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Archive for September, 2015

Editor’s Note: This series has been following women of the Bible to learn more about the wisdom that guided them in their daily lives for lessons we can apply as women today.

“I blew it!”

“I should have…”

“I didn’t…”

We have all had those times in our lives when we can look back and see we should have made a different decision. Perhaps it was regarding an educational opportunity, a job, or something as mild as realizing we should have spoken up or perhaps made a different choice of words in a conversation. Or, more significantly, perhaps it was an occasion when we knew God was asking something of us and we said a resounding “no” or “I don’t want to.” Maybe it wasn’t saying no, but talking yourself out of it or hesitating because of fear.

If you have had such moments, or perhaps are experiencing one even today, remember that God is merciful and kind. Don’t waste your energy looking backward. Don’t allow yourself to be bogged down in regret. Instead, make the choice to look forward and prepare yourself for the next opportunity God places in front of you. For most assuredly, you will be given another opportunity to trust Him enough to step out into that moment where all you have is your faith in a faithful God.

Through studying Mary’s life in these past weeks on the blog, we can see in her story the value of trusting that the Lord will use us; we see what can happen when we allow Him to fully be in charge of our future. What if Mary had said no? Would God have used someone else? Think what an incredible life she would not have experienced if she had stayed with what was comfortable and traditional for a young woman. At times it is hard to trust that the Lord’s way is right, but Mary shows us the blessings of obedience.

So our encouragement is to not look back on the times we failed to be obedient, but to be willing to step out in boldness the next time the Lord God taps us and offers us the opportunity to be His vessel of grace and love. Let’s move forward with confidence and purpose to say yes to the life that awaits when we are obedient to His voice.

Phil 4:13:  “For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.”

St. Paul’s prayer for God’s spirit to empower us resonates today:

When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knee and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in the heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you might and inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19) Amen

 

 

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Editor’s Note: This series has been following women of the Bible to learn more about the wisdom that guided them in their daily lives for lessons we can apply as women today.

When we trust the God of miracles

We know, We know, We know

That there’s no such thing as impossible…

(Chorus from Building 429, Impossible)

Mary, an ordinary teenage girl in Israel learned she was going to be the mother of the Son of God. Because of her deep faith in God’s goodness, she didn’t doubt it could happen, but did question how it was going to happen. The lesson we can take from this woman of faith is three fold:

  • What we see as insurmountable or impossible is simply an opportunity for us to see God perform a miracle. John Maxwell notes, “Miracles happen when our willingness to serve God intersects with His revealed plan.”
  • We often hear the Bible misquoted with the adage that God will never give us more than we can handle, but that is a false statement. The lesson we can learn from Mary and other giants of the faith is that God will never give us more than He can handle. There are many times when one of the saints of the faith must have felt overwhelmed and clearly out of their comfort zone, yet, our faithful Lord God was swift to remind them that He would never leave them nor forsake them. That truth still resonates today.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6

  • If we want to be one of God’s instruments of the impossibility, we cannot allow fear to taint our perspective of God and what He can do. For surely, nothing is impossible with God. “Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’” Luke 18:27

Trusting in that truth changes my perspective on everything I approach today. I can trust God with everyone I love today, and, with every decision, and every step I take.

Oh Lord Jesus, draw me close to Your heart today. Remind me of Your love. Remind me that You hold me, my family, my home, my career—everything—in Your hands. Remind me of Your Presence. Encourage my heart to trust You and step out in boldness to be Your instrument of impossibility today. Help me to not shrink back into the comfortable and safety zone of life. I know the plan You have for my life is much bigger than I could could imagine. Give me the strength, courage and faith to move me forward in Your timing and with Your purpose. Thank you for taking my fears and for holding my hand. I love you, Lord. Amen

To learn more about Mary, read Matthew 1:18-2:23, 13:53-57, 27:55-61, and 28:1-10; Luke 1:26-2:29, John 19:24-27; and Acts 1:14

 

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Editor’s Note: This series has been following women of the Bible to learn more about the wisdom that guided them in their daily lives for lessons we can apply as women today.

