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What’s on the menu for your relationships this holiday? Just as we’d prepare our kitchens, schedules, and recipe lists, what can we learn from one admired woman about how to prepare a receptive heart? 

This week we’ll learn from Elizabeth, who we read about in Luke 1. Listen to her story firsthand to discover the main ingredient of her healthy relationships: Staying close to God’s Word.

This is how we imagine things went…

“God has done this for me. I was barren and in shame. My husband is a priest in the division of Abijah. But I could not give him a child as a legacy for all he does in service to God.” 

“It was his one opportunity to burn the incense before the Lord. It would never happen again. I was excited for him and a little anxious. Our God is awesome in power and majesty, and to go inside the Holy of Holies is a humbling honor. What would he see? What would he experience? 

“It would be months before he could tell me about the angel who came and spoke to him of our son. ‘And he will go before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah.’” 

“The promise was almost too much for us to bear. To have a child would have given us great joy. Now to be given the honor of raising the one who would make ready a people prepared for the coming Messiah? 

“My heart is so full with the knowledge of our great God. Zechariah sang to our God at John’s birth, ‘And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High.’

“I had to wait for this immense blessing. Zechariah and I were faithful in our obedience and service to God while we waited, even with no assurance of His blessing. And now? Now we magnify His name above all names in humble awe.”

Elizabeth could have been bitter. She could have held tightly to her disappointment and lack. Instead, she chose obedience to and trust in God. She could even have resented her cousin Mary at the news of her pregnancy and God’s promise to this unmarried woman. Instead, she chose to praise God with Mary. 

We have choices in every season of life amidst the disappointments, resentments, and even jealousies that boil just beneath the veneer of our hearts.  

She has children. 

They have money. 

She got the vacation. 

They have the house. 

Of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Luke wrote, “Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” Don’t read “sinless” here. Read “God-focused.” Their energy, their resources, their hearts were aligned with the things of God. This is the true north for our hearts, too.

When Elizabeth got the news from Mary about her pregnancy, her heart was already aligned with God’s. She could rejoice with her cousin because it was a work of her God. 

Our holiday season is no different. We will be faced with things that normally can be buried or brushed under the rug. Suddenly, because we’re all in the same room (maybe for the first time in a year or more), the stuff we really wanted to bury…begins to sprout. 

Elizabeth had a choice in her season. So do we. This choice is made easier by our heart’s alignment. For Elizabeth, she and her husband stayed close to God’s Word (commandments and regulations), observing it to the best of their ability. God noticed. Others noticed. Our closeness to God’s Word is noticeable.  

Our seasons can be marked by this closeness and alignment, too. Elizabeth had great disappointment and heartache, but it did not let it define how people knew her. She was not known as the bitter barren woman. She was known as someone who followed God closely. 

When bitterness, disappointment, or disillusionment threaten, choose to be known by your closeness to God and His Word. 

Are you in your kitchen mashing potatoes when Aunt Becky barbs you for not being married yet? “I believe God knows what’s best for me based on His Word and promises to us,” you might respond. 

Is the pie nearly done when your mom comments on how busy you’ve been with work? “I am grateful for the ways He has given me to serve in this season of my life. I want to work as if serving Him, not people.” 

Elizabeth chose, and so can we. Consider these questions as you enter into the holiday season.

  1.  How can you ensure that you are staying close to God and His Word this season? 
  2. What part of God’s character can you align with to be sure everyone knows you are His? 
  3. What choices do you possibly need to make this season so that your relationships move closer to Jesus? 
  4. What disappointment in your life has the biggest potential to cause problems between you and someone else? Confess this to God and ask for a new alignment with Him.

Naomi’s Recipe of the Week:

Whitney’s WOWZERS Chocolate Chip Cookies

Why I Love This Recipe for Extraordinary Relationships:
Whitney Putnam is a joy to know. She leads with excellence and BAKES with excellence. She uses this recipe for cookies to bless her family—starting weekends with a batch. And to bless others—bringing plates to open the door to relationships.
National Cookie Day is December 4 (next Saturday). Let me know if you bake—and take—this (or any other) recipe to someone who could use some “sweet” in life!
Just snap a picture and post on our Facebook page or email to [email protected]
Recipe:
Makes 24 cookies.
Ingredients:
  • 1 c sugar
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • 2 sticks butter, melted for 40 seconds
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips

Baking Directions:

  • Set oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or use a Silpat.
  • Melt butter for 40 seconds in a microwave.
  • In a large bowl, mix sugars and melted butter.
  • Add vanilla and eggs. Beat until just mixed.
  • Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat until just mixed.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Make cookies into golf-ball-sized balls and place in oven. Cook 10-12 minutes. Remove and let sit on baking tray for 30 minutes before eating.