Advent Shows God’s Great Mercy towards us!

Zechariah ends his Song in Luke 1:76-79. Here he tells about his newly born son and the privileged place God he holds in God’s plan of redemption for all mankind. Let the beauty of his words minister to you today.

“And you, my little son,
    will be called the prophet of the Most High,
    because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
77 You will tell his people how to find salvation
    through forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of God’s tender mercy,
    the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    and to guide us to the path of peace.”

Zechariah refers to John as the prophet of the Most High and Jesus will be called the Son of the Most High. This name was revealed to Mary by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:32 “He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.” John had a specific job to do as he was to tell the people how to find forgiveness for their sins in this coming Messiah. He was to prepare the hearts and minds of the people for Jesus and His message of salvation. They were about to experience a time of great light from God and needed to be ready. Jesus would bring light into the darkness of the world. “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 He also gives the reason for the arrival of Jesus, because of God’s tender mercy. God showed compassion, mercy and great love towards us in sending Jesus to redeem and restore us to relationship with Him. Romans 5:8 “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” and John 3:16 ““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Praise God for His mercy, love and compassion towards us in sending Jesus.

This section of scripture ends with how John grew up. 80 John grew up and became strong in spirit. And he lived in the wilderness until he began his public ministry to Israel. Since Zechariah and Elizabeth were old when John was born, perhaps they died before his ministry began as he had moved to the Judean desert and was living there instead of being in the hill country of Nazareth where he was born. This verse confirms the prophesy about John and his way of life and mission given in Luke 1:15-16 “for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He must never touch wine or other alcoholic drinks. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. 16 And he will turn many Israelites to the Lord their God.

I think one of the things I like most about Zechariah’s Song is the pure joy and hope that he gives all of us through the coming of Jesus. We can have light. We can experience redemption. We can see God’s hand move in our midst through the power of Jesus. Praise God for His coming!

Linda

Thankfulness Day 12: The Faithfulness of God

Timothy includes the possible words of a Christian hymn in 2 Timothy 2:11-13. The words are meaningful as they give hope and assurance to our hearts. This is a trustworthy saying: If we die with him, we will also live with him. 12 If we endure hardship,  we will reign with him. If we deny him,  he will deny us.13 If we are unfaithful,  he remains faithful,  for he cannot deny who he is.

Timothy’s words give true hope as they are based upon the character of God. The truth of knowing if we die knowing Him, we will live with Him. If we suffer, which we will, He will reward us in heaven. If we deny Him, He will deny us when we stand before Him to make accounting of our actions, not a pleasant thought at all, but a truth to be realized. If we are unfaithful, sin, fall away, are seemingly lost, confused or lose hope, He is always faithful as it is an integral part of His being.

Because of our sinful nature, living in a world surrounded by sin and its temptations, we will sin. God know this so He gives us His Holy Spirit to indwell us and give us courage, strength and direction. He gives us the hope of eternal life and resurrection with Him. He gives us His Word to be a lamp to our pathway in life filled with encouragement, promises and guidelines for combatting sin and living a life honoring to Him. I cling to the truth that even when I falter and fail in my walk with Him, I cannot fail as God is the one who sustains my faith. We are assured over and over in the Bible that God is faithful and we can depend upon His faithfulness to sustain, uphold, keep us in His hand and in His love.

Here are a few verses to meditate on the faithfulness of God. Let them create thankfulness in your heart today! Psalm 36:5 “Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,  your faithfulness to the clouds.” Psalm 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 100:5 “For the Lord is good;  his steadfast love endures forever,  and his faithfulness to all generations.” Isaiah 25:1 “O Lord, you are my God;  I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things,  plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” Lamentations 3:21-23 ” But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;    his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.” Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

As you depend upon the faithfulness of God for each breath you take today, will you thank Him for His unending faithfulness? Let these verses lead you toward greater thankfulness, knowing the truth of Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL.

Linda

Thankfulness Day 11: Remember with gratitude

Today is Veteran’s Day in America. It is a day to remember those who have died fighting for freedom for our country and for those that are living and serve or have served in the military. It is a day of remembrance and thanksgiving for the end of a brutal war, WWI, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour when the armistice was signed in 1918. It was originally called Armistice Day but the name was changed by Congress in 1954 to Veteran’s Day.