We have all heard the Nike slogan, Just Do It! Today, I am hearing that echoed in my head as I face decisions for my future. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you believed God was asking you to do something that could turn your whole life in a new direction? Scary, right?!? Confusing and overwhelming for sure. Or, is it just me that feels this way at times?

Perhaps that is how Mary felt when the angel told her she had been chosen to be the mother of the Savior of the world, the Messiah. Mary was an ordinary young woman, raised in the traditions of the community and taught that her life was to follow a pattern acceptable in that society for young women. She was engaged to a young man, Joseph, but had to wait to marry so there could be confirmation that she had remained a virgin and was living according to the Jewish law. In a moment, all that changed.

Gabriel, God’s angel, appeared to Mary to inform her that she would “become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus…that he would be called “the Son of God.” Wow! Talk about shocking, confusing, and unsettling to a person! Mary certainly would have had many questions, as we can note from the Bible, but yet she said yes. I ask myself, would I have been so quick to say yes? Would I have said, “Excuse me, but let me think about the cost of this decision…let me consider all the ramifications…what would my family and friends think, what will this mean for my life…for my future with Joseph?” I try to imagine what it must have been like to live in that culture. Remember, it was a crime for a woman to be unmarried and pregnant and she could have been stoned. Yet, despite all of those emotions and facts, Mary said yes.

The lesson we can learn today and apply is that when God puts His plan in front of us, even when it is just a small step and we don’t see every detail, or have time to consider how each action and consequence of the plan will develop, we can trust that God only ever wants His best for us. God’s truth reminds us of this:

“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

To learn more about Mary, read Matthew 1:18-2:23, 13:53-57, 27:55-61, and 28:1-10; Luke 1:26-2:29, John 19:24-27; and Acts 1:14

 

 

 

 

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Editor’s Note: This series has been following women of the Bible to learn more about the wisdom that guided them in their daily lives for lessons we can apply as women today.

My brother pulled into the gas station to refuel the truck as we traveled from Michigan to visit family across the prairie. Unbeknownst to him, dad got out of the camper and went into the gas station restroom. Off we went down the road without dad. This was a time before cell phones, so it took someone in the camper to get my brother’s attention to alert him that we were missing dad. It was also took some time to find a place to turn around and head back to retrieve our father. We had quickly discovered Dad’s absence and within 30 minutes were back on our way, but can you imagine what Mary and Joseph must have faced when they realized their 12 year old son was missing and had been for at least three days?

Joseph and Mary, with their son, Jesus, traveled yearly to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. But the year Jesus was 12 was not just another year for Mary and her family to make this annual trek; this year there was a significant difference. When Mary and Joseph headed towards home at the end of the festival, they assumed Jesus was in another part of the caravan with fellow travelers or with his friends. (Luke 2:41-51) Only after three days did they discover Jesus was missing. Frantically, Mary and Joseph returned to Jerusalem and discovered Jesus sitting in the Temple. He was safe. He was discussing “deep questions” with the religious leaders, who were amazed by Jesus’ knowledge and wisdom.

Like most parents, Mary questioned Jesus, and perhaps, like many of us, with a spark of anger mixed in with the relief of discovering her son was safe and healthy.

In this time of year, some of us are in the midst of sending children off to school, college, the military or to take a job in another part of the country. Some of us are experiencing children moving out for marriage, or just to be independent. But, for all of us, whether moms or grandmothers, or just watching our friends experience these life passages, it can be a time of uncertainty and concern for the safety and well-being of those we love. It certainly must have been for Mary.

At what age do we let go and trust the Lord God with our children? 2? 20? 40? When Mary questioned Jesus that day, perhaps she was reminded that at birth she had dedicated this son to her Heavenly Father (Luke 2:21-24), offering him to serve the Lord. Mary would remind us that trusting the Lord with our children and their future means saying “yes” to God’s best for them, even when it looks very different than we envision.

“There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom beyond his years, and God places his special favor upon him.” Luke 2:40

To learn more about Mary, read Matthew 1:18-2:23, 13:53-57, 27:55-61, and 28:1-10; Luke 1:26-2:29, John 19:24-27; and Acts 1:14

 

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