Leviticus 16: The Need For Presentation

The-Day-Of-Atonement-

 

You remember that in the Sermon on the Mount, God said, “I don’t want you to be anxious about what you shall eat or drink or how you are going to be clothed. But,” he says, “the essential thing is: seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness — these necessary things of the spirit,and all these other things will be added unto you…” (Matthew 6:31-33).

A lot of us spend our time and energy thinking about how to get money to provide food and clothing and education and so on, and we have just a little time left over for the essentials. No wonder life goes astray! But  we are called by God to put life back in balance and to give attention to these relationships with one another, to the love and the peace and the joy of our lives, and then these other things will find adequate place without any struggle. They will come not out of any automatic provision, but out of the normal workings of life.

As we have gone through this book together God has taught us, first of all, the need for a substitute. Despite all the  human knowledge we cannot handle life adequately by ourselves. The offerings taught us that. We need a substitute beyond humanity, a divine substitute, one who took our place. And this we find in Jesus Christ. And then, because we don’t understand the mysteries of our existence apart from someone who can explain them and apply them to us, we need a great high priest. That too is met in Christ. Then we need a standard, something to measure life by, to tell us the difference between what will hurt us and what will help us, what will advance us and what will destroy us. We need God’s gracious word to understand what confronts us in life and thus to be able to distinguish between right and wrong and good and evil. That is not easy to do, but God has provided a standard.

In this chapter, we come to what the Jews to this day call Yom Kippur, the great Day of Atonement, the high point of the year in the life of Israel.

You see the ultimate end of God’s work with us is to give us a clear conscience. That is what he is after — a clear conscience — before him and before men. This is what is so beautifully taught us in this passage.

We have seen how God has provided for cleansing from the uprising of leprosy within us. Remember that leprosy is a picture of sin. And we have seen how he has also provided for cleansing from the discharges which come from within. But now he is coming to the delicate matter of how to rid us of that sense of defilement which is on our consciences and which persists even though we know we have been forgiven.

Wow, how many times do we struggle, “I know that God has forgiven me. I know that the Word is true, that he has paid the debt for my sins. And yet I seem to feel so guilty all the time, so haunted, and I feel ashamed to come to God. I feel that I am unworthy.” . This is Satan’s favorite ground of attack upon us. But this is what God is dealing with on the great Day of Atonement. This is the final matter to be settled which would otherwise exclude us from the presence of God.

Notice the provisions that God has made in Chapter 16. Verses 1-2:

The LORD spoke to Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD and died; and the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the mercy seat which is upon the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.” (Leviticus 16:1-2 RSV)

No greater privilege was ever given to Aaron the high priest than to be able to come before the very presence of God in the holy of holies as the shining presence of the Shekinah glory of God hung above the mercy seat. And yet God says, “Don’t come at all times. Come only once a year.” That limitation grew out of the fear aroused in the hearts of Aaron and the rest of the priests by the death of Aaron’s two sons. You remember that in an earlier study we had the story of how they had brought “strange fire” before the Lord and thus were suddenly burned up by a flash of flame from the Shekinah glory of God. This had made Aaron and his other two sons afraid. Who wouldn’t have been afraid?

I have often thought that these priests of old, when they realized that they were dealing with a God of righteousness and justice, had to be so careful that they did what he prescribed that they probably made up check lists. And this feeling of fear imparted a sense of inhibition, of uncertainty, in coming before God’s presence.

But even here, under the Law, with its shadows and its types, God gives a special provision by which the whole nation, in the person of the high priest, once a year at least, could come openly and boldly before the very presence of God himself, without any sense of fear. The priest could come once a year confidently into the holy of holies. This is a picture for us of what we are to do continuously in Christ.

Notice what the priest had to do. There are seven steps in the process. The first is found in Verses 3-4:

“But thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and shall have the linen breeches on his body, be girded with the linen girdle, and wear the linen turban, these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water, and then put them on.” (Leviticus 16:3-4 RSV)

Step number one was to bathe himself and put on the linen garments. They were these inner garments made of linen, and then on top of them there was a great robe of beauty and glory with the bells around its hem, and over that the ephod, a sort of vest, and finally a breastplate. But all the outer garments were to be laid aside when the priest went in to the holy of holies.

