Category Archives: Christian Holidays

Asking God Those “How” Questions

The Annunciation

The Angel’s visit to Mary.

While I wrote this post last Christmas, I wanted to share it again because the contrast between Mary’s question and Zachariah’s question always challenges my faith.

Have you every asked God “how”something He has said to you would ever come to pass? Two biblical characters, both of whom received angelic visitations before the birth of Christ, asked that same question. And God’s totally opposite response to both “how” questions may surprise you.  Continue reading

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Christmas Memories

Thankfulness at Christmas time

Christmas traditions remind us to be thankful.

In the Old Testament, God commanded that certain festivals and celebrations be held annually as a reminder of what He had done for His people. These celebrations were a vehicle to bring together the entire family, community and nation to celebrate God’s great mercy and to remember to be thankful for all He had done for them.

While God does not instruct us in how to celebrate Christmas, we can use whatever traditions we’ve embraced to help us remember God’s great deliverances in our lives and to be thankful for all our blessings.

Each year when I open my box of Christmas ornaments to decorate the tree, I discover so many memories connected to each ornament. I have ornaments from my wedding shower (a December wedding), ornaments from many of the places I’ve visited in my travels, a few left over from my childhood days, special ornaments marking baby’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd Christmas, and even some homemade ornaments from my daughter that still grace the Christmas tree.  Continue reading

Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year when we give thanks for all of our blessings—both as individuals and as a nation. Our thankfulness usually focuses on our material blessings—our daily provision of food, our jobs and homes, our family and friends and our freedom as a nation. While we should thank God for all of these blessings, how many of us ever give thanks for the trials and difficulties of the past year?

Why should we do this? Author and speaker, John Bevere says in his new book, Killing Kryptonite, that “Adversity locates the strength of our faith.” In other words, life’s difficulties are a kind spiritual thermometer that reveals whether we are trusting in our own ability to get through our trials or whether we are really putting our faith in God.  Continue reading

The Best New Year’s Resolution

 Guaranteed Success!

Happy New Years!

Happy New Year!

As we look forward to a brand new year, there’s no lack of information focusing on what we should do to guarantee success in various areas of our lives. Newspaper articles, TV and social media ads, etc. promise everything from weight loss to financial success, happiness and prosperity if only we purchase their product, follow their advice, etc, etc. etc.

Many people make New Year’s Resolutions, hoping to change their lives for the better in the coming year. However, according to research, while as many as 45 percent of Americans make these resolutions, only 8 percent are successful in achieving their goals. The problem is that success or failure usually rests on self-will and self-discipline which tends not to get us very far.

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

 

 

 

 

 

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Asking God Those “How” Questions

The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896

While I wrote this post last Christmas, I wanted to share it again because the  contrast between Mary’s question and Zachariah’s question always challenges my faith.

Have you every asked God “how”something He has said to you would ever come to pass? Two biblical characters, both of whom received angelic visitations before the birth of Christ, asked that same question. And God’s totally opposite response to both “how” questions may surprise you.

Zachariah’s story is found in Luke 1:5-25. His wife Elizabeth was barren and both had prayed many years for a child. One day when Zacharias was serving on duty at the temple, an angel of the Lord appeared to him and told him that God had heard his prayers and that his wife would bear a son who would be named John.

Zachariah should have been ecstatic. His prayer had been heard and was finally going to be answered after all these years. But Zachariah’s response to the angel was: “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” Even though Zachariah had prayed, the wait time had been long and perhaps he had begun to doubt. And maybe that doubt was even tinged with a little bitterness.

The angel’s response showed God’s displeasure with Zachariah. “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time.”

Jump forward six months when the angel Gabriel was sent to a virgin named Mary with a similar announcement: “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus . . . .” (Luke 1:26-38)

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Zachariah and Mary both asked the angel the “how” question, but one received God’s judgment, while the other received His favor. What was the difference?

Zachariah’s “how” question was asked in doubt, demanding proof. Mary’s “how” was asked in wonder and faith trusting that what God said would come to pass in spite of her lack of understanding. Her response to Gabriel’s announcement revealed her trust and submission: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

God doesn’t mind our “how”  questions when we ask in faith, trusting that He will fulfill His Word spoken to us. It’s the attitude of our heart that makes the difference. This Christmas season ask God to give you a heart like Mary’s—one that will believe and trust in spite of your “how” questions.

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The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896 The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1896

Have you every asked God how something He has said to you would ever come to pass? Two biblical characters, both of whom received angelic visitations before the birth of Christ, asked that same question. And God’s totally opposite response to both how questions may surprise you.

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