4 Nuggets of Encouragement

Published December 16, 2012

After a few years of repeated reading on the birth of Christ I began to discover nuggets of encouragement and comfort given to different individuals in the history of His birth.

The first nuggets I discovered were in the account on the birth of John the Baptist recorded in the Gospel of Luke 1: 5-19 and were given to Zechariah. There are four encouragements given to Zechariah from an angel of the Lord. I encourage you read these verses and then see my thoughts at the end.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold (NIV)

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 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. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.

Here are the four nuggets of encouragement.

1)     We read that Zechariah was gripped with fear. The angel then spoke these words of encouragement.  Do not be afraid, calming the alarmed and frightened priest.

2)     The angel then encourages Zechariah with the knowledge that indeed God had heard his prayers.

3)     The angel then gives wonderful words of encouragement as he tells Zechariah he will have a son and describes how there will be joy, delight, and many will rejoice over the birth. The angel continues to bless Zechariah with further words of encouragement by describing the life and mission of Zechariah’s son.

4)       The angel then gives Zechariah the final words of encouragement when he assures a doubting Zechariah that what he has been told will come past. The angel announces himself as Gabriel who stands in the presence of God but was sent from that presence to bring the good news to Zachariah.

I pray others will also be blessed by these words of encouragement given to Zechariah in his time of need. Often times it is easy to become discouraged even in this season of celebrating the birth of Christ. It is my desire that many will find fresh and timely encouragement from this and my future blog postings.

Next posting I will share my discoveries of encouragement given to Mary the mother of Jesus.

My challenge to you: Make it a prayer, for God to every day, show you one person who needs encouragement.  Then be that encourager!

Be encouraged in Him, Dave

(Rev. David Larsen – Chaplain Compassion Nevada

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