Sovereign God at work in your life today.

Linda

Seeing God’s response to me, brings thankfulness!

A-Thankful-HeartPsalm 28 is a thankful response from David for God’s deliverance.  I want to focus on the verses 6-9.   What was David thankful for in these verses that we know to be absolutely true of God?

Praise the Lord!                                                       
For he has heard my cry for mercy.                 God is accessible, He hears our prayers.
The Lord is my strength and shield.                   God is our protector.
I trust him with all my heart.                                  God is trustworthy.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.                    God gives us joy.

The Lord gives his people strength.                     God gives us strength to meet the day.
    He is a safe fortress for his anointed king.
Save your people!                                                    God saves those who believe in Him.
Bless Israel, your special possession.                 God blesses.
Lead them like a shepherd,                                     God is our good shepherd.
    and carry them in your arms forever.               God is eternal and saves us for                                                                                                                        eternity with Him.

attributes of GodFor which of these attributes are you most thankful today?  I had a friend tell me yesterday that when times are hard she focuses on her joy in the Lord.  What about you?  As you go through today, meditate on God’s goodness and blessings towards you, then take time to thank Him.

Blessings,

Linda

Approaching God with Confidence

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the ability to approach God.  The idea of approaching Almighty God has been fraught with fear and trembling down through the ages.  However, if we look at Genesis 2 and 3 we see that in the beginning man existed in the garden and had a relationship with God.  Adam and Eve did not fear God until they ate from the tree of knowledge, then they knew sin. Through the work of Jesus on the cross, we can now come near to God.  Jesus has made us clean and presents us to the Father.  I love the following verses:

Hebrews 4 16Ephesians 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Hebrews 4:16 “ Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Some of the benefits of approaching God are given in these two verses:  freedom, confidence, mercy, grace and help in our time of need.   What a wonderful God we serve.  He knows that sin binds us and keeps us prisoners, slaves to our old sin nature.  Through Jesus we find freedom and the ability to come to God.  He also knows that without Him we lack confidence to confront the problems of our lives, the heartaches of living in a sin-filled world and are filled with self-doubt.  Through Jesus we can have confidence and assurance as we approach Him.   God knows that we need mercy and grace to fill our lives.  He possesses these in abundance.  In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus reminded Paul about His grace. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  Lastly, God promises to help us in our time of need.  We can live with assurance that God will be there for us-no matter what, no matter when and no matter where.  In Deuteronomy 31:6  God proclaims: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”   He promises to be with us calming our fears all day and night.

I-am-never-far-from-youLinda

Suggestion: Identify a problem you need help with, it could be a need for mercy, grace, confidence or freedom in some area?  It could be for yourself or another.  Bring it to Jesus and lay it at His feet.  Pray in faith believing He has the answer then wait patiently for Him.

 

Double promises today- access and belonging! BE Encouraged!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have access to God and belong to His household.  There are 2 powerful verses in Ephesians that define our place with God and our access to Him.  Ephesians 2:18-19  For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,”  Because of him (Jesus) we have access to God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Because of His death and resurrection we are no longer isolated by our sin but belong to God through our faith in Jesus.  God sees us as His sons and daughters and citizens of heaven awaiting a time when we will live eternally with Him.  

We have access to God through Jesus’ work on the cross and indwelling Holy Spirit.   Ephesians 3:12 “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”    Hebrews 7:25  “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost  those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”    1 John 4:13 “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit.”  What a privileged position we hold.  Christ sent His Holy Spirit to live within us and give us access to Him 24/7.  We can come before Him anytime be it day or night.  We know that He will listen and encourage us as we belong to Him.  

passportWe are fellow citizens in heaven and members of His household.  If we are members of His household, then He is our Father.   “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,Father.”  Galatians 4:6                                                   “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”  Philippians 3:20    Jesus went to prepare our heavenly home.  It is where we belong as citizens of heaven, saints and members of His household!

Since we live in the hear and now, I often forget that I already am a citizen of heaven and that in the future my home will be there with God.  As for now, I can revel in the fact that I can stay in constant communication with Jesus through His indwelling Holy Spirit and that He is interceding for me there in heaven.   Romans 8:26-27 confirms this, In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”    

What dynamic promises- access to our Lord and Savior and belonging to Him.  Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Suggestion:  Spend some time interceding with God on behalf of someone else.  Exercise you privilege of prayer and thank Him that you belong to Him forever!

 

 

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Anguished Prayer Brings Hope

The Messiah continues today with prophecies from the Psalms about the coming Messiah’s fate.  Psalm 22:7-8 “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;  8 “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him.”   This psalm by David spoke his anguished prayer to God as he was pursued and persecuted by Saul for years on end.  It is frequently quoted in the New Testament as it readily applies to Jesus.  Verse 7 tells of mocking and ridicule the psalmist is receiving from his enemies.  This found fulfillment in Matthew 27:39 “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads.” Verse 8 speaks of the psalmist’s trust in God, deliverance and rescue that is assured because he knows that God loves and cares for him.  Jesus knew this to be true and it was partially quoted in Matthew 27:43 “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”  

god-ideas_guide-delightWhat encouragement do we receive from these prophecies today?  I am encouraged that God knows what I am going through just as He knew David’s and Jesus’ situations.  God is accessible and will hear our anguished prayers.  He is filled with compassion and love as He listens to us.  I am also encouraged that my trusting in God delights Him and He promises deliverance.  Each deliverance looks different as we are all are in various situations but God keeps His promises and will bring us through.

Be encouraged today as you walk with Him and thank Him for sending Jesus to bring the ultimate deliverance which is from sin and death.  These thoughts make Christmas even more special and give us HOPE.

Linda