 

As we have already seen, those linen garments were a picture of the personal, private righteousness of the Lord Jesus, the inner righteousness which only God can see, not the public display of his sinlessness but that inner righteousness of his thoughts, his attitudes, his reactions. In all of the life of the Lord upon the earth there was not one moment when that inner righteousness was not perfect. Never once was there a yielding to the pressure upon him to give way to playing with filthy thoughts. He was normal, and he experienced every temptation such as we do, but never once did he give way. This is God’s way of teaching us that as we come before his presence we are to come clothed with the inner righteousness of Jesus Christ, so that our inner life is as acceptable to God as our outer life. Both have been cleansed by the blood of his death on our behalf for our sins — the visible sins that we have committed, and the secret sins of the heart. The ground on which we stand is Jesus’ righteousness, not ours. This is the first step.

After this the priest was to offer the sacrifices, Verses 5-6:

“And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel[notice] two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

“And Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house.” (Leviticus 16:5-6 RSV)

Here is the provision made for the fact that Aaron was not, like Christ, without sin. He was merely a shadow, a picture of Christ, but was himself a sinful man like we are. And so he had to offer sacrifices for himself which, we are told in Hebrews 7, were not necessary for Christ. Jesus needed no sacrifice for himself.

And then comes the requirement regarding the two goats, Verse 7:

“Then he shall take the two goats, and set them before the LORD at the door of the tent of meeting; and Aaron shall cast lots[almost like flipping a coin] upon the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other for Azazel.” (Leviticus 16:7-8 RSV)

Azazel is a name which many have been troubled and concerned about. Many scholars have debated its meaning, but the consensus seems to be that this is one of the names for Satan. So one goat was to be chosen for the LORD and the other for Satan.

“And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD, and offer it as a sin offering; but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.” (Leviticus 16:9-10 RSV)

It is important to note in passing that the goat was not named Azazel. The goat was not Satan. There are cults which teach that the goat represents Satan and that therefore Satan is the ultimate sin-bearer. But that is not true. The goat was sent to Satan, and the sins that were placed on it, as we shall see, were placed there to be sent to Satan.

But first we are concerned with the goat for the LORD. This goat marks the stake, that God has in the crucifixion of Jesus. When we consider the death of Jesus we almost always think of it as on our own behalf. That is, we were forgiven there. His life was poured out on our behalf and, quite properly, from that event we count our forgiveness and acceptance before God. But what this is teaching us is that God also had a stake in the death of Jesus, that God was blessed and glorified and magnified in that death.

If your think about it you can see why. You see, forgiveness is not an easy thing for God to display. He can’t do as many people seem to think he can — simply look at our evil and say, “Oh, well, that’s all right. Forget about it. I love you anyway. Just go on.” If that were the way that we are forgiven then God would deny his character as a just God. But God is just and, in a sense, his justice struggles with his love. God’s justice says, “Everyone who deliberately commits transgressions must be set aside from my presence. He cannot come before me.” This book teaches that again and again. God’s justice excludes us from his presence and sends us away. If God were just, and only just, he would wipe out the human race without exception. Not one of us could stand.

But God’s love doesn’t want to do that. Yet how can his love be expressed unless his justice is satisfied? That is what the death of Christ does. When God’s Son hung on the cross God did not spare him a thing! He poured out upon him every bit of his wrath against sin. Every bit of his justice was satisfied in the death of his Son upon the cross. Thus God is vindicated. The whole world can now look at that event and say, “Yes, God is just — even though he loves us.” The death of Jesus freed God to show his love to us. Apart from his death you and I would never have known that he is a God of mercy, of compassion, and of tender, forgiving grace. We would never have seen that he is willing to suffer for us on our behalf, that he had that kind of heart. Thus God himself is magnified, his character is glorified before us, by the death of Jesus. And this is what is portrayed by the goat that was for the LORD. It was on his behalf that this goat was to be sacrificed.

