Courageous: Mary, the Mother of Jesus

When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.  And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart Luke 2:17-19

Having raised two kids of my own, I can remember times when I would look on those little wonderful babies and think, “Can they get any cuter, any smarter, any more inquisitive or any funnier?”  It was so much fun watching them discover the wonders of this life and how things work, and as they grew, more about themselves, their passions and dreams.  It is truly the joy of motherhood to be given the privilege to be up close and personal with God’s wondrous little humans.

When I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, I am filled with wonder again, but this time I am conflicted with so many emotions.  She obviously knew that His birth was a miracle because she, above any other human, knew that He had been conceived by the Holy Spirit.  I’m sure she looked upon His sinless childhood and asked herself many times how she could have been chosen for this enjoyable journey. . . the perfect two-year-old, the perfect big brother, the perfect adolescent, the perfect adult son. . . what a sweet ride!

But then, I remember that Mary was a Jewish girl, raised with the Torah and the prophets readily available to her on any day, at any time.  I have to believe that, when Mary discovered who her Son would be, she began to search the Scriptures for more of His description, His assignment from the Lord, and ultimately His fulfillment of those same Scriptures.  

I ask myself when I read about her bold moves recorded in the Bible, “What was she thinking?”  For example, at the wedding in Cana, described in John 2:1-11, when she told Him to turn the water into the best wine, perhaps she was thinking, “It is time for everyone to discover about the Son of Man the things I already know.”  Or what was she thinking when she came to take Jesus home because “he was not in his right mind,” as in Mark 3:20-34.  Was she trying to rescue Him from danger, take Him home where she could care for Him, and perhaps hide Him from the inevitable coming storm, delaying God’s plans?  And finally, what was Mary thinking when she observed the final week in Jerusalem when Jesus showed His deity, authority, and ultimate sacrifice for all? Did Mary remember that He would conquer death as she had read in Isaiah 53, or was she simply taking in the fulfillment of His suffering? 

Whatever the answers to all my questions are, this one thing I know.  Mary was courageous because Mary believed, as you may read in Luke 1:46-55. Mary had hope and on that day of her Son’s resurrection, Mary had to laugh and perhaps look up to God the Father with a wink and a nod, finally understanding the answers to all her questions, now confident that God had the answers all along the journey.  

Finally, my last question regarding Mary the mother of Jesus is “What was it like when she met her Son, God’s Son, the Son of Man face to face again?  Perhaps He said, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” and “Welcome home Mom!”  Mary is one of those I’d like to visit when I get to Heaven, just to hear about her personal journey as she experienced the joys of motherhood with the One who would ultimately save her.  

Please consider these questions:

  1.  As you look at Mary’s life, what characteristics do you see that God saw when He chose her to be the bearer of His Son? Were these her characteristics or were they God’s in her?
  2. When you remember that Mary knew the outcome of her Son’s earthly life and ministry, there had to be times when she was overcome with grief and fear.  How do you think she recovered during those times?  How can we recover when we also are overcome with grief and fear?  

If Mary can live her life with courage knowing the danger that was to come for herself and her Son, we can look at her example and know that God was certainly with her through it all. We also can live our lives knowing that God is certainly with us through all of our trials.  We can have courage because Jesus has already won the victory!

About the Writer:

Pam is Director of Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, and grateful to be included in this great team of Yada Yada bloggers.  

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Thank You for Your creation. 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Thank You for being such a loving heavenly Father and sending Your only Son that we might be saved.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Thank You for forgiving our sins and failures.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our wrongdoings from us. Psalm 103:12

Thank You for grace.

. . .through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles in behalf of His name.  Romans 1:5  

Thank You that You are a righteous judge.

. . .in the future there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.  2 Timothy 4:8

Thank You for the provision of truth in Your Word and providing the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us. 

All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness.  2 Timothy 3:16

Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 2:38 

Thank You for sheltering, watching over, and protecting us even while we sleep.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, LORD, have me dwell in safety.  Psalm 4:8

Thank You for providing Your strength when we are weak.  

He gives strength to the weary, and to the one who lacks might He increases power.  Isaiah 40:29

Thank You for access to You through prayer. 

Call to me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  Jeremiah 33:3

Even though we do not know what the future holds, we can know You, the Almighty God who holds the future. Help us to stay strong and courageous in a world of social unrest and media bombardment. May we strive to know You more and stay strong in our faith.

For what are you thankful???

About the Writer:

Beverly is a mother, grandmother, and retired teacher/administrator, as well as longtime Sunday school teacher who loves sharing God’s Word. 

