Hope For Today #233 – Christmas Sets Our Agendas: God wants Faith

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God wants our faith

Have you thought about Christmas like this? 

God wants faith from us; God expects faith from us!

We may not have an angelic visitation, but we have a Biblical revelation – we have the Word of God right here at our fingertips … the Words of God, the will of God, are always available! 

God is so real, He loves our devotion to Him!

But the story of God’s glory in the lives of His people continues, for God is up to something. 

And when God is up to something, He works on many fronts at once using many people to accomplish His will and whim!

In Nazareth, the Virgin Mary

Luke 1.26-56

  • Christmas shows us God is on the move in History! 
  • He is looking for men and women who, by their track record, prove their devotion and obedience to Him. 
  • As the promise of the coming Savior of Humanity unfolds, we see six months have passed since the angel met up with Zach.
  • Turn to Luke 1:26–34 and follow with me … 

26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 

27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 

28And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 

29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 

30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God

31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 

32He 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. 

33And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 

34Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 

  • Gabriel, the angel, comes to Mary, calling her highly favored and blessed. 
  • As he continues to reveal God’s plan to send His Son to the world THROUGH her, she considers the impossibility of such an event.
  • While she could understand that God could use anyone, she also knows that its physically impossible for her to have a child, since she is a virgin. 
  • Note again her question, 

34Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 

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Hope For Today #232 – Christmas Sets Our Agendas: God is Real

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As you start to prepare for the upcoming holiday, Dr. Matthew Lee Smith would like to remind you that

Christmas interrupts our lives with the reminder, “GOD IS REAL” (Luke 1:7–17)

  • When God arrives, he changes lives!
  • God wants to change your life … He wants to do INCREDIBLE things with you and through you! 
  • Let me ask you today, Has God broken into your life? Has he spoken to YOU? 
  • If he has, what was your reaction? 
  • Unfortunately for Zach, his reaction was doubt!
  • Remember, Luke 1:18–25 …

18And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” 

19And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 

20But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” 

21And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 

22But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. 

23So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 

24Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 

25“Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” 

  • I am sure that you can see the mix of disappointment, comedy, contrition, repentance and faith in this part of the account. 
  • Eventually, despite his shame for doubting the message from God, He chooses to reveal all to his wife, Elizabeth, and, by faith, they set forth to create this special baby! Which happens!
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Hope For Today #231 – Christmas Sets Our Agendas

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I once worked with a guy named George who, for Christmas, gave his wife, for her big gift – and I am not making this gift up – a chain saw. (As he later explained: ‘Hey, we NEEDED a chain saw.’) Fortunately, the saw was not operational when his wife unwrapped it. – Dave Barry

How many of you have made such a terrible mistake? We know what happened to this man, he thought about himself too much and his wife too little. 

That’s normal for most of humanity … after all, we are human and we think about ourselves … a lot!

And, all too often, when we think about ourselves too much, like in marriage, we pay the consequences for our failure to think of another. 

But Christmas changes everything … whether we realize it or accept it. When Jesus came, He came for a simple purpose: 

I didn’t come to call righteous people but sinners to change their hearts and lives.”” (Luke 5:32, CEB) 

Jesus actually came for you and I, people who mess up and think too much of ourselves too often!

The amazing thing about the Christ of Christmas is that Jesus came from Heaven to help us! 

The Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14, NLT) 

And since Jesus came from heaven to help us, and He is God’s Son, we understand that He is also 

“King of all kings and Lord of all lords.”  (Revelation 19:16, NLT) 

In other words, He’s the boss, and we are not! Which is a good thing, considering how often our selfishness gets us in trouble!

As a result, His coming to Earth changes everything! 

Agendas – we all have them and, if we are bluntly honest, we all work from our own most of the time. But when Jesus comes into our lives, He changes our focus; He breathes life into our schedules! 

In this very intimate message, I want to show you how the revealing of God’s presence changes everything in our lives. 

Join us as we notice that Christmas, the coming of Jesus, the Christ, refocuses our lives, provides purpose to our existence and births hope in our hearts! 

In Jerusalem, the Priest Zechariah

Luke 1.5-25

God sends us six reminders at Christmas that should cause us to restructure our daily agendas!