In Verses 11-14 we have the details of Aaron’s sacrifice of the bull for himself:

“Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall kill the bull as a sin offering for himself. And he shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small; and he shall bring it within the veil[right into the holy of holies, right before the presence of God] and put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat which is upon the testimony, lest he die; and he shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times”[the number of perfection, completion, absolute satisfaction]. (Leviticus 16:11-14 RSV)

By this God is saying, “The sacrifice of the life of the Lord Jesus on your behalf has rendered you as though you had about you the sweet smell of Jesus Christ himself.” When we come before his presence God smells that sweetness of Christ, and does not smell us. This is the first deodorant used in Scripture! This is the way by which the evil odor of our own failure is eliminated and the sweetness of Jesus Christ is substituted on our behalf. And this is what we are to remember when we come before God in prayer at any time.

Verses 15-19,  simply trace for us how this cleansing is extended to the structure of the tabernacle, to the altar itself, and to the very holy of holies — the inner sanctuary of the spirit. We are that tabernacle in which God dwells. And our whole being, our whole body, soul, and spirit, our whole life, is cleansed in God’s sight by this sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf.

But now, what do you do when you kneel down to pray — or stand up or walk about or whatever you do — and even while you are praying some filthy thought comes across your mind? Or some hostile reaction suggests itself to you? Or even while you are trying to demonstrate love to somebody some welling up of anger or impatience comes in? What do you do with that? Your immediate temptation is to say, “Good night, what’s the use? I’m trying to walk in the Spirit and even in the very process of it I feel defiled?” What do you do with these problems? Well, here is God’s provision, Verses 20-22:

“And when he has made an end of atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat; and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness. The goat shall bear all their iniquities upon him to a solitary land; and he shall let the goat go in the wilderness.” (Leviticus 16:20-22 RSV)

He sends him back to Azazel. This is very significant. You notice that all the iniquities, all the transgressions, all the sins were placed upon the head of this goat.

Both of these goats are a picture of Jesus: In one he is represented as satisfying the heart of God on our behalf and rendering God free to love us without any restraint at all by his justice. God’s justice has been satisfied. He no longer makes demands of that kind upon us. He is free to forgive us at any time and to love us. But the second goat represents Christ as bearing the whole weight and load of our guilt, all that which the Devil tries to use as a basis upon which to ground his accusations against us. All this is to be sent back to him from whence it comes. When our Lord died he went into the wilderness of death like this goat, and returned to Satan all the accusations which he has against any believer at any time.

So what this passage is teaching us is that this is what we are to do with these accusations. In Ephesians 6, Paul calls them “the fiery darts of the wicked one” Ephesians 6:16), i.e., all those little suggestions to us that we really aren’t accepted and loved by God, feelings of shame, unworthiness, our filthy thoughts, and the flashes of fear that come upon us. What are we to do with them? Well, we are simply to put them right on the head of Jesus and say, “Lord, take them back to Satan. They don’t belong to me. They are not my thoughts!

That is the purpose of the great Day of Atonement. It means that we are able to do as the Scriptures exhort us — to stand and present ourselves before the Lord of Glory and, as Paul says in Romans 12, “by the mercies of God, present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship…” (Romans 12:1 RSV).

Our spiritual worship “Lord, here I am. I am counting on it. Thank you for it. Let’s go. This is exciting! What are you going to do through me today? What are you going to do this next moment in the relationship I am entering into with this person? How are you going to handle it?” And your mind and heart can be at peace.

