Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. All things their Maker breaks, for all are lovely in their time and in their devious ways. Yet true it is to say, all beauty fades away. Save that which in the heart resides and cannot know decay. Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wonderful passion and purity. O Spirit divine, all my nature refined, till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me. Come Savior and refine this sinful heart of mine, removing everything that stains the loneliness divine. Welcome back to Words of Life, everybody. We are glad you're here.
I'm Bernie Dake. And I'm Cheryl Gillum. Man, this week we are continuing the series with Lieutenant Colonel Helen Starrett studying incredible women in the Bible. Today she discusses probably the most well-known woman in the Bible, Mary of Nazareth. As Helen continues to share the stories of these women, it's as if their stories were modern movies.
The challenges she shares that Mary went through would still be troubling today. I mean, if your teenage daughter came to you and told you that she was pregnant, I mean, obviously you'd think that there was a relationship that must have taken place. Right. And this was not that. No, and then she says, no, that's not the case at all. So, I mean, yeah, it was scandalous, right? And so Mary, who's an ordinary teenager, kind of minding her own business, gets visited by this angel and is told she's going to be the mother of the Messiah, of Jesus, the Savior. So God used this ordinary young woman to do an extraordinary thing in this world, to birth the Savior of the world. I mean, I just can't imagine the weight of the world that was on her shoulders. And yet we see throughout the scripture, although obviously we don't have like that, like you said, that movie view of it, we see just this piece that kind of rests on her.
Because when God does extraordinary things for ordinary people, there's just this piece. Amen. Yeah. Joseph plays no small part in that, but we're really focusing on the women of the Bible in this series.
And honestly, coming into the series, as we looked through the scripts ahead of time, there are two or three characters that I couldn't tell you many things about. So it's pretty timely that you have someone who's got such a passion for storytelling and teaching like Helen to just share some perspective with us. Absolutely. Take a deep dive into the Word. Absolutely.
We're so thankful for her. Amen. What you put in is what you'll get out. It's a pretty simple principle. And we want to encourage you from here, from Words of Life, to get into the Word.
It's so important. And try to identify with characters. That'll help you associate yourself with what God's trying to tell you or maybe even open up yourself to a word that God has for you through these stories. I think one thing that is highlighted out of this whole series is not just God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He loves women. Women have a rightful place in the kingdom of God doing His work. And I think over and over again, especially Jesus points to that. And He uses women not just because He wants to use them in extraordinary ways, I think, but it's also showing the importance of women in the kingdom of God. And so I think that I'm so grateful for Helen again to deep dive and to show us that importance as well.
Yeah. This is the greatest story of using the ordinary for the extraordinary. And we hope that you'll be encouraged by it.
Welcome. There's no better way to begin our look at today's woman than to begin with one of my favorite books. This book begins with a mother rocking a newborn baby, saying, I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be. The book progresses and ends with a young man cradling the mother. I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my mommy you'll be. Mary's story is recorded in Matthew, Luke, John, and Acts. Mary of Nazareth is the most significant in the lineage of Christ because she is His earthly mother. Mary gave birth to a baby and watched him die as her savior.
What an awesome responsibility for a teenager. God uses ordinary people for His kingdom. God did not choose Mary because she was unique. Mary was unique because God chose her. He knew her heart, her trusting nature, her faith. We all know the greatest story ever told, how an angel appeared and told Mary she would carry a baby and he would be the son of God.
She didn't ask the angel to intercede on her behalf. She trusted God with the consequences of this miraculous birth. Mary needed encouragement and went to visit her aunt Elizabeth.
Both women instantly recognized their babies would have significant importance. Mary may have wanted to pour an extra cup of tea for this discussion. Here are just a few of the topics that might have been discussed around that tea table. Joseph not understanding and thinking the worst. Joseph breaking their engagement. Mary's family not understanding. The public stigma and scandal of an unwed pregnancy. Gossip on the part of the people in her town.
A public stoning. She must have been in constant prayer with God the Father to find strength to handle any of these questions and doubts. Mary returned home and found that Joseph was prepared to stand by her. What follows is the most extraordinary miracle of the Bible and of the world. We are told that Mary treasured all these things in her heart. Jesus was raised in the Jewish tradition along with his brothers and sisters.
As was tradition, the family traveled each year to go to the temple to make sacrifices for the festival of Passover. When the family was returning, they realized that Jesus was not with them. Panic. No cell phones.
No social media. But don't be too hard on the family. Jesus was at an age when he would have fit in with the women and the children or with the men.
So it was an easy mistake to assume that he was traveling with one or the other groups. After three days, they find him in the temple with the teachers. We can feel a bit of Mary's anxiety. Son, why have you treated us like this? We've been searching for you. Jesus' response was simply, I must be about my Father's business.
Why do you worry? This was a turning point. Jesus was on a mission. Mary could not get in his way. The years between this temple adventure and Jesus' adulthood have not been recorded. The next time we see Mary, she and Jesus are invited to a wedding.
They are attending a family wedding in Cana. The wine runs out, and Mary assesses the situation and asserts herself. She tells Jesus what's happening.
She doesn't try to fix the problem on her own. Jesus and Mary interact. Jesus said, woman, what do you want me to do?
It's not my time. Mary is aware of Jesus' power, and she instructs the servants to do just as Jesus instructs. This is Jesus' first miracle.
The most extraordinary event to ever take place was witnessed by ordinary people. Was this the first step in Jesus stepping away and Mary learning to let go of her Son and welcoming a Savior? Mary continued to watch, worry, and worship for the next three years. She understood danger was coming and had no way to protect Jesus.
The events that follow are hard to imagine. As a mother, they must have been unbearable. Mary can only watch as her son is bruised, beaten, and crucified as a common criminal. Mary never sat down, never turned away. She stood with her son as only a mother could. Again, we recognize Mary as a mother, totally devoted to Christ.
We can only hope she was able to cling to all she had treasured in her heart. The relationship between Mary and Jesus is revealed on the cross. Not only was Jesus her Savior, he recognized the need to care for his mother.
As long as I'm living, my mommy you'll be. To continue to care for Mary after his death was a sacred decision. In trusting Mary to John, Jesus speaks from the cross, and he says to Mary, This is your son, and to John, this is your mother, planning for her as he hung on the cross. John would take care of Mary, they would support each other, and help assuage each other's grief.
As their physical relationship changed forever, their eternal one had just begun. Mary was the only person present with Jesus at both his birth and his death. Mary believed God would take and manage all he promised, trusted his son to care for her, and in doing so, became an extraordinary example of God's love. This week, may God show you the extraordinary in the ordinary.
God bless you today. Email us at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org. Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store, and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews, and more. If you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Music
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