Christmas Hope and More!

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26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  (Luke 1:26-38)

No one could deny the fact that 2020 has been filled with fear, anxiety, and even anger moving toward hatred, not to mention all the confusion over the things that change daily.   While it is understandable that those who lack faith in the One True God would have a great difficulty in coping with the many family, school and social challenges, (and I choose to not even mention politics here), I find it awkward to note that nearly as many professing Christians are losing their grip on daily hope.   Hope is real and is the backbone of our faith expressed.  Allow me to remind you why believers have a great hope to rest on.

First of all, God is with you!   Remember, “and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us!”

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 

The Angel Gabriel appears before, and speaks to a young virgin Mary, saying “The LORD is with you.”    And in doing so, he reminds her how greatly God loves her.     Beloved, Christians do not need to be in the presence of an Angel for God to be near.   He is always with you!   God loves you greatly, and is by your side no matter what you deal with.     Jesus has promised, as Hebrews reminds us, to never leave nor forsake us.  That is indeed a reason to have hope in uncertain times.   The God Who knows all things, and having all Power and Authority, is with you at all times!

Secondly, God Says, “Do not be afraid.”    After the Gabriel gives Mary a gentle greeting, he immediately tells her with much compassion, “Do not be afraid”.    Can you imagine how difficult that might be for us?     An Angel suddenly appears out of nowhere and she is not supposed to be afraid?    Yet, we hear this same reassurance in Scripture nearly every place that refers to a Holy encounter.    When God speaks into our troubled hearts, He reminds us to not be afraid.    Gabriel knows Mary’s first impulse will be fear, so he addresses her immediate need and tells her to not be afraid.

Can you sense her shoulders relax a little at the words “do not be afraid”, maybe she was even able to catch her breath a little?    Her heart opened to trust what came next.

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

When you feel troubled, remember the Angel’s words, “do not be afraid” and place your trust in God.

The last reason a believer can have hope in these days is, with God nothing is impossible.   After Gabriel shares with Mary what must have seemed to be the most outrageous request from God, he reminds her that God never fails.    The weight of the impossibility of God’s message to Mary lifted in one sentence: With God nothing is impossible.”  

 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Can you imagine the questions, worries, and fears that must have started running through Mary’s mind as she listened to all that Gabriel had said?    “What will I say to mom and dad?”   “What about our friends and neighbors?”   “Oh no; what can I say to Joseph?!”    Yet, look how hope surpassed them all with this reminder from the messenger angel.    With the remembrance that God never fails, Mary gathers herself and decides to place her trust for her life in God’s hands.

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. 

When you feel overwhelmed, remember God never fails!   So, say “yes” and place your life in God’s hands and follow wherever He leads.

Have the hope of Mary, even in your darkest moments:      When the world seems dark . . .                       When circumstances seem overwhelming . . .      When the challenges in your life seem crushing . .

Mary’s response was to praise God.    She gives us a beautiful prayer full of praise and adoration for the God Who loves her.

46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
  (Luke 1:46-49)

 Our, (your), response should also be praise and adoration.     The more we incline our hearts into praising and adoring the God Who is always by our side, the more we are reminded of His goodness, and the reason for our hope in Him.    We have hope because we have God by our side.

When you feel alone, remember God is with you.    Find hope by praising and adoring the God Who loves you no matter what, and Who is always by your side, and do not be afraid!

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Jerry McCullah has been involved in various prayer ministries since 1993 and is currently pastor of Green Valley Bible Chapel of Green Valley, Ca. As CSBC Prayer Consultant, Jerry McCullah is available to assist churches and associations in the training and development of personal prayer and prayer ministries, through consultations, seminars, concerts of prayer, and prayer revivals. As Impact Prayer International President, Jerry McCullah is able to work across denominational and international borders to do the same. Jerry: God has called me to encourage Christians into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ; one that is real and personal, which comes through a life of prayer. The world needs praying people! God seeks praying people! I am available to assist your churches in the training and development of a personal prayer life, and church prayer renewal, through seminars, prayer retreats, concerts of prayer, and prayer revivals. My passion is to excite Christians to the possibilities prayer opens up before them. With God all things are possible! Would you give me the honor to work with you to the fulfillment of these words: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven . . . deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:10,13)? Let’s schedule something for your precious people! Contact Info: 15724 Calle Hermosa Green Valley, Ca. 91390 661-270-9671 https://www.facebook.com/jerry.mccullah https://jerrymccullah.wix.com/ipi-prayerconsulting

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