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What Was Mary Thinking?

 

As I mentioned on the first day of these Advent Blogs, I have posted these every year since, I think, 2009. So you’d think I would have the days and dates lined up. But no. That would make my life too easy! 😉 I’m sure most of you have figured out that I am 2 days off with the Advent blogs.  So today, I’m writing about Mary. It’s possible there will not be a blog tomorrow, Tuesday, December 15, as I am having a minor medical procedure. Then we will be back on track on Wednesday, December 16, with Day 16.

Today, I would like for us to think for a few minutes about Jesus’ mother, Mary. So young – some accounts say 13 years old, some say 16. No matter -either age is too young.

Can you feel her fear? How can I possibly bear the Son of God?  How can I, just a simple girl, raise the Son of God?

I suspect she was ostracized from her community – pregnant and not married? How could she? Can you feel her loneliness?  Why won’t anyone speak to me? I’ve done nothing wrong. But then…they don’t know that.

Mothers, can you feel her heart? She is full of love for the child she has yet to see, but perhaps she wondered what would be expected of her as his mother. After all, it’s not everyday that a woman finds out that she is bearing the Son of God.

No one asks these and other questions as eloquently as Mark Lowry. Mark wrote “Mary, Did You Know?” I was privileged to hear and see him perform it live at the Women of Faith Conference in Birmingham last month. It is an incredible song and no one sings it like Mark does. May you be blessed by the words and by Mark’s rendition. (Click on the underlined title. Directly about that, a popup will appear that says “YouTube – watch.” Click on that and the video should start. Sorry about the Star Wars ad – couldn’t get rid of it!)

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BOOK REVIEW: Starlight in Her Eyes

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon in the company of Colin Young and Serena Monroe, characters in JoAnn Durgin’s latest novella, Starlight in Her Eyes. JoAnn has written the fourth Christmas novella in the series based in Starlight, Iowa. Each book in the series–Meet Me Under the MistletoeStarlight, Star Bright,  Sleigh Ride Together with You, and Starlight in Her Eyes–can be read as a stand-alone book, but you’ll miss out on experiencing life in Starlight, and meeting many of the people who live there.  So I encourage you to get a copy of the first three books, and read those. The books are short and easy to read. Not required – no extra credit – and no payment for reading them – just suggesting you will enjoy the fourth book even more if you’ve read the first three!

In Starlight in Her Eyes, Colin has moved to Philadelphia to co-host Wake Up Philadelphia!, the show on which Serena serves as assistant. Sparks fly almost immediately and as their story progresses, you will  realize that the meeting of Colin and Serena was meant to be. Add Serena’s adorable daughter, Lily, to the mix and you have a family made in heaven. No family is perfect in fiction or in real life, but Colin and Serena remind us through their story Who to turn to when things aren’t going so great.

As with all of JoAnn’s books, Starlight in Her Eyes, will leave you feeling good! So, it’s time to take a break from all of the “hustle and bustle” of shopping, baking, wrapping gifts and singing carols. Make yourself a cup of tea or hot cocoa, snuggle up with your favorite afghan, and settle in for an afternoon to read the delightful Christian Christmas romance Starlight in Her Eyes.  You’ll be glad you did!

 

 

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Day Eleven: The Gift of His Passion

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Passion: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.

passion means intense emotion, compelling action. passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable.

God is a God of passion for creativity and beauty. His passion created the world and all that is within. His passion for beauty can be seen as we behold a sunrise on an early spring morning, the colors in a field of wild flowers, the multitude of stars we can see on a clear night.

His passion for us can be found throughout the Bible.

  • “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 Amplified)
  • “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” (Song of Solomon 6:3 New King James Bible)
  • “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes.” (Song of Solomon 4:9 NKJV)

Many people believe the Song of Solomon is a love story between a bridegroom and his bride. And that is true, but not in the sense that they are assuming. The Bridegroom (or the Beloved) is God and the Bride (or the Shulamite) is His Church. That’s right—you, me and all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. So when the verse says “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes” that is God speaking to us. Can you begin to understand the extravagance of His love for you? His passion for you? With just one “look”—glance—from you to Him—you ravish His heart—you make His heart beat faster.

His passion in us brings out the creativity that He placed in us. Have you ever known a painter who does not have passion for painting? Or a musician who does not love to sing or play their instrument? It is the passion for their calling that stirs the creativity within them. This passion to be creative is in each of us, even those who may not know Christ as their Savior.

The most obvious example of God’s passion for us is shown when He gave His only Son to die on the cross for us. Can you imagine His pain? His anguish? The tears He shed? To watch His son die and turn His back on Him so that we might have eternal life? Can you begin to fathom the depth of His love for you? His love for you knows no beginning or end. It is eternal and unconditional.

If Christ is living in us, we have that same passion. Not that God is asking us to give our son so that the world might be saved, but to apply His passion that is in us to everything we do and say.

“How can I do that?” I can hear some of you asking. “How can I apply His passion when I hate my _______?” (You fill in the blank) Suppose you filled in the blank with “job.” The Bible says everything we do, should be done as unto the Lord. When you do your job as unto the Lord, it is easy to have passion for that job…or marriage…or life.

Father God, thank you for the gift of passion. May everything we do and say be filled with Your passion that resides in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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Day Eight: The Gift of Reconciliation

Sunday, December 6, 2015

THE GIFT OF RECONCILIATION

But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ, and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation; namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (II Corinthians 5: 18-19)

The day following, he appeared to them as they fought, and urged them to be at peace again, saying, ‘Sirs, you are brothers. Why do you wrong one another?’” (Acts 7:26 )

One of the definitions of “reconcile” according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is: to restore to friendship or harmony.

Reconciliation comes as a result of forgiveness. If you missed the devotional on forgiveness, please go back to Day Eight and read that topic. You need to understand what it means to truly forgive someone before you can understand reconciliation.

God takes reconciliation seriously. So much so that he addresses it in Matthew 5:22-24:  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. ‘Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. (emphasis mine).

If there is someone who has something against you, why not go to them as the Bible says and be reconciled?  It doesn’t matter who started the argument. It doesn’t matter what the argument was about. It doesn’t matter where the fault lies. It will not matter six months from now. But what will matter is that you are obedient to what God’s Word says. Go back to the top of this blog and read 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 again. God loved us so much that He reconciled us to Him through His Son and does not count our trespasses against us because of that reconciliation.  How can we do any less than obey Him by seeking reconciliation with the person who has something against us?

Abba Father, thank You for reconciling us to You and for giving us the ministry of reconciliation. Help us to have courage to approach those who have something against us and ask their forgiveness. We pray this in Your name, AMEN.