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Say “yes” to God’s plan

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring Jesus' life through the book of John. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpcdevo to 39970. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

About the author: Cara Grimes and her husband Shawn have been members of ZPC for 5 ½ years. We have a daughter, Olivia, who is 13 years old. Over 12 years ago, we took a bold step and moved to Indiana from Hilton Head Island, SC and have been blessed during our time here. One of those blessings is our church family at ZPC. We love our church!

Scripture: Luke 1:39-56

The Christmas season is filled with beautiful decorations, joyful music, delicious food, presents, and time with loved ones. It can also be a time of stress to get everything perfectly done. Do you find yourself trying to make everything “social media” worthy? Many of us fall prey to the season of busyness!

Let us all take a moment to allow ourselves a time of pause to remember the Christmas season is about preparing our hearts to celebrate, once again, the wonderful and miraculous coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today we reflect on Luke 1: 39-56. This scripture happens right after Gabriel has visited Mary to tell her she has found favor with God and will conceive and give birth to the Son of the Most High. Gabriel also tells Mary that her relative, Elizabeth, is pregnant in her old age from God’s blessing. Hearing this Mary answers with “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” Mary then hurries to attend to her relative Elizabeth. Mary with Jesus, and Elizabeth with John the Baptist.

Mary knew that being the bearer of the Christ child was going to come with dangers. One of the first dangers that she was going to face was the danger of ostracism. She was going to face, perhaps, the loss of her husband. Mary was facing the danger of being cut off from her immediate family. And yet her knowledge of Scripture enabled her to help believe this message that this angel had announced to her.

Read Mary’s Song in Luke 1: 46-55.

“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.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
    to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Like Mary, we who bear Jesus in our lives are called to magnify him, to proclaim to all we meet that we have a great and merciful God, who keeps his promises, always provides, and is altogether trustworthy. And like Elizabeth, with gratitude and humility we can rejoice and champion the work of God in and through others.

The song Mary sung as she visited her cousin, Elizabeth, reveals the heart we should aim for as we consider what makes for true happiness during the holiday season. When we have an idea in our heads about how everything should go to make for that perfect day, these times of great celebration can be a time where we set ourselves up for disappointment. From the song of Mary, we are challenged to learn several lessons that help us put our longings and celebrations in right perspective. 

This is also a great time to say “yes” to God’s plan. Think about these two courageous women united by their yes to God’s plan. It is intended to not only inspire admiration and devotion in us, but to teach us what it means to carry Jesus to the world.

If you feel yourself lacking in joy this season or just too tired from all the busyness, I encourage you to ask God to lead you to deeper channels of faith where you will find it. God wants to fellowship with you and to give you his peace and joy.

Prayer:

Dear Lord,
Help us to seek your plan and to glorify you especially during this Christmas season. Prepare our hearts to magnify you and to humble ourselves. Let us turn our thoughts to you and we ask for your guidance. May this Christmas season be a time of peace and may the love of Christ be with us all.
Amen

Posted by Cara Grimes with

I am the Lord's servant

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring Jesus' life through the book of John. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpcdevo to 39970. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

About the author: Bob Rottmann and his wife Gloria have been members of ZPC for two years. They have been retired since 2003 and live at The Stratford at West Clay. They participate in Second Half Adventurers, the Olney Home Group, and serve as asked. They have traveled extensively, including two trips to Israel.

Scripture: Luke 1:26-38

WOW! How would you react if you had an ANGEL tell you to completely change your life? I am not sure that I have the faith and trust that Mary demonstrates in our scripture reading today. Let us consider what the angel Gabriel told Mary:

  • You are receiving God’s grace.
  • You will give birth to a son and name him Jesus.
  • He will be called the Son of the Most High, have the throne of David, and his kingdom will never end.
  • The Holy Spirit will perform a great miracle, and you will have a baby while still being a virgin.
  • Your son will be holy (sinless) and the Son of God.

Mary’s response is “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said,” Again WOW! How did a young teenager (maybe 12-14 years old) have that fully obedient and trusting relationship with God?

If you are reading these words, you know the results of Mary’s acceptance of God’s request to her. Jesus was born holy; he lived a sinless life; he suffered and died a horrible death that paid the price for our sins. He then rose from the grave and joined the Most High. BUT he did not leave us alone to face the sinful world. As he promised in John 14:26, the Helper, the Holy Spirit did come and is with us to teach us and help us remember what Jesus said and did.

The question is: Do we listen to him? Do we go through the doors he opens for us to help another person? Or are we too concerned with self? I can easily admit that I have passed by many open doors by not listening to the Holy spirit, who often speaks with a quiet voice to us.

The world is busy. We are busy. Many have ear buds in almost all the time. When is the noise low enough to hear the Holy Spirit whispering to us? As we are now in Advent and getting ready for all the social activities of Christmas, let us also spend time remembering Mary’s submission to God’s will and also be open to God’s will for us during this season.

May the peace and love of this season be with you and through you.

ACTIVITY:

Take a few minutes today to reflect on the past week looking for people that needed your time and you were too busy to stop and go through the door the Holy Spirit had opened.

Next, look for the open doors during the next few days and take the time and risk to walk through one or two.

PRAYER:

Most High God,
We thank you for Jesus and for Mary, both listened to you and did what you asked. We beg you to forgive us our lack of doing so. We ask the Holy Spirit to continue to teach and guide us, and we will try our best to listen to His whispers.
Amen.

Posted by Bob Rottmann with

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