‘His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants for ever, just as he promised our ancestors.’ Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.’ (Luke 1:50-56)
Summary: Learn and recall what God has done in the past as inspiration for worship.
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From verse 51 to 55, Mary's worship is founded on a recounting of what God has done in the past, as she repeats the phrase 'He has...': 'He has performed... scattered... brought down... lifted up... filled the hungry... sent the rich away... helped His servant Israel.' Mary's song is built upon a lifetime of practice. Similar to Mary, the Holy Spirit uses what we have allowed Him to fill our minds with. Those who regularly engage in study and prayer will have a greater reserve from which to worship, pray, counsel, and more. Jesus speaks of this when He says:
“…The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” (Matthew 12:34-35)
Like Mary, our mouths will speak what our hearts are full of. A ‘good person’ speaks of good things which he or she has purposely ‘stored up’ in themselves. What we choose to store in our minds reveals if we are truly a Christian - A Christian loves God’s truth! Our ability to encourage and inspire others through what we bring out of storage reveals if we are taking our call to discipleship seriously.
Learn and remember what God has done in the past as a source of inspiration for worship. Investing in our hearts and minds to be able to praise God and help others is a long-term endeavour based on daily practices. A simple practice is to worship and pray using a text of scripture that inspires you from your daily reading.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read Luke 1:39-80
On Sunday, we saw that when the Holy Spirit is working in someone, this will, as with Elizabeth, Mary and Zechariah, result in praise and joy which overflows in encouragement for others.
Did anything particularly strike you from Sunday's message?
In Luke 1:39-45, how does Elizabeth encourage Mary and what does this result in?
When we are filled with the Spirit, we will encourage others, why is this so and why is this important?
In Luke 1:46-45, we overhear Mary's song of worship as she is inspired by the Spirit. How could you develop your personal and corporate worship?
In Luke 1:67-80, we overhear Zechariah's 'prophetic' song of worship as he, like Mary, is filled with the Spirit. What does this 'prophetic' song teach us about God and hope?
SIV - This section is full of the work of the Spirit. If we are full of the Spirit, what will happen regarding our witness?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?