This broadcaster has 572 podcast archives available on-demand.
Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.
December 24, 2021 5:00 am
Receive Liz Curtis Higgs' book "The Women of Christmas:: Experience the Season of Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, Anna" for your donation of any amount! And when you give today, your support will be DOUBLED to Give Families Hope: https://donate.focusonthefamily.com/don-daily-broadcast-product-2021-12-24?refcd=
Get more episode resources: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/episodes/broadcast/women-who-welcomed-the-birth-of-jesus/#featured-resource-cta
If you've listened to any of our podcasts, please give us your feedback: https://focusonthefamily.com/podcastsurvey/
What's your impossible isn't there something you're saying to yourself, but the Bible says so clearly God can do anything today willing to spend Christmas with Liz Curtis Higgs in a way that will bolster your faith, your hostess book as president and author Jim Daly and I'm John. John, this is a time of year when it's important to reflect on the principles of our faith.
And what better way to anticipate Christmas to consider the miraculous events that led up to the birth of Jesus Christ. There are biblical truths in these narratives that we can apply to our lives today in our guest is Liz Curtis Higgs who gave this message to our staff at a Christmas travel gathering. Liz is an outstanding Bible teacher. She's known for the depth of her research and she's a best-selling author as well yeah and she is such a gifted speaker, Liz wrote a series called the bad girls of the Bible that was immensely popular and today she's bringing some of the content from her more recent book the women of Christmas and of course we have that here at the ministry just call 800 the letter a in the word family or check the episode notes for the link, and here's Liz Curtis Higgs speaking to our staff said Jim on today's Focus on the Family today in our short time together and excited to speak you about two different women in the Bible from different ages and different stages in a really unusual thing in common.
They were both pregnant by surprise. The first Elizabeth, wife of the priest named Zechariah.
They were very righteous people you know these people. These are those good folks at church. They been there forever.
Every time the doors open there. There they do everything right, but the Bible says Luke 17 I was paid attention to the butts of the Bible very important summer bigger than others, but I have the Bible says in comparison. In contrast, they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive. They were both very cool. So this is like a triple whammy. They don't have kids they can have kids there all your heart just breaks for this righteous couple. So Zechariah has drawn lots and he's going to get to go into the holy place to light the incense and pray priest were lucky if they got to do this once-in-a-lifetime so was a big deal there you stand before the altar, when the angel Gabriel shows he said what angels in the New Testament usually say don't be afraid. Fear not.
Zechariah I would be the scary part. Fear not, I know your name would be scary and you know Zechariah had every reason in the world to be nervous. It's been a quiet 400 years since we've had any profits or any angelic appearances. It's been quiet on the heavenly front and now here's an angel look what he says your prayer has been heard. Now, I suspect Zechariah prayed a lot of things been the one prayer of his heart son, your prayer has been heard that you sometimes wonder when you pray God are you listening to hear.
Yes he does. Your prayer guaranteed has been heard and he says your wife Elizabeth will bear you with. So not only has your prayer been hurting will be answered and I love this part you're calling John some business about what we call the kid it's decided for them is not fabulous to go to column John. We know Ms. John the Baptist. Then Gabriel tells him all this amazing stuff about his son, people will rejoice because of his birth will be great in the sight of the Lord. He we filled with the Holy Spirit even before Eastbourne and Zechariah's response should have been. You are right, he's goners. And he says can I be sure of this. Well, he's in Angel and Gabriel stands in the presence of the Almighty. So I think he's fairly trustworthy. How can I be sure this C doesn't believe it can be done. He wants proof. How can I be sure and explain what is due two big reasons to doubt. I'm an old man and my wife is so gentle, so well well worded well along in years is wonderful is disguising me to remember that phrase well along in years.
Do you know the NLRB honesty of the translation in your bookstore LRP Lizzie revised version while lady is an old lady is what he saying see from his point of view. This would be impossible. Even Gabriel, the angel, saying it even this promise from heaven.
