Nov 28 2011

The ‘Yes’ that changed Everything! Week 1…”Highly Favored”

Welcome to our Advent Study of “The ‘Yes’ that changed everything!”  Let’s start by drinking in this amazing testimony as told in Luke 1: 26-38…

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

 26 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 favored! The Lord is with you.”

 29 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 favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 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.”

 34 “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[a] the Son of God. 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. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Wow!  What amazing words…what an amazing testimony!  So much to reflect upon…so much for Mary to take in and comprehend all at once…

  • She is told by an angel that she is highly favored by God – v. 28
  • She is called to be pregnant while a virgin and engaged but not married to Joseph – v. 34-35
  • Who her child was going to be!!!  - v. 31-33
  • How to explain her pregnancy to the people in her life and community…especially to Joseph, her family and his family!

This week, we will start with the fact that Mary is told by an angel that she is highly favored by God – v. 28.

First of all…how many times do we find ourselves wondering how we can possibly measure up to what God has in mind for our lives?  Mary was no different…and she was faced with an angel telling her not only that God loves her…but that she is highly favored and the Lord is with her!!!

She was so highly favored that God had chosen her to be the one young woman in all of history to ask to be touched and filled with the Holy Spirit…so filled in fact, that her womb would be filled with the Messiah that she had heard about all her life.  The Messiah that she loved and yearned to have come and save her people!

God was calling her out of all of the women in creation…not one of the temple virgins (young women who dedicated their lives to serving at the Temple in Jerusalem).  Her, Mary, a simple young girl who was betrothed (engaged) to a simple carpenter.  Not the wife of a Temple Priest…her, Mary, a poor Jewish young woman from Nazareth.

What made her so special?

I’ve thought a lot about this and have come a conclusion based on the text itself.  Her beautiful, pure, innocent and complete trust in God.  How do I know that?  Look at how she responded to the request that the angel brought her from God.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.  “May your word to me be fulfilled.” v 38

Talk about surrendering!!!  This statement alone is the testimony of how much she trusted and loved God.  She trusted that God had chosen her and that she was highly favored by the Creator of the Universe.  She trusted and stood on the fact that He was with her (v. 28) and that she would not be alone as she walked this very difficult journey.

What she did not do was sit and fret about it…she was quiet and heard the message the angel was giving her from God.  She didn’t question or argue with the angel and say, “Not me!  I am not worthy, I have nothing to offer Him.  He can’t possibly want me.  There has been some mistake!”

She listened…she trusted…and said “Yes”.  She knew that it was not up to her to make it happen…God would make it happen.  She didn’t have her eyes on herself and what she would have to go through…she had her eyes on her God.  She believed the angel when he sais that God was with her…she knew she wouldn’t be alone!  God, her creator and Lord, who she had a personal relationship with, would be with her every step of the way!  Wow!

That really makes me think…to cringe at times.  How many times do we see a need in this world for God’s hand to reach out and touch someone or a situation, and say to ourselves…

“Someone needs to do someting…not me…I am not good enough!”

“I don’t have it ‘all together’.”

“I have too much to learn.  I am too busy.”

“That’s not in my five-year plan.”  

“What would people think of me?  I can’t do that!”

“I don’t have the gifting or training.  No one would listen to someone like me.”

“You can’t possibly mean me!”

“Choose someone else, Lord!”

How often do we take our eyes off of our God and forget that is not about what we can or can’t do.  It is all about what He can do and so badly wants to do in and through us!

This week, I am praying and reflecting on what these verses speak to my own life.  As the daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, I am called and chosen…just like you have been called and chosen.

It was for each one of us that the Messiah came into this world.  He came as a tiny baby.  He left heaven and came here to live in poverty…to grown up as an unknown…as the adopted son of a simple carpenter.  He came here to be a human being to go through the challenges and temptations of life in this world…the suffering and dying and rising from the dead.  Why?  So that you and I could be saved from our sins!

Is it easy to live as Christ calls us to live in every situation?  No.

Is it easy to completely open our lives to allow the Holy Spirit to completely transform our lives, our decisions, our words, our passions and our deepest fears and desires?  No.

Is it possible?  Yes!  Because it is HE who wants to be the one working in and through us so that all of the glory will go to Him and people would be drawn closer to Him through our transforming testimony of faith.

One of my favorite verses is…

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my ower is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12: 9 (NIV)

This week will you join me in accepting a challenge?

This week, when you look in the mirror will you see His Grace instead of your flaws and weaknesses?

Together, let’s work on seeing opportunities for God’s strength and grace to shine through so that the glory will be able to go to Him instead of worrying about what people will think of us.  I know that I have a bad habit of being quick to judge the woman I see in the mirror…to focus on my flaws and weaknesses and forget to focus on the light of Christ in my eyes.  It is time to take a deep breath and open my eyes…open my life and ask God to transform this “mess” so that all the glory will go to God and not to me so that others may be drawn closer to Him.

If Mary…the simple, poor, virgin, young, engaged woman can trust and accept that she is highly favored to become the mother of the Messiah…how much more easily should I be able to accept that God has a plan for my life.  God wants to shine His light in my life and for that light to spill over into my relationships with others…so that the people I encounter in my journey will be drawn to Him more closely.  Talk about humbling…and yet something to really get excited about!  If God can work through Mary in that way…God can use the work He is doing in my life and testimony to draw others to Him.

When we look into the mirror of the Word of God we can see ourselves as He does…through grace…what a gift!

Will you join me in this challenge this week?

Will you join me and when you look in the mirror see yourself with the eyes of His Grace..instead of focusing on all of the flaws?  Will you remember that you are not alone?

