December 8 “Making Room to Abide in God”
The new superintendent of Federal Way Public Schools Tammy Campbell has adopted new language to refer to the students of the district. In fact, her influence is clearly seen in that this language is ubiquitous with every person that I’ve recently interacted with in the district. They call the students “scholars.”
When I began to realize the consistency of this term, I was encouraged. The language we use, towards ourselves and one another, has a transformative power. This sounds mysterious, but it is really quite simple: our thoughts and words effect our beliefs, and when those beliefs are internalized, they produce our actions. Imagine what happens when not only teachers, but students see themselves as a scholar – capable, favored, and supported. The human heart is empowered to live greatly when living in the glow of acceptance and affirmation.
This must be part of the wonder that Mary was feeling when she was greeted by the angel Gabriel. Considering that the shepherds who saw the host of angels in the fields collapsed in fear, the natural assumption is that she would react in the same way; however, scripture comments that it is his gree ng that she wonders at. Perhaps she did tremble at the sight of Gabriel, but his initial words set a different tone for their conversation. Gabriel is one who stands in the presence of God (Luke 1:19). As God’s messenger, Gabriel’s greeting is a direct reflection of what he has heard from God. In this moment, Mary discovers that God’s primary thought of her is that she is favored and abundantly blessed. The power of His love towards her enables her to take up the challenging, but honorable task to which He has invited her.
When we think of encountering the presence of God, despite the knowledge that He loves us, often what surfaces is shame, and what follows is a harried time of confession. However, our Father’s thoughts and intentions towards us are continually favorable and bursting with delight. Mary stands in the place that we all stand, before the warm gaze of the Lord, inviting us to be a living sanctuary for His son, confident of His own ability to bring us forth in righteousness and make us a fit dwelling place for His presence. We must abide in His love and make room for His words to become realized in our hearts.
1. Consider how challening it is for us to receive the love and enjoyment of the Lord in both our weaknesses and strengths. What kinds of lies and broken beliefs keep us from abiding in the reality of his love for us? What are some truths from God’s word that tell you otherwise?
2. Think back to a prophetic word that the enemy accused you of never being or becoming true, whether it was related to an event, a dream, or a character trait. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to move past fear and accusation that keeps you from realizing the dreams of God’s heart for you, and ask Him to help you rely on Him for His empowerment and provision.