Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



It’s the biggest step of all: Moving from reason to surrender.
In the same way God initiates His call on our lives, He helps us respond in faith. That’s the miracle of this moment in Mary’s life. She believed Him. From the midst of her confusion He answered her saying:  "The Holy Spirit will come upon you…” And faith rose up in her. As I pondered this passage, I wrote in my journal:
“It’s as if the Lord said to Mary, ‘I will empower you.  I will overshadow you.  Whatever it is I want you to do, I’ll make it happen.  Don’t worry about it.  Just respond.  Present yourself to Me as a living sacrifice. Let Me transform your heart and your mind. Let Me make you a different person according to My design. Let My Holy Spirit change you and produce what you can’t do on your own. Let go so that I may transform you into a servant who is willing to drop all of what you thought your life should be—all your agendas, all your thoughts, all the things you have control over, all the things that you think are part of who you are, your identity, your life—and surrender!”
That’s what Mary did. By the help of the Holy Spirit she said “YES.”
"Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word."  (vs 38)

This is what I want in my life. I know it’s a process. It’s always a process. The only way we get to surrender is by the help of the Holy Spirit. He helps us believe. He helps us yield and give up own agendas. We can’t get there on our own. It doesn’t just automatically happen.
We need Him to empower us to say YES.

Some times we get stuck in the process. We move from confusion to reason. “Okay Lord, I get it. I think I understand.” But then stop there. Like I always say, if the Lord is calling me to cross the street, faith doesn’t just say “I believe.” Faith acts! It takes the first step off the curb. And this is where we need the help of the Holy Spirit. So yielded that we take that first step.
And receive the same kind of radical faith as Mary. 

She was an amazing woman. She was radically open to the presence of God in her life. It cost her everything.  Her whole life was turned upside down. But she becomes an example to us of how to move from confusion to reason to surrender. She shows us how to believe. She shows us how to receive this ability in the Holy Spirit to live for His praise and glory.

And do what she did. To say the Christmas YES.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



She was simply a young Jewish girl who desired to glorify God. 
Imagine it. The angel Gabriel appeared to her saying, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." (Lk 1:28) She is confused, distressed. Of course she is!

Look at vs 29: “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.” But this is where the process always begins. The Lord meets us. At first we’re troubled by it. But He slowly takes us through a process like He did Mary.
From confusion to reason to surrender.

I want to first say that Mary did not initiate this moment. God did. He initiated. Nothing great has been done in the kingdom of God that hasn’t first been initiated by God Himself.  Our very salvation is based on the fact that God initiates. 

Let me also say that His initiation always requires a faith response.
How did Mary do that? She did what we all should do: She asked a question! Gabriel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus” (vs :30-31) What was Mary’s reaction? She asked a question: "How will this be… since I am a virgin?" (vs 34)

I always ask people, “Do you think God want us to ask Him questions?” For me the answer is yes! Absolutely! When I don’t understand something in God’s word, I ask the Father, “What did you mean by that? Help me understand.” I love to ask questions. In fact my journals are filled with questions. As I dialogue with the Lord I write them down. It helps me recognize His answers when they come. I learned this from Mary’s life. Do you do that too?

When I was growing up in church, I was taught that to ask God a question was to display doubt and unbelief. Thankfully Mary was raised differently! She didn’t have any problem saying to Gabriel, “I have a question! How can I have a child when I’m a virgin?”

It’s all part of the process. We’re moving from confusion to reason.

And here’s the good news: He answers! The angel responded to her question by saying, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (vs 35) In other words, it’s beyond your ability Mary. The Holy Spirit will do this!

She may not have understood exactly what that meant. But one thing she knew. She didn’t have to worry about accomplishing what God had told her to do. He would do it. All she had to do was believe. And that was all she needed to know before she said…YES.

John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?