What Mary and Elizabeth can teach us about receiving a calling from God

PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 07: Visitation of the Virgin Mary, stained glass windows in the Saint Laurent Church, Paris, France on January 07, 2018.

After Jesus was conceived, his mother  Mary “…went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah,”[1] to stay with her cousin Elizabeth who she just had been told was 6 months pregnant.  This is significant. But more about this later. Let’s first look at Elizabeth.

She spent almost her entire married life, as a baren woman. This means that her “life would have been particularly difficult, as barrenness was usually believed to be the fault of the woman.”[2] This is not true as exemplified in how the author of Luke describes her and her husband “… they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.”[3] This all changed “ when her husband was “an old man”[4] and she was “advanced in years,”[5] and the Archangel Gabriel came to visit John (like he would visit Mary 6 months later).

He came to tell him “… “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord…”[6]

What an overwhelming joy Elizabeth must have felt when she realized that her dream had come true.  While most people would have shared the news far and wide, letting people know that they weren’t to be looked down upon anymore. Because they were pregnant, Elizabeth did the opposite. As it says in Luke “for five months she kept herself hidden…”[7]

Now back to Mary, who came to visit Elizabeth right after she herself became pregnant. And then stayed there the entire three months that Elizabeth had left of her pregnancy.

I believe that Mary and Elizabeth’s actions can teach us something about being called by God.

  • Callings have no age limit.

Mary it’s very young and Elizabeth very old. No one is outside the range of being call by God.

  • Callings are given to us from God

Mary had not previously asked for a baby, but Elizabeth had. Yet, they were both were happy about their call to motherhood.

  • Callings need to be protected

Elizabeth was used to being looked down upon before her pregnancy. So, she wisely decided the best thing to do would be to hide herself away in the early months.

This makes a lot of sense because if she made a lot of noise about being pregnant before she even started showing, I’m sure she would have faced a lot of ridicule and/or a lot of people telling her that the pregnancy wasn’t going to last. This negativity could have caused her distress, which might have made her lose her baby.

Mary left her community and went to Elizabeth where she found joy and could gain daily encouragement in the fact that Elizabeth was a living breathing example that “Nothing will be impossible with God.”

Can you even imagine all that Mary would have gone through had she stayed in her hometown? Becoming pregnant while engaged to another would not have gone over well.

From these two women we can learn that when God gives us a calling, we need to protect it, keeping it hidden until our faith can grow so big that birthing it is the only option.


[1] Luke 1:39 ESV

[2] Brandon Ridley, “Elizabeth, Mother of John the Baptist,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

[3] Luke 1:6 ESV

[4] Luke 1:18 ESV

[5] Luke 1:18 Esv

[6] Luke 1:13–15, ESV

[7] Luke 1:24, ESV

Faith Hero – George Mueller

George Mueller

When my daughter was five, she was in a group at church called “Kids on a Mission.”

It was a wonderful program for elementary aged children that taught them the value of serving others. They met on Wednesday night and, along with the leaders, spent the year learning about Christian heroes of the faith, (among other things, like playing games, dancing, and doing acts of service in the community once a month).

I joined as a leader and was (like other leaders) given the task of teaching about George Mueller. At that time, I had never heard of him and started doing research. Afterwards I was amazed that he was not more widely known.

The man was amazing. If the Bible has been written in his lifetime, he surely would surely made it into the Hebrews Hall of Fame. He was a titan of faith. And in the remaining minutes I will explain why.

George Mueller was born Kroppenstadt, Prussia (now Germany) in 1804. His father, a  tax-collector, wanted George to become a Lutheran Minister so that he could make a lot of money to take care of him in his old age. George did what his father wanted but spent his childhood and teenage years stealing money (sometimes from him father)  and getting into lots of mischief. At 14, when he was out playing cards, his mom died. The older he got the worse he got. He spent years cheating people out of money (he even went to jail for it). And even though he was training to be a minister, and was even confirmed,  he had no relationship with God. He was lost.

All that changed when he was 20 and his friend took him to a to a Christian home meeting. He give his life to Christ at the meeting and never went back to his old cheating ways.

Fast forward many years later, past the time he lived in an orphanage for a few months while tutoring American ministry students, past the time when he moved to London, got married, and past May 25, 1832 when he and his wife  moved to Bristol and founded  “The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad.”

Go all the way to December 9, 1835. The day where he held a meeting when he presented the idea he had been thinking about since his days as a divinity student. To open an orphanage for the street orphans and those children whose parents were in debtor’s prison.

Interestingly his main reason for opening it was not really for the children. This is because, as he said,  “My heart’s desire was certainly to be used by God to benefit the bodies of poor children, bereaved of both parents, and seek in other respects, with the help of God, to do them good for this life…. but still the first and primary object of this work was, and still is, that God might be magnified by the fact that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without anyone being asked by me or my fellow laborers whereby may be seen, that God is faithful still.”[1]

His plan worked because on April 11, 1836 he opened the first orphanage with 26 kids and the entire time the orphanage was open, he paid for everything with money he received not by asking for it but only through asking God through prayer. Everything (including volunteers) came through prayer. And he recorded every single prayer in a journal along with its answer…to build of the faith of Christians far and wide.

