December 10, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Glynnis Whitwer, Senior Editor P31 Woman, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries, [email protected]
"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and has redeemed His people." Luke 1:68 (NIV)
Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist, which made him the uncle of Jesus. He was a man who became a father at an advanced age, and because he disbelieved an angel of God, was mute until the birth of his son. But Zechariah was also a man of faith who declared the coming of the Lord, and the redemption He would bring.
When Zechariah's son was born, God released Zechariah's voice and filled him with the Holy Spirit. Soon after that, Zechariah prophesied about the promised Messiah - Jesus Christ. Although not a prominent player in the traditional Christmas story, Zechariah's words still bring hope to a world that is in desperate need of redemption.
Jesus came to save the world, but first He came to save God's beloved chosen people, the Jews. The Jews had been slaves, their enemies continually attacked them without mercy and they lived in fear. Redemption to the Jews would have meant being set free from bondage or buying back something that had been sold or lost - such as their freedom and hope. Zechariah was looking for relief from all his people had endured. Jesus was the answer to everything Zechariah needed.
Today, the coming of Jesus is the answer to everything we need. We too have experienced being slaves to sin and addictions, we too have experienced attack from enemies who show no mercy and we too have lived in fear. We need a Savior who will rescue us.
Although at Christmas, we celebrate the sweetness of God in the form of a baby, and we remember His gift of love - we also need to remember that Jesus came as our Rescuer. Although it's hard to see this aspect of Jesus as a helpless babe, the power of God to overcome the world rested in that manger on Christmas Eve.
Whatever you are facing this Christmas season, I invite you to consider Jesus as your Redeemer. As Zechariah sang, Jesus came "to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days." (Luke 1:72-74 NIV)
My prayer for today:
Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your awesome power and love. Thank you for sending Jesus as my Redeemer and Rescuer. Help me to place my trust in Jesus to protect me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Identify the areas of your life where you need help. Offer those areas to God in prayer. Choose to trust Him to rescue you.
Are there any areas of your life that need redemption? (Exchanging what you currently have for what God has to offer.)
Read Zechariah's Song in Luke 1:67-79. What truths about Jesus are shown here?
Zechariah mentions the importance of being able to serve God without being afraid. When have you ever been afraid to serve God?
What allows us to serve God without fear? (Read the last part of verse 75)
This Christmas season, to help you understand the fullness of Jesus, list all the characteristics of Jesus you can think of. (Ex: He heals, He forgives, etc.)
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 1:7-8 (HCSB)
"The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You." Psalm 9: 9-10 (NIV)
"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support." Psalm 18: 16-18 (NIV)
"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Colossians 1:13 (NIV)
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
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