Monday, May 5, 2008

Reading Mary

Welcome if you are joining us today from the Proverbs 31 "Encouragement for Today" devotion. This Spring a few thousand women from around the world and I began reading through the women of the Bible together – here from this blog. We’ve just wrapped up the Old Testament women and are now starting into the New Testament. If you’d like to jump in and join us, we’d love to have you!

Here is how it works. I post the character we will be reading, and the location of her verses in the Bible. I hyperlink those verses too in case you want to read it online. When we have completed the reading we post an “I did it.” So if you could use a little accountability in reading your Bible regularly, here it is. Then we take a day or so to think about that woman, mull over her story, and see what God whispers to our hearts.

I create a second post about her at that point with my thoughts on her life and then others jump in posting their thoughts. Some good discussions get going and we learn a lot from each other. If you are a researcher type, feel free to post stuff you may have read in a commentary or a book about the character we are reading in addition to your impressions. If you are the quiet type, feel free to lurk along with us, but I do hope you’ll post every now and then, especially if you have a prayer request.

I’ve been so encouraged over the past couple months to hear how doing this study together has been changing the participants’ lives. It has certainly blessed me as well. This is a super supportive group! So subscribe to my blog and/or bookmark this page if you want to jump in and follow along with us.

Next we’re reading Mary, mother of Jesus. She is arguably the most famous woman of the Bible. We will look at Mary’s story in three of the gospels, and it may take us a few days to discuss her fully. Here is our assigned reading:

Mary in the book of Matthew 1:18-25 and chapter 2

Mary in the book of Luke 1:26-56 and 2:1-52

Mary in the book of John 19:25-27

Pray for God to guide your mind and heart as you read and help you understand more of Him and His ways.

Post your “I did it” here once done, and we'll discuss her soon.

107 comments:

  1. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    I read it!

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  2. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    I did it!

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  3. Debbie in Goose Creek,SCMay 05, 2008

    I read it. Mary was so favored by God to be chosen. She obeyed, was meek and kind. She followed along,trusting God even when she didn't understand...all the way to the foot of her Son's cross. I desire such unwavering faith.

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  4. I read it!
    Karen in central OR

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  5. I read it

    Ooooo Debbie I so agree with you.

    Sharon

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  6. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    I read it!!

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  7. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    I read it! I like Mary's response to the angel "May everything you said about me come true." She was so quick to believe and to receive God's word. Elizabeth said to her later, "You are blessed because you believed..." She must have had a good relationship with God before that to trust so quickly and completely.

    I was surprised to find that when King Herod asked the priests and the teachers of the religious law about the star that the wise men were talking about, how quickly they found supporting scripture that the Messiah, King of the Jews was to be born. How then did the priests and teachers not figure out that Jesus is the Messiah when Jesus was older? I realize that this was probably the next generation of priests, but they all knew the scripture very well, and if they would have humbled their hearts they would have recognized the Messiah. Most of them chose instead to live religiously prideful in front of man, instead of humbly before God.

    Looking forward to other's comments, and Rachel's discussion on it!
    Connie, Canada

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  8. Hi Ladies

    And welcome to all the new ones!! I am a regular here and I read it! The best thing is that I read most of Mary while reading Elizabeth..also for anyone who doesn't know who also reads my blog, I finished the continuation of my retreat from '05. I would love for all of you to go on it and read. It has already touched someones life and I believe it will do the same for you! I haven't been posting early enough lately so I got in on the ground floor today! Please, also pray for me I am having a hard time with my husbands disability. I believe it is really effecting me more this year than ever..Thanks, I love you all!
    Donna

