We believe it is important to be a Joyful Church in Kansas City. Joy is evidence of Gods presence in a person and we always want to be the best representation of God we can possibly be.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:26-38
The angel’s message to Mary would be a pretty heavy thing to hear. I mean she was a teenager and unmarried. She was going to have to explain this to her parents, Joseph, and everyone who knew her that the biggest thing ever on earth was about to happen.
“Nazareth!” exclaimed Nathanael. “Can anything good come from Nazareth?”
“Come and see for yourself,” Philip replied. John 1:46 NLT
Nazareth had a reputation but not one with God. In all of the New Testament Nazareth has no history. Some of us feel just like that. We came to Christ with no Biblical history. No significance. But I want you to know that nobody is a nobody in God’s Kingdom. He wants to use those who feel like a nobody.
Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.”
Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” Luke 1:18-20
Zechariah is the father of John the Baptist. Because he doubted the word of the angel before John’s birth God zipped his mouth. Like Zechariah, we can wait for years for a prayer to be answered. But do you know your waiting can become habitual? You are waiting on God but without knowing it you can stop believing. Could it be because you have stopped believing for a miracle in the life of someone else? Have you got so wrapped up in yourself you have forgotten to believe on behalf of another? We are called to love each other and live in harmony as members of the church.
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus. Matt 1: 18-25
Can you imagine Joseph when he heard Mary was pregnant? These were real people. He had doubts. Yet he still had honor for Mary. Here is why. Mary had an experience spiritually and physically. Joseph did not have the experience. Sometimes we need to believe God with others even though this is not our experience. We need to come alongside others even when their experience is different.
In Genesis, Cain asked God am I my brother’s keeper? Yes! We are to be our brother’s keeper. We are to help one another the best we can to walk in the will of God. There are times God will speak through a sermon or a prophet. But there are also times we need a human being to affirm what God has said.
At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
Elizabeth is rejoicing that someone else is being used. And when she affirms God’s plan Mary begins to rejoice in the Lord.
We need each other to lean on. Have you put your life on the line for another? Have you given your time, your listening ear, or opened your home? I want you to think and process how you can love someone else.
Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another! You’re already good at it; your friends all over the province of Macedonia are the evidence. Keep it up; get better and better at it. 1 Thess 4: 9-10 MSG
How can we fulfill the call to love if we do not connect with one another? If God loves everyone shouldn’t we? We can be religious about this. Sometimes when people are new we wait until they start behaving until we make them feel accepted. Maybe if we made them feel accepted then they would want to behave.
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. Gal 6: 1-3 NLT
I want to issue a challenge. This week I want you to do something kind and helpful to someone in your church. Consider this. Maybe God wants to bring healing to you through the body of Christ. But maybe you have been hurt. Not just offended but really hurt. Maybe you have trust issues. Let someone in. Let yourself be healed and then let God use you to bring healing to someone else!
Father, please help me to see others around me. To speak life to others, be supportive, and rejoice in every way you use and bless others. Help me to be loving, helpful, and kind. Help me to give more than presents but to give of myself and not just during Christmas but every day of the year.
MEDITATE ON THIS
Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith. Gal 6: 10