Take some time this week to read this passage again…to think about it…reflect on it.  And then turn to Psalm 139: 1-18 and hear those words spoken to you by your heavenly Father.  He means them.

Let’s work on seeing ourselves as He sees us is a precious gift which He wants so much to give each of us…it is time to accept the gift and unwrap His Grace and bask in His love and His Grace…and then to pass it on.

Will you join me next Tuesday, December 6th, as we break open His Word and discover “A God-sized Call…It’s all Him”?

It is your turn…If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear how God is speaking to you through this reflection this week!  Would you do me the honor of sharing your thoughts in the comments below?  And then take a moment to stop and pray for the person who commented just before you?  Feel free to leave encouraging comments or thoughts as replies to each other’s comments too.  Remember…I’m no expert.  I am just your sister in Christ, breaking open His Word and drinking it in and discovering what God wants to speak into my journey.  I would love to hear what He is speaking into yours, too!  At the very least, just say hi and let me know you were here so that I can pray for you throughout the week.

May God bless each one of us as we drink in His Word throughout this week…

Unwrapping His Grace,

Mary Joy

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Linking up with:

Advent Writing Project for High Calling on Wide Open Spaces

Winsome Wednesdays




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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/2011/11/28/the-yes-that-changed-everything-luke-1-26-38-week-1-highly-favored/

  • Amber

    I am so excited about this :) thank you so much for being willing to do it! I have been praying for you and you did a terrific job of letting God/the Holy Spirit speak right through you =)!! I felt like God was talking directly to me at times. =). I am in a season of change, a season where God told me to do something and I did it and now I am waiting to see what will happen next, I feel very much like Mary on my journey, except for the faith part – while I obeyed God, I am worried sick over what is to come next, so having her example of faith is a great blessing to me. I will definitely be taking you up on the challenge you proposed! :)

    • Mary Joy Pershing


      I give glory to God that you were able to hear His voice through this week's study. He spoke to me as well…those are the best kinds! I understand being in a season of change…I am as well. It isn't easy to wait on God for Him to take you on the next steps of His plan that follow the big step of saying "Yes" to Him. Oh how I understand! I often look to Mary and her testimony of trust and faith as she followed Him on this incredibly challenging journey. And the neat thing is always something "God-sized" that we could never do on our own…so sometimes it is hard to see how it will work out…since it is bigger than our own vision. I will be praying for you, Amber, as you trust and pray your way through each step as He leads.

      You have no idea how much your prayers mean to me. I felt lifted up in prayer as I wrote…thank you for that, sweet sister!

      I am so glad that you are joining me in the challenge. It is amazing what a difference it makes. I am doing it too! :D

      Unwrapping His Grace,

      Mary Joy
      My recent post The ‘Yes’ that changed Everything! Week 1…”Highly Favored”

  • http://www.seamsinspired.com SeamsInspired

    The entire story is just as amazing to me today, as it was when I first heard it. I have to remember that Mary was a very young girl. She obviously understood the concept of babies, yet she chose to accept God's word and help fulfill His promise to the world. Even as an adult, I have difficulty understanding that kind of selflessness. Did she wonder about the consequences of her affirmation? Did she just know in her heart, that because this baby was of God, that everything would be okay? To knowingly put yourself into a situation where you are going to be criticized, possibly in an extreme way, is the ultimate sacrifice for a teenage girl. Wow – just wow.

    Looking forward to the insights of others as we reflect on this 'Yes' in the next few weeks. Great job, Mary Joy! Happy Tuesday! ☺

    • Mary Joy Pershing


      I am so glad you joined us! Yes she was a much younger woman that we tend to remember. But we must also remember that girls married a lot younger than they tend to do today since they didn't live as long either. I love your insight! It would be so hard to deal with the reaction and shock of those around her. We will be diving into more of that in later weeks. As well as what it meant to say yes to getting pregnant before they were married and so young…starting next week. I have so much respect for her…the way that she keeps her eyes on God and not on "what's in it for her" or what it would mean for her life. I love how she was all about Him. I can learn a lot from that.

      I too enjoy hearing what everyone has to say. Thanks for sharing your insights! I look forward to hearing your thoughts on next week's article too when we begin to dig into more of the details of her decision to say Yes! :D

      Unwrapping His Grace,

      Mary Joy
      My recent post The ‘Yes’ that changed Everything! Week 1…”Highly Favored”

  • Gina

    Oh for the Grace to trust Him more!!!

    Amen!! This was wonderful! Count me in on the challenge too.

    Because of Grace ….


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  • http://www.everyday-sacred.blogspot.com Theresa

    Mary Joy,

    This is so beautifully written. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for Mary, but I desire to be that trusting of His plans for me just as she was.

    I love Psalm 139 and Andrew is memorizing Psalm 139:14 this week as part of his school.
    My recent post The gift of friendship

    • Mary Joy Pershing


      I know! Isn't Mary's faith incredibly inspiring? I am so glad that you were blessed by today's focus. That is so neat that your son is memorizing Psalm 139: 14! That is one of my top favorite Psalms. It has such a powerful message for all of us! :D

      Thank you for joining in this week! Great to see you!

      Unwrapping His Grace,

      Mary Joy
      My recent post The Second Sunday of Advent…”Let your light shine!”

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  • http://www.mydailywalkinhisgrace.blogspot.com Tracy

    Hi Mary Joy – I wanted to come over and thank you for linking up with me on Winsome Wednesday, so glad I did. Look forward to seeing you there again this week. God bless
    My recent post What attitude are you choosing today?

    • Mary Joy Pershing

      Thank you, Tracy! I am so glad you came by! I was excited to find your blog and can't wait to read more!

      Unwrapping His Grace,

      Mary Joy

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