December 15 Devotional
Come to Stillness: Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.
Opening Prayer: Yes, Father! Yes! And always Yes! - Francis de Sales
Scripture Reading for the Day: Luke 1:26-38
Reading for Reflection: Don’t you wish sometimes that you could’ve been a fly on the wall as these great stories of Scripture unfold? Especially one like this. I would have loved to have seen the faces of Mary and Gabriel as this exchange takes place. I would have loved to have heard the words; to have heard how they were spoken and with what tone and care and volume. And I would have loved to have seen how those words were received. What did it look like that Mary was greatly troubled (disturbed) by the words, even in the midst of being filled with wonder about what they might mean and how they would be fulfilled? I’m guessing that she was incredibly excited about the amazing thing God was getting ready to do, but troubled by what all it might mean for her life, her heart, and her family. I get it. I’ve felt like that before. I’ve sensed God’s invitation to do an incredibly intimate work deep within me and been so excited about it, but afraid of it all at the same time. I mean the Holy Spirit was going to come upon her, the Most High God was going to overshadow her. And the result was going to be that God himself would somehow be conceived within her.
And you have to love Mary’s response. After all, God was asking something that was incredibly demanding of her - total openness. She was to completely hold herself open to Him; totally vulnerable, totally willing, totally receptive to whatever He might choose to do. It is a frightening posture to hold, unless the one that you hold it for is utterly loving and trustworthy. Then, and only then, are we able to respond as she did: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
I have a suspicion that the Spirit of the Most High would like to do something unspeakably intimate within each of us as well; something that will fill us with joyful wonder and greatly disturb us all at the same time. And if we have the courage to hold ourselves open to Him (vulnerable, receptive, and willing), and if we have the courage to answer Him with the words of Mary (“I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”), then He will come upon us as well, and overshadow us, and birth Himself in us in an indescribably intimate way-which is, in fact, the deepest desire of our hearts. Come, Lord Jesus! Thanks be to God!
Reflection and Listening: silent and written
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
John and Kathy Lesondak are church planters who work across denominational lines in Slovakia to encourage and enable pastors in their work. Pray today that they would be full of compassion for their many unsaved friends and not simply relate or communicate with them solely from a “legal sense.” Pray also for Kathy whose father passed away earlier this month.
City Church of San Francisco is a Cedar Springs church plant led by Fred Harrell. Pray today for the staff of City Church.
Closing Prayer: Lord God, I belong to you, body and soul. I am your servant. Let it be unto me according to your word. Amen.