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Where Do I Go for Some Rest?

At one point in time, my DH and I were church hunting….we  found it was time for a change. I love it when you go into church not knowing what to expect, and God is waiting there, ready to speak to you! It’s been an incredible experience and I have learned so much more lately than I have in a long while.

In today’s study, I want to talk about something I mentioned in a comment on my Christians: Perfect? or Forgiven? article.  Burdens and loads.   I had an “ah ha!” moment when I heard this passage in a new light…. (Matthew 11: 28-30) — “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I have heard these verses before many times, but this was the first time I really got something from it.

First thing, we are all weary and burdened, aren’t we?  I mean, in today’s age we have our own lives…we may work (at home or outside the home), we may have kids who are in soccer, gymnastics, dance, softball, band lessons and concerts…we have a spouse who comes home just ready to eat dinner or ready to shed all his problems and such in exchange for some good lovin’ …there are baths for the kids, bedtime routines, homework to check and recheck, practice records to sign….whew!  We are weary by the end of the day, are we not, girls?     All of these things also create burdens for us that we sometimes feel like we have to bear all by ourselves, too.  Your husband is lying in bed naked, and all you want to do is go to sleep…  Where do we go for some rest???

Well, in this verse, Jesus tells us to come to him.   What in the world could Jesus do to help me with all my burdens and give me rest?  Oh, child, believe me, He can do it.  I am proof of it.

Let me take a step back here and give you a few definitions.   First of all, what is a burden?  A burden is something you cannot bear by yourself.  My pastor told me in life there are burdens and loads.  What is the difference between a burden and a load?  A load is something that is the right size for you to carry.   A grocery sack from the store is a load.  You can carry that.   Carrying in 10 grocery bags at one time…that is a burden.

In these verses, Jesus is asking us for a give and take relationship.   If we give him our burdens, he will share the load.    It reminds me of seeing oxen work in a yoke.    When using the yoke, the oxen become partners bearing the load together.   The work might be too hard for one to do on his own, but when pared together, the burden is much lighter.    When we take on Jesus’ yoke, he becomes the Senior partner in the deal.  The verse tells us to take HIS yoke and learn from HIM.  I decided to do some research on how oxen are trained, and I found this quote, “Training oxen requires taking two separate animals, (selected for their similarities in temperament and willingness to work), which have previously been their own masters, and making them a team, that will work for another master”   (www.prairieoxdrovers.com) Does this sound familiar?  How many of us try to be our own master?   I will raise my hand high and tell you that when DH and I were going through our marriage bed difficulties, I thought I could fix it myself.   I cannot tell you how many times I told him we didn’t need to see our pastor or a counselor.  I was a smart woman.  Surely I can fix this myself.   Well, desperate times led to desperate measures….I finally gave my burden to God.   And yes, when the Lord takes the lead in the yoke, the burden is SO much lighter.   I felt like a ten ton weight had been lifted off me, and it was exhilarating.

Part of my hope is that by reading the articles on this blog, that maybe we (as a group of Christian women) can help lift a burden from your life.   Sometimes one person’s burden is another person’s load, and we are so willing to yoke with you to help you.  Sometimes we have preconcieved notions about sex.   Sometimes it burdens us so much when we’ve got misinformation or wrong information about what is acceptable to God in our marriage beds.   Please let us help share your burden.  Write in to me  on the “Got Questions” thread with your burden if you do not want to post it publically.   You can respond to this article.   Whatever you feel most comfortable with, but know that is why God pressed upon us the need for people like us to carry other people’s burdens for a period of time until it can become a load for you.   We will pray for you and help in any way possible.

Lord, Jesus, thank you so much for being willing to carry our burdens for us.  You carried the biggest burden we have, our sin, to the cross for us, and for that we are eternally grateful to you.  Lord, help this blog and the ladies on it to thrive in our marriage beds.  Help us to bear others burdens for them when it gets to be too much for them.   We love you, Lord, and praise you for all you have done and will do for us.   In Christ’s precious name, AMEN!

