Posted tagged ‘Gabriel’

Humbled and Blessed

December 8, 2014

 

“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)

It seems that so many of the people that we encounter in the Bible that are blessed by God in some significant way are men and women of humble circumstances. Think about it! Peter was crucified upside down because he didn’t consider himself worthy enough to be nailed to the cross the same way Jesus had been crucified.

Ruth was spotted by Boaz as she was gleaning in the field. Gleaning was a way that people who was poor- people trying to survive- could gather grain to feed themselves.

Paul was supported by the generosity of the first churches. He was the one who wrote Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing our of self ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider other better than yourselves.” And then in describing Jesus he wrote, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8) Paul had been humbled by the appearance of Jesus on the road to Damascus, an event that blinded him for a while.

Humbleness is not a quality that gets much print these days. Recently a college football player was thinking too much about his celebration antics for scoring a touchdown and dropped the football prematurely before he crossed the goal line. The defending team picked up the football that was bouncing around on the one yard line and returned it 99 yards for a jaw-dropping score. If the player who had been intent on being in the spotlight had put his selfish ambition to the side and simply crossed the goal line his team would have been ahead 14-0. Instead it was suddenly 7-7 and the momentum changed for the rest of the game.

Mary was called by the angel Gabriel to be the mother of the Christ-child. Her spirit of humility showed in her response to the angel in Luke 1:38.

“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

Two millennia later we celebrate the humble woman who was blessed by God. In terms of the blessings of God, he often goes against the grain and chooses the insignificant, the poor, the stutterer, the elderly, the common folk to carry out his greatest plans and purposes.

The Beginning of a Story

December 2, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                  December 2, 2014

                                            

Each of us live in the midst of beginnings and endings. Our days are punctuated by both. We begin by ending the torturous sound of our alarm going off. We end the day by beginning another night of sleep. Seldom, however, do we consider that one event or one conversation could be the beginning of something God-inspired and ordained.

The gospel of Luke begins with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. When Zechariah went into the Court of the Priests to burn incense and offer prayers for the people he never would have considered that it was the beginning of a life-altering event. The honor of performing the priestly duties was incredible by itself, but who would have thought that an angel named Gabriel would be joining him in that inner place?

That encounter changed things! And it began things!

Zechariah receives the angelic message that he’s going to be a dad. His wife, Elizabeth, though she had not been able to have children before this and was well along in years, would get pregnant. His name would be John, though it was not a family name.

The end of Zechariah’s priestly duties was the beginning of a new story that would be echoed down through the centuries. Little did he know that the words of Gabriel carried hope and a new direction for mankind.

I was recently delighted to hear about a story that came out of La Salle Street Church in Chicago. The church had received $1.6 million dollars in a real estate transaction and decided to use $160,000 of it for the cause of good. Five hundred dollars was given to each of the 320 regular attenders to do good. The stories of what people decided to use their money for were incredible. One lady used her gift to gift other children at her daughter’s grade school with winter coats and clothing. One young man, who was from Jordan and a student at Moody Bible Institute, used his funds to contribute to the building a new skate park in Jordan.

Each gift was seed money for new beginnings. People were able to help others. It was a ripple effect of goodness filtering through a city and even into other countries.

We never quite know how our words, actions, and decisions will begin new stories in other lives, but God does!

 

Seeing Your Child’s Future

December 2, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         December 2, 2013

 

“Words from WW” will be doing a series of blog posts during Advent. Please feel free to share then with others.

 

                                    

 

How would it effect us as parents if we were able to see what our child’s life will be focused on in the future…but we will see it now? How might the hopes of our hearts for our children blossom if someone told us the future impact of the little one that is crawling around on the floor around our feet?

Advent is about hope and promise. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the temple of the Lord as Zechariah was burning incense and going through the duties of the priest, he shared the future of Zechariah’s son, who had not yet even been conceived.

“Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous- to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:16-17)

     It was an angelic proclamation of what was to be. It left Zechariah dumbfounded. He had resolved himself to being a father to no one. His wife was far past the age of childbearing. His future was simply a picture of the two of them growing old together, never enjoying the sounds of infant laughter and conversations of discovery with a child who asked endless questions of “why?”

And then he’s confronted with the news not only of a pregnancy that will start soon, but also of what his offspring will do with his life, the coming again of another Elijah.

Most parents worry about their children. First there is getting them through adolescence and orthodontics; then comes paying for college, followed by the anxiety of finding a job after college. Parents worry that their children will never reach their potential, that the dynamics of out times weigh against twentysomethings.

So, what would it mean for a parent to know that his child will have a life of impact and purpose?

But, in essence, God does have that in his plan! He desires that each one of us live a life of fulfilled promises. Sometimes we just have a hard time believing it.