42 “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. — Luke 22:42-43 NLT
As we read about all the miracles that Jesus performed while He was here on earth we sometimes forget and need to be reminded that He, like us, was fully human. He did all of His works as a man, not as God. He even told us that He could do nothing in and of Himself but that He could only do the works of the Father.(John 5:19). We are told by the writer of Hebrews that even though Jesus was the Son of God, He still offered prayers and pleadings to the One who could rescue Him from death (Hebrews 5:8). Jesus knew and understood His mission because He had been in on the planning session that occurred before the foundations of the earth were laid. But in the flesh, He was not looking forward to the experience of being separated from His Father for the first and only time in His life. Separated because when He took our sins upon Himself, the Father could not look at Him or comfort Him in any way. While Jesus was in the flesh as a man, God sent Moses and Elijah to talk with Him about His death on the Cross (Mount of Transfiguration, Luke 9:31). As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, God sent an angel to strengthen Him. What we need to realize is that God does the same thing for us. If we listen carefully and heed His words, we will find that there is nothing that happens to us that He has not carefully prepared us to bear. Jesus lived every day knowing the cruel death that awaited Him on the cross. Yet, He set His face toward Jerusalem and never turned back. Do we live every day prepared to die for what we know is true? If we do, then we can die prepared to live forever and that knowledge should remove any fear of death that we have.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. — Luke 1:31 NLT
To anyone who knows anything about the Bible this is a very familiar story. The angel of the Lord appears to a young girl named Mary and prophesies to her that even though she is a virgin she will give birth to a son without ever having sexual relations with a man. Not even considering the legal and social ramifications, this is an amazing announcement. How is this young girl to understand this? She is being told by an angel (which I understand could be quite a frightening sight) that something that has never been known to happen before and will never happen again is about to happen to her. We can’t know what experiences or situations she had been through before but somehow God had chosen her and prepared her for this occasion. Mary trusted God to do exactly what Gabriel said. When God speaks to us, whether it be through an angel, His Word, His people, a dream or a vision, do we have the faith to take Him at His Word and act on it? Even if that action could result in us being put in a situation where we could very easily be ridiculed and cast out? Or do we say this can’t possibly be God and He can’t possibly be asking me to do this? God needs those that are willing to be world-changers no matter the cost here on earth. He has a plan for each of us and He is asking us to participate in His work, Are willing and ready to do so? If we are and we say yes, God will take provide the ability and the resources. Do we trust Him to do that?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Can you imagine the thoughts that must have gone through Mary’s mind at this announcement? The thoughts of the shame of being unmarried and pregnant? She would be ridiculed and possibly put away by Joseph, her betrothed. What faith it took for Mary to say, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you have said happen to me”. And, then, Joseph, how could he accept this? Surely, Mary had been unfaithful and gotten herself in this condition. But God!
But God had a plan and a purpose. Can we even imagine what God could do through us, if we had even a hint of the faith that Mary and Joseph displayed in carrying out God’s marvelous plan. How many times has God spoken to us and we have responded with “How can this be?” Will we say “let everything happen to me” to God, even when it doesn’t make sense to us? Do we believe or do we just mouth the words? But God!!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
“There was great joy” when the people were told that they had done the one necessary thing they needed to do to be saved. When we are first saved in today’s society, we need to be very careful who we listen to. As Paul said, “if anyone, including an angel from heaven and/or me, comes to you and gives you some different message, that person should be cursed.” Gal. 1:6 (my paraphrase}. The letter did go on to give the new converts some guidelines as to what they should or should not do. The letter did not claim that these guidelines had to be followed to complete their salvation. It is still the same today, when we personally witness to someone who accepts Jesus as their Savior, we need to take a few minutes and give them some encouragement and guidelines as well. We need to explain to them that satan will waste no time in trying to discourage them and make them doubt their salvation. We need to encourage them to find a good Bible teaching church and a good mentor to help them along the way. After the initial acceptance of Jesus as our Savior, we need someone to help us understand that the Holy Spirit will come alongside us and help us learn to “walk in paths of righteousness”.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.—Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV
Since we don’t actually see the angels and the demons surrounding us, it is hard for us to stay aware of the continuous battle going on around us everyday. But there are several examples of this in the Scriptures. The example in Daniel 10 involves at least two demonic princes and two angelic princes.