From the Inside Out

Did you know that in Alabama, it is illegal to wear fake mustaches that cause laughter in church?   Or how about this one!  In Nebraska, if a child burps in church, his parents can be arrested.  But wait!  In Nicholas Co., West Virginia, no member of the clergy is allowed to tell jokes or humorous stories from the pulpit!

What is it with us and laws???

I was listening to a pastor’s message  on this very subject and wondered the same thing.  Today’s bible study is from Mark 7:1-22.  Thanks to Pastor Wes Hamilton for his insight on this study.

I’ll ask my question again…what is it with humans and laws?  Do we really think it is possible to write the perfect law and we will suddenly become perfect?  Is it possible to create a law that would save us from ourselves?  In society, why do we even have laws?  Aren’t they created to be broken?

Laws do one thing….they dress up the outside, but they don’t change what is inside.   In the bible, the Pharisees presented themselves as righteous and holy.   They were the first person to point out the faults and law breaking in others without realizing that when you point at someone, there are at least 3 fingers pointing back at you.   Let’s look in on the text from Mark 7:1-5

The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were “unclean,” that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles)

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?”

Did you catch it?  “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?”

There is something that need to be distinguished here.   Laws and traditions are not one and the same.   God gave the Israelites 10 perfectly good Commandments that covered everything that they would possibly come into conflict with.  What did they do with them?  They created 613 laws with 1500 revisions; constantly micromanaging life, thus further moving away from the laws and moving more toward their own traditions.   Jesus tells them this in the next verses…Mark 7:6-8

“He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
” ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain;  their teachings are but rules taught by men.  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

Wow, he really nailed them there.   I bet you are wondering though…why did Jesus find fault in washing your hands before a meal.   Isn’t that what Mom always taught us?  To wash our hands before meals?  At this point, my pastor showed us a demonstration of what they actually did.  Did you know that all they would do is just pour water over their hands?  No soap, no nothing.   Just plain water.   Sorry, if you pour water over your hands, they are just wet, not clean.    But you weren’t a “good Jew” unless you did this, not only before the meal, but in between each course as well.   So where did the Pharisees get this idea from?

Psalm 18:20 “20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.”

Psalm 18: 24 “24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

Psalm 24:3-4  “ Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

The Pharisees took this literally.   Let’s rinse our hands and we’re on our way to Heaven!  (If it were only that easy)  But they missed out on the rest of the story….the rest of the verse.   Psalm 24:4 says   He who has clean hands and a pure heart,  who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. Clean hands, meaning living righteously.  Pure heart meaning living with the right attitude.  Even the Apostles didn’t get this when Jesus was teaching and he had to tell them the real meaning.   (Mark 7:18-23) — Do you know how much I love Jesus when he says this…..

“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)

He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ “

Did you catch that last part?  All these evils come from INSIDE and make a man unclean.   Nothing on your hands makes you unclean, it’s what is in your heart.

Let me point out a few things that my pastor pointed out in his sermon on this.
1.    Legalism always finds the fault.  It’s always easier to see the fault in others than your own fault when you are being legalistic.   Just remember that there are more fingers pointing back at you than there are at the accused.

2.    Legalism always takes the credit:  we tend to take our own traditions and elevate them to the level of the word of God.  If we are following traditions, then we must be holy…only we are not.   Who are we fooling?  Not God.

3.    Legalism always lowers the bar:  We can pretend to be committed to our religion.  We can serve on all the right committees, teach Sunday school every week, be there every Sunday in the same pew as we always sit…we can go through all the motions, but God sees our heart.   He knows what page we’re on.

Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’ “   Remember Jesus’ words here.   We are all guilty of this to some extent, aren’t we?  We don’t like to be called legalistic.  For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. We’re all in there friends, and we need Jesus to bail us out.  Do you have any of those things in your heart?  I am guilty of some of those.  Are they inside you, coming out?

