Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012, I Take the Challenge.

During Christmastime, I had been reading through the birth of Jesus in Luke. Luke 1:26-38 tells the story of when the angel appears to Mary telling her that God is giving her a son despite the fact that she is still a virgin.

 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 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. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”  38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

In verse 28, the angel tells Mary that she is highly favored and the Lord is with her. Mary was just an ordinary woman that God sought out and favored because He saw that He could use her. In the same way, God handpicked each of us to be His children because He knew that He could use us as well. For some reason, the Lord found favor with us too! How special is that! Then we see that Mary is both confused and a little worried. But the angel explains the Lord's plans for Mary and this child. He says in verse 37, "For no word from God will ever fail." And in another translation it says, "For nothing is impossible with God." Amen! Mary's response after this is simply, "I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled." Mary's faith in God is put to the test here, but she completely surrenders to His plan. How great would be it be if we too had a willing heart like Mary's. He has called on us and found favor with us, so we too should remember that we are the Lord's servants ready and willing to be used for His glory!

Mary then goes on a little further in the chapter, and we see how she has completely given her heart and her life to the Lord's work.

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

I know that for me, I desire for my heart to be completely surrendered to God as Mary's is here. I pray that my soul would glorify the Lord and that my spirit would constantly rejoice in my Savior because He is mindful of me, has blessed me, and has done great things for me. He is merciful to me and all His children, and He has done immeasurable mighty things. So my prayer for you all is this too- that you would realize that God has chosen you and wants to use you as His servant to bring Him glory. I pray that your hearts would be like Mary's, acknowledging the greatness of our God and completely surrendering to His plans for your life.
There has been a recent movement going called the Proverbs 31 movement. Their challenge for women is to “Live 31” and take the stance “I’d rather be a Proverbs 31 woman than a Victoria’s Secret model.” Proverbs 31:10-31 talks about the kind of woman that the Lord desires for us to be. I want to take this challenge, and I want to be this woman to honor my Savior. The following is this passage, and their website is if you want to find out more.

 10 A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

I received a book for Christmas called One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven from my mentor who is from UGA FCA. Inside the cover she wrote, “Be a woman who impacts eternity!” and cited 2 Corinthians 5:20 under it. This verse says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” Thank you, Jill, for challenging me in this way. In 2012, I want to have a heart like Mary, I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and I want to be a woman who impacts eternity. I take the challenge.