All posts by Victoria Carrington

Victoria is an author, Bible teacher, Christian leadership coach, social media specialist. She is a passionate Jesus-follower and homeschooling mom of two who enjoys writing and encouraging others.

Magnificat 2: Day 11

He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

Luke 1:51-56 (NKJV)
Artist James Tissot

Humility Relies on God’s Strength

Mary prophetically declares the teachings of her son, Jesus. Those who follow him are to be servants, not lords. Jesus warned his followers not to seek the best seats at a feast or desire public honor for religious duties. New Testament writers emphasized these teachings of their Master, Jesus. Echoing Mary, they write that if we humble ourselves before God, he will lift us up. James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:5-6

God’s Kingdom is Not What We Expect

In our world, the rich and mighty are strong and rule. The lowly are ruled over and live in want. God rules his Kingdom differently. The rich are scattered, the mighty are cast down. God fills the hungry Psalm 107:9 and lifts the low into high places Matthew 23:12. He helps those who serve him. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble James 4:6. Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Savior of the whole world, will be born to a peasant girl in the country among the animals. Nothing will be ever be the same.

God’s Promises Remembered, Soon to be Fulfilled

Mary knows God’s Word so she knows the story of Abraham and his covenant with God. God promised salvation to the world through Abraham and his seed, Israel. These promises are to be fulfilled in Jesus. It is because of God’s great mercy that he helps his people. Mary sings with gratitude for God’s remembrance of her and all of Israel. When Mary looked around at her earthly life, oppression under harsh Roman rule, a subsistence farming life that barely provided for her needs and was subject to times of lack, things did not look good. It was easy to think that God had forgotten Israel and his promises to them. But Mary knew differently. In faith, she believed what the angel told her. Incredible, yes. Impossible, no. Mary trusted that God was about to do a new thing. She joyfully sang and praised the Lord for what he was soon to do.

God’s Strength and Mercy

Mary continues with her theme of God’s strength and limitless power. She recognizes God as the ruler of all. She also speaks of God being merciful, helping those who serve him. The two traits come together in our mighty yet loving Father. He is strong enough to strike down enemies yet loves enough to rescue those who humble themselves before him. 

Key Verse

He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy. 

Luke 1:54

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for your mercy to us. We do not deserve all that you do for us except that we live by faith in Jesus. Thank you for giving us the righteousness of Christ and recognizing his sacrifice on our behalf. Because of Jesus, we are saved! Help us to humble ourselves and resist pride as we rely on you to lift us up. Give us a heart to praise and worship you with our eyes to heaven, not on our circumstances. Amen.

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Mary’s Magnificat Part 1: Day 10

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.

Luke 1:46-50 (NKJV)

Waves of Worship

Mary exalted God, worshipped him by seeing him on high, with ways above hers. Praise and worship of God leads to joy in knowing God as Savior. Yes, it is exciting to understand that God is not only a great, high God but that he loves us so much that he is our personal rescuer. 

Artist James Tissot

Through the March of Time

The theme of generations is seen twice in this short section. God is so big that all he does has big, generational consequences. Mary states, rightfully, that all generations will call her blessed. She reminds us of God’s multigenerational faithfulness and mercy to those who fear him (see also Exodus 20:6, Psalm 103:17-18, Exodus 34:6-7).

Descriptors of God

The Arrange Visual Verse Analysis of The AROMA Approach to Bible Study helped me to see all the ways Mary described God and herself in this passage. Mary’s proclamation of who God is echoes the Old Testament. 

God is:

  1. Mighty
  2. Savior
  3. One who regarded her and acted on her behalf
  4. One who did great things for her
  5. Holy 
  6. Merciful

Mary’s Identity

Mary describes herself in terms of how God sees her and deals with her much as we should find our identity in Christ. 

Mary is:

  1. Filled with praise
  2. Overcome with joy
  3. Humble
  4. Blessed
  5. Recipient of God’s great work on her behalf
Musical score from The Magnificat by J.Bach.

Extravagant Praise

Mary exalted God and proclaimed how his power radically changed her life. God took her, a nobody from no place memorable with no great future, and made her into a somebody, remembered for all generations to come. Mary recognized God did that for her just as Elizabeth acknowledged it was God who took away her reproach. Praise, joy, humility and reverence combine in a stunning declaration in this beautiful praise song by a young girl whose life would never be the same.

