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Bible Study Bible Verse Devotional

Zechariah’s Prophecy 1: Day 14

“Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began,”

Luke 1:67–70, NKJV
The Prophecy of Zacharias (Zechariah)

We see again a strong theme of Luke, that of the power and work of the Holy Spirit in God’s people. Through the Holy Spirit, Zacharias speaks here of Jesus, the son of Mary, not his son John. The Holy Spirit showed the elderly father the promise of Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah, another theme in Luke as he seeks to make his readers certain of what they have learned. Zacharias learned firsthand of the holiness of God through the miraculous birth of his son. Now, he will proclaim this truth to all the congregation.

So begins an exuberant praise song of Zacharias, the first words he is able to utter since being struck mute at his meeting with the Angel Gabriel at the altar. This prophetic song is known by its Latin name which is derived from the first word, Benedictus, which means “Blessed be”. The Benedictus is one of three songs found in the beginning of Luke. The other two are Mary’s Magnificat and Simeon’s song. All three are prophetic revelations encased in praise.

In this case, we imagine a man who for 9 months or more has been unable to speak one word because of his doubt of Gabriel’s proclamation that Elizabeth would have a baby at her advanced age. Now the baby, John the Baptist, is here and Zacharias obeyed God in naming the baby John. His ability to speak comes back and with it a praise-filled prophecy tumbles forth out of his long silent mouth.

He blesses God for:

  1. Visiting his people
  2. Redeeming his people
  3. Raising up a salvation from the house of David
  4. Fulfilling the word of the prophets of old

Key Verse

““Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,” (Luke 1:68, NKJV)

The godly priest realizes that God has begun the work of coming among and redeeming his people. Jesus is to be born as a baby and called Immanuel, God With Us. Redemption is coming through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! He was born as a humble baby, died as a suffering servant and rose as a victor!

Lord, We praise you and we thank you for sending your Son Jesus to live among us and redeem us. Through him came the salvation of the whole world and there can be no better gift! Help us to proclaim this joyous news to others especially during this Christmas season. Amen.

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Bible Study Devotional

Zechariah Joins Elizabeth in Naming John: Day 13

And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:63-66 NKJV

A Second Chance

God gives people a chance to repent of sin, make up for a wrong deed or bad decision. Zechariah sinned against God by doubting him. God then made him unable to speak. Now, Zechariah is given again the opportunity to obey God in faith. This time, he acts in accordance to God’s will. He says that the child must be named John as the angel commanded. We can act like God in our relationships. When a child, spouse or friend wrongs us, we can choose to stay in unforgiveness or anger or we can give the person a chance to try again and do better. That’s called grace. God gave it to Zechariah and he lavishly gives it to you and me. We should be generous in giving this grace to others.

Overflow of the Heart

God knows our hearts. But actions demonstrate to a watching world who God is through those who worship him. Zechariah’s repentance and obedience were seen by the congregation of the faithful although his sin was before Gabriel and God only. Once Zechariah’s heart changed to faith and obedience, his public actions reflected his repentance. God then enabled Zechariah to speak. Through this episode, Zechariah has seen firsthand the power, majesty and mercy of God. His lips must praise the God who makes all speech possible. He can not restrain his praise. The praise of his heart ❤️ overflowed to his lips and God was glorified in the presence of the people.

The Encouragement of Praise

When God redeems is, picks us up and puts us back on the right path, all we can do is offer praise for his great mercy and love. Zechariah praises God with the voice God gives him. All the people see God’s power in this miracle and are encouraged and blessed by the praise flowing from Zechariah.

Let us take time often to praise God in the midst of others, especially when he delivers us. It will encourage and strengthen our fellow believers and can even bring souls to God.

Key Verse

And the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:66(b)

The hand of the Lord is with you. His mighty outstretched hand upholds you. When you stumble like Zechariah did, God will lift you up. God’s hand protects, provides and comforts. Guidance and discipline are in the loving hand of God. Praise God for not withdrawing his hand from us!

