Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 2 of our study The Women of Christmas

It was such fun to study with at least 30 of you last week as we contemplated the beginning of the story of Elizabeth, Zechariah, and baby John the Baptist! I've heard from about 30 friends and family, even friends' family, saying they were participating! I love picturing all of us together, bibles and books and pens in hand, sharing what God is highlighting afresh in this story! I know you all would love getting to know each other because I love you all! I wish we could meet at Starbucks...I'd buy all your favorite hot drinks and then tell stories about fun times I've shared with you!

And speaking of sharing, thank you to those who have shared so beautifully and honestly on the blog! I seriously received such encouragement and fresh insight from you! Several of you, like me, have walked or continue to walk the infertility road so I knew Elizabeth would stir us up. The truth is, we likely all have dreams we've yet to realize, so being reminded that there is no time limit on God's answers was hopefully encouragement. 

This week we will begin to read about Mary. You may have noticed that we didn't finish the story of Elizabeth last week. The book, The Women of Christmas, basically covers the announcement of Elizabeth's pregnancy in chapters 1 and 2, then the announcement of Mary's pregnancy in chapters 3 and 4. I promise we'll get to the births of both the Messiah and His forerunner in chapters 5 and 6 before getting to the third "woman of a Christmas" in our last week together. And just in case you are behind where I am...PLEASE DO NOT QUIT!! This will be a blessing to you no matter when you do it, not because of anything I'm doing but because it's God's Word and Jesus' story! It says so right in the passage we are studying this week:

""For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37 NIV)

So here's your assignment this week.

1. First pray! Pray before you read, asking Him to teach you, encourage you, remind you, and reveal something new to you! Write that prayer in your book or a journal so you will have a reminder when He does it!

2. Read God's words in Luke 1:26-38. Make a list of what Mary says and what Gabriel says. Does making this list give you any insight into Mary? What do we learn about Jesus from what the angel says?  Do you wish you knew more about anything in this story?

3. Read Chapter 3, highlighting anything that jumps out at you. This just made me cry at the thought:

4. Read Luke 1:39-56. (Doesn't a lot happen in this one chapter?! Typically we just rush right into chapter 2 at our house on Christmas Eve or even in church, but oh the richness of the story even before Christ's actual birth!)  Use your imagination a little and tell me what YOU think Mary and Elizabeth talked about for those months together!

5. Read chapter 4 of The Women of Christmas and highlight anything you found interesting or particularly encouraging.

6. Here's an extra challenge: write these verses on an index card and memorize them this week. 

For no word from God will ever fail.” 
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, (Luke 1:37, 46, 47 NIV)

Now tell us on the blog what God's revealing to you! 

Thank you for keeping me accountable! I am honestly, and I really mean this, praying for you to be blown away by Jesus this week as you study!

I love you!


Gayla Mckinney said...

OK, ladies, I just have to be honest and tell you what I learned today! This will make me look like the simple minded gal that I am, but I'm okay with that! Today, for the first time, I finally realized why the song "Ave Maria" is on every Christmas album! The angel's "Greetings!" in verse 1:28, when translated into the Latin Vulgate (or the Latin Bible that was used for centuries) is actually "Ave!" Thus, "Ave, Maria!" or "Greetings, Mary!" No wonder it's always on those Christmas CD's! I love learning something new!

Mandy said...

"Mary was not used by God because she was unique. She was unique because she was used by God."

That's encouraging! Especially for those of us who see ourselves as nothing special or average or ordinary. Most of the time I'm really secure in my "giftings" which are definitely of the behind the scenes variety. But every now and then I wish I was the in front, get noticed kind of person. I totally admit that I wouldn't like that AT ALL. But sometimes I wish I was that singer, or that teacher or that whatever. But, as it says later in Chapter 4, God sees me. And God can use me... If, like Mary, I can give Him that wholehearted and devoted "whatever" Lord.