Read Devotionally

In the Read Engagement Point of the AROMA Approach, the R, one of the recommended mindsets for reading a passage is devotional. Focus on the devotional reading of this passage today. As you read, take time to praise the Lord for all he has done for you.

Key Verse

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,

And holy is His name. Luke 1:49

Mary has a fresh revelation of who God is, his power and holiness, because of what he did for her. Take a few moments to think about only one of the great things God has done for you. Praise and thank him for being mighty and holy and acting in your life.

Prayer

Lord, We thank you for your goodness to to us. You have truly done great things for us. You are holy, your name is holy and you are deserving of all the praise. We praise you Lord and give you all the glory! Thank you for your kindness and mercy towards us. We love you, Lord. Amen.

Mary Arrives at the Home of Elizabeth: Day 9

And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

Luke 1:41-45 (NKJV)

Geographic context

Although the name of the village of Elizabeth is not mentioned, it is thought to be Hebron, the village of the Levites because Elizabeth was a descendant of Levites.

The area was hilly and full of religious significance. The Cave of the Patriarchs was there and is still there today. 

Hebron, 1839. Thought to resemble ancient Hebron.

After a long journey, uncertain what she would find at her destination, Mary arrives at the home of her relative. Remember two of Luke’s themes are joy and the work of the Holy Spirit. We see both of those highlighted here in Mary’s initial meeting with and greeting of Elizabeth. Two extraordinary things happened when Mary arrived at the home of her relative Elizabeth in the hill country of Judah. Both showed the power and work of the Holy Spirit. 

  1. John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb
  2. Elizabeth cried out and blessed Mary as she recognized the Lord Jesus inside of her. 

Doing the AROMA Arrange Visual Verse Analysis helped me to see all that was going on in this passage. I  saw that Elizabeth was a prophet. God gave her prophetic knowledge and prophetic words in the blessings she proclaimed on Mary. All Mary did was greet Elizabeth and then, after being filled with the prophetic power of the Holy Spirit, she discerned and spoke God’s truth about Mary which we read today over 2,000 years later. 

Similarly, John the Baptist was also anointed by God to be prophet, even in the womb. The unborn John discerns the presence of his Lord Jesus and jumped for joy in the womb. His role as a prophet is established early. Surprising? No. God is the one who knits us together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13) and the Bible tells of God anointing Jeremiah as a prophet from before birth (Jeremiah 1:5). 

Elizabeth set the example of humility before Jesus for her son John. She was happy to call Mary blessed and not demand special blessing for herself as the mother of a spirit-filled prophet. 

Elizabeth knew her son was important but not as important as Mary’s son. The importance of John’s role comes directly from God because he was chosen by God. In his ministry, John will confidently state that he is not the Christ, he only points the way to the Christ. He acknowledges that he is unworthy of Jesus.

Just as Mary wondered at the favor shown to her in Gabriel’s announcement, so Elizabeth wonders at the honor of having her Lord, Jesus, in her presence. 

Key Verse

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

This popular verse is used in many ways. The emphasis is often on the first part while the last phrase is neglected. This is not a “believe in yourself” verse. It very specifically states that the blessing comes in believing what the LORD said. This is more than just making up your mind about what dreams you want to accomplish. God wants us to be in relationship with him and know his Word so we can discern what he tells us. This happens when our relationship with him is so strong and true that we know who God is, a trustworthy loving Father who holds all power in his hands. The blessing comes as peace and joy flood your heart and mind no matter how long fulfillment takes or what happens while you are waiting. God’s favor rests on the one who never gives up the hope we have in Jesus Christ. 

Our ultimate hope is an eternal one because promised eternal life for all who believe in Jesus and follow him. God’s Word tells us of this future hope and he will fulfill it. Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2–3, NIV)

We are blessed because God will fulfill every promise made!

Prayer

Lord, 

Thank you for your faithfulness and your steadfast love. We are grateful that you never change. We can depend on you to fulfill your word to us just as Mary did. In the hard times, in the waiting times, help us to remember to keep our eyes focused on you. Thank you for blessing us! Amen.

Mary Learns of Elizabeth’s Pregnancy: Day 8

“Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.”

(Luke 1:36–40, NKJV)
Mary’s Journey to Elizabeth

Comfort and Confirmation

Continuing with Luke’s theme of God doing the impossible, the angel Gabriel informs Mary of Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy. In doing so, he confirms that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the all-powerful miracle-working God who is getting ready to usher in a new era. Remember, Luke’s Gospel emphasizes the miracles of Jesus more than the other Gospels. We see this emphasized from the beginning of Luke’s narrative. It is only in Luke that we find this account.