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for never leaving us or forsaking us. We praise you for your mighty strength and power and wisdom. With your hand you uphold the world. Yours are the hands that held back the Red Sea for Moses and we thank you for your hands clearing the path and making a way for us today. Help us to boldly obey you in faith knowing that your hand is always with us. Amen.

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Bible Study Bible Verse Devotional

John the Baptist is Born, the People Rejoice

“Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.””

(Luke 1:57–60, NKJV)

God’s Mercy and Faithfulness

God’s promise as given through the angel Gabriel is fulfilled in our first verse today showing God’s faithfulness. God used this miracle birth to strengthen the faith of the others in Elizabeth’s life. Once they heard of the childless, older woman giving birth, they knew that God’s miracle was the cause. God’s miracles are a sign of his mercy. Using the same word for “magnify” Mary used in the Magnificat, this verse tells us the Lord magnified his mercy to Elizabeth. An always merciful God showed great grace and mercy to Elizabeth. 

Rejoice With One Another

The miracle of the birth of John caused those around her to come and rejoice with Elizabeth. Similarly, once we focus on on God’s great mercy to us, especially in sending Jesus to die for our sins, we feel like rejoicing. Such unmerited favor shown to us by the Creator of all the world is cause for joy! What a privilege to rejoice with other believers as we testify about what the Lord has done for us. This is not a private event to be hidden from Elizabeth’s community but a time of proclaiming the mercy of God and celebrating a renewal of faith as all celebrate the blessing being given to one. 

A Public Life 

John will spend much of his life in public ministry. His life will not be his own but will be dedicated to the service of the Lord. The beginning of his life reflects this truth. Friends and relatives are gathered together for the beginning of John’s life, a life that points to our Savior Jesus. Elizabeth’s joy goes beyond her happiness at having a longed-for child late in life. She rejoices because God is going to fulfill his promises to Israel for a Savior and a King soon.

What’s in a Name?

Much is made of the naming of John in this passage. In the Old Testament, naming was a significant rite with religious significance. Names given by God were recognized as a special gift and especially meaningful. God gave new names as a sign of his new work in someone’s heart and life. In the New Testament, God gives us names as followers of Jesus Christ. We are overcomers, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, sons of God and a new creation in Christ among others. Remembering God’s names for us helps us to live in our true identity in Christ and reject names that God does not have for us.

Key Verse

When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. Luke 1:58 (NKJV)

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for your faithfulness and promises fulfilled! You are still a mighty, miracle-working God and we praise you and give you honor and glory. Thank you for the miracle you did for Elizabeth that showed your great mercy to her just as you showed great mercy to us by sending Jesus to die for the forgiveness of our sins. Continue to grow us in the grace and knowledge of your Word. Amen.

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Bible Study Bible Verse Devotional

Magnificat 2: Day 11

He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Luke 1:51-56 (NKJV)
Artist James Tissot

Humility Relies on God’s Strength

Mary prophetically declares the teachings of her son, Jesus. Those who follow him are to be servants, not lords. Jesus warned his followers not to seek the best seats at a feast or desire public honor for religious duties. New Testament writers emphasized these teachings of their Master, Jesus. Echoing Mary, they write that if we humble ourselves before God, he will lift us up. James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:5-6

God’s Kingdom is Not What We Expect

In our world, the rich and mighty are strong and rule. The lowly are ruled over and live in want. God rules his Kingdom differently. The rich are scattered, the mighty are cast down. God fills the hungry Psalm 107:9 and lifts the low into high places Matthew 23:12. He helps those who serve him. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble James 4:6. Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Savior of the whole world, will be born to a peasant girl in the country among the animals. Nothing will be ever be the same.

