Welcome back to our 2016 Christmas online Bible study- “The Women of Christmas” by Liz Curtis Higgs. There are exactly 27 days before we gather around in our homes with family and friends to celebrate Christmas, the day that we celebrate our Savior’s birth! Are you ready?
As I read chapters three and four this week, I was really in awe of Mary’s mature response to her role in this amazing Christmas story. I remember back when I was 12 years old, I still played with my favorite cabbage patch baby and my favorite Barbie doll and doll house, oh and of course wanting those pair of cowgirl boots that I just needed so bad. LOL. Memories! Do you remember what you were like when you were 12?
I also thought about my daughter today, she is mature in some ways, but still is a little girl, my little girl and never in a million years would I think she could handle this type of responsibility and be as emotionally mature as Mary. Or could she? Am I limiting what God could do thru her, or even thru me? Thinking about that makes me appreciate the awe and wonder of God and how He can and will use anyone to fulfil His plan. Mary was willing, and I ask myself, would I have been? Would you have been? Am I willing now to be used? Are you willing to be used? Blows your mind, doesn’t it?
I would have had so many questions, but Mary had only one: “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34. Even in this question, she showed her faith and trust in God, she believed and trusted, she just wanted to know how. Not the how that I would have wanted, not the details I would have asked for like, what day, where at. And for those who know me, what shoes will I be wearing? Or “Ew, boys, yuck!” This is where I often get of track, wanting to know too many details, instead of just trusting what God has said He will do. And the angel’s next words rang so strong in my ears: “For no word from God will ever fail” Luke 1:37. WOW! What God says He will do, He will do! Do you believe?
Mary shared this news with Elizabeth, the person who had experienced God’s power and, let’s face it, the only other person that would understand what she was going thru, as our author says, “they shared faith in a wonderworking God.” Elizabeth and Mary are filled with the Spirit of God, while Joseph and Zechariah are absent from scripture for the next three months. Both women were not depending on men, they were depending on the Father. They surrendered to the Authority. Elizabeth trusted God with her high-risk pregnancy and her muted husband. Mary trusted God with her life- she risked death by stoning as an unwed mother- and risked rejection from her future husband. Fueled by love, both women gave their all to God.
We learn this week that despite who Mary was, a young woman of low status, a lowly servant girl, God had taken notice of her. He saw her, He saw her as precious in His sight. And guess what? He sees me the same, and He see you as well. I mean He really sees us! Not just for the clothes we wear, or the color of our hair, He sees our hearts, He sees our desires and our hurts, and most of all He sees our potential and our purpose!
Last week I encouraged you to list those things that were place holders in your heart in your journal. Now that the obstacles are out of your way, let’s consider the areas of our lives that we are not giving over to God. First consider what Mary and Elizabeth gave:
- their bodies
- their marriages
- their relationships with family and friends
- their own plans for the future
- their reputations and their pride
As I looked in my journal, I realized that there are a few areas that I have not totally surrendered to God. By totally I mean all of it, not some, but all. Are there any areas you have yet to surrender? Or have you given half to God, or only those that you trust Him with, but keep those that you don’t really believe He can handle? Perhaps are you still holding on to control of everything? Are you trying to fix the mess of your marriage on your own? Are you trying to save your children instead of releasing them over to God? Have you offered yourself as a vessel for God to use, or do you think that you are too old, not well versed, too out of shape, or too young? Whatever area you have not surrendered, remember what Mary and Elizabeth taught us this week about surrendering to their wonder-working God, who is our wonder-working God as well, even today!
Will you say yes to Him in all areas? I am reminded of a favorite hymn of mine written by Judson W. Van DeVenter: “I Surrender All.”
“All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.”
I surrender all, I surrender all. All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender All”
Will you surrender all today?
Never doubt for a moment that women matter to the Almighty. Liz Curtis Higgs
For the next seven days ask yourself this important question: What things in my life am I not giving to God? Pray and the Holy Spirit will guide you.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Read Chapter Five and Chapter Six in your book or e-book.
- Come and meet the women in this study when you join a small group meeting at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCSmallGroups/
- Read Luke 1:26-38
- Spend time praying for God to reveal the areas you have not totally surrendered to Him. List them in your journal and commit to surrendering them with God’s help.
Tweet or Facebook Share with Hashtag #WomenOfChristmas
- “God takes us as we are and uses us as he will, for our good and for his glory.” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- “God didn’t choose Mary because she was unique Mary was unique because God chose her.” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- “Then why do we throw up roadblocks when God drives a tank? He can remove any obstacle, overcome any challenge, mow down any opposition.” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- “Immanuel, God with us, God with me” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- “He had a plan for Mary’s life and He has a plan for yours” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- The truth is, God’s strength is fully revealed when our strength is depleted.”― Liz Curtis Higgs
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Your WBC small group leaders may use some or all of these discussion questions this week.
- When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her she would have a child, she asked: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” What questions would you have asked Gabriel if you were Mary?
- Read this verse: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37 NLT) What things in your life seem too hard to handle? If you truly believe that nothing is impossible with God, what must you to do embrace that reality?
- Think of a time when you felt blessed or favored by God. Were you eager to share that experience with others as Mary did with Elizabeth? Why or why not? How might each of them benefited from their three-month visit?
- In the end of our readings this week the Holy Spirit takes center stage. What role does the Holy Spirit play in your life? When and where have you sensed God’s Spirit teaching you? Sending you? Flowing through you?
- Share why you believe bringing up children is our God given ministry?
- During their visit, we see no jealousy from Elizabeth towards the younger Mary. How can we share in the blessings of others without jealousy?
- How can we lay aside our doubt and disbelief and recapture our ability to take the Lord at his Word and trust Him completely as Mary did?
- What steps can we as Christian women, take to strengthen and enhance our spiritual relationships with others of different generations (younger, older)?
- Why might we not fully surrender areas of our lives to God? What does this say about our faith in His plans for our lives? About our trust in Him?
I am determined to surrender my all to Him, will you join me?
Remember, Immanuel, God with us. God with me, God with you!