Ponder and Treasure

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2: 19 NIV
Listen to today’s message

The Greek word used in this verse for ‘treasured up’ is syntereo.  It means to preserve in memory. 

There isn’t a mother who can’t relate to that word!  Today Mary would have started a photo album.  You know the kind.  Not just an album filled with pictures, but lovingly designed with borders, stamps, stickers, journaled thoughts and memories, etc.!

Can you imagine what that memory album would have looked like.  Not only was she preserving in memory the birth of her first born (don’t you know they always get the best one!), but she was preserving the memory of the birth of our Savior, the Son of God.  Are there enough stickers, stamps and decorative paper to properly commemorate this memory?

I wonder what thoughts Mary had as she preserved in memory this moment in time…

  • Hope… this is the Son of God.  The promised One that will fulfill prophesy and is our hope for the future.
  • Wonder… how can this little child with 10 tiny finger and 10 tiny toes be Emmanuel ~ God with us? Such an ordinary infant in my arms that brings extraordinary things to the world.
  • Amazement… angels have provided my child’s birth announcement.  Strangers are coming to adore Him.  I’m a simple servant, holding and comforting this King of Kings.

As children of God, we have so much to ponder. 

  • The realization that as a sinner we fall short of being able to come before the throne of God, but by believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus our sins are washed clean and we are welcomed before His throne.
  • That God chose to send His Son to earth knowing that the ultimate purpose of His birth would also send Him to a painful death on the cross so that we could fellowship with Him.
  • That we are wonderfully and perfectly made with the purpose of glorifying God as followers of Christ.

What would our photo album look like if we pondered and treasured all we have through the birth of Christ.

For His Glory

Take a moment to ponder today’s verse from this perspective. 

  • What are the God moments in your life? 
    • Not just the ‘big’ things that cause you to say ‘that was a God thing’, but all ‘the things’.  Ponder how God has shown up in even the small things.
  • What has God refined in you over the last year, 2 years, 10 years, etc.
    • Sometimes those things take time and if we don’t stop to ponder them and treasure the memory of them we miss the joy of seeing His work. 
  • What were you doing this time last year or any other year in the past? 
    • Were you seeking help for something? 
    • Were you being tossed in a storm? 
    • Were you battling a stronghold in your life?
    • Were you celebrating a victory?
      • Ponder those memories and see how God showed up in each of t them. 
  • How about today? 
    • As you ponder the ways He has shown up in the past, what perspective does that open up for you on how He is showing up now, even in ways you can’t yet see?

What is your memory album filled with? Take some time to journal your answers to these questions and create a memory album to ponder and treasure.

Prayer Starter:

Heavenly Father, what a loving Father You are. 

As I ponder all that You have done in me and for me since I came to know You, my heart swells with joy. 

If I were to create a memory album of all I treasure in my heart, it would show the good times as well as the hard times.  And on each page I would journal the words ‘thank You’. 

Thank You for first loving me before I even knew how to love You. 

Thank You for the days, months, years and seasons when You took me on a journey that brought pain, heartbreak, angst and frustration, so I could learn to love You more and more. 

Thank You for all of the victories at the end of a refining battle. 

Thank You for never giving up on me. 

Most of all, thank You for the cross and the resurrection of Your Son.  In His name I am given access to You today.  Amen.

Praise Him with Blinders On

Mary’s Hymn of Praise

And Mary said, “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has begun to rejoice in God my Savior, because he has looked upon the humble state of his servant. 

For from now on all generations will call me blessed,  because he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name; from generation to generation he is merciful to those who fear him.

He has demonstrated power with his arm; he has scattered those whose pride wells up from the sheer arrogance of their hearts.

He has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up those of lowly position; he has filled the hungry with good things, and has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Luke 1:46-55
Listen to today’s message

This was Mary’s response of praise once the shock had subsided and she had bonded with her aunt (‘sister in Christ’).  Pure, joyful praise!