God’s Promises Remembered, Soon to be Fulfilled

Mary knows God’s Word so she knows the story of Abraham and his covenant with God. God promised salvation to the world through Abraham and his seed, Israel. These promises are to be fulfilled in Jesus. It is because of God’s great mercy that he helps his people. Mary sings with gratitude for God’s remembrance of her and all of Israel. When Mary looked around at her earthly life, oppression under harsh Roman rule, a subsistence farming life that barely provided for her needs and was subject to times of lack, things did not look good. It was easy to think that God had forgotten Israel and his promises to them. But Mary knew differently. In faith, she believed what the angel told her. Incredible, yes. Impossible, no. Mary trusted that God was about to do a new thing. She joyfully sang and praised the Lord for what he was soon to do.

God’s Strength and Mercy

Mary continues with her theme of God’s strength and limitless power. She recognizes God as the ruler of all. She also speaks of God being merciful, helping those who serve him. The two traits come together in our mighty yet loving Father. He is strong enough to strike down enemies yet loves enough to rescue those who humble themselves before him. 

Key Verse

He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy. 

Luke 1:54

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for your mercy to us. We do not deserve all that you do for us except that we live by faith in Jesus. Thank you for giving us the righteousness of Christ and recognizing his sacrifice on our behalf. Because of Jesus, we are saved! Help us to humble ourselves and resist pride as we rely on you to lift us up. Give us a heart to praise and worship you with our eyes to heaven, not on our circumstances. Amen.

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Bible Verse

Mary’s Magnificat Part 1: Day 10

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.

Luke 1:46-50 (NKJV)

Waves of Worship

Mary exalted God, worshipped him by seeing him on high, with ways above hers. Praise and worship of God leads to joy in knowing God as Savior. Yes, it is exciting to understand that God is not only a great, high God but that he loves us so much that he is our personal rescuer. 

Artist James Tissot

Through the March of Time

The theme of generations is seen twice in this short section. God is so big that all he does has big, generational consequences. Mary states, rightfully, that all generations will call her blessed. She reminds us of God’s multigenerational faithfulness and mercy to those who fear him (see also Exodus 20:6, Psalm 103:17-18, Exodus 34:6-7).

Descriptors of God

The Arrange Visual Verse Analysis of The AROMA Approach to Bible Study helped me to see all the ways Mary described God and herself in this passage. Mary’s proclamation of who God is echoes the Old Testament. 

God is:

  1. Mighty
  2. Savior
  3. One who regarded her and acted on her behalf
  4. One who did great things for her
  5. Holy 
  6. Merciful

Mary’s Identity

Mary describes herself in terms of how God sees her and deals with her much as we should find our identity in Christ. 

Mary is:

  1. Filled with praise
  2. Overcome with joy
  3. Humble
  4. Blessed
  5. Recipient of God’s great work on her behalf
Musical score from The Magnificat by J.Bach.

Extravagant Praise

Mary exalted God and proclaimed how his power radically changed her life. God took her, a nobody from no place memorable with no great future, and made her into a somebody, remembered for all generations to come. Mary recognized God did that for her just as Elizabeth acknowledged it was God who took away her reproach. Praise, joy, humility and reverence combine in a stunning declaration in this beautiful praise song by a young girl whose life would never be the same.

Read Devotionally

In the Read Engagement Point of the AROMA Approach, the R, one of the recommended mindsets for reading a passage is devotional. Focus on the devotional reading of this passage today. As you read, take time to praise the Lord for all he has done for you.

Key Verse

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,

And holy is His name. Luke 1:49

Mary has a fresh revelation of who God is, his power and holiness, because of what he did for her. Take a few moments to think about only one of the great things God has done for you. Praise and thank him for being mighty and holy and acting in your life.

Prayer

Lord, We thank you for your goodness to to us. You have truly done great things for us. You are holy, your name is holy and you are deserving of all the praise. We praise you Lord and give you all the glory! Thank you for your kindness and mercy towards us. We love you, Lord. Amen.

