A Willing Heart

img_2326

Everyone tends to think a little bit more about the Christmas account the closer they get to December. However, there is so much to learn from the story any time of the year. The entire story is incredible.  We see angels heralding heavenly messages to men below.  We read of wealthy wise men and their elaborate gifts as they “follow yonder star.” Humble shepherds appear, excited to behold the promised Child.  All these events are marvelous to read about, but how often do we consider Mary?

 At such a time, girls were married very young – around 14 or 15 years old. They were considered women by that age, and held far more responsibilities than the young females of today.  They washed clothes by hand, mended garments, watched the younger siblings, and assisted with the livestock and gardens.  She was a busy young Jewish woman, faithfully serving God and preparing for marriage. With all these tasks already on her plate, Mary had her hands full without a supernatural pregnancy to think about.

The arrival of the angel must have been one of the most earth-shattering moments of Mary’s life.  I could imagine her dutifully making her bed, expecting nothing out of the ordinary, when suddenly: “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’” (Luke 1:28) Her response to such an announcement was probably much like ours would have been: “But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.” (verse 29)

As if that wasn’t enough, the angel continued: “Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.” (verse 30-31) I could imagine her brain working overtime after such an announcement. Why would He choose me? How on earth does someone conceive by the Holy Spirit? What am I going to tell Joseph . . . and my parents . . . and my friends? How do you take care of the Son of God . . .? What came from her mouth was logical: “Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’” (verse 35)

The angel, of course, had a ready answer: “‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.  For with God nothing will be impossible.’” (verses 35-37)

Despite all the questions her finite mind might have come up with, her response came from a heart dedicated to God: “Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.’” (verse 38).  By her reply, we know God has chosen accurately. He knew her heart and the willingness in it to do whatever He asked her to do. She, in turn, knew His heart, His ways, and His love – so faith and obedience was a natural response.

We’re grateful that Mary’s response was so faith-filled, but consider what might have happened if Mary had said, “There’s no way a woman could get pregnant like that – with the Son of God or otherwise! I just can’t believe it!”  Would God’s plan to bring the Savior into the world be suddenly shut down? No, God’s plans don’t end because of someone’s unbelief. He’ll find someone else! Consider, though, how sad to it would be to forego being used in a supernatural event just because it seems so unthinkable.

Mary was an “average” girl in the world’s point of view. What set her apart from the rest in God’s eyes was her virtuous, God-seeking heart. We don’t have to be born into a high-status family to be chosen by God. We don’t have to be famous, known by more than just the handful of people in our tiny town. There’s no rule that says we have to be multi-talented and witty. The only ingredient needed is faith and willingness. Together, they open the door to the supernatural working of God – an incredible plan that only He can design.

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

 

The Power of Our Words Over Our Children

motherbaby

The following is an article I wrote for our church nursery’s newsletter.  I have posted it under “Baby Pages” above as well.  A resource I highly recommend and use is “Preborn Prodigy,” a CD of prayers and confessions spoken over your child.  I personally love it! http://www.prebornprodigy.com

So much power is in the spoken word that God created the world by speaking (Genesis 1).  Though there was nothing to be seen but a mass of darkness, God called what didn’t exist into existence with His words (Romans 4:17). That same word power is available to us.  When we speak, those words have the potential to shape everything around us.

Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. (James 3:4, 5)

You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you; so light will shine on your ways. (Job 22:28)

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. (Proverbs 18:20)

What we speak is what matters.  We have the ability to speak good or evil, to build things up or tear things down.  Whichever we choose, we will see it produce the same in our lives.

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise [is] health. (Proverbs 12:18)

A wholesome tongue [is] a tree of life: but perverseness therein [is] a breach in the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)

God commands us to speak good and not evil – what He says.

Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. (James 3:10)

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised. (Hebrews 10:23)

Our “profession,” or confession, of our faith states what we believe.  To confess means to “say the same thing as.”  We are to say exactly what God says, lining up our words with His to see positive results.  Saying anything less turns into an idle word, or a “curse,” that does not bless.

We all have situations in our lives that we would like to resolve or change.  We want our children to be blessed and to grow up godly and healthy.  If we choose to speak God’s word over them daily, we are speaking life into their present and future.  It will change the course of their lives, just as the book of James tells us.  It also puts up a guard against the devil and potential attacks.

The devil thrives on idle words, words that we may not mean literally, but say anyway (example: “That just kills me!”). He also notes the words we say that do not have faith attached to them.  Faith is the key to making our God-words work.  It’s possible to confess God’s Word, yet not see results, simply because we didn’t believe they would make a difference.  We can go through the motions of saying them each day, but a doubt-free, believing heart is what God requires.

 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. (Mark 11:23-24)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

As Amaris was growing in my womb, I spoke words of life over her.  “Baby, you are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  You are redeemed from sickness and disease, and will develop fully with nothing missing and nothing broken.  You are redeemed from the curse of the law. We declare your eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, bones, heart, lungs, blood, and digestive system all functioning and developing normally.  Baby, in Jesus Name, you will place yourself in perfect position for delivery when the time comes.  You will be delivered healthy and strong, with no delivery trauma.  You will be taught of the Lord and great shall be your peace, inside and outside of the womb. You will be peaceful in temperament, and will sleep well at night.  You will take easily to breastfeeding.  You will have a tender heart toward God from an early age.”

These faith-filled words were investments in Amaris’ present and future.  Just like God’s Word promises, those words I spoke did not “return void.”  Amaris was born healthy, complete, and strong with no delivery trauma.  She has a happy disposition, took well to breastfeeding, and was sleeping through the night by the time she was three-months-old.  I am confident that these words, and others, paved the way for God’s best delivery and a strong child.

God wants to do wonderful things in our children’s lives, but we have got to speak His life-giving words over them.  Critical, frustrating words do not produce life.  God’s Word, however, will build them up. Our faith-filled words, smothered with love, will change their lives forever!

 

Planned Parenthood


So good and so true! There has always been a Planned Parenthood!

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written. Psalm 139:16

       “Every person is a case of planned parenthood—God planned you! Whatever else may have seemed to be happenstance, there were no surprises in heaven when either you or I arrived on earth!

       Because some were born outside of marriage, with less than perfect bodies, or conceived in less than desired circumstances, people draw the conclusion that God wasn’t involved in the process. But listen: The fact that God may not have willed the way a person came into the world, does not mean He has not planned a purpose for that individual. Long before anyone is conceived, God’s purpose for that life is foreseen.” -Jack Hayford