Saturday, June 20, 2015

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          Of all the things that we choose to do during each day, there is nothing more precious or valuable as the time that we spend with the Lord, to draw near to Him and sit at His knee to learn from Him.  So often we fill our time with being a Martha, running around consumed with all the tasks and cares of everyday life, and forgetting to be a Mary, who was diligent in “putting first things first,” spending time with the Lord.. (To refer to this story in the Bible, read Luke 10).  Jesus has come to visit at the house of the sisters, Martha and Mary.  Whether Jesus was to be the only guest for the evening, it doesn’t say, but one could assume that others may be coming to join them later for a meal and an evening of visiting with Jesus.  Through our imaginations, let us enter into their home, as unseen guests.  It’s our mission to observe and see what we may possibly learn from the people and the events of the evening. 

          Martha is known to be gifted as a talented party organizer and in serving others.  Everyone loves to come to her home, for she always knows how to make everyone feel welcomed, as if each person is of singular importance to her.  She takes seriously her position of serving others and creating a hospitable atmosphere suitable for people to gather and get to know one another.  Our eyes follow her as she busily flits about, preparing the meal, setting out the hors d’oeuvres, arranging an appealing table and comfortable seating.  Her mind is focused intently on making sure that everything is just right.  She is such a sweet and dear person, and never tires of serving others.  She loves Jesus dearly, and her love is demonstrated as she strives to pay meticulous attention to preparing every little thing down to the very last detail.  As she passes by Jesus, she asks if He would like a footstool for His feet, or a pillow for His back.  She gently reaches out to Him, massaging His shoulders for just a brief moment, and then she returns to her tasks of preparing for the evening.

          Our eyes move to focus upon Mary and what she is doing.  Her eyes are on Jesus, the guest of honor.  She is seated quietly at His feet, listening intently to every word that He utters.  Enthralled with His presence and the opportunity to just be near Him, she has a look of peace upon her face, as if she hasn’t a care in the world, and nothing and no one else exists.  Her focus is entirely on Jesus; getting prepared for anyone or anything else is the farthest thing from her mind.

          Suddenly, we hear Martha’s voice appealing to the Lord, asking Him: “Lord, doest thou not care that my sister hast left me to serve all alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.” (Luke 10: 40)  I can feel her anxiety as she thinks about all that still needs to be done before everyone else arrives. In her mind she thinks, “If Mary and I don’t get on the ball, the guests will arrive and things will be only half done.  Surely Jesus won’t mind entertaining Himself for a bit, while Mary and I work together to finish the last minute details.”

          Mary hears Martha’s request for help and immediately feels embarrassed for not being more helpful to her sister, whom she loves and respects ever so much.  But before she can react and go to her aid, she hears this response from Jesus: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 41)

          His response catches Martha off guard, as she tries to take it in and understand His meaning.  I can feel the sting that she must have felt in her spirit.  “What?” she may have thought to herself.  “I’m doing all the work, while Mary is doing nothing but sitting with you, and you think she’s chosen to do ‘that good part, that can not be taken away from her?’ Did she hear Him correctly?”  Perhaps she felt as if she was being reprimanded, as though her efforts to prepare an inviting meal and create a warm and hospitable atmosphere for the soon arriving guests were a complete waste of time.  After all, was Jesus really saying that what she was doing was worthless and unimportant?  I could imagine that she may have felt very hurt and unappreciated.  From her viewpoint, she was the one who was doing more to serve Him and others, but Mary was wasting time, sitting around and visiting with Jesus while there was still so much to be done.

          At first glance, you and I might be empathizing with Martha, feeling the very same things that she was.  However, that is the result of our limited and microscopic thinking, only seeing the present moment of time; whereas, Jesus sees the whole scope of things, both present and future, all at once.  Martha was intent upon the preparations for this one evening.  She had no way of knowing how little time Jesus had left on earth to be with any of them.  She couldn’t know now that farther down their life’s journey, she would look back upon this evening and cherish the memory, not of the meal or all that was done to prepare for it, but rather of the precious moments of time spent together in the company of the Lord, holding dear to her heart the many things He had taught and shared with them.  She doesn’t know it now, but later she will play and replay every moment in her mind, remembering the twinkle in His eye and the joy that they felt in their hearts as this man, Jesus their Lord, spoke of such wondrous things, teaching them the meaning of true love and so much more.  She’ll remember how Jesus did complement her for making such a delicious meal, and for all she had done to help make everyone’s evening so pleasant.  No, He didn’t dismiss all her efforts, but, looking back, she would realize what He had meant by saying, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Like both Martha and Mary, we too will soon understand the mystery lesson of the evening that will add richness and joy deep within our hearts, and Oh the joy that will flood our hearts.  Nothing that Jesus says or does is ever meant for our harm, but always for our good.  Even His chastisements are meant to be blessings poured out with love. 

          That night as everyone gathered around to dine together, enjoying a wonderful meal and good company, they experienced far more than just receiving food for the body.  After their meal, they each found a spot to sit where they felt comfortable, and yet close enough to Jesus.  Somehow, Jesus had a way of making each person feel as though He was speaking directly to only them.  You and I are drawn to Him also and our hearts stir within us as we imagine the thrill of also being a part of that gathering with Jesus our Lord. Now the real “dining” begins as we are being filled with the more important “spiritual food and nourishment” that will equip and satisfy our souls as we progress through our life’s journey. 

          They may not have been aware of it at the time, but each of them left that night having received words of truth and love.  These were seeds of faith that would take root in their hearts, seeds that would germinate, grow and create within them bits and pieces of the character of Jesus, enabling each of them, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to grow up a bit more in Christ, becoming more like Him, and more prepared to go forth to plant those same seeds in the hearts of others.

          So He wasn’t really putting Martha