Geographic Context

The O in AROMA stands for Orient. It is important to consider different types of contexts as e study the Bible. Geography is one type of context we can consider that adds to our understanding of a verse or passage.

Mary lived in Nazareth, a small, insignificant town in Galilee. Galileans were not respected among other Jews because they lived in proximity to Gentiles. Contrast this to where Mary is going, to Judah, the most important and exalted region for all Jews. Luke, in one of his themes that we discussed earlier, highlights God’s love and care for those who are considered low and outsiders. 

Mary journeys to visit Elizabeth. She goes with haste and the Greek word means “earnestly or with great concern”. I imagine that Mary was excited to share her testimony of God’s announcement through the angel Gabriel. In fact, she probably suspected that no one else would believe her but her cousin who had been similarly blessed by God. She was likely also looking forward to hearing from Elizabeth about her happy surprise and what God had done in her life. What a joy it is to celebrate God’s goodness with other believers! 

Mary had a far distance to travel to get to her kinswoman, Elizabeth, but she was determined to go and go quickly. The approximately 81 mile journey was an uphill one. It would have taken Mary 9 or 10 days to arrive at the home of Elizabeth. I imagine she set out on her journey, hopeful that God would provide for her and protect her on her way. She likely spent much of her time pondering all the angel revealed to her, wondering what she would find at her kinswoman’s home. God was faithful to devour her safely on her journey as we will see in our next lesson. 

Read: Parallel Translations 

One of the tools in the Read Engagement Point of The AROMA Approach to Bible Study is reading the verse in multiple translations. In this case, I used the Text Comparison Tool from Logos Bible Software and discovered something interesting.

Luke 1:37

NASB95 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

NIV For no word from God will ever fail.”

ESV For nothing will be impossible with God.”

NLT For the word of God will never fail.”

NKJV For with God nothing will be impossible.”

KJV 1900 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

LEB For nothing will be impossible with God.”

ASV 1901 For no word from God shall be void of power.

From the Text Comparison Tool, Logos Bible Software

What’s in a word? Mary’s affirmation of Gabriel’s announcement of God’s plan for her life is made more striking when we understand the precise word she used. Mary used the exact word that Gabriel used when he stated that God’s Word will not fail. This translation of “with God nothing will be impossible”, the most literal although perhaps not the most poetic, underscores Mary’s agreement with God through the angel.

The angel–  For no word from God will ever fail.” v. 37 (NIV)

Mary– “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. v. 38 (NIV)

Relationship 

Gabriel, acting for the Lord, used the miracle of Elizabeth’s pregnancy to reassure Mary and remind her of God’s miracle-working power. If God did it for Elizabeth, surely he could do one for Mary. It is in this way that the stories of Bible encourage us today. When we look at God’s mighty works in the Bible and throughout history, we build our faith. The Bible tells us many times to remember all that God has done. God knows we are likely to forget and need to remind ourselves, our children and one another of the power of God to do beyond what we could ask or imagine. He often works through our relationships and fellowship with other believers to remind us of who he is and who we are in Christ.

Response

Humble obedience describes Mary’s response to this strange, unsettling encounter with the Angel Gabriel. She recognized who she was, a “maidservant of the Lord”, because she recognized who God was. The only response to the holiness of God is humility. Remember Isaiah said he was a “man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5 ) and Peter said “depart from me for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8) when confronted with the holiness of God. Obedience flows from fear of the Lord and humility. Mary had both abundantly. Mary agreed with God. She fully submitted her will to God. 

Key Verse

 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1: 38 (NKJV)

The second A in the AROMA Approach represents agree, the most important part of any Bible study. This verse is a beautiful example of humble obedience to our Holy God. It is an excellent verse to meditate on and/or memorize.

Prayer

Lord, we humble ourselves before you. Take our lives and may your will be done. Help us to submit to you and obey you in all decisions, big and small. Give us faith to move forward in the journeys you appoint for us. Amen.

Names and Roles of Jesus: Day 7

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

(Luke 1:31–35, NKJV)

Jesus is given several names in this passage. Let’s do a visual verse analysis to emphasize this. 

