A Mary Spirit

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him, and who was expecting a child.”

Luke 2:4-5, NET Bible

382990_10150416591029952_1485897219_n-2Christmas is only a few weeks away. Perhaps, like me, you still have countless things to do in order to prepare for coming guests. The physical demands on our time, strength, and resources can quickly alter our “Fa-la-la” spirits to ones of “Bah! Humbug!”

Scripture tells us that Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for a mandatory tax census. Bethlehem was three days away, and Mary would make the long, arduous journey by donkey. Not a comfortable mode of transportation for anyone, much less for a woman nine months pregnant and expecting a child any day. Could the timing have been any worse?

I wonder what Mary’s words to Joseph were as they packed for their journey. I can imagine what I would be saying, but somehow I can’t envision Mary grumbling. After all, when told by the angel what God’s role for her would be in his divine plan, she communicated a sweet spirit of submission. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, ESV). Although, Mary dealt with the frailties of humanness, God gave her his grace for her journey.

Regardless, of what the next few weeks hold as we prepare for Christmas, let’s refuse to allow grumbling and complaining to penetrate our spirits of celebration. God promises us the grace we need for our respective journeys.

According to God’s Word, when we are faithful in the small things, God will entrust us with greater things (Matt. 25:23). Mary yielded completely to God’s plan. As you view the following video, consider this: What is God asking you to do? Are you willing?

Carry a Mary spirit. Christ has come!

Merry Christmas!


The Greatest Mystery Ever: What the Cross Tells Us about Jesus

I love a good mystery. My favorite mystery writer is Mary Higgins Clark, and I’ve managed to collect all but a few of her entire works. But the greatest mystery ever told is why God chose to redeem mankind through Christ’s death on the cross. This week we’ll explore the mystery of the cross – foolishness to the unsaved but the power of God to those who claim Him as Lord and Savior (I Cor. 1:18).


What the Cross Tells Us about Jesus

For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many. 

Mark 10:44, HCSB

IMG_3397Jesus said the words in today’s Dose verse. He knew he came to earth to die. But first, he would show us what God is like. After all, He and God were One! The picture Jesus painted of God was that of a servant. Healing, teaching, comforting, washing feet, even correcting – I like those images.

In truth, I don’t like the image of Jesus dying on the cross. I would rather see the one of Him emerging from the tomb on Easter Sunday morning. But Jesus as servant is also Jesus as suffering servant. He came to die, so that we might live.

What does the cross tell us about Jesus? First, Jesus’ motive was love. If God is love, and Jesus is God, then Jesus is love, as well. His most significant act of love was His death on the cross—not for His benefit but for ours. Paul said,

“Walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”

Eph. 5:1-2

Second, Jesus had a choice. He could have called 10,000 angels to rescue Him from that tree, but instead He chose death. That’s why His death is called a sacrifice and not a murder or a killing. Jesus gave all He had voluntarily! Third, He was obedient to His Father (Phil. 2:8). Jesus left heaven, giving up His royalty and equality with God, to humble Himself as a mere human. In the garden, He prayed, “Not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39).

Fourth, Jesus was leaving us an example. Peter said we are to walk in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21). That’s great, right? I’d love to visit the Holy Land and walk where Jesus walked. Unfortunately, that’s not what Peter meant. Peter said Jesus’ example was as a suffering servant. That means we will suffer for our faith, also. “But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called” (I Pet. 2:20-21).

Following Christ’s example means being a living sacrifice, pleasing to God in all things. If we are not willing to make that commitment, then we are not followers of Jesus. Have you asked Him to be more than your Savior, the One who paid the ransom for your sins? Let Him be your Lord—master of everything.

Following Christ, who followed His Father,