I hope this story has awakened you like it did me.  It made me take a good look inside myself … where I saw all the muckiness of them inside my heart….then I asked God’s forgiveness for shying away from Him towards “politically correctness”.

Lord, please forgive us for forgetting to look at what is inside us.  Please help us to seek Your will and to come to your with clean hands and pure hearts in all that we say and do.  I ask this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen!

Let Our Faith Encourage One Another

In the past, I have received daily emails from Pastor Ed Young’s website. He calls them “Evotionals”. (Doesn’t he have cute names for everything? LOL.) This one probably best reflects the main theme of this blog.

I want to bring out the truth behind God’s plan for sex. That it is to be between one man and one woman, who are married to each other. Our marriage bed is our wedding present from God. He wants us to consummate our marriage and to enjoy this gift to the fullest during our lifetime with our spouse. Satan sneaks into our bedroom and tries his best to discourage us, to remind us of our past failures, or even to create new problems for us. It starts to discourage us.

When I received this Evotional, it reminded me of the purpose of this blog. For those of us who’s faith is in Christ Jesus to lift one another up and encourage one another. Listen to this verse that came into my email box.

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” (Romans 1:11-12)

As I read this, it reminded me of the past reader on CN that went by the name  “Alone”, who truly thought she was alone in her suffering. Events in her life with her husband brought her to CN and to us. The authors of CN had been where she had been before. Many readers  have also been there before, and it is OUR job to share our faith, to share our stories, to uplift all woman and to encourage them that by OUR faith, God answered our prayers. Let me borrow something from Ed Young’s Evotional. (www.edyoung.com)

“There is something encouraging about looking to the example of someone who has been where you want to go or done what you want to do. As children, we look to our older siblings or friends to let us know that we’ll survive our freshman year. We look to couples who have children to help us feel a little more prepared for the difficulties of parenthood. And the same holds true in our spiritual walk. During difficult times, there will be periods of doubt in your journey with God. But during those times, look to those who have gone before you and be encouraged by their stories of faith. Because no matter what you are facing, God can use the faith of others to encourage you.(emphasis mine)

This was such a wonderful reminder to me, and I hope it is a reminder to you, as well. When we are in the pits of despair and there seems no way out…look up. God is there. He will send just the right person (or people) to help you in your time of need. Look to them for encouragement.   I hope that you will consider this a place where you can find encouragement.

As I approve comments here in the future, I will be looking at them with basically this in mind…. is it biblical and is it helpful.   Yes, there are times when we do need Biblical discipline if a sister in Christ is sinning, about to do something sinful, or planning something sinful.  If our mindset is to push OUR OWN beliefs on others, it isn’t helpful.  Our help must be biblical.  We need to lift each other up as God commands us to do.  Please do not feel offended if I do not publish comments that I feel do not follow these two guidelines.   I want us to help free women from the lies that Satan uses to torment us.   Ladies will come here very vulnerable and need to know answers from other Christian women.   I hope that you will join me in making this as safe a place as possible for all women in God’s family.

Thank you and God’s blessings to all my readers.

In God’s service,

Faith of a Child: Part 4

Luke 2: 1-7

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

This is such an incredible story.   There are so many facets of it that I am just amazed by.

First, the trip.  I looked on Google maps to see if I drove by car from Nazareth to Bethlehem, how far it is and how long it would take me by car to get there.   It said that it was 155 km (approximately 97 miles) which is about the same drive as from New York City to Philadelphia.   (The New York trip is just 5 miles further).   It would take me about 2 hours to drive it.   But at that time, of course, there were no cars, so the trip took….okay take a guess….   remember they are ON FOOT…..

A)  6 hours

B)  24 hours

C)  33 hours

D) 48 hours

Did you guess?  According to google maps (and yes, there is a function there to WALK from Nazareth to Bethlehem), it takes 33 hours to walk the trip.  (And of course google maps puts up this warning on the map… Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.)   That made me chuckle out loud!!  I would say there trip had more possible problems than that!

