Mary! The final woman in the genealogy of Christ.

Poet Luci Shaw has said that Protestants,

in reaction to what they perceive as a worship of Mary in Catholicism,

have fallen off on the other side, abandoning her,

to an “evangelical limbo.”

Yet she has so much to teach us.

Unlike the other women, who all seem to have something dubious in their past,

Mary seems without flaw, though we know she could not have been,

for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Yet, God chose her.

She found favor with Him.

And we can learn so much from her:

her faith, her ponderings, and her prayers, inspired by Scripture.

But before we go there, we will consider both the significance of genealogies in the Bible,

and look briefly at “Uriah’s wife,” the other woman listed in the genealogy of Christ.

This is Christmas week, and for many of you a very busy week,

but I hope you’ll take time each day to be with Him.

Today, this Sabbath day, this Eve of Christmas Eve, watch this and share your reflections.

 

This is my youngest grandchild, Steven Lano, singing O Holy NIght at two years old. He plans to sing for our Christmas Eve service – I’m praying God will help him to actually do so!

Sunday:

1.What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. How do you imagine the annunciation happening?

Christmas Eve: Good News, Not Good Advice 

R

 

In many liberal churches who claim to be Christian, the Christmas story is taught as a beautiful metaphor rather than a historical happening. Yet genealogies represent history, not metaphors.

3. Read the following article from The Gospel Coalition, based on Keller’s book: Hidden Christmas. Share what stands out to you. 

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/tim-keller-wants-you-to-stop-underestimating-christmas/

Tuesday: Christmas – Unto You is Born a Savior

Prepare your heart for today with this:

Between Ruth and Mary, another woman, is mentioned, but indirectly. Instead of naming her by her name, which was Bathsheba, she is referred to as “Uriah’s Wife.” Tim Keller believes this was a way of highlighting David’s sin and the repercussions that sin brings to others. “No man is an island,” as John Donne put it. Whenever we sin, even if it is in the privacy of our own bedroom, it ripples out to hurt not only ourselves but others. Bathsheba was a victim of David’s sexual abuse — he used his power to get what he wanted from her. Then when his sin led to her pregnancy, he devised a cover-up, putting her husband at the front of the battle line. God sent a prophet to David who told him the baby would die. So many were victims of David’s great sins. Yet God sent Jesus as a Savior for we who are sinners. David responded in repentance, writing Psalm 51.

4. Read Psalm 51.

A. Share anything that quickens you and tell why.

B. On this Christmas morning, give thanks for the Savior born to you, and confess any sin to Him, beginning this day clean and with restored joy. (You don’t have to write your sin here — but you may!)

Wednesday-Thursday: Mary’s Magnificat

Mary knew the Scriptures, for her Magnificat references many psalms, and Mary used the psalms to pray, a habit we would be wise to imitate. We will do some of that today, and you might consider taking this habit into the New Year, taking either a whole psalm or part of a psalm each morning and using it for prayer. If you have done this many times before, consider using a different translation or paraphrase.

5. Read Luke 1:46-49

    A. How does Mary begin her song, and what does she call God?

    B. In Psalm 8, her ancestor, David, looked at the starry host and asked, “What is man that you are

        mindful of him?” How does Mary rephrase this psalm here?

    C. How has the Lord been mindful of you lately? Can you praise Him for that here?

 

 

 

6. Read Luke 1:50-55

    A. Verse 50 is a quote from Psalm 103. First, how does Mary put in her magnificat?

    B. Now look at it in Psalm 103:17-18. What promise and what stipulation do you find?

I struggled with the above a bit, feeling like God rewards those who do good works, but Spurgeon  helped me when he wrote: This is all of grace from first to last, yet it is no panderer to sin…faith   keeps the covenant by looking alone to Jesus. In other words, we can be confident God has His hold on His children, and they reveal their adoption through their faith.

C. Brennan Manning calls it “The Ragamuffin Gospel.” Mary sees that too — what does she see in verses 52 and 53, quoting Psalm 107:9? If you are poor, oppressed, and hurting — how can you rejoice in this?

D. What, according to verse 54-55 do you learn about God?

E. God may bless the rich as well, though we know it is harder for them to trust in God. Abraham was wealthy, but knew it was God who blessed him, and he, we know, is in heaven. What does 1 Timothy 6:17-19 warn those who are rich?

F. Using this part of Mary’s Magnificat as a springboard, pray to your God.

Friday: Keller Sermon

7. Listen and share your notes and thoughts.

      Mary

Saturday:

8. What is your take-a-way this week and why?

 

 

COMMENTS (77) Post a New Comment ↓
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1. What stands to you from the above and why? I have seen this movie – the one where Mary alone can see and hear the angel proclaiming to her what would happen, I kind of like the the idea, not sure why… it struck me, though, that the news of Elizabeth’s child would have been given to her to protect her. If part of the prophecy came true then her parents could believe the rest and not cast her out. God was protecting her…..

I also think Mary *had* to be a ‘good girl’ not perfect or sinless but – a child with a heart for God who followed the Torah and was obedient would have been less likely to “just be covering something up” as may have been expected if someone with a more worried reputation had been the vessel and nurturer of our Savior. This didn’t necessarily make her “more worthy” as we have seen a god uses people of faith but it made the story more believable -to HIS glory.

