Mary or Martha? or BOTH!

Everyone has the tendency within to be either and to be both.Sunflower journal3

Today’s reading from the Turning Point Devotion brought them to mind.

Yes, one time Martha was concerned with getting the tasks done to feed the guests in her house above spending time with this special guest. (Luke 10) Yes, Mary chose the better response to take advantage of the time and sit at Jesus’ feet to learn and worship.

There is an example in their 2 choices. We have choices to make daily, weekly, monthly, throughout our whole LIFETIME.  It is a part of life. Choices. Sometimes we make the best choice, sometimes the better choice and other times the wrong choice. None of us gets it 100% accurate every time with every choice that is put before us.

In the book of John (John 11:18-35) we read  about another day when Martha’s faith came to the front above Mary’s. Their brother had died. Jesus was out of town. They had sent word to him of Lazarus’ illness. Most likely they had thought that Jesus would either heal Lazarus from afar, or come to them to heal him. He chose neither of those responses. When he did return to their city Lazarus was dead. What was the response of Martha and Mary? Who was it that went out to meet Jesus on his way? Was it Mary who sat at his feet at an earlier time? NO. It was Martha, the one scolded for not sitting at his feet at an earlier time. Then she was encumbered with the cares of the day. Now, there is a glimpse of her faith not seen then. For though she does seem to scold Jesus as she says, ‘If you had been here he would not have died’; she also does not stop there. ‘But even NOW I know that…’ Do you hear those words? BUT EVEN NOW I know… In the face of death Martha has faith that Jesus can still do something.

Rabbit trail: As I type that I am reminded of what I wrote in the front of my recent study book Uninvited, (by Lysa Terkeurst) as a personal take away thought: “I feel this…BUT I know this… live in the KNOW and not in the emotion. Live loved!”

Martha is choosing to live in the KNOW, not in the emotion.

Where is Mary? She stayed in the house when she heard of Jesus’ arrival. And when shThe beliefs we holde did go out to meet with him what was her response? ‘If you had been here he would not have died.’ Same words as Martha’s. HOWEVER. Mary stopped there.  At this time the roles are reversed. Mary chose to believe in the circumstance above what she knew about Jesus. She seems to be choosing to live in how she feels (emotion) rather than in what she knows. All she could see was that her brother Lazarus was dead and they were getting ready to bury him.

Martha chosFaith is toe to continue to believe in Jesus and what she knew about Him – even in light of seeing her brother was dead and they were getting ready to bury him.

Oh the difference a day makes, a circumstance makes. Everyone of us has a Martha and a Mary in us when confronted with each day’s events. And like them we have a choice to make. Will I worship at Jesus’ feet despite the circumstances facing me at this particular moment? Choose faith above sight. Or abandon faith because of sight. What circumstance are you facing today that requires this choice to be made?

Perhaps the reason these thoughts came to me as I read the devotion is because in the last 2 days – I have been both Martha and Mary. (I dare say though it has been true on numerous occasions through the years!)

One moment I am worshipping at Jesus’ feet & learning. In another I am sitting where I am rather than  going out to meet him. Reality has stepped in unexpectedly and overshadowed my faith. – Like Mary.

One moment I am encumbered with the daily cares not taking a time to stop and worship; later I am confessing as Martha: ‘but even now I believe…’  Regardless of circumstances I believe – YOU.

Praise God – He loves me just the same! Whether being a Martha or a Mary! When I am basking in who He is, sitting at His feet worshipping and learningHebrews 6 17-19 3 as well as when I am hit broadside by life and my faith is weakened- HE LOVES ME JUST the same.

Martha and Mary. Each had her strength of faith as well as her obstacles of faith to deal with. As do we. Father I believe, help thou my unbelief. And thank you for being the anchor of my soul regardless.Shell Sig

Until next time may the reality of who HE is overshadow the difficulties of life you may face at this time. May you LIVE LOVED!

 

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Forgiven. Sweet memory from heartache to Delight.

‘Stone of remembrance’ verse from long ago.

Came across it in my daily reading thisSunflower journal3 morning. It had a vagueness of familiarity to it so I stopped and thought for a bit. What is in this verse? That feels so familiar and soothing!

