Every now and then my mind goes into thoughts about a particular Bible account that has to be among my favourites. It wouldn't be the first time I have written about the incident I am about to cover once again but this time I am looking at this from a slightly different angle. Each time I muse over the happenings in a home in Bethany something new crops up equally as lovely as the last thing I found.
Please allow me to take you back once again to Luke chapter 10 where we read about Martha and Mary:
"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village:
Mary has always been an inspiration to me, and a long time ago someone very dear to me told me something that was a great encouragement to my soul. This is what he said: "Study yourself to be a Mary; the one who 'sat at the feet of Jesus and heard His Word.' If you want to know what is in the heart of the Lord Jesus, this is the place where you will find it. And when you do, you will know what He wants you to do." (Robert McPheat.)
This has to be among of the very best words of advice I have ever heard. I will never forget those loving words of encouragement as long as I live; because I live in the good of such advice every day!
And I would encourage everyone reading this to do the same; for you will never regret such advice.
Mary had an insight into the Lord's character that very few understood. She knew who He was and why He came and it showed in her actions when under pressure. And there was something about her quiet confidence in her beloved Lord that made it easy for other people to trust the Saviour for themselves. The Bible tells us that:
"... Many of the Jews which came to Mary,
And although what I would like to convey to you includes Mary, I want to draw your attention this time to Martha, because I believe she gets more than her fair share of bad press whenever this account is read and spoken about.
Even while searching for other's thoughts about Martha, I could not find one article or even one picture that showed what I believe was the Lord's understanding of Martha. And I am very deeply persuaded that what we are often taught isn't necessarily what the Bible is actually teaching!
Let us set the scene once again and see the Lord sitting and quietly speaking to all that were in Martha's home. Everyone was listening but perhaps only one person was actually 'hearing' Him ... and that was Mary. There she was, at His feet and soaking up every word, every breath, every inflection, and every gesture.
His words were not just teachings but they were life to Mary, and she was totally immersed in the truth He was expressing. Perhaps if she were to have been asked about their value to her, she may have replied something like this: "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." Job 23: 12
Now let us step back for a moment and notice something going on in the kitchen area of the house. Martha is busy! But something is wrong! She is a little heavy handed with pots and pans. Perhaps she is sighing a little more than she would have done some other time. Her heart is hurting and she is irritated. And suddenly, she had enough!
She left the kitchen and waited politely for a moment to break in and appeal to Jesus for some help. The very presence of her sister sitting so content and listening with such deep interest was probably making Martha feel even more agitated!
For a moment of time the Lord in His kindness and mercy gave to Martha His undivided attention with a gentle but profoundly deep admonition. He said: "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
I don't think it is too great a stretch of imagination to hear the unspoken invitation of the Lord to Martha to 'come, choose the good part as well while you can - the catering can wait for a bit.'
In that silent moment while Martha was contemplating what to do, perhaps she saw her sister gently gesturing her to 'come sit with me, and listen to our beloved Lord'.
I have every reason to believe that something like this must have happened because at a later time in John's Gospel we read of Martha in the kitchen once again, but something is different, this time she is happy and content to serve while others are reclined at the table with the Lord.
And if ever there was a time for her to feel a little agitated it would have been this time, because this is the occasion when Mary honoured the Lord with her extravagant gift of anointing and fragrant oil, but the Bible doesn't mention anyone being upset about what Mary did ... except Judas the betrayer! Something must have happened to her heart to change her attitude and brighten her demeanour. (See John 12: 1-8.)
Could it be that she chose to accept Mary's invitation to 'come, sit with me' at the feet of Jesus?
Well, the Bible doesn't say so, but I do believe that it is safe to assume this is what she did, because there is no one like the Lord Himself to have such a marked effect on a person's whole outlook on life.
I am sorry that a look at Martha in this light is very rare but I believe this is very much in keeping with the character of the beloved Lord that I have come to know and learned to love. I know He wouldn't have left disgruntled Martha still disgruntled after speaking to her with such compassion and understanding.
How about you? Is life so demanding that you are feeling suffocated while others appear to be unfazed. Let me tell you that the advice I was given long ago is rather like the gesture of Mary to 'come, sit with me'.
To me it was a wonderful invitation come and sit at the feet of the Lord, and hear His Word for myself. And it has not only been a delight to my soul but I believe it has been a delight to His also. After all, his love is supreme and very tender, and I am sure that it must warm His heart if we hear Him when He speaks!