He isn't buying it because he doesn't believe and if were honest when we pray we don't always pray believing her. We say, Lord, will you please do this, but our hearts were saying. I'm not sure you can buy well, but I'm really not sure you can. My prayers are sometimes filled with unbelief.
You would think. Zechariah would think back to another couple in the Old Testament in the same situation older man older woman, no baby Abraham and Sarah. It was going to take a miracle.
You think you'd remember that one when the Lord told Abraham that Sarah was going to have a baby. The narrator, the biblical story reminds us. I love the Sarah was past the age of childbearing also translated ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women in their words, she was post post menopausal eggs were cooked. It was.was not going to happen conception just wouldn't be difficult with Sarah. It would be biologically impossible the impossible just getting started. When you start with the impossible one too hard for Sarah. She gave birth at 90 and she said God has brought me there all that's so true in so many ways. Isaac of course means he laughs, but more than that God has restored Sarah's joy. I've always pictured her with an AARP card in one hand and a pacifier in the other just shouting out anybody who would listen.
Do anything. Nothing is impossible for God.
Well, just like Sarah Zechariah's wife Elizabeth conceived Chris because he did not believe he didn't talk for the whole of her pregnancy a mercy. She remains secluded. You know, for the first five months.
I am wondering if she didn't want to wait until that amazing moment in a woman's life when you first feel what they call the quickening the sense of life and the Bible says in the sixth month. That's not the six month of the year June. It's the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy and wretchedness.
God is measuring time by a woman's growing womb incredible God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, the town in Galilee. Busy guy into the Zechariah now is visiting Mary little Galilee less than 100 people.
He went to see a virgin pledged to a man named Joseph pledged betrothal as good as married. They could not break that short of a divorce, the angel went to her I doubt she was looking for my don't think she was scanning the skies of Nazareth.
I think she was doing what women did back then. She baked bread, she lit her lamp and she pressed all lives.
She's just got Joan about her life like we do like we do right now you just doing what you do on Monday afternoon, not think about what God is up to right now, but he stopped us. He's doing things in your life.
You can't even check they may be years in coming months and coming weeks and coming, or could be tonight at Connie's BZ, the angel shows up and says greetings earthling. I just love that that's the LRP it's actually hail in the King James you are highly favored means full of grace and he said to her. The Lord is with you. This is very different than may the Lord be with you. That's like a blessing.
This is a statement of fact, the Lord is with you. No wonder she was shocked. Mary was greatly troubled his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. She was thoroughly shaken.
She was very perplexed the LRP.
She was freaked out and you know angel said fear and Mary do not be afraid. Here's the cool thing in the New Testament when an angel says fear not, do not be afraid. What comes next is always good news. What you want to worry about is an angel that shows up and doesn't say fear not, then you be afraid to be very afraid.
But when they say fear not as good news is coming, you have found favor grace with God you will concede to see any option here might happen might not.
You will concede and give birth to a son, and you were calling.
Cheese's now and every mother thinks her child is special.
We do this child will be great.
The angel said, called the son of the most high, the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David reign over Jacob's descendents forever. His and Mary says how will this be, since I'm a virgin to the truth of the matter is Gabriel lost her way back to conceive.
She didn't hear about all the other stuff she was back at I'll do what now you would think she's doubting doubt she's not asking for proof friend she just wants to know it's a logical question.
How is this going to happen and how can I be pregnant since I know no man legitimate question. I love how the angel answered her Angel didn't take her voice away. He answered her. The Holy Spirit will come on you and the power of the most high will overshadow so many questions which Mary had one question how she got her answer. The Holy Spirit and she believed but that is a word of encouragement to her.