In the rest of the chapter you will see how God confirms that he has accepted our presentation. First there is the sacrifice of the burnt offering, which is always the symbol of the total acceptance of a person by God. Then, beginning at Verse 29, he gives us the final conclusion:

“And it shall be a statute to you for ever that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict yourselves, and shall do no work, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you; for on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you, from all your sins you shall be clean before the LORD. It is a sabbath of solemn rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves; it is a statute for ever.” (Leviticus 16:29-31 RSV)

A sabbath is a day of rest. As we have already seen from the Old Testament and the New, the sabbath is a picture of the rest of your spirit when you are counting not on what you have done, but on the work of another on your behalf — even in this realm of all the accusations of a guilty conscience. You are to recognize that God has cleansed your conscience and you are to believe it! You are to accept that fact and return those thoughts to Satan from whence they come, send them back to him, and recognize that God is ready to use you. You can rest on that fact with a full sense of your worth in his sight, knowing that you belong to him and that he loves you fully and has taken care of everything that would exclude you from his presence. That is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the fulfillment of the day of rest.

That is what God is after — to make you whole, ready to work as a whole person, as an instrument of his life in you.

Are you ready? I am!

Stephanie

http://www.simplysoulsisters.com

http://www.virtuousvibes.com

Women of The Bible

Women-of-GodSo we are closing out the 12 Women Of The Bible Challenge today! Thank you if you have been diligent and committed to reading, commenting and sharing this blog. I pray it has been a blessing to you!

This Challenge blessed me in many ways. Any time I get an opportunity to study the word, I am elated. However when I am able to study an extraordinary women whose life mirrors mine…I am even more inspired and encouraged to stay on the purpose driven path!

Women , may not have always been outwardly appreciated, yet they were secret heroines, prayer warriors and worshippers! Their faith and commitment to God was never unnoticed by Him. God honored their diligence and blessed them beyond measure!

No matter who you or what you have been through…you can find yourself in the Bible. If you hold fast to the promises found there and take notice of how God worked in the lives of women in the Bible…you will find the answers to many daily struggles!

Eve, Ruth, Rahab, Hannah, Lydia, Joanna, The Samaritan Women and the list continues were just like us today. Yet they made time for prayer, praise and worship throughout their day. Truly perhaps they did not have all the busyness we endure in this age….yet their lives were perhaps largely different. They didn’t hesitate to put God first, even if It meant endangering their own lives in the process

Oh if we could just take one of these women and mirror their life, how blessed we would truly be!

Let this study really work for you by doing more intense research on these and other women in the Bible.  Take heed to their actions and their behaviors…but more importantly take heed to their solutions. There is nothing new under the sun….nothing! That means the issue or problem you are facing at this moment perhaps…has been faced and overcome before!

The world needs more women who are truly worshippers of God. The world needs more women who are not afraid to stand up for God. The world needs more women who will seek out opportunities to share Gods goodness. The world needs you to walk in your purpose. 2016 is your time….this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. Someone is in need of your word, your testimony, your ministry. There is someone who needs you to bring them to Christ…they’re waiting…for you

Its time you started…we are all rooting for you!

Once again, I am grateful you traveled this journey with me and the beautiful ladies of Soul Sisters. Soul Sisters is a group of women from around the globe, who strive to study God’s word daily, using it to become Proverbs 31 Women of Worth!

Stop by my website at http://www.virtuousvibes.com to join the mailing list for the group and stay connected to our upcoming events. We are located on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SimplySoulSisters/

We are also launching  Soul Full Sessions in March, a Blogtalk Radio Show dedicated to providing informative and inspiring information! Stop by and favorite our page. Create a free registration so you can chat live with us during the show

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/soulsisterscircle

Lastly, but definitely not least, continue to read Gods word daily!  Contact me at soulsisterscircle@gmail.com if you need prayer, a push to continue or a listening ear.

I’m always rooting for you!

Stay blessed

Stephanie

 

J0anna- Priveleged Witness

 

 

25249Many people are unfamiliar with Joanna in the Bible. Joanna was married to Cuza, who oversaw the household of Herod Anitipas. Antipas was one of the sons of the King Herod.

At some point in Joanna’s life, Jesus cured her of an unspecified illness. Luke’s gospel mentions ‘evil spirits’ and ‘infirmities’, which means that Joanna’s illness could have been almost anything. The Roman world might not know about bacteria, but they sensed that illness could be caused by something malevolent from outside entering your body. When they suspected that this had occurred, or when they simply had no explanation for an illness, they called it an ‘evil spirit’.

