ONE ANGEL,TWO SIMILAR MESSAGES, TWO OPPOSITE RESPONSES

P1080033The book of Luke opens with the angel Gabriel appearing to Zacharias, an elderly priest, and to a young girl, possibly in her early teens, named Mary. In both instances he tells of the coming of a baby, one unexpected, the other looked for through several centuries. Both recipients were astonished at the angel’s appearance. Both asked a question. But how different were the motives of these questions and how different the angel’s response.

Zacharias had been chosen by lot to offer incense in the temple. As he was doing this, Gabriel comes to him. He tells him that his wife, Elisabeth, is going to have a son in her old age. He gives details about this child. How does Zacharias respond? He is afraid.

His question: How will I know for certain? He did not believe. He was filled with doubt. He wanted proof. I suppose you could say he got his proof, but not in the way he expected. He became deaf and mute until John was born.

On the other hand, when the angel comes to Mary, she responds in faith. Her question: How will this be since I am a virgin? She only wanted instruction as to what to expect. She believed Gabriel. The angel answered her question and told her all the details of how this miracle would take place.

Gabriel makes a third appearance–to Joseph, engaged to Mary. His first response when he heard of Mary’s pregnancy was to secretly divorce her to save her the public shame. But after Gabriel comes to him in a dream, he follows the instructions given to him and takes Mary as his wife.

One would expect the elder to have more faith than the younger. A priest should not doubt God where youth may not have lived long enough to gain that strength of faith. But here we find just the opposite.

We have no idea how these three people felt about the messages divinely brought to them. I’m sure if an angel suddenly appeared before us we would be afraid. If the message was something impossible to happen in the natural, we might doubt. But if the message was as great as that to Mary about the birth of the Christ-child, I think we might feel very humble and wonder how we could possibly carry out such an undertaking. Joseph must have wondered about taking a pregnant woman supposedly carrying the coming Messiah and how he could possible have a part in the fulfillment of this prophecy.

How often does the Lord send His messengers to us at unexpected times? How do we respond? Do we doubt, or receive by faith? Do we want proof, or do we want instruction as to the how-to?

These people were ordinary people, not kings or noblemen or famous or particularly gifted. But they were chosen by God for a specific purpose. He supplied them with everything they needed to carry out His will. We need not fear even the greatest task given by the Lord because He knows what He is doing. He always equips where He calls. And He is with us always to help us along the way.

With another year ending and a new one just ahead, let’s choose to respond like Mary and believe, receive and carry out God’s will for us on a day-to-day basis so that when those big things come along unexpectedly we will be ready to say a resounding “Yes!” to the Lord. And we will hear His “Well done, good and faithful servant” when we have finished the final task.

I pray God’s blessing on you. May you have a prosperous and healthy 2019.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. I appreciate all of you. And please take a moment to leave a comment in the box below before leaving. If you are not already following my blog, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Follow” button at the top of this page to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Have a wonderful day. And a very Happy New Year! God bless.

Advertisements

A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

P1100695I don’t know how many of my readers will take time to read this on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but I did not want to let the day go by without wishing my readers a very blessed Christmas.

The Christmas story is familiar to Christians the world over, as well as to many who do not, perhaps never will call themselves Christians. I even have Moslem neighbors who “do” Christmas in some way. The children are talking about how close Christmas is. They speak little English so unfortunately I cannot communicate well with them about it. Christmas is one of the most meaningful times of the year for a great many people, young, old and all ages in between. Sadly many do not take into account the spiritual side of it. It has become so commercialized that the point of the giving of those first gifts to the baby Jesus has been lost. We are quickly losing our freedom to even celebrate the spiritual aspect of Jesus’ birth.

Let’s take time this Christmas to ponder just what it has meant to us personally P1100698that Jesus came to earth to be born as a baby, to live in a human body and to die an excruciating death on a cross so that we might be set free from sin and live for eternity with Him. Let us truly celebrate not only Christmas Day, but celebrate the Christ of Christmas who gave the ultimate gift–Himself–to us. I pray that we will never minimize the true meaning of Christmas in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, the tearing open of presents, the cooking and eating of a wonderful meal and the gathering of family and friends. If we take all of this into account on this wonderful day, we will truly be blessed.

I pray God’s presence will surround you with peace, joy and love, and His angels accompany you with a heavenly chorus. I pray for health and happiness for you and your families. I pray that the Lord will bless you “with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Jesus” (Ephesians 1:3).

P1100699

Merry Christmas to all. And “God bless us, every one.”

Thank you so much for stopping by, whether on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or sometime afterwards. I appreciate all of you. I do hope you will take time to leave a comment in the box below. Let me know how you plan to, or did, celebrate Christmas this year. Tell me about your Christmas traditions. And if you are not already following me, please take a couple of seconds to click on the “Follow” button above so you will receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Thank you again. Have a wonderful Christmas. God bless.

P.S. Here is a Christmas angel just for you.

Christmas theme 017