March 15, 2015
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. (Luke 1:39-49 NLT)
I know my shortcomings, my failures and my sin. I know that I’m not good enough, and I look at other Christians and think how much better they are than I. But I suppose that that is exactly where Satan wants me to be! It’s very easy to compare myself with others or with perfection and see how awful I am!
Then I look at really special people and I’m totally amazed. If I feel puny against other Christians, how miniscule I feel against the greats! Mary is an example – a wee girl, a lowly servant girl – and all nations will call her blessed! After all, she carried the baby Jesus inside her, so she should be held in high regard! She is so special – she readily accepts what the angel tells her and moves into the role which God has given her, without a single doubt, without a complaint and with no buts…
But then God reminds me of something. He tells me that he sent the Holy Spirit to me, that I can be filled with his Holy Spirit. I am a carrier too! I have my shortcomings, my failures and my sin. God sees them and uses them; he takes away my sin. He didn’t choose me because I was perfect: he chose me because I am me. He took notice of me and has plans for me.
I should not compare myself to others – I just need to compare myself to the me he wants me to be and when I fall short of that, I should not call myself unworthy – all I have to do is to strive harder to be worthy. I am only unworthy when I stop trying to be worthy. That’s what Peter did after he had denied Jesus three times – he didn’t focus on his failure, but moved into his purpose.
I am chosen, just as Mary was chosen. I have a purpose, just as Peter had a purpose. God is the I AM, and I am me.
January 20, 2014
Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.
1 Samuel 13:8-9 NLT
Saul showed a number of things here:
- Lack of trust in Samuel
- Conceit, by believing that he could do someone else’s job
- Underlying fear
So many of our actions are influenced by our emotions. In a lot of cases, this is no bad thing. Emotions like love can change an ordinary action into something truly special, but the negative emotions like distrust, impatience, conceit, fear, anger can turn an ordinary action into something destructive or even disastrous. We were made to have emotions but we were also made to have control over them.
I need to exercise control over my emotions. They influence my thoughts, but my thought process should be using them and controlling them, rather than the other way about.
January 20, 2014
But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you.
1 Samuel 12:24 NLT
The Lord has done so many wonderful things for me. It’s time I started doing wonderful things for Him!
January 20, 2014
But before dawn the next morning, Saul arrived, having divided his army into three detachments. He launched a surprise attack against the Ammonites and slaughtered them the whole morning. The remnant of their army was so badly scattered that no two of them were left together.
1 Samuel 11:11 NLT
Procrastination is not generally a good idea. Too often it means that what needs to get done never gets done. I have managed to get into a few tight spots because I failed to address a problem when I should have done, and put it off till “tomorrow”. The old adage is that tomorrow never comes. It’s true.
Sometimes, though, we need to put some things off till tomorrow, and fear is at the top of the list for this. I look back at all the things that frightened me as a kid, and none of them frighten me now, partly because I’m bigger and older and stronger, but mostly because fear is a thing of the future and when the future comes, it is often not as bad as it seemed in the past! How many times have I been afraid of something happening and it never happened? This morning I was afraid of going for a minor operation, but when it happened it was totally painless.
So, the lesson is that I should procrastinate fear itself, because when the day that I am afraid of comes it might not be anywhere near as bad as I think it is going to be. Even if it is, I’ll go through it on that day, and not before!
January 20, 2014
The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced.
Mark 4:18-19 NLT
Although this parable is referring to people who hear the Gospel for the first time, the words are no less relevant to me today. How often have I let the Word of God, and even the Kingdom of God, be crowded out of my mind by the worries and desires of this life? It’s all to easy for me to be enticed away from the things of the Kingdom by the things of the world, and because of that I have lost so many opportunities to produce fruit. It’s all about priorities, and I’m afraid to admit that I don’t really have any – and any that I have are generally the wrong ones!
It’s time to change that!
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