  • You may be familiar with the Christmas story, but I thought that this year we would simply walk through the story, and as we do, we would be reminded of what God longs for us to remember every year and every day! 
  • So, let’s open our Bibles to Luke 1 and start this  Christmas at verse 5 … 

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (Luke 1:5–6) 

  • Can you see this older couple? Can you see their life’s devotion to God? 
  • Zach has dedicated his entire life to the work of God; it is his calling, not his job. (I can so relate to this guy!)
  • You can tell its his calling because of his passion to follow the words of God: 

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (Luke 1:5–6) 

  • Lifestyle shows a lot about one’s values!
  • It is evident, since God is about to visit them in a special way (you know the story, right?), that …
  • Christmas approves our lives with the reminder, “GOD LOVES DEVOTION” (Luke 1:5–6)
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Day 8, Audacious Faith TRUSTS GOD for the Impossible!

Have you been trying to have children and no matter what you do you don’t succeed?

Today we are in Romans 4.17-21.

Abraham and Sarah were in just the same position. Both were past their prime in having children; Abraham was in ED and infertile and Sarah was post-menopausal, yet they were still trusting God for their promise child!

God makes BOLD claims and then allows us to be in IMPOSSIBLE situations JUST SO He can shine forth with His power and remind us that “Nothing is impossible for God.”” (Luke 1:37, CEB) That Luke verse is speaking of a VIRGIN birth!

As we pray for the IMPOSSIBLE during these 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, OUR impossible is EASY for our God! It just takes faith WITHOUT DOUBT as we have already learned.
So, instead of preparing, eating, and cleaning up the meals you have chosen to fast from, get emotional, get serious, get passionate about the need you have and plead for the answer you need!

God is able! Say that phrase over and over today and tell God, “You are able!”

Today, pray and fast TRUSTING GOD IS ABLE to do what no man can do today as you to get to our Messiah King Jesus!
And please, do not forget to share this post with others as a way to encourage and strengthen their faith and your witness!
See you tomorrow!
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Day 7, Audacious Faith ACTS for Impossible!

When you haven’t received ANY help medically speaking from the numerous doctors you have seen, it’s surely WAY PAST time to DO something to get help from our Messiah King Jesus!

That’s what this unnamed woman with an incurable condition did when she joined the crowd following King Jesus. She had suffered (lit., “was in”) bleeding for 12 years (See Mark 5.42).

You see, when you NEED HELP NOW and you HAVEN’T RECEIVED HELP YET you need to DO SOMETHING to get to our Messiah King Jesus! Only HE can do what no man can do!

That’s why we are pleading and crying out to Him during these 21 days of prayer and fasting! We use the the time we would prepare, eat, and clean up our meals to PRAY, PLEAD, and CRY OUT to our Messiah King Jesus to give us access to our All-Mighty, All-Merciful Father. We need to “draw near to the throne of favor with confidence so that we can receive mercy and find grace when we need help.” (Hebrews 4:16, CEB)

Today, pray and fast with ACTION! Do something today to get to our Messiah King Jesus!

And please, do not forget to share this post with others as a way to encourage and strengthen their faith and your witness!

See you tomorrow!

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Day 6, Audacious Faith DOES the Impossible!


When we fast and pray we are exercising our faith. We are saying to God, “YOU are the only one who can do this! I am here because I believe that! Please answer my urgent need! Help me, I have come with boldness to cry out to you for this! Answer speedily!”

In such faith in our Messiah King Jesus there is power! We pray and fast today because we are looking for answers – powerful changes in our life – throughout 2022 and beyond!

Today we are in Matthew 21:18-22.

Notice what Jesus said AFTER He had cursed the fig tree and it immediately withered up and died …

“Jesus responded, “I assure you that if you have faith and don’t doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree. You will even say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the lake.’ And it will happen. If you have faith, you will receive whatever you pray for.”” (Matthew 21:21–22, CEB)

In prayer and fasting we devote MORE TIME to be alone with our Messiah King Jesus and draw boldly into the presence of God through that relationship. We seek the mercy of the Father as we pray. And, like Daniel of old, we gain favor and closeness to God as a result. Prayers are answers and the power of God is released in our lives as a result, as our Messiah King Jesus said!

