Mary’s faith can be an inspiration to us all. In this week’s study we see how faith leads to obedience. We see that obedience is measurable. We also see that obedience can be exciting, leading to seeing God doing things that only God can do. Finally, obedience is the key to making your faith real and alive. God is the same yesterday, today and always. He is still as reliable and trustworthy as he was for Mary. Can you trust him, believe him, and follow him today and moving forward? How can you learn from Mary’s faith and trust in God?
INVITATION: Mary was a very ordinary girl who had a willing heart to trust God. As you begin this week in God’s word, you are invited to pray for God to make your heart a willing heart. Willing to trust God, willing to seek God, and then willing to obey what God has to say and to “be still and know” that he is God. (Psalm 46:10).
MONDAY: Luke 1:26-34: Let’s begin this week by thinking about how normal Mary’s response was to seeing an angel. She was confused and even troubled. She asked questions. Do you go to God when you are confused and troubled? What about when you are confused and troubled about God or the things of God? What about when you have questions and maybe even doubts? He is big enough to handle all these things! Is this an area where you might need to pray to grow in your faith? If so, pray that God will prompt you to seek him the next time you encounter confusion and doubts. As Adam pointed out in the teaching, it will increase your faith and obedience, and you may just see some exciting things unfold in your life and faith journey!
TUESDAY: Luke 1:38: This verse was featured in our teaching series on “dangerous prayers.” Mary surrendered all that she was and knows to whatever God had for her. She didn’t fully understand all the nuances or implications of what the angel had told her. In fact, she was probably scared to death because her being pregnant out of wedlock could have led to execution in that day and time. However, she basically prayed exactly what Jesus prayed prior to his crucifixion: not my will but thine be done. Do you trust God enough to pray such a prayer? What about even when your situation is confusing and perhaps even terrifying?
WEDNESDAY: Luke 1:45-49: Faith believes that God will do what he says he will do. Because of Mary’s faith, she was able to trust God and see him for who he was and could also see herself as God sees her. Her culture, friends and family may have passed judgment. She lived in a small town. Certainly, there would have been talk and whispers, yet Mary held tight to her faith in God doing what he said he would do and that he had chosen her and had a plan. What about you? Do you believe you are THE BELOVED of God? Scripture says you are. Do you believe you are who God says you are? How might believing that affect your life and faith this week?
THURSDAY: Luke 2:19: Mary held on to what God had told her. She treasured and pondered all the things of God in her heart. It is what she relied on when her faith was tested and situations came up that made her need to act on her trust. Things will come up in your life as well. It can be very difficult to live out our faith and trust in God. It can look ridiculous to others and we might be ridiculed and rejected. Do you hold, treasure and ponder God’s truths in your heart? Perhaps there are scriptures you might consider memorizing in order to remind you of who God is, what he promises and who he says you are when life gets tough?
FRIDAY: Luke 2:34-35: A prophet tells Mary that “a sword will pierce your own soul.” Do you have a faith to hang on regardless of what a sinful world brings your way in terms of suffering and hardship? How might you begin today to strengthen your trust in who God is and who he says you are? What can you make into regular spiritual practices in order to get stronger and stronger as the days, months and years go on? Beginning simple, repeatable spiritual practices now can help “strengthen your muscles” and prepare you for whatever the future holds.
SATURDAY: John 2:1-10: These verses about Jesus describe a wedding that occurred about 30 years after the events recorded in the verses from the first chapter of Luke. Jesus’ first miracle is not dramatic or profound —he simply helped a family with an embarrassing situation at a wedding celebration. In that culture, wedding feasts lasted abut a week, and at this particular wedding the wine had run out. In the Jewish culture of that era, that would be cause for tremendous humiliation and embarrassment. Mary told the servants to do “whatever he says” (referring to Jesus). Sometimes the things God asks us to do don’t seem to make sense. Jesus said to “fill the jars with water.” Why do that when it is wine that has run out? However the servants did as they were told. The water became premium wine. Do you trust God enough with your life and situations to “do whatever he tells you?” It is easy to use the excuse you don’t know what he is telling you. Do you seek to know and hear the voice of God in your life by being in Scripture? There is a reason it is called “God’s word.” God also speaks through other believers. Are you listening? Do you seek out wise counsel? Are you teachable and moldable? Do you have too much pride?