Friday, December 9, 2011

Highly Favored

The angel Gabriel told the virgin Mary that she was “highly favored” with God, yet she was “troubled” when she heard this news (Luke 1: 26-29), with good reason. After recovering from the fear and awe Gabriel caused her by his visitation and life-changing news, Mary had so much more to face as the reality hit her of this incredibly difficult yet significant assignment.

As a teenaged, betrothed virgin, she was pregnant, not with just any child, but with the Son of God conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30-35). She would face rejection and criticism by her community, and the hurt and bewilderment of her fiancé Joseph, who thought she had been unfaithful and betrayed him (Matthew 1:18-19). She would escape the prying eyes and wagging tongues by traveling to the hill country to reach her cousin Elizabeth, an old woman also miraculously with child (Luke 1:36-40).

Then Mary and Joseph would set off for Bethlehem (Luke 2:4) on a long, bumpy journey with her precious Child bouncing up and down with each step of the donkey. She would wonder why no innkeeper could find room for the promised Messiah or His earthly family (Luke 2:7). She would endure the pain of childbirth in a smelly stable on scratchy hay, without any earthly comfort or help other than that given by her inexperienced husband and the warmth of the animals.

She would wonder why the King of Kings was not welcomed, recognized, and worshipped by most of those He came to save (John 1:10). She would face the pain and fear of knowing that Herod was trying to kill Him (Matthew 2:16-18) and that a sword would pierce Him and her soul also (Luke 2:34-35).

Yet the Bible says she was highly favored. How had she found favor with God? When faced with the impossible, Mary knew she had no strength, wisdom, experience or support of her own, and that the Lord Himself was her strength and her salvation. She turned it all over to Him, accepting His will and her role as “the handmaiden of the Lord” (Luke 1:38) with grace, courage and praise (Luke 1:46-49). He chooses those whom He favors not based on their ability, but on their availability and yieldedness to His will.

How did God show His favor toward Mary? God often favors His chosen servants not with worldly success, power, prestige, comfort and riches, but with trials that He can use to accomplish His will to His glory. Yet if He called you for a specific mission, He will provide all you need to complete it.

God sent angels as ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14) -- He sent Gabriel to Mary to inform her of His plan (Luke 1:30-35); and He sent an angel to Joseph so that He would help Mary carry out this plan (Matthew 1:20-25). He sent Mary to Elizabeth so that they could encourage and uplift each other (Luke 1:39-45). He sent angels to tell shepherds to worship the newborn King (Luke 2:8-20) and He sent a star to lead wise men to also worship Jesus (Matthew 2:2-11), giving Mary confirmation that her Child was indeed the Son of God. He spoke through dreams to protect Jesus from the evil plot of King Herod (Matthew 2:12-23).

We can do nothing apart from God (John 15:5,8), but with Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26; Luke 1:37).

So no matter what our weaknesses or what resources or experience we seem to lack, let’s be yielded to God’s will, and give Him praise as He works through us! His grace is sufficient; His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9); and to Him belongs all the glory!

Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.… And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.… 46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.

32 comments:

  1. nice post friend...thank you for sharing...wish i could visit everyone more frecuently but are many..and the hours are different but prayers and blessings on your way..remembering the real reason for the holidays..days of peace love and thinking...loves from our home to yours...maranatha..

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  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, blessings and prayers. Much love to you and your family, and may the joy and peace of Christmas be with you always. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

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  3. Hi Laurie - I'm sure 'others' in Mary's life did not think her highly favoured but wow, was she ever. Just shows favour does not always mean an easy road.
    God bless
    Tracy

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  4. Hi Tracy, How true! Job and Paul are two more great examples of those who were highly favored yet faced incredible tribulation. His ways are higher than our ways!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  5. Great post, Laurie. As you pointed out, many of God's greatest blessings appear as disasters initially. It is only later as we begin to understand them that we see them for what they really are.

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  6. Thanks, dfish! Praise God that He works all things together for our good and His glory! His ways are not our ways, so it may not even be until we reach glory that we understand completely what great things He has done.

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  7. "So no matter what our weaknesses or what resources or experience we seem to lack, let’s be yielded to God’s will, and give Him praise as He works through us! His grace is sufficient; His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9); and to Him belongs all the glory!" Amen to this! Thanks so much for this post. I love reading about Mary and her response to what God called her to. It is such a story of hope...
    Visiting today from Messy Monday.