That is when the power of God flows through us and things move at the declarations of our heart, as King Jesus said!

Today, as you pray and fast, draw close to our Father and come boldly for the mercy you and I so desperately need!

Please share below in the comments your thoughts about the supernatural power of God that accompanies those who are close to God the Father through our Messiah King Jesus!

And please, do not forget to share this post with others as a way to encourage and strengthen their faith and your witness!See you tomorrow!

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Day 5, Audacious Faith AGREES for Impossible!

Prayer and fasting is not only an individual relationship with God, it is also a time to agree with another or others for a matter. We see this in the New Testament among the people of God’s gatherings.

The principle is simple and stated in a different venue by our Messiah King Jesus. When speaking about conflict with another brother, Jesus gives clear details on how to bring it to resolution and then explains the principle and power behind banding together in prayer as the children of God:

“Again I assure you that if two of you agree on earth about ANYTHING YOU ASK, then my Father who is in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.”” (Matthew 18:19–20, CEB)

Therefore, we are wise to gather someone else alongside us as we pray and fast and ask them to agree with us about the desired answer.

Today, take a few minutes and listen to the encouragement through the link posted here. Then, gather someone – a believing spouse or parent for example – and pray and fast together for that urgent necessity that cannot wait any longer!

Next, please, share in the comments below your thoughts on this powerful principle of prayer and fasting!

And please, do not forget to share this post with others as a way to encourage and strengthen their faith and your ability to witness!

See you tomorrow!

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Day 4, Audacious Faith CLAMORS for Impossible!

Do you have a need that MUST be answered?

Audacious faith doesn’t take the silence of our Messiah King Jesus as an answer. It’s not disrespect, it is URGENCY and genuine NEED!

When Jesus visited a community outside of Israel, He remained on mission: To the lost sheep, the people of Israel!”

The mother in this story had a daughter suffering from demon possession. The ONLY solution was for the Son of Man to remove that infestation TODAY!

When Jesus ignored her … well, read it for yourself in Matthew 15. What an example of audacious faith!
What is YOUR URGENT need that can’t wait for an answer … the silence is not acceptable because your need is so pressing?
Write it down in the comments below and let’s pray and fast together for one another and for our own URGENT NEED today!
And please, share this post with a friend!
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Day 3, Audacious Faith WANTS the Impossible!

Has God challenged you to do something audacious in the New Year?

Perhaps you are in the midst of some huge, terrifying storm that has been battering the life out of you.

TODAY as we pray and fast, let us consider The Twelve in the boat, afraid for their lives. When they spot Jesus, Peter asks our Messiah King to let him walk on the water also and Jesus invites him. In all recorded history only two men ever walked on … water, Jesus and Peter.

Audacious faith wants the impossible!

Today, listen and then pray as you fast … seeking the impossible in your life this month, this year! God is able!

• Check it out in your Bible at Matthew 14.22-33

And please leave your comments below. Thanks!

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Day 2, Audacious Faith BELIEVES for Impossible!

Do you have GIANT obstacles to life?

Are you struggling with  insurmountable problems?

SUPERNATURAL help from our Messiah King Jesus is possible, once we step forward by faith and believe God is both willing and able!

As Jesus departed, two blind men followed him, crying out, “Show us mercy, Son of David.” When he came into the house, the blind men approached him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they replied. Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “It will happen for you just as you have believed.” Their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly warned them, “Make sure nobody knows about this.” But they went out and spread the word about him throughout that whole region.” (Matthew 9:27–31, CEB)

As Jesus traveled on, He was followed by two blind men who appealed to Him on the basis of the fact that He is the Son of David (cf. 12:23; 15:22; 20:30–31).

This title clearly related Jesus to the messianic line (cf. 1:1). The persistence of the blind men was seen as they followed Jesus into a house where He miraculously restored their sight. Their faith was genuine for they truly believed He was able to heal them (9:28). They affirmed His deity for they acknowledged Him as Lord. Their sight was restored in keeping with their faith.


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