Posts Tagged ‘Martha’

If the Christ is keeping me from falling, then the implication is clear: my tendency is to fall. Probably, I am more off balance than on, leaning at an edge. Without the centering power of the Christ, I will cascade, slowly or quickly, depending on my grip, into the pit, the valley, the quicksand.

Jude 1:24
To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—

I have just journeyed the Christmas season with little anchoring. I allowed the busy-ness of the holidays to pull me away from my center. Even church events became distractions instead of magnets, as well as shopping, wrapping, and food preparation – awesome Martha [Luke 10:40] activities – but little centering time. I discovered I can sing about the baby Jesus, I can listen to hymns, I can go to church and pray corporately, but it does not keep me from falling out of the Presence.

Like the woman with the issue of blood [Luke 8:43-48], I must be intentional in centering down with the Holy Spirit; I must reach out and grab onto to the cloak, the covering, the access points I have been given. Oh sure, God is gracious and merciful, and I am not condemned, but I have missed a blessing by not inhabiting the presence of Christ within.

Jude commends us to “pray IN in the Holy Spirit.” Some believe this phrase means to pray in tongues or other form of “spiritual” language. And I don’t discount these as possibilities, but I am more interested in the intent of praying WITH the Holy Spirit within. It is a joint effort, this type of praying, it is praying without boundaries, it is praying in unison, it is praying out of a relationship. It is divine. It is powerful. It is holy.

And from here, the soul is centered, the spirit is centered, and as a result, the body is centered, joined to the Spirit of Wholeness [holiness].

At this time of year, many begin looking to the New Year, with resolutions and goal setting. I have but one: to remain in the Presence of Holy Spirit who keeps me from falling.

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John 11:21, 32
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”… [32]When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

While it’s happening, we can’t imagine why God would allow bad things to come into our lives. Both Mary and Martha loved, adored and trusted Jesus, and yet, despite their complete confidence in his ability to heal, he was unable to arrive in time [at that point, I don’t believe they knew he delayed intentionally].

I always thought the women were expressing their disappointment in him and perhaps even chastising him a little. (Hey! You’re late! You missed the bus!) Instead, I believe their words expressed something else entirely: their faith in Him. In other words, they were confirming that there was a greater purpose in their brother’s death and trusted Jesus in that purpose. They allowed their faith to be stronger than their understanding.

They still experienced sadness as did Jesus. The circumstances were difficult. It was a trial. And yet, their faith was unshaken.

When we walk through the challenges in our lives, we must take heart from the story of these two sisters. We can always imagine in our human way that situations could have worked out differently, but “his ways are not our ways.” [Isaiah 55:9] If we can get better at accepting the “now,” we may see the miracle of tomorrow more readily.

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Mark 15:41
In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

If you look at the four gospels, it’s easy to compile a short list of women by name who were accompanied by “many other women.” Jesus’ mother, Mary, along with Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses, Salome, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons are noted specifically. Scripture indicates these women followed him and cared for him all the way from Galilee. The beginning of this journey is recorded (not long after the story of the Transfiguration), in Luke 9:51 (As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.).

It’s 120 miles from Galilee to Jerusalem and all along the way, Jesus was teaching, preaching, and healing. The women were an integral part of this trek. I think people sometimes assign them all to the role of Martha (not Stewart, but almost) but forget about the devotion of her sister, Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet. I am sure many of these women did the same. They were devoted to the Master.

And these are the women who stayed with Him to the very end. They did not flee. They were steadfast. This is the heritage that we as women believers must remember. This is our mantle.

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Luke 10:41-42
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Not every decision we make is between good and evil. Sometimes, we must choose between good and better. These decisions are by far the more difficult ones. These decisions take discernment, wisdom, and trust. I know the trap for me has been to “do it all” and now, I realize that is the result of not “choosing the better part.” I don’t want to miss anything. I can see this habit even in the small things of life like packing for a trip and since I can’t decide what I will wear, I take it all, putting off that decision until later. Today, I know, there will be decisions before me and I ask God, right now, guide me, that I might choose well, for choose I must.

For more about Mary and Martha and the better part, see Wisdom Seekers discussions on the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.

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