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  8. Dear Emily, Thanks so much for visiting and for your thoughtful comment! Mary is such a great role model -- stepping out in faith and in humble submission to His will. If He calls us to a specific work, He will see us through it!
    Blessings,
    Laurie

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  9. It is a hard truth, isn't it? The ones He favors He prepares. And sometimes the preparation is difficult. But if we put on our eternity glasses, it helps, doesn't it? Love reading this story through your eyes.

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  10. Dear Laura,
    Well said -- He prepares those whom He favors, and the refiner's fire can seem unbearable when going through us. But the pain is momentary, and the joy of being in His will lasts throughout eternity. Thanks so much for your comment and kind words, and blessings to you!
    Laurie

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  11. Great post! I've been learning a lot lately about His strength being made perfect in my weakness! To His name be the glory!

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  12. It is so encouraging to know that whatever God has planned for us, He will also equips and prepares us to accomplish. It takes the pressure off, you know? When we trust Him and place our faith in Him, He give us the strength, wisdom and direction that we need!

    Blessings, Joan

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  13. What a great summary of the emotions Mary must have felt. How true it is that all things are possible with God. Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  14. Thanks, Lindsay, for the kind words and comment! Amen and Amen!

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  15. Dear Joan, That is so true! When we remember that without Him, we can do nothing, we place our faith in abiding in Him and He in us. Then all things are possible!
    Love and peace to you,
    Laurie

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  16. Dear Charlotte,
    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. May you and your family be blessed with love, peace and joy!
    Laurie

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  17. I love the fact that when God finds favor with us, He prepares us and uses us for His glory....something that can only happen if our lives are such that he looks upon with favor.

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  18. Dear Shanda, Thanks as always for your insights. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, and to find His favor. Blessings to you! Laurie

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  19. Hey there, so nice to have you link up. Lovely to meet you and your sweet blog. Blessings to you my friend.

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  20. Hi Heart n Soul,
    Thanks so much for visiting & commenting, and for your kind words! It is a blessing to meet you also!
    Love, peace and joy to you,
    Laurie

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  21. Mary did have much to endure but stayed true to her calling and walked faithfuly with the Lord.
    She is our role-model without compare!
    Laurie, thanks for linking this meditation to LACE.
    Have a blessed week in Jesus..Trish

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  22. So happy I found your beautiful blog I have enjoyed looking around lovely to meet you. I have just found your lovely blog through the blog on Wednesday walk wonderful to join in. I'm now following you hope you visit me and follow back so nice to find new friends to catch up with. God bless have a great day.
    Always Wendy

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  23. Dear Trish, Well said! May we embrace His will for our lives as completely as Mary did. Thanks for hosting LACE, and may you have a blessed Christmas season in Him.
    Laurie

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  24. Dear Wendy, I'm so glad you found Saved by Grace! Thanks so much for following and for your lovely comment. I'm headed over to your blog now. God's blessings to you, new friend!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  25. Hey Laurie, for some reason I cannot see your followers button. I can see the label but nothing else. Will keep trying.

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  26. Mary is indeed a wonderful role model for us.
    She accepted God and got on with living her new life.
    I think too much, when maybe I should just do.
    Trust and Love.
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

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  27. Hi Heart n Soul, There are 2 ways to follow -- one is at the very top of the page, to the right of the search bar (click on the word "Follow"), or on the right sidebar, under the word "Followers," there is a "Join this site" bar where you can join with Google Friend Connect. Hope it works, and thanks for trying!
    Laurie

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  28. Hi Barb, Thanks so much for your comment! I agree, I tend to overanalyze, when it's better just to trust and obey!
    Love and blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  29. Hi Laurie - I often think about this young teenage girl, she had to be frightened as she knew the punishment that by law could be placed upon her. Yet she obeyed, risking her reputation and everything.No wonder she found favor with God.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  30. Amen, Joan! Thanks as always for sharing your insights. There is much we can learn from Mary. May you and your family have a blessed Christmas season!
    Laurie

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  31. thank you for this reminder, laurie... his grace is sufficient for each day, for each trial. love to you. xo

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  32. Thanks, Emily! Praise God that His mercies are new every morning! Love, joy and piece to you!

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