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Spiritual Formation

From the Pastor’s Pen: Mary and the Angel Gabriel

At Christmas time as we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus, our mind turns toward family and friends. So, today, my mind has turned toward you as part of our worldwide OC family. Allow me to share a few thoughts that hopefully will minister to you in these days.

pp_maryAs one reads the Biblical accounts surrounding Jesus’ birth, it’s obvious that the heart of the revelation is the exchange between Mary and the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:26-38. In response to Gabriel’s life-altering pronouncement that she would be with child who “will be called the Son of the Most High”, Mary understandably asks, “How will this be since I am a virgin?” Gabriel’s answer takes Mary beyond her natural state and capabilities to what the Lord can and will do – “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

It seems to me this exchange at the heart of the Christmas story is a wonderful message the Lord would speak to each of us in the midst of our own life and ministry opportunities and challenges. As we look into the future and contemplate what we sense the Lord is directing us to do or what life’s journey is bringing us to, we may find ourselves also asking, “How will this be since I am… getting older, single, struggling with my health, overwhelmed with family responsibilities?” How will this door be opened, how will the needed provision be made, how will this platform for ministry be realized, how will we pay for our children’s’ education, how will I know what to do next, etc.? The Lord would speak to our sometimes questioning and anxious hearts and assure us that He is with us, as He did with Mary, and He has the resources to provide for and do what we assuredly can’t do on our own.

In the exchange between Mary and Gabriel where Mary’s, “How will this be?” is met with, “…the power of the Most High will overshadow you”, the promised child will not be the son of Mary or the son of Joseph, but rather the “Son of God”. As you and I move into the future, and our “how will this be” is met with God’s assurance of His presence, strength and wisdom it won’t be our plans being realized, but rather God’s plan being realized. It won’t be our ministry being carried out, but God’s ministry being carried out. It won’t be our provision for our children, but God’s provision and the praise will belong to Him!

Not only in these days may we be found celebrating the wondrous birth of the Lord Jesus, but also throughout the coming year may we enter into and celebrate all that He is birthing in our midst!

Thinking about you at this special time of the year,

Ralph Anderson

More about Ralph
ralph_joyceOne Challenge was blessed to have mission pastor Ralph Anderson, and his wife Joyce, at OC International for over 20 years. They tended to our souls through the Word, prayer, counsel, and encouragement. In 2020, Ralph handed over this role to Gill, another great man of the Lord, who is walking alongside OC workers in their ministry journey together.

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