Encouragement for Today Podcast

In today’s episode, you’ll hear a devotion written by Lysa TerKeurst based on Luke 1:38a-b, which says, “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’” (NIV). 

We hope today’s devotion reminds you that no matter who seems better qualified for your calling, God is simply asking for your willingness. 

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What is Encouragement for Today Podcast?

Life can be so challenging sometimes — we each understand this all too well. It’s not only the big things that seem out of our control, but it's also the little things we face each day. We forget our keys. A friend cancels on us. Our bank card gets declined. We wake up anxious. Negative thoughts fill our mind. It doesn’t take much to leave us feeling hopeless, confused, exhausted or stressed. We wonder what God has to say about what we’re experiencing, but sometimes just getting through the next few hours is hard enough. That’s why Proverbs 31 Ministries created the Encouragement For Today Podcast — a collection of 50 devotions to help you start your day with a biblical perspective you can carry with you no matter what lies ahead.

Do you ever struggle with feeling like maybe God should have picked someone else to fulfill your roles — as a wife, a mom, a business owner, leader, employee, neighbor or friend?

I remember a time when I begged God to make me just like the super-organized mom I heard speak at a parenting seminar. I mentally listed what I discerned must be her secret to success and set about to imitate her. But it didn’t take long before I was absolutely miserable. I mentally beat myself up for not having what it obviously took to be a great mom. What was wrong with me?

Then one day in Bible study, I read the story of Mary, the teenage mother of Jesus. My heart beat fast as I realized she didn’t meet the standard of Supermom that I’d set for myself.

Somehow, just as she was, God chose her to be Jesus' mother. And the only qualification she seemed to have was her willingness. We see her trust in God's plan in our key verse, Luke 1:38a, b: "'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May your word to me be fulfilled.'"

Mary could have easily rattled off a list of the reasons she should be passed over for such an incredible privilege.

Too young.
Too poor.
Too inexperienced.

Just a simple girl from a town of no great consequence.

Oh … and a virgin. Which makes having a baby impossible.

And yet, we find the angel Gabriel standing before her in Luke 1 proclaiming she has been chosen. That she, Mary, is the blessed and highly favored vessel God wants to use to bring forth His one and only Son, Jesus. The Messiah. (Luke 1:30-33)

She has only one question: “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’” (Luke 1:34, NIV)
Gabriel graciously answers, explaining to her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and the power of the Most High will overshadow her. He tells her about the miraculous pregnancy of her much-older cousin, Elizabeth, and reminds her that what seems impossible to her is absolutely possible with God. (Luke 1:35-37)

I confess I am humbled and amazed by Mary’s question. All she wanted to know was how the pregnancy was going to be physically possible.

She didn’t ask any of the questions I might have been tempted to ask, like, “Are you sure you have the right person? Don’t you know how unqualified I am? Have you considered asking one of the women just down the street? Surely any one of them would be a better choice than me.”

It’s so easy to look around and think there are plenty of other people way more qualified than we are, isn’t it?

All God wanted from Mary was her willingness. And He let me know that day in Bible study it was all He wanted from me too. He had already given me the exact qualities He knew my kids would need in a mother. I just needed to lift my willingness up to Him daily and let Him help me be the best version of me.

Maybe you aren’t feeling very qualified today. Maybe you feel like God should pass you over and pick someone else for the assignments He’s placed before you. If that’s you, I want you to know this — God absolutely loves to take ordinary people and do extraordinary things in them, through them and with them.
He’s not waiting on you to impress Him. He simply wants you to say “yes” to Him.

Yes, Lord. I’m Yours. All of me. All for You.

Let’s stop offering God our excuses and lists of why He can’t work in us and through us. Let’s believe with our whole heart that nothing is too hard for Him. And let’s lay down our measuring sticks of perfection and humbly bow our heads as we offer Him our willingness today.

Dear Lord, thank You so much for the beautiful example of surrender You have given me through Mary. I lift up my willingness to You today in all areas of my life — at home, at work, in ministry and in my relationships. My greatest desire is to be the woman You’ve called me to be and not anyone else. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.