Thursday, December 13, 2007

Luke 1:18-20 - Nagging questions

Scripture: Luke 1:18-20

Summary: This scripture occurs right after an angel tells Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth, will bear a son (John the baptist). Zechariah asks how he will know this is so because he is old. The angel says that because he didn't believe, he will be mute until the birth.

Thoughts: Zecharaiah hears the nagging question. How does he know what the angel said is true? He's probably wondering how he even knows that the angel is real and not a dream! We have many of the same questions in our lives. How do we know that Jesus Christ was a real person and was really raised from the dead? How do we know what God is calling us to do in our lives? I felt a call from God in my life about 7 years ago into full-time ministry. Now that I am reaching the end of my seminary education, I am struggling again with that call. Exactly how will that call play out? Exactly what kind of ministry does God want me to do? If I go to work for church A, will that limit my options in the future? I'm not sure. But in the end, I have to trust God to lead me in the right direction. Often God eliminates the wrong choices for me by not making them available. God provides for us in wonderful ways. I just need to learn to listen for God in my life and to trust God more fully.

Prayer: Give me grace dear God, to live with my questions until you are pleased to make my way clear. Amen.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Isaiah 40:1-5 - God's preposterous promise

Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-5

Summary: Comfort my people says the Lord. A voice cries out: prepare the way of the Lord. "Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all the people shall see it together."

Thoughts: This scripture reminds us that at some point, God's glory will be revealed. Perhaps this refers to the time when Christ will come again. Perhaps it refers to the coming of the kingdom of God that Jesus also proclaimed. Either way, we are called to prepare the way of the Lord. What does that mean? At this time of year, it usually means we need to prepare ourselves for the Christmas season. Prepare by remembering who Jesus was and what he shared with us. Let your faith shape the season of Advent for you. Let the promises of God be uppermost in your mind as you prepare to remember.

Prayer: Help me to prepare the way of the Lord, rather than focusing on preparing the Christmas presents. After all, it's Christ's birthday, not ours. Amen.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Mark 1:1-8 - God's preposterous promise

Scripture: Mark 1:1-8

Summary: John the Baptist is baptizing people for repentence of their sins. He proclaims that another is coming who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts: It's the beginning of advent, the season that we use to prepare for the coming of Christ. I want to share what Reuben Job has to say: "I can believe, rejoice, and wait trustingly and expectantly for the unfolding of God's promise given so many ways and most clearly in the Advent story. Thanks be to God!" Advent can be so many things for us. It can be the time we use to decorate the house, buy presents, send cards, and go to parties. Or it can be the time we use to prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming of the Christ, the coming of God in human flesh.

Prayer: God, I know I can't totally avoid all of the Christmas hype and busyness, but help me to spend time this season focusing on Jesus Christ and what his coming means to my life. Help me to spend some time pondering this miracle. Thanks be to God! Amen.