January 1 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 1
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I sat down to write today’s post, and God whispered that I needed to look at my journal entry from January 1, 2014. The ever-obedient servant (Ha! NOT!), I obeyed Him this time. Leading up to this date, I had faithfully followed the reading plan from The Divine Mentor for about 2 years, daily reading God’s Word. Here’s my journal entry using SOAP from January 1, 2014:
Scripture – Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Observation – The angel tells Mary this after she questions how she can have a child when she’s a virgin. The angel tells her how then adds how God gave Elizabeth a child too. Elizabeth and Zechariah were faithful and followed God’s laws but suffered shame and disgrace because Elizabeth was barren. How long they waited in their faithfulness! But they did not curse God rather rejoiced in His provision. Even when something seems illogical or unfathomable, it is a possibility with God backing us up.
Application – It’s a new year and a new commitment to my time with You, Lord. The One Thing that can’t be taken from me is my relationship with You. That means I need to make You more of a priority in my life. If by journaling I can grow in my walk with You, then that’s what I have to do. Nothing is impossible with You.
Prayer – God, please help me to stay in touch with You in 2014, to crave this time with You, and to grow in knowing You and shining Your love and light to others—my family first. I know this is a tall order but help me not to make excuses, not to procrastinate, and not to distract but to bathe in Your light daily. I know it is possible, but I know it’s not through my strength or trying but only with You.
So, what happened in 2014 with my resolution to journal? Well, I stayed strong for the first three months, using Discover One Thing to help, then I got really busy with work, with doors flying open on a service project that had been on the back burner for 2 years, and with a 1-yr old who started walking. I stopped journaling for a few months, and I sunk into depression, losing my two closest friendships and making a family decision to leave our church. Let me be clear on this—I was still reading my Bible daily; I just wasn’t taking time for God to speak to me through it. Those were the times I needed my personal time with God the most, only He could fill my lonely void, and I wasn’t making time for Him. I realized this in the middle of the summer and started journaling again, then from that flowed re-connecting in a new church and finding new friendships, a moms Bible study group meeting in my home, being asked to join the Discover One Thing team, and now facilitating the Discover One Thing Online Bible Study. Hallelujah! Praising my awesome God who answers prayer! Perhaps there were just as many bad things happening in my dark period this last year as there were when I felt closer to God, but the biggest difference was focusing less on myself as I spent more time with Him. As I draw near to God, I can see His blessings more and more.
This gets me to thinking, what could God do in your life if you took the time to listen to Him and process what He’s telling you through His Word? What could God do if all of us made this commitment? I can’t even fathom. So, let’s get to it!
READ: Luke 1
If you joined us for our Advent study last month on the Jesse Tree, these first few days of readings will be quite familiar. See my archived posts from December 21 and 22 for a Christmas flavor on today’s reading.
Luke’s first paragraph gives us his reason for writing this gospel. Luke was a missionary with Paul, so in order to create his account, he interviewed the people who were first-hand witnesses to the life of Jesus (vs. 3). Though Luke doesn’t outright say this in the first paragraph, 2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” Thus, it is implied that God is using His willing servant Luke to write this account of the life of Jesus. Why do you think Luke didn’t mention God in his first paragraph? I’m not entirely sure but perhaps partly because his audience at this time were Romans who needed the logical approach that Luke was taking to show this awesome man Jesus as proof that there is one God.
During our Advent study, I learned that there was a 400-year gap between prophecy and angels appearing in the Old Testament and the prophecy and angel encounters recorded here in Luke 1:11-20, 26-38, and 67-79. These people were facing a severe drought of the Divine on earth! Then BAM! Angels and prophecy with Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary—ordinary people yet main characters in the beginning of the life of Jesus. From Luke 1:17: “And [John] will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” In their God-drought, the Jews knew they were sinners, not good enough to get to God on their own, but God was sending John to them to prepare their hearts to accept their Savior.
From Luke’s eyewitness account, what did the angel tell Mary about the son to whom she would give birth? One of the things the angel said is that he would be called the Son of the Most High. Luke’s gospel tends to focus on the human nature of Jesus and uses the relationship of father and son to help us understand the relationship between God and Jesus.
Mary is such a great example of a humble servant of God. I have trouble fathoming that she’s just a teenager when she responds to the angel and sings her song in vs. 1:46-55. She shows wisdom and humility well beyond her years. God knew that; that’s why He chose her. How can we be more like Mary in humbly serving God? How can we train our kids to be more like Mary? The angel reminds us in vs. 1:37 that nothing is impossible with God.
Nothing is impossible with You.
To You, My God, be the glory for everything in my life in 2014! Thank You for showing me how you answered my prayer of a year ago. I do crave this time with You every day! And I re-commit this new year to You. I seek to humbly serve You. Please guide me this year, and help me to obey You.
I pray for each of the readers as they enter this new year! Please help us to stay in touch with You in 2015, to crave this time with You, and to grow in knowing You and shining Your love and light to others. Nothing is impossible with You!