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  9. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    I'm still here hanging in there with you ladies!!! I usually get the reading assignment, do it and forget to post. I would like to ask for prayer though. It feels like God is moving so much in my husband's and my life right now. We are stepping out of our box and giving more of our time to our church and in ways that aren't necessarily comfortable for us. With the time we also have to continue taking care of our 5 children, dog and our home. I can't wait for school to be out and sports to be over for a while. :) With all that said, there is a battle going on as well. Our car just broke so now we are down to one vehical which we can't even all fit in at the same time. I'm not sure how the car will get fixed or when, things come up that are preventing us from getting my son's physical therapy finished for his for his foot, gas (need I say more) and we aren't sure if we are being led to buy our first home yet, or not. Ladies I just merely ask for prayer that my family, especially me can stand strong against the forces that purse to mess things up, distract me from the right things and cause me to worry. I also ask for God's wisdom and direction to be shown to my in such an obvious way (I am one of those who questions if it's God speaking to me). I read my bible everyday and still come up in question of what God is telling me. I am at the point that I don't want to be doing things that aren't God's will and are mine and I am just thinking or convincing myself that they are God's. Does this make any sense??? I hope so.
    Thank you Rachel for this study though, I have been wanting to look into the women of the bible, but wasn't sure where they all are (I am 1.5yrs. new to being a Christian). This has been great!
    Thank you!!!
    Nicole - Wabash, IN

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  10. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    Annette
    I did it!

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  11. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    I did it! I have one question that I'm hoping someone can clarify. Zechariah and Mary both questioned the angel when told they would be having a son. Why then was Zechariah disciplined for his unbelief and not Mary. Am I missing something important here in the interpretation or translation?

    Thanks,

    kw

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  12. I did it.

    I will be going to "play" with my 7 month old grandson for two weeks, so don't get concerned if I seemed to have suddenly dropped out of the study.

    I will try to log on at my daughter's house, just not sure how often I will be able to do so.

    Will keep praying for all of you!
    Susan - VA

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  13. I did it!

    Carolyn farm wife in Iowa

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  14. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    I read it!

    OH! And to "kw"'s question...Zechariah did not believe & therefore was "disciplined"...Mary questioned "how can this be?"...implying that she believed but did not understand "how"...that's the difference...it's subtle!! :)
    Hope that helps!

    Pat in NYC

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  15. I did it
    Dena in Philadelphia

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  16. I read it.
    Nicole in IN, go to my blog and read some of the things I have posted, especially A Devotion by Ruth Bell Graham, The Collection Plate, and The Prayer Sent to Me by Email. I can relate to some of the problems you are having but God is faithful and sometimes we just have to put ourselves in His hands and trust Him. I will be praying for you and hope some of these will be a help to you.
    AliceE.

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  17. I read it! I'm new here and this will be good for me to have accountability

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  18. To Nicole in Indiana,

    I will be praying for you. It seems as though each of us are faced with some of the same things, so you are not alone. Keep focus on God and not your circumstances. God is faithful!

    Plant Lady in NC

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  19. ising4himMay 05, 2008

    I read it!

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  20. AnonymousMay 05, 2008

    For Nicole:

    "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with
    My righteous right hand."
    Isaiah 41:10 NKJV

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  21. I read it. I think it is absolutely fascinating all of the verses in Scripture that are written that fulfill a prophecy that was made so many years earlier. So neat. I think Zechariah doubted that this could be possible and Mary knew it was so possible with her Lord, but more wondered how she could be worthy of such an awesome thing. Motives are the difference I believe, and God certainly knows each of our motives.
    I will post later about the pharisees and priests of the day that did not believe. I love the question, and have some thoughts on it...but have to go for now.
    Take care, and my prayers are with Donna and Nicole. The devil knows just how to get us down. He doesn't want us to serve the Lord so he puts roadblocks in our way. Keep being faithful, and God promises to be Greater than He that is in the World.

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  22. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I did it! My soul praises the Lord! What an awesome survey of the joy and sorrow of motherhood, through the lens of an incredible faith!

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  23. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I read it.

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  24. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I read it!

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  25. I read it! Mary's faith and obedience are much desired attributes among the women of God. May God grant all who seek....grace and peace

    Linda-Columbus OH

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  26. I read it ...all of it and have some interesting thoughts about Joseph ...will share later!

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  27. I read it, and oh it never struck me so powerful as to Jesus telling his disciple to care for her as his mother!! I cried reading. What powerful words.

    ps thank you for all who have been praying, God is healing, and the biopsy was negative. Praise him.