So here is my invitation to you to 'come, sit with me!' Leave the busyness, and the hustle and bustle aside for a while just to hear a word or two from the heart of the Lord to yours. You will be forever glad you did! Oh, and everything that was important and demanding attention will all get done just the same, only now, it will be accomplished with peace in your heart like never before.
The Lord Jesus is waiting long and patiently for you to trust in him with all your heart.
You too can know the joy in your heart of 'hearing His Word' and the assurance of a home in heaven.
Here's how - It's as simple as 'ABC'
why not say hello down below! ♥
During one of those times outside and getting air and exercise we went to what has to be one of my favourite places - Queen's Valley Reservoir. It was a beautiful sunny day with nothing more than a gentle breeze to refresh us as we made our way around this lovely body of water which is rather like a mini lake.
Sometimes when we go there the water is all troubled because of the elements but not that day! The day we visited the water was like a mill pond! The sunlight played on the ripples which enhanced the beauty of where we were, and I couldn't help but be reminded of the above verse from Psalm 23.
Still waters are a place where the Shepherd leads His sheep. Such is the intricate and loving care of the beloved Lord Jesus, 'my Shepherd'
... maybe He's your Shepherd also!
He doesn't need to drag us there, He leads. He doesn't push us there, He leads. He is not following along in case we just so happen to come across a place of stillness and rest - He leads us there!
Did you notice also that the Shepherd doesn't lead his sheep 'into' the still waters but 'beside' them! And there is a good reason for this; because if we got in, the waters would not be still anymore! Any movement we made would send ripples out and disturb the tranquillity of the moment.
Now, although there may be times when we are called upon to go through certain trials and suffering which are pictured in the Bible as waters, or rivers, or even fire through which we must pass, God has promised these will not overcome us because He will be with us. (See Isaiah 43: 2.) But the waters to which the Shepherd leads are 'still waters', and He leads us there for a specific purpose.
There are lessons to learn from a situation like this that we would not learn elsewhere.
You see, still waters are like a mirror reflecting the sky looking down on them, and the clouds silently passing overhead. The still waters catch the sunlight and translate it into beautiful flashes of sparkling radiance. You cannot help but receive an essence of joy at such a sight of such illuminated beauty.
Life is full of ups and downs. It has its joys and its sorrows, and it has its dark days and light days. And just like the sea or a body of water like the one where we often visit, life can be subject to external disturbances and our peace can get all ruffled!
Ahh, but where He leads is somewhere very different! Under the Shepherd's loving care and following the Shepherd's leading, we are taken to a place of calmness deep within the soul that none can disturb.
When we who are so often beset with cares, worries and trials, the Bible encourages us and instructs us as to what to do:
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4: 6-7.
'The peace of God, which passeth all understanding'! Does this not sound rather like those still waters where the Shepherd leads His sheep? This is a stillness that is ever so much deeper than merely what's on the surface. Deep as our minds and thoughts are maybe!
In spite of our circumstances through which we must all pass, this peace is found in abundance only in the One who is able to give it freely, enabling His people to remain in a state of quietness and serenity while going through a trial of one sort or another. The Lord Jesus invited us to:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11: 28-30.
He stands in the midst of a troubled world and calls for His people to come to Him; the 'good Shepherd' who not only 'knows' the way but IS the way.
There is one thing we must do therefore in order to appreciate what it is He is communicating to us - we must follow!
The Lord Jesus is the 'Shepherd' of those who trust in Him.
Here's how He can be your Shepherd as well.
It's as simple as ... 'ABC'
~~~~~>> Do you have any questions or comments about the above thoughts I would love to hear from you -
why not say hello down below! ♥
Such is the way of life these days! Gone are those days when we jostled in shopping malls, grocery stores and other public places. Gone for a time are those special moments when we can embrace a loved one. I wonder if and when this crisis comes to an end what life is going to look like. For the time being it looks like 'social distancing' is going to continue to be enforced long after lock-down until someone can come up with a remedy to this dilemma.
Of course there is a very good reason why we have to stay the safe 'six feet away' from one another in order to keep from spreading this horrible virus, or at least slow it down so everyone is not getting sick at the same time.
However, there is another virus already in our system that is by far more fearful than Covid-19! The virus called 'Sin' is in our DNA. We are born with it and it is deadly! Everyone who has ever come into this world was born with it and died, and in due course we will also!
Dying is a horrible fact of life and we do all we can to avoid it, or even mentioning the subject, but it is still there in the background ... waiting!
But, there is something even more traitorous than death itself, and that is being separated from the living, loving, merciful God! Our sin is the reason for this but while there is life there is hope. After a person has died the opportunity to be released from this curse will die with them.
This condition is so serious that there is no human remedy for it. So what can we do about it?