AROMA Approach Arrange Visual Verse Analysis

The Name That Saves

  1. JESUS is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Joshua. The name means “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation” (Lexham Bible Dictionary)
  2. Son of the Highest- in some translations called the Most High, is a name for God, Yahweh, see also Ps 21:7; Acts 7:48.
  3. Son of God- this restatement of “Son of the Highest” follows the reason why Jesus will be called the Son of God. He will be born from the Holy Spirit and God coming upon her. Gabriel leaves no doubt that this child will be the Son of God.

The Role of King

His role in eternity is also described. He will be the King of kings in contrast to his earthly ancestor David. David was great but Jesus will be greater. David died, ending his reign as king. Our King Jesus will live into all eternity and his rule and reign will never end. The angel’s declaration of the Kingship of Jesus is the fulfillment of several Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah (2 Sa 7:16; Ps 89:3, 4; Isa 9:7; Jer 33:17; Da 2:44; 7:14, 27; Mic 4:7; Heb 1:8). One of these is in Isaiah 9:7 gives us a good example of the kingdom propephecy-

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

The Work of the Spirit

It is no surprise that Gabriel announces it will be the Holy Spirit along with the power of Yahweh who will accomplish the miracle of conception. Both were present at the creation of the heavens and the earth at the beginning. John says Jesus was present at the beginning of Creation (John 1:1) so it is fitting for his entry Into the world to live as man on earth will be accomplished in this way.

Key Verse

““How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”” (Luke 1:34, NIV)

Mary asks an obvious question that you or I would have asked in her situation. The angel of the Lord has pronounced what seems to be impossible. Did he not know that she was a virgin? Does he not understand basic human biology and how women become conceive?

How many times have you and I reacted with such questions to God? I admit, for me it has been too many times. Often I forget that God can do the impossible. He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Why should I doubt what a God like this can do? I don’t know why but I do that I have a God who loves me and will patiently remind me who he is and how much he loves me. His answer to my questions is always “I will do it by my Spirit and my power” just as the Angel Gabriel explained to Mary.

Prayer

Lord, help us to remember that you are an all-powerful God who loves us more than we can imagine. Bless us with confidence in you and who you are as we read these wonderful stories in Luke. May our faith in your ability to do the impossible be strengthened as we study your Word. Amen.

Today’s Work

For he does not think much about the fleeting days of his life because God keeps him preoccupied with the joy he derives from his activity. Ecclesiastes 5:20 (NET Bible)

Orient- Context

In this section, The Preacher, author of Ecclesiastes (thought by most scholars to be Solomon, son of King David), makes observations about the days and labor of man.

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (NIV)

Agree with God

It is not good for man to focus on the past or the future. The past is gone and can’t be changed. The future is unknown. Jesus says today’s concerns and duties are enough for us to work on. (Matthew 6:34)

This verse in Ecclesiastes suggest we should work with joy, intention and focus everyday. There is a work that God has for you TODAY. Do it well, with excellence and for the glory of God. Let the past go and give your future to God.

To paraphrase John Newton, author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”, should we not be able to trust our days in the hands of one who bled from those hands for us?

The Lord wants to fill our days with work and our work with joy. Will we agree with him?

Prayer and Praise

Lord, we worship you for being our Creator and the one who holds our days in your hands. Thank you for loving us. Help us to remember not to worry about the past or the future but to embark on Kingdom work every day in full confidence that you will bring us joy in all that we do as as we seek to glorify you. Amen.

Hearts on Hunger- Jesus Over Fear Series- Luke 12:29–30

Day 11

“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.”

Luke 12:29–30, NIV

As I sit here contemplating a needed grocery store run, reading this verse jolts me out of my self-absorption. In this time of coronavirus upheaval, have I set my heart on thinking on getting the food I need for my family? Have I worried about our food supply? I don’t know about you, but for me, the answer is yes on both accounts.

Continue reading Hearts on Hunger- Jesus Over Fear Series- Luke 12:29–30

Self Examination in Times of Distress

Looking at Our Sin

Looking at the sin of others without examining ourselves leads to wrong thoughts, attitudes and perspectives. It separates us from God’s will for our lives. It’s important to our Heavenly Father how we use our thoughts and emotions. Yes, we can have emotions (like anger) but we can’t allow them to cause us to sin against God or our neighbor. Ephesians 4:26

Continue reading Self Examination in Times of Distress

Flowers and Faith-Jesus Over Fear Series-Luke 12:27–28

““Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!”

