Tag - Mary

How to Respond When God Answers Your Prayer
A Season of Promises Fulfilled: God With Us
My Understanding

How to Respond When God Answers Your Prayer

We had a very special Sunday school class this past week as my fellow teacher, Stephanie, contrasted Zechariah’s and Mary’s responses to the Angel Gabriel when he delivered this similar messages to them:

Congratulations! You Will Have a Baby!

Wow! An angel delivered this message to Zechariah. And he responded…well…poorly to say the least.

Basically, here’s my recap of the scenario from Luke chapter 1:

Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, have been praying for a child. An angel appears and says, “Great news! God has answered your prayer and you’re going to be a daddy! He’s going to be AMAZING and you will be SO PROUD!” But Zechariah is NOT happy so he questions Gabriel. Angered, Gabriel yells at Zechariah and takes away his ability to speak until the baby is born!

Wow! Can you imagine not being able to speak for at least 9 months? I can’t. In fact, I can’t even imagine going 9 hours without speaking. Sometimes, not even 9 minutes.

As Stephanie was teaching the lesson, I was nodding my head, remembering this story which I’ve heard most of my life. But as we exaggerated the dialogue (we really like getting into the moment), I realized something for the first time. Zechariah had been praying for a baby.

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A Season of Promises Fulfilled: God With Us

a season of promises god with us

Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the son of God appears
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, oh Israel

The lyrics to this song have survived since the 12th century. It reflects the longing that Old Testament believers felt for a Savior to come rescue them. They had forgiveness of sin but only through the regular shedding of the blood of animal sacrifices along with grain offerings. They had access to God but only through a priest. They longed for the One who would restore their relationship with God.

“And ransom captive Israel.” There is a ransom on our souls that you and I can never pay off. It is the grip of sin that has clung to humanity since Adam and Eve disobeyed.

We, too, long for our relationship with God to be restored fully. Through Scripture, we have the privilege to read about our Messiah who came – the One whose birth we celebrate this month. But we are still exiled on an earth heaven-laden with sin. We join in the lyrics as we long for the day that the Lord returns and makes all things new.


“Emmanuel” means “God with us.” Just as God kept His promise to the Israelites by sending His Son, Jesus, into the world, so we, too, can rejoice knowing that God will keep His promise to return to this world.

How is the reality of Emmanuel a promise fulfilled? Isaiah (7:14) tells us “the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

The one blank page between our Old Testament and New Testament doesn’t adequately convey the years of silence as the people of God awaited for this Messiah. We can only imagine how many people scoffed this prophecy as lunacy – how can a virgin conceive a child?

Luke 1 tells us that God sent the Angel Gabriel to “a virgin engage to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” His message? Another one of lunacy – that she would conceive a son, name Him Jesus; that He would be great, be called the Son of the Most High; that God would have Him reign on the throne of David with an everlasting kingdom.

Mary, in response, asks the one most logical question to this prophecy, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”

God hadn’t made a mistake or overlooked an important detail. His promise dating back to Isaiah was about to come true. Mary was willing to believe God enough to obey His will for her life and for the life of her son.

December is a wonderful time of the year – one full of celebrations and excitement. Let’s not forget that it’s also a season to reflect on God’s fulfilled promises to us.

My Understanding


Proverbs 3:5-8

I think I just missed my turn. In 5:00 p.m. In Memphis traffic, this realization can ruin your evening. My thirty minute drive home became an hour-long excursion as my GPS said my destination did not exist and my mom reassured me on the phone that if I took a left at the next light I would eventually recognize my surroundings.

The feeling of being on the wrong path is even worse when it involves the way you approach other people. Have you ever realized that you’ve been on the wrong side of an argument? Or that your reaction to a situation was out of line?  Have you ever tried to figure out a riddle only to hear the answer and realize that you were obsessing over the wrong detail?

Have you heard this one before? Mary’s father had five daughters. The first four were named:


Most likely, what is the name of the fifth daughter?

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