Today's Readings - Deuteronomy 23-24, Luke 1:26–38, Psalm 37:29–35, Proverbs 9:1-3
Devotional - Secret of Her Success
Imagine this young girl in Nazareth going about her day, as she had every other day, with no expectation that her life would be anything but normal and dull. Her greatest hope was that she might raise a family and experience a little joy along the way. Then, one day, it all changed dramatically. The archangel Gabriel appeared to her and gave her some important news. She was going to give birth to the Son of God, the Messiah, long-anticipated by Israel.
Gabriel described this baby in glowing terms, in Luke 1:32-33.
"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."
God was going to take care of it all, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God."
That is when Mary learned two principles that are the secret to success in God's kingdom. You do not have to be good looking or thin (hallelujah) to be significant in the Lord's work. You do not have to be able to sing or have any other talent. You do not have to be able to preach, you need not be famous. But there are two principles Mary learned here that make all the difference.
1) She learned that there are no limits with God.
It's impossible, she said. I'm a virgin. This cannot happen. But then Gabriel shared the first lesson with her (verse 37).
"For nothing will be impossible with God."God is not limited by what limits us. We often think and plan based on the possible, but God works in the realm of the impossible. In our church are several "impossible" health situations, "impossible" financial situations, "impossible" family situations - a lot of hurting people. There's nothing we can do and so we assume that nothing can be done. But the God of heaven has no limits. He fulfills his purposes and accomplishes his will, regardless of the obstacles that stand in the way.
We need to learn to live on the basis of what God can do not simply think about what we cannot do Whatever he purposes he does. We must remember daily the awesome power of the God we serve.
I have been in far too many church meetings (thankfully, not at SHBC) in which the tacit assumption was that God was going to do absolutely nothing about whatever we discussed. Too many believers live their lives with the stunning assumption that God is distant, disconnected and disabled - that he will do nothing.
The successful believer realizes that the God of heaven has no limits, nothing is impossible for him - not the Virgin Birth, not the problems and obstacles you face.
2) She learned who was boss.
Gabriel dropped this bomb on her, totally changing the course of her life. What was Mary's request to this?
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
The will of God is often difficult. He calls us to the front lines of spiritual warfare, to sacrifice, even to suffer. The idea that God's will is easy and fun is not something one can discern from reading the Bible. But regardless of the hardships involved, serving God is the secret to spiritual success.
Whatever you will, Lord. Wherever you send me. Whenever you call. "I am the servant of the Lord."
Combining these two concepts, what is the secret to spiritual success?
Obedient service to an all-powerful God.That is what Mary learned. That is what we must learn.
Nothing is impossible for you, Lord. I give my life to you, to serve your will, not mine, to serve your purposes, not my own ambitions, to live for your glory and not my own.
Think and PrayWhich of the readings spoke most powerfully to you today?
Is the Spirit of God moving you to repent of something you are doing, to begin something new, or to change something about your life as a result of your readings? What?
Do you believe in a God who can do anything? Really?
Or do you assume that God will do nothing, or at least very little, to act in this world?
Are you willing to submit all to God to walk in his ways and serve his purposes?