Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Such A Time As This

I love the story of Esther. This morning, as my daily reading had me go through chapters three through eight, the ah-ha that grabbed my attention was found in the footnotes that accompany verses 4:17-5:1. God was in control, yet Mordecai and Esther had to act. We cannot understand how both can be true at the same time, and yet they are. God chooses to work through those willing to act for Him. We should pray as if all depended on God and act as if all depended on us… (NIV footnotes)

 

Esther knew what she needed to do, yet had the wisdom to seek prayerful covering prior to her appearance before the king. She and all of the Jews who were willing to join her in fasting and praying, did so with all of their hearts for three days prior to her act of faith. For Esther to appear before the king without being summoned could have resulted in her demise. However, God’s favor was upon her, and the king received her into his presence and heard the petition she presented before him. Mordecai’s words to her when she first learned about the edict against her people, confirmed what she knew she must do. “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” – (Esther 4:14)

 

How are we being called to act on God’s behalf? Wherever we are called, and whatever we are called to do, we must be prayerfully depend on God, and faithfully move forward in action. May we each honor the Lord wherever we have be placed, for this time, in this space.

 

As we choose silence,Certain Hope

so that we may hear;

what is God asking,

in spite of our fear?

Always there is risk,

a powerful price;

yet, the freedom found,

will more than suffice.

For our steps of faith,

are met by the Lord;

Who upholds our hearts,

and grace is outpoured.

Wherever we are,

is intentional;

a time such as this,

be exceptional.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in all things we are to pray, completely depending on You, yet move forward in the strength that You have granted us to go forth. Thank You that You have placed each of us where we are for a purpose. Thank You that no matter how things appear, we are where we are, for such a time as this. Forgive us for not recognizing the opportunities that You place before us, not depending on You when we ought to, and for not moving forward when You have told us to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may act immediately when we hear You ask. Help us to love others as You so generously love us, and may many come to know the mercy and grace that You freely give to all who come before You. Be glorified Lord God, as we make the most of this time and space.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8