Thursday, May 17, 2012

"A Focused Heart"

I came across a message I shared with a group of college students almost ten years ago that still speaks volumes today.  I thought it was worth sharing again.  Be blessed as you read.

(Let’s look at someone who had a heart completely devoted to God)

Luke 10:38-42 says…
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

“But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NLT)

How can we have a “Mary Heart” in a “Martha World?”

1.  Quiet your Spirit

Martha was all wrapped up in doing “things.”  She was distracted and not fully focused on Jesus.

Some times we can get distracted by being “too busy” doing… attending church activities, family obligations, work functions, hobbies, etc… We may not be doing things that are necessarily bad, but we are missing the point of taking time to be with JESUS!

Mary set everything aside to give her complete attention to Jesus.  Nothing else was more important to her at that moment.  We can take a lesson from Mary.  When Jesus is there, give Him all of your attention!  Nothing else matters!

How can we have a “Mary Heart” in a “Martha World?”

2.      Be content with “Just Jesus”

Mary didn’t want to be anywhere else or with anyone else, she was content with just Jesus.

Martha thought doing something for Jesus was just as important as being with Jesus.  But she missed the boat.  Jesus was the main course and nothing else really mattered.  Their spirits needed food more than their bodies or flesh did.

Mary recognized her need for more and sat at Jesus feet.  She wanted to be as close as she could get to Him so she wouldn’t miss a thing. She soaked in His presence taking it all in, hanging on His every word.

Being content with “Just Jesus” is hard.  It’s easy when you are single because He is all you’ve got, but when you add a boyfriend or girlfriend, a spouse, and then kids, it gets even harder.  But the question you need to ask yourself is:  If everything in my life was stripped away from me, would I still be content with Just Jesus.  That is the place He wants us to live daily.

How can we have a “Mary Heart” in a “Martha World?”

3.      Throw out YOUR agenda

We all have our own idea of how we think things should go in certain situations, but we’ve got to throw our agenda out the window when it comes to being with Jesus.

Jesus just wants to be with us… what happens after that is a surprise.

Martha couldn’t let go of her preparations that in the long run wouldn’t even matter tomorrow.

Mary let everything go.  Whatever she had planned she set aside to be with Jesus.  She gave Him her complete attention and it changed her.

Sticking to “our agenda” can get in the way when it comes to our relationship with God.  If we do what we’ve always done, we will get what we’ve always gotten and no more.

BUT, if we do what we’ve never done, we are going to experience
God in ways we never have before!

How can we have a “Mary Heart” in a “Martha World?”

4.      Seize the Moment

We need to seize the moment when it comes to moments of intimacy with Jesus.  There may never be another opportunity like today to experience Jesus in this way. 

Mary took advantage of every moment she had with Jesus.  She expressed extravagant love in extravagant ways.  She wasn’t in a hurry!  She was on His schedule and stepped into His flow for her life.

John 12:3 says… “Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.” (NLT)

For a whole day I’m sure wherever she or Jesus went, people associated them together by the smell of the beautiful fragrance that was soaked into them.  What an awesome picture!  We should smell of the fragrance of Christ each time we are with Him.  Others should notice and associate us together.  They should see evidence of our time spent together shining through us without us ever saying a word.

How can we have a “Mary Heart” in a “Martha World?”  Focus your heart on what is really important.  Think about it.  What are you wasting your time on?  What is making you too busy to be with Jesus?  Seize the moments you have to be with Him.  It could change the whole course of your day and maybe even your life!

Living to leave a legacy,

Thursday, May 10, 2012


This is an excerpt from my book...
  "Surviving Life's Mud Puddles"
    Chapter 4 (Perspectives from a Ditch)

(Genesis 37)
Have you ever been on a road trip before?  Some trips are fun while others can be frustrating depending on how long you are traveling and who is traveling with you.  My kids drive me crazy when we are traveling.  My husband and I constantly hear... “Are we there yet?  How much further?  When will we ever get there?”  I’m sure I probably asked the same questions from the back seat when I was younger.  Someone gave me the idea once of giving them a road map from one of the gas stations along the way.  They assured me that it would cut down on the questions.  I don’t think they ever met my kids.  One son in particular increased his questions.  “Is this the next town on the map?  How many more miles until this city?  What exit number is this?  This is awesome!” … maybe for him, but not for me. 

Can you imagine Joseph’s road trip?  He traveled alone, probably on foot, for sixty plus miles looking for his brothers only to find out that they weren’t where they were supposed to be.  Some unnamed man he meets along the way directs him to where he thinks they may have gone.  Actually it says… “a man noticed him wandering around the countryside (vs. 15).”  He must have looked suspicious or frustrated.  At this rate, Joseph could be walking all over the country trying to find his brothers.  His mind may have been filled with thoughts of “…Hopefully they stay put for now until I can get there.  I promised father I would check on my brothers, but how far should I go?  He would have to give his best effort… his word was his word and he would keep it. 

Are you a person of your word?  When you say that you will do something, do you do it?

When Joseph finally saw his brothers in the distance, he was probably relieved.  No more wandering all over the countryside to find them.  We are not told at this time, how long he had to travel to actually find them.  It could have been days, or weeks.  I’m sure his father sent him with food and provisions to give them.  We do know he sent Joseph wearing that special coat he gave him as a gift (Gen. 37:23).  When his brothers spotted him, they had a different reaction than Joseph.

Some quick, sharp-eyed spotter saw Joseph in the distance and probably said… “Guess who is coming to visit us!”  Just the sight of him ignited a deep hatred within them.  I’m sure the conversation turned to name calling and unmentionable comments being spewed in Joseph’s direction.  They were immediately inspired to plan to kill him.  Wow… that was harsh.  I get angry with people at times, but just the sight of them does not provoke me to want to kill them.  There is more going on here than we know.  This seething hatred toward Joseph isn’t something that just happened.  It has been growing and festering inside each of them for years.  Sin left unchecked in our hearts can cause us to do things we never dreamed we would ever do (Genesis 4:1-8, 2 Samuel 11, Romans 7:15-25). 

Is there anything in your heart or life that you need to confess to God so you can be free?

I heard a cute story recently of what one woman did with her anger. 

There was once a man and woman who had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about. For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totaling $25,000. He asked her about the contents. "When we were to be married," she said, "My grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily." The little old man was so moved that he had to fight back tears. Only two precious doilies were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. "Honey," he said, "that explains the doilies, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?" "Oh," she said, "That's the money I made from selling the doilies."

We all get angry at times.  It is what we do with that anger that makes a difference!

Living to leave a legacy,