One final push, and sllllluuurrrppp! Baby was in the world! Months before, we had watched in amazement as we saw the miracle of this baby in the womb, our eyes glued to the monitor screen, afraid to miss even a second of movement! You could see the fingers, toes, beating heart, and even the facial changes. As months went by and another ultrasound was scheduled, we learned this new member of the family was to be a son–one who would be born while Daddy was serving overseas. A boy! After two little girls, the excitement of decorating a room, planning the name, and preparing for sleepless nights became the new “normal” in their household.
When time came for the birth, the military allowed Daddy to come home. Another miracle! And then, to top off the wonder that a new baby brings, my daughter-in-law asked if I’d like to watch the birth. It was a moment in time that you feel stunned with happiness, speechless with gratefulness. Having had my own–five, and losing a sixth–it was still not something I had ever thought I would get to witness. During the labor, everything else fades except the awe of the amazing way God has planned the birth of babies. Soon a head appeared, and with that final push, he became someone we could hold, kiss, love on, and teach the awesomeness of his creation.
Many who read this will never have had that experience, or even worse, will have had the baby aborted while still in the womb. Some, like me, will have lost the wee one that was growing, never having had a chance to know why. Life doesn’t always go like we dreamed when we were young. You can still rejoice that God sent His only Son, to give you a life full of peace. Yesterday is gone, so give today to the Savior.
Still, the miracle of birth brings the long-ago and far-away story of Christmas to mind, and how Mary must have felt as a young girl, probably less than fifteen years old. She was truly, except for God, the only person who knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was a virgin. Joseph believed because he heard it from the angel, but Mary–even hearing it from the angel–knew that she had never had “relations with a man.” Do you think it all felt surreal, that God had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah? Undoubtedly. We wonder, how did the residents of her little village treat her, even after Joseph was willing to take her for his wife? Did they continue to think the two had been intimate? Did she fear the pains of labor? Do you think, because she was carrying the Christ-child, that she had no pain? She probably did. (John 16:21). She would have never imagined that a day would come when we could not only see the baby in the womb, but do operations or other life-saving procedures on the unborn!
Christmas is such a special time, a time to remember that God is still the same as He was when He created the earth and all things, the same who gave His only begotten Son to come to the earth to die a death to pay for our sins, and who now waits for the Father to say, “Son, go get Your children!” If you saw the Sunday sermon at Thomas Road Baptist Church, you know Pastor Jonathan Falwell focused on the worship that should pour from within us at all the wonderful things God has done for us.
Get your notebook, a cup of hot chocolate, your Bible, and get ready to work through the study questions below, digging a little deeper into the message that was preached. If you have a friend, family, or group who can join you, make a fellowship time out of it! If not, work on it throughout the week, or do it all in one sitting, but enjoy learning how better to worship the God who loves you so dearly–much more dearly than you can love even your precious children or family. Click on http://www.trbc.org/service-archive, and click on the sermon for Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. Let your worship be a priceless gift to God!
Self on the Shelf: Our Worship Matters Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Often we hear the term worship used as in, “he worships the ground she walks on!” Can you think of other examples of worship used by the world, relating to things or people? Jot your answers down in your notebook, or discuss them if you have someone with you.
Over the past few weeks we have looked at the importance of the true meaning of the Christmas gift of the Savior. We are hoping it impacts our hearts, so that we are not obsessed with the gifts under the tree. This week we are going to look at the response of Mary, as her entire being worshiped and magnified God in the acceptance of being the chosen mother to God’s Son, Jesus, who was to be born as a baby.
Focal Passages: Luke 1:46-55
Think About or Discuss:
Worship Comes from Within: It is the condition of the heart in our daily living
- What comes to your mind when you hear the word worship?
- How did Mary worship God in verse 46?
- Where should your worship originate? Can you think of a moment when spontaneous gratitude and thanksgiving poured from you because God had done something wonderful for you?
A Life of Worship Results in a Response from God: He always responds to a humble heart
- What did Mary mean when she referred to herself as “LOWLY”?
- Why is God against the proud (verse 51)? Who is the epitome of Pride?
- How does your heart alert you to times you are feeling prideful? Can you be worshiping at that time?
This Response is needed in Our Daily Struggle: His mercy overcomes anything we might face
- In verse 50, who are the ones who are recipients of His mercy?
- Why do we need His mercy daily? What happens when we decide we can handle a situation? What does that action stem from (verse 51)?
This Response is All that is Needed
- Who does God have control over? Do you really believe that truth in the depth of your heart? Do you find yourself “helping” God in situations even when you have prayed and tried to give it to Him? Why do you do this?
This Response is Permanent
- Who is the promise of verse 55 for? Who are the children spoken of here?
- Mary had studied the Old Testament from a child. What did she believe about God’s promises? Do you believe them to the extent you would die for Him?
Worship is something that is not dependent on external circumstances, but originates in your soul and spirit. You may be “led” in worship by those who are having a group join together in hymns of psalms and praise, but the joy in singing and praying should be an offering to God for all He has done. Few things are more joyous than having spontaneous praise and gratefulness come from your heart because God has shown Himself mighty in a situation. Would that you would always be so full of worship that your soul and spirit magnify Him, as Mary’s did. As you go about this week, be aware of times that pride inserts itself into your life, squashing your wonder at the work God is trying to do. Pray daily that others see Jesus as you live your life, and may your joy and peace be so deep that others desire to know Him and worship Him! Let your daily theme be “O, come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”
Memory Verse: Luke 1:49: “For He who is mighty has done great things for me. And Holy is His name.”
Focal Passages: Luke 1:46-55, Prov. 16:18. A mirror response of Mary’s song is Hannah, in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.
C.H. Spurgeon, on Mary’s Song of Worship:
“My soul doth magnify the Lord.” Here is an occupation for all of us who know the Lord, and have been born into His family. It is an occupation which may be followed by all sorts of people. This humble woman speaks of her low estate, and yet she could magnify the Lord. All believers, of every rank and condition, can attend to this work. This is an occupation which can be followed in all places. You need not go up to the meeting house to magnify the Lord, you can do it at home. You may be tossed about upon the sea in a storm, but you may trust His name, and be calm, and so magnify Him. Or, you may be no traveler, and never go a hundred yards out of the village in which you were born, but you may magnify the Lord just as well for all that. This is not an occupation which requires a crowded congregation, it can be fitly performed in solitude. I suppose this sonnet of the Virgin was sung with only one [person] to hear it, her cousin Elizabeth. There is quorum for God’s praise even where there is only one; but, where there are two that agree to praise God, then is the praise exceeding sweet.