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Thursday
May162019

How to Live with Expectation

Sally Ferguson loves sharing God's Word, and she does so in many practical ways. In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she invites us to view the life of Mary, Jesus' mother, as an excellent example of living with expectation.

"Mary was barely 14 when she found out she would carry the Messiah," Sally says. "Her life was neatly arranged and orderly when everything got turned upside down."

I (Dawn) think we often forget how young Mary was when God interrupted her life. But she was a young woman of faith, prepared for His assignment.

Sally continues . . .

Somehow Mary became a model of hope—for generations to come.

What helped Mary live expectantly? Let’s take a peek at four things that set her apart.

1. She Was Called.

A calling gives a sense of purpose when you realize you’re a part of something much bigger than yourself. That calling motivates and equips you to lean on your heavenly Father in ways you never thought to do so before.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says God’s grace is enough. His power is perfected in our weakness.

Mary probably didn’t understand what God was asking of her when the angel, Gabriel, delivered his message. But, do we ever fully understand the work God has begun in us? If we did, we wouldn’t need Him. And we would miss the relationship fostered with Him in the struggle.

If left up to me, I would want the beauty without the struggle. But really, the beauty comes from the struggle.

Philippians 1:6 says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”

We are never alone in God’s calling.

2. She Was Blessed.

  • Gabriel told Mary she was favored.
  • Elizabeth told Mary she was blessed.
  • At the Temple, Simeon told Mary a sword would pierce her own soul.

Have you ever felt like a blessing was a double-edged sword?

But Mary broke out into a song (Luke 1:46-55). Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by the Lord’s generosity that a melody just bubbled up and spilled out of you?

What happens when you acknowledge your blessings? Gratitude flows and peace envelops your frame of mind.

My mom adopted the phrase, “I’m blessed,” because she understood God’s blessing went beyond her circumstances to an underlying relationship she could count on.

Read Philippians 4:4-7. Did you hear “thanksgiving” in that passage? Did you catch that phrase about peace? It’s a reward for trusting God!

Peace shows up again in Philippians 4:8-9. I like to think of it as “a contentment that protects my thoughts from borrowing trouble.” 

3. She believed.

Read Elizabeth’s words in Luke 1:45.

What happens when we trust God to do what He says He will do? We are blessed!

I love how that thought cycles back around.

  • She was blessed and it enabled her to believe.
  • She believed and it blessed her.

The Bible is full of those kinds of circles.

  • Ephesians 2:8-10—We are saved by grace to do good works, but we don’t do the works to be saved.
  • 1 John 1:9—If we call out to the Lord, He will save us. And He will save us when we call out to Him.
  • Psalm 46:10—Be still and know; know and be stilled.
  • Romans 5:2b-5—begins and ends with hope.

Mary believed when she took God at His word and trusted Him to take care of her.

4. She Cherished What God Was doing.

Read Luke 2:19.

How do you store your God-sightings?

Do you write them down in a journal so they won’t get lost from your memory banks?

A boy named David journaled, and we know that as the Psalms. He later became a king in the land of Israel, but never outgrew his need for his journal. He recorded his misgivings, anger, pleasure, confusion, joy and fears.

Look though the Psalms at how he processed those emotions and turned them into prayers. David was able to take his weaknesses to the throne of God, the One who created and understands them. Through that release, David found acceptance and the burden lifted.

He began with hurt and ended with humility before God.

What about you? Could you turn today’s failures into a statement of faith?

Let the Lord carry those burdens for you as you turn them into a prayer for His redemptive action in your life. May you find a safe haven as you write down your story!

Luke 2:33 says Mary marveled at what Simeon and Anna said about her baby boy. Let your journal be a place where you can marvel at God’s goodness.

Beloved, know that you, too, are called by God, you are blessed by God, you can believe God when He says He is for you, and you have many things to cherish.

How do you cultivate a sense of expectancy?

Sally Ferguson loves sharing God’s Word in all different forms! Her coloring book, What Will I Be When I Grow Up? (Warner Press) and ebook, How to Plan a Women’s Retreat are both available on Amazon.  Visit her latest retreat release, a women's retreat playbook with templates.

Painting of Mary by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1898.

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