I am Mary will be out in time for a Christmas study.
This latest book in the With Faith Like Hers Bible study series, looks at the character and circumstances of Jesus’ mother to see what we modern women (and men) can learn from the woman God chose for his own mother.
Mary teaches us loads of great lessons, but here are three of my favorites:
1. After the angel told Mary she would give birth to the Messiah by miraculous means, she asked how that would happen. The angel explained (sort of) and then assured her:
“No word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37)
God’s word will never fail. We can count on God to do what He says He will do. We can trust Him. Always.
2. The Magnificat, also called “Mary’s Song,” lists the ways Mary praises God for her circumstances.
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-49).
Here are a few of the lessons in Mary’s Song:
- My soul glorifies the Lord
- My spirit rejoices in God
- God has been mindful of me
- I am humble before Him
- I am blessed
- God has done great things for me
- God is holy.
3. My favorite and the most powerful lesson I have learned from Mary is one we should always and in every circumstance take completely out of context and apply:
“Do whatever Jesus tells you” (John 2:5).
John 2:5 pretty much sums up the entire Bible and everything God desires for our lives.
Stay tuned for information on the release of I am Mary in November.
One of the coolest things about morning devotionals is that so often they are exactly the thing you need to read that day. Oswald Chambers has a special knack for timing his daily devotionals (from My Utmost for His Highest) to my life. Usually that knack includes a head whack. But other times it’s exactly right without the whacking.
Recently Oz helped me flesh out a future book I plan to write.
I had decided to write a Bible study with a working title of Atop the Mountain. I had a vague idea of taking events from Scripture where Jesus happened to be on a hillside or mountain top—the Transfiguration, the Sermon on the Mount, Calvary Hill, for example. I wanted to have some sort of connection between the truths Jesus revealed on mountaintops and our lives down here in the valley.
As I tried to put this into words, I realized that my vague thesis needed a whole lot of fleshing out before I could get started writing. And I found myself struggling.
The very next morning, Oswald began a series of four daily devotionals about how we are not to remain on the mountaintop with God but that we are to take what we experience about God down into our everyday valley lives.
Here are snapshots from those four devotionals:
We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, where we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 1)
The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God—that is where our faithfulness is revealed. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 2)
We must be able to “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and in the living that is done in the valley. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 3)
There are times when we do know what God’s purpose is; whether we will let the vision be turned into actual character depends on us, not on God. If we prefer to relax on the mountaintop and live in the memory of the vision, then we will be of no real use in the ordinary things of which human life is made. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, October 4)
Thanks, Oz. I needed to hear this that day. We all need to hear this every day.
She knocked on the door but there was no answer. She slid the door open a bit. “Hello,” she called. But there was no answer. She opened the door wider. “Hello,” she called again. But all was silent.
She noticed a table inside set with breakfast—three bowls were filled with steaming oatmeal, lavished with honey and topped with plump raisins. She suddenly realized how hungry she was after her long hike in the woods.
She tasted one bowl of oatmeal. “Ouch!” She fanned her mouth. “Too hot.”
She tasted the second bowl, but someone had poured milk over the oatmeal to overflowing and it was now cold.
She tasted the third bowl. It had only a bit of milk and it tasted just right.
She tried out the three beds. One was too hard, one was too soft and one was just right.
We know the story. We know that the bear owners of the house returned to find Miss Goldielocks asleep in Baby Bear’s perfect bed.
What I love best about this story is that it reminds me of how Jesus looks at me; or rather, how Jesus doesn’t look at me.
When Jesus looks at me, He doesn’t see me as too old or too young. I’m not too inexperienced or too untalented. I’m not too anything to be used by Him.
Moses thought he was too old to lead the people to the Promised Land. Zechariah thought his wife Elizabeth was too old to bear the prophet John. Scripture is filled with people who thought they were too [fill in the blank] to be used by God.
But they were mistaken.
If God has a plan to use us for His purpose in this world, regardless of what we may think, to Him, we’re just right.
What might God be calling you to do for Him? How might you be “just right” despite your feelings of inadequacy?
Tags: Being used by God
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Each year we set New Year’s resolutions or goals we want to achieve during the coming year. 2014 is now three-quarters of the way through. Are you still working toward those goals you set nine months ago?
If not, why not?
If you are still working, how is your progress? What do you still need to do to reach those goals?
There’s still time left in the year. Three months. Nearly 90 days. One quarter of the year left.
What do you still want to accomplish?
What’s stopping you from doing what you set out to accomplish back in January?
Here’s my recap of 2014 writing goals.
I planned to release two more books in the With Faith Like Hers Bible study series and keep up with my other writing commitments during 2014.
As of Q3, I’ve released the two books (I am Eve and I am Ruth). A third (I am Mary) is in production with the intention that it will be released before the end of 2014. I’ve also added several writing commitments in Christian writing groups and media which will delay the release of I am Elizabeth until early 2015. But I’m still ahead of my initial goals, so it’s all good.
That makes me feel energized and encouraged, knowing that my major goals are already completed. And I still have a whole three months left. That’s almost 90 days. One quarter of the year left.
I’ll be filling my days with more writing. What about you?
Because some Mondays we need a little verse to get us going, here’s one of my favorites from the Book of Esther.
Royal position = me, as a daughter of the King
For such a time as this = God can use me right here; right now
Tags: Esther 4:14
Yes, little girls can run just as well as little boys. But when the running is over and the boys are still jumping up and down, little girls twirl.
This fact of nature was documented in the movie, You’ve Got Mail. THanging on the wall of Meg Ryan’s (Kathleen Kelley) book shop was a faded photograph of her and her mother.
“What are you doing?” asked Tom Hanks (Joe Fox).
“Twirling,” she responded. “My mother and I used to twirl.”
As if that was the only explanation needed when it comes to little girls.
But at some point in our lives, we little girls grow up wanting to share the dance. Boyfriend, husband. But for the times when we’re alone, Jesus is still waiting to dance with us. To hold us and twirl us. And remind us that we are His little girl.
Holding Jesus’ hand – sometimes my fingers slip out; sometimes I grasp and clutch, holding on for dear life; sometimes, he brings me to him and we dance. Sometimes I feel like He’s dragging me about; only to find He was taking me to safety. I long for the day when my palm isn’t sweaty; my grip isn’t unsteady; when my pulse and His synchronize.
When I truly understand that He is Lord of the Dance.
Dance, dance! Wherever you may be.
“I am the Lord of the Dance,” said He.
“And I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I’ll lead you all in the dance,” said He.
*This is a revision of a post I wrote a few years ago. I just felt like dancing this morning.
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Last week, my husband and I drove to Idaho. We’ve never lived in Idaho but we own 4 acres there and our 2 kids and son-in-law all graduated from Idaho State University. For some reason, we have a sense of belonging there.
But we weren’t sure whether that sense of belonging was enough to warrant a permanent move there or whether we should sell our river-front property and consolidate life here in California.
Here’s what we learned.
Idaho is beautiful. The people are wonderful. The political climate fits us better. The weather-related climate (cooler) fits me perfectly.
But we are not sure if we’re any closer to making a decision about our future and where we belong.
Still, it was fun to hang out for 4 days and have my great Jim all to myself. What we do absolutely know for sure is that wherever we end up, we’ll be happy because we’ll be together.
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I am out of town this week. I could think of nothing more inspirational to share with you than a verse of Scripture.
I just began a 12-week homiletic class studying Ephesians, so I’ve chosen one of everyone’s zillion favorite verses from that great book.
Tags: Ephesians 4:1-3