20 So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.–Daniel 10:20, 21 NIV
Just as Daniel was not physically involved in the battle, neither are we. Our battlefield is our mind. That is why our armor is not physical armor, it is invisible things that protect our thought patterns from being overwhelmed by evil. These weapons are truth, righteousness, readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. For us to be fully dressed in the armor God has provided for us takes time. It is not a piece of clothing that you can just throw in the corner and then grab when bad times come. It takes hours and hours of prayer, Bible study and meditation to get fully dressed. satan knows where the holes in our armor are. We must pray daily for the Holy Spirit to show us the holes and then spend whatever time it takes in prayer and Scripture study to mend those holes. While we reside in this old piece of decaying flesh, we will never be able to fill all the holes. That is why God has His angels encamped around us.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.—Psalm 34:7 NIV
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I am ready to die for you!” 38 Jesus answered, “Are you ready to die for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know me.”—John 13:37,38 (NCV)
Jesus knew Peter’s weakness, just as He knows each of ours. He knew that Peter would deny Him even though Peter was so sure that He would not. It is easy to criticize Peter. But we seem to forget that the other disciples left as well. How many times have we failed Jesus?
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’–Matt. 25:43, NIV
But the great thing is that He always forgives us when we fail, just as He forgave Peter. When the women went to the tomb where Jesus had been, the angel sitting there told them this: 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”–Mark 16:6,7 (NLT)
Jesus made sure that Peter was specifically included in the invitation. Jesus will always be waiting with open arms to receive us no matter how many times we fail. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 8:38,39 (NLT)
28 Father, bring glory to your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have brought glory to it, and I will do it again.” 29 The crowd standing there, who heard the voice, said it was thunder. But others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus said, “That voice was for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the time for the world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be thrown down.—John 12:28-31 (NCV)
God the Father confirms that what is planned will bring glory to His name and that Jesus is doing what He has come to earth to accomplish. Even after hearing the voice that some thought sounded like thunder and others thought was the voice of an angel. they still did not understand and believe. Jesus tells them that the voice was for their sake, not His. He is completely confident that He is doing exactly what He is supposed to do. The world was judged to be sinful and all that sin was put on Jesus. The very moment that Jesus dies, God accepts His sacrificial death as payment for all of our sins. The master plan of satan has been defeated. Now it is up to each of us to believe this and accept it. God made the plan of salvation simple enough for a child to understand and accept. But that acceptance is just the first step on a journey with our Savior and Lord. The journey might get rough in spots, but His grace is more than sufficient to carry us. 9 Each time he said,“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.—2 Cor.12:9,10 (NLT)
30 The angel told her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor[a] with God.
31 You will become pregnant, give birth to a son, and name him Jesus.
32 He will be a great man and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be? I’ve never had sexual intercourse.”–Luke 1:30-34 (Gods word)
Can you imagine the thoughts that must have gone through Mary’s mind at this announcement? The thoughts of the shame of being unmarried and pregnant? She would be ridiculed and possibly put away by Joseph, her betrothed. What faith it took for Mary to say, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you have said happen to me”. And, then, Joseph, how could he accept this? Surely, Mary had been unfaithful and gotten herself in this condition. But God! But God had a plan and a purpose. Can we even imagine what God could do through us, if we had even a hint of the faith that Mary and Joseph displayed in carrying out God’s marvelous plan. How many times has God spoken to us and we have responded with “How can this be?” Will we say okay to God,even when it doesn’t make sense to us? Do we believe or do we just mouth the words? But God!!