Today’s Scripture:  Luke 1:38

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Introduction:

This carol is quickly becoming one of my favorites just because every time I hear it…there’s some pretty stunning revelations within it.  I feel the Holy Spirit read to let loose…and therefore I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on this introduction…I’m going to get right into the message…I’m even going to wait till the end to post the video for today…so get ready cause I think this message is about to be awesome!

Today’s Message:  “Mary, Did You Know?

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am

Perhaps the greatest thing that irks me about Christmas is that it’s all about “baby Jesus”, but Jesus is anything but a baby.  He is…the Creator, He is the Lamb of God slain before the foundations of the world, and He is THE Great I AM.

Do you know why everyone wants to think of Jesus as “baby Jesus”?  Because He’s less imposing, and less threatening to our way of life.  See, if we pictured Jesus with eyes like fire coming back upon a pure white horse, with a tongue as of a sword…slaying people by merely speaking…that’s a much different picture than the cute, harmless baby Jesus isn’t it?

It’s much easier to picture baby Jesus than Jesus as the Lion of Judah.  It’s easier to picture Jesus as a baby, and forget about the fact that this baby made you and me as babies.

You see, when you make “baby Jesus” your focus…then you’re only seeing one part of Him.  Yes, the immaculate conception was a miracle.  Yes, the fact that God came to earth in human form, and started life like we all do is a miracle.

But…let us not forget that this “harmless baby” is…the same God that the four beasts sing about all day, every day…the One who is “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty Who Was and Is and Is to Come.”  He’s the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever.  He’s the God of Jacob, Issac, and Abraham.  He’s the God who whipped out cities like Sodom and Gomorrah so completely that there’s no record of their existence still  today.

So…while it’s wonderful to think of Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger…let us not forget that this baby isn’t just a baby…He is the King of kings and Lord of lords…and the whole reason He’s here…is to reconcile us to Himself.  Not bad for a “harmless baby”…Amen!?!

I told you…I felt like the Holy Ghost has some strong things to say through this message…Amen!?!

Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?

This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Can we think about these two lines in the song for a moment!?!  This “baby Jesus” came to make us new creations…in Him.  When you think about the next words…”this Child you delivered would soon deliver you.” How can you not like this song?  How can you not think about some of the lines in this song.  In fact, I would encourage you to Google this songs lyrics…and meditate upon them for a bit.  Because the words in this song tell a story that’s not about some helpless baby Boy…but the story of the Great I Am.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’m not really picturing a cute little baby…I am picturing a powerful and almighty God.  A God who loved me so much that He endured time on earth as a man, endured the Cross, and He did that because He desired to one day deliver me from myself…so that I could have the same kind of relationship with Him as Enoch, Elijah, Moses, and Adam enjoyed.

Enoch and Elijah were the only two men in the Bible who have yet to taste death.  They were raptured out of the world…like we will be one day.  They had such a relationship with God that rather than allow them to taste death…God just simply took them to be with Him.  We all know about how God shielded Moses’ eye and passed him by.  How Moses came down from that mountain shining with the glory of God upon Him.  Finally, Adam enjoyed the greatest relationship with Him because Adam got to walk and talk with God face to face in the cool of the day.

Friends…this little cute baby Boy…came to the world so that you and I could have Adam and Eve’s experience for ourselves.  Every one of us…having the same personal face to face relationship they enjoyed with the Great I am…which Mary one day would give birth to in human form.

This touching song has been played for well over three decades during the Christmas season. The lyrics are beautifully written and contain powerful phrases like Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand and that This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you. It’s a stirring line of questions by the songwriter that cause listeners to stand in amazement at the power of our God.

This “little baby” walked on water, calmed stormy seas, turned water into wine, fed thousands with a couple of fish and loaves of bread, and of course went to the Cross to deliver us all from ourselves and the power of hell, sin, and the grave.  This song is powerful, and I would really like to encourage you to take the time to read and reflect upon the lyrics of this song…and I challenge you to not come away with a different perspective on Jesus.  I know that when I actually really listened to the words of this song…I was blown away by it…and in a small way envious.  I was envious because Mary actually got to kiss the face of Jesus…what a moment that must’ve been when she realized Who she was actually kissing.

We really don’t know much about Mary except that she was a virgin and probably in her early teens. According to Luke 1:28, we know that she was “”highly favored” and that “”the Lord was with her”. Even without a stunning resume, God used her. Sweet, little Mary who kept to herself and wasn’t a big “”play maker” was invited by the Creator of the universe to change the world.

This brings me to a point with you and I.  You know what is so neat about the way God chose people?  They’re all simple people.  Jesus’ disciples weren’t the smartest and brightest from the Pharisee academy…they were regular people like you and I.  They weren’t the Scribes or religious zealots of that day.  They were tax collectors, fishermen, and the like.

God has always used regular people to accomplish the most through.  King David wasn’t a mammoth of a man, but a shepherd boy.  Abraham was Abram at first.  Noah wasn’t some pretty boy…neither was Moses.  In fact, it wasn’t until the Damascus Road experience with Paul that God had someone who was well versed in the scriptures and the law…but by the time God was done with Paul…Paul said that all that stuff he knew was rubbish, dung, worthless compared to the knowledge of Jesus…and that he still wanted to know more.