Whatever it was Jesus cured it! She saw his power  first hand and needed no further convincing. She became a disciple, following him wherever he went.  Joanna and the other two women mentioned in Luke 8:1-3,  Mary Magdalene and Susanna, did everything they could to help him

Luke 8:1-3
After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Like Mary Magdalene, Joanna stayed with Jesus to the very end! Luke names her as one of the three women who visited the tomb early on one…finding it empty!

Luke 24:1-12
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'” Then they remembered his words.
When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.
It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.
But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Think about it for a minute…….These ladies are telling the Eleven and some others what the angels had just told them to be true of Jesus and what had happened to His body, but the men did not believe them.

The Eleven did not believe them.

The Eleven who had been with Jesus all throughout His ministry.

The Eleven that knew Him personally.

The Eleven that loved Him.

Are the same Eleven men that thought that these women spoke words of nonsense.

But these ladies, including Joanna, spoke boldly in faith to the Eleven. They knew what they had seen with their own eyes, and they knew what they had heard with their own ears. They knew the peace that they felt in their hearts.

Joanna had  complete confidence in Jesus. Being married to the manager of Herod’s household, Joanna was a woman very familiar with power. But she knew that the power she had been surrounded by in her wealthy lifestyle in Herod’s court was nothing like the power she had found in Jesus.

It did not matter to her if others thought that she was just an hysterical, grieving woman, because she knew what the truth was. She knew Who the Truth was.

God honored her faithfulness by letting her be one of the first witnesses to the Resurrection….and she was one of the first to bring the news to others!

Are you one of the first to talk about the goodness of God??

Be faithful to God, even when others make think it nonsense or not true. Don’t allow the world to sway you into doubt and unbelief. God rewards his faithful followers!

Stephanie

 

Excerpts taken from In My Life

Martha & Mary: Working & Worshipping

A69568C8-498E-4817-B297-BA769A8F1788Two extraordinary women, Martha and Mary were always together in scripture. They lived with their brother Lazarus in a small village named Bethany, which was in easy walking distance from Jerusalem.

Martha and Mary were different in a lot of ways, yet alike in the fact…they both loved Christ. Just like with all the women we have studied, Christ was their focus! Mary and Martha became cherished friends of Jesus during his ministry on earth. He also loved their families (John 11:5)

No one knows how this particular family became so intimate with Jesus. But Jesus often made himself at home in their house.

Martha was always portrayed as a meticulous hostess. Even her name  is the feminine form of the Aramaic word for “Lord” She truly presided over her home. Her name was often listed first, suggesting she may have been the oldest sister

One particular day, Jesus and his disciples stopped at the house of Martha and Mary and Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to his words. Martha, meanwhile, was distracted with preparing and serving the meal for the group.

Frustrated, Martha scolded Jesus, asking him whether he cared that her sister had left her to fix the meal alone. She told Jesus to order Mary to help her with the preparations.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

For centuries people in the church have puzzled over the Martha and Mary story, knowing that someone has to do the work. The point of this passage, however, is making Jesus and his word our first priority.

If all 12 of the disciples were there, Martha had reason to feel fixing the meal was a major job. Like many of us, Martha  probably became anxious over taking care of her guests.

Many folks compare Martha to Peter: practical, impulsive, and short-tempered to the point of rebuking the Lord himself. Mary is more like John: reflective, loving, and calm.   Some of us tend to be more like Mary in our Christian walk, while others resemble Martha. It’s likely we have qualities of both within us. We may be inclined at times to let our busy lives of service distract us from spending time with Jesus and listening to his word. It’s significant to note, though, that Jesus gently admonished Martha for being “worried and upset,” not for serving. Service is a good thing, but sitting at Jesus’ feet is best. We must remember what is most important

Good works should flow from a Christ-centered life; they do not produce a Christ-centered life. When we give Jesus the attention he deserves, he empowers us to serve others.

Surely, God knows and understands everything. But this story is a reminder that we need to set our priorities right. Our first and foremost choice must be our daily quiet time with God, everything else can come after that. Everything else can wait. This is not some legalistic thing that we need to follow. But we need to do so because it is a “better choice”.