From the NLT I was reading in it was worded:

“When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name,” Jeremiah 15:16 NLT

As I first memorized it in KJV:

“Thy words were found and I did eat them and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart for I am called by thy name.

Ahhh…. yes a time of finding His Words and devouring them after searching, looking for that thing needed for the ache in my heart. And finding it in His Word! A sweet memory that broke through the mental darkness that has become the state of my memory bank nowadays.

Actions and circumstances in life had brought me to a place of sorrow, heartache, regret, and in need of forgiveness. From another, for myself, but ultimately from God. For He is the one truly offended in our actions of wrong doing and hurting others, i.e. sin. Though others usually are involved as ones offended by our words or actions, God is the foremost one we are offending by not heeding His ways, His Words. Though in those moments I hadn’t yet grasped the full understanding of that truth, that need. I just knew there was a need, for something to be made right. And God was part of the answer.

The memory goes back to a day LONG ago. At that particular time I was not walking in relationship with The Lord though I had come to Christ in salvation many years before in High School.  For whatever reasons at the time (youth, immaturity, life) I put Him aside to go my own way with no thoughts to His ways or Words. Enter the the mind frame, the actions producing this sorrow, heartache, regret and deep seated need within!

Then, came this day. Realization dawns. What I was seeking and needing at that point was God. There was the understanding that my actions had been a direct result of turning away from God and not allowing Him to be part of my daily life.  At the time the bulk of our belongings were in storage in another state. And my Bible had been packed away not used for several years anyway. No idea where it may be. But His Word was found in the form of an Army New Testament given to my husband whepsalm 103 2 alonen he enlisted.  I sat down to read soaking in all I could and then – these next words – I devoured these
Words:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

THAT WORD –
Alljumped off the page into my heart with such joy and delight!  There is nothing God cannot or will not forgive for in His Son we receive forgiveness of sin. PERIOD. ALL – past, present, and future! At the moment of my salvation I had not committed ALL the sins I would commit and God knew that. Salvation does not bring perfection in this life as much as we would like it to be so.

In that one word was the healing balm for the sorrow, heartache and regret stored within my heart. ALL is forgiven. What a glorious day that was. Today,  as I read Jeremiah 15:16 and stopped to ask the Lord what was there that felt so familiar, it was the same joy and rejoicing of that day 30 or so years ago. For all who are called by His name, have His forgiveness. Not just in the moment of initial belief and salvation but FOREVER! Through the remainder of this life into eternity. Forgiveness of sin IS what salvation IS all about. The blood of Christ covers it ALL!! It matters noAllt the sin committed or the time it is committed. ALL is forgiven.

I hope you have experienced the joy of receiving His forgiveness. It’s there for the taking for any and all who will confess and believe.

” …that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9

“Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law…” Acts 13:38

Until next timeShell Sig

I AM (Pt. 7)

What a beautiful day to think upon this 7th I AM made by Jesus. Easter Sunday as we reflect upon the resurrection of this man named Jesus. And we are reminded of this fact: No matt7 I am ser how hard we try to be or think we are, we are NOT the source of our life.

Now, some may say that we can argue that we are the Captain of our own soul, for it is our choice to believe whatever it is we hold onto to give ourselves worth, hope, strength and courage to be all we can be, to just do it, or whatever other cliché works for you. But the bottom line is, you and I are but dust and ultimately have absolute control over absolutely nothing. You can argue this point until you are blue in the face and you will not change the fact that your body is withering with age and shall continue to deteriorate until one day, this physical body shall cease to function. Medical advancements and religious beliefs galore will not stop physical death from advancing on each of us. We are NOT our own source of life. Just like branches do not support themselves,Collage I AM 150] they must abide in the vine for life to flow through them. Our source of life comes from a source outside of ourselves. And it is not some unknown source. He is knowable and been revealed to all through Jesus Christ.

In this last post on the 7 I AM’s of Jesus we find He and the 12 disciples sharing some quality time together for the Passover Supper. Their last one together in this realm.