2. How do you imagine the annunciation happening? I really don’t know, there are a million different possibilities… this is one of those times I hope/pray God has GodTube when we get to heaven…. but my youngest (10yo) told me the other day that we won’t even need that in heaven “cuz as soon as we get there we will have full and perfect knowledge.” I do think Mary struggled after the annunciation with telling her family….that would have been difficult if not scary.
PS Your grandson is precious!

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    Interesting thought about Elizabeth’s pregnancy giving confirmation to Mary’s story!

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1.What stands out to you from the above and why?

OH that precious little Steven outshines all! I couldn’t even read past him yet! I just want to pull him out of that car seat and snuggle him! That sweet, tender voice–what a precious offering to Him, and God’s gracious reminder of his namesake, just touches my heart deep. What a GIFT! Praying he will be able to sing for all and share this blessing!

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2. How do you imagine the annunciation happening?

I imagine it was very personal, that no one else was around. I do imagine a holy fear, for she was “greatly troubled”. I like how she asks a question, “how can this be?”, it shows me her “realness”. But it is her humble, complete surrender and holy submission without anger, that amazes me. It think there is a dance of the Trinity here, for it is God the Father’s plan, to bring His Son, and the Spirit that allows Mary to surrender.

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    Oh Lizzy — love how you point out the dance of the Trinity!

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1.What stands out to you from the above and why?
I have always been drawn to the words in scripture that talk about Mary “treasuring up all these things and pondering them in her heart”! She seems to be a deep thinker and one who treasures God’s word.
2. How do you imagine the annunciation happening?
Luke tells us Gabriel was sent from God…and “coming in he said to her, “Hail, favored one! TheLord is with you.” I have always pictured the angel coming in to Mary’s house while she was going about her daily tasks. I have also been drawn to the Gabriel’s description of “how” this can be when he says “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God.” I too feel that Mary was given the news of Elizabeth’s pregnancy so that she would have a safe place to go and have a spiritual mother/mentor who would support her in her difficult place! 

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3. Read the following article from The Gospel Coalition, based on Keller’s book: Hidden Christmas. Share what stands out to you. 

“the world is a dark place that needs salvation to come from outside of it….“If we all pull together, we can make the world a better place.” No, we can’t. We don’t have what it takes. ”

And this is not a pessimistic view because:  “there is hope, and a certainty that God will eventually destroy all evil.”

“They are all—male and female, king and prostitute, Jew and Gentile—equally part of Jesus’s family. So even the “begats” of the Bible drip with God’s mercy.”

“Moralism is essentially the idea that you can save yourself through your good works. And this makes Christmas unnecessary. ”

“Relativism is essentially the idea that no one is really “lost,” that everyone should live by their own lights and determine right and wrong for themselves.”

“By refusing to let Mary and Joseph name their son, the angel was essentially saying something like this: “If Jesus is in your life, you’re not his manager—he’s your manager. You don’t name him or tell him who he is—he’s come to tell you who you are.” ”

“There’s a kind of doubt that really is seeking more information—that “wants” to believe if it’s possible. There’s also a kind of doubt that really is looking for a way out, that doesn’t want to believe or submit, that’s looking for a way to keep control of one’s own life.”

 

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A bit off topic (sorry!) but Dee mentioned several weeks ago the book, “From Fear to Freedom” by Rose Marie Miller. I ordered a copy & it finally came (didn’t realize I’d ordered from a UK bookstore and it took a while!) but it’s been so good. My husband actually stole it from me & is loving it, so I’m still only at chapter 2, but just wanted to encourage others, it’s a worthwhile read!

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    I also bought the book on Dee’s recommendation and also am enjoying it very much (and learning!) though I only have time to read a bit every day.

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      Wonderful Miriam!

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    Love your notes on Keller, Lizzy.

    And I’m so happy you love that book. We are doing SonShip in our women’s Bible studies beginning in January. Praying as we have unbelievers coming.

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Sunday:
1.What stands out to you from the above and why?
We talked today in Sunday School about the birth of Christ and some of the key people surrounding the event. And we did mention something similar to what you are saying here, Dee. About Protestants putting Mary in an evangelical limbo. Coming from a country where Mary worship was steep among the Catholics, I had tendencies to do that. But as the years went by, I grew in my appreciation of Mary-her humble reply to the angel and her quick acceptance of what God had asked of her.
2. How do you imagine the annunciation happening?
Not like the movie at all. Though I think Mary really saw an angel even though her presumed mother in the movie thought she was talking nonsense. I think she was just going about her normal day and then boom! Her life changed forever!
And isn’t that how God enters our lives? We are forever changed. When I ponder with my heart and keep listening to God, I will find Him to be always there. This year, may Mary’s joy be my joy in what He is calling me to do.

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    So good, Bing!

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

 

I agree with you, Dee, that in evangelicalism, we downplay Mary….probably out of fear of venerating her as in Catholicism. I remember when I was Catholic and first starting to go to a nondenominational church, and talking with a mom at my sons’ parochial school. I had told her I was also going to this other church, and she said, “But they don’t believe in the assumption of Mary, do they?” I was pretty new and didn’t know the Bible, so I hastily assured her that yes, they do believe that! Then I went home and searched through the gospels for the story of Mary’s assumption into heaven, and it wasn’t there. Uh-oh….

Love the video of your grandson….he’ll be singing tonight! He’s so sweet!

2. How do you imagine the annunciation happening?

I have always imagined that Mary was alone in her home, going about her work. Although most accounts of angels visiting people in the Bible talk about the person being very afraid or even terrified, like Zachariah was, it says that Mary was greatly troubled by his greeting, but not terrified. I’ve always wondered if the angel ‘toned down’ his appearance or whatever it was about an angel that was so frightening, because God was dealing tenderly with Mary and not wanting to frighten her.