  • Her praise isn’t watered down with concerns about her personal needs or reputation.
  • Her praise is free from question or doubt.
  • Her praise is a pure reflection of a servant filled with joy to do the will of God.

Putting ourselves in Mary’s shoes, imagine her fear of the unknown and acknowledging the ridicule society would throw her way with gossiping rumors of their perception of what ‘really’ is happening here. 

Now consider how we respond when God calls us to do His will in ways that don’t align with our plans or understanding.

Mary’s hymn of praise reminds us that the response God desires is pure praise.  Humble, soul submitting praise that has no implied conditions or ties to an expectation of self-gratifying results.

Blinders on, eyes focused only on Him and the purpose of His plan for His kingdom

Mary is excited to be serving God, even in a precarious position that could harm her ‘reputation’ in the world.  It could bring hardship in her future and she is definitely not being ‘paid’ to do this. 

God asks us (desires for us) to respond to His calling with a resounding, joyful – YES! True JOY that comes from a pure motivation to glorify God – even at the cost of our own popularity, wealth, comfort, or fame.

For His Glory

This lesson from Mary provides us an opportunity to sit at the table with God and ask Him give us a pure view of His will and a response that glorifies His name.

  • How is God asking you to serve Him? 
  • Do you have your blinders on to see only that which is His calling? 
  • Are you focused on seeing the purpose of your life for the plan of His kingdom? 
  • What thoughts want to creep in and distract us from being focused on His will:
    • Concern about possible ridicule from the world’s perspective?
    • Fear of how we will live?
    • Concern for income over trust in His provisions? 

Prayer Starter:

Lord God, creator of all, Master of all plans, lover of my soul.  I rejoice in the salvation provided by the sacrifice of your Son. 

I rejoice in the mercy you showed to us all at the cross. 

I rejoice in the grace You pour out on each of us.  

Without your perfect plan of salvation, I would fall short and never have the joy of sitting at Your feet for comfort, guidance, wisdom and protection.  I would not know the joy of such intimate fellowship with You.   

Give me eyes today that are focused on Your will, Your plan and Your desires.  Give me a heart that desires nothing more than to submit for the glory of Your plan.  Protect my heart from fears, doubt and concerns of what the world may think. 

I submit my all to You Lord.  For Your glory.  In the precious name of Your Son I humbly pray.  Amen. 

Melt Into His Will

An iceberg floats atop the water, moving at the pace of the ocean waves. In calm waters, it sits still. In storms, it bobs and weaves, yet remains afloat.

In its frozen state, it flows with the ocean waters and at the same time maintains its own form. It’s in the water and cooperating with the flow of the water, but not part of the water – until it begins to melt.

It’s only when it begins to melt that it loses its own form; its own identity. It becomes one with the ocean. It disappears from sight but remains a part of the ocean. As it and other icebergs melt, the level of the water increases.

Lord, I want to melt into Your Holy Spirit. I want to lose my own identity and become one with You.

For too long I’ve been focusing on keeping my shape, my form, my identity – while floating in the flow of Your will.

My soul longs to melt into Your will, becoming one with You in thought, word and deed.

For if we have become one with Him [permanently united] in the likeness of His death, we will also certainly be [one with Him and share fully] in the likeness of His resurrection

Romans 6:5

Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you ….

Colossians 3:16

Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

When we understand that our purpose, our reason for existing, is to glorify God, we can cease striving because we are no longer working to prove our worth or value. We can release the need to keep our ‘form’ so we can be seen and validated by others. We can melt into our purpose and become one with the will of God.

And like the rising waters of melted icebergs, as we melt into His will, His glory rises.

Prayer Starter

Lord, You created me with one purpose – to do your will and glorify your name. You created me to find pleasure in serving you. You are worthy of all glory! I want to melt into Your will and serve You selflessly. I confess there are times I seek to be seen more than serve and even times when I serve to be seen. Holy Spirit, make me aware of the times I hold onto my ‘form’ and help me melt more into You.