3 posts categorized "Gospel of Luke"

Advent - God of Surprises

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I sat chatting with my publisher. We’d only just met face to face for the first time and here we sat, an Englishman and an Aussie, having a cup of tea (as in hot) in a café in a Nashville hotel. We were attending a Christian Writers Conference, he prospecting for new content and I hoping he’d give me an update on my manuscript that I’d sent through to his employer three months previous.

Unfortunately, Tony knew nothing about my manuscript. He was now a contractor to the business and so wasn’t involved in the day-to-day. I thought we’d end up having a nice chat about nothing in particular until he quickly changed the subject with the question: “Have you thought of writing non-fiction?” (for those of you who don’t know I write fiction).

My heart jumped a little. I’d come to the conference having played around with an idea for a non-fiction project to discuss with some of my writing friends and one in particular, our very own Dineen Miller. But I didn’t plan on pitching it, as this was a fiction conference so I naively thought who’s going to be interested in non-fiction? Well, Tony was.

Not being prepared, I babbled out an idea and it was clear to both Tony and I that all I had was a general concept. He kindly agreed to my suggestion of sending him a proposal in the next month.

As soon as I finished with Tony I sought out Dineen and with much excitement shared what happened.

I’ve attended two of these conferences now and both times the Lord has surprised me.

Mary

We’re all familiar with the story in Luke 1. Last week we looked at Gabriel surprising Zechariah with the news of a baby. In verses 26-38, Gabriel appears a second time to a poor Galilean peasant girl. Most commentators believe Mary was 13 or 14 years old. It was relatively common in those times for girls of this age to be married and pregnant and I’ve always loved the innocence of Mary’s question to Gabriel: “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (v34 ESV)

This was only the first of a lifetime of surprises for Mary. God turned this girl’s life upside down in an instant.

Mary and Elizabeth

The surprises continue. And we’re still in Chapter 1. Mary’s now pregnant and she visits her cousin, Elizabeth who is now almost six months pregnant.

“and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit ”” (v40-42 ESV)

The babe inside Elizabeth, ie, John, leaped when Mary greeted Elizabeth. The spiritual electricity is hot. The baby senses the presence of the Messiah. And then Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit! Wow.

After this initial Holy Spirit-charged greeting, Mary, we’re told remained with Elizabeth for about three months. (v56) Here we have a 60-year-old woman, six months pregnant, with her fourteen-year-old cousin who was in her first trimester. Both women no doubt supported each other in very practical ways through their respective pregnancies. Just imagine some of their conversations! 

Can we presume Mary was present at the birth of John? Did she assist in the birth? Did she hear Zechariah speak his first words after being mute for nine months?

And then Mary went home. With a baby bump. Surprising her betrothed, their families and communities. I expect Mary would have been dreading that day of departure. 

How has God surprised you recently?

It didn’t take long for more surprises. Chapter 2 starts by telling us that the Romans are planning a census and everyone needed to go to their own towns to register. Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem “the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David” (v4) only for Mary to soon go into labour then giving birth to Jesus in a barn because the inn was full due to the influx of people registering.

The Messiah! Born in a barn? Another surprise.

As we journey closer to Christmas, now only 14 days away, may we all be surprised by our Lord. May we all have expectant hearts as we keep our eyes on Him.

When was the last time the Lord surprised you? It would be lovely for us all to share in each other’s surprises by adding them in the comments. I trust this will fill us with even more hope as we wait upon the Lord in this season of Advent.

Grace and peace,

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A Big Word for a Little Man

23765716_sDear friends, I've finished reading the book of Luke and have one final story to share. Again I thought this was two stories, two nuggets but the Holy Spirit impressed upon me the bigger picture AND how they are linked together to my previous post about the the Kingdom of God Within Us. I just love it when He helps us make those connections!  

This time the story begins with Zacchaeus. Is that Sunday School song going through your head?

​He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 

So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 

And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” — Luke 19:1-10 EVS

This story has always fascinated me in how this "wee little man" had such a dramatic turn of heart. No doubt, the Holy Spirit was already at work, but I found a little more to this story in that one word Jesus uses.

Must. Jesus says He "must" stay at his house. I looked up the Greek meaning of this word and was astounded by the force behind it:

dei — behoved, be meet, must (needs), (be) need(-ful), ought, should, must, ought, it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper, necessity lying in the nature of the case, necessity brought on by circumstances or by the conduct of others toward us, necessity in reference to what is required to attain some end, a necessity of law. 

But this last part especially grabbed me:

necessity established by the counsel and decree of God, especially by that purpose of his which relates to the salvation of men by the intervention of Christ and which is disclosed in the Old Testament prophecies concerning what Christ was destined finally to undergo, his sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension.

After looking this word up, I understood how Zacchaeus had such a stunning and powerful transformation! This one power-packed word spoke to Zacchaeus the heart of his Savior and literally holds the promise and power of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

God's Word is powerful. It is life. Our own Joanne has been sharing this very message with us frequently in the comments, and I have a little more I want to share along these lines. We so often discount how powerful our words can be, to encourage and give life, because we think we don't have something to say, or we don't know what to say. 

Guess what? You don't have to have the words, because the One who lives in you does. Take a look at what Jesus said:

And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” — Luke 12:11-12 ESV

This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. — Luke 21:13-15 ESV

My friends, as we carry the kingdom of God within us, it makes perfect sense that the Holy Spirit will give us words of life to speak in any and every situation, whether in witnessing to a stranger or sharing our heart with our pre-believer. We can apply and expect this in every situation we encounter.

And I have a feeling you are doing this more than you realize as well. Those nudges to speak and act that we know are from the Holy Spirit are "living proof" of the Holy Spirit's presence and the fulfillment of Jesus' promise to us. Living in this understanding and awareness will open our eyes and heart to hear more and more.

Zacchaeus' big word is a powerful example of the Holy Spirit's presence in words. Pray for discernment snd believe that He's there and will teach you when and what to speak. I’m always amazed when the Holy Spirit does this. And don't be surprised if those words you wind up speaking come back to speak to your heart as well. Your faith and trust will grow too!

I love you, my friends, and I love walking this amazing faith journey with you!
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THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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Weary From Long-Term Issues

There is enormous insight in a well know passage in the book of Luke. If you have issues. If you are weary. If you are wondering where your breakthrough is... THIS VIDEO LOG is for you. 

I love you my friends. Have a great week. Lynn

 

 

A Woman With An Issue of Blood by: Lynn Donovan from Spiritually Unequal Marriage on Vimeo.

this is a profound story within a story from the book of Luke. Chapter Eight. Join me for several profound insights you may have missed.

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Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. -click or tap the photo-

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