Behold!

Behold!

Luke 1:38 “Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” NKJV

“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” ESV

 

Invite the divine to look at your earthly, human situation today. Invite God to look at you right now. Behold!

Whether it be John the Baptist announcing Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world or Jesus on the cross calling to his mother to take his friend to John to be her son or Jesus in Revelation announcing His imminent return, the word Behold is asking for the person to take another careful look as something has taken place.

Mary is saying, “Okay, I understand, take a look at me again, behold me, I know it won’t be easy, but look at me.”

Mary didn’t say the timing isn’t right, she didn’t reject the plan. Mary called out, ‘Behold … pick me, pick me, I am ready and willing.’

Maybe you have been a reluctant follower.

Maybe you have questioned the calling.

Maybe you have even walked away and doubted.

But something has happened and now you see, you get it and more than that you want to be that person, you want that assignment.

Behold!

Behold me, ordinary me!

And God is gracious and God is kind and He is still there, the angel hasn’t left. And the angel beholds Mary and God beholds you. He is watching you and He is waiting with expectancy for what comes next. You have His attention.

Behold also means an exciting attention regarding something that is about to happen. A familiar verse comes to mind regarding the news from God that He would bring about an end to the 70 year captivity of His people:

“Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

I believe Mary understood! She got it! This is incredible news, God has chosen me!

I also believe we must respond this way too.

He has called you to move from the ordinary into the extraordinary. To be all that you can be. To fulfil His plan for your life. To announce the NEW no matter how difficult the path may be. He is with you. He will guide you through. Do you believe He has chosen you? Do you believe you are highly favoured? Do you believe something has been announced in the heavenly realm and will soon be seen in your world? Behold!

 

WITH HIM

WITH HIM

Luke 1: 37 “For nothing is impossible with God.”

This is why the presence of God is everything.

No limits. WITH Him.

No shadows. WITH Him.

No mountains. WITH Him.

No walls. WITH Him.

Nothing is impossible (for us) WITH Him.

The angel doesn’t say nothing is impossible for God. We would expect that wouldn’t we? Surely you are not God unless it is so?

But nothing is impossible WITH God.

With His presence.

We all agree faith is needed.

We all agree asking is needed.

Successful ministries have developed on these 2 actions.

Recently though I am realising that hosting His presence in our lives is of the most importance.

I can have faith and ask Him for a miracle without hosting His presence in my life.

This morning I wrote 15 Foundational Truths for hosting His presence:

  1. Clear away the hurts of the past.
  2. Break down the routine and duty of the present.
  3. Permission the joyous new life of the future to grow.
  4. Focus on Christ, meditate on His life imagining the scenes of the gospels.
  5. Invite Him to come and change everything in me even if I don’t recognise at first it is Him.
  6. Stop talking and listen.
  7. Fast that what controls me resulting in being free.
  8. Demonstrate overwhelming love for others.
  9. Surrender all I want and hope to be and have.
  10. Foster the habit of bible reading and memorisation.
  11. Obey in giving not just the tithe (how can I give less?) but the eradication from my life of the disturbing, distracting and destroying need to possess.
  12. Turn down the volume of my life, to be still, to diarise to do nothing.
  13. CROSS out my pride and rights.
  14. Bow more, raise hands more, prostrate more, plead less, worship more.
  15. Dwell and develop friendship with Him.

What has all this go to do with Mary receiving a miracle child? Everything.

What has all this got to do with you and your need of a miracle? Everything.

WITH HIM.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.

WITH HIM.

Let’s narrow the distance.

Let’s host.

 

 

 

 

Even Elizabeth … surrounding yourself with inspiration

Even Elizabeth … surrounding yourself with inspiration

Luke 1: 36 “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.”

Having been told to expect a miracle, Mary is given news of another miracle.

What are you believing for today?

Make sure you are surrounding yourself with great faith-filled stories of God doing the impossible. Make sure you are looking at the right signs. There are signs that lead to unbelief like Peter looking at the wind and waves and begins to sink and there are signs that encourage your miracle within you.

Abraham was told to count the stars that God had created. He looked at the created world and the vastness of God’s power and he understood and believed his call. (Genesis 15:5)

Moses saw a natural phenomenon, the burning bush that didn’t burn to the ground and it would lead him to encounter our God who is a consuming fire. (Exodus 3:1-4)

Joshua remembered how God used Moses for the parting of the Red Sea as he gave instructions to move towards the Jordan River for a similar miracle. (Joshua 3:7)

David remembered his own past God-given victories over the lion and the bear and it fuelled his belief he could take down Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:37)

Paul encouraged Archippus (probably a church leader) to not give up no matter what he was going through by remembering his own chains and difficulty too. (Colossians 4:17)

“Mary, this might seem impossible for you but let me tell you another impossible story that is 6 months ahead of yours!”

