Thursday, March 31, 2016

Luke 10:38-42

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  Luke 10:39-40

We must not get so involved with life's busy and hectic schedule that we forget to sit at Jesus' feet. We must never neglect our quiet time with Him in prayer and Bible reading.  In our Biblical story today Jesus was visiting in the home of Martha and Mary.  How excited Martha and Mary must have been to have the Lord Jesus come to their home!  Martha was an energetic "take charge" type person. Perhaps Mary was a more "laid back" and meditative person.  God uses all kinds of personalities in His kingdom for different purposes.  So no matter what personality type we possess we can be used by the Lord.  We need to bring ourselves and our personalities under the Lordship of the Lord, however, and we must seek to do all for His glory.

When Jesus came to Martha and Mary's house Luke chapter ten verse thirty-nine says that Mary "sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said."  Martha, however, was running around frantically making preparations for the meal that she was planning to serve the Lord Jesus.  Luke chapter ten verse forty tells us that Martha was very "distracted by all the preparations that had to be made."

Soon Martha became annoyed that her sister, Mary, was not helping her.  She complained to Jesus in the last part of verse forty.  Martha said, "Lord, don't You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!"  Jesus answered Martha in Luke chapter ten verses forty-one and forty-two by saying, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Jesus was not condemning Martha for her service.  God's kingdom needs people who are energetic in His service.  Jesus, however, was admonishing Martha for allowing her busy schedule to interfere with needed and precious time in the Lord's presence.

So we also must remember that it is not what we do for the Lord that is important.  What is important is that we are abiding in the Lord in what we are doing.  All of our activity should be filled with a sense of the Lord's presence right beside, before, and behind us.  Our lives must be filled with His agenda and not our own.  To be about God's agenda in this world we need to be abiding in Him and communing with Him.  We must not become so involved with life's activities that we miss the joy of Mary who sat at the Lord's feet listening to Him.

In these days of tension, turmoil, and frantic schedules we must take time for quiet times with the Lord in His Holy Word and prayer.  This is the one thing that is needed and essential in our lives! It should be our number one priority in our lives to grow in our love relationship with the Lord. Even if we are busy in service for the Lord, if we neglect time sitting at the Lord's feet; our service for the Lord will not be blessed.  Only when we have taken time with the Lord can we experience the peace and joy of the awareness of His presence in our many activities of the day.

I at one time had a placard on a windowsill in my kitchen.  I think it must have gotten lost in one of my moves.  It read, "God is more interested in my character than in my activity."  That reminds me that I need to more concerned with showing a Christ-like character than in accomplishing all the things on my "to do" list.  God is interested in our service, but we can only properly serve Him, if we first have spent time with Him!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Easter's Meaning

(I am deviating from my normal activity here, and I am writing an Easter devotional instead. I will not be posting next week.  Use this time to read some of my older posts.  The next post will be on or around March 31.  Have a blessing Easter.)

We are celebrating Easter in a few days. What does Easter mean to you, dear Christian reader? How does it relate to your life with its joys and struggles?

Easter means that the Lord Jesus came to this earth and lived a perfect life for you and me. He later died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, and then He arose again on the third day to prove that He had won over sin and death and Satan. If you and I have accepted his gift of salvation by repentance and faith, we are His child now and for eternity.

Easter also means that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, identifies with your pain and struggles in your life. He also identifies with the pain of your loved ones, dear reader. Having suffered the worst possible pain for us on the cross He is able to sympathize with our heartaches and weaknesses. He is also an all powerful Savior to whom we can freely go for grace in our moments of sadness and overwhelming and crushing needs.

In fact Hebrews chapter four verses fifteen and sixteen says “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Because of Easter and Christ's sacrifice you can freely approach God the Father Himself with your and your loved one's needs, dear reader. You can cry out to Him for help and according to Romans chapter eight verse fifteen call Him your “Abba Father,” because He considers you His special child. Easter also means that when your heart is so weighed down with the heartaches and overwhelming circumstances of life that you do not even know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede and pray for you!  

Easter means that although you will always face trials and troubles in this world, the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world.  He is also your source of peace even in the most challenging of times. (John 16:33)  Even in the overwhelming and unthinkable circumstances of life, when we do not understand God's ways in allowing certain things in our lives, God is working for our ultimate good. We are victors in Him! 