Here is one example of how God provided for every need through prayer.

    One morning the plates and cups and bowls on the table were

      empty. There was no food in the larder, and no money to buy

      food. The children were standing waiting for their morning

      meal, when Mueller said, “Children, you know we must be in

      time for school.”  Lifting his hand he said, “Dear Father,

      we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.”

      There was a knock on the door. The baker stood there, and

      said, “Mr. Mueller, I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow, I

      felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted

      me to send you some. So I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some

      fresh bread and have brought it.”  Mueller thanked the man. 

      No sooner had this transpired when there was a second knock

      at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his

      milk cart had broken down right in front of the Orphanage,

      and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh

      milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it.[2]

By the end of his life (at 92) George Mueller helped  a total of 10,023 orphans He  also said that he received around 50,000 specific answers to prayer.

George Mueller is a great example that we can always be confident when we pray that God hears us and gives us everything we need when we need it.


[1] https://www.georgemuller.org/devotional/reasons-which-led-mr-muller-to-establish-an-orphan-house9363964

[2] https://harvestministry.org/muller

The Tree Out My Window Has Shown Me That God…

When I moved into my town home complex my desire was to live on an end unit so that I could have a little extra wiggle room. But as it turned out I ended up in between two other units. I was disappointed at first, though I quickly realized how blessed I was that I had not received my wish.

Because I wasn’t on the end unit, I wasn’t facing a garbage dump but instead my deck was protected on both sides by tall trees, so it felt like a little oasis.

Even better than that I realized that the end unit had no tree out its second story window, while mine was one of the few bedrooms that had a cherry blossom tree right in front of it.

I’ve always been a person that loves nature. I spent my childhood climbing trees and was outside every day that it was not raining. So, I this tree bought me joy from the start.

However, my room was arranged differently for the first year.  The bed was in front of the window, so I didn’t spend much time looking out it.

Recently, however, I decided to rearrange my room and placed my desk in front of the window. This was an important move, as you will see.

Though  I’ve been gifted with creativity since birth, my previously undiagnosed ADD has meant that I have not used my creativity (Gods gift to me for the benefit of others) as much as I would have liked.

This has recently changed as I have just been diagnosed and now have medication which helps me to stay focused.

Which brings me back to the window.

If the old me had the window to look out while creating, I would have never been able to accomplish anything.  But now I get sixfold the amount of work done that I used to and am also able to take semi frequent breaks by looking out the window and watching its perpetually moving leaves (I live in a windy area) be visited by various birdlife (today I’ve seen at least four different types of birds) doing different things.

The tree out my window has shown me that God knew that there would be such a time as this.

He placed me in this exact place so that as I am creating and getting fulfillment out of all that God is calling me to do, I am also continually filled up with joy by my surroundings.

While I had enjoyed my room before, I had no idea the delight it  would bring me in the future.

But God did.

If your surroundings are not what you think they should be, remember God is not through with you yet. Your story is still being written, and the author will add the right details at the right time.

God deeply loves you!

 Keep trusting that!

 Keep trusting him as you wait for your own cherry blossom tree to bloom.

Also, yes, that is the tree out my window in its current state. I am very much enjoying the view and yet I am excited for the future pink blossoms to come. Just like  I am currently enjoying my life and excited for what God will do in the future.

I pray that you are able to trust God to help you do the same in your own life.

God is….

            the LORD your God is in your midst,

      a mighty one who will save;

                  he will rejoice over you with gladness;

      he will quiet you by his love;

                  he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

With the news as it is recently you may be feeling a little bit unsettled, my prayer is that you may gain some comfort in God’s words through Zephaniah.

Who was Zephaniah.? He was a minor prophet in the who “probably prophesied around 630 BC.”[1]

He was prophesying to Judah as they were being raided by the Scythians. But it is important to note that “as Zephaniah prophesied in God’s name, he denounced the religious sins of Judah and the corruption rampant among both civil and religious authorities.”[2] So they were being attacked but were not innocent.

However, God does not leave them in their distress. Through Zephaniah he shows them that,” Punishment and fear will become things of the past, as God rescues his people from shame, handicap and exile. Israel will know herself truly secure and loved by God, and honoured by all the nations of the world.”[3]

When the world feels like an unsafe place, and worry begins to eat at you because you feel that you deserve it, remember that…

            the LORD your God is in your midst,

      a mighty one who will save;

                  he will rejoice over you with gladness;

      he will quiet you by his love;

                  he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17


[1] Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Zephaniah, Book Of,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 2191.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Andrew Knowles, The Bible Guide, 1st Augsburg books ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001), 385.

God is doing this for you….

Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26–27

ESV

Tired? Confused? Feeling like it is all to much, that you don’t even know where to start? Don’t worry God has your back!

I love that “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” We may not have the words, but God had the picture. Rest well knowing that it is not up to you to have it all figured out.

Trust God, surrender to his will for your life, and know that he will open the doors when they need to open.