I Am the Lord’s Servant

Mary said: “I am the servant girl of the Lord (God). Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away. – Luke 1:38

The greatest in the Kingdom of God is a servant. So we should not be surprised when God’s Son and our Savior explained his role as a servant, should we? Jesus conviction about the greatest being a servant wasn’t theory: his mother was a great example of this truth when she offered herself to God by saying, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Have you said it? Have you offered yourself as a servant to God Almighty? Mary did! Her son, who was also God’s Son, did! O LORD God, Creator of the universe and the Father who created me in the womb of my mother, I offer myself to you as your servant. I am not sure if you will fill my earthly life with wonder like Mary’s or if it will be filled with sorrow, also like Mary’s. But I do, dear LORD, want to serve you in this world, knowing that I will sit at your side as your dear child in the world to come. 2 Corinthians 4:5-7 – Matthew 18:1-5 – Mark 10:42-45

Nothing is Impossible

Also, your relative Elizabeth is pregnant. She is very old, but she is going to have a son. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant now for six months! God can do anything! – Luke 1:36-37

It’s almost as if the angel is saying, “How about a little help with that impossible faith, Mary? Go check with your old cousin Elizabeth. The impossible has really happened to her! She’s pregnant!” God’s great promises to his people often happened with miraculous conceptions that were beyond experience and that stretched their faith. Mary is given assurance that God not only can, but he actually does do the impossible in the lives of everyday folks. What does God want to do in you? How does he want to use you for his glory? Don’t think it’s possible? Go ask Mary who first asked Elizabeth! NOTHING is impossible for God! Father, shake loose my pedestrian dreams and give me a heart of faith to believe in your ability to do great things through everyday folks like me. Give me the gift of faith to believe that you are doing great things through your people. Take me, mold me, and use me to your glory. Ephesians 3:14-21 – Matthew 14:14-21 – Matthew 19:23-26

No Ordinary Baby

Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I am still a virgin!” The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come to you and the power of the Most High (God) will cover you. The baby will be holy. He will be called the Son of God. – Luke 1:34-35

Every baby is precious. It was made by God in its mother’s womb. This baby, however, is even more precious. This child is conceived by the Holy Spirit of God. He is holy, the very Son of God, with no human father. This doesn’t make sense to our world and our experience any more than a person being raised from the dead makes sense. That’s the miracle of this baby and the grace of God’s plan. God comes to earth to walk among us and show us his love personally. If we will make room for him, this baby can bring us life and immortality. Do you believe? Maybe you are asking the same question that Mary did, “How can I?” But she did believe, and the world was forever changed. As we believe, our world is changed, too! Lord God, my Abba Father, help my faith in Jesus be more real and vibrant. Make my relationship with him more real as I read his story and seek to follow his lead in my life. Change my world because of my faith in your Son. John 1:9-14 – Galatians 3:26-29; 4:3-7 – Romans 1:2-4

Don’t Be Afraid

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant. You will give birth to a baby boy. And you will name him Jesus. He will be great (important). People will call him the Son of the Most High (God). The Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. Jesus will rule over the people of Jacob forever. Jesus’ kingdom will never end.” – Luke 1:30-33

Fear. It’s overwhelming. It’s paralyzing. So it should not be surprising that one of the most often repeated commands in Scripture is, “Don’t be afraid!” In older translations, it is sometimes translated, “Fear not!” Fear of the unknown, fear of complications, fear of death and dying, fear of a person, fear of a circumstance, fear of the incomprehensible and a host of other fears can come crashing in on us in times of stress, danger, and uncertainty. The great heroes of faith faced moments of fear. God guided them through. Jesus’ coming is about putting aside so many of our fears, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the announcement of his conception would come with the command to Mary, “Don’t be frightened!” As you journey with Jesus this year, ask God to make the assurance of Jesus real in your life and to have that assurance crowd out the forces of fear in your heart. Give me courage, O Almighty Father, so that fear will not cloud my thoughts or weaken my faith. Fill me with your assurance and have Jesus chase the clouds of fear away. Matthew 1:18-21 – John 6:16-21 – Hebrews 2:14-18

A Simple Humility

During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl that lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. The girl was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord (God) is with you. You are very special to him.” But Mary was very confused about what the angel said. Mary wondered, “What does this mean?” – Luke 1:26-29

When we were children, many of us imagined ourselves in special circumstances doing great things and achieving great glory. In such moments of childish pride, we could see ourselves being chosen to do great things! As we mature, we hope and trust we can be useful to God, but genuine humility leads us to be surprised when we are chosen for a special task for God. Although undoubtedly young, Mary has this attitude of genuine humility. She is genuinely confused and somewhat unsettled by Gabriel’s presence and announcement. A host of questions filled her heart: “How can I be highly favored by God? Why would I be visited by an angel from God?” It was Mary’s faithful humility that made her the person God could trust as the mother of the Messiah. It is that same kind of genuine humility that makes us fit to do great things for our King as well! Lord God Almighty, give me genuine humility—not a false humility that sees myself as deficient and unfit to do your work or answer your call, but genuine humility that recognizes your power and grace working in me and through my limitations. Please use me to bring you glory and to bless your people. Romans 12:3-6a – Proverbs 15:33 – 1 Peter 5:5-6