Archives for November 2016

God Makes Somebodys Out of Us Nobodys

The Bible is full of nobodys like me. God loves to make somebodys out of nobodys. It is so refreshing to know this.

Three amazing “somebodys” I had never really noticed are only mentioned in the Gospel of Luke 2 story of Jesus’ birth–the shepherds, Simeon and Anna.

We will focus next week’s whole message on the shepherds. Earlier in Luke 2,  the Lord transformed “nobody shepherds” into “somebody shepherds” as they were the first witnesses of Jesus’ birth. They spread the word of seeing Jesus, “and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (Luke 2:18)

In Biblical times, the shepherds were considered outcasts. I love that God gave voices to the voiceless. He still does.

A few verses later, 40 days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple for His purification. Enter another nobody named Simeon…

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’  Luke 2:25-32

Go Simeon! What a courageous, anointed man! The passage goes on to say that Mary and Joseph marveled at what Simeon said about Jesus. These verses are the only time Simeon is mentioned. What an impact he made on God’s Kingdom.

Then another nobody named Anna enters the Luke 2 stage:

“There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” –Luke 2: 36-38. 

Wow, Anna! What an amazing example. What a leader. What a somebody.

It’s exciting to look at a few common traits, I believe, between the nobodys God transforms into somebodys–the shepherds, Simeon, Anna, and so many others in the Bible. All these “nobodys” wholeheartedly display that they are:

  1. Available to be used by God
  2. Attuned to the Holy Spirit
  3. Agile–Age is not an excuse
  4. Humble

Each one of these traits is a high calling. I pray to embody more of each. It’s a journey. I’m no expert. Here is what I believe to be true about each trait:

  1. Available to be used by God: God wants our availability, not our abilities. Like Simeon and Anna, they were in the temple waiting on baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Even the shepherds “hurried off” and found Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in the manger. They were flexible and available. May we be ready for God’s service, saying, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10).
  2. Attuned to the Holy Spirit: Simeon was “righteous and devout.” Three times in slightly more than a verse the Bible mentions how the “Holy Spirit was upon him.” How do we get more attuned with the Holy Spirit? The short answer is to pray and fast, like Anna did; to spend time in God’s Word “listening” to God speak and answer us; worship regularly in a Christ-centered church; and to live a life of integrity. It seems like a tall order. That’s what grace is all about, at least in my life. 🙂
  3. Agile–Age is not an excuse: Whether you are five years old or “very old” like Anna, we can be used by God. Simeon was also older because the passage said the Holy Spirit said he wouldn’t die before seeing the Lord’s Christ. Nowhere in the Bible does it talk about spiritual retirement. Whatever your age, whatever God calls you to do, He will equip you. No excuses.
  4. Humble–Each effective person in the Bible and in today’s world who is the most effective leader embodies humility. Simeon prayed “now dismiss your servant in peace” (Luke 2:29b). Anna “gave thanks to God and spoke to all about the child” (Luke 2:38). They decreased as God increased (John 3:30).  Please, Lord, I pray daily to decrease as You increase.

May we be encouraged that God can use each of us for His service. As the old Christian song says, “I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about the Somebody who can save anybody.”  Happy New Year, friend.


–Name other “nobodys” in the Bible and/or your life who God has transformed into “somebodys” for His glory. Please comment.


–“…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” –Ephesians 4:1-2.


–Which of the four common traits will you focus on this week? You are a somebody.

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Freedom is Not Free

On this Election Day and as Veterans’ Day approaches this week, my heart overflows with gratitude. We are blessed to be born in a country where we can elect our leaders. So many countries don’t grant their citizens such a privilege.

I thank God for those who fight and fought for our freedom. Freedom is not free.

A lump formed in my throat as soon as we drove onto the holy ground of the majestic Florida military cemetery this past weekend. My Uncle Tommy Carter defended our country years ago as a Marine. We honored his memory this weekend at a heart-rending Marine service. A solo trumpet played “Taps” somberly in this distance, and a 21-gun salute captured our attention.


The beautiful US Flag was reverently unfolded and draped over my uncle’s remains. Then the two Marine servicemen intricately folded the US Flag back ceremoniously, silently. The officer knelt, bowed his head, and presented the US flag to my Aunt Vicky in a touching presentation. Tears streamed down my face, down almost every face present.


Moments like these are what make America great.

How ever you may vote politically and how ever you may feel about war, we are all united as American citizens.  Please vote today.

We serve and play on the same team–Team USA.  Our country’s future is in your hands.  One vote makes a difference–yours. Freedom is not free.

Please pray for our leaders, whether you vote for them or not.

“Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”  –1 Timothy 2:2 NLT

Happy Election Day.  Freedom is not free.


–Would you consider yourself to be patriotic? Please comment.

–Who are some American heroes in your life? How will you show your appreciation for them? Please comment.


–” ‘…no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will not refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.” –Isaiah 54:17 NIV

–“Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” –Romans 9:5 NIV

–“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.” –2 Timothy 2:3-4 NIV


–What do you or will you do this week to demonstrate your patriotism? Vote today.

–Please unfurl your American flag and wave it high. Let us show the world we are honored to be Americans.


–Your Vote Counts

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