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!

 

Trusting God’s Faithful Care In the Midst of Heartache

good-shepherd-2
Art by Warner Sallman (1892-1968)

Do you see how the lamb is gazing so trustingly at Jesus and how lovingly Jesus holds and cares for the little one? We have an art print in our bedroom that has often aroused a prayer in me that I will trust Jesus so freely and fully.

good-shepherdEven though we have had this picture for years, and various aspects of it have ministered to me, something else struck home a few weeks ago. The sheep next to Jesus is also gazing so trustingly at Jesus. Perhaps it is her lamb He is holding. Another prayer bubbled up in my heart. Lord Jesus, please help me to trust You also for my children and grandchildren. Help me to truly leave them in Your hands of love and mercy.

It’s not that I haven’t prayed something like this before, but the meaning I saw in the picture captured my heart in a deeper way.

You see, sometimes I forget God is God. I forget His character of love, compassion, mercy, and power. I forget He reigns over all the earth, over every single human being. Not one hurt, heartache, or horror escapes His notice. It may not feel like it sometimes, but He is still in control on this earth. He is still in control of our loved ones’ hearts. He is still in control over every hurting soul.

“God is God. He sees and hears
all our troubles, all our tears.
Soul, forget not, in your pains,
God over all forever reigns.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

God knows all the burdens and messes in our hearts and our lives. Every single one. Not one tear escapes His notice. He cares so deeply that His loving, compassionate heart cries tears with us.

He can and will take every tangled, broken thread in our hearts, lives, families, nation, and world and make a beautiful design that glorifies Himself and benefits us. 

Thank You, God, for all Your goodness and faithful care over us, even when we resist Your ways and want our own way. Please help us to unload all our burdens and messes into Your powerful, ever-capable, merciful hands. Help us to trust You with the bigger picture that You have in mind. To believe Your plans are always for our greater good. Please help us to trust You with our families and friends, our nation, and every hurting, lonely heart in this whole wide world. It’s so hard, Lord, when You don’t move the mountains we long for You to move, but please help us to trust You no matter what. Please help us to rest in Your plan. Help us to believe that even when we can’t see You or feel You, You are still here with us and for us. You will never abandon us! May we cling to You and Your tender love!

serenity-prayer
“The Lord is my Shepherd;
I have all that I need.”
Psalm 23:1 NLT
“Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray.
Pray about everything.
He longs to hear your requests,

so talk to God about your needs and
be thankful for what has come.

And know that the peace of God
(a peace that is beyond any
and all of our human understanding)

will stand watch over your hearts
and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.”
Philippians 4:6-7 Voice
“For I know the plans I have for you,”
says the Eternal,

“plans for peace, not evil,
to give you a future and hope

— never forget that.”
Jeremiah 29:11 Voice

A Child's Trust

“Trust In You”
by Lauren Daigle

trust
Little Birdie Blessings
May God Hold You and Yours
In the Palm of His Hand!Signature

God and His Angel Armies Are Always With Us


rainbow

As a tiger stalked closer to a water hole, a little boy and some wolf cubs hid behind a big rock. The mother wolf stood on top of the rock, and the rest of the pack lined themselves in a semi-circle in front of the rock.

The tiger paced back and forth, his eyes already devouring the helpless little ones. Eventually he sulked away, knowing he didn’t stand a chance against an entire pack of those fiercely protective wolves.

I saw this recently while sitting in the dentist office. I don’t know what movie it was, but it was showing in the children’s corner with the sound muted. My heart was pulled in by the scene, and my body tensed and empathized with the little boy. His eyes wide with fear, sometimes peeking around the edge of the rock. But I also saw a trust in his eyes that the wolves would protect him. I imagine they had done it before.

This reminds me of the story when Elisha’s servant panicked. (2 Kings 6:15-17) All he could see were enemy troops, horses, and chariots surrounding them. He cried out in alarm, “What shall we do?”

But Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then he prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes.

And wow! The young man looked up. And what did he see? The hillside around them was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

Sometimes we only see the armies of trouble that surround us, threatening to consume us. We tremble with fear under the attack of the enemy of our souls. We panic and cry out, “What shall I do?”

If we look through our eyes, our situation is hopeless and defeat is certain.

We need God’s lens. With eyes of faith looking to Him, we will see the enemy can never defeat us. There may be times when it feels like it. But God is still with us with His angel armies. He is and always will be greater than the strongest enemy ever against us.

As I am writing this, I can’t help but wonder about times of abuse. Isn’t the enemy defeating us when we are robbed of who we are? When shame crushes us to a pulp and we feel like we have no worth anymore? When Satan keeps piercing our souls with arrows of guilt that isn’t ours to bear?

bridgeGod may allow things to happen to us, and the enemy can bring us very low. If God is for us, why do these things happen?

In hindsight I still don’t understand everything, but I do know that our sufferings lead us into a deeper understanding of the incomprehensible sufferings Christ Jesus has endured for us. Our troubles here build a bridge to a deeper relationship with Jesus.

It may feel sometimes like we’re defeated, but all the devastating events in life will never wipe us out when we belong to Jesus. He still has our souls in His safekeeping. No one can take our souls away from Him.

The little boy could see the hungry leer of the tiger, and he trembled with fear. But he trusted the wolves, especially one who acted as his mother, would protect him. In the same way, Satan roars loudly and can be so close we feel his hungry breath. May God help us to trust our Mighty Protector who will never let him devour us.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 NLT

“And I give them eternal life, and they will never, ever [by any means] perish; and no one will ever snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater and mightier than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One [in essence and nature].” John 10:28-30 AMP

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NLT

god-whispersA Child's Trust

Whom Shall I Fear? (God of Angel Armies)
Chris Tomlin

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