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3. Read the following article from The Gospel Coalition, based on Keller’s book: Hidden Christmas. Share what stands out to you. 
https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/tim-keller-wants-you-to-stop-underestimating-christmas/
“…The other is that, even though Jesus submitted to his human parents authority during his childhood (Luke 2:51), they weren’t ultimately his master. He was their master. By refusing to let Mary and Joseph name their son, the angel was essentially saying something like this: “If Jesus is in your life, you’re not his manager—he’s your manager. You don’t name him or tell him who he is—he’s come to tell you who you are.”
I love the last line-“he’s come to tell you who you are.” Humbling because I have to face the fact that I am a sinner and Awed because despite my wretchedness, He calls me His beloved.

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    Humbling indeed!

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1.What stands out to you from the above and why? 
 

I like the way the director chose to portray the scene with Mary and the angel. I would not have thought to do it that way.

 

I also loved the adorable video of your grandson singing! Our grandkids also learned two songs to sing last week in church but they never ended up standing in front of the congregation. They were too nervous. We have enjoyed singing the songs though anyway. I will pray Stephen has the gumption to go through with it tonight.

 
2. How do you imagine the annunciation happening?
 

I guess I never gave it much thought in the past. I thought of her being more exposed to the elements (like a tent) and a physical looking angel that hovered above her kind of like a ghost that spoke to her. I pictured her being more scared than in this clip.

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3. Read the following article from The Gospel Coalition, based on Keller’s book: Hidden Christmas. Share what stands out to you. 

 

I love this:

 

“The Bible doesn’t say “from the world a light has dawned” but “upon the world a light has dawned.” The point is that the world is a dark place that needs salvation to come from outside of it. This means the end of cheery statements like, “If we all pull together, we can make the world a better place.” No, we can’t. We don’t have what it takes.”

 

And this:

 

“In ancient and less individualistic times, one’s genealogy was like one’s résumé. Like today’s résumés, many things were usually expunged to make it look better to the reader. Women were seldom put in ancient genealogies at all, let alone women who reminded readers of the sordid sins and corruption of ancestors such as Judah and David. All of these figures would have been disowned or expunged from a normal genealogy, but here they are not. They are all—male and female, king and prostitute, Jew and Gentile—equally part of Jesus’s family. So even the “begats” of the Bible drip with God’s mercy.”

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    Yes, I agree with you, Laura, these 2 quotes do stand out. I like the first one especially.

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What stands out to me? It is the dramatic picture of Mary, such a young girl, wondering  “how can this be,

no man has ever touched me?” But then her acceptance so humbly and obediently, “Be it unto me, as you have said.”

I remember the artwork of the Annunciation, but it did not seem as real as this drama. I really cannot imagine it…

Love the video of little Steven.

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4. Read Psalm 51. A. Share anything that quickens you and tell why.

Vs. 1: Have mercy on me, O God,   according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy

I have no defense. But thankfully my hope is not based on my own righteousness or performance. My life is fully dependent upon His mercy, and that mercy is only possible because of His love, who He is.

Vs. 2: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,   (and Vs. 7, whiter than snow)

He washes thoroughly, completely, every stain removed, as if it was never there

Vs. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned   

My sin is always against God. Every horizontal relational sin, hurts my vertical relationship with Him.

6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Something about this verse—the value God places on truth, for He IS truth; and the personal intimacy of His teaching wisdom to the deepest part of our hearts.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

I need to be broken, of so many self-centered ways, but He is gracious to bring healing, to re-make me and restore me to what He designed; and it is He who allows me to experience joy.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,    and renew a right spirit within me.

I love this from Spurgeon on this verse: “Create. What! has sin so destroyed us, that the Creator must be called in again? …O Lord, thou who didst once make me, be pleased to new make me, and in my most secret parts renew me. Renew a right spirit within me. It was there once, Lord, put it there again.”

11 Cast me not away from your presence,    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

I deserve, because of my own sin, to be cast away from His presence, and yet without it, I die. Lord, by Your great mercy, cast me not.

17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

I have nothing to offer but what you ask of me—honest admission of my sin and humble submission to You.

 

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    Hi Lizzie

    I have often struggled with verse 4 and appreciate your perspective on that…Vs. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned   
    My sin is always against God. Every horizontal relational sin, hurts my vertical relationship with HI’m!

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    Lizzy-love how you have taken each verse of Psalm 51 and made it your own. So personal.

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Several years ago I was reading the genealogy in Matthew and like most people, have usually found genealogies difficult to read. That year, I thought about those who live in countries where the scriptures are not readily available or accessible. In some places, when a copy of a portion of scripture is obtained it may be divided into smaller segments so that even more people can share in having a part of God’s word. God seemed to impress on my heart, that if the only page of scripture that I possessed was the genealogy of Christ…how clearly God’s love shone through! So the most meaningful part of Keller’s article to me was this…So even the “begats” of the Bible drip with God’s mercy.

 

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    Lycy — love this: “Even the begats drip with God’s mercy

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I am already so far behind this week. :( Very sorry that I can’t participate every day. Non the less a very Merry Christmas to everyone.

 

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    Merry Christmas Dawn! I have been in your boat all week also….participating but not very focused I fear. Glad you could check in though.

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4. Read Psalm 51. 
A. Share anything that quickens you and tell why. 
I have read this Psalm many times before…today…what quickens me is the opening sentence…Be gracious to me , O God, according to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions. I find myself in a place where I, like Bathsheba, find myself suffering from the sins of another. In that place, I have not wanted to forgive because their behavior isn’t what I think it should be. In this situation, it is easy to focus on my hurt instead of on my own sins of “conditional love and forgiveness”. God’s compassion for me is great even when I wallow in self-pity and hold on to unforgiveness. He came to save me from my sins this day…this is good news to my heart indeed! 
B. On this Christmas morning, give thanks for the Savior born to you, and confess any sin to Him, beginning this day clean and with restored joy. (You don’t have to write your sin here — but you may!)
Oh Lord, You have indeed been gracious to me! You have indeed come to me as I have been dwelling in great darkness…on me has Your light shone. I come bringing my sacrifice of praise asking only to be in Your presence where there is fullness of joy! Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, uphold me with Your Spirit free…create in me a clean heart oh God! Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Make me to hear joy and gladness and let the bones that You have broken rejoice this Christmas morning. Amen

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Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Dee, how did little Stephen do?

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    He froze — but the older children did well and he was still cute!

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Merry Christmas, Dee and to all my blog friends here!
4. Read Psalm 51.
A. Share anything that quickens you and tell why.
Going to Psalm 51 is always a humbling experience for me. Just when I start feeling smug about life, Psalm 51 comes to life. I am a sinner saved by grace, deserving of punishment. But God came down, so I don’t stay “behind bars” of guilt, shame and hopelessness. And once out, daily surrender to having God create in me a clean heart. And having my Spirit rightly renewed and joy restored.
B. On this Christmas morning, give thanks for the Savior born to you, and confess any sin to Him, beginning this day clean and with restored joy. (You don’t have to write your sin here — but you may!)
Lord, praises to you for coming down to earth. You love me so much that
“Thou didst leave thy throne and thy kingly crown
When thou comest to earth for me”
But in Bethlehem’s town, there was found no room
For thy holy nativity…”
I confess my sin of idolatry, the tendency to seek comfort and approval from others, the tendency to have “self” on my heart’s throne-those very sins nailed you to the cross
“Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word   That should set Thy people free; But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,   They bore Thee to Calvary.”
Lord. That I may seek you always to be first in my life. Thank you that for each day your faithfulness is new. “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.”
“Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus! Thy cross is my only plea; Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus, come, Thy cross is my only plea.”
“And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus! When Thou comest and callest for me; And my heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus!   When Thou comest and callest for me.”   Song by Emily Elliott, 1864.

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I have had a house full of people for a week now and will have some leave and others arrive tomorrow. However, I just want to pop in and wish you all a Merry Christmas. I hope each of you has a few moments to ponder the wonder of God in the flesh “with us” as a human baby. We are having a happy Christmas with all our family around.

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Merry Christmas dear blog sisters! So thankful for Dee and this place He has given us to grow together and encourage one another in the Word and in prayer. We’ve had a sweet family time, it’s just the 5 of us, all of both our families are too far away to visit, but the Lord has really blessed our time, better than I imagined! Praying the same for each of you!

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    Thank you, Lizzy! I, too am thankful for Dee and this place where we can grow together and encourage one another in the Word and in prayer.

    We had a sweet time with 4 friends and our grandson. Thankful for the invite to spend time together when most of our families are busy with activity and are in other places.

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    Thank you, Lizzy. I concur with your statement !

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3. In Keller’s article, I found it interesting about his explanation of the difference between Zechariah’s and Mary’s doubts….it was the inner motivation of their doubt, which resulted in a rebuke to the one and not the other. And how the “begats” of the Bible drip with God’s mercy….king, prostitute, outsider, many with sordid things in their past, are included in Jesus’ genealogy. In those days, one’s genealogy was like a resume, so some would’ve left those people out.

 

4. Read Psalm 51

A. Share anything that quickens you and tell why.

For I know my transgressions….David is being very honest here. So often, I may ignore or rationalize away my sin, but the truth is, I know the thing is sin. In the past, when confronted with something I’ve even claimed, untruthfully, that I didn’t know about this or that, the truth is, it’s all just a cover-up, an attempt to save-face.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me….David states the problem is within himself. Nobody else caused him to sin; sin doesn’t come from the outside and affect us, sin comes from within us and then hurts others outside of us.

Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation….nothing steals away joy like sin. Sin makes it impossible for me to enjoy God.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation….This is a very bold request, I believe. In essence, I think by bloodguiltiness, David is asking God to forgive him for murder. I often believe the lie that something I’ve done is outside of God’s willingness (not ability, but willingness) to forgive. David asked for a big thing here, and it seems he asked with confidence that God would do so.

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    I too struggle with not “owning” my sins but shifting the focus away from myself onto the sins of others. I appreciate your pointing out that David acknowledges that he was born with a sin nature and that sin comes from within us and then hurts others outside of us!

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Psalm 51 What quickens me? Verse 3 For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.

My tendency is to be obsessed with myself and my desires.

Verse 4 Against you and you only have I sinned. Father, forgive my selfish ways. I need to walk

humbly before you, to have kindness when I feel like judging, to let go of my desire to get even

with those who sin against me.

Verse 10 Yes, “Create in me a clean heart , Oh God and renew a right spirit within me.”

Yes, Abba, I am a sinner saved by grace. “my tongue will sing of your righteousness.”

As the Deer pants for the water so my soul longs after you.You alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship you. You alone are my strength, my shield, To you alone may my spirit yield, You alone are my

heart’s desire and I long to worship you.

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3. Read the following article … Share what stands out to you. It is all good but the two things that really struck me were 1. The naming of Jesus and 2. The different responses to doubt (which we have studied here before). What is further interesting is that both Mary and Zechariah were given the names for their children. Mary was to give Jesus His name because His real Father was naming Him but Zechariah gave John His name only out of obedience – which was the manifestation of heart transformation to trusting God.

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    Jill ~

    Love how you worded this ~    manifestation of heart transformation to trusting God   

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5. Read Luke 1:46-49 
    A. How does Mary begin her song, and what does she call God? 
She begins in praise…my soul exalts and my spirit has rejoiced! She calls God her Savior.
    B. In Psalm 8, her ancestor, David, looked at the starry host and asked, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” How does Mary rephrase this psalm here?
 Mary says He has had regard for the humble state of His servant…for the Mighty One has done great things for me
    C. How has the Lord been mindful of you lately?
I know He has been mindful of me but in this time it has been hard to see due to many hurtful circumstances. I read in Ann Voscamp’s One Thousand Gifts devotional yesterday that “The remedy is in the retina” and “How we behold determines if we hold joy” “How we look determines how we live…if we live.” We must choose to see our circumstances as coming from an all powerful, all wise, and loving God and give Him praise…we need to look up to Him trusting and expectant! 
Can you praise Him for that here? Lord, you alone point the way to the full cost of bringing a sacrifice of praise! I long to bring You words of praise but get so derailed when my visual focus is on that which I can see…instead of on that which has been done for me! Lord, I praise You that despite a husband who drinks heavily and who feels so defeated by his own circumstances, that he still wants our marriage to work. I praise You that even when I cannot see You at work I our lives, I can trust that you are because of the many written examples you have left us in Your word. My soul will choose to exalt You and rejoice in my God who daily saves me despite all of my striving to please my idols of control and pride. I praise You because You and You alone are able to bring good from this situation when all I can see are two sons who are following in their father’s footsteps. I will affirm with my words that You have me here for a purpose. I will daily look to You in trust and with expectation to see the many benefits that come to me daily from Your hand. Amen

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    oh Lucy, I am so sorry for all this pain, with your husband and sons. I am stopping now to pray for you, that He will break through and bring true restoration and healing. Praying you will feel His peace surround you and give you strength to keep pressing on. Thankful for your heart that still draws near to Him and remembers His promises.

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      thanks so much for your prayers. It helps more than you can know!

        Lucy–the Lord brought you to mind again this morning before I got out of bed and I prayed again for you–for a true breakthrough for your family, and for you to have hope.

        I agree with Lizzy’s good prayer for you and your family, Lucy.

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    Lucy, I will pray for your family. I am in the midst of circumstances in our family that seem insurmountable, with God being deafeningly quiet. I am quite sad that I can’t feel His presence. I see your point when you say this:

     

    “We must choose to see our circumstances as coming from an all powerful, all wise, and loving God and give Him praise…we need to look up to Him trusting and expectant!”

     

    It is hard to do this when the burdens of earth press into us. I am in a place today that is very emotional and mostly sad. As I contemplate my circumstance I will think of you too, and pray for both of us.

     

     

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      Thanks Laura…it is hard indeed to hold onto hope amidst the sad…especially when God is silent! I read a story yesterday that encouraged me to change the “self talk” that goes on in my head from “This is so hard”to “This is so big”…our God is bigger! I will pray for you also…it helps me to pray for others and get my focus off myself!

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    Lucy, just reading your post here, and I am sorry for the pain you experience because of your husband’s heavy drinking, which must be so terrible to watch, and then more heartbreak to see your sons following the same path. I don’t know if you already are, but I encourage you to get some counseling for yourself so that you can stay emotionally and mentally healthy and strong. I cannot imagine the burden that you are bearing in this. Prayers, too, for you and your family.

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      Thanks…have been going to a counselor. Still sometimes hard to discern God’s will in this complicated situation.

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    Lucy,

    I’m asking the Lord for much mercy on you in these circumstances.

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4. Read Psalm 51.

A. Share anything that quickens you and tell why. This Psalm is so very familiar to me. My study Bible from my high school years automatically opens to Psalm 51. Today I was struck by vs. 13. There has been confession, request for a new heart, and a request for the return of joy …vs 13”THEN I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners WILL return to you.” Repentance, forgiveness lead to joy which leads to service and proclamation which, in turn spreads the Gospel and expands His Kingdom!

Reminded me of this quote: “ Christian faith is always something that begins with reason but is completed only by faithful action and obedience.” Tim Mackie

I am also intrigued by the connection between verses 17 and 19 seen through vs 18… will have to look it up.

B. Give thanks for the Savior born to you, and confess any sin to Him… I am indeed grateful, Lord, for the Savior born to me…may I realize deeper and more who He is, who You are, and what it all means, restore to me the JOY of Your salvation and renew in me a steadfast spirit! I confess selfishness, God, seeking my own comfort and plan above the discomfort of serving simply those You have given me, forgive me. May the glory of Your Kingdom shine before me as I accept and serve Your daily purpose for me each day. Amen.

Dee, the video was beautiful and gave me such a longing to SEE Christ and be physically, tangibly, literally in His presence!

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    Thanks Jill — that has become a favorite contemporary Christmas song for me.

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5. Read Luke 1:46-49
    A. How does Mary begin her song, and what does she call God?
The Lord, Savior, the Mighty One.
    B. In Psalm 8, her ancestor, David, looked at the starry host and asked, “What is man that you are
        mindful of him?” How does Mary rephrase this psalm here?
… for he has been mindful     of the humble state of his servant.
    C. How has the Lord been mindful of you lately? Can you praise Him for that here?
Giving me a greater capacity and energy to care for people I have learned to love through their hard times-Kathy, my students, the littles at church, Mackenzie, Marie, The M family, Barb, strangers. Thank you, Lord for helping me be more other oriented than turning inward and feeling sorry for myself. You knew I needed a spark to get out of my funk.
 

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    Bing–love your “C”–and such a good reminder to me too–how He uses getting “other oriented” to get us out of our “funks” :)

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      Lizzy, thanks. :-) Listened to Tim Keller’s one other sermon on “Uncovering Satisfaction” on Youtube. Such a powerful message on looking to Jesus to satisfy me rather than my circumstances, people and accomplishments. I am slowly getting out of my funk-our God is faithful!

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5. Read Luke 1:46-49     A. How does Mary begin her song, and what does she call God?

“My soul magnifies the Lord” She calls Him Lord and Savior. It strikes me that Mary has just been chosen by God, declared “highly favored” and yet, she does not boast—she turns to praise Him and acknowledge His place of Holiness, above all.

B. In Psalm 8, her ancestor, David, looked at the starry host and asked, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” How does Mary rephrase this psalm here?

Vs. 48a, 49:  “for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant… for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”

C. How has the Lord been mindful of you lately? Can you praise Him for that here?

Father, thank You for Your grace-filled patience, gently reminding me over and over of Your truths, forgiving me for my disbelief and my self righteousness that thinks things should go my way. Thank You for my family, my husband’s forgiveness of my short-comings, for laughter and sweet family time. Thank You that though many circumstances in my life are not what I would call ideal and are riddled with brokenness—You have promised to work ALL things together for my good. Not one circumstance comes into my life without Your permission—I do find great peace in that. And You withhold nothing that I need for joy and completeness in You. Help me trust You more.

6. Read Luke 1:50-55  A. Verse 50 is a quote from Psalm 103. First, how does Mary put in her magnificat?

She speaks of His mercy.

B. Now look at it in Psalm 103:17-18. What promise and what stipulation do you find?

1. The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting– on those who fear him

2. His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

I do love that quote from Spurgeon: “Faith keeps the covenant by looking alone to Jesus”—it is not dependent on me!

C. Brennan Manning calls it “The Ragamuffin Gospel.” Mary sees that too — what does she see in verses 52 and 53, quoting Psalm 107:9? If you are poor, oppressed, and hurting — how can you rejoice in this?

The Lord humbles the proud and exalts the humble. He provides for those who hunger, who know their their need of Him.

D. What, according to verse 54-55 do you learn about God?

He is faithful to His promises, and full of mercy.

E. God may bless the rich as well, though we know it is harder for them to trust in God. Abraham was wealthy, but knew it was God who blessed him, and he, we know, is in heaven. What does 1 Timothy 6:17-19 warn those who are rich?

Don’t be proud or haughty about your wealth, and be careful not to trust in it because it is uncertain. Trust instead in God to provide all we need. Be generous and give to others.

 

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    Love the picture of riddled with brokenness (true of all of us) yet all things work together for our good.

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Read Psalm 51. 
A. Share anything that quickens you and tell why.
 

I guess the phrases about being  “…washed clean…” are sticking with me. I need this so in my life.

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5. Read Luke 1:46-49 
    A. How does Mary begin her song, and what does she call God? 
 

She begins by saying her soul magnifies the Lord. She is joyful. She calls Him “…her Savior…”

 
    B. In Psalm 8, her ancestor, David, looked at the starry host and asked, “What is man that you are  mindful of him?” How does Mary rephrase this psalm here? 
 

She refers to her “humble estate” as something God has “looked upon” to bless.

 
    C. How has the Lord been mindful of you lately? Can you praise Him for that here?
 

The Lord has blessed our family with delightful grand babies who are fairly well behaved for being nearly 2 and 3 years old. The 2 year old is very taken with His beautiful Earth; specifically the moon. She notices it every night and tell us how, “I can’t reach it; it’s too high!” So I would say I’m blessed by His beauty all around me. Thank You Lord for giving us these children who really do seem to bless those around them.

 

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6. Read Luke 1:50-55 
    A. Verse 50 is a quote from Psalm 103. First, how does Mary put in her magnificat?
 

Mary says His mercy is for those who fear Him each generation.

 
    B. Now look at it in Psalm 103:17-18. What promise and what stipulation do you find?
 

He promises His love and righteousness for generations of children (everlasting) who fear Him, keep His covenant, and remember His commandments.

 
C. Brennan Manning calls it “The Ragamuffin Gospel.” Mary sees that too — what does she see in verses 52 and 53, quoting Psalm 107:9?
 

Mary acknowledges He has brought down Kings and lifted those who were poor. She reflects that He has fed those who were hungry and sent away the rich with nothing.

 
If you are poor, oppressed, and hurting — how can you rejoice in this?
 

You can know that He will do these things for you as well.

 
D. What, according to verse 54-55 do you learn about God? 
 

He is forever recovering His people. He loves them.

 
E. God may bless the rich as well, though we know it is harder for them to trust in God. Abraham was wealthy, but knew it was God who blessed him, and he, we know, is in heaven. What does 1 Timothy 6:17-19 warn those who are rich?
 

He warns to use their riches to do good for others.

 
F. Using this part of Mary’s Magnificat as a springboard, pray to your God.
 

Oh Lord, have mercy on my family. We are “rich” in the eyes of many, and should use our “wealth”  to help others more often. Forgive us Lord, for not being as giving as we should be. We tend to put ourselves first too often instead of thinking of others. I suppose it is human. But, you require that we don’t act in this manner. Humble us Lord and remind us of the promises You made and have kept forever. Help us to be better children to reflect Your light more often than we do now. In Your Name I pray. Amen.

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Laura, love your prayer. Yes, to so many especially in other parts of the world, we are rich here as Americans. Yes, Lord help us to be rich in good deeds as well as generous with our pocket books.

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C. Brennan Manning calls it “The Ragamuffin Gospel.” Mary sees that too — what does she see in verses 52 and 53, quoting Psalm 107:9? If you are poor, oppressed, and hurting — how can you rejoice in this?
He has brought down rulers from their thrones     but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things     but has sent the rich away empty.
107:9 for he satisfies the thirsty     and fills the hungry with good things.
“…with GOOD things.” And because He is good, GOOD things will be good-it might not be what I am expecting, but it will be good.
D. What, according to verse 54-55 do you learn about God?
He has helped his servant Israel,     remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,     just as he promised our ancestors.”
God is faithful to His people from one generation to another.
E. God may bless the rich as well, though we know it is harder for them to trust in God. Abraham was wealthy, but knew it was God who blessed him, and he, we know, is in heaven. What does 1 Timothy 6:17-19 warn those who are rich?
Not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth

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Great sharing – even during this busy week of celebrating and cleaning up!

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5. Read Luke 1:46-49

A. How does Mary begin her song, and what does she call God?

Mary begins by saying that her soul exalts the Lord, and she calls God her Savior.

B. In Psalm 8, her ancestor, David, looked at the starry host and asked, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” How does Mary rephrase this psalm here?

Mary expresses her amazement that the Lord had regard for her, a humble bondslave of God.

C. How has the Lord been mindful of you lately? Can you praise Him for that here?

Well, Christmas Day was a wonderful day of sharing memories. My sister, her husband, and my dad were at my home and my husband set up the old slide projector and we viewed the slides that my parents had taken in the 1960’s and 70’s….a lot of my childhood is recorded on those slides and also my mom, dad, sisters, and our grandparents, great aunts and uncles. My dad expressed how much he enjoyed seeing them and remembering. I am thankful to Him for giving me a wonderful family when I was a child, for all the love that was evident in those pictures. Lord, I praise You and thank You for placing me in my family, the family that was just right for me, that I can look back and have beautiful memories of times past.

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    Susan–love that you all got to look at old slides, see pictures of your mom. Sweet of your husband to help that happen. What a precious family time of memories.

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    What a wonderful Christmas Day, Susan!

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    Love this! Your Christmas Day was so sweet! I have all my families slides and just need to do the same at some point. So happy for you 😊

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5. Read Luke 1:46-49.

A. How does Mary begin her song, and what does she call God? She begins with praise, “my soul magnifies the Lord…” and she calls God her savior.

B. In Psalm 8, her ancestor, David, looked at the starry host and asked, “ What is man that you are mindful of him? How does Mary rephrase this Psalm here?  “He has looked on the humble estate of his servant…”

C.How has the Lord been mindful of you lately? Can you praise Him for that here? He has been a gentle prodding in my heart and mind to pursue Him, to not seek the world or worldly things for joy or time but to press in…thank you, Lord, for drawing me back, thank you for the small things to obey, please soften my heart to be diligent in your will and purpose.Amen.

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    Amen to 5:C prayer.    Me too,  Jill.

    …   thank you for the small things to obey, please soften my heart to be diligent in your will and purpose.Amen.

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      Good prayer for all of us, Nila.

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6. Read Luke 1:50-55

A. Verse 50 is a quote from Psalm 103. First, how does Mary put in her magnificat?

“His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him.” (Psalm 103:17 reads, “But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.”)

B. Now look at it in Psalm 103:17-18. What promise and what stipulation do you find?

The promise is that the lovingkindness of the Lord is everlasting, the stipulation being that it is expressed to those who fear Him. The promise is that His righteousness is to children’s children, the stipulation being that His righteousness is given to those who keep His covenant and who remember His precepts and obey them.

C. Brennan Manning calls it “The Ragamuffin Gospel”. Mary sees that too – what does she see in verses 52 and 53, quoting Psalm 107:9? If you are poor, oppressed, and hurting – how can you rejoice in this?

Psalm 107:9 says, “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Mary sees that God has brought down rulers from their thrones and exalted the humble, and sent away the rich empty while filling the hungry with good things. I’m not sure that this is to be taken literally as to meaning the poor become wealthy and the hungry are always well-fed. It seems to be talking about a spiritual condition, with the humble and poor in spirit being filled with God Himself, kind of like what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. The rich often do not see their need for God because they have everything, materially, that they need and want. We can rejoice even if we are suffering in this life, knowing that we have something immeasurably more valuable than anything this world can give.

 

D. What, according to verses 54-55, do you learn about God?

God never forgets the promise He made to Abraham and to his offspring. Israel is His “child”, and He shows mercy and gives help to Israel.

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Amen to your prayer on 5 ~ C

…   thank you for the small things to obey, please soften my heart to be diligent in your will and purpose.Amen.