    Ashley/Florida

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  28. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I forgot to post my "I did it", but I did. ;)

    Traci

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  29. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I read it

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  30. I did it. Just joining with this study. We are at a point in our lives where we may have to consider leaving the area we grew up in to financially put our kiddos (we have six ages 3-17) through college. So what struck me is the complete willingness to leave at a moments notice. They had to be leaving family and friends behind. I too was struck that Jesus took care of Mary in his final moments. I had never noticed that before.

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  31. I read it!

    Karen in California

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  32. I read it! I am new to this group and am looking forward to the accountability of this study. I feel like God has a plan for me but i keep questioning him. I feel what I really need to work on is to put all my trust and faith in God like Mary did. Don't keep thinking that I can do it and when when it all falls apart I cry out to God, why God do I keep doing this. I do have a prayer request that God keeps me focused on him and not the problem. I do believe that God will only give me what I can handle. It has been 6 years since my husband died and my son who is 21 and has no desire to live and has tried numerous times to commit suicide. God knows that I can't take another loss and I need the strength to not get caught up in, why me? I need focus so I don't get sucked into the dark depression of my son because then I can't see any light. I just ask that you pray for me to give my son the wisdom that he needs. He is not a believer and I struggle with that at the same time.

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  33. I read it!

    Debby in North Dakota

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  34. To quilterpolly: Welcome to this Bible study. If you have time and can go to some of the comments on the other women we have studied, you will find that you are not alone. There have been many prayer requests including a lady whose 13 year old daughter has suicidal tendancies. Everyone that has been in this study have just embraced all of these women and their prayer requests. It has been the most awesome thing I have ever encountered. You will find these ladies to be very loving and empathetic and will take you under their wing. I will also be praying for you. I invite you to visit my blog as well as some of the others. There may be somethings there that will encourage you. Just click on from the heart said... and it will take you to the blog site. God be with you and give you peace in the name of Jesus.
    AliceE.

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  35. I read them all and look forward to the discussion.

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  36. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I read it in TX!

    Welcome to all the new ladies and to all that left prayer requests, I have prayed and will continue to lift ya'll up in the name of Jesus.

    Blessings ~ Christi

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  37. It is so great to see all the new ladies involved in this study. We have truly united, and are welcoming you in with open arms and a prayerfull heart.

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  38. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    Read it and look forward to group discussion.

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  39. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I read it!
    Vickie, Nigiera

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  40. probably wondering who kelly is for those who have been in the study for a while. My first name is kelly.

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  41. LaTonya/FLMay 06, 2008

    I did it!

    5designs: All is well in JESUS' name.

    Nicole in Wabash: I am so happy you decided to let JESUS come into your heart. Welcome sister in Christ! I pray that GOD makes provision for you and your family. I pray that HE reveals more and more of HIMSELF to you as you continue to seek HIM. Trust GOD and believe when you pray that HE will do exactly what HE says. GOD bless you!

    Ashley in FL: Praise GOD! I agree. I also thought that part was touching and throughout the reading, was overwhelmed with tears.

    Quilterpolly: Welcome! This group of ladies is awesome and GOD definately lives in each of their hearts, so you will find yourself hurrying to see what was posted each day. I will be in prayer for you and your son. HE shall live and not die! GOD has greater things for you both.

    LaTonya/Florida

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  42. LaTonya/FLMay 06, 2008

    I did it!

    5designs: All is well in JESUS' name.

    Nicole in Wabash: I am so happy you decided to let JESUS come into your heart. Welcome sister in Christ! I pray that GOD makes provision for you and your family. I pray that HE reveals more and more of HIMSELF to you as you continue to seek HIM. Trust GOD and believe when you pray that HE will do exactly what HE says. GOD bless you!

    Ashley in FL: Praise GOD! I agree. I also thought that part was touching and throughout the reading, was overwhelmed with tears.

    Quilterpolly: Welcome! This group of ladies is awesome and GOD definately lives in each of their hearts, so you will find yourself hurrying to see what was posted each day. I will be in prayer for you and your son. HE shall live and not die! GOD has greater things for you both.