Dear Christian reader, my hope for you would be that when difficulties occur in your life you will slowly heal emotionally and spiritually through God's loving and healing hand. God will always be with you, and joy will return one day in even the overwhelming trials of life. His love for you will never fail. He proved that love for you on the cross. I also pray that you will find joy both in the pleasant times and in the difficult moments, because of the tremendous and eternal love the Lord has for you, That is the meaning of Easter for all of us.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mark 14:1-11

"She did what she could."  Mark 14:8

The religious leaders of Jesus Christ's day hated Him, and they were looking for a way to arrest Jesus and kill Him.  During this time period Jesus was in the home of a man known as Simon. Jesus was sharing a meal with Simon and the others who were present that day.  Suddenly Mark chapter fourteen verse three tells us that "a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume made of pure nard.  She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head." We know from this same account in the Gospel of John that this woman was Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. John chapter twelve verse three tells us that Mary poured the perfume "on Jesus' feet and wiped His feet with her hair."

The perfume Mary poured on Jesus' head and feet was made of a delightfully pleasant smelling oil extracted from a root of a plant grown mainly in India and was very expensive.  In fact, John chapter twelve verse three goes on to say, "the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."  This action on Mary's part showed her deep and overflowing devotion and love for the Lord Jesus.  It also showed Mary's humility.  Mary was not concerned about what others thought about her action.  She was only concerned about showing her love for her Lord.

Some of those present, however, were indignant about this and were saying that the money could have been given to the poor.  We know from John's Gospel account of this same story that the main person who was objecting to this display of love on the part of Mary was Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot was the man who right after this incident went out and betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders of that day. Others were also rebuking Mary for her act of love to Jesus; but Jesus said to them in Mark chapter fourteen verses six through nine, "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to Me.  The poor you will always have with you, and your can help them any time you want.  But you will not always have Me.  She did what she could.  She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for My burial.  I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she had done will also be told, in memory of her."

While others rebuked Mary for her act of love, Jesus praised her.  Mary gave all she could to show her love for the Lord.  Can we say the same for ourselves?  Do we give our all to the Lord? The Lord wants our time, our talents, our lives, and our all.  Jesus wants the the sweet fragrance of our Christ-like actions and attitudes to fill our world around us, so that others see Jesus in us.

Our Lord wants us to be consumed with the desire to bring glory and honor to Him.  Our Lord wants us to be consumed with our love relationship with Him.  Our lives must be poured out in gratitude to the Lord for what He has done for us.  Our Lord Jesus poured out His life for us. Should we not give our all to Him in gratitude and love for His gift of salvation to us?  Our selfish wants and desires must diminish and be extinguished, and our consuming desire must be that we may live to reflect Christ's holiness in our lives.  John chapter three verse thirty says, "He must become greater; I must become less."  May it be our supreme desire that there will be less of self and our selfish desires in our lives.  Instead may our lives be poured out for the Lord for His glory and honor!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Mark 11

"I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."  Mark 11:23-25

In the home where I used to live hung a sign which read, "Let prayer be the KEY that opens and closes your day."  I think this sign was suggesting that prayer should permeate our entire day from beginning to end.  The sign was suggesting that prayer is the key to a joyful, abundant, and productive life.  It is so tempting to rush into our day's activities without prayer.  Prayer, however, is a powerful tool given to us by the Lord.  Often we do not begin to tap into the full power prayer can have in our lives.

Mark chapter eleven verses twenty-two through twenty-four are powerful verses.  They tell us that we need to approach the Lord in prayer with faith and trust.  If we do this, the Lord will remove the "mountains" or what we deem to be impossible circumstances or obstacles from our lives.  The Lord will remove these difficult situations in our lives, or He will give us the grace and strength to walk through those difficult situations.

He will do this through the power of prayer.  In verse twenty-four of Mark chapter eleven Jesus says,"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."  God can hear our prayers and do what we think is impossible. Wonderful things have been accomplished through the power of prayer for those who are the children of God.

We do need to pray according to the Lord's will, however.  God knows what is best for us.  A parent would not give a knife to a toddler, if he or she asked for it.  In the same way, our Lord will not give us things that are not good for us.  He loves us that much!  According to Mark chapter eleven verse twenty-five we also need to not have an unforgiving spirit towards others, if we want to be an effective prayer warrior.  Further, if we want to be an effective prayer warrior, we need to show evidence of a relationship with the Lord and of spiritual fruit in our lives.  Jesus condemned the fig tree for not producing fruit in Mark chapter eleven verses twelve through fourteen.  So we too must produce spiritual fruit in our lives, if we hope to be powerful spiritual warriors.

Our trusting prayers to the Lord will open wide the storehouses of heaven!  By our complete dependence on the Lord the door is open to the presence of the Lord and to all His answers to prayer in our lives!  Our helplessness united with faith in the Lord produces prayers that are pleasing to the Lord.  If we approach the Lord in trustful prayers, it will also bring about wonderful answers to prayer!  We prove the all-sufficiency of the Lord when we ask for what we think is impossible, and the Lord honors those prayers!