Daily Archives: December 27, 2011

God’s Story is Your Story

Read Luke 1.

Why is Christmas such a magical time of year? I think its because everyone is expecting a miracle at Christmas. Consider all the popular movies. Each one has a miracle as it’s central plot. Whether it’s a boy hoping his parents get back together, a shop-owner hoping he can keep his business running, or a town who needs a new hero to help “save Christmas.”

You might be reading this and wishing for your own miracle this Christmas. It’s probably much smaller than what makes a holiday movie. But it no less important to you. 

Maybe you’re hoping our prodigal comes home. Maybe you’re wishing for a job. Some are yearning for a special someone to sit next to you by the fire. 

2,000 years ago, there was a couple who hoped for their own miracle. But like many, they had long given up on this dream. Zacharias and Elisabeth prayed for a child, but year after year, that prayer went unfulfilled. So, they gave up on the dream. 

But this couple didn’t give up on God. They stayed faithful. Then, one ordinary day, the extraordinary happened. Zacharias, a priest in Israel, was chosen to give the incense at the altar. This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, a rare honor for such a common man. Then, as he performed this sacred duty, an angel of God appeared, breaking God’s 400-year silence with Israel. 

The angel told Zacharias that he and his wife, Elisabeth would have a son after all. He would have a special purpose an would prepare Israel for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. 

This all sounded impossible to Zacharias. Not the miracle itself—that Jesus would come, that John would be the forerunner. Zacharias, as a believing Jew, knew the Scriptures and believed this. 

He just had a hard time thinking God could use silly old him. After all, he and his wife were well past the child-bearing age. But, true to His word, God performed this miracle in the lives of Zacharias and Elisabeth. You know the rest of the story. John the Baptist led revival in Israel and would later baptize Jesus Christ, the very son of God. 

But let’s focus on Zacharias and Elisabeth. They were faithful people in a time of unfaithfulness. And yet they had given up on the dream God had planted in their hearts—the dream of having a son. What’s interesting is that Zacharias had no problem with the big miracle: God sending a Son to be born of a virgin and be the Savior. It was the little miracle he had trouble with, the miracle in his own life. Even though God had done a similar thing in Sarah and Hannah and Rebekah and Rachel, Zacharias refused to believe his wife, Elisabeth could bear a child. 

He did something we often do. We believe in the big things of God—sending a son to be our Savior, Creation, Heaven—but when it comes to littler miracles, we limit Him. It’s as if we say, Yes, God can create the earth in six days, be born of a baby, and send us to Heaven, but He can’t possibly change me, fix a relationship, get me a job. 

And God’s answer is Yes I can. You see, the biggest miracle has already been done—Jesus. Everything else is small to God. 

So maybe today, like Zacharias, you’re letting God know that there is something too big for Him. Something even He can’t fix. 

And the story of Zacharias tells us that there is nothing too hard and that God is still in the business of doing miracles. Even in your own life. 

Embrace it.

A Resolution to Do Justice, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly with my God

Note to reader: The following is the result of further study, research and reflection after reading a portion of The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer, a book written upon the influence of the movie Courageous, which hit theaters nation-wide in September/October of 2011.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NASB

I’ve been searching throughout my near-27-year existence. I chose to follow Christ at the age of four while sitting on my mother’s lap reading a bed time story and since then I’ve been searching. What did it mean to be a Christian? I know I have a purpose and a place; what is it? Even as a young adult, I still have questions. What should I study that would make an impact in my world? What opportunities should I accept? Which direction should I pursue? Should I go back to school? And for what?

I want to be in His will, but I’m not sure what that looks like in my life. I want to be a part of something that will make an impact for His kingdom…not one I construct out of the temporary materials of this life. That doesn’t mean anything. That doesn’t leave a footprint.

Then I read the following questions:

 

What if the discolusure of His continued purposes for your life is at least partly dependent on your obedience to what He’s already set before you? What if He wants to see your level of faithfulness in responding to what you do know before He fills you in on what you don’t?

 

Micah 6:8 states that God has shown us.

This much I do know:

  1. Do justice.
  2. Love mercy.
  3. Walk humbly with my God.

Justice. A woman resolved to do justice doesn’t take advantage of people even if she has the means and opportunity to do so. She determines instead to act rightly – to pursue a just solution – to deliberately consider the best way people or circumstances could be served in a particular situation, even if at her own expense. Her primary interest is seeing justice done, seeking solutions that are fair, reasonable, objective and, most importantly, expressive of the love of Christ.

I want to be that type of woman.

Mercy. To “love mercy” means to have a hearty interest in doing things that bless and impact others’ lives. It means considering their needs above your own, not because they necessarily deserve it but simply because you “love” doing it for them.

That what God’s mercy looks like toward you and me. He has chosen to give what we don’t deserve. Like Christ, we should be willing to do gracious things for toherseven when their actions and past choices don’t necessarily warrant it.

Just because.

Humility. Combine justice and mercy. What do you get? Someone who walks humbly with their God. She continuously puts the needs of others first. Correctly assesses her own value. She doesn’t see herself too hihgy, of course, but not too lowly either. She just pursues the will of God daily, faithfully trusting that what He’s said and commanded of her is worth her doing her very best. And when He’s ready to share more, she’s ready to receive it and respond.

Wrap all three together and you get a full life.

So why am I still searching?

Is it because it messes with the American dream that our culture attempts to brainwash us in?

Am I concerned about being uncomfortable?

This is at the very heart of the gospel I claim to believe. It is what God requires of me. How can I say that I want to be a part of God’s will and ignore this very vital part?

Gary A. Haugen writes, “Christians…seem to have the amazing ability to say the most wonderful things without actually believing them…(i.e. blessed are the poor and humble; it’s better to give than to receive; just not, lest you be judged; love your neighbor as yourself, etc.)…and examining, one by one, how differently I would live my life if I actually believed such things. The sayings of Christ coexist passively in their minds, producing hardly any effect beyond what is cause by mere listening to words so amiable and bland.”

Challenging and true.

If we really believed the gospel that we’ve been called to live, don’t you that we would then live like it, even it meant dealing with the discomforts His commands may cause?

My heart burns.

Compassion is rising.

Who is God calling you to seek justice for? To show kindness toward?

The woman who lives under the overpass you see every day on your way to work.

The neighbor who’s soldier-husband recently came home wounded from war. She’s now a caregiver not only for her three young children but also for her disabled partner.

The teenager, pregnant for the second time, whos’ been ostracized by her family and really needs a shoulder to lean on.

All of these require time, energy and resources; gifts and extras that we may feel like we can’t give.

But know this…

If God births in you the compassion to help, He will also multiple in you the means to handle it.

Obeying Him is the key that unlocks that door.

Take each opportunity to know His will and do it without reservation.

Walk justly, mercifully and humbly with your God.