Tag Archives: Elizabeth

Today’s Scripture – June 9, 2017

Luke 1:39-45 (NIV) At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

While Mary sorted all of this out, she decided that she would make the journey to the hill country of Judea near Jerusalem to see Elizabeth, and to witness for herself what God was doing. This was no lack of faith on her part, but a simple desire to see for herself the miracle that Gabriel had told her about. And Mary hoped to find in Elizabeth, as one who had experienced God’s power in her own body to do something impossible, someone with whom she could openly discuss her own experience.

As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the baby jumped in her womb, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit, instantly seeing things that were invisible to other eyes, able to understand things that were hidden, and given clear words to speak God’s truth boldly.

For example, Elizabeth knew that Mary was pregnant, and that the baby she was even then carrying was the Lord, the promised Messiah. Because of that, Mary, as the one whom God had selected for this role, was truly the most blessed woman who had ever lived. And she also knew that there had been a moment when Mary had had to trust in God’s word, and to say agree to His plan for her life. She knew that when that moment had come, Mary had trusted and agreed.

Elizabeth was surprised at Mary’s unexpected arrival, but she was glad that she had come for the same reasons that Mary had decided to make the trip. Here now was a woman who could relate to what she herself was experiencing; a woman with whom she could compare notes and with whom she could talk about things that no one else would really understand.

Father, by putting the urge in Mary’s heart to take the long journey south, You provided support and encouragement for both women during critical phases of their supernatural pregnancies. For Elizabeth, that support and encouragement came at the end of her pregnancy, when there would be fear that something might still go wrong. For Mary, it came at the beginning, when she most needed assurance that she had chosen the right path, in spite of the complications that she knew lay in front of her. Such great love and compassion You have for Your people! Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – October 21, 2013

Psalm 101:1-3a (NIV):  I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing praise.  I will be careful to lead a blameless life– when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart.  I will set before my eyes no vile thing.

Many today consider a blameless life to be far beyond the reach of the ordinary person.  Perhaps “a real saint” (and many Christians seem to know at least one of these), maybe THEY could pull it off, but it’s a goal too high for an ordinary person like them.

But people who think this way have already defeated themselves before the battle has even begun!  They ignore the fact that even in the days before the Holy Spirit was sent to indwell God’s people there were many who led truly blameless.  As just a few examples, look at Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, who were “upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.”  (Luke 1:6 NIV)  There was not a trace of a legalistic patina covering a sinful heart in them; they were legitimately blameless before God.  And look at Simeon, a man who was waiting intently for the coming of the Messiah, and who was “righteous and devout.” (Luke 2:25 NIV)  That is GOD’s evaluation of his life.  And, of course, there was Anna, the widow who “never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.” (Luke 2:37 NIV)  Even Joseph, the husband of Mary, is noted as “a righteous man.”  (Matthew 1:19 NIV)

Were all of these individuals, living at the same time, strange or unique?  Were they freaks whose example cannot be reasonably imitated by “normal people” today?  Hardly!  These were normal, ordinary people.  What set them apart was not some genetic “quirk,” but their extraordinary devotion to God; their extraordinary determination to “lead a blameless life;” to resist every temptation so that they could live consciously in God’s presence.  It was an immovable, unshakable, totally unsinkable determination in their own hearts, an unbendable act of the will to follow God and His commands 100% that made their lives blameless.  They were so focused on God and on being pleasing in His sight that the enemy could find no foothold in their lives; sin could find no resting place; temptation had no shadowy crevice in which it could fester.

It seems that many today who claim that they are unable to follow God wholeheartedly, who claim that living a blameless life is beyond the ability of the average person, really lack the single-hearted will to be righteous.  They seem to hope that such deep righteousness will be magically imposed upon them with no effort on their part; that God will somehow mystically remove the temptations of the world from them so that they can be holy with no effort on their part at all!  But without a solid commitment to walk before God every day in holiness and righteousness, without a willful focus on putting God and His agenda first in our lives every day, ahead of work, ahead of hobbies, ahead of favorite TV shows, ahead of friends, even ahead of spouses and children (cf. Luke 14:26), God has nothing He can work with.

Today, despite the prevalence of so many distractions and entertainments and temptations delivered right into houses via television and the internet, there should be multiplied millions more saints living blameless lives than there were in the days before Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.  That is because God has sent the Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of all of those who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, giving them infinitely more power to be blameless that Zechariah, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna, or Joseph ever dreamed of having.  The reason that God’s people don’t experience that powerful blamelessness, righteousness, and holiness is not in their lack of ability, but their lack of will.

Father, forgive us for not passionately wanting to live our lives for You alone.  Forgive us for having our passion for You be so much less than our passion for the things of this world that sap our spiritual life and take our focus off of pleasing You.  Forgive us for living so far below our potential in You, in Your Holy Spirit.  Forgive us, Lord, and help us to turn around, to completely repent of all of this, and to receive fresh life from You, so that we can completely live for You from now on.  Amen.

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