This Christmas, we are revisiting some of the teaching surrounding Jesus’ birth that we have looked at in our Luke series. I’ve entitled this teaching series, ‘Mary Treasured up These Things’ (from Luke 2:19) because my hope and prayer is that, like Mary, we will treasure the story the truths and the God of the Christmas story.
Today, we reflect on Mary’s song of worship and how we can develop in our worship by creating a culture of encouragement, being thankful for salvation and recalling truths about God.
You can listen to this devotional at:
1. Let’s inspire worship in each other by creating a culture of encouragement
‘”Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her! And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord”’ (Luke 1:45-46)
As Elizabeth, is filled with the Spirit, she overflows and encourages Mary as we see in verses 41-45; Mary, in turn is inspired to worship God in such a beautiful way. Likewise, we can use our words to inspire hope and worship in others. I believe that it’s God’s will that we be filled with the Spirit so as to inspire others to worship - imagine church if we all turned up like that!
2. Let’s Begin prayer and worship with humble thankfulness for salvation in Jesus.
‘And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.’ (Luke 1:46-49)
In verses 46-55, we find Mary's song. She begins with praise that is from her 'soul' and 'spirit'. True worship must come from our inner selves. Jesus teaches us that true worship is 'in spirit and in truth,' and Mary's song is a great example of this.
She begins by addressing God as 'my Saviour.' Mary is not a sinless human being, and her worship begins with thankfulness for salvation and gratitude for His mercy towards her in her 'humble state.' Remembering God's mercy towards us is crucial when entering His presence in worship.
3. Worship is enriched by recalling truth about God
‘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)
From verse 50 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. David sets us a great example of an overflowing should of worship because He knew and rehearsed truth about God”
‘Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ (Psalm 103:1-5)
Our ability to worship and also encourage and inspire others will be greatly affected by what we bring out of what is stored in our minds and hearts.
Today, we’ve reflected on Mary’s song of worship and how we can develop in our worship by creating a culture of encouragement, being thankful for salvation and recalling truths about God.
May we learn to worship like Mary and we will be greatly helped through developing a culture of encouragement, being thankful for salvation and recalling the truth about God.
Like Elizabeth, do we inspire worship in others?
Like Mary, when we worship, do we treasure and ponder our salvation? When we have a time of prayer or when we lead others in prayer and worship, let us begin with humble thankfulness for the privilege of salvation.
Finally, do we, like Mary and like David, bring out of our hearts the things that we have stored as we worship? Do we have good habits through which we fill our minds and hearts with truth that the Holy Spirit can use in worship?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
In particular, we have services on Christmas Eve, Sunday 24th December 10:30am - 11:30am; Monday 25th December, Christmas Day Family Service
10am - 11am; and Sunday 31st December 10:30am - 12pm.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
This Christmas, we will revisit in more detail some the teaching surrounding Jesus’ birth that we have looked at in our Luke series. I’ve entitled this teaching series, ‘Mary Treasured up These Things’ (from Luke 2:19) because my hope and prayer is that, like Mary, we will treasure the story the truths and the God of the Christmas story.
Please be aware that we are producing devotionals to accompany this series and encourage you over the Christmas period.
Please read Luke 2:13-14
Why is it surprising and what is the message behind God appearing to shepherds specifically?
The angels promise, ‘Peace on earth’; what are the different kinds of peace that this refers to? (Try to find Bible verses that substantiate your thoughts).
What are the ways that one can enjoy the peace of God each day and over this Christmas period?
SIV - How would you being filled with God’s peace and being a peace maker make you an effective witness to the gospel?
SIV - How would you help a non-believer who pointed to war and suffering as a reason to doubt these words from the angels?
SIV - Do we have any recent stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’?
SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.