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

Knowing that they needed to participate in this census, they got ready to go.  But can you imagine walking in Mary’s sandals?   She is 9 months pregnant, due any day, and she is about to go on a trip that will take 33 hours by foot.   I know when I started my last trimester with both my pregnancies, that the doctor told me to limit my travel and stay closer to home.   Not possible here.  Census takers didn’t come knocking on your door or the census survey wasn’t sent to your house…you had to go to the town of your birth.   I would have a 3 day trip by car to get to my home town of birth.  The same with my husband.   I am so glad that I don’ t have to follow in her footsteps.   Maybe she did get to ride on a donkey…but can you imagine all the potty breaks, how uncomfortable she must have been with a baby pressing up on her lungs and into her ribs.     Maybe having Braxton-Hicks contractions, maybe having real contractions, but still, they pressed on.

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

It doesn’t say how long they were there.  Did he get his taxes paid on time?  Was he in the process of knocking on doors, trying to find a place to stay?  Didn’t Mary’s pregnancy cause ANYONE to give up their room?  Evidently not, because the passage said there was no room for them in the inn.    So Joseph and Mary stayed in a stable and Mary gave  birth right there where all the animals lived.   No sterile hospital,  no birthing center, not even able to give birth in her own home…Mary delivered her baby in a stable.   Girls, remember what it was like delivering your babies if you’ve had any?   It’s not a very clean process either.  But she wrapped up her newborn baby and laid him in a manger.

What is a manger?  It’s a feeding trough for animals.  Have you ever fed pigs or watched a farmer feed his pigs?   Slop goes in there.    So did our Savior.

One of my favorite songs of this season sums up this whole story… this is such a strange way to save the world.    But when have any of God’s ways truly made any sense?   If they did, they wouldn’t mean as much or be as memorable, would they?  I mean, if a baby was born to an unwed mother in the hospital, who would really talk about that?  It happens all the time now a days.   But a baby born in stable?  Placed in a manger?  His mother did not conceive him with his father?   That is something to remember.   These all came true.  It was prophized in the Old testament.   It came true.

I want to leave you at the end of this story with the video that I spoke of earlier.   The song on the video is so beautiful.  It really covers the spectrum of all the questions that Joseph and Mary probably had during the entire time span…from when the angel appeared to Mary to the time when her baby boy came into the world.   Why?   Because it is all part of God’s plan.  He loves us so much, it pains Him to be separated from us.   It pains Him that we don’t follow Him.  So He sent His Son to save the world.   All you have to do is believe in Him.  Believe that you are a sinner separated from God.  Believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins.   God thought of you when He sent his Son, and the Son thought of you on the cross….won’t you trust and follow them now?   God has the perfect gift for you… one size fits all…all you have to do is take it.

Enjoy the video.  May all the blessings that God can send be heaped on you this Christmas season.    I know I feel blessed already.

Faith of a Child: Part 3

Matthew 1:18-25

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d]—which means, “God with us.”

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

When we left the last bible study, Mary had just spent 3 months with Zechariah and Elizabeth and was now on her way home.   But now, I pick up the story from the eyes of the man who she was betrothed, Joseph.

Joseph was caught off guard by all this.  The young woman that he was betrothed be be married to was pregnant.  Now remember from the first installment, that betrothal meant that you were basically married.  It wasn’t an engagement period, it was the real deal.  What was he to do?  She was pregnant, so she couldn’t be a virgin….she was an adulteress!    But being the kind and righteous man that he was, he was going to quietly divorce her without making a spectacle of the whole thing.  He cared for her and didn’t want to make a public disgrace of her, so surely this whole thing could be done hush hush, right?  Until……

Here comes the angel of the Lord again.  In a dream, the angel reveals to Joseph God’s plan.  Mary was a virgin.  She was having God’s son, who would save the world.  His name will be Jesus.  Do not be afraid to take her as your wife.  The angel even quotes the prophet Isaiah.   Remember, Joseph was a righteous man, and he knew the laws and he knew of the prophets.  It was coming true.  Right in his own home.  God’s word was being fulfilled right in his own home!