Today, what is the miracle?

There isn’t a lot you can do but what you can do is to surround yourself with stories of what God has already done.

Look at the power of His creative ability, natural phenomena, miracles of old and your own God-provision stories. The God who did this can do it again and again and again!

Even Elizabeth …

 

 

This is the answer!

This is the answer!

 

Luke 1: 34-35  “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on 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.”

 

This is the answer!

When everything was barren, life-less and dark the Holy Spirit was hovering and the greatest creative, explosive, divinely empowered act took place! (Genesis 1:1-2).

When things had been put on hold, when life was not moving how it should have done and the people were not who they should have been the instruction was that things would not change by human effort and attempts at purity but by a move of the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).

When the disciples were wondering what to do next as they faced impossible odds of launching anything of a next chapter to a story they didn’t at that time fully understand, a sound came suddenly, like a violent wind filling the whole house where they were sat. Tongues of fire separated and came on them individually as the Holy Spirit moved over their lives (Acts 2:1-4).

“How will this be?” says Mary. The presence and power of God is the answer.

How am I going to get well? The presence and power of God is the answer.

How will I accomplish what is before me? The presence and power of God is the answer.

How are my loved ones going to find Christ? The presence and power of God is the answer.

How will the permanent turn into temporary? The presence and power of God is the answer.

When the presence of the Most High, the Creator of all, the life-giving Spirit who reaches across His world and beyond overshadows you, miracles happen.

Nothing we can do makes it happen except to welcome His presence.

“Hover over me, overshadow me, come down on me and cloak me in you” That is the answer!

The wild donkey question

How can this be?

Luke 1: 34 “Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (NASB)

 

“Who let the wild donkey go free? Job 38:5

Which donkey? Where was it? What?!

Precisely!

 

Virgins don’t become pregnant. How can this happen then?

If you know the answers then maybe what God is about to do isn’t God after all?

God acts and blows our minds. That’s how it is.

 

You may be able to say ‘God can’ but it is a whole different scenario when you say “since I am …”

 

It is easier to believe in miracles when you don’t need one.

 

If you have to ask ‘How can ..?’ then you know the answer is God, only God can.

 

Today you may be holding on to the promises of God and at the same time saying ‘How can …’ then remind yourself God knows who untied the wild donkey and He knows how this can happen for you.

 

 

 

JESUS IN YOU!

JESUS IN YOU!

Luke 1: 32-33

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

 

He (CHRIST IN YOU) will be great (HE WILL MEET AND EXCEED ALL EXPECTATIONS)

 

Called the Son of the Most High (HE IS IMMEASURABLY HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER, WHO DWELLS IN THE 100% SOVEREIGNTY OF HIS 100% ABSOLUTE POWER WHICH IS ABOVE ANY OTHER AND WHO NO ONE ON THIS EARTH AND IN THIS UNIVERSE, IN HEAVEN AND IN HELL, NO POWER ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME WILL EVER COME ANY WHERE NEAR AN INCH OF HIS MIGHT)

 

The Lord God will give him the throne (JESUS’ PRESENCE AND POWER WILL RULE OVER ALL THAT OPPOSES YOU.)

 

Reign over Jacob’s descendants forever (HE IS THE KING OF YOUR LIFE AND WILL NEVER GO AWAY)

 

His kingdom (HIS RULE IN YOUR LIFE WILL DESTROY WHATEVER SEEKS TO DISCOURAGE AND ROB FROM YOU) will never end (HE IS HERE TO STAY, NOT TEMPORARY).

 

CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY.

THE INCARNATED PITCHES HIS TENT AND HAS INVADED YOUR LIFE.

God can use you – so go ahead, conceive, birth and name!

God can use you – so go ahead, conceive, birth and name!

Luke 1: 31 “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”

Conceiving means:

  • It can look to others like God is nowhere near and not involved with what He in fact actually caused. Don’t expect everyone to be thrilled with the miracle that is inside you. They do not know that the miracle was planted in you. They do not know your encounter with the Divine Presence. Keep your eyes off people and their reactions and responses will not hinder you.
  • Your planned future could be drastically changed forever.
  • You may have been wrong about a certain matter your whole life, ie every girl wanted to be the mother of the Messiah but would never have thought of that happening in a ‘sinful’ way.
  • Submission to God – we are not pre-conceived, we are open to new ideas, not closed because of our own agenda and decisions.

 

Birthing means:

  • There are times when God allows us to be where He wants us to be but it is not the place of our choosing. The perfect set in the imperfect. You have wanted this all your life. You have worked towards it. You have dreamt of it. You are seeing with your own eyes dreams come true however, it isn’t perfect, it isn’t how you thought it would be, it isn’t only painful, it can feel lonely, insignificant, weak and scary.

