We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Phil Woody.


Just a reminder: This month is going to be a little different than our normal faith cycles. We’re going to look at the birth of Jesus, why this season is so special to us, and the joy of a fulfilled promise. We’ll be reading through Luke, but then, as it shows prophecies fulfilled, we’ll spend a day, or several, looking at the prophecies from the Old Testament that correlate.

We want to think about what it would have been like for the Jews as they waited thousands of years for their Messiah. Imagine the rough aspects of your life, and things you’ve been through, and what it would be like to have someone promise you a savior, and that savior finally came. Would you recognize him? Would you know that’s what is happening? Would you be able to suspend your idea of salvation to accept the one being given to you?


Bible Reading:

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

“8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

“18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

“24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Luke 1:5-25


I remember walking around the block with my Pastor having a pretty intimate conversation. In it, I remember asking him, “Have you ever known there was greatness within you, but you just didn’t know how to get it out of you?”  This had been something so deep in my gut that I could not shake, and finally I had found the words to express it.
Zachariah and Elizabeth’s had an unfulfilled longing in them as well. Barren and up in age, the scripture says Elizabeth was a disgrace amongst her people. Value for women was found in the children they bore. Like my longing unfulfilled, so was theirs. But here is the truth- There is a longing in each of us destined to be born. The key is the timing of the Lord.
I voiced my longing 5 years ago. That began a huge journey of development that the Lord did in me that just recently has culminated into the birth of something amazing. I no longer just long for greatness to be revealed but finally see it fulfilled. A baby was conceived in Elizabeth and she went into seclusion for 5 months. A baby was birthed in me that sent me into seclusion for 5 years. But what God birthed in Elizabeth, he also delivered out of her, who was the one who would prepare the way for Jesus. What Jesus birthed out of me was a greatness that wasn’t about me, but about preparing the way for Jesus.
There is greatness in you as well!!! It has been conceived in you and craves to be delivered into the world.  Know that Jesus is the conceiver and deliverer of those deep longings. His timing is perfect. Don’t chase it, instead allow him to develop it in you and on that perfect day, deliver it from you!  You have such amazing purpose!




Today, in this Christmas season, Jesus, reveals that which has been birthed in me that is for your kingdom coming to earth. I accept the development process and eagerly await its arrival.  Amen!




Have you been able to name the longing that has been birthed in you? If not ask Jesus to reveal it. Hint:  it’s not just about you… it’s about preparing the way for Him!

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