Time spent at the feet of Jesus is never wasted time. It is an incredibly invested time. It is my own personal experience, when I allocate time with the Lord from my busy schedule, Lord always returns back even more time. All of sudden, I seem to have that little extra time for other chores. The clock seems to be ticking little slower! The problems or issues that I am working on, gets fixed quickly. It might just be my perception or a coincidence, but I have noticed that more time I spend with God, more of these coincidences happen! Jesus emphasized the similar approach in Matthew 6:33.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Questions for Reflection:

Do I have my priorities in order? Am I worried or anxious about many things, or am I focused on Jesus? Have I put devotion to Christ and his word first, or am I more concerned about doing good deeds?

Think about where the bulk of your time lies today…

Stephanie

Excerpts taken from 12 Extraordinary Women, James Macarthur

Mary-Blessed Among Women

blessed

No woman is truly more remarkable than Mary! She was the one sovereignly chosen by God-from  ALL the women who have ever been born- to be the instrument through which He would at last bring the Messiah into the world.

She was supremely blessed by God. Her son, not Mary herself is the fountain of grace (Psalm 72:17). She was sincere, worshipful, childlike in her trust of the Lord and dependent on Him. Qualities we all should strive to possess…

Mary came from Nazareth, an average young girl from a peasants town in a poor region of Israel. She was bethrothed to a working class carpenter. She had lived all her life there, a place where good things scarcely came from.

Phillip told Nathaniel that he had found the Messiah and the Anointed One was a Galilean from Nazareth, Nathanael sneered, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:45-46)…oh but truly the best thing ever came from Nazareth..

The privilege of being the Mother of the Messiah, came at a cost of Mary  being an unwed Mother. Im sure Mary must have anticipated all the difficulties, the moment the angel told her she would conceive a child. Still knowing the cost, Mary surrendered herself unconditionaly saying simply “Behold the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)  Joseph initially was distraught and had even decided to divorce her quietly… but did not want to make a public example out of Mary, because he loved her so much… Then an angel appeared to him in a dream and reassured him!

Mary filled with joy hurried to hill country to visit her relative Elizabeth. Both had been supernaturally blessed by God to conceive. It was a perfect situation for the two of them to spend time together rejoicing about the goodness of the Lord!

Elizabeth’s immediate response to the sound of Mary’s voice gave confirmation of all that the angel had told her!

Mary’s response was full of praise! I want you to read her words aloud and let each one magnify in your spirit and soul! 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. He has shown strength with his arms. 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 (Luke 1-46-55)

GLORY!!!….” Mary’s young heart and mind was FULLY saturated with the word of God.

God is the ONLY one Mary magnified. She praised the glory and majesty of God, while acknowledging her own lowliness. She took no credit for anything good in herself. But she praised the Lord for His attributes, His mercy and His holiness. Her worship was from the heart. She knew God as her intimate Savior! She celebrated the fact that God’s mercy is on those who fear Him, because she herself feared God and received his mercy.

Throughout Christ’s earthly ministry, Mary appeared in only three scenes. The first was during the wedding, where Jesus performed His first miracle. She was also there when the crowds of people who wished for miracles from Christ became larger than ever and at His crucifixion.  Mary remained in the background to  her son Jesus. She submitted to him as her Lord, rather than control him as his mother. She became one of his faithful disciples. She came to grips with the fact that Jesus had work to do and she could not interfere with it

Mary had probably always had an idea that the crucifixion of her son would come. As she watched her son go through the ordeal, , her anguish is unimaginable. Yet she stood stoic, silent when many of us would have done so much differently!!

Mary seemed to understand that her presence at Jesus side was the only kind of support she could give him. She could not assist with His atoning work, his bearing the sins of the world

One of Jesus last earthly acts was to make sure that for the rest of her life, Mary would be taken care of. This act gave insight into Mary and Jesus’s relationship. She was his earthy mother, but He was her eternal Lord!

