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Mary Praises God

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Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Gabriel was sent by God to inform Mary of His plans through her life. The first recorded words Gabriel spoke to Mary was, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” But her reaction was not one of rejoicing but of distraught feelings! Knowing this, Gabriel told Mary not to be afraid. Whenever the unknown tempts us to doubt and fear, God’s answer will always be, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you.” His plans for our life will always require bold confidence that steers clear of side-swiping fear.

Even though Mary knew her road ahead was unpaved, and uncertainty was guaranteed, she responded faithfully to God’s will with bold praise in what is known as the Magnificat.

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Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

And Mary said,

My soul magnifies the Lord,
     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
    For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
    and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
 as he spoke to our fathers,
    to Abraham and to his offspring forever. (Luke 1:56-52)

Mary lived an unexpected and challenging life, and many seasons of our life are pitched at us with unforeseen curveballs. Praising God when our experiences are confusing and difficult will never be our natural inclination. But if we following Mary’s example of great faith in response to God’s will (even when it is unclear), it will enable us to respond to Him with a joyful, “Yes!” and to competently fulfill our role in God’s kingdom.

Never forget that you are unique and special and have a holy call upon your life. Act like it. Believe it in your heart, think it in your mind, and walk it out in your behavior and conversations. Like Mary, believe that you are blessed! Believe what has been spoken by the Lord concerning His promises for those who are in Christ will be fulfilled! Lord, I desire to praise you in the uncertainties and say, “Yes! May it be done to me according to your word.” May Mary’s song of praise be in your heart and on your lips this week because nothing is impossible with God.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

Your Voice Matters

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While they were battering the wall to bring it down, a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.”

2 Samuel 20:15-16
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Joab and his men were in pursuit of Sheba, the “wicked man” who had rebelled against David. Sheba hid in the city, and Joab began battering the walls in order to get him out. A wise woman who desired to end the destruction and save her people called out from the city and asked to speak with Joab. He agreed to talk to her, so she informed him that the people within the very town he was attempting to destroy had faith, and surely he did not desire to destroy the LORD’s people! The bold woman agreed to hand Sheba’s head over to Joab in order to save the city, and that is exactly what they did.

The woman’s courageous faith equipped her with the bravery required to stand on the front lines, to speak to Joab, to convince the city of Joab’s desire, and to ignore any possible naysayers. Often we believe our voice won’t make a difference, yet there are many Biblical accounts of how one person’s faith, spoken out loud, changed lives! Lord, grant us the confidence required to speak up when the situation requires it.

When your circumstances threaten to “batter” you until you collapse under the sheer stress and uncertainty of it all, use your voice and call out to the Lord for His help. Use your voice and pray with bold courage. Use your voice and speak confidently of the promises afforded you by being in covenant relationship with God.

God does amazing things through our faith. Lord, increase our faith and fan it into a flame of boldness for your purposes. Grant us the courage to speak up like the example of this wise woman, even if we are afraid and even if there appears to be no hope. What bold women of faith know is that where there is a voice of prayer, there is always hope.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

Crazy? Hardly

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Rhoda recognized Peter’s voice, and because of her joy, she did not open the gate but ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gateway. “Your crazy!” the other disciples told her. But she kept insisting that it was true.

Acts 12:14-15

King Herod had captured Peter, and the disciples expected him to be martyred just as James was. The church assembled at Mary’s home to earnestly pray for him. Perhaps fear overshadowed their thoughts, or maybe they did not expect God to answer their prayer in such a miraculous way, but based upon their reaction to Rhoda’s announcement, they certainly did not expect Peter to be at their door.

It was a dangerous time for the disciples. Mary’s household servant, Rhoda had been trusted to answer the door even though many lives were at stake. Her responsibility was to let other Believers enter and exit as need be. Certainly, they trusted her ability to discern whom to let in and out, or they would not have entrusted her with the job. When Rhoda learned Peter was at the door, she was so flabbergasted that she left him there and ran with excitement to inform the others. Instead of the disciples shouting with jubilee because it would have been an answer to prayer, they said she was crazy.

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Today, people may call us crazy when we exuberantly express what we have seen the Lord do in our own seemingly impossible situations. Perhaps we may even be called crazy because we believe a Book that can not be scientifically proven, but we build our lives on it anyway.

Lord, may you grant us a heart like Rhoda who delights in proclaiming Your good news in spite of a potentially disbelieving response or when faced with rejection. May we, like Rhoda, keep insisting with joy that the Good News is real because we have seen its transforming effects with our own eyes and ears.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

Knives Out

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Greetings fellow sojourners! Perhaps you have heard the ‘knives out’ phrase recently. It refers to people who blame or punish someone unjustly, deliberately causing them problems. Families are a wonderful blessing of God, but like people, they tend to be less than perfect, and some can be worse than others. In 2 Samuel Joab created some family chaos when he choose not to see God’s sovereignty in his circumstances but instead looked to his dark jealousy resulting in him bringing out a sharp knife to revenge his offended heart. In all our disputes, it is far better to bring peace, not a sword into our relationships. To do this will require complete trust in God’s sovereignty in every area of our life ~ even and especially the part that seems most out of control.

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Absalom had appointed Amasa over the army in place of Joab. Amasa was the son of Jether, an Ishmaelite who had married Abigail, the daughter of Nahash and sister of Zeruiah the mother of Joab.

2 Samuel 17:25

When Absalom conquered Jerusalem and Abigail’s son, Amasa, became commander of the rebel army, his mother may have rejoiced that he’d gained such a grand position. But before long, Abigail would have understood the turmoil and danger that faced her child. Because soon, rebellious Absalom was dead, and her son was labeled a traitor to King David.

Then, in a peacemaking twist, King David offered Amasa the position of commander of his army, setting aside Joab, Abigail’s nephew, who had that job. Again, Abigail must have been on top of the world and relieved that her child was both safe and trusted by the king.

But what a family feud David’s decision started! Jealous Joab responded by killing his new commander with a single stab of his knife. A situation that seemed so promising instantly turned to tragedy. Believer, instead of having our knives out, let’s allow God full access to search our hearts in order to reveal anything there that is prone to offense. Any heart stoked by an offensive ‘sword’ that has not first had the Spirit of God bring it deliverance, will retaliate. Lord, search my heart and know me. If there is any offensive way in me, reveal it to me so that I may yield it to Your healing. I desire everything in my heart to be transformed by the power of your love.

In His grace,

Amanda