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Girlfriends in God - June 22, 2010

  • 2010 Jun 22
  • COMMENTS

June 22, 2010 

Free to Fulfill an Extraordinary Purpose 

Sharon Jaynes

Today's Truth 
"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1:45 NIV). 

Friend To Friend 
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was certainly an extraordinary woman.  All through the gospels we see her playing leading roles in God's redemptive plan. In the book of Acts, we see Mary one last time. After Jesus' resurrection, he addressed the disciples one final time before his ascent to take his seat at the right hand of the Father.  He instructed them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit, reassured them that he would return again, and commissioned them to share the gospel to the ends of the earth.  Then Jesus was taken up before their very eyes, and the group headed to Jerusalem to wait.

So who was among this commissioned group of disciples?  Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew James Simon, Judas son of James, the women, Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.  Hold everything!  The women?  Yes, the women.  Mary?  Yes, Mary.  For centuries, the religious leaders had been an all boys club.  But now, a fresh wind blew in to change the scenery of the new order called "the church." Jesus' parting words commissioned both men and women to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. 

Mary, the mother of Jesus was among the disciples.  She was a disciple, a learner, a follower.  She was commissioned with the rest to spread the gospel "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  And while we don't meet up with this incredible woman again, we can be sure that she did just that.

Mary was among the collective prophesy of Joel: "'In the last days,' God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy'" (Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-32 emphasis added).

We have to be careful not to worship Mary.  Jesus didn't.  When someone from a crowd yelled, "Blessed is the mother who gave birth and nursed you;" Jesus answered, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it" (Luke 11:27, 28).

Perhaps the most remarkable character trait of Mary, the one we can grasp with both hands and soar with her to great heights, is her radical obedience.  From the very beginning, Mary's response to God's call on her life rings through the ages: "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:38).  When that is our response to God's call on our lives, we will indeed lead extraordinary lives filled with great exploits for the kingdom.

Yes, God chose Mary.  Yes, God chose you.  He has freed us from insignificance, and the key to access that freedom lies in Jesus' words:  "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."  That is where our significance lies. 

That type of obedience flows from a relationship of trust.  It is not a burden or a "have to" but a joy and a "want to."  It is not obedience simply because the Bible says so, but an adventure because we link arms with Jesus and follow him into great purpose.  This is a place where our simple water is transformed into the robust wine of life.

God has great plans for all of us. "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).  As Mary has shown us, God sets the offer before us, but He will not force His plan on anyone. We have to choose and say "yes" to Him. "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1:45).  That, my friend, is the key to experiencing the abundant life!

God freed Mary from an ordinary life and freed her to fulfill an extraordinary purpose.  He called an ordinary girl named Mary center stage, and she willingly walked forward to take her place.  I'm so glad she did.

Let's Pray 
Dear God, I want to be radically obedient like Mary.  Help me to be a woman who says "yes" when You call.  I know that You have a great plan for my life.  My prayer is that others will say about me…"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

In Jesus' Name, 
Amen

Now It's Your Turn 
If you are ready to experience the abundant life that God has planned for you all along, then write out this verse and fill in the blank with your name.

"I, ________________, am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:38). 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's devotion.  Let's chat.  You can share your comments at www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes.  And if you haven't signed up to get regular posts, just click the "like" button and join the group!  

More From The Girlfriends 
Today's devotion was taken from Sharon's new book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered. We tend to read the gospels with our twenty-first century eyes.  But when we understand how oppressive the culture Jesus stepped into was against women, we begin to understand just how radical Jesus' ministry, messages, and miracles were at setting women free. He risked His reputation to save theirs…and yours.  To order this life-changing book, visit www.sharonjaynes.com.  You'll fall in love with Jesus all over again. 

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