Mary, Highly Favored

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The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). Hundreds of years had passed since an angel appeared on earth (with Daniel in the lion’s den). I cannot imagine what Mary must have felt when she saw an angel (with clothes so gleaming white and a supernatural countenance). His message must have shattered her dreams of marrying the love of her life, but Gabriel explained everything so Mary understood. Then he encouraged Joseph not to hesitate to take her as his wife.

Mary was not really named “Mary” but “Miriam,” after the older sister of Moses. In Egyptian her name meant “love,” and Miriam’s calling in life was to protect the life of her baby brother as he floated down the Nile River so one day he could grow up to deliver the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt.

In Hebrew the name “Miriam” meant bitterness and rebellion. Mary’s calling in life was to usher in the life of the Messiah, who would save the world from sin, death and Satan. Both meanings find fulfillment in John 3:16: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Yes, God loved the world, but many people did not accept His love.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” His light shines into the darkness of our world to expose the fear, anxiety, anger, malice, corruption and all other kinds of rebellion against a loving Father. He did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it with His mercy and forgiveness.

THINK ABOUT IT

Miriam was called to protect Moses who would rescue the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. Mary was called to bear the life of Jesus who would save the world from sin. As people who have been redeemed from sin, death and Satan, we are called to follow Jesus in reaching a cold, dark world with His love. Will you let God be born in you? Will you let His love flow through you to those who desperately need it? Begin by reading His word and spending time with Him in prayer. He is always available, and He will partner with you as you make yourself available to serve Him.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Holy Lord, for Jesus. Help us to be more like Him–more loving, more caring, more forgiving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Take Time to be Holy

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Martha opened her home to Jesus and His disciples. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. Martha was distracted by all the work involved in showing hospitality and said to Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Instead Jesus defended Mary. He said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

Even though we are isolated much of the time due to the worldwide pandemic, stress catches us off guard. We get overly concerned about all the work that needs to be done. I’ve learned the hard way to take time in the morning to read God’s word and spend time in prayer. When I first started devotional time, I was concerned that I wouldn’t accomplish all I had to do. I discovered that no time was lost, and I accomplished even more than I set out to do.

THINK ABOUT IT

A favorite hymn, Take Time to be Holy by William D. Longstaff, came to mind:

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;

Abide in Him always, and feed on His word.

Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,

Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

(Read the rest of the lyrics here.)

PRAY ABOUT IT

Lord God Almighty, help us to be like Mary in a Martha kind of world. Help us to take time to be with you every day–to learn from your word and to talk with you in prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.