Mary: A Lesson for the Ages

 

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In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.  The virgin’s name was Mary.  Upon arriving, the angel said to her: “Rejoice, O highly favored daughter!  The Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among women.”  She was deeply troubled by his words, and wondered what his greeting meant.  The angel went on to say, to her: “Do not fear, Mary.  You have found favor with God.  You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus.  Great will be his dignity and he will be called Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.  He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end.”

Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I do not know man?”

The angel answered her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; hence, the holy offspring to be born will be called Son of God.  Know that Elizabeth your kinswoman has conceived a son in her old age; she who was thought to be sterile is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible with God.”

Mary said: “I am the servant of the Lord.  Let it be done to me as you say.” (Luke 1:26-38, NAB)

Mary was a teenager betrothed to an older man, Joseph.  Her life was all planned out, and then the Angel Gabriel visited her.  Mary didn’t believe she was anything special, so why would God chose her for this special job.  Besides, this news would destroy her well planned life.  Joseph wouldn’t want to marry her now.  But, Mary didn’t consider any of this.  Instead she responded in faith, and God guarded Mary’s reputation by sending an angel to Joseph.  Mary and Joseph quickly wed and did not have sexual relations until after the child was born.

 

After Jesus was born, for the next 30 years he lived with his family.  Jesus had a normal childhood, because Mary’s vision of his identity was clouded by God.  So Jesus grew up with a home and siblings provided by Mary and Joseph.  When he was old enough he even carried on his foster father’s carpentry trade.  When Jesus did finally begin God’s work, Mary and his siblings were puzzled and uncertain about His ministry, but Mary continued to live in her faith.

 

Everyone should have faith like Mary.  Through her faith she glorified God.  Mary’s simple faith and readiness to do God’s will was a testimony to her faith.  Each of us is given our own unique gifts that we are to use to glorify God.

 

Two necessary things are needed for doing great things for God.  The first is God’s responsibility.  It is a work he undertakes on your behalf.  “I repeat, it is owing to His favor that salvation is yours through faith.  This is not your own doing, it is God’s gift; neither is it a reward for anything you have accomplished, so let no one pride himself on it.  We are truly his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to lead the life of good deeds which God prepared for us in advance.” (Ephesians 2:8-10, NAB)  In Ephesians we are told our salvation is through the work of Christ and a gift from God.

 

The second requirement is a willingness to serve God in whatever way He chooses to call you.  Mary stepped out in faith in response to God, and experienced great joy and suffering because of it.  Her joy came in the birth and life of Jesus Christ.  Her greatest suffering came with the crucifixion of Jesus, but the joy returned with His resurrection.  She lived her life in the presence of Jesus.  Mary like many of us was an ordinary woman who had a commitment to her call, and because of her commitment God blessed her.

 

Questions to Ponder:

 

  1. What is my commitment to God like?
  2. Would I be willing to sacrifice my life to do God’s work?

Excerpted from Women of the Bible: A Study by Christina Weigand

 

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Buy Links

Amazon Print: https://www.amazon.com/Women-Bible-Study-Christina-Weigand/dp/1461042666/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1481034420&sr=8-3&keywords=Christina+Weigand

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Women-Bible-Study-Christina-Weigand-ebook/dp/B00X19HRW6/ref=sr_1_4_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481034471&sr=8-4&keywords=Christina+Weigand

Barnes & Noble Print: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/women-of-the-bible-christina-weigand/1121859402?ean=9781461042662

Hide it in Your Heart Coloring Book

Myrria is doing something a little different today. Our friend Annie Douglas Lima has published a coloring book. Myrria and I took a look at it and are really excited to share it with you.

More than just a coloring book, this inspirational activity book will help you relax, unwind, and enjoy some creative fun while hiding God’s Word in your heart. 
The 35 separate verses and passages are printed in colorable word art with decorative borders, blank on the back to make them easier to remove and frame or display, if desired. Each one is accompanied by two different activities or puzzles featuring the verse or key words from it. 

Hide it in Your Heart is an ideal Scripture memorization aid for Christian schools, homeschool programs, Sunday schools, or your own personal use. Children and adults will enjoy learning, practicing, and meditating on these artistically presented verses from the New International Version Bible. 
 
Proceeds from the sale of Hide it In Your Heart will be donated to www.Christar.org to help provide a translation of God’s Word for a particular people group in East Asia who do not yet have the Bible in their own language.
 