 

Naming means:

  • Claiming it for some. At the time many mothers would call their sons ‘Joshua’ in the hope that he would go on to set the people free as the name suggests, but it never happened and it became a common name amongst common people. Jesus is the Greek translated name of Joshua. How wonderful that God chose to come and be given the most common of names. Many name and claim for something extraordinarily special beyond the reach of most who dream of utopia. Not many are willing to accept and claim the common and ordinary. But God often wants to come through the ordinary and make it extraordinary. You may look at what you are birthing and it may seem small, insignificant and so very ordinary. It may even seem dangerous, harmful and unexplainable. And yet …! And yet it could be the greatest thing God has ever done in your life!!

 

 

God can use you – chosen to be broken

God can use you – chosen to be broken

Luke 1: 29-31

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son …

Greetings! But Mary was greatly troubled.

You are ‘highly favoured’, ‘chosen’. But Mary was greatly troubled.

The Lord is with you. But Mary was greatly troubled.

Most women would be delighted to hear news they are pregnant, but not Mary.

I think I have spent the majority of my life listening to people believing God will use them mightily, praying that God will take them and do great things and announcing that they are stepping out into God’s great plans with a great awesome future in faith to do great exploits, sometimes leaving me wondering which character is the great one.

I don’t blame them because I have preached many a good sermon from that stance. I know the plans I have for you … to prosper etc always goes well!

But what if being chosen isn’t like that at all?

What if being chosen actually sounds perplexing, anxious and leaving you greatly troubled?

What if being highly favoured means you need an angel to tell you ‘Don’t be afraid’?

What if the reason why you are being instructed not to be afraid is that what you are being chosen for would scare the life out of most people?

Another observation I have come to see is the tendency to want greatness too soon. The performance before the stage has been built. When I came out of Bible College I was given 15 people to look after. The energy I gave those 15 people seemed like I was pastoring 150. But some today leave Bible College wanting 150 people because they are gifted, skilled and above all ‘God has called me to that size, now do I get a pension with this full salary?.

Some want resurrection power before the cross of suffering.

Can God choose you to be gracefully broken?

What if being chosen is the worst thing that could have happened to you?

What if being highly favoured means that you cannot see how you will be the most blessed of women but the most scorned, insulted and slandered?

You might not know the end of the story today, but how will you respond to such a greeting?

If this is you, wherever and whoever you are, God has brought this greeting because He believes in you and can trust you to be gracefully broken.

God can use you

God can use you

Luke 1: 26-28

“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

The most surprised girl in history was Mary. An ordinary girl who was visited by a mighty angel who had been sent by an extraordinary God.

The Bible is a history of God taking ordinary people and doing miracles through them. They weren’t special but they became special through what God did through them.

God will use people who say YES to Him despite their circumstances saying NO.

Everything around you can be saying NO, but it is what you say that matters.

Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph. It was a 2 year journey leading to the consummation of the marriage. The first year was as important as the second and the woman could only get out of it by a divorce. It was a fixed position. This announcement of a child would leave the circumstance saying NO.

God will use people who are chosen by Him. “…highly favoured” or uniquely privileged. No one in all of history is called or privileged to receive God’s grace except Mary.

Except …

“Highly favoured” in the original written language is used in the Bible one more time, in Ephesians 1: 4 “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” ‘Chose us’ is ‘highly favoured’. So the special greeting to Mary is the same that Paul uses for you and me.

You who are reading this devotion today are uniquely privileged, highly favoured and incredible chosen.

So today wherever you are and whatever you do God can and will use you, He just needs your YES. It doesn’t matter about the circumstance you are in, YES use me God is the answer, I am chosen by you!

Stages of the miracle

Stages of the miracle

Luke 1: 23-25 “When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favour and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

 

When you journey through your miracle you will go through a few different stages.

  1. You will feel isolated.

Elizabeth carried a miracle for 5 months in seclusion. Why?

Surely it was because she didn’t know how people would react. What would they say?

Perhaps it was herself who wondered whether she was able to carry the miracle to the fulfilment. Maybe she thought it would be best to not let people know, just in case.

Some would want the miracle-carriers to do the book tour and get onto the stages very early on in the 5 months. “Confess your miracle” comes the shout of the crowd. Ignore them!

So not only was her husband now silent, Elizabeth was now not seen. They were well and truly hidden.

  1. You will feel imperfect.

This may last the whole time of carrying the miracle.

Her husband was still mute, a sign to the miracle that unbelief and weakness needs to be silenced.

It will not be perfect.

  1. You will be inspired.

The month after a young teenage family member came to see her. Her name was Mary and she had some news also! God will always have people in the latter stages of your miracle who will come to strengthen you.