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Bible Verse

Mary Arrives at the Home of Elizabeth: Day 9

And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

Luke 1:41-45 (NKJV)

Geographic context

Although the name of the village of Elizabeth is not mentioned, it is thought to be Hebron, the village of the Levites because Elizabeth was a descendant of Levites.

The area was hilly and full of religious significance. The Cave of the Patriarchs was there and is still there today. 

Hebron, 1839. Thought to resemble ancient Hebron.

After a long journey, uncertain what she would find at her destination, Mary arrives at the home of her relative. Remember two of Luke’s themes are joy and the work of the Holy Spirit. We see both of those highlighted here in Mary’s initial meeting with and greeting of Elizabeth. Two extraordinary things happened when Mary arrived at the home of her relative Elizabeth in the hill country of Judah. Both showed the power and work of the Holy Spirit. 

  1. John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb
  2. Elizabeth cried out and blessed Mary as she recognized the Lord Jesus inside of her. 

Doing the AROMA Arrange Visual Verse Analysis helped me to see all that was going on in this passage. I  saw that Elizabeth was a prophet. God gave her prophetic knowledge and prophetic words in the blessings she proclaimed on Mary. All Mary did was greet Elizabeth and then, after being filled with the prophetic power of the Holy Spirit, she discerned and spoke God’s truth about Mary which we read today over 2,000 years later. 

Similarly, John the Baptist was also anointed by God to be prophet, even in the womb. The unborn John discerns the presence of his Lord Jesus and jumped for joy in the womb. His role as a prophet is established early. Surprising? No. God is the one who knits us together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13) and the Bible tells of God anointing Jeremiah as a prophet from before birth (Jeremiah 1:5). 

Elizabeth set the example of humility before Jesus for her son John. She was happy to call Mary blessed and not demand special blessing for herself as the mother of a spirit-filled prophet. 

Elizabeth knew her son was important but not as important as Mary’s son. The importance of John’s role comes directly from God because he was chosen by God. In his ministry, John will confidently state that he is not the Christ, he only points the way to the Christ. He acknowledges that he is unworthy of Jesus.

Just as Mary wondered at the favor shown to her in Gabriel’s announcement, so Elizabeth wonders at the honor of having her Lord, Jesus, in her presence. 

Key Verse

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

This popular verse is used in many ways. The emphasis is often on the first part while the last phrase is neglected. This is not a “believe in yourself” verse. It very specifically states that the blessing comes in believing what the LORD said. This is more than just making up your mind about what dreams you want to accomplish. God wants us to be in relationship with him and know his Word so we can discern what he tells us. This happens when our relationship with him is so strong and true that we know who God is, a trustworthy loving Father who holds all power in his hands. The blessing comes as peace and joy flood your heart and mind no matter how long fulfillment takes or what happens while you are waiting. God’s favor rests on the one who never gives up the hope we have in Jesus Christ. 

Our ultimate hope is an eternal one because promised eternal life for all who believe in Jesus and follow him. God’s Word tells us of this future hope and he will fulfill it. Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2–3, NIV)

We are blessed because God will fulfill every promise made!

Prayer

Lord, 

Thank you for your faithfulness and your steadfast love. We are grateful that you never change. We can depend on you to fulfill your word to us just as Mary did. In the hard times, in the waiting times, help us to remember to keep our eyes focused on you. Thank you for blessing us! Amen.

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Bible Study Bible Verse Devotional

Mary Learns of Elizabeth’s Pregnancy: Day 8

“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. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.”

(Luke 1:36–40, NKJV)
Mary’s Journey to Elizabeth

Comfort and Confirmation

Continuing with Luke’s theme of God doing the impossible, the angel Gabriel informs Mary of Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy. In doing so, he confirms that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the all-powerful miracle-working God who is getting ready to usher in a new era. Remember, Luke’s Gospel emphasizes the miracles of Jesus more than the other Gospels. We see this emphasized from the beginning of Luke’s narrative. It is only in Luke that we find this account.