Why remember? Throughout scripture we are told to remember the things God has done so we don’t forget His goodness, so we can be more diligent about our faith and the way we live, so we can gain appreciation and love for God and His faithfulness towards us. The same could apply to remembering our brave veterans. Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” We owe our Veterans, both the living and the dead, a debt of gratitude and thanks for their sacrifices on our behalf. They do not even know me and were willing to put their lives at risk for all of us. I am humbled by their service and dedication.

Who do you know that you can thank and honor today? Maybe a friend, a neighbor or loved one serves or has served. Take time to say a word of thanks, send them a card or email, text them…. Let your thanks be put into action as you seek to express your gratitude.

Gratitude from the heart is honoring to God,

Linda

God, “I know what is coming…Be prepared”

In this week’s Stream of Water from God’s Word in Deuteronomy 31:14-29, the Lord tells Moses to bring Joshua to the tabernacle for his commissioning as the future leader. Moses was going to die soon and the Lord wanted to forewarn Joshua about what was in his future and set him apart as the chosen leader. The Lord said the people would forsake Him and go looking for other gods when they got to the land God had promised them. He wanted Joshua to be a strong leader who was aware of the problems in front of him. To help with the tendency to sin and wander, God had Moses write a song of remembrance. The song would remind the people of who God is, what He expects of them and the consequences for disobedience.

My question to you is, what do you have that reminds you of who God is and and what He expects of you? What or where is your song? I have a dear friend who has a prayer journal. In it she records the amazing answers to prayer God has provided for the big things that happen in her life. By recording the milestones, she can glance back and remember the hard times and how God provided for her and her family in each really difficult circumstance. She can see how God brought goodness and joy, out of seeming disasters. How God provided for her in ways she had not even imagined and often did not even know existed. Her journal is a way of keeping God real and reminding her of who God is and of His love for her.

Meditate on the passage as you read and ask God, what should be your song of remembrance? How can you keep God real in your life so you can stand firmly with Him when times get hard.

Linda

Deuteronomy 31:14-29 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The time has come for you to die. Call Joshua and present yourselves at the Tabernacle, so that I may commission him there.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the Tabernacle. 15 And the Lord appeared to them in a pillar of cloud that stood at the entrance to the sacred tent.

16 The Lord said to Moses, “You are about to die and join your ancestors. After you are gone, these people will begin to worship foreign gods, the gods of the land where they are going. They will abandon me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 17 Then my anger will blaze forth against them. I will abandon them, hiding my face from them, and they will be devoured. Terrible trouble will come down on them, and on that day they will say, ‘These disasters have come down on us because God is no longer among us!’ 18 At that time I will hide my face from them on account of all the evil they commit by worshiping other gods.

19 “So write down the words of this song, and teach it to the people of Israel. Help them learn it, so it may serve as a witness for me against them. 20 For I will bring them into the land I swore to give their ancestors—a land flowing with milk and honey. There they will become prosperous, eat all the food they want, and become fat. But they will begin to worship other gods; they will despise me and break my covenant. 21 And when great disasters come down on them, this song will stand as evidence against them, for it will never be forgotten by their descendants. I know the intentions of these people, even now before they have entered the land I swore to give them.”

22 So that very day Moses wrote down the words of the song and taught it to the Israelites.

23 Then the Lord commissioned Joshua son of Nun with these words: “Be strong and courageous, for you must bring the people of Israel into the land I swore to give them. I will be with you.”

24 When Moses had finished writing this entire body of instruction in a book, 25 he gave this command to the Levites who carried the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant: 26 “Take this Book of Instruction and place it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord your God, so it may remain there as a witness against the people of Israel. 27 For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are. Even now, while I am still alive and am here with you, you have rebelled against the Lord. How much more rebellious will you be after my death!

28 “Now summon all the elders and officials of your tribes, so that I can speak to them directly and call heaven and earth to witness against them. 29 I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt and will turn from the way I have commanded you to follow. In the days to come, disaster will come down on you, for you will do what is evil in the Lord’s sight, making him very angry with your actions.”