Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Lord is with You

“And coming in, he [the angel Gabriel] said to her [Mary]. “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)

Today we heard about The Great Birth Announcement in Luke 1:26-38. It was a very good message, and one which served as a great reminder of the goodness and faithfulness of our God and His ability to do that which we cannot imagine possible. Think about it, things prophesied hundreds and even thousands of years earlier were coming to pass just as God had said. Promises He had made were being fulfilled, and they were being fulfilled in the most amazing way. Our God, eternally existent in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit sent the Son who always was and always will be 100% God to also become 100% man to live a 0% sinful and 100% holy life. And His life began with Jesus being born in a humanly impossible way—being born of a virgin without a sexual encounter or the aid of our current scientific technology. There was no sexual union nor was there human implantation, but it was 100% by the Holy Spirit according to the power of Most High God that Mary would conceive and bear the Son. In announcing this to Mary, the angel Gabriel also told Mary that her relative Elizabeth who was at the other end of child bearing—being beyond child bearing years in her old age, was also pregnant. As we know also from Scripture, the child Elizabeth was pregnant with was to be the forerunner of the Messiah. This boy was to be John the Baptist who would proclaim the coming Savior. Both children were uniquely called, and both were miraculously conceived, but only one was God become man to save man from His sins.

The angel finished this announcement in Luke 1:37 with, “For nothing is impossible with God.” What an incredible proclamation, and one which gives a lift to any burden which we might be carrying. Think about it, our God is able to bring life at any time and in any way, demonstrating that He has absolute power over life. And if He has power over life, is there anything that He does not have the power of? Absolutely Not!

In the obvious shock (at least I can’t imagine otherwise), Mary responded in verse 38 with, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”

There has been a lot happening in our lives and in the lives of many we know, and much of it is life changing. I think it safe to say that a number of these things we would have chosen to do them differently, but in thinking this way I have to step back and consider just who my God is. He works in amazing ways that we cannot understand to accomplish things far beyond what we can imagine. Mary, as a young woman who in our western standards today was way too young to become a mom, was to have a baby that people including her fiancé did not understand. In fact, it took a vision from an angel to keep Joseph from quietly putting her aside. This same God also enabled the “old woman” relative Elizabeth, even as he enabled Sarah and her husband Abraham, to conceive a child when in human terms the possibility was laughable.

“Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old? And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?”” (Genesis 17:17, NASB95)

“Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?”” (Genesis 18:11–14, NASB95)
As I reflected on this message and on our current status of waiting on God for His leading in our lives, I thought about the moments of doubting which just as easily could have been laughing like those before me, and I was struck with the truth afresh that indeed nothing is impossible with our God. (Thank you to Victor for bringing this message about our faithful, gracious, powerful, good God who reigns forever.)

Tonight we start our Advent Calendar once again with one of the great prophecies of the birth of our Lord and Savior—the One and Only Son of God found in Isaiah 11:1-2, 10 and 7:14.

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” … (10) “Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.” … (7:14) “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (12/1)

I love you with an everlasting Love, which flows out from the depths of eternity. Before you were born, I knew you. Ponder the awesome mystery of a Love that encompasses you from before birth to beyond the grave.

Modern man has lost the perspective of eternity. To distract himself from the gaping jaws of death, he engages in ceaseless activity and amusement. The practice of being still in My Presence is almost a lost art, yet it is this very stillness that enables you to experience My eternal Love. You need the certainty of My loving Presence in order to weather the storms of life. During times of severe testing, even the best theology can fail you if it isn’t accompanied by experiential knowledge of Me. The ultimate protection against sinking during life’s storms is devoting time to develop your friendship with Me.

“The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NASB95)

“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:22–26, NASB95)

No comments: