Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 15 Mary, the Mother of Jesus

            There are times in your life where the Lord may ask you to do something for him.  You know it is him, your heart is ready, spirit receptive, but your mind sends conflicting signals.  When the Lord sent Gabriel to tell Mary, chosen to be used for his glory, set apart for the birth of his Son, Mary willingly submitted.  How beautiful to see a willing spirit who longs to be used in service for the Lord.  Mary was hand picked by our Lord for a special purpose.  Hand picked for the challenging task of delivering Jesus of Nazareth, but also for the ability to withstand the culture in which she lived.    
            You were chosen by God.  You were chosen to be his child, an example to the world and saved by His grace and mercy.  The Apostle Paul scribes for all to read, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestines us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely gives us in the one he loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6).  To Thessalonica, Paul writes, “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.  He called you to this through our gospel that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) 
            Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus Christ as you are chosen for the children you have been given as a gift.  Mary accepted this servant hood with grace, pleasure, and an obedient heart.  My children were chosen for me, hand picked by God including their personalities, formed and molded into the very image which pleased him.  Such an honor to think my body was given the capabilities to be entrusted with life, multiplying and giving God more children.  After the Lord Jesus called me back to him in 2005, I had two small children, Nicholas who was two and Maddie who was 6 months old.  I was not planning on having any more children for after a post partum depression I had doubts of my love and abilities as a mother.  God did not have the same thoughts about me as I did, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) He was about to ask me to have another child.
            In the fall of 2007, Nicholas and Maddie were in school.  I had made it!  I was home, loved being a housewife, going to church, bible studies and fellowship.  The children were five and three, the perfect ages for fun playing, family outings and trips. Nicholas and Maddie were pretty independent, able to care and play by themselves, no diapers, bottles and bags. Although our family was healthy, growing and loving, we were in the middle of a market disaster.  Our house was in the midst of going into foreclosure, Tommy had moved his business to our home and we were feeling the strain of the looming housing market doom!
            The Lord’s timing has always baffled me.  At the moment, when we were financial strapped, I woke one morning with a thought echoing in my spirit. “It’s a boy!” The thought was so strong, it seemed as if someone had spoken out loud.  During this time, my sister was trying for a baby, so my assumption was she was pregnant.  The next morning, the same powerful echo woke me again, “His name is Matthew.” My eyes widened, my heart pounded and my spirit at once said, “Lord, you want me to have a baby?”
Stunned, I sat there for a moment.  This makes no sense, the timing can’t be right, this can’t be the Lord! Then I had laughed to myself and had the audacity to say, “Tommy is never going to go for this.”  My sweet Christian sister, I was pregnant two weeks later.  Bewildered, thinking this is crazy, my doctor confirmed our family was about to be extended by one more.  Five months into my pregnancy, my doctor asked if I wanted to know the sex of the baby.  Tommy and I both said, “It’s a boy and his name is Matthew.” 
            Our little Matthew is a joy.  Full of unstoppable energy, enthusiasm for life and a love for Jesus, he is five years old now running amuck in Kindergarten.  God gave us a “gift from God”.  Matthew’s name is an exact representative of the meaning and we could never imagine our life without him for it would be awfully quiet in our household.  Christian, I will tell you this, I prepared my heart and mind for this pregnancy in prayer rebuking a post partum, the belief God would provide for us financially and knowing He was in complete control.  There were about five days after Matthew’s birth I was unable to speak.  My tears and emotions flowed for days, but my heart cried out to the Lord.  I remember holding Matthew, tired, exhausted and overwhelmed.  The Lord spoke to my spirit, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) 
            When Jesus of Nazareth was born, there was a celebration.  A celebration Heaven could not contain for an angel and heavenly hosts appeared to men, praising God, rejoicing and declaring, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)  When God birth’s something, there is an expectation in waiting and an anticipation for the timing to see whom, what, where and when.  Mary was chosen to be a part of this joyous occasion and treasured the celebration in her heart, for the bible says, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)  I too treasure the hopes I have for my children, but will be interested to see what God has for Matthew.  I was asked to have Matthew, this “gift from God.”  Maybe our little one’s life was to bless our family, maybe his life will be on the mission field or maybe God has given Matthew the tireless spirit to run.  I have had a prayer for each of my children, but Matthew’s has been, “Father, when the world tires, may Matthew keep running his race.  When others give up and quit, may his energy and determination drive him forward.  When others have lost the vigor to move with your Gospel, may you use Matthew to run hand in hand with you, on the mission field with this inexhaustible energy you have bestowed on him.”
            I have had a picture in my mind of Matthew.  His spirit reminds me of a wild mustang, ready to run, bucking and at times resisting self control.  I feel we are to train this “wild mustang” gently; not to break the spirit, but to tame the vigor preparing him for the race.  And when it is time, when the chase begins and the horses line up to run, I pray God says, “Let him run!” It’s his time to run!  I pray to let go of the reigns, give God this bridled energy and let Matthew run, as fast as he can, being used for God’s glory!  As a mother, I can let that heart fly, give the reigns to God and let spill all the treasures I have held in my heart. My heart overwhelms with tears every time I think of Matthew this way.  I let forth a cry, full of joy and awe that the Lord would ever put such a picture to be used for his glory in my mind.  Praise Him!
            Mary would soon see these treasures spill forth from her heart, but not in the way she expected.  Each Easter, Tommy and I watch the The Passion of the Christ.  Maia Morgenstern, who portrayed Mary, does an amazing interpretation of Christ’s mother.  The emotion you feel from her as she watches her son “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from when hides there faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5) Her eyes bewildered as her son was whipped, tears falling feeling the pain of her own heart pierced.  The movie depicts Christ carrying his own cross, falling from the exhaustion and weight of the world, all Mary sees is her flesh in need.  Picturing Jesus as a tender, little boy, rescuing him from a fall, The Passion of the Christ pulls at our own hearts watching Mary instinctively run to the aide of her son. Succumbing to the sight of Jesus and he seeing his mother, her pain, her sorrow, her breaking heart, the anguish of a mother watching her child’s painful death, tenderly he tells her, “Mother, I make all things right.”
            The good doctor Luke records Mary’s own testimony in his Gospel.  Luke documents her account of the Immaculate Conception as, “The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might me.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the thrones of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in the sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.  “May it be to me as you have said.  “Then the angel left her.” Her heart and spirit receptive of this wonderment; has the Lord opened your heart to the wonderment of His son? Have you received and been receptive to his promptings, the call on your life?

            My sister in Christ, God has hand chosen you to be his daughter, hand chosen you for the service of motherhood and hand chosen you as a servant of Christ Jesus.  Have you submitted to the plan and purpose of your life?  Have you submitted to the gentle promptings of the spirit to maybe lead, worship, bible study, prayer or missions?  Has he called you, for what seems to be an overwhelming task, but your heart has not proclaimed as Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
            My faithful prayer partner and best friend, Cathie Lichtenberger has answered her own call to the Lord.  After a painful divorce, the Lord God has asked her to wait for the very one who left, a real life Hosea! We have prayed over the years, determined to follow God’s promptings of the Holy Spirit and fulfill the Lord’s will.  The Lord inspired her to write the following prayer for this book, encouraging you, Christian, to find favor with God, follow and submit to his perfect will and plan for you life.

Let us pray and CONFESS the Word of the Living God
By: Cathie Lichtenberger
Is it me you're speaking to? Speak to me Lord (1 John 2:27). Help me to hear your voice above all the other voices vying for my attention. I am your handmaiden, chosen for you and picked by you (Luke 1:38). Plant your seed of the Holy Spirit in me and let it grow into something beautiful, wonderful and glorious for you (Colossians 1:6). Use me as you wish, I am your vessel and I will carry your word in me (Luke 2:19).
I will take it where ever you want me to go and speak it to who ever you want me to (Galatians 6:14). And if you need to hide me for a time of teaching, learning and discipline, please do with me as you wish, as I will do as you say my sweet JESUS (Galatians 1:15-16). You are my guide and I will follow and serve you all the days of my life; let my feet be swift to move at your beck and call (1 Timothy 1:12).
Let my hands be quick to serve at your command and let my words be only your words guided, prompted and be led by you (Romans 12:6-17). Sing your song over me JESUS and I will rejoice. I will dance like David danced, praising and singing with you my King (2 Samuel 6:12-15). Birth in me your vision, future and hope as I live in the world, while keeping me pure in heart, body, mind, soul and spirit.
Wash me clean and anoint me ready for your service, for I am willing and able as you desire so (Psalm 51). Keep me from all fear, anxiety, worry, stress and panic, for I will not entertain things that keep me from you (2 Timothy 1:6-7). Give me discernment for the journey and joy for each day, for you are with me and you are my GOD. Pour your mercy, favor, blessing, grace and protection over me (Numbers 6:22-27).
And let it remain with me as you reign in me. Breathe your love, forgiveness and compassion on me as a blanket of your goodness to be extended to others. I am yours and you are mine. For a very undeserving and unworthy servant is listening and will obey. Let it be to me according to your word Lord. Amen

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