How God Speaks to Us – A Christmas Lesson illustrating God’s ways of communicating to us

MP900433113We know the Christmas story – but did you know that it provides us with a great picture of how God communicated and still communicates with people today?

1. God speaks directly to people through angels and his Holy Spirit.

He sent an angel directly to Zachariah about John the Baptist’s birth and to Mary with the message that she would bear a son named Jesus. Luke 1:5-25 and Luke 1:26-38 NIV

Gabriel appeared to the priest Zachariah while he ministered in the temple and told him he and his wife would have a son. This was a one-on-one encounter where God spoke directly to a man through an angel. Zacharaiah was able to communicate with the angel because he expressed his doubts about the message and was punished for it by losing his ability to speak until the baby was born. That must have been a long 9 months!

The same angel went directly to Mary with the message of Jesus’s birth. Again there was interaction when Mary asked the angel how it was going to happen – not expressing doubt but needing clarification. The angel responded by telling her what she needed to know. Her last words to the angel were words of acceptance of the message.

In  Luke 2:25-35 God spoke to Simeon, a devout man who lived in Jerusalem. Simeon had been praying for years about the coming of a deliverer. The Bible tells us the holy Spirit was on him and God told him through the Holy Spirit that  he wouldn’t die until he had seen God’s son Simeon recognized Jesus right away through the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit and gave a special blessing to the child and his parents.

Has God ever spoken directly to you through his Holy Spirit or through an angel How did you know it was His voice?

2. In the Christmas story God speaks through dreams to Joseph. Matthew 1:18-24 and Matthew 2:13-15  Joseph had 2 separate dreams from God with important instructions – the first time telling him about Mary’s pregnancy and that he was not to divorce her, but to marry her. the second time, he was warned to take the baby and leave for Egypt so the baby would be protected.

Has God ever communicated with you through a dream? Did you believe it? how did you know the dream was from God?

3. God spoke through preaching. The angels proclaimed Christ’s birth to the shepherds on the hillside. Luke 2:8-20 Even though this is a direct revelation to the shepherds by angels, it it different. The shepherds did not interact with the angels – they weren’t allowed to ask questions – it was more like a lecture or a sermon.

Has God ever used a preacher or a sermon to minister to you  or to speak to your heart?

4. God spoke through signs in the Christmas story. Remember the wise men? They came searching for baby Jesus because they saw his star in the east. They were astronomers who watched the sky for important events. We aren’t sure what they saw exactly – a conjunction of planets, a nova or a comet, but they sis see something – something that they interpreted as being a herald of the birth of a great king.  Because of what they saw, they came and worshipped. Matthew 2:1-2

God can use events and circumstances to speak to us today too. There are no coincidences with God – just everyday miracles where God is in cognito. looking back, can you identify times where God used events and circumstances to speak to your heart?

5. God used his Word to speak to people that first Christmas. For years there had been prophets speaking and teaching about the coming of the messiah. Isaiah was one of the most prominent. Isaiah 9:6-8All of the men in Israel would have known that prophecy.

When the wise men  came to Herod asking where the King of the Jews would be born, Herod had his advisors check God’s word.  Matthew 2:3-8 they found the references in the scrolls, the written words of the day,  that a ruler would come out of Bethlehem.

Today we have the Bible which is God’s recorded word. He uses that Word to speak and illuminate our hearts. We can read it a dozen times and each time we see something new. We can be going through something and  be reading God’s word and suddenly a verse will jump out at us that has a direct bearing on something we are going through. Has this ever happened to you?

he  uses these same ways that he did in the Christmas story.   Through his Holy Spirit, through his word, through circumstances, through others. But, he also always confirms his message through one or more sources.

That’s how we can tell it’s his voice – The things he says always line up with the Word and are always confirmed by other sources.

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Christmas Devotional for a ladies meeting–

As Prayer Coordinator for our local Christian Women’s group, I have to give a devotional at each meeting. I was never content to simply read a devotional because I know that people remember only 10% of what they hear. But by combining other physical senses in with the presentation, the lessons God wants to share with us will stay with us beyond the moment. 

For that reason, I love object lessons, because they  incorporate not only hearing, but sight, taste, touch and smell in the presentation. Not only will your group remember what you presented for a longer period of time, they are more interested during the presentation. Anticipation of what will happen next helps to hold their attention.

In our December Prayer Connection meeting. where we pray for our upcoming Christian Women’s luncheon, I chose a devotional by Mary Southerland of Girlfriends in God, called “Happy Birthday Jesus.” you can find it if you visit their site and check out the Devotional archives for December 8, 2010.

In her devotional, Mary shared four gifts that those around Jesus gave to Him at Christmas along with a scripture verse for each gift:

  • God’s gift to us – Luke 2:8-12
  • Mary gave the gift of trust – Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Joseph gave Him obedience – John 14:15
  • The shepherds gave a gift of praise Psalm 50:6
  • And the Wise Men gave the gift of sacrifice. (No scripture noted here)

I added   Romans 12:1 to the Wise Men’s section of the devotional and added one more  short points to the devotional since it was our Christmas prayer meeting.

  • Prayer is our gift to others this Christmas season – James 5:16

To set up the object lesson, I printed out each portion of scripture and tucked each one in a small box. The boxes were wrapped and placed randomly around the tables before the meal so they appeared to be decorations. During the devotional time, I instructed the ladies sitting nearest each gift to unwrap it and read the verse inside for each point of the devotional. This helped the lesson to be more visual and interactive.

As we readied our hearts for prayer – I shared that prayer is a gift we can give to  those around us – praying for salvation for those attending our luncheon; for our speaker’s words to be infused with the Spirit’s power; prayer for the needs of our friends, neighbors and others in our community.

I placed a “favor” at each place for decoration as well as a reminder  to pray. I used
Tea bag holders with a poem on the front:

Prayer Reminder
When I sit down with cup of tea
May I the needs of others see.
And may I lift those needs in love
To my Father up above.
~Bonnie Winters 12/10 ~

 

A tutorial for making the tea bag holders is at http://www.splitcoaststampers.com/resources/tutorials/teabagholder/

You could also use a small treat box for mints or candies as a favor and make up your own rhyme.You can find a wide variety of small treat box templates online as well by googling “treat box templates.” 

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