So he took her into his home to be his wife.  He didn’t have any doubts.  He had great faith in the Lord through all of this as well.  And to be sure the prophecy was fulfilled, she remained a virgin until the birth of her son.

A lot of times, we take matters into our own hands.  Especially those of us (like me) who are type A personalities who believe that no one can do a better job than I can.  I thought for all the years that I was a refuser, that I could handle it.  I could figure out the way to make it right…to make it better.  I could solve this big problem that we had.  It wasn’t until I gave it up to God and His plan that was so much better that my marriage was saved.  I couldn’t do it without His help.  See, Joseph though he could fix the whole situation, too, but when God stepped in and said, “Trust me. I have a Plan”, he yielded to the One he had great faith in.  Dear one, we need to all yield to God.  Is there something that you just can’t let go of?  That you think you have the answer to, but it just isn’t working out the way you want it to?  Step aside and take a look at God’s plan.  In the end, it is so much better than anything you can plan.

Lord, thank you for your Master Plan for our lives.  Help us to see when we need to yield to Your will.  Help us to take the step of faith to let you take the reigns and take us on a wonderful ride of our lives.  Lord, thank you for sending your Son.  Your Plan would not be complete without Him.  Thank you, Lord for the free gift of salvation that you offer us.  Lord, I pray that if there is someone reading this who does not know your Son, that they would ask more about Him and learn to trust in Him.  Thank you, Lord, for saving a lowly sinner like me.  Amen.

The Faith of a Child: Part 2

Luke 1:39-45

39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

I pick up the story after Mary found out that she would have a baby conceived by the Holy Spirit.  So she was told by this angel that her relative, Elizabeth, was also with child.  What a miracle that would be to see!  So off to Judea Mary went to visit Elizabeth and to see for herself!  Elizabeth was having a baby after all these years!  How was that possible??

For nothing is impossible with God.

Oh, yes.Nothing is impossible with God.  As soon as Mary entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth, something amazing happened….Elizabeth AND her unborn baby realized that they were in the presence of the Lord’s mother.  How did they know that?  The bible tells us that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Not only did she know, her baby leapt in her womb.

Now, any of us who have had babies know that you can feel the baby move.  I am sure you felt your baby kick and tried to figure was it a hand or a foot that just got your rib cage.  But have any of you had a baby like my daughter?  I felt like I had a gymnast inside me at times.  Almost like Shawn Johnson doing summersaults inside me.  When I used to feel her inside me doing flips and turns and whatever else she was doing in there, I used to think of Elizabeth.  Was this what she felt when John leaped in her womb?  At that moment, Elizabeth knew a miracle was going to happen through Mary as well.  Mary hadn’t said a word, but Elizabeth said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

Wow.Did you get the tone of that?  Mary didn’t have to worry about “my parents are gonna kill me!”…Elizabeth knew that God was going to do something miraculous through Mary, and she also knew that Mary believed what God said was to be true.

56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

Have you ever felt so strongly like the Lord was telling you to do something, but everyone around you would pretty much try to shoot the helium out of your balloon?  What would you do?   You would go to someone who would support you…who would understand what you believe and why you believe it.  That is what Mary did.  A miracle had happened to Elizabeth, so she went to Elizabeth.  Who would believe her?  Who would still believe that she was a virgin carrying a baby?  What shame would be placed on her at home?  What would Joseph do?