Here are a few sample coloring and activity pages from Hide it In Your Heart. If you’d like to color them or complete the word puzzles, click here to access a PDF that you can download and print.
Hide it In Your Heart is available in paperback on Amazon. Click here to order your copy for $8.99. 
HOWEVER, you can get it for 15% off if you order it here on CreateSpace with coupon code JZBVVBH8The code can be used an unlimited number of times and will not expire, so feel free to order as many copies as you like for family and friends. Hide it In Your Heart makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys word puzzles, coloring, or God’s word! 
You’re welcome to share the code with others, too.
Happy coloring!

 

About the Author:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in
Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and
her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published thirteen books (two YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, five anthologies of her
students’ poetry, and a Scripture coloring and activity book). Besides writing,
her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction),
scrapbooking, and international travel.


 
 
Connect with Annie Douglass Lima online:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook of “interviews” with characters from her fantasy series: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates
 

Karina Fabian Talks About Discovery

Karina Fabian stopped by the Dragon’s Lair to talk about her new book Discovery. Although Myrria was disappointed that Vern wasn’t with her, we were excited to meet a couple of new characters from her book. So on to the book and the introductions.

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Discovery

The truth is out there. The Truth is in you.

Interview with Sean and James:

When you have an exploration team, whether on Star Trek or in a stand-alone movie, you know what you never see? Documentarists and archaeologist. And yet, who would you send to study a new civilization? Discovery takes place only 150 years in the future, so while we have some fun, fancy recording tech, we still need someone to direct and put it together, and an archaeologist? Well, how about if Dr. James Smith explains in this pre-exploration interview led by documentarist Sean Ostrand?

Sean sets the virtual recording mike and biomonitors under James’ shirt: Okay, you’re set. Hey! Don’t scratch at that.

James pulls his hand away in a sign of surrender: It itches. I thought the headgear picked up emotional cues.

Sean: It does, but you get all tense when I have it on, so we’re going old-school. I’ll ask you a couple of questions to get you started, but just talk as much as you want about the mission, okay? You can even help me edit later. So, let’s start with a little about you. What’s your background?

James: I’m Doctor James Smith. PhD, not medicine, of course. And I’m an archaeologist, specializing in ancient MesoAmerican cultures with a recent emphasis on Contract Archaeology. I started my archaeology career at TerraTech University as a Professor of Undergraduate Studies, teaching four entry-level courses –

Sean: Oh, I get you were an awesome teacher. I’d have loved learning about ancient civilizations if you were teaching. I took one class on Greek and Roman architecture, mostly for scene building ideas, you know?, and –

James: I thought you wanted me to talk?

Sean: Oh, I do, but you’re so uptight, and I don’t need your CV, anyway. I just want you to relax. Think of this as a conversation, except you get to do all the talking. At least, from now on.

James laughs: All right, I get it. (Sighs to release tension as he switches gears.) After a few years teaching at TTUI, I was asked to advise at a construction site for ColeCorp’s new Western Hemisphere headquarters. It’s along the Rio Verde, north of Estacion Naranjo. Not a lot there, but they thought they’d found some Aztec ruins. If so, then the empire stretched even farther than previously thought, so it could have been big. It turned out to be a false alarm, most likely a small band of travelers or traders who had some interesting artifacts in their inventory. Still exciting, except that I fought with the lead contract archaeologist practically every day for a week. He wanted to give up, hand over the site to the government and move the building elsewhere, whether there was anything worthwhile or not.

Anyway, I impressed Cole enough that he put me in charge of all Western Hemisphere construction. Lots of paperwork, but I also got to be hands-on for most of the digs, which is more than I got teaching at TTUI. Plus, Cole’s an amateur archaeologist himself. He had the connections to get to some interesting digs around the world, and I got to tag along.

Sean: That’s cool. My dad’s good friends with Mr. Cole, but he’s an accountant, so we never did anything interesting. He gave me my first V-Rec set, though I don’t think he remembers. Are you and Cole friends?

James: We are. Frankly, I don’t’ think I’d be here otherwise.

Sean: Oh, do tell! I mean, seriously, no one thinks of an archaeologist on a deep space mission, and exploring an alien ship. You’re into ancient cultures not high tech.

James: But that’s exactly why I’m here. Cole’s unconventional in his thinking, sometimes, but he makes good sense. We don’t know anything about these aliens, and frankly, there are some things you can’t glean from the hard sciences. I’m here to give the overall context to our finds and to see what insights we can gain into how they lived as a People, if that makes sense.

