Tag Archives: lowly

Today’s Scripture – June 10, 2017

Luke 1:46-55 (NIV) And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
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.
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 forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

If a person only read the first four verses of Mary’s inspired poem, they might come to the conclusion that Mary’s focus was all on herself. But the fact is, it was her recognition of the miracle that God was including her in that inspired the whole chain of thought. When someone sees the miracles that God is doing in their own lives for what they are, they can suddenly see beyond that to other ways and other places that God has worked and is currently working.

In Mary’s case, she recognized fully that she wasn’t anyone special that God should have chosen her. Instead, His selection of her to bear His Son was an act of grace, enabled by her wholehearted devotion to Him. In this one act, God had pulled her of the obscurity in which 99.99% of the people in the world live and die, and had given her a key role to play in His redemptive plan.

But in the midst of this realization, she also realized that God had always worked His plan of redemption through the lives, not of the rich and powerful, but of the non-descript and ordinary who had given their hearts to Him. Often He raised these devoted people from obscurity to high position, like Joseph the son of Israel and King David. But at the time that His call was placed on their lives, they were just normal people living out normal lives.

Mary could see that, through both her own pregnancy and that of Elizabeth, God was remembering and fulfilling the promises He had made to His people to restore them and to bless them. The two of them were not only living in the times of fulfillment, they, as humble and unassuming as they were, had been given key roles to play in that fulfillment.

Even today God is at work in the world setting people free. And even today He tends to work,  not through the rich and powerful, whose lives are often full of thier own agendas, but through the lowly and meek, the nobodys, who are humble and completely devoted to Him. Through them, God is currently changing the shape of people’s lives around the world, transforming not only their own personal futures, but actively transforming whole societies through their lives.

Father, Your ways are so different than ours, but Your ways result in transformation, while ours are so much less powerful and effective in making the positive changes we want to see. Help me, as one of Your people, to yield myself entirely to You, to never seek out the world’s approval, but only Yours; to never follow the world’s path to success, but to be willing and open to whatever You call on me to be and to do. Amen.

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Today’s Scripture – May 1, 2013

Psalm 138:6 (NIV):  Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,

but the proud he knows from afar.

 

It seems like a contradiction to many that God, though the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the God who is highly exalted and lifted up, shuns those who exalt themselves, and associates most closely with those who are meek and lowly.  And this is not out of pity, but because those lowly ones most clearly show God’s own character – they are most like Him.

The fact is, though He is God, though He is sovereign and all-powerful, He is also lowly in heart.  This might seem strange to many to think of Him in that way, but think about it for a minute.  From the very beginning, since the creation of the universe, God lowered Himself to make it all real.  He got His own hands dirty dealing with material things, quite literally when He formed man from the dust of the ground.  He did not delegate this task of dealing with material things to lower beings, like angels; He did it Himself.  And then He did not stand far off from His creation, but stooped down constantly to interact with these creatures that He made, walking with them, talking with them, and revealing Himself to them so that He could have a relationship with them.

Of course, the deepest lowering He ever did was the incarnation of Jesus – the God of the universe confining Himself to a physical body!  Even then, Jesus could have shown Himself as a demigod, or an avatar, powerful and unconquerable, compelling people to worship Him.  But He came as a lowly child, who grew into a real human man.  Even though His hands had created all things, He came to his creation, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:28)

Even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, God still stoops to be with His creation in powerful relationship, incarnating Himself anew in each believer as the whole Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, comes to dwell in our hearts through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Once again, God lives in houses of clay instead of in grand palaces!  He works through those who are lowly enough to surrender their whole lives to Him – to admit from the start that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”  (Revelation 3:17)  And through those lowly ones, those who are willing to stoop down to those lost and in need, those most like God Himself, He works to recreate the world.

 

Father, I must admit that I am stunned by this revelation.  It totally changes the way I see everything!  Thank You for being lowly enough, loving enough, to humble Yourself for me, for all of us!  Thank You for revealing Yourself in ways that we can understand.  Thank You for all of it!  Amen.

 

In God’s kingdom, it is…helpful to picture a huge saucer into which is thrown all the people of God in all their giftedness, from the least to the greatest.  Those most strongly gifted for ministry will not rise to the top, but sink to the bottom, where they may undergird and provoke (in the original sense of “challenge” or “call forth”) the rest of the people of God.  (Columbanus:  Letter to a Young Disciple)

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Today’s Scripture – May 1, 2013

Psalm 138:6 (NIV):  Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly,

but the proud he knows from afar.

 

It seems like a contradiction to many that God, through the God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the God who is highly exalted and lifted up, shuns those who exalt themselves, and associates most closely with those who are meek and lowly.  And this is not out of pity, but because those lowly ones most clearly show God’s own character – they are most like Him.

The fact is, through He is God, though He is sovereign and all-powerful, He is also lowly in heart.  This might seem strange to many to think of Him in that way, but think about it for a minute.  From the very beginning, since the creation of the universe, God lowered Himself to make it all real.  He got His own hands dirty dealing with material things, quite literally when He formed man from the dust of the ground.  He did not delegate this task of dealing with material things to lower beings, like angels; He did it Himself.  And then He did not stand far off from His creation, but stooped down constantly to interact with these creatures that He made, walking with them, talking with them, and revealing Himself to them so that He could have a relationship with them.

Of course, the deepest lowering He ever did was the incarnation of Jesus – the God of the universe confining Himself to a physical body!  Even then, Jesus could have shown Himself as a demigod, or an avatar, powerful and unconquerable, compelling people to worship Him.  But He came as a lowly child, who grew into a real human man.  Even though His hands had created all things, He came to his creation, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:28)

Even after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, God still stoops to be with His creation in powerful relationship, incarnating Himself anew in each believer as the whole Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, comes to dwell in our hearts through the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Once again, God lives in houses of clay instead of in grand palaces!  He works through those who are lowly enough to surrender their whole lives to Him – to admit from the start that they are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”  (Revelation 3:17)  And through those lowly ones, those who are willing to stoop down to those lost and in need, those most like God Himself, He works to recreate the world.

 

Father, I must admit that I am stunned by this revelation.  It totally changes the way I see everything!  Thank You for being lowly enough, loving enough, to humble Yourself for me, for all of us!  Thank You for revealing Yourself in ways that we can understand.  Thank You for all of it!  Amen.

 

In God’s kingdom, it is…helpful to picture a huge saucer into which is thrown all the people of God in all their giftedness, from the least to the greatest.  Those most strongly gifted for ministry will not rise to the top, but sink to the bottom, where they may undergird and provoke (in the original sense of “challenge” or “call forth”) the rest of the people of God.  (Columbanus:  Letter to a Young Disciple)

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