Mary: A Fresh Look at the Familiar

Mary: A Fresh Look at the Familiar
Mary: A Fresh Look at the Familiar

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Mary: A Fresh Look at the Familiar Christmas Message, Part 2

Mary book coverKaren PulleyThis devotional was written by Karen Pulley and is printed in Calvary Chapel Magazine with permission. It is taken from her message delivered at Calvary Chapel Hudson Valley’s Women’s Christmas Brunch in 2018. To read Part 1, click here. Look for Part 3 tomorrow. Karen is the wife of Lloyd Pulley, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Old Bridge, NJ.

When you say, Yes, Lord, you are never disappointed. It is when we say No to God that we experience disappointment. Mary said Yes to God, and boy, it wasn’t easy. I want to look at the life of Mary. I pray, Lord, freshen the familiar. I know we can think, “I’ve read the story about Mary,” but I am hoping that you are going to see something in here that maybe you have never seen before.


Mary was privileged. She was privileged, as are you and I. She was chosen especially for this most honorable mission. Every Jewish girl hoped that she would bear the Messiah. They had that sense that a Messiah would come through a virgin and wow, God picked her!

I always laugh when I hear about Duchess Kate, of the British Royal Family. There is only so much tea you can drink. There are only so many servants you can have. When you become a princess, you can’t chew gum out in public. You can’t ever wear jeans out in public. You can’t ever go shopping by yourself.

You know, that is just what the enemy [tells] us. “Oh, you can’t do this now.” We need to tell the enemy, “Are you kidding me?” Eve, who lived in Better Homes and Gardens, was probably gorgeous; Adam was gorgeous, she had no laundry, and we think, What an amazing life! Yet where do we see her? We see the enemy saying, “God is holding out on you, Eve.” She should have said, “Satan, are you kidding me? Look where I live.” But we see her at that tree. Don’t let Satan tell you, “God is holding out on you.” No, He is not. Tell the enemy, “You know what, I have everything I need.” God gives way more than what He takes away.

We don’t want to miss His blessings! In The Pilgrim’s Progress, I love the answer given to Apollyon. Apollyon, the evil man, is trying to get Christian back to the City of Destruction: “And I’ll pay you well.” That should be a clue right there: The City of Destruction. I will pay you well. That’s just what the enemy does to us. But Christian’s answer to Apollyon is just classic: “I find His service easier, His wages higher, His servants kinder, His government fairer, His company sweeter, His country lovelier, and I will follow Him wherever He goes.” That is so amazing.


Next, God called Mary for a purpose. He also calls you and me for a purpose. However, it cost Mary her comfort and reputation, among other things. You know, we don’t realize the cost: If you were found with child before you were actually married then, they [could] stone you to death. It was no joke.

Mary laid down her life. It’s like a girl at your youth group showing up and saying, “Oh, I’m pregnant by the Holy Spirit.” You would put her away! She would be cast out from the church. But we don’t realize what they likely whispered about Mary until the day she died. Can you imagine? How sad! It cost her so much. But again, God had a purpose for her: “You’re My servant. I have chosen you.” Mary was created for an eternal purpose.

Depression, they say, is caused from having nothing to get up for in the morning. We all know that feeling. We have all been depressed. We have all thought, Why am I here? Same old, same old. But without a vision, the people perish. God has given you something to do, and you are not going to die [without accomplishing it]. God makes no mistakes. God has a plan for you. Somebody told me when I was a depressed teenager who had fallen away from the Lord, “God has a plan for you, and it’s really going to be good.” It was as if she gave me a happy pill. It was like, “Really? Really? Oh, my gosh. God has a plan for me?” That just got me thinking. Likewise, He will unfold to you the plan that He has for you. There is nothing better. You really, really have a reason to get up in the morning. He needs you. He wants you. He wants to use you.

Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18, KJV). God shows His power through you. I love that. I think of Esther, who was chosen for such a time as this (Esther 4:14b). She may have seen her parents killed right in front of her eyes. She may have seen some horrible things. She was living in Persia, which was not her land. Her parents were gone. But she had such resolve. She didn’t curl up in a corner and think, “I can’t do anything.” No, she said, “I am going to lay my life down for my people.” I love that resolve.

Christian people, we should not have anxiety. Sometimes we say, “I am having an anxiety attack.” I get that. I tell people to go for a walk, get some fresh air, and pray; maybe it’s a spiritual battle. Yes, maybe your hormones are a little bit wacky. But for the most part, we as Christians should not worry. We should not fear. God’s got our lives. God has everything under control.

I want to encourage some of you ladies who are mothers. There was a tea party and all the ladies were showing off their jewelry. They asked one lady, “Can we see your jewels?” She called her children into the room and said, “These are my jewels.” So, you moms, your children are precious; you are raising little disciples. You don’t know who you are raising. You really are blessed!

Children are also there to break us. Oh, yeah! Little “tools of death,” I call my children. You think you are so holy and godly until you are like, “Ahh, Lord, help me!” Have you ever been at the grocery store and you’re telling your kids, “I’m not buying you that.” Then you hear, “Oh, is that Mrs. Pulley?” Oh, gosh. They just heard me talking to my kids! So, little tools of death, but that’s a good thing. How we need to pray for our children!

I always think of Jochebed. How did that mother put her little baby in the river with crocodiles? That’s no joke! How did she do that? She prayed, Help my little Moses. And wow, did God answer her prayer. Moses turned out to be the ruler of Egypt. So, you moms, pray! Pray like Jochebed.

Your time with your children is going to go so quickly. In the little poem, “Wet Oatmeal Kisses,” a mom is basically saying to her child, “Would you grow up? Would you grow up? Stop slamming the door. Stop this. Stop that.” Finally, a voice in the dark, when she’s older, replies, “I did grow up.” And then there is silence. Know how quickly your children are going to grow!


Mary pleased God. You know what? God rejoices over us (Zephaniah 3:17). I love that. God rejoices over us. “Behold! My Servant, whom I uphold; My Elect One in whom my soul delights!” (Isaiah 42:1b). Has anyone ever said to you, “I love you, but I don’t like you”? I don’t know how you take that. You might even feel that way about some people. But God likes us. Can you imagine? He likes us. He loves us. That’s so special. We’re His special workmanship.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for [she] who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Why don’t we ask God more for things? One of my grandkids is incessant with asking, “Can I have a cookie? Can I have this? Can I have that?” I was getting a little bit annoyed. Then the Lord kind of spoke to me and said, “Why don’t you ask Me incessantly like that?” Wow. He wants to bless us! I love my grandchildren; whatever they want, I give them. That’s how God wants us to ask Him. Are you a casual inquirer or a diligent seeker?


Mary dwelt in the presence of God. I love the story about Mary and Martha. Yes, we need the Marthas, don’t we? We wouldn’t have this beautifully decorated room if we didn’t have Martha’s, but we need to know when to sit and know when to serve. Be a Martha with a Mary’s heart. I love what somebody said, that “Jesus was coming that day to feed Martha.” Jesus was coming that day to feed Martha. Mary got it! She sat as Jesus’ feet.

When the Lord calls you, you not only get blessed, but then you spill over onto others. God help us when we sometimes offer moldy bread or an empty cup to our thirsty children or to those thirsty around us. Have you ever run into somebody and thought, Oh, I wish I was prepared? I mean no condemnation to us. We just point them to Jesus: “I have no answers, just look to the Lord.” But don’t you love those days when you run into somebody, and you have a word for them, and they write you a letter the next week. They say, “Do you know that word that you shared with me? It totally changed my life.” Oh, Jesus, thank You so much. There is nothing better than being used by God. So when He fills you, He will send you to thirsty people, hungry people. Spend that time with the Lord.

Copies of Karen’s book, Mary—A Fresh Look at the Familiar: A Christmas Message, may be obtained at CC Old Bridge, NJ,, for a suggested donation of $5.


All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.