The Great Promise

My calling is the Great Commission. It’s why I am here, and why you are here, too. God made us to go and grow with Him, and to share the love He so extravagantly poured out for us.

As Christians, we know that the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 are our marching orders. Yet, so many of our feet are stuck to the ground, motionless and unsure. In our hearts we want to be on mission for Jesus. We want the world to know Him! But, we don’t know where to begin. Go where? Make disciples how? Teach what? The harvest is tremendous, and sometimes it’s overwhelming to be called to something so far beyond our capabilities.

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands us to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” As God has emblazoned His calling and commission on our hearts, He works in ways that we can’t take credit for so that we give Him ALL the glory!! God wants us to step out with Him in faith to the fields white unto harvest, knowing that we can’t do this on our own and must fully rely on Him.

Every command in God’s Word is also a promise. As God calls and commands, He promises. So, when Jesus commands us to GO — He is there guiding, sending, leading, making a way. When He commands us to “make disciples of all nations” — He is there moving hearts, giving us His Words of life, doing miracles, drawing all men to Himself. When He commands us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit — He is there witnessing from Heaven and receiving our worship. When He commands us to “teach them to observe all that He commanded” — He is there teaching us, laying out His truth that will not return void, imprinting His Word in hearts and compelling us all to action. And, when Jesus ends this all-consuming, life-changing command with the promise that Jesus HIMSELF is with us always — HE MEANS IT.

This is our calling — this is why we were made — to Go and Grow and give glory to our Savior!

So, when we wake up each morning, it’s an opportunity to go, to share Jesus with our words and with our actions, to let the Gospel overflow our hearts. Let’s start each day asking God to lead us right where we need to be, to give us the words to share that will speak to each person’s heart, to show us how to love people the way Jesus loves them. Pray that God would push us through the doors He’s opened to boldly proclaim the Good News, and invite people to respond. Today, let’s ask God for the opportunities to reach into people’s lives here, and the uttermost places on the earth.

We can “go, therefore” because these verses in Matthew are not only our commission, they are His promise.

Journey to the Manger: Zechariah (John’s father)

Matt and Lauren work together in Christmas Charades. It's hard to tell the biggest character!

Matt and Lauren work together in Christmas Charades. It’s hard to tell who is the biggest character!

On our Journey to the Manger today, we met Zechariah, the father of John. We couldn’t talk with him, though, because he wasn’t able to speak.

Zechariah (John's father)

Zechariah (John’s father)

When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the Temple with the answer to his prayer, Zechariah struggled with unbelief. He had longed for so many years to have a child, yet now that God was granting that hope in such a supernatural way, Zechariah hesitated. As a result, God silenced Zechariah for the time of his wife Elizabeth’s pregnancy to help him understand and believe in God’s power and promise. Though Zechariah temporarily could not speak, he would raise a son who would proclaim the coming Messiah.

Tonight we played a Christmas version of charades to put ourselves in Zechariah’s sandals. It was difficult to communicate without words, or even sounds! We often broke the rules, but had an amazing time together! 🙂

God’s mercy was rich in the midst of Zechariah’s doubt. God fulfilled His promise, and Elizabeth became pregnant even though she was well past child-bearing years. God continued to mold Zechariah’s heart during his nine-plus months of silence, so when the time came to name his precious son, Zechariah was ready to proclaim God’s Word and prophecy about John’s role of preparation for the Messiah.

And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

– Luke 1:76-79

God is merciful even when we struggle to believe. We may experience discipline, and God could choose to silence us for a time in order to impress His truths in our hearts. But, God disciplines those He loves, and we can trust that God’s timing and His plans are for our good and for His glory. This Christmas, let’s ask our Heavenly Father to increase our faith, and to prepare us to act upon His promises.

 

Click here to learn more about celebrating Advent with your family this Christmas, including access to a Scripture plan, free downloads and activity ideas. For more on Journey to the Manger, an advent experience from Focus on the Family, visit the Thriving Family website.