    LaTonya/Florida

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  43. LaTonya/FLMay 06, 2008

    I did it!

    5designs: All is well in JESUS' name.

    Nicole in Wabash: I am so happy you decided to let JESUS come into your heart. Welcome sister in Christ! I pray that GOD makes provision for you and your family. I pray that HE reveals more and more of HIMSELF to you as you continue to seek HIM. Trust GOD and believe when you pray that HE will do exactly what HE says. GOD bless you!

    Ashley in FL: Praise GOD! I agree. I also thought that part was touching and throughout the reading, was overwhelmed with tears.

    Quilterpolly: Welcome! This group of ladies is awesome and GOD definately lives in each of their hearts, so you will find yourself hurrying to see what was posted each day. I will be in prayer for you and your son. HE shall live and not die! GOD has greater things for you both.

    LaTonya/Florida

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  44. I read it!
    Paula, Indiana

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  45. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I did it! :)

    TonyaT

    North Carolina

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  46. I read it, God Bless you all, Josie

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  47. AnonymousMay 06, 2008

    I did it!

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  48. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    Question:

    We know that Joseph came from David's line. Do we know what family Mary came from?

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  49. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    I did it, and thank all of you for covering us in prayer while we traveled last weekend. I'm usally a nervous wreck riding or driving in storms, but had total peace.
    God Bless you all
    Tommie in Kentucky

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  50. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    I did it.

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  51. Read it.
    I cried a s well as Jesus hung in the cross and was concerned about his mom being taken care of.
    welcome to all the new women. This group of women is fantastic and will keep you covered in prayer.
    Bless all of you.
    Katrina in Colorado

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  52. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    I read it and look forward to the discussion.

    JT - Southern IL

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  53. I did it!

    Kim Royal, Tifton, GA

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  54. I read it.

    Deb - Ohio

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  55. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    I read it.

    I'm a bit confused after reading the passages from Luke. Didn't Mary and Joseph first go to Egypt before returning to Nazareth? Or, is this just one person's recollection of events, and not a point to worry about? Just curious about it.

    Such Faith Mary and Joseph both had! Inspiring!

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  56. I read it. Mary goes beyond wonderful. Can you imagine what it must have been like for her.
    Looking forward to the discussion.

    Janet
    Latrobe, PA

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  57. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    I've read it. I have kind of a random question for you all. Do you know of any good online prayer resources? I feel as though my prayer life is stuck in stand still at times, and I would love some advice. Thanks!

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  58. I read it... can't wait to hear the discussion :)

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  59. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    Just a question regarding lineage: Jesus is said to be a descendant of the line of David, but since Mary was overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit in order to conceive, how can that be? It is Mary's lineage and the Holy Spirit, not Joseph's, or am I missing something?

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  60. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    I read it! Praying for all those requesting prayer.Please pray for the farmers and all those in agriculture right now who are dealing with so much rain and can't get in the fields. Its such a critical time right now for us to be able to plantThank you, NJ, farmwife in Ia.

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  61. To the person looking for good online spiritual resources. Have you gone to Crosswalk.com. That is where I first learned about this bible study. There is so much information there, devotionals, study guides, etc.

    I know that one of the things that I read was that we have to rely on our faith and not on feeling. It suddently made a lot of sense to me. Sometimes I feel like I am lost or that things just aren't right with my prayer life. Now when I feel that way I just remind myself that it is by faith and not by feeling that I am saved and I hold onto that fact.

    I remember reading that even Mother Theresa had what she called a long dry spell where she wondered if God even heard her. She said that she knew that she just had to live by faith and continue on.

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  62. Just wanted you all to pray for my Pastor's sister. She has been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Please join me in faith as we pray and believe for complete healing.

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  63. AnonymousMay 07, 2008

    I finished the readings on Mary.

