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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ready, Set, Go...

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” 
(Luke 1:38)

I like to prepare for a test.  Pop quizzes can catch a person completely off-guard.  I think Mary's encounter with Gabriel has to be one of the all-time greatest surprise tests.   Without warning, she meets an angel with a remarkable promise, and has the preparation of heart to completely accept it.  No push-back.  No resistance. No awkward unbelief.

Could I say in an instant, “I am the servant of the Lord?”  

Preparation


Jesus taught that one's response is a manifestation of the heart's condition.  “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt 12:34).  Abundance means we don't have to look far to find what we're seeking.  We all have an abundance of thoughts.  What kind are they? Mary's heart had an abundance of servant thoughts, thus when service was needed she could easily offer it.  On the throne of her heart sat God Himself.   He was Lord; she was His servant.  Is this phrase ready in me?   

What I think about prepares me for one result or its opposite.  Mary, because of the abundance of her thoughts was ready in faith.  Zechariah, her relative, met the same angel 6 months earlier and wasn't ready.  He was unbelieving when the angel announced Elizabeth his wife would become pregnant with John the Baptist.  He had stopped thinking God would give him a baby and started thinking God wouldn't.  When his moment came, he wasn't ready to answer with submission and faith. 

Cultivation


In working with people, I find paying attention to one's thinking will cultivate an abundance of fruitful thoughts.  Like an unattended garden, we all tend toward weedy thinking unless we cultivate the soil of our thoughts.  Meditate on Mary's statement to Gabriel as your own heart preparation for whatever you face.  

Try carrying her statement with you to whatever comes today and say, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord.  Let it be to me according to your word."

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Power Of Praise

I've been thinking about the power of praise.  Let me share an experience.
Birds find nooks and crannies in your house...singing their songs in the place where we worship...
How blessed they are to live and sing there!  - Psalm 84:3-4 The Message

It was pre-dawn and dark as I took my morning prayer walk.  Fog lay across the neighborhood like a blanket of silence.  There was absolutely no noise as if creation had lost its voice in this double darkness.  As I walked up a hill, I saw a light pushing back both the darkness and the fog.  In a tree by the light, a single bird had thrown back its head and sang with full throat into the fog.  It was striking because it was literally THE only sound to be heard: a song of praise piercing the fog and darkness.

Pray as you walk through life.  Then even when you feel plunged in double darkness you'll discover a "light" and a song on a "hill."  Like that bird, praise the Lord no matter what the circumstances of life.

Alan Malchuk
SureCord Christian Counseling
(Originally written April 2005)
SureCord Christian Counseling

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