This isn't God good Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age and she was able to conceive is in her sixth month she who was unable but God was able God's to bless the Baron he dies. Rebecca was barren and then she gave birth to Jacob and Hannah was barren and she gave birth to Samuel and Rachel was barren and she gave birth to Joseph friends any barrenness in our lives in any definition of barrenness is God getting ready to do a miracle. The stories had to have the miraculous, because we had to look at them and say only only become to the most important verse not only in the Christmas story, but I think in our own story. Luke 137. Nothing is impossible for God.
The NCV is God can do what you impossible. Isn't there something you're saying to yourself. Oh, but God could do that this a relative that doesn't know God and you have just hop it seems impossible. There's a marriage it's so destroyed. It just seems impossible. This a friendship torn apart, it seems impossible. Your friends are unemployed for months. It seems impossible, but the Bible says so clearly God can do anything about what we can do. It's about what God can do.
Jesus said with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Mary was on board. Mary believed I am the Lord's servant, she said. May your word to me, be fulfilled friend. She was 12 and were little older than except for the baby word debate all all I was hoping you'd call out to me. I love having a baby in the audience sleep other people sometimes don't be honest you look backing up even at focus on the love having a baby's cry is unison. That's how we sound God, we think were so sophisticated it's really more like the Holy Spirit needs to interpret for us, pitiful. He sent Jesus as a baby who had no way to communicate but to cry, but his mother knew his voice. His mother knew what to do and won't come up to me with a surprised look in her face was and she said you teach the Bible actually believe that to because I am having proof that God can do anything. When I first began speaking with women of faith up three years ago they had us all get together all the speakers they want us to kind of make sure all on the same page and shape our messages and so set with some old friends and some new friends and some of them knew my story. Probably some did not.
But when I said so it's really good to have a strong opening line.
I said okay before I met Jesus. I slept with three men in one night my word that would not be the one thing to say this and dear ones I don't say this to shock you. I say this to show you that Jesus can do anything. 34 years ago. Amen on that from somebody ago. Last woman you would have her pick to speak at Focus on the Family. Can we get serious about that. Why God already had planned you to know I didn't know God already plan that's the God we serve.
He looks way down past the end of our lives and our children's lives.
He sees the big picture that we get a tiny glimpse, but it is good friends. It is kind. I remember when I left work on a Friday 34 years ago said and I came in Monday morning saying the Lord I been baptized.
People notice stuff like that and they said Liz what are you doing this weekend because this is what I said oh it isn't about a high not that kind high cheese. Really we can imagine my coworkers at a radio station, a secular station. They watched me like a hawk to see if I was different because I said I got to the city to say I was a new creation.
And so they watched and I guess they saw things changing. I member my first Bible.
I was so excited I saved up the big bribery study Bible, NASB huge notes.
I thought the fatter it was the more important I got a big one and saved up for leather because surely that was more holy and I took it into work and I would sit there at the station in the studio and I'd have the Bible open and I be reading verses for the first time.
So ask Alice our receptionist could see me through the glass and she came in and said what are you reading people. She said not like yours will if I if I could get Bible would you read it, she said, but can you get me one. Just like yours. Just like mine. The big fat letter. I mean, it was X back when 50 bucks was 50 bucks but I saved up for Alice and I bought Alice Bible just like my gave it to her and she said this is throwing us in a promise me you read it. She said where to start.
You gotta teach me okay so now I have Alice I got a design for discipleship. The workbook navigator still in print and Alice and I went through that thing together friends. I stayed one week ahead just in case she had questions like baby Palace was growing she was getting it. I'd love to know what I said I have no idea it was God being God as being less then Jackie, another gal, the station peaked in and said what are you guys doing Alice and Liz can get you one so bought Jackie a Bible. So now there's the three of us that I know what I was doing. Oh, I didn't. But God's funny invited them to my house for dinner because I just really wanted more time with them and and that understandably comes to my house for the food. Are you kidding when I get near the stove.
My kids go so you know it was nobody ever comes to the food and we are sitting there have in our little Sunday dinner and Alice Loeser is now in the kingdom and she says I went to a Christian bookstore yesterday. Did you know they have young after understand before your saved you walk right past them. You don't even see but what your eyes have been opened.
