December 7: Prepare (Advent 2014 Devotional)

Luke 1:35-38 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.” Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

advent

Humans have limitations. God does not. We often try to say God only works in certain ways and in certain times and under certain circumstances. This is simply putting God in a box. One of the issues with this is that when we put limits on God, we are attempting to control God and create God out of our image.

“Nothing is impossible for God.”

Here is a great story of how a seminary overcame financial obstacles because of the power of God. This is taken from the Dallas Theological Seminary web site:

One year several weeks before May graduation, the leaders had a few days to decide whether the school would continue.

Three people were awakened at 5 a.m. on a Saturday—Dr. William Anderson, a Dallas pastor instrumental in the Seminary’s founding; Dr. Chafer, founder and first president; and a donor. None knew the others were awakened, and each was impressed with the need to pray about the burden the Seminary faced. Only weeks later did they learn that all three had been awakened at the same time.

It took the donor about two weeks to get the money ready. And at the time it arrived, Dr. Lewis S. Chafer, Dr. Rollin T. Chafer, Dr. C. Fred Lincoln, and Dr. Harry Ironside prayed together on a Monday morning in an office. After praying they sat for a few minutes in silence. There came a knock at the door and a government bond for $10,000 arrived from an unknown banker in Illinois.

Some folklore has developed around this narrative. There was this story about a cattleman or a rancher. Somebody retelling it probably preached that “God owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” and that’s where cattle and a Texas rancher came in.

But the real story had nothing to do with a cattleman or a rancher. In reality, it had everything to do with “the God who owns all” sovereignly working in the hearts of a pastor, a president, and a donor. Three men prayed, and one had the financial means to give what the school needed to survive. In obedience, he sent it.

That story has been a faith-builder for many of us throughout the years. The prompting of the Spirit and the Lord’s provision at that time constituted a God-moment in our school’s history. Stories of answered prayer and God’s provision have continued across the decades.

God can overcome any limitations we place upon ourselves: education, finances, or anything else. Today we are invited to wholeheartedly trust God and see how big God truly is…so much bigger than we might imagine or can conceive.

Great God, we often place you under limitations. Help us trust you and help us see how grand you actually are. Guide us and break us free from lack of trust and movement on our part because of our limitations. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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