Where do we find hope?
Let us consider the Lord Jesus, the Son of the living God who the Bible tells us: "Came into the world to save sinners." 1 Timothy 1: 15.
His beautiful life demonstrated to us that He was absolutely perfect in every way. No sin was to be found in Him! He taught as a Man who had authority, and that is because He did. Among the marvellous things He taught was an account about a man who while on his journey to Jericho fell among thieves who mugged him and left him for dead!
There were two men who drew near to the poor man suffering under the heat of the blistering sun ... but, passed by him on the other side. They kept a safe distance between themselves and the unfortunate man.
But in the passing of time there came: "... A certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him." Luke 10: 33-34.
The Lord Jesus was painting in words a picture of Himself. That 'certain Samaritan' was last person one would ever imagine to come along, right to where he was and tend to this unfortunate man's urgent needs.
Perhaps the other men were representatives of false religion and thought they would be ceremoniously unclean if they came near to him, so they backed away and left him. No compassion there, only a sense of self preservation stemming from either pride or fear.
But then there 'just so happened' to come a Samaritan with a kind and compassionate heart and took on the responsibility to see the injured man back to full health and functionality.
The Lord Jesus when telling us of this account was telling us what He did when poor lost sinners like ourselves were in our need. When He came into this world on the mission to save us from our sins and bring us into a living relationship with God His Father, social distancing did not come into the equation back then!
This beloved Man was able to mingle with all-sorts of people without His sinless nature being corrupted. Although the Lord was surrounded by sin, He remained completely uncontaminated. The Bible tells us that "The Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." Luke 15: 2. These men like those in the parable Jesus told were not too pleased that He was getting right to the place where the people were.
They were not prepared to reach out to the needy people who were labelled 'sinners' and condemned the Lord Jesus for doing so. Little did they realise that were needy sinners as well!
What the good Samaritan did for the man left to die back then is what Jesus still does to this day for people who are lost in their sins, contaminated in the sight of a holy God, and separated from the best of blessings He has to freely give.
The world is looking for answers, it is looking for a cure, and for a man to sort things out. It's looking for anyone but the Lord Himself and one day in the not too distant future will trust a deceiver who appears to have all the answers. But Jesus is the answer NOW, and the cure for the 'virus' of sin from which all our troubles spring.
If ever people are going to come into the benefit of the blessing of having their sins forgiven, everyone has to turn away from them, and the love of them, and trust fully in God's remedy for them. "God ... commandeth all men every where to repent ..." Acts 17: 30. This is not a polite request from God but a command!
The sinless, spotless Man who came into our contaminated world and right into the company of contaminated people, remaining perfect and pure in order to go to the cross of shame.
Remember, we are born with sin because it's in our DNA. It is in the very blood that runs through our veins, which is why it took the death of the sinless Saviour as our Substitute to 'cure' the sin virus, because the blood of the Lord Jesus was perfect - there was no sin virus in it.
'Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!'
Perhaps you as a believer may find yourself feeling discouraged or lonely today. Be encouraged to know that the same Man who isn't ashamed to draw near to the sinner in their need will do the same for you also.
Every child of God needs to know how precious they are to Him and His precious Son. Perhaps He is using this isolation period to get you to turn to Him in all sincerity and find to the joy of your soul that He was there all the time! You see, He is not ashamed of His people, and the fact that He is not ashamed to come right to where we are in our need tells me that He is faithful to His promise: "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." Hebrews 13: 5.
One day soon this precious, sinless, spotless Man will descend from heaven to call His beloved people away from this scene of sadness and suffering, to be with Him in His Father's house where immeasurable will be our portion. How wonderful to know that very soon our faith is going to give way to sight, and the One whom we cannot see and yet love, we will see Him in all His wonder and beauty at last.
Oh, and there in heaven with the Lord Jesus, 'social distancing' will be a thing of forever past. We will at last know His loving embrace. And having been reunited with loved ones who went to heaven before us, what a joy it will be to our souls to embrace them once more. What a wonderful eternity the Lord's people have to look forward to.
Dear unbeliever - won't you come and trust the Saviour so you will not lose out.
Dear fellow believer - take courage; for the best is yet to come ... Perhaps Today - Perhaps Now!
>> Do you have any questions or comments about Jesus coming right where we are without getting contaminated with our sin I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below! ♥
After contemplating the unimaginable suffering of this perfect Man one would think that seeing as He suffered so much He would be 'more dead' than others who have died before or since that dark day in history when the Son of God crucified.
After having suffered to the point of death, there would be no chance of the idea of Him coming back, would there? But He said He would rise again after three days and He did!