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6. Read Luke 1:50-55

A. Vs 50 is a quote from Psalm 103. First, how does Mary put it in her Magnificat? “His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation…”

B. Now look at it in Psalm 103:17-18. What promise and what stipulation do you find? His love is everlasting on those that keep his commandments and and keep His covenant…His children will be those that keep His commandments and covenant.

C. Brennan Manning calls it “The Raggamuffin Gospel.” Mary sees that too – what does she see in verses 52 and 53, quoting Psalm 107:9? If you are poor, oppressed, and hurting – how can you rejoice in this? “He has filled the hungry with good things…” I can rejoice two-fold – one that He has filled me in the past and has not wasted my tears and two, that true hunger, oppression, and hurt refers not to the need of bread but the spiritual depravity that He has cured! Yes, He does give us bread and the things we need here on earth but ultimately we must view the ultimate truth – He has given us the Gospel!

D. What, according to verses 54-55 do you learn about God? God helped Israel because of His mercy by speaking to generation after generation.

E. What does 1 Timothy 6:17-20 warn those who are rich? To not set their hope on riches nor be haughty but instead look to God, Do good works, and be ready to share.

F. Using this part of Mary’s Magnificat as a springboard, pray to your God.  Remember Your mercy, O Lord, continue speaking to me and my children of Your salvation and help. May we remember your commandments and Your covenant.

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Friday: Keller Sermon
7. Listen and share your notes and thoughts. All I could do was listen and cry. It has been so hard for me to trust God when life hurts so much…but look at what He has done in order to draw near to me! Lord may it be done to me as You have said…I surrender. 

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Sermon Notes. There was a lot in this sermon! This is pretty condensed, but what stood out to me most.

What was in the Gift that came in Christmas–what was given to us, and Mary’s response tells us how to open it.

Inside the Gift: vs. 32–Son of Most High, Son of God; vs. 33 eternal reign,vs. 35-the power of the Most High will bring the birth of the Holy One.

Elizabeth helps us grasp that the One born in Mary’s womb, is every bit God, absolute deity. Elizabeth tells us that on Christmas Day, the Infinite became finite, Immortal became mortal, the Ideal became real…the Impossible became possible. To grasp hold of this, is transforming.

God did not just give us His Son, but a truth that transforms–a whole new life, if we grasp it. If you believe it, you are blessed, meaning to have the Lord’s face shine upon you, strengthened and transformed in every way.

The Gift of Christmas: vulnerability for intimacy, strength in the face of suffering, passion for justice, and power over prejudice.

Vulnerability for Intimacy

What he said about brokenness in relationships was really good, reminded me a lot of a counselor I saw years ago. When neither side will take the blame, neither side will budge, there is brokenness. But when one side drops the defense, and owns whatever they can of their sin–healing begins. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen this in my marriage, but I regret that I am often slower to be the one to first drop my defense.

Also this, convicts me to meditate more on what He did for me because I know I still have such a defensive response at times, or get my feelings hurt so easily:  “As you take in the truth of what he did for you—how loved and affirmed you are—you’ll be able to let down your defenses in your own relationships with other people. You won’t always need to guard your honor. You’ll be able to let down the barriers down.”

Comfort/Strength for Suffering

If we believe what He did for us, we have a Resource for dealing with suffering that others do not have. Conventional moralistic response to suffering says that suffering is from a judging God. Secularists say God is missing, absent, in the face of suffering. Whatever the reason for suffering or that God doesn’t end it, He isn’t indifferent or remote. God hates suffering and evil so much that he was willing to come into it and become enmeshed in it.

Passion for Justice

The Incarnation shows us God cares not only for the spiritual, but also the body, the physical. He cares for the poor, the refugee, the hungry.

“There are a lot of people in this world who have a passion for justice and a compassion for the poor but have absolutely no assurance that justice will one day triumph.” We have absolute assurance that justice will one day be.

Ability to Reconnect with the part of the world you despise.

The fact that women were at the center of the birth and resurrection narratives show us that God entrusts women. Women were the lowly, the despised. He brings the Incarnation through a poor, unwed, Jewish teenager. There was a prejudice against women. The first witnesses to the nativity and resurrection are people whom the world says you can’t trust, people the world looks down on. It was convicting too when he said we all despise someone. I tend to think I’m better for not being racist, but I have such a hatred towards those who are–no better.

My husband and I just watched an old movie called Pride, based on a true story. The racial prejudice just cuts me to my core, few things are as upsetting to me as racism. But to know that One Day all racism will cease, that we will be united as one family in Heaven, does bring hope.

How do we get this transformation? Mary’s Response.

4 things Mary did:

1. Furious thinking-is this real? Faith starts with furious thinking.

2. Honest Doubt: How will this be? Mary had honest doubt, the kind of doubt God rewards.

3. Community: She goes to Elizabeth. She does not break into song until she processes with Elizabeth. God values community, fellowship.

4. Sincere Surrender: I am the Lord’s servant,

The parents were not allowed to name the child. God was saying ‘you don’t manage Him, He manages you’.

If God was willing to do all this to get near to me, what am I willing to do to get near to Him?’

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    Thanks for these excellent notes Lizzy. We had a power outage today and couldn’t make it to church. I listened to the sermon 3 times and kept getting distracted. Your notes helped me focus and remember.

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Thank you, Lizzy, forgreat sermon notes!  It is hard for to listen and remember each point. Love the 4 things Mary did, especially her sincere surrender.

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