She said, list all the books I said I know is an incredible season.
I saw this poster called footprints. Okay, now I'm a believer by six months now and very sophisticated.
I know all about footprints of the ghetto for heaven sakes, they have that on keychains you know I wasn't so impressed obesity. Jackie hadn't heard it before someone else's weeping now in the telling of two sets of footprints in them. One set of footprints, she should look he carries us he carries. Jackie said can we pray. Yes, the food is bad. Let's pray right now nothing to do with the food. Jackie said, oh, forgot to mention she was Muslim. Although minor detail to God.
She said dear God, I now realize you have been carrying me my whole life. I want what my friends have and I figured out it's it's a relationship with you what I want, what friends we lifted our heads. For dinner we stopped we were so excited we didn't know what to do. I put on a record vinyl record round in black with hole in the middle lifted needle. It was Sandy Patty and Lauren L Harris member all the work and didn't know any of them will we made them then Jackie was so excited to take my picture taken with different so I got a Polaroid.
If you've never seen when the magical. The film spits out like a time. It sits there for a minute you wait you wait you wait you peel it back. The image comes and there was Jackie a woman entrance. All I could think of was second Corinthians 318 but we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the spirit. When you sing glory glory hallelujah this Christmas. I want you to remember that that glory shines on the face of everyone has received his grace. Maybe you my friend.
Merry Christmas. Heavenly father we just thank you so much. Your word is so alive we just try to run and keep up with it.
Father I pray that someone here received truth they needed for this season of their lives. A total blessing to be here, Lord, may you be honored and glorified alone in the name of your son who makes everything possible a man and a man so that message to the Focus on the Family team during the Christmas chapel and I'm so glad we could share with you today as well. What a great way to go into Christmas Eve tonight and as Liz said, every single day. We have the opportunity to let the glory of the Lord shine through us and that's the verse you quoted from the New Testament.
Second Corinthians 318 and that's a really strong take away from this message as a believer in Jesus Christ, we should reflect God's grace and love to others. That's basic and maybe like Liz and her friends will look a bit different. As a result, and even just a smile can make big difference in someone's day. That's right, and providing that encouragement and hope is a big part of our mission here Focus on the Family we want to help you thrive in your walk with the Lord in your marriage and in your parenting responsibilities and best of all, we get thousands of note saying we really have helped. Here's an example from Karen she said as professional teachers.
My husband and I thought parenting would be a breeze but with three kids under the age of seven, it's more like a hurricane. Use the Focus on the Family broadcast and other resources from your ministry to guide the spiritual growth of our household.
These tools are helpful as we try to keep our kids on the right track. Thanks so much for everything you do really like that feedback is great. And of course we thank the Lord and you are supporters for making it possible for us to provide these resources to families like Karen's. So let me encourage you to make a donation Focus on the Family today as we bring hope to families reach out today donate online and request the women of Christmas.
The link is in the episode notes and don't forget that season. Five of our Christmas stories podcast is now available.
A tuning for heartwarming stories that will remind you of the real reason for the season with a link for easy access on the website.
I trust you enjoy this special holiday weekend. As we celebrate together the birth of our Savior and planned out to be with us on Monday of a classic broadcast about the power of encouragement or timeout like the present. I should give you a present with my work. Jim Daly of the entire team. Thanks for joining us for this Focus on the Family podcast if you would please take a moment waiting sure this episode with a friend, I'm John Fuller inviting back next time. As we once more help you and your family thrive just like a warm fireplace when it's cold outside. The joy of the Christmas season gives comfort. I'm John Fuller, and Focus on the Family is excited to let you know about our Christmas stories podcast.
Each episode brings heartwarming conversations to bring your family closer together and remind you of the hope we have. You can enjoy the email@example.com/Christmas stories your past shows and the brand-new season five focusonthefamily.com Christmas