Posts Tagged ‘expected’

His Word to You

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” (Lk 1:28)

Here we have the amazing story of how Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel who told her she would become the mother of the Messiah. Naturally Mary was shocked and asked how such a thing could be, since she was a virgin. The angel did not go into a longwinded explanation, but simply told her “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk 1:35). That was good enough for Mary and she responded with a powerful declaration of faith: “Let it be to me according to Your Word”.

Discovering Favor:

That simple reply is at the heart of the mystery of answered prayer. Mary came to believe that as a virgin she would become pregnant and give birth to Israel’s long awaited Messiah. There were probably a lot of young Jewish women that might have hoped for that privilege, but Mary didn’t just hope it – she lived it. She knew a secret, because God had revealed His Word to her. Yet, she would come to live it out, only as she discovered her favored estate with God. For Mary to have felt favored by God would seem normal and expected in Jewish households, but a divine revelation from the angel Gabriel would have certainly emphasized its reality.

Favor Establishes Faith:

Now there would be nothing absurd about Mary’s belief in God, because she was finding His favor in His Word to her. It was rooted firmly in the Word of God’s supernatural encounter. God’s Word to her made faith… reality and had made the ridiculous… reasonable. As the angel told her, “With God nothing will be impossible!” I can almost hear a shout of “Amen!” as she embraced the words. “I am Your maidservant! Let it be to me according to Your Word.”

Receive His Favor:

Most of us are not likely to experience a visitation from Gabriel, but we have encounters with the Holy Spirit waiting for our embrace right now. The Bible is filled with words for us from God and there are angels that accompany our activities everyday. As Kingdom Agents, we are designed to walk in the favor of God and establish an atmosphere around our lives that allow His voice to become recognizable.

Like a fragrance, Mary found that favor longs to be discovered. You can be told that it is there, but it must be received and experienced, to be sought out and appreciated. God’s Word to you is like Mary’s secret, dependant upon your willingness to recognize His favor.

Appreciation

“I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.” (1 Cor. 16:17-18)

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.” (1 Thess. 5:11-13)

This morning I opened my email to find 2 wonderful notes thanking us for the work we do in Africa, and that made me think how wonderful the smile that emerged upon my face was to my faith. It was like a breath of fresh air! I could almost hear God say, “I want you to have a smile on your faith!” The Apostle Paul tells us that it doesn’t have to be complicated; we should appreciate the labor of others – tell them… and esteem them very highly in love.

Appreciation is like oxygen for the soul!

How would you describe someone who knowingly withheld oxygen from someone? Then why do we find it so hard to express our appreciation to people who add value to our lives? And by the way, if there’s no one in your life that you appreciate… that says more about you than the people around you.

Emotional Leprosy:

Beware that you do not become an emotional leper or self absorbed, “lone ranger”. Remember the malady of the leper was that they would lose their ability to feel. It is possible to become so obsessed with your success that you stop noticing others around you. Your ministry is not yours and never will be. And can I tell you the truth – God wants it back so it can increase!

Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). Do we truly understand that we can do nothing in terms of lasting fruit without Him? And second; have we come to terms with the concept that the word “branches” is plural? Jesus wants us to abide in Him as a people in loving fellowship with each other!

Being Grateful:

At its core, appreciation is rooted in gratitude. A selfish, self-centered, and self-obsesses person has no capacity to be grateful. What people do for us must never be overlooked or expected, as the other person’s job or duty. Recognizing the achievements of others begins when we esteem them more highly than ourselves (Phil. 2:3). Let’s notice the riches of other people and stop letting our desire for personal gain or success rule our heart. Its a grateful heart that unlocks the pleasure of fellowship! Tell someone that you are proud of them, today… tell them you see their effort and that you appreciate them for who they are in your life.

And you know what? You might find a smile awakening in their… faith!

The following note was written by my oldest daughter – JoHanna Bateman.

“That moment when you finally clean out your purse and you find a note (you forgot to read) from a girl in youth group. And you just sit there staring at it, reading it over and over and crying your eyeballs out. Realizing that just simply praying for someone and being their friend, can change their life and impact them forever. I never thought simply asking someone how they’re doing every Wednesday could impact their life so much. It helps us believe in a God we have never seen. How beautiful it is, when the love of Christ is shown through people. Is that not what I was made for? To reflect the glorious face of Jesus?”

Two things I encourage you to do today:
1. Ask people how they’re doing… and care about the answer.
2. Clean out your purse. You might find a long lost note that will awaken a smile.

I’m so proud of you, sweetheart!

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