    Laurieann from Canada

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  64. If anyone is near the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, check out the Sight & Sound theatre. They do beautiful productions of Biblical stories. My favorite is "The Miracle of Christmas" which really portrays Mary in a real and wonderful way. Of all the shows, (Noah, Creation, Daniel, Abraham and Mary, etc.), the Christmas one is my favorite show. :)
    Check out:
    www.bibleonstage.com

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  65. To NJ, Farm Wife in Iowa,

    The farmers are in my prayers. I know how that goes as I am a farmer from North Carolina. We are dealing with somewhat of a different problem -drought. Last year, we were about 24" below the average rainfall for the year. We have had some relief so far this year on the Coast where I live, but other areas in the Piedmont and Mountains have not had the rainfall that we have.

    We, too, have experienced times when it has been too wet. God is faithful and He provides in His time! He promises to answer our prayers if we believe! Mark 11:24

    Blessings,
    Plant Lady

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  66. I read it...

    I didn't post about Elizabeth but I'm hanging in here. I guess I kinda joined the "back row" for a few days...

    Blessings from Somerset, KY

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  67. I did it.
    For the first time I thought about Mary as a real mother. Before I only thought about the holiness. But tonight I thought about how uncertain her whole experience must have been. She was so obedient, and faithful to God and Joseph and let's face it girls we all know we should be that way but when it comes to our children...
    it is sooo hard to share that control. I'm sure with a new baby all she wanted to do was make a good home for him. But it seems like she was always on the move. I love how she praised the Lord with Elizabeth!! Can't wait for discussion on this one.

    Welcome all you new girls. Glad you are here. I am praying for all of you. I am sooo thankful for your prayers for my son.

    Donna, you have a whole arsenal of defense against Satan when he tries to bring you down about Mike's disability. Keep quoting the scriptures at him.

    Nicole, keep your eyes, heart, and mind on Jesus. You don't have to tell God how big your problems are. Tell your problems how big your God is!! I'll be praying for your circumstances to change soon. He works miracles. Ask him for some.

    Ashley Marie,
    Great news!!! We love you.

    momtosix,
    Your circumstances could change and you may not have to leave. If you do, take God with you. He will provide greatly for you and your wonderful family.

    quilterpolly,
    Hang in there. You will soon see how many faithful friends here will be praying for your family.


    Love you all,
    Dana

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  68. I'm new here since I just signed up for the P31 daily emails and found this link. I have been wanting to find a Bible Study but have had a difficult time finding something I have time to do. Like all of you, I'm trying to stay afloat with daily demands and also try to keep my connection with God. I homeschool my little boy who has autism so I struggle with God's plan for him, for our lives and how to keep hoping and trust the Lord to do what is best for us. I have read the scripture for Mary.

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  69. AnonymousMay 08, 2008

    Read it. Whenever I read this story
    I think about the emotional ups and downs of Marys motherhood. She had other children but Jesus would have been extremely special to her.
    To see him dying such a painful death would have been so devastating to her (did she know it was going to happen?)
    To Quilterpolly: I really feel for you and I am praying that God will give you the strength you need for each day. It is such a relief to give to Him all your burdens and let Him take care of it. I have to do that constantly with my 22 year old son - I don't have enough energy left to worry about him so I let God do it!
    Jillian - NZ

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  70. i read it...finally! :-)

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  71. AnonymousMay 08, 2008

    I read it!
    Have a great day ladies! Can you imagine doing your everyday business and an angel appear to tell you what Mary was told? Can you imagine this happening when you were a teenaged girl? Yes, Mary had the heart of God. She was unique, special, called for such a time as this. Are we doing God's work today? Would we be trusting like Mary when His Holy Spirit comes upon us?... (not to give birth to the Saviour of the world maybe)...but, to do what He asks us...in faith....in hope...with belief that He will do what He says He will do.....the Impossible? I pray that we will...

    It's truly a blessing doing this study of the women of the Bible with all of you........

    JoAnn/LA

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  72. AnonymousMay 08, 2008

    I read it.

    Karen - Ohio

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  73. I did the reading and I am always amazed at how you can read something over and over again and still get something new out of it. I really thought a lot about Mary's willingness. She did not bombard the angel with questions as I would have done. She asked the 2 necessary questions and then replied "I am a servant of the Lord". It is so amazing to me that Mary was so willing and so faithful to God although she was about to undergo such gossip and disgrace among her people. I just really admire Mary because I am not sure that I would respond in the same way if an angel came to me and told me I was going to bear a child who will be the son of God. I think that I would have bombarded the angel with questions and then have run the other way.

