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This week’s readings: 

November 29: Jeremiah 18:1-23

November 30: Jeremiah 19:1-20:6

December 1: Jeremiah 20:7-21:14

December 2: Jeremiah 22:1-23

December 3: Jeremiah 22:24-23:17

December 4: Jeremiah 23:18-24:10

December 5: Jeremiah 25:1-31

11-29-2021 - ANGEL ENCOUNTERS | Mary

How would you react if some mysterious person came up to you suddenly and gave you incredible news? Maybe the news is that you are the winner of a grand prize of millions of dollars. Or this person gives you the cure for cancer. Or maybe they offer you your dream job. What would you do in response? What emotions would you experience?

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, a young virgin teenage girl in Galilee, she probably experienced similar emotions after hearing what the angel told her in Luke 1:28-35 “Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!’ 29Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for you have found favor with God! 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He 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. 33And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!’ 34Mary asked the angel, ‘But how can this happen? I am a virgin.’ 35The 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’” (NLT). What incredible news! Through Mary, God’s Son would become human and reign over His people forever. 

God wants to bring incredible news to us also! Like with Mary, He may use an angel, which means “messenger”, to communicate this good news to us. But most of us don’t see angels. Pastor Paul told us on Sunday that only one in twenty people see angels. But we don’t need an angel to appear to us for us to be recipients of incredible news! God has given His Word (the Bible) to all of us. In the Bible, God tells us that we are precious and valuable to Him. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die as a sacrifice in our place to free us from our sins. He offers us inner peace and joy found nowhere else in this world. He has a great plan and purpose for our life here and for eternity. 

Mary received incredible news from the angel Gabriel. God has incredible news for each of us today. Let us rejoice and praise God!

Pastor Dan Schauer

Questions for Reflection:

1. What is the best news you have ever received in your life? How did you react?

2. How do you think you would react to the angel’s message if you were Mary?

3. How does God want you to react to the incredible news of the Gospel He gives you today?

11-24-2021 - ANGEL ENCOUNTERS - Zechariah



“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to. Zechariah, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.” Luke‬ ‭1:11-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Zechariah was an elderly Jewish priest in the ancient world of Jesus. For years, he and his wife Elizabeth had been praying for a child. Even when things seemed hopeless and beyond possible, they continued praying and waiting, waiting and praying, year after year after year. 

Waiting for God to answer our prayers is hard. It's especially hard if we’ve been praying for something for what feels like forever. It’s especially hard if the thing we are praying for is our heart’s deepest desire. It’s especially hard if we have been faithful followers, and believe our prayers line up with His will.

We have to remember prayer is a mysterious, powerful, and supernatural thing. It’s also simple. We open our hearts to God. We lay our words, thoughts, and emotions before him. And God hears. God listens. God answers, even if it feels like He is absent or silent. We may not clearly understand how he is acting in the situation, even if the answer is not what we’d imagined or expected. We must always remember that God’s plans may differ from ours.

Zechariah’s prayer was answered in a miraculous way and was announced by a miraculous messenger. The good news was delivered by an angel who said, “God has heard your prayer.” Angels are God’s messengers. They share proclamations from God. They appear throughout Scripture to help and encourage the people of God. May you be encouraged today through prayer. May you hear from God today in tangible ways. May you encounter God’s message of hope today.

Rev. Dr. Paul Marzahn

Questions to Consider:

1. What is something you are praying and waiting for? How will you continue to pray with hope and wait with patience?

2. Do you believe that God’s answers to prayer are always the best? Will you wait patiently for those answers, even if the wait is long? And will you receive his answer joyfully, even if it's not the one you hoped for? 

3. How has God answered a prayer in your life?