But Mary had faith that the Lord had taken care of it all.  She was lifted up and strengthened my Elizabeth and Zechariah.  Her faith was not shaken.  She knew that God was on her side and He was in control.  Listen to this…

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

Does this sound like the song of a desperate girl?  No. “ for the Mighty One has done great things for me— “

The Lord of all Creation can do mighty things for you, too.  For some of you this Christmas season might be a difficult one.  Maybe your spouse is a refuser….maybe you or your spouse dabble in pornography…maybe you’ve lost a loved one or a spouse.  The one thing I hope that you take from this story today is that the Mighty One can do great things for you, too.  He didn’t just do things for Mary.  He didn’t just do things for Elizabeth.  He will do great things for you, too.  He is the Great Healer.  He is the Abba Father that we all need.  Put your faith and trust in Him.  Let him fill your needs.  God sent the most awesome gift to you this Christmas.  Mary is carrying him in her womb in this story.  The Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you, God, for all the great things you do for us, and thank you for sending your Son to save us all.


The Faith of a Child: Mary, mother of Jesus

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “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[c] the Son of God.  Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

I bet this story from Luke 1:26-38 is one of the most well known stories in the Bible. Especially at this time of year, we’ll hear the plight of this young woman named Mary, whom God chose to be the mother of the Savior of the world. Can you imagine? Can you even fathom what went through this young girl’s mind during this entire scene? Let’s take this step by step and journey through this time and season with Mary.

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

One of the first things we learn about Mary is that she is highly favored with the Lord. Mary was a woman that walked in faith already, probably followed God’s laws and decrees to the best of her ability. She was a sinner like we all are, but she followed God and obeyed him. And an angel of the Lord came to visit her. How many of you have been graced by an angel who had been to the throne of God and was sent to give you a message?

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

Mary had probably been startled with the presence of this angel. I am sure that Mary knew well the stories of the Old Testament where God spoke to Moses, or through a prophet such as Elijah, but what did he mean by this? Why was he here?

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

That is a lot to take in for a young girl…..

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The woman of faith has doubt. Gosh, guys, we all on this website know what it takes to get pregnant….you gotta have sex! And if you are a virgin, that just isn’t going to happen, ya know? I mean…in that time period to be engaged to a man, to be found pregnant…that had some HUGE consequences. Women were married young to older husbands, their betrothals often being arranged in childhood. Being betrothed during this time period was seen like being married, so if she was pregnant, and it wasn’t Joseph’s baby, she was considered an adulteress.

The angel answered, “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. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

The angel reminds her that God can do things that we mortal people know to be impossible. He tells her that her cousin, Elizabeth who was known to be barren, is also bearing a child. Considering Elizabeth’s age, this was a miracle in itself as well.

For nothing is impossible with God.

Nothing, dear one. Nothing is impossible with God. Do you think that it is impossible to fix your marriage? For nothing is impossible with God. Do you think that your marriage bed is in shambles beyond repair? For nothing is impossible with God. Do you think that you cannot let go of lust, adultery, pornography, or an other sin in your life? For nothing is impossible with God.

Nothing is impossible for God. Nothing. And to this, we should all reply just as Mary did… “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”

Thy will be done, Lord. Thy will be done. Is the Lord calling you to do something that you feel is impossible? In faith, just like Mary, call on the Lord and tell him “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” Amen.

Now did it look easy for Mary after that? Known now to be an adulteress… her betrothed husband ready to set her free of the contract they had to marry…. It wasn’t easy. Some of the things God will ask us to do are not easy. Abraham leaving his home to follow God to some unknown land…not easy. Nehemiah rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem…not easy. Moses leading the people out of Egypt…not easy. But Mary had faith that God knew what he was doing in all of this, just like Abraham, Nehemiah and Moses. Thy will be done, Lord.

When you pray for help in your marriage or in your marriage bed, be ready, open and willing to what God will ask you to do. His way is always the best way. He may ask you to march around the walls of Jericho, and it may seem stupid, but it’s God’s way. He wants us to trust him in all that we do. He will not lead us astray. We do a good enough job of that anyway. I am hoping that these Bible studies will spark an interest in wanting to crack open your Bible and learn more. Allow God to speak to you through these ancient words. They are just as applicable today as they were in the days they were written.

Have faith.   Follow God.   Do His will.   May God bless you abundantly.