Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church

Anything is possible for God

(A random question just for fun:) What kind of Christmas shopper are you? Done before Thanksgiving? Still looking a few days before Christmas? Still looking on New Year’s Day?

Monday Habakkuk 1:5 (NRSV)
Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told.

What are some of the surprising things you have seen in your lifetime that you would not have believed if you’d been told about them in advance?

Tuesday Zechariah 8:3-6 (NRSV)
Thus says the LORD of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the LORD of hosts?

What are some things that seem impossible to you that are not impossible to God?

Wednesday Romans 4:16-17 (NIV)
The promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

Paul says God “gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” As one example of this, the story of creation pictures God calling plants and animals into being out of a formless void.

What are some things you need God to call into being in your life?

Thursday Luke 1:13-17 (NRSV)
The angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Zechariah and Elizabeth had wanted a child all their lives. In old age, an angel from God said they were about to get their wish.

What do you think of God’s timing?
What do you think Zechariah and Elizabeth thought about it?

Friday Luke 1:18-20 (NRSV)
Zechariah said to the angel, "How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years."

The angel replied, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur."

Zechariah didn’t believe the angel. He had wanted what the angel promised, but he no longer thought it was possible.

What dreams are you still hoping for in your lifetime?
Are there any dreams you have given up on?

Saturday Mark 11:12-14, 20-24 (NRSV)
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, [Jesus] was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it. . . .

In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. Then Peter remembered and said to him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered."

Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Jesus said “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

What are some things you need to believe that you have already received?
(Or:) What are some things you are believing for in advance of the evidence?

What are you doing this week because you follow Jesus?
What would you like help with?