Category Archives: Christian Holidays

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.

PrayWaves.com

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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How to Survive the Holidays

Focus on Being more thankful

for-pray-waves

More and more our Thanksgiving holiday has been eclipsed by the commercial focus on the upcoming Christmas season. By October, merchants line their shelves with Christmas goods, and TV and newspaper ads remind us that Black Friday and Christmas are just around the corner.

The distractions of the season are ever present, but one way we can focus on what is really important is to increase our “thankfulness.” I’m challenging myself to purposely begin my prayer time each day with thanksgiving for all the blessings God has given me. Continue reading

THE PURPOSE OF GOD’S FIRE

The Lodgepole Pine

The Lodgepole Pine

Many of us have heard the analogy of God’s fire likened to the process of refining gold–removing the dross so that in the end we can be pure gold–reflecting God’s very nature.

But I doubt many of us have heard of the Lodgepole Pine. The cones of this tree have a layer of resin and woody tissue that stick the cone scales together. The seeds are locked in tight and the cones can’t open unless they’re exposed to VERY high temperatures–the type of temperatures that forest fires generate.

These pines LOVE forest fires! (How many of us can say that about the fiery trials we face in our lives?) In fact, they eagerly await the fire! Why? Because that is the only way they can release their seeds to proliferate new trees. In fact, these pines are famous for colonizing post-fire landscapes. Continue reading

Asking God Those “How” Questions

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. Continue reading

Good Friday and Passover Coincide This Year (2015)

For only the second time this century, the Christian remembrance of Good Friday and celebration of Passover for Jews coincides.

The Last Supper celebrated by Jesus and His disciples was actually the Seder Meal

The Last Supper celebrated by Jesus and His disciples.

While Christians are remembering the crucifixion of Jesus this Friday evening, Jews will be sitting down for the first Sedar of Passover.

While I’m not Jewish, I am a Christian who believes it is very important for us to understand our Jewish roots and the rich symbolism and the prophecies of the Old Testament that are fulfilled by Jesus’ life and death. Jesus literally fulfilled the Jewish celebration of Passover by becoming the Passover Lamb for all who would believe in Him then and now. Continue reading