Her maternal relationship with Jesus faded into the background. That moment on the cross-Jesus placed his mother into the earthly care of John-marking the end of the earthly aspect of their relationship. As a Mother, Mary had once provided all his earthly needs, but in the ultimate and eternal sense. He was her Lord and provider!

Mary was extradinary because God used her in a extradinary way. Mary thought of herself as perfectly ordinary. Wow! How awesome is that..Do you think of yourself as perfectly ordinary. Her life points us to her Son.  He was the one she recognized as Lord, He was the object of her worship, He was the one she trusted for everything

Can you say that about the God you serve? Do you put yourself aside  even as important as you are to Him….allowing God to do the work He is equipped for? Do you recognize Him for everything He has done in your life?

Its easier said then done, yet essential to allow God to work through us and in us to bring out the best qualities we have. The process can be hard, the refinement can hurt….but the end result is total transformation

Enjoy your day my sisters

Stephanie

 

Scriptures to SOAK in

Psalm 72:17

Luke 1:41-45

Acts 1:14

This blog contains excerpt of Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur

Identity….

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A little Monday Morning poetic pleasure…enjoy!

Identity

I am not my hair, I am not this skin

I am not your expectations

I am not my hair, I am not this skin

I am a soul that lives within ~ India Arie

 

“You are my Nubian Queen” he said.

Eyes shown deep like oceans blue, knowledge vast, unlimited and so well beyond his ordinary, that he could not even describe the heights .

“You are one of a kind, a diamond in the raw, and whatever you do, I will always love you because you are my superstar!”

Whew, this man was off the meter and I too was memorized by his depth. His deep abyss of thinking had me on that trip and only a sistah who had experienced this, could possibly understand.

“I love you for your uniqueness” was his trademark statement and I soaked up his melodic presence like honey on sun kissed lips.

Until the day he started to trip.

Replying after my visit to the salon, “Baby what’s up with the afro centric doo, it’s really different and truly does not define you.”

Aghast and somehow relieved, because I had already started to see the signs. I simply smiled and replied,

“My appearance does not justify or solidify my soul. This centric mode is not to be defined by you or anyone else. It’s simply my way of being myself.

…and if you don’t like it, you can find someone else!”

Peace, Love & Empowerment

“V”

Jazz Cafe….

In honor of National Poetry month, I chose not to do the normal every day posting of poets, poetry and the like. For the next ten days, up until the 17 of April, I will be celebrating the poetic pulse of life by providing prose, my favorite type of writing. Simple poetic stories ..my favorite lines and verses. Take from them what you may, I hope they provide a moment of solace and clarity, some humor and inspiration to take you through the month! My imagination has always been my favorite playmate! Enjoy and as always please provide feedback and tell me your thoughts!

 

I wish that I was in your arms like that Spanish guitar

And you would play me through the night until the dawn~ Toni Braxton

 

Jazz Cafémallett7

“Let a brother play for you,”   He said.

“Like a musical poet, I will take the rhythm and beat of each song, bring it to life and pull your heart-strings along.   Far, far away to places you have only dreamed of.   Beautiful foreign islands that people like Luther and Howard Hewett sing of.”

So I obliged and took a seat in this smoky, but sultry cafe. He placed the saxophone to his lips and softly began to play. Harmony spilled out across the room like the cascade of waterfalls and I listened intently as the notes soared. Filled with anticipation, my pulsing body began to sway, the heat rose in my veins like the sunrise of a beautiful new day and he just continued to relay love. I soaked up his melodic song like honey on sun-kissed lips. Like the climatic response after lovemaking when sensations start to drip.

Listen can you hear it? So you feel me, cause I was there, sitting right there on the edge, falling, falling ,listening, watching as a sister sashayed up to his side and curiously tilted her head.

She then reached out to this brother, grabbed the tip of his horn and said,

“Your notes are too beautiful, they truly saturate the spirit and soul, and beckon beautiful poetic images to the head, but I’m sorry… unfortunately tonight ain’t Jazz night brother, we doing Spoken Word.”

Peace, Love & Empowerment

“V”