So, this brings me back to us.  You know, I’m certainly not a theologian, and I’ve never been to Bible School even.  I’ve never been to journalism school or taken creative writing classes to learn how to be a blogger for Jesus.  I just started writing because I believed that was what God wanted me to do…and well over 250 messages later…I’m writing messages that are transforming people’s lives.

What’s my point?  God doesn’t need flashy people to accomplish His mission…He needs yielded people.  Listen, you may look at yourself in the mirror like I did, and wonder how in the world God could use someone like you…but He can.  In fact, if you’re asking yourself that question…that more than likely means you already know what God’s calling you to do…because no one really looks at themselves in the mirror to ask what God would want with us…unless we know God’s letting us know He wants to use us to accomplish His Great Commission.

Friends, I don’t care if you don’t know the entire Bible from cover to cover.  I don’t.  In fact, there are some books of the Bible I have never even read before…but yet…God’s using me…and the only difference between us is that I stopped asking “why me?” and started believing “why not me?”.

Remember, the Bible says that God will use the foolish things of the world to confound the wisdom of the wise.  God’s had the mega church pastors, and they’re messing things up pretty badly aren’t they?  We have a whole lot of preachers that have become prosperity pimps, others are preaching a counterfeit gospel where everyone is going to heaven, and there are others who are preaching things that are way more damaging that others.

I believe the days of the superstar preachers are over.  It’s the small time, small town preachers like Pastor Cass Hill of New Life Christian Center who still believe and follow Paul’s admonition to “Preach the Word”.  We still believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority for a believer’s life…and that it’s just as valid today as ever before…and that it still speaks to the needs of men today.  It’s the evangelists like my friend and mentor  Evangelist Josh Radford who know of the hour in which we live, and has a heart on fire for reaching the lost.  It’s people like me who recognize that God’s calling us to use special gifts and talents like writing these messages to reach, feed, and disciple God’s sheep.

In case you’re wondering…if you’ll surrender your life…He most definitely can and will use you too.  All God’s looking for is people who are totally sold out for Him, and are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of the call of ministry.  Ministry is nothing more than using the gifts, talents, and abilities you have to serve others.  Maybe you’re a dance instructor…don’t you know that you can teach people to dance for Jesus.  Maybe you’re a poet…don’t you know that you can write poems about the love, grace, and mercy of God.

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do.  Everyone has gifting, abilities, and talents that God has given them…and when put to use for the advancement of the Kingdom of God…that’s your ministry.  So…what I’m saying is that if you’re willing…God can and will use you to change and effect other people’s lives…for Him.

Many think the reason He chose her is because of her willingness. Upon hearing how this would play out in her life, Mary’s response was, “”I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (Luke 1:38)

Mary simply said yes to her Lord with no conditions whatsoever.

I promise you that I didn’t read this next part of the devotional until just now.  I just got done saying that God can use anyone who just simply says “yes, Lord.”…without condition.

Listen, when I began to understand what I was called to do…I didn’t say:  “Yes, Lord, I’ll start writing messages, but I must have 1,000 Facebook followers before I do.”  Do you want to know what I said?  My answer was very simple.  “Yes, Lord, I don’t care if the only person I write these messages for is myself…I will do it…because I know You’re calling me to use what I have for Your glory.”

That’s all God is looking for, friends.  A ready and willing vessel.  I didn’t say able because God will make sure you’re able to carry out whatever it is He’s calling you to do.  Listen, I didn’t start out writing messages like this.  In fact, if you read my earlier messages…they’re kind of a mess…but now I’m writing a whole lot better messages.  There’s still spelling, grammar, and other errors…but little by little…God’s helping to develop me as a writer and help me to get better…He’s making me able…all He needed from me was a willingness to do what He was asking me to do…He’s taken care of the rest, friends.

Remember I said that I’d write these messages no matter how many I’m writing for.  Today there are well over 200 people who these messages are being shared with, and the best part is that some of them are all over the world.  Places like Iraq, India, Africa, England, Europe, Asia, and more.  I’m reaching people all over the world.  I never expected all of that when I started.  I figured most of my family and friends would be ministered to, but He took what I thought would happen…and showed me that my vision was too small.

I don’t want to go there because there’s a lot of specific stuff that can be hard to understand, and I really don’t have the time or the utterance of the Holy Ghost to get into all of that.  All I am saying is that if you’re willing He is able to take you and make whatever talents and abilities you have…become something so extraordinary that you’re stunned and in awe of what God can do.

Every once in a while I will go back and re-read messages I’ve written and I’m stunned at what I’m writing.  I’m amazed that these messages are coming from me, but then I realize that I have the greatest person training me…and I realize that the Holy Ghost knows what He’s doing…and perhaps my greatest talent is that I’m learning to get out of the Holy Ghost’s way…like I did with this message.

