Thursday, July 30, 2009

John the Baptist - It's a Boy!

Luke 1:57-58 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.

The terms "Crime of Passion", "Hate Crime", "Jealous Rage" - are all very familiar to us today. These words litter police reports, news headlines and court proceedings. We live in a world where our actions are controlled by our envy. A society that has led us to believe that we can not be successful until we match the Jones' and once we've accomplished that, the Johnsons' and so on and so on. What if we went back to the way Elizabeth's friends responded to her joy.

When Elizabeth finally had her baby - there was no backtalk about how old she was, there was no comment under the breath about the struggled marriage with a mute man, no one questioned why God had chosen to speak to her about the birth of John.

It says that her neighbors and relatives 'shared her joy'. When was the last time you were happy simply because someone you knew had experienced a joyous moment. Whether it was a promotion or bonus, a gift or a new relationship - without the undertone of wishing it were you. I wonder what our headlines would read today if we all had neighbors like Elizabeth...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

John the Baptist - Because I Said So.

Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

Raising kids is a difficult task. Ask any parent (or grandparent) who has accepted the responsibility of teaching their child right from wrong. It's a long tedious process of discipline and reward that never seems to end. No loving parent enjoys discipline, but the long-term reward that it produces is beyond measure. And when your child actually comes to you for advice and follows it, the bond that is formed in that moment - one of love and respect, builds that relationship. I think the same is true of God and His children - if we choose to listen and learn, the reward is beyond measure.

When Elizabeth was told that she, a barren woman, would conceive - she could have spent that time doubting and worrying and fussing over what was to happen. When she actually did conceive, she could've spent the next nine months afraid of miscarriage, wondering if what God had promised would actually be fulfilled. But that's not what Elizabeth did - she praised God when she got news she would be pregnant - when she actually conceived, she spent months thanking God alone (wonder how Zechariah felt about this) and when she meets up with Mary she has a realization:

God had blessed them both because they heard and they believed and they never doubted.

Often times I second-guess the choices I make or the ones I'm about to make - but I truly believe it's because I didn't spend enough time in prayer before making it. When we make decisions after we've gone to the Lord and waited for His answer, those are the times to be confident - not only will you be blessed because God's answer will always have a better outcome, but you are blessed because you've been able to grow in your relationship with Him.