Monday, December 16, 2013

Mary

Mary had a guest on that evening so bright 
An Angel whose presence gave her quite a fright.

He came to her with a message of hope and of cheer 
The Savior was coming – the time was drawing near.

The message was more personal, as she would soon see 
As the Angel unfolded just what God’s plan would be.

He told her she would be mother to the Savior of all 
And with that to her knees sweet, young Mary did fall

But how could this be? She was not even wed! 
She questioned the Angel and that’s when he said:

“Sweet Child, God the Father has chosen you to be 
A vessel that will carry Him supernaturally...
He’s sending His Spirit to give you His Seed 
So you and your people will finally be freed!”

She thought for a moment and said with such strength, 
“If this is God’s will, then I’ll go to any length.”

She carried our Savior through long, lonely days 
Where people would give her a judgmental gaze.

They’d point and they’d stare and they’d whisper her name 
While she walked down the streets without any shame.

And when the day came for her to give birth 
The heavens declared His invaluable worth.

Jesus was born and the plan would unfold 
That for thousands of years was prophetically foretold.

He came to live among us, to show us how to live 
Then He laid down His life, so our sins He could forgive.

But it didn’t end there – no He rose from the grave
So all men could trust Him and their lives He could save.

And save me, He did! But first I had to admit
That I couldn’t do it alone, to Him I had to submit.

Just like Mary did on that bright, clear night 
When she submitted to God’s plan and did not put up a fight.

And once she agreed that God’s plan was the best, 
His Spirit came upon her and gave her sweet rest.

He did the same for me -though I can’t explain how
His Spirit came upon me and He lives in me now!

Just like sweet Mary, I carry Jesus around 
Not in the womb, but in my heart He’ll be found.

People do point now, they stare and whisper my name 
They think I’ve lost my mind, though I’m perfectly sane.

But all the while I know that I’m free and forgiven 
So I tell others now about the life that I’m livin’

The words that the angel told Mary were true
And He’s telling the same thing to me and to you:

“Sweet Child, God the Father has chosen you to be 
A vessel that will carry Him supernaturally...
He’s sending His Spirit to give you His Seed, 
So you and your people will finally be freed!”

Leslie Nease

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rooted or Rotted?

The wind was howling outside to the point of shaking the windows for hours.  When the stormy winds passed, we assessed the damage outside and I was really surprised by how many trees in our back yard had fallen.  I'm so thankful none fell on our house, but also sad to see so many lying on the ground or stuck in the branches of stronger trees that did not fall.

I recalled the big tree that fell in my back yard several years ago.  Every time I would look outside for the first few months, my heart would sink as I would think about the life the tree had - the majesty of it but now it was a dried up piece of wood lying in my yard, helpless and alone. What happened to it that made it so weak that the stormy winds knocked it over?

The tree somehow lost it's nourishment.  It became weaker and weaker as the days would pass and even though I couldn't see what was happening inside the tree, it was drying up and dying, rotting from the inside out.  The outside looked normal initially, but then it slowly started producing green leaves and before too long, after a storm passed by, it was uprooted and fell helplessly to the ground.

Jeremiah 17:5-8:

This is what the Lord says:  "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their heads away from the Lord.  They are like stunted shrubs in the desert with no hope for the future.  They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit."

How often have we felt dried up and lifeless in life?  There are usually tell-tale signs, or symptoms that we may be rotting up.  First, we will begin to worry more and trust God less.  We may also notice that we feel a sort of "hollowness" in our spirit.  Like the tree, initially our outside will not show the signs of decay inside, but we know something is missing.  We may also notice our leaves and fruit production begin to halt.  The life drains from us slowly as we begin to trust in other people instead of God and spend less time in His word.

God's word is nourishment to our dried up spirits.  His words give life! Psalm 119:165 says "Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble."  Great peace.  I want that, don't you?  I do pray that today we will tend to our roots, take an inventory of our lives and ask God to plant us by His living water.  Without nourishment, we will be doomed to rot from the inside out - a slow, painful and difficult process as we lean on our own understanding and the opinions of others for our nourishment - which will lead us to dry up and live in an "uninhabited salty land".

I heard a quote from Nancy Leigh DeMoss, "If praise elates you, then criticism will deflate you."  So true.  And so convicting.  I know this is a struggle I have faced my entire life, but I also know my strength comes from the Lord, and through Him I can be rooted and strengthened as I focus on His thoughts of me, not other people's opinions.

The storms of life are not optional, they are a part of this fallen world.  These storms can either break us or help us grow stronger.  We do not need to fall in those storms, though!  We can stand tall, firmly planted and rooted in the truths of God's word when those storms come. Even if you are not going through a difficultly right now, it's the perfect opportunity to begin feeding your spirit with Truth so when those times come, you will stand tall and strong in the midst of it.

"As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in Your commands.  Your laws are always right; help me to understand them so I may live." Psalm 119:143-144

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