Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Unbelief vs. Belief

Today I thought, "I believe I'll start reading the book of Luke."  This is a great selection at Christmas time - right?

It's a familiar story - one we read often over a lifetime - but I love how we can always learn something new, how God's Word is always alive and active.

Luke begins by stating he was setting out to tell the story of Christ as an eyewitness, as one who knew Him intimately.  He begins to tell the story of the birth of John the Baptist.  Zechariah is ministering in the temple - offering incense - when the angel, Gabriel, appears with a message for him.  He and Elizabeth, who is barren, are well up in years - too old to bear children.  But Gabriel proceeds to tell Zechariah that he's been sent by God to tell him they will have a son - that they are to name him, John, and that God will use him to prepare the way of the Lord.

Zechariah's reponse?  "My wife and I are too old to bear children."   Unbelief.

How can I know this?  I know because Gabriel rebuked him for not believing and struck him dumb - telling him he would unable to speak until it all came to pass.  Zechariah's unbelief did not affect God's will or His plan - it affected Zechariah.

6 months later, Gabriel appeared to a young virgin named Mary - the cousin of Elizabeth.  God sent Gabriel to tell her she was highly favored and would bear a child who would be the Son of God.

Mary's response?  "Be it unto me as you have said."   Belief.

She asked for details, "How can this be - I have known no man."  She was given answers - "The Holy Spirit will overshadow you."

I've never before seen the two responses together - taken them into account, together - seeing the contrast.

How do we respond when God shows us something?  He may not send Gabriel - but He reveals Himself to us, shows us His will, speaks to us through His Word all the time.  Am I listening?  Am I responding in belief or unbelief?

When Mary went to see Elizabeth - she praised God for all He had done for her.  I think I might have felt He was doing it to me.  Mary believed and she was blessed!

Zechariah spent nine months in silence while God revealed His plan visibly to him. When Zechariah wrote, "His name is JOHN", he exercised belief.  He showed God he believed!  His tongue was loosed and he could once again speak - and he praised God.  He was blessed!

O, Father - open my eyes, let me hear You speaking to me through Your Word and help me to believe in obedience and praise!


Saturday, December 7, 2013


You read a lot about the different seasons of life.  There are books galore to instruct, inform and supposedly help one through each one. I have found that I seem to "wake up" one day and realize - hey!  What happened?  How did I get here?

That's how I've felt for the past couple of months.  We live life every day - but we do not realize it is passing and we can never live it again. Suddenly, I find myself in a different "season".  I have grown older.  Jay has retired from full-time pastoring.  We are in a sort of limbo - not really belonging anywhere yet.

In this season of Thanksgiving - I am so thankful for our children.  How God has blessed us! They never fail to encourage, support and attempt to supply any need they perceive.  They put up with us and love us in spite of our flaws.  They remember the good and forget any bad.

And I am MOST thankful for my Savior and my God, who never leaves nor forsakes.  He guides and provides in His perfect timing.  He is worthy of my complete trust - He has never failed me. He uses every season to teach me and conform me more to His image.  I have learned when things are out of my control...He is always in control and He is GOOD.  Thanksgiving and Praise!!