Luke 1:46-55 records for us Mary's beautiful prayer of thanksgiving to God. In it, she referenced Old Testament scriptures and stories more than a dozen times! This is striking when you consider that Mary was uneducated and likely illiterate. She was not able to read the Scriptures for herself - rather, she listened. And it's obvious that she listened intently, hiding the words of Scripture in her heart.
If we want to be godly women who can be used God, we must never underestimate the value of God's Word in our lives. Not only do the Scriptures convict us, encourage us, and direct us - they also equip us to pour into the lives of those around us. The more we know the Word of God, the more we can share the word of God.
I marvel at this aspect of Mary's life, because I so easily give into the temptation to WHINE instead of WORSHIP. And when I consider what makes me whiny, it’s always something so insignificant, especially when compared with what Mary was facing. For me it could be I overslept my alarm, or maybe I was overcharged and have to call the internet company. Sometimes I’m just tired and I don’t feel being nice to someone, yet God has pushed them right in front of me to interact with. And I whine.
Mary faced incredible difficulties – difficulties with her family, with Joseph, with the culture around them. She faced physical difficulties of carrying a child and the childbirth to come – without medication! And she would face many more than she did not even know yet. And she worshiped.
Instead of focusing on our inconvenience, or on our fear, or on our exhaustion, let’s choose to focus on God – let’s choose gratitude for His wonderful acts, His mercy, and for choosing us to be part of His plan to reach those around us.
Have you ever found yourself struggling to stay focused on the real reason for Easter? It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism and the “fun” stuff like candy, egg hunts, and new clothes. But even beyond those things, I think it’s easy for us to (unintentionally) lose sight of the deep meaning behind Holy Week, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday.
We recognize that Jesus died, of course. And we know that because Jesus died, we are able to live. But I think we tend to miss the "how" and "why" that connect those two things.
We talk about death being defeated. We talk about Jesus being the true King. We talk about his blood making us clean. But do we really remember why his blood made us clean?
It's not just about Jesus dying. At least, not in the way that we tend to think.
Yes, Jesus died. We just forget why.
Yes, we know it was for us. But why was it for us?
The trend is surrender. I’ve noticed it has become more and more popular — in books, sermons, and songs. It started with people like David Platt and Kyle Idleman, and has thrived quite nicely to this very day. You not only can be challenged to complete, daily surrender to Christ when you pick up a book at the Christian bookstore, but you can be challenged by lyrics of surrender on the radio or quotes on surrender on Facebook. It’s everywhere.
You see, surrender has become fashionable.
And yet, not.
In a word: passionate.