Geographic Context

The O in AROMA stands for Orient. It is important to consider different types of contexts as e study the Bible. Geography is one type of context we can consider that adds to our understanding of a verse or passage.

Mary lived in Nazareth, a small, insignificant town in Galilee. Galileans were not respected among other Jews because they lived in proximity to Gentiles. Contrast this to where Mary is going, to Judah, the most important and exalted region for all Jews. Luke, in one of his themes that we discussed earlier, highlights God’s love and care for those who are considered low and outsiders. 

Mary journeys to visit Elizabeth. She goes with haste and the Greek word means “earnestly or with great concern”. I imagine that Mary was excited to share her testimony of God’s announcement through the angel Gabriel. In fact, she probably suspected that no one else would believe her but her cousin who had been similarly blessed by God. She was likely also looking forward to hearing from Elizabeth about her happy surprise and what God had done in her life. What a joy it is to celebrate God’s goodness with other believers! 

Mary had a far distance to travel to get to her kinswoman, Elizabeth, but she was determined to go and go quickly. The approximately 81 mile journey was an uphill one. It would have taken Mary 9 or 10 days to arrive at the home of Elizabeth. I imagine she set out on her journey, hopeful that God would provide for her and protect her on her way. She likely spent much of her time pondering all the angel revealed to her, wondering what she would find at her kinswoman’s home. God was faithful to devour her safely on her journey as we will see in our next lesson. 

Read: Parallel Translations 

One of the tools in the Read Engagement Point of The AROMA Approach to Bible Study is reading the verse in multiple translations. In this case, I used the Text Comparison Tool from Logos Bible Software and discovered something interesting.

Luke 1:37

NASB95 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

NIV For no word from God will ever fail.”

ESV For nothing will be impossible with God.”

NLT For the word of God will never fail.”

NKJV For with God nothing will be impossible.”

KJV 1900 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

LEB For nothing will be impossible with God.”

ASV 1901 For no word from God shall be void of power.

From the Text Comparison Tool, Logos Bible Software

What’s in a word? Mary’s affirmation of Gabriel’s announcement of God’s plan for her life is made more striking when we understand the precise word she used. Mary used the exact word that Gabriel used when he stated that God’s Word will not fail. This translation of “with God nothing will be impossible”, the most literal although perhaps not the most poetic, underscores Mary’s agreement with God through the angel.

The angel–  For no word from God will ever fail.” v. 37 (NIV)

Mary– “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. v. 38 (NIV)

Relationship 

Gabriel, acting for the Lord, used the miracle of Elizabeth’s pregnancy to reassure Mary and remind her of God’s miracle-working power. If God did it for Elizabeth, surely he could do one for Mary. It is in this way that the stories of Bible encourage us today. When we look at God’s mighty works in the Bible and throughout history, we build our faith. The Bible tells us many times to remember all that God has done. God knows we are likely to forget and need to remind ourselves, our children and one another of the power of God to do beyond what we could ask or imagine. He often works through our relationships and fellowship with other believers to remind us of who he is and who we are in Christ.

Response

Humble obedience describes Mary’s response to this strange, unsettling encounter with the Angel Gabriel. She recognized who she was, a “maidservant of the Lord”, because she recognized who God was. The only response to the holiness of God is humility. Remember Isaiah said he was a “man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5 ) and Peter said “depart from me for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8) when confronted with the holiness of God. Obedience flows from fear of the Lord and humility. Mary had both abundantly. Mary agreed with God. She fully submitted her will to God. 

Key Verse

 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: 38 (NKJV)

The second A in the AROMA Approach represents agree, the most important part of any Bible study. This verse is a beautiful example of humble obedience to our Holy God. It is an excellent verse to meditate on and/or memorize.

Prayer

Lord, we humble ourselves before you. Take our lives and may your will be done. Help us to submit to you and obey you in all decisions, big and small. Give us faith to move forward in the journeys you appoint for us. Amen.

