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Receiving God's Promises

"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!" Luke 1:45

The promise of all promises is where the Christmas story really begins: a Savior would come! God would send a Messiah! He gave this promise as a gift to His people long before Mary walked the earth, and they clung to this promise through hardship and years of waiting.

But this promise of old became very personal for Mary because SHE was the one through whom the promise would be fulfilled - the chosen mother of the Messiah. It was no longer a distant promise or one meant for another virgin - it was her promise. This promise was costly: it could get Mary killed under claims of adultery. It could come between her and her future husband. It would change the course of her life.

And Mary's initial response? "I am the Lord's servant...May your word to me be fulfilled" (Luke 1:38). Mary did not run. She did not resist or refuse. Rather, she released her own plans and dreams. In humility, she received the inconceivable words of God that were still ringing in her ears. She believed that this promise given to God's people generations before was also personal to her.

And as Mary greeted her cousin, Elizabeth exclaimed: "Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!" (Luke 1:45). In her belief, Mary was blessed - with joy, with peace, with the privilege of carrying the promised Messiah.

I don't always receive the promises of God like Mary did. I sometimes distance myself from His promises, finding them easier to believe for others than for myself. I sometimes run away from them, trying to find my identity in places other than God and His Word. And so when I look at Mary, I find myself I trust God enough to allow His promises to become personal to me? Do I believe Him when He tells me who I am, who He is, the hope that I have in Him? Do I receive these things for myself or resist them?

God promises us many things in His Word:

Peace (Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:7, John 14:27)

Joy (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Power (2 Timothy 1:7)

We are never alone (Psalm 23:4)

We will not be shaken (Psalm 125:1)

Life to the full (John 10:10)

Fruitfulness (John 15:5)

Strength (Psalm 46:1-3)

Rest (Matthew 11:28-29)

Guidance (Isaiah 40:11, John 14:26)

Provision (Genesis 22:14)

Freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Purpose in all things (Romans 8:28, Psalm 139)

The Holy Spirit as our seal and deposit (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Intercession on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27;34)

Justification (Romans 5:9)

Identity as a child of God (Romans 8:16-17)

Wisdom (Proverbs 2:6, James 1:5)

Removal of our sins (Psalm 103:12)

Enduring Love (Psalm 136:1)

Eternal Life (1 Peter 1:3-4, Revelation 22:12)

These promises (and exceedingly and abundantly more!) are what God wants to give us through Christmas, through Jesus. He wants these promises to permeate our hearts as we journey through motherhood and life. The one thing these promises hinge on is TRUST. Belief. Dependence on Jesus. God's character remains unchanged whether we believe Him or not, but we will only receive all that He wants to give us when we trust in Him, depending daily and deeply on Jesus.

May we receive God's promises this Christmas - I believe that we will be blessed as we do so, just as Mary was.

Ask yourself: Is it difficult for you to believe the promises of God for yourself? Why or why not? Which promise of God feels the most distant from you in this season?

Action step: Find a verse to remind yourself that the promise that feels most distant is personal to YOU. Put it somewhere you will see it often (in the car, by the kitchen sink, or on your bathroom mirror).

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