Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45
They were a young couple living in a poor but very religious, legalistic society.. They were engaged to be married and plans were in place for a future wedding. But then she got pregnant. He was not the father.
It would have been a soul destroying, fear filled intimidating time as this young couple worked through their emotions and options. They knew that word would get out and she would be the slanderous talk of the town.. They knew that if legalistic religious leaders found out she could be stoned to death for the sin of carrying a child outside of marriage. Joseph and Mary stood their ground. They waited in faith and believed in the promises they had been given in dreams and by God’s messengers. They were in for the most amazing journey of faith ever. Yet they believed.
Mary was a remarkable young woman with a great faith in God. She never wavered in her belief that what was happening to her was a miracle. She believed.
I am inspired every year with the simplicity of the Christmas story. God came to earth.. to all that He had created. Yet He chose to do it in such humble circumstances with ordinary people who had a simple faith in His presence in their lives. There’s something very special about this story. And Mary’s prayer simply sums it up.
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed for the mighty one has done great things for me— holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:47-55
Be blessed as you yourself believe like Mary. Stand your ground like Joseph and trust in the Lord.
Drifting with the wind last week in a hot air balloon was an amazing lesson of faith and trust. I had no control over the situation. I simply was required to trust and take in the wonder of all that I could see as we sailed in the air at 4,000ft above the earth. Faith is a beautiful thing.
Pictured: Flying high above the earth in a hot air balloon last week.
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Acts 6:8
One of the most amazing examples of passion, integrity, truth and humility is revealed in the story of a man called Stephen, a follower of Christ on trial before the High Priest and the legalistic religious leaders called the Sanhedrin. The false accusations against Stephen would bring upon him the death penalty if found guilty. He stood his ground and boldly presented to these proud arrogant men the story of God’s grace through the ages… From the times of Abraham to Moses, to King David to Jesus Christ, he clearly presented God’s salvation plan for all humanity to these men of the old law. Unfortunately… the curse of pride and fear consumed the hearts of these so called righteous men and Stephen was dragged out into the streets and put to death.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:59-60
Stephen’s prayer was a beautiful reflection of the word’s Jesus spoke out as He hung on a crucifixion cross to die for my sins, your sins and the sins of all humanity. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Luke 23:34 ” And also the words.. “Father into your hands I commit my spirit” Luke 23:46
I pray that we can live out our lives with the same courage and passionate conviction as Stephen. That in times of trial we will stand on the truth we know and yet show mercy and grace to those who may condemn us as believers. Stephen’s story is an inspiration!! Be filled with grace and power! Believe for great wonders and signs among the people!
Never give up as you live out your passion for Christ.
Pictured: Even the Australian bush celebrates the colours of Christmas in this season
I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:1-2
Sorry for the one day delay in our weekly prayer points. I’ve been driving for two days straight. I’m tired, really tired and yet looking forward with great expectations to the days and nights of ministry ahead in Northern Queensland. We will be serving with precious friends who believe in the power of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit of God in broken people’s lives. I love it.
But the past week has been a tough week. One of the toughest, and we would appreciate your prayers. We are so encouraged by God’s faithfulness and his perfect timing. In God’s time we will share more.
All day today I’ve had some of those old hymns flooding my mind. Great songs that seem to sum it all up perfectly. “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock”. When life seems to throw everything at you from all directions all at once just know this one absolute truth. Jesus is your rock of all ages and all seasons. No matter what is happening He never changes. The wonders of His love and grace will never change. When the storms of life oppress you from all angles He will hide your soul in a safe place. He will be your fortress and your strength when you have nothing on which to stand. The raging winds of condemnation and curse have no power against the eternal realms of God’s grace. We all fail at times and that’s why Jesus went to the Cross. We all struggle with doubt and fear and yet He has conquered all sin and death to bring us hope beyond what we deserve. It is a beautiful truth. His grace will be there when the sun rises tomorrow.
Thank you for your love and support for us as a family and for this work. We are so grateful that you choose to journey with us.
Pictured: He hideth my soul in the cleft of a rock.