I told my wife that I was just going to get this message started.  In the last four days, I have worked almost 50 hours…and I have tomorrow off…and then it’s back to work for another night.  So…I’m in desperate need of some rest, but when I saw that this was the song for today’s message…I knew I would get started…and the Holy Ghost would take over.

Where are you in your life right now? How much of “”you” have you truly surrendered? Are you living the truth that “”your life is not your own” and that you’ve been “”brought with a price”? Is there something that you are missing out on because you won’t let Him lead?

I have surrendered a lot of myself, and I have a whole lot more yet that I need to.  I definitely know that my life is not my own today, and that I’m bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ.  I am an Ambassador for Christ…the Pastor and Founder of Christlike Ministries NWA.  I am called and chosen by God to use this particular method to walk in the vocation in which I’m called and chosen to walk in.

I am in the place of my life where I am some times stunned at what God’s doing in me, with me, and through me.  I’m amazed that when I look at the global reach I have with these messages, and in the beginning I thought I was barely going to reach people outside of my home.  But I see places like Ghana and I’m just amazed at how small my vision was…and how much bigger a plan God had.

We have a Messiah. His name is Jesus. He is the Savior of the world. He walked on water without a single bit of effort. He came and died to make us new. He gave sight to a blind man with some dirt and saliva. He woke up from a deep sleep and calmed a raging storm with his human hand. He fed over 5,000 people with a bit of bread and fish. He does the miraculous. And He has amazing plans for your life.

Friends, let’s stop thinking of Jesus as this helpless baby Boy, and start remembering that this baby is the Great I Am.  He’s the God of all Creation, and He’s the God that created you.  He has created you for this time, and there is a purpose for your being here.  God doesn’t just place people into the world randomly…He has a purpose, plan, and destiny for every person in the world at this exact time.

The difference.  There’s a lot of un-surrendered people walking around not knowing that God’s called them to do great and mighty things for Him.  There are many of you who were like me at first…wondering how in the heck God could use you for any good in this world, but it’s not up to us to decide whether or not we’re worthy.  If you’re wondering what in the world God could use a loser like you for…that means that first of all…you’re not a loser…and secondly…you already know God’s got a plan and purpose for you.

God decides and choses where we fit into the body of Christ as it pleases Him.  He knows what gifts, talents, and abilities He’s placed inside of you.  He also knows exactly how to develop them, and what He gave them to you for…and how they can be used to reach the people He’s called you to reach.

Let’s stop being so in love with this cute baby Boy known as Jesus…and start getting a revelation of just who God really is…and the fact that this little baby Boy is waiting to not only deliver you…but use you for the purpose of reaching and delivering others…through you.

Did you receive all of this?  I sure hope you did.  I’m going to close with a prayer, and then add today’s video and stuff at the end.  I just feel like we need to pray…and then we’ll go with what the Lord wants to do…Amen!?!

Let’s Pray:

Oh, Lord God, I just come before You to give You praise, glory, and honor.  Father, I sense that there are people reading this message that are in the midst of a struggle to understand why or how You could use them…just as I did…and some times still do.  Father, none of us know the impact that we’re going to have on the world.  I certainly never envisioned reaching people in other nations, but You have drawn so many people to this ministry in so many nations…including these United States of American.

Lord, I pray for those who are struggling to believe they can be used by You.  I pray this message would be an encouragement to them to ask You to show them what it is that You would have them to do.  I ask that You would give them the wisdom, courage, and ability to seek Your face…and that You would begin to shine Your light upon what You’ve placed within them to do for You and the advancement of Your Kingdom and the Gospel.

Lord, I pray for myself…that You would continue to open my eye to see the work that You’ve done and have yet to do in my life…and through my life.  I pray that I would be an encouragement to those who are straddling the fence as to whether to get into ministry or not.

Most of all, I thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place so that I could have fellowship with You.  Lord, I ask You to be with each and every one of us this night…and that You’d speak things to our hearts that You’ve never spoken.  I ask that You’d give us ears to hear Your voice today, tonight, and this entire weekend.

I ask that You would remind us that this little baby Jesus is the Great I Am…and that You are desiring to do great and mighty things through us.  Thank You for the Cross, Lord.  Thank You for the nail pierced hands.  Thank You for Your love Lord, thank You for the Blood of Jesus that washes and cleanses me of all unrighteousness…and I thank You for all that You’re doing, all that You’ve done, and all that You have yet to do in…with…and through my life.

I give You all the praise, all the glory, and all the honor.  I pray and ask these things in Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen.

Be A Doer…Not Just A Reader:

These are some really good questions to meditate, think, and pray upon.  I hope you’ll take the time to seek God’s face…and ask Him to reveal to you how you should answer these questions:

What have you not surrendered to God?

What is keeping you from doing so?

Today’s Video:

I have always liked this version of this song…enjoy:

Mary Did You Know By Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd

 

In Closing:

Well, I thought I was just going to start this message, but I got it all the way finished.  I guess some times even I have to learn to rely upon and trust that the Holy Ghost is going to help me do what I think is impossible.  I would like to add yet again that I thank all of you for your patience, and that I really need your prayers.

“Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:2)
Blessings & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer
Christlike Ministries NWA