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  74. Just wanted to wish you Happy Mother's Day Rachel.

    Blessings,
    Pearls

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  75. Crissi in WashingtonMay 08, 2008

    I read it!

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  76. I did it! I am so excited to be keeping up with this! It truly has been a blessing.Nicole in IN, I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers, Quillinolly, you and your family also, I pray that God will give you the strengh and comfort you and your son need. Momtosix, six children! what a blessing! You are also in my prayers, as well as this whole group of amazing women!

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  77. Hi. I'm new to this site and I see there is another Lorrie! I really want to dig deeper into God's word and draw closer to Him. I, like all of you, lead a very busy life and sometimes it's so hard to stay close to Him. Idesperately desire to walk closer to my Savior. I really look forward to being a part of this study!!

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  78. Hi. I'm new to this site and I see there is another Lorrie! I really want to dig deeper into God's word and draw closer to Him. I, like all of you, lead a very busy life and sometimes it's so hard to stay close to Him. Idesperately desire to walk closer to my Savior. I really look forward to being a part of this study!!

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  79. AnonymousMay 08, 2008

    I did it!!

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  80. Hi all!

    Listen I need the ones of you who go to my blog and read or post please do so soon! My husband has taken a turn for the worse with his meds. He is in pain 24/7 and he is completely addicted to his pain meds. I haven't seen him like this in years..he falls asleep on the floor and then curses me out when I try to put him to bed, he constantly wanting a divorce and then not remembering what he said..it seems like the Lord is blessing me personally and the enemy is pulling Mike into him more and more daily with his addiction. He lost a bottle of other pain meds and doesn't know where they are. I wrote on my blog about my retreat in 05 and the minute I started ministering to other people, this happened this week. I am a conquerer through Christ Jesus, so don't think, the ones who don't know me, that I can't handle this. I am not here crying, I am MAD!!! I am angry at him and his uncontrollable will not to take his meds the right way! I am angry because no matter how much I praise God for everything, Satan comes and attacks me from behind!! As Alice E. knows, because we talk about it, I don't want to give Satan any credit..but I know I am getting such a wonderful ministry together and this is happening at home..please the ones who read this pray right now and if you haven't read my blog and post your thoughts and post your prayers for me there..

    God Bless you all,
    Donna

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  81. Hi, Ladies...I read it! I'm very much looking forward to the discussion about Mary!

    And I want to thank you all so much for the prayers offered on my behalf for the foot surgery I had about 3 weeks ago. It is healing nicely...however, the "nerve pain" is pretty intense (the doctor said I would experience this as do most people with amputations), but should lessen within 6 months to a year...maybe even within the first 3 months!

    Please continue to pray for the pain to lessen and for the healing to be quick and complete. Also that God would grant me the ability to walk with/by whatever means He sees fit! He is an AWESOME God and I know that when I continue to FOCUS more on Him than the pain, then He gives me peace about the final outcome!

    I'm praying that God will intervene in each individual request in this blog with His timing and answers...and welcome to all of the new ladies who've joined this study...God Bless you all!

    Cari in CO

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  82. I finally got it done.

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  83. I read it. Mary showed her true character and was blessed for her continual faith in God even when she heard all about her son and who he was and was to become; and she kept faithful when everything looked hopeless.

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  84. I am enjoying reading the history of Mary and tracing her geneology.

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  85. A little late, but I read it...

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  86. I did it.

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  87. I read it. I am very behind as my the adapter on my laptop went out and the replacement that the company sent me was defective. I am still waiting for another replacement, and hope that is all that is wrong.

    I really have missed you gals and what is going on in your lives. I am using another computer but can't be on it for too long.

    My prayers went out to all requesting them.

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Karyl ~ Bonners Ferry, ID

    <*////><

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  88. I read it!

    Okay, a little late, but I am here!

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