****A special thanks to Trudy for the photography included above.

With Great Joy, I Proclaimed the Message: Until it Came Full-Circle, and Then I Became a Jonah

It was a beautiful Sunday morning as I pulled in to First Baptist Dallas. I was elated over the lesson God had placed upon my heart for my Sunday School class. The verse? “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God.” The application? Well, let’s just say I enjoyed teaching the ladies how to apply this verse to their own lives. Yet when it came to my own, I wasn’t too thrilled about obeying.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time. 1 Peter 5:6 

In preparation for the class, I had spent time studying the Bible as well as several different commentaries on the lesson. Through this special time, God taught me so many things about 1 Peter 5:6. I used the most interesting illustration as I taught on the importance of remaining under God’s mighty hand. I stood with confidence and great boldness as I looked into the faces of the ladies in the class while teaching the session. They were hungry for God’s Word and listened intently as He worked in their hearts. Yet little did I know that just over the horizon would be a test awaiting, not for the ladies within the class, but for the teacher herself. It was a lesson that would require being humbled under God’s mighty hand.

The very lesson I had taught others would come full circle. And I didn’t like it.

I was in a situation that was getting pretty tough. During a moment of anguish, I found myself caving quickly to fear’s grip. As each day passed, escaping the trial became more enticing. Finally, I devised a blueprint design for the exit. I felt it was for the best and proceeded to move forward with what I wanted to do. Yet there was only one problem. My strategy was devised without God’s input. I had created my plan, my path, and my escape.

Through the course of several days, the one message that came over and over was, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.” Yet, to be honest, I didn’t want to. And for a time, I refused.

During this period of rebellion, I was seeking God on another matter. Yet, due to my disobedience in this particular area, my prayers were being affected. I had shut down inside.

One day I was traveling down the road listening to Christian music when one particular song grabbed my heart. The title? “Holy Spirit, You Are Welcome Here.” As I listened to the message, I knew I had not welcomed the Holy Spirit to have His way within my heart. I had taught passionately about the importance of staying under the mighty hand of God and of letting Him take control. Yet when faced with a moment that called for such obedience, I had failed. However, thank God, my failure was not final. Through God’s amazing grace and mercy, I repented and He brought me to a place of surrender. The result? A closeness with Him that I had not experienced in a long time. It was as though I had a new heart. Also, God empowered me to do what He had called me to do.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)

Wherever you find yourself today remember, let God have control of your life. Humble yourself under His mighty hand and stay there. For under His mighty hand we are safe. We are instructed. We are provided for and cared for. We are protected. Look once more at 1 Peter 5:6.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.

What are we promised will happen when we humble ourselves under His mighty hand?Obedience to God’s Word will always bring blessings. Turn around, Jonah, and let God call the shots. He longs to bless your life.

About the Writer:
O’Shea is the mother of two and nana of five and enjoys both roles tremendously. She is the Executive Director of Entrusted Hope Ministries where she loves serving through speaking and blogging. A member of First Baptist Church, Dallas, O’Shea serves with the church’s First Impressions ministry and teaches the Strong & Courageous Sunday School class for single moms. Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi; her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and is currently working on her D.Ed.Min at Southwestern in Family Ministries.

Red Light, Green Light

Solomon’s life and reign are recorded as possibly one of the most prosperous in the Bible. Solomon’s success is attributed to his dependence upon the Lord to guide his steps.  Solomon depended on God to tell him what to do and when to do it. Solomon’s journey shows us that God is trustworthy, and, if we are patient and faithful to obey His commands, His promises will not return void.

In 1 Kings 8:17-19, Solomon recounted the fact that his father David had come up with the idea to build God’s temple, a permanent structure where God could dwell.  But God told David “no.”   Did God say “no” because it was wrong for David to want to do this? Not at all.  Verse 18 says that God commended David for what he wanted to do:

My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’

God commended David because his motives were in the right place, but just because someone has the good motives for doing something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.   For example, in Texas we have the “right on red” law. This means that a driver can make a right turn despite a red traffic light. However, just because the law says it’s ok, and the reason you want to do it is to help out the drivers behind you who might be in a hurry, does that make it a good idea to go ahead and turn without checking for oncoming traffic first?  No.  You could have a wreck.  First, we have to check to see if there are cars, people, or any number of hazards before we pull out.  In the same way, first we need to check with our Heavenly Father, who knows all things and sees all things, to learn whether what we’re wanting to do is a good idea or not.

Solomon showed us that we should trust God and follow His directions in order to have peace in our lives.  That instruction seems simple enough, but I found myself asking the question, “How do I know that I’m hearing Him correctly?”  Well, how do you hear anyone? You listen to their words. The Bible is God’s Word.  Read your Bible.  Study your Bible.  Listen to God’s Words.  God’s voice gets louder and louder the more we spend time with Him learning about His character and His attributes, just as when you start to spend more time with people, the easier it becomes to understand them.

God will have specific instructions for you and your journey, and He will communicate that to you however He sees fit.

I also have found myself wondering, and still do sometimes, “Is this my own ambition, or is this from the Lord?”  Understand this: He will ALWAYS back up what He says to you personally with Scripture — His written, permanent Word. And His Word never changes.  Ever.  If what you’re hearing does not line up with His permanent Word, that’s not God speaking to you.

The grass withers, the flowers fall, but the Word of our God endures forever.  Isaiah 40:8 NIV

About the Writer:
Natalie is a stay at home mom to two young boys. Additionally, she occasionally works as an emergency room nurse and is studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. She and her husband have been called into the medical mission field and are excited to see what the Lord has in store for their lives.