Luke 12:27–28, NIV

Jesus gave this series of teachings in Luke Chapter 12 on his way to Jerusalem. We can imagine that he passed meadows of wildflowers on his way. He may have referred to the scene as he elaborated on his admonition not to worry but to trust in God’s provision.

Continue reading Flowers and Faith-Jesus Over Fear Series-Luke 12:27–28

Why Worry?- Day 7 Jesus Over Fear Series- Luke 12:25–26

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Luke 12:25–26, NIV

Worry is something that is hard for us not to do. Jesus wants to help. Read what he says in the Bible about worry and be comforted. Let’s look closely at a Bible verse in which Jesus teaches his disciples about worry.

Continue reading Why Worry?- Day 7 Jesus Over Fear Series- Luke 12:25–26

Consider – Luke 12:24, Jesus Over Fear Series

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!”

Luke 12:24, NIV

Jesus wants you to trust him to provide for you. He also wants to know how valuable you are to God. Let’s look at Jesus discussing ravens using the AROMA Approach to Bible Study method.

Continue reading Consider – Luke 12:24, Jesus Over Fear Series

Food and Clothes: Jesus Over Fear Series, Luke 12:22-23, The AROMA Approach

“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.” Luke 12:22–23, NIV

Worry interferes with the Kingdom work of the Christian because it shows misplaced priorities. What does Jesus teach his disciples?Let’s use the action engagement steps of the AROMA Approach to study this passage more closely and see what God wants to teach us our worry and his provision.

Continue reading Food and Clothes: Jesus Over Fear Series, Luke 12:22-23, The AROMA Approach

Should You Hoard? Jesus Over Fear Series, Luke 12:16-21

“You have plenty of grain laid up for many years.”

“And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.””

Luke 12:16–21, NIV

Faith in God vs hoarding. One man stored his treasures and wasn’t rich towards God. What happened?

Continue reading Should You Hoard? Jesus Over Fear Series, Luke 12:16-21

Preparedness: Jesus Over Fear Series, Luke 12:35–40

““Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.””

Luke 12:35–40, NIV

Toilet tissue. Hand sanitizer. Bottled water.

These are probably the first things that come to your mind when I mention “preparedness” in this time of pandemic. Preparedness is the state of being ready for what’s to come. It can give you peace of mind and confidence. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, a prepared person rejoices about the future. (“Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.” Proverbs 31:25)

For the follower of Jesus, what does it mean to be prepared? In reading the Gospels, particularly in Luke, we read what Jesus taught on this topic.

In going through my Bible survey course, I am in the book of Luke. A major theme in Luke is preparedness. We see Jesus contrast earthly preparedness with heavenly preparedness. He teaches in parables at times about the relative importance of each. In the story of the rich man who built storehouses, Jesus emphasizes that we can’t effectively prepare for earthly calamities. Why not? We can’t know what is coming. Other examples about the futility of worry continue the teaching of Jesus in this area.

Conversely, Jesus makes it clear that preparing for his return is something that we can control and should work towards, like the wise virgins who kept their lamps burning. Jesus wants us to focus on heavenly preparedness. Any other focus is dangerous to our soul’s eternity.

There is one future event we can be certain of. That is our death. You will die, I will die. The main question of our lives should be preparing for this certainty according to Jesus.Will Jesus greet you with “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) or will you cast away as a goat from the sheep? (Matthew 25:31-46)

Why should we not be concerned about the future? Because that’s God’s job. He knows the end from the beginning. We are free to pursue the Kingdom of God by living in obedience. We don’t want our hearts and minds to have a misplaced focus when Jesus returns or calls us home.

Will you commit to dedicating your life to the most important preparedness of all and teach others to do the same?

Lord, Help us to keep our focus on serving you and getting ready for your return. Show us how to teach the truth of heavenly preparedness to others, starting with our families. You are a holy God, worthy to be praised and we seek to glorify you in all that we do. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Let God take care of your future while you focus on living in obedience to God today. Victoria Carrington

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How Many Hairs Do You Have? :Jesus Over Faith Series, Luke 12:6-7

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6–7, NIV)

God wants you to choose faith in Him over fear of being forgotten. In this passage, Jesus teaches his listeners about God’s attention to detail to dispel fear. To do this, Jesus makes an argument in a familiar pattern illustrating his skill as a master teacher.