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Bible Study Bible Verse

Names and Roles of Jesus: Day 7

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 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. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 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.”

(Luke 1:31–35, NKJV)

Jesus is given several names in this passage. Let’s do a visual verse analysis to emphasize this. 

AROMA Approach Arrange Visual Verse Analysis

The Name That Saves

  1. JESUS is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Joshua. The name means “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation” (Lexham Bible Dictionary)
  2. Son of the Highest- in some translations called the Most High, is a name for God, Yahweh, see also Ps 21:7; Acts 7:48.
  3. Son of God- this restatement of “Son of the Highest” follows the reason why Jesus will be called the Son of God. He will be born from the Holy Spirit and God coming upon her. Gabriel leaves no doubt that this child will be the Son of God.

The Role of King

His role in eternity is also described. He will be the King of kings in contrast to his earthly ancestor David. David was great but Jesus will be greater. David died, ending his reign as king. Our King Jesus will live into all eternity and his rule and reign will never end. The angel’s declaration of the Kingship of Jesus is the fulfillment of several Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah (2 Sa 7:16; Ps 89:3, 4; Isa 9:7; Jer 33:17; Da 2:44; 7:14, 27; Mic 4:7; Heb 1:8). One of these is in Isaiah 9:7 gives us a good example of the kingdom propephecy-

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

The Work of the Spirit

It is no surprise that Gabriel announces it will be the Holy Spirit along with the power of Yahweh who will accomplish the miracle of conception. Both were present at the creation of the heavens and the earth at the beginning. John says Jesus was present at the beginning of Creation (John 1:1) so it is fitting for his entry Into the world to live as man on earth will be accomplished in this way.

Key Verse

““How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”” (Luke 1:34, NIV)

Mary asks an obvious question that you or I would have asked in her situation. The angel of the Lord has pronounced what seems to be impossible. Did he not know that she was a virgin? Does he not understand basic human biology and how women become conceive?

How many times have you and I reacted with such questions to God? I admit, for me it has been too many times. Often I forget that God can do the impossible. He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Why should I doubt what a God like this can do? I don’t know why but I do that I have a God who loves me and will patiently remind me who he is and how much he loves me. His answer to my questions is always “I will do it by my Spirit and my power” just as the Angel Gabriel explained to Mary.

Prayer

Lord, help us to remember that you are an all-powerful God who loves us more than we can imagine. Bless us with confidence in you and who you are as we read these wonderful stories in Luke. May our faith in your ability to do the impossible be strengthened as we study your Word. Amen.

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Bible Verse Devotional

Today’s Work

For he does not think much about the fleeting days of his life because God keeps him preoccupied with the joy he derives from his activity. Ecclesiastes 5:20 (NET Bible)

Orient- Context

In this section, The Preacher, author of Ecclesiastes (thought by most scholars to be Solomon, son of King David), makes observations about the days and labor of man.

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (NIV)

Agree with God

It is not good for man to focus on the past or the future. The past is gone and can’t be changed. The future is unknown. Jesus says today’s concerns and duties are enough for us to work on. (Matthew 6:34)

This verse in Ecclesiastes suggest we should work with joy, intention and focus everyday. There is a work that God has for you TODAY. Do it well, with excellence and for the glory of God. Let the past go and give your future to God.

To paraphrase John Newton, author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”, should we not be able to trust our days in the hands of one who bled from those hands for us?

The Lord wants to fill our days with work and our work with joy. Will we agree with him?

Prayer and Praise

Lord, we worship you for being our Creator and the one who holds our days in your hands. Thank you for loving us. Help us to remember not to worry about the past or the future but to embark on Kingdom work every day in full confidence that you will bring us joy in all that we do as as we seek to glorify you. Amen.

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Bible Verse

Video- The AROMA Approach to Bible Study

Watch the video on the Arrange Engagement Point of the AROMA Approach. Video is from a presentation for NACWE.