But why? Why did Jesus rise again?
Surely His resurrection didn't just happen just because He said so!
"And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things
and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed,
and after three days rise again."
"The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men,
and be crucified, and the third day rise again."
Of course what He says goes because He not only speaks the truth but IS the truth, and so in essence He did raise again just because He said so, but there is much more to it than that alone.
Perhaps we need to understand a couple of things before we can appreciate more fully the reason why Jesus rose again from the dead.
We need to understand who Jesus Christ was, and why He had to suffer the way He did.
Who was This Man?
There was no one who ever lived on earth before or after who was like Him. He was the only human being without a human father. And therefore the only One ever to be born via a virgin. This has never happened before and will never happen again. It doesn't need to because all it took was One perfect Man to fulfill the righteous claims of a holy God against sin.
Because His Father was God He was totally unable to sin, which is unlike everyone who has ever been born before or since. The Bible tells us that: 'we have been shaped in iniquity and in sin we were conceived.' (See Psalm 51:5.)
Sin is in our DNA, and we cannot get rid of it because this is simply who we are. We inherited the sin nature from the first man and woman, because they disobeyed a simple decree given by God not to eat of the fruit of one specific tree; 'the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' Because of this the death sentence is hanging over all of us. And worse still, is the sad fact that 'our sin has separated us from the living God, and our sins have hid his face from us, that he will not hear.' (See Isaiah 59:2.)
But This Man, was the most incredible Man ever to have walked this earth. There was none so wonderful as He! He reached out with compassion to the poor and to the infirmed. He brought comfort to the broken hearted and to the socially outcast. Even though He was sinless, spotless, and pure He mingled with the worst of society without intimidating them or ever being defiled at the same time.
When the religious leaders criticised Him for doing so, He told them: "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:32.
This is because He "came into the world to save sinners." I Timothy 1: 15. Something we simply cannot do for ourselves!
Why did He have to suffer?
Even though He was so wonderful, the One whom the Bible describes as 'Altogether Lovely', He was put through the most horrible ordeal known to mankind - a mock trial, a severe beating with a scourge, being buffeted and bruised by brutal heartless men, and crowned with thorns which was beaten into His blessed brow.
Other men would have buckled under the strain but not so with This Man. But if that wasn't enough, He then had to face a jeering crowd as He carried His cross upon which He would soon be impaled and hung up to suffer, bleed, and die. Crucifixion, the worst of deaths known to be inflicted on mankind. And then worst of all ... the separation from God! That separation that we deserve!
Did He have to suffer in this manner? According to the words of an old man called Simeon in the Lord's infancy, he indicated to His mother of sufferings that would come upon her Son which would 'pierce her soul', and "that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:35.
Like it or not, the way in which Jesus was treated was a reflection of what lies in the heart of mankind throughout all ages right unto this present day. That might sound barbaric but there around the cross that day would have been someone just like you and me, and the 'the thoughts of many were indeed revealed that day'!
However, the suffering of Christ prior to the cross and during those lonely tortuous hours when suspended for all to see, was all part of the price He knew was what it would take to purchase souls like you and me from being separated from God forever.
He had to suffer, and He knew it. He didn't waiver at the task set before Him but went to the cross willingly. He could have called for legions of angelic beings to come to His defence but He never did. Such was the love in His heart for helpless sinners like ourselves, He went to the cross to die as our Substitute.
But let us never forget, His death was not something that happened to Him, it was something He accomplished! He knew He was going to do this because it was planned long before the foundation of the world!
So now we understand in a very small measure who He was and why He suffered, perhaps we can begin to appreciate the answer to the question:
Why did Jesus rise again?
The Bible gives to us the best answer - simply put: 'He was loosed from the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.' Acts 2:24.
He was the only Man ever to have lived who never deserved to die ... but He did! He not only died but the Bible tells us that: 'He tasted death for every man'. (See Hebrews 2:9.)
And having done so and satisfied to the full every claim of God against our sin, He was risen from among the dead to live victoriously in the power of an endless life.
The resurrection of Christ proves that God is satisfied with what Jesus accomplished at Calvary.
But there is something else ... Before He went to the cross He made a promise, which everyone who is truly trusting in Him can claim:
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also."
John 14: 1-3
If Jesus had never risen from the dead on the third day, He would be unable to fulfill His promise. And if that were so, we would be without hope. In fact the Bible puts it this way:
"If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
But now is Christ risen from the dead ..."
