Mary’s Devotion to God and His Way In Spite of Scorn

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord;
let it be to me according to Your Word.”

Can you imagine an angel from God suddenly appearing in front of you? Telling you something will happen to you that is so incomprehensible that no one on earth can ever understand it?

What a shock it must have been for Mary, coming from the disregarded, despised city of Nazareth. She was among the poor and unnoticed.

But God noticed her. He chose her to carry our Savior, truly God who became poor so that we might become rich.

“You know the grace that has come to us
through our Lord Jesus the Anointed.
He set aside His infinite riches
and was born into the lowest circumstance
so that you may gain great riches
through His humble poverty.”
2 Corinthians 8:9 Voice

When the angel appeared, Mary became frightened, but the angel told her:

“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Now listen:
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.”
Luke 1:30-33 HCSB

Mary was baffled, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied to her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.”
Luke 1:35 HCSB

Wow! God poured in His grace, and Mary opened her heart and believed this was not impossible with God. She answered His call, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your Word.” (Luke 1:38 ESV)

What would this illegitimate birth mean for Mary in the culture in which she lived?  Her father might have cast her out and forced her into begging. She would be scorned and could even be put to death, but God took care of all this and told Joseph not to abandon her and to go ahead and marry her anyway.

She may still have been under suspicion. Maybe she even lost friends.

A difficult journey was ahead of her, and she knew her submission to God would be costly. Yet she remained devoted to Him and freely offered Him her body and soul. It was more important to her to follow God and have His favor than gain the approval of people.

O Lord, are we that available to You? Please help us to give You our whole hearts and lives, both body and soul. Make us open to whatever You have in mind for us in this life, even when we can’t understand it or we meet with resistance. Like Mary, help us to put Your favor and glory above people’s approval and favor. Enable us to throw ourselves into Your hands with a childlike trust as Your servants, ready to do or be whatever You ask us to! Help us to make room in our hearts for You! We invite You to be born in the stinking, dirty stable of our hearts! Help us to embrace and be filled with awe that You became poor so we might become rich! Thank You for Your free gift of unspeakable love!

 

Bloom With Love Wherever God Plants You

bloom-with-love
Inspired by Quote: “Bloom Where You’re Planted” ~ Mary Engelbreit

We’re all planted in the garden of life. In the exact spot where God wants us to be. But sometimes we rebel against it. I know I do.

When the effects of past abuse and chronic illness sometimes drain the life out of me, I complain in my heart. I wish I was in a field where shame and insecurity didn’t taunt me. Where I didn’t feel so insignificant and worthless. Where a lack of physical health didn’t limit what I can do.

I see others who are more beautiful, fruitful, and significant than I am. Others who seem to make a much greater difference than I do in this hurting world. Others who bring much more light into the darkness of lives. And I grumble. I get jealous. I covet.

I recently read a devotion that reminds me of how easily I fall into that comparison trap:

An ancient legend tells of a king who walked into his garden one day to find almost everything withered and dying. After speaking to an oak near the gate, the king learned that he was troubled because he was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine overheard their conversation and added that she, too, was upset, for she could not bear delicious fruit like the pear tree. The pear tree heard his name and began to complain that he did not have the lovely odor of the spruce. And so it went throughout the entire garden.

daisyNear the very edge of the garden grew a little daisy. As the king approached, he noticed her bright little face, full of life. “Well, little flower,” said the monarch, “I’m glad to find that there is at least one happy face in my garden.”

“Oh king,” she said, “I know I’m little, and not many people notice me, but one day I realized that if you planted me here, you must have had a good reason. So, your majesty, I’ve determined to be the best little flower I can be!” (Read more – Bloom Where You’re Planted – George Whitten)

God has planted us where He wants us. We may feel choked out by losses, troubles, and negative emotions. But if we don’t accept where our Gardener has placed us and what He has given us, we will wither, not bloom as we were intended to.

When complaints, grumbles, and envy churn up in my heart, I feel so sad. I see Jesus with tears in His eyes. He has given me so much, He has a purpose in planting me where I am, and He is using me to make a difference, however limited my world may be. And the very things that get me down are what bring me nearer to His heart. They mold me more into His likeness. His likeness of love poured out.

When I fall into the comparison trap, I lose sight of the purpose I am here for in the first place – to bring God glory. It’s not about what I “do.” It’s about “being.” Being rooted in the depths of His purpose, not my selfish desires. Opening my heart to drink from His bottomless pool of renewing grace. Allowing the sunshine of His love to nourish me to bloom His love to others.

Sometimes our focus gets skewed in the muck and messiness of life. We start thinking everyone else is better than we are instead of remembering God uniquely created each of us with a special purpose. Each one of us is needed in His garden. None of us is insignificant in His eyes.

The Gardener delights in each of His plantings. He places each plant in such a way that it will compliment the other in the grand scheme of things. Where one serves a purpose to some souls, someone else brings what is needed to other souls. Plants are placed exactly where God can give the best nourishment to each and they can in turn pass on that nourishment to others.

We are in it for God. To His glory. And we can’t do that if we concentrate on another’s purpose in the garden instead of our own. As the little daisy said, “I know I’m little, and not many people notice me, but one day I realized that if you planted me here, you must have had a good reason. So, your majesty, I’ve determined to be the best little flower I can be!”

How is it possible to be the best little flower we can be? Accept where God has planted us, open our hearts to His nurturing love and grace, and let His love bloom in our lives for others to take comfort from.
cutecolorsplant4b

Every seed of kindness we plant,

However small, noticed or unnoticed,

Can bloom hope in the heart of a hurting soul,

A soul aching to be loved and cared about.

Every tiny seed planted will grow

And sprinkle seeds to others,

Making a difference in the lives of many.

“Three things will last forever —
faith, hope, and love —
and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to Your name give glory,
for Your mercy and loving-kindness and for
the sake of Your truth and faithfulness!”
Psalm 115:1 AMP

“Bring all who claim Me as their God,
for I have made them for My glory.
It was I who created them.”
Isaiah 43:7 NLT

“I am the Vine; you are the branches.
The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit,
for [otherwise] apart from Me
[that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”
John 15:5 AMP

A Child's Trust

“Love’s Where It All Begins”
Inspiring Song About Love

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Nothing Is Impossible With GOD

Nothing-impossible-with-God

Out of Nazareth

A despised town

Mary

Poor and unknown

Young and inexperienced

With no authority around men

In the eyes of society

Not good enough

To be used by God

BUT GOD

Highly favored her

To be used to bring forth

His salvation for us

The Holy Spirit came upon her

And she conceived

The Savior of the World

Jesus Christ

How could this be?

Because with God

Nothing is impossible

Mary gave her whole self

Into the hands of God

With a willing heart

Even though she would be

Ridiculed and condemned

The Son of God

Came down in the flesh

To save us

To bring

Salvation for the sinner

Hope for the hopeless

Help for the helpless

Freedom for the captive

Light for those in darkness

Love for the lost

Life for the dead

Mercy from judgment

Grace for the undeserving

Peace to the chaos

Joy for the grieving

So remember

God is Almighty

He can level mountains

In your life

He can use you

For His glory

No matter how small

And insignificant you feel

Because He came down

To deliver us

To make us worthy

To give us power in Him

When He is in us

Nothing is impossible

Jesusgift

You can read God’s story of salvation through Mary in
Luke 1:26-38

A Child's Trust

“Mary, Did You Know?”
Sung by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd

Dearest Lord Jesus, thank You for coming down.
Help us to give our whole selves into Your hands.
Help us to see that nothing is impossible with You!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Barbie – Weekend Whispers