Jesus knowing that He shall soon be returning to His place with the Father, gives His followers this picture and reminder to guide and encourage them to continue in what they have learned though He will be absent from them physically. They shall do so by understanding where there source of life comes from.  He uses everyday things they are familiar with as another object lesson John 15 1 vinein which he makes this last declaration we are examining, John 15:1 & 5: “I am the true vine…I am the vine; you are the branches.

Again, remember,  Jesus is just a short time away from being crucified and laid in a tomb. He understands the impact this will have on His followers and He wants to prepare them as best as possible. However, we know there is nothing that can prepare you for the worst day of your life that you do not see coming. But Jesus knows what they do not yet comprehend. But they shall. On the other side of His death, burial and resurrection, His words shall come back to them as their source of life, their lifeline for continuing on as His witnesses to all the world.

He is the I AM and the same power that will raise Him from the grave shall raise them as well.

“And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,”we also believe and therefore speak,  knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you… 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

 

ETERNAL LIFE. Jesus came, suffered, bled, died and was resurrected that we may have ETERNAL LIFE in the presence of our Creator God and Father. Only Jesus, the I AM makes tHe arosehis possible.

Until next time may this Easter Sunday be a time of honest, personal reflection of what the future holds. A glorious reminder. HE ROSE, a Victor!

Shell Sig

I AM (Pt. 6)

7 I am s

In the sequence of events through the book of John, the last 2 statements we will look at take place while Jesus partakes of the Passover supper with the disciples. They are the only ones to whom He speaks these 2 declarations. And it won’t be much longer now before Jesus is arrested, tried and condemned to be crucified. But before that happens he spends much time talking and sharing with the 12 who have been His loyal companions for about 3 years. As one reads through chapters 13-17 there is the definite sense of Jesus knowing His time is short. He wants to give them as much encouragement, understanding and guidance as possible before He is gone. There is love, compassion, concern and a great sense of hope that He pours out to them. Like a parent giving some last words to the children when they know their time on this earth has come to an end.  At the beginning of chapter 14  He tells them He is going to His Father’s house and will be preparing a place there for them as well. He implies thJohn 14 6at they know where He is going and they know the way there as well. They aren’t quite sure about their knowledge and Thomas speaks up saying: ” Lord, we do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

 To know Jesus, is to know the way, for He is the way.

Which makes total sense in light of all the other I AM statements. They build on and rThere iseinforce each other. Individually each one is bold, god's truth protectivecollectively they are quite powerful, convicting, and controversial! How arrogant to say I AM THE bread, THE light, THE gate, THE Good Shepherd, THE resurrection & life, and now there is only One Way? and HE IS IT!! But there it is. It is your choice to do with His declarations as you choose.

Until next time may you study upon Shell Sigyour life’s belief system and honestly assess the security you find in it.

I AM (Pt. 5)

The next 7 I am sI AM declaration by Jesus is the prelude to a bold, audacious, astounding miracle! A direct action by Jesus, not just words! Which reminds me of something Jesus said to the Pharisees in a previous exchange with them. (John 10:31-38) They were upset with him and about to stone him for things He had said. His response?

If I am not doing my Father’s works, don’t believe me. But if I am doing them and you don’t believe me, believe the works.”   

If you can’t believe what I say, believe what you see I am doing!

And then He gave them another miracle to scratch their heads over and ponder!

A man named LAZARUS is raised from the dead.

Before you just write that off as myth, consider the fact that the men used (by God) to write these accounts, did so to their own peril. They wrote of what they had been witnesses of, they spoke of what they had been witnesses of and the majority of them died for that very reason. And hInvited inundreds of thousands since then have done the same. Perhaps it is more than a myth!

Now Jesus had spent time in the home of Lazarus and his 2 sisters Martha and Mary on more than one occasion.  At the time of Lazarus’s death, Jesus was in another city. The sisters sent word to Him of their brother’s  illness most likely with the assumption that Jesus would heal him as he did so many others.  Jesus had a bigger agenda though. He stayed away on purpose until Lazarus had passed away, and been laid to rest. Giving enough time that there was no doubt the life was gone from his body.

This account is found in John 11. Upon Jesus’ return to their city Martha learns of his arrival and meets him on the way. In her grief she exclaims her belief that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died for surely Jesus would have healed him. Let’s listen in to the conversation, (John 11:21-27)

Martha: “But even now I know whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’  Drum roll – here it comes!!John 11 25

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.