1 Corinthians 15:17-20.
God requires us the repent or turn away from our sins and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to secure our destiny forever. Trusting in Him with all your heart is by far THE MOST IMPORTANT THING you could possibly do this side of eternity. The secret is, don't wait too long before you possibly find out you're too late.
It is truly the most wonderful thing to be intimately acquainted with a real Man in heaven and to know that although we cannot see Him right now, faithful is His promise that He will always be with us until that bright and blessed soon coming day when He will surely come for us, and we will be with Him ... at last!
>> Do you have any questions or comments about the what happened to Jesus at Calvary and the reason why He rose again from the dead? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below! ♥
"Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee:
hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."
Isaiah 26: 20.
I trust that this little line from me finds you and your loved ones well and safely tucked away from Covid-19.
Who would have thought right at the beginning of this year that just weeks into the future here we would all be either locked down or severely restricted in our movements because of this horrible pandemic!
Life is surreal! It's like being in a film set or a dream, only each morning when I wake up, life is still strange, very strange indeed! Industries have ground to a halt, buying and selling is only permitted for absolute necessities, the roads and freeways are almost empty, and the sound of children playing in the streets is but a memory. Here, as in other places worldwide we are in lockdown!
It feels as if the world has stopped spinning and we are suspended in another dimension. I can never remember a time like this when everything was so quiet! I open my windows and there is only the sound of the wind passing through the trees and birds calling to each other.
However, this crisis hasn't completely had the upper hand over everyone because although most of us are locked down, I believe some of those old fashioned principles once suffocated under the pressure of fast paced living are beginning to emerge once again. Now everything has slowed down, people are gradually appreciating the value of home and family again, and are rightfully appreciating those who serve us, and are more compassionate towards the less fortunate and the vulnerable. AND of course, people are more conscious of their mortality ... there's nothing like a crisis to turn the hearts of the people to God, who is our only hope.
I get the feeling that He is trying to get our attention!
Of course, those old fashioned principles are God like in character and being conscious of our mortality has been put there in our heart by God Himself. Covid-19 is a wakeup call for all of us! Perhaps it will be the last one everyone gets before events on God's timetable take place shortly. Jesus is coming again as He promised! He will come suddenly for those who are waiting for Him - Don't be left behind!
God in His loving and merciful heart doesn't want anyone to perish but that all should come to repentance, fully trust in Him and allow Him to save them. And He doesn't want His people to have a saved soul and a lost and wasted life either, so He is using a situation brought about by this virus to create a 'silence' that has rarely happened in human history.
These are unprecedented times and believe it or not we are a very privileged people; for although there is the concern that comes packaged with Covid-19, the eternal God who loves us has got us all locked down and quiet to allow the possibility to hear him speak ....
"... And after the fire a still small voice."
1 Kings 19: 12.
"Be still, and know that I am God."
Psalm 46: 10.
Now that the fire and fury of fast paced living has been dissolved for a while and we have no choice but slow down or stop completely in some cases, now it is quiet enough to hear the 'still small voice of God' ... if we're listening! Humble yourself before Him, and open up your Bible; because He has a promise especially for you: "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James 4: 8.
Please know this, that God doesn't waste afflictions or a crisis like this one, and it would be a great loss to miss what He wants you to know right now in the midst of all the suffocating uncertainties.
First of all there is one thing of which we can be sure ...
and that is the uncertainty of tomorrow!
Why not use the concern about tomorrow and the future to drive you to the One who knows the beginning from the end. This is the One who cares for your soul more than you do and wants to give to you a certain future, an unshakable faith and a hope that is unquenchable.
He sent His precious Son into the world over two-thousand years ago to do something we cannot do for ourselves. Sin is a greater foe than Covid-19 because it separates people from God robbing them of a personal relationship with Him and a hope for the future. But the death of Jesus on the cross eradicated the problem, satisfied an offended God about our sin and provides hope, forgiveness, and cleansing. This precious rose from the dead on the third day and is now a living Man in heaven. Soon His people are going to be taken up to be with Him where He is.
Living in a time of so many uncertainties, God's remedy for our dilemma is something certain, steadfast and sure. Now, doesn't that sound like something we all need?
Treasure the silence while you can. Lift your heart to God in prayer and search for Him with all your heart. Until this crisis you perhaps would never have thought of doing that before. But wouldn't it be a wonderful thing to look back one day and be grateful for the lockdown order, because perhaps there in the silence you found Hope in the God of mercy, the unspeakable joy of sins forgiven and the precious promise of a home in heaven.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Isaiah 55: 6-7
~~~~~>> Do you have any questions or comments about your concerns during this uncertain period and what it all means to you? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below! ♥