I mean, they traveled all this way, and unless they had some amazing technology, it took them months, maybe years. They’ll have settled on that ship, had time for entertainment, relationships, maybe even religion. Things an engineer or even a biologist don’t know how to look for. It’s optimistic at best to think we’ll find compatible technology that will show us…say, movies or a video diary that tells us about the little details of their everyday lives. Our first glimpse of how they lived, how they interacted, even what they thought was important, is going to be in the items they left behind – and where and how those items were placed. And who knows how to record and interpret that data?

Sean grinned: The archaeologist. This is going to be such a nova adventure!

James grins back: I don’t think we know the half of it!

Blurb:

Sisters Ann, Tommie and Rita are part of a classified mission to explore an alien ship that has crash landed on an asteroid three billion miles from earth. Humanity’s first contact with beings from beyond the solar system is bound to unlock the mystery of life in the universe, but the crew have their own secrets; hidden fears, desires, horrible sins – and a mission to kill. Researchers discover something unique about the third arm of the ship: something wonderful, terrifying and…holy. This discovery challenges Rita and Ann to confront their own pasts in order to secure the safety of the mission and the very souls of the crew.

Info Link: http://karinafabian.com/DiscoveryRun

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Discovery-Karina-Fabian-ebook/dp/B01LJX7INS/

Excerpt:

Ann sat at an empty table in the cafeteria, but she wasn’t alone. A beautiful man with dark curls and royal robes sat beside her — or made the affectation of sitting. He was talking to her about how shepherding and ruling a nation of strong-minded people weren’t all that different, and she picked at her food and did her best to commit his words to memory. He was so excited and so pretty that Ann didn’t have the heart to tell King David she didn’t understand half of what he was saying.

“Can I join you?” a very live voice said, and she looked up with a start, wondering for one wild moment if the speaker had seen the shepherd king.

Sean smiled at her with calm reassurance. “No cameras, no interviews, I promise. If you sisters want to stay out of the picture, that’s just more glory to everyone else.”

“Glory belongs to God,” she replied.

For some reason, he took that as permission to sit. From the corner of her eye, she saw David raise his brows in amusement and fade from the scene.

“Well, sure,” Sean agreed amicably enough, “but don’t you think in this case God is willing to share?”

“God’s always willing to share. People don’t understand that. His invitation/shared glory; shared suffering/Blessed yin and yang.

Sean paused, his fork halfway to his lips. “Wow. That’s nova. Did you write that?”

“Oh, no. Father Francis Tran’s Haikus on Martyrdom.”

“I’ll have to look them up. I thought haikus were supposed to be about nature?”

“What’s more natural than giving your life for God?”

His mouth pursed a moment, then he nodded. “So what else do you like to read?”

She sighed and again picked at her food. “Right now, I probably should be reading up on sheep.”

He laughed. “Thinking of becoming a shepherd?”

She glanced to where King David had sat only moments before. “I’m not sure I get the choice.”

His laughter died. “Really?”

She set her fork down and again met his eyes with an earnest gaze. “It depends on what you mean by real. In the 1920s, quantum physics suggested that there was no objective reality, but that observation influenced reality, and they’re still experimenting on that today. Dr. Endor Galvin believes that the key to instantaneous interplanetary communications depends on it. To carry on a conversation between our worlds, we must speak through a different reality. In 2010, astrophysicists found evidence that even the most basic laws of physics might only be locally applied. Psychology says perceptions equal reality on some level. Yet in Colossians, Saint Paul reminds us that the only reality is Christ.”

He chewed on his lip, digesting this. She liked that about the documentarist. He didn’t dismiss what she said, even when he didn’t understand it. “Okay, but let me rephrase that. Do you mean literal shepherd?”

“David was a shepherd; then he became a king, but in a sense, all he did was change his flock. Jesus, of course, is the Good Shepherd. So do you need domesticated ruminants of the cattle family? Are the skills so different?”

Sean whistled. “You know a lot. Me, I only ever wanted to know about virtual reality and recording. Don’t spread it around, but I got this job because my dad’s in tight with Cole; usually, I do interactive VR work.”

 

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By day, Karina is a mild-mannered reviewer of business software and services for TopTenReviews.com. After hours, she’s a psychic intent on saving the world; a snarky dragon who thinks he saves the world all-too regularly, a zombie exterminator who just wants her world clear of undead vermin, and Catholic religious sisters whose callings have taken them off our world. Needless to say, her imagination is vast, her stories legion, and her brain crowded. When she’s not converting her wild tales to stories, she’s enjoying time with her husband, Rob, their four kids, and their two dogs.

Find Karina at:

Website: http://fabianspace.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karina.fabian

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/KarinaFabian

Google +:  https://plus.google.com/103660024891826015212