Feb 19

BECOMING MARY: Part 2

 

Mary-meme cropped

This year we are looking more closely at the character and circumstances of Jesus’ mother Mary. Who was she? How did she live? How was her life part of God’s ongoing plan? How might our lives also be part of His plan?

One of the basic beliefs of Christianity is the doctrine of the virgin birth. We Christians believe that Jesus is one third of the Trinity—Father God, Son God Jesus and God the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus was born into human form through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. We believe that Jesus’ birth by a virgin was foretold in Old Testament Scripture that prophesied the coming of the Messiah as being born of a virgin.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel  (Isaiah 7:14).

The doctrine of virgin birth cannot be explained by our modern understanding of science. It cannot be explained because the birth of Jesus by the virgin girl Mary was a miracle—accomplished not by human action but by the hand of God Himself.

We cannot explain it; we can however believe because we trust the truth of the Word of God and recognize that we are not meant to understand all of what God can do and has done since He set creation in motion.

In Scripture, Jesus birth by the virgin Mary was documented in the accounts of the two visits to Mary and Joseph by the angel.

First the angel visited Mary:

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 conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him 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 Jacob’s descendants 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 on 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  (Luke 1:26-35).

Then the angel visited Joseph:

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But 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. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”) (Matthew 1:18-23).

The virgin birth of Jesus was unique in history. None of us will experience giving birth to the Messiah  or any other birth in that same way. But beyond that single event, we can find parts of Mary’s character and circumstances that mirror our own. We can learn lessons from the way she reacted to events in her own life. We can acknowledge how similar her character and circumstances are to our own, even today in this modern world.

Mary was a humble, gentle soul who loved God. She was obedient to God’s calling when she learned what He wanted her to do.

Are we obedient to God’s call? How can we have faith like Mary?

Next month we will learn how we might be like the woman who bore the Messiah and raised Him to begin his salvation work—if we have faith like hers.

 

♥♥♥

If you would like to study Mary in more depth, please look into my meditative Bible study I am Mary, part of the With Faith Like Hers series. It is available at Amazon.com in print or digital version. Enjoy!

Amazon Mary

click to order

 

Feb 05

SPIRITUAL MANNA

Manna focus word

Scripture tells us that:

man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV).

Scripture refreshes our soul.

For me, writing is my life’s work. It is also manna for my soul when my writing is led by/based on God’s teachings.

But writing is also manna for my spirit; my psyche; my emotions. It is my rest.

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest (Exodus 33:14 NIV).

I become crotchety if I don’t write for a few days. It’s as if too many thoughts are crowding inside my brain, jostling for position; trying to make sense of the whole. Only when I write the thoughts out, do the cobwebs scatter and things become orderly inside my brain.

The cobwebs scatter also when I illustrate, showing me that the process of creating—for me, creating books—is manna for my spirit.

Last week, my awesome daughter who is now an awesome mother herself, shared a video of her awesome son (my awesome grandson), reciting a picture book I wrote for him.

In his wee piping 14-month voice, he said:

“T Q (thank you). Ah-MEN!”

Okay, my picture book text actually says: Thank you for it all, Amen! But Kaiden got the important stuff exactly right.

 30 Bless full spread LEFT31 Bless full spread RIGHT30 Bless end amen FLIPPED 11-16-17

That video was manna to my spirit. It was a reminder that what I do can bring joy to others. It was a reminder that what I do brings joy to me also.

God has given me gifts and expects me to use them. Hopefully, the way I use those gifts brings joy to others and hopefully, brings joy to Him also.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV).

Just as manna was a gift of food sent to the Israelites, so too God-given abilities can feed our soul and bring joy to our spirit.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What gift or ability has God given you that is manna to your spirit? How can using that gift bring joy to others?

 

♥♥♥

Shameless plug :  Click to buy a copy of Counting Blessings  so you can share the joy with someone you love.

Bless FRONT COVER ONLY

 

 

Jan 29

Streams of Water

Deer Psalm 42 1

 

This verse is the first line of Psalm 42. In my NIV Bible, the Psalm is titled “The downcast have hope in God.”  A popular Christian praise song focuses on this line of Scripture (Youtube version).

You would recognize many other lines of Psalm 42:

  • My soul thirst for God, for the living God.

  • My tears have been my food day and night.

  • Why are you downcast, O my soul?

One thing I love about this image of our soul panting for God is that it works for all seasons of our lives. Whether our soul is downcast or whether we are standing on the mountain with God, we need Him. We seek Him. When we find Him, we worship Him, even when our souls are downcast. We do so for the reason Psalm 42 ends:

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. 

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