Continue reading How Many Hairs Do You Have? :Jesus Over Faith Series, Luke 12:6-7

Who Should I Fear?: Jesus Over Fear Series, Day 1, Luke 12:4–5

““I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”

Luke 12:4–5, NIV

Who do you fear?

Do you fear that which brings death and disease?

Is your mind often filled with “what ifs”?

Do you have the proper perspective on death?

Jesus wants you to take your thoughts off of people (or by extension things) that could kill you. Instead, he wants to fear Almighty God, the only One who has the authority to “throw you into hell”.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is needed as we face risk from a disease that can be deadly. A sense of God’s sovereignty and holiness is important as we navigate unfamiliar, stormy waters.

If you are a born-again child of God, you no longer need to fear death. Jesus died on the cross that you could be reconciled to our holy God and spend all eternity in heaven.

Psalm 27:1 says it this way-

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 (NKJV)

Jesus is our light and salvation. Trust in him today.

Prayer

Lord, free me from the fear of man, disease, accidents or any cause of death. Help me to put all my faith and trust in you. Amen.


Read, pray and then meditate on this word throughout the day.

For more background and context on this passage, consult an online commentary, study Bible or app using Bible Hub, Logos or Bible Gateway.

Faith of a baby robin

Sitting outside before the snow came back last week, I saw an amazing sight more close up than ever before. Newly hatched baby robins were in the nest with their mouths open to the sky, eagerly stretching to eat. A few thoughts came to my mind about how I should be like that baby robin.

What I noticed about the baby robins:

  1. Trust- mom will be back. Do I trust God even when he doesn’t seem immediately present?
  2. Eager- to eat nourishment- do I hunger and thirst after righteousness?
  3. Accepting- of what mom gave. Am I accepting of all that God gives me even if it isn’t what I asked for?
  4. Always hungry- mouths wide open, unashamed. Do I continue to want to grow in Christ and be fed from his Word often?
  5. Still- waiting patiently in the nest, waiting to receive. Have I taken time to be still and know that God is?
  6. The nest shakes as the branch sways but the baby birds don’t run off out of fear of falling. They don’t seem scared at all-only hungry lol. When the circumstances of my life get shaken up and things seem unstable, do I hold on to God?
  7. They don’t fear the hungry cats below- Do I fear my enemies or do I always remember that evil is defeated and God has not given me a spirit of fear?

I love how God speaks through his creation.

Dear Lord, make me more like the baby robin. Help me to fully trust you and seek you always. Amen.

Christian Response in Times of Fear- Part Two

The Commandments of Jesus

Spreading fear on social media or anywhere else puts you in direct contradiction with the commands of Jesus.

Do Not Fear

We are not to have a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) so we definitely shouldn’t be sharing ideas about the future that cause fear. We are not to fear politicians, billionaires or experts who “may” do terrible things to us, restrict our freedom, or persecute us. We are to only fear “the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

Do Not Worry

Fearful posts are fueled by worry. What if…. or Let me warn you….. Worry is a sin. Jesus said do not worry about tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)
Jesus said we change nothing by worrying.
He wants you to trust in his love and care. He said
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

Once you obey and stop worrying, you can encourage others to do the same. In this way you fulfill the Great Commission, teaching others to obey the commands of Jesus. (Matthew 28:20)

Love

Jesus said love ❤️ your neighbor. “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”” Mark 12:31
18% of the population, about 40 million adults, have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Many more suffer without being diagnosed. It is almost certain that someone reading your posts will already be quite anxious. Are you being a Good Samaritan, helping to heal their wounds or soothe their anxiety? Or are you spreading anxious perspectives with little thought of how the vulnerable may be affected?

Encourage One Another

The Bible has much to say as it addressed the early church about how believers were to help one another.

For every verse posted about fearing a possible future situation, how many have you posted to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ?

You can share posts that encourage others to:

  • pray without ceasing
  • think on things that are lovely and true
  • keep their hearts ? and mind focused on Jesus
  • be content in all things
  • remember that God works all things together for good for those who love him
  • pray and ask God’s help in all things, with gratitude.

Prayer

Lord, help us resist the temptation to spread fear in this time of uncertainty and heightened anxiety. Guide us is spreading our knowledge of you and encouraging others to love ?, know and obey you. Help us take our eyes off of the future and fear and to focus on you and love ❤️ you with our whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Amen.