After a few more exchanges with others Jesus prays to the Father then cries out with a loud voice: “Lazarus, come forth!”

And the dead man came out…

I AM the Resurrection and the Life.

Not just life on this earth. Yes, Lazarus was raised to life on earth, that wasn’t his final resurrection for he did eventually die again- to live forever. A great object lesson preparing the hearts of the people for what Jesus had been telling them about Himself.

Mark 8:31 “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” And Mark 9:31, Mark 10:34, Matthew 20:19, 26:2

The power of death was negated by the power of Jesus. Jesus’ resurrection power is the great exclamation point to God’s love for us. How far He is willing to go to find and save his lost sheep. The Good Shepherd willingly gives up His Life that we, His sheep,  may have life. Eternal, spiritual life in HIS presence.

Life and death hang in the balance of your belief about this man Jesus. Which way will the balance sway when your day arrives?

Have you responded to the Shepherd’s call to enter through the gate into His fold that you too may experience this resurrection power to eternal life?

 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: 

Shell Sig“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?

    O death, where is your sting?

Until next time

 

I AM (Pt. 4)

In the last post it was established that Jesus was using a parable about sheep and shepherds7 I am s to teach a life lesson focusing on the gate to a sheep fold. Today, we focus on the shepherd as Jesus declares: “I AM the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Good shepherd indicates there are others who may not be so good. He goes on to explain that anyone other than the shepherd will most likely John 10-11run away in the face of danger rather than protecting the flock.  After all, they’re just hired hands, the sheep do not belong to them.  Therefore, they would not risk their own lives to save them. But the shepherd to whom the sheep belong WILL risk his life for them.

In contrast to a hired hand paid to do a job. Jesus came voluntarily to give His life.

John 10-18

We know on this side of the cross that the implication was that He was going to be the sacrifice for the sin of the world, the sin of the people then within hearing distance, the sin of you and me today.

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Remember, the Jewish people of that time knew about the sacrificial system. The regulations that had been set in motion by God Himself after delivering Israel from the bondage of Egypt. Written about in the books of Exodus and Leviticus. Now this man called Jesus is saying that He was going to give up his life as the sacrifice for sin for His people to do away with the sacrificial system.  With His sacrifice it would no longer be needed. This would be AN ASTOUNDING declaration to be heard by the Jewish People.

The Good Shepherd would become the Lamb of sacrifice on the altar to save all who are lost in sin.

Which covers us all. For As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:10,23

The Good Shepherd is willing to do whatever it will take to save and secure His flock. Even if it meant hanging on a cross until death overtook him and he was laid in a tomb. Because HE knew – HE knew death had no power over Him. He would not remain in the tomb but would rise up in new life to do the same for those who come to God by Him.

And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. I Corinthians 16:4
For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. II Corinthians 13:4

Jesus, The GOOD SHEPHERD. My Shepherd. I hope he is yours as well for no other will do for you what He has done.

Bold, audacious and astounding declarations made by Jesus? Absolutely! More wondrously – HE HAS delivered on eaShell Sigch one. 

Still 3 more declarations to look at. Until next time may the joy of the Lord be your strength.

 

I AM (Pt. 3)

So today7 I am s we’re looking at John 10:9 when Jesus declares: “I AM the gate, whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture.”

On the surface this one doesn’t seem quite as  bold a declaration as the first 2 but let’s hold that thought in check.

A gate is Continue reading “I AM (Pt. 3)”

I AM (Pt. 2)

Going forward from the last post wondering about this 7 I am s
man who is celebrated this time of year as one risen from the dead. In this post we’ll continue on in the book of John to a second  ‘I AM’ statement Jesus made about himself. Again a bold declaration! That HE is the light of the world. How audacious of Him. Continue reading “I AM (Pt. 2)”

The I AM

I think I miss writing. Perhaps Easter is a good time to begin ablog picgain. Who is this man who is celebrated at this time as one risen from the dead?

In seeking a direction I came across something written last year
at this time as I was going through a study entitled  The God Questions by Hal Seed.

An interesting question was posed: What does it mean to ‘know’ someone? Continue reading “The I AM”