Here is a little preview of Chapter Two, titled The Mighty God.
Day One PROCLAIM
As part of our homeschool routine this year, I'm reading stories from American history to the kids while they eat lunch. Today's story described the Pilgrims landing in the New World. As I read about the Pilgrims and thought of their role in our national heritage, I remembered Mary's prayer, and the way she praised God for His hand in her nation's history. I realized that though I am fascinated with history, I don't often praise God for it the way Mary did. I meditated on this as I did the dishes after lunch. I thought of my ancestors who came to America from Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and Germany. My dad loved to tell stories of his grandfather, a pioneer who moved to the new state of Washington in 1889. Easily distracted, my mind jumped forward a century to my own life; I met my husband at a Bible camp in 1989, just a short walk from the land my great-grandfather farmed. I thought about God's guidance through our dating years and I praised God for our marriage. I remembered the birth announcement we sent out when Lydia was born—a healthy baby after our two miscarriages. The announcement included this verse:
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad. (Psalm 126:3)
God has done great things for me, and though I thank and praise Him at the time, I think I move on from past events too quickly, forgetting to praise God when memories surface. Remember the Ebenezer we read about a few pages ago? This was one of several monuments the Israelites set up to constantly remind them of God's greatness and His care for them. Mary's song of praise focused on the history of her people—and the greatness of her God. She referred to God as “the Mighty One” who had “done great things for me,” and she said that God had done “a mighty deed with His arm.” She proclaimed that God was involved in the affairs of this world, intervening on behalf of His people.
I followed a trail of cross-references about the “Mighty One” through my Bible, and I found verses about God's greatness, verses about warriors (“mighty ones”), and this beautiful verse from the prophet Zephaniah:
The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV)
Isn't this verse wonderfully personal? It shows us a God who doesn't just orchestrate great military victories, but also cares for individuals. The Mighty One is faithful and He promises to strengthen us. Nothing is more powerful than His great love:
The Lord is faithful; He will strengthen and guard you from the evil one.
(2 Thessalonians 3:3)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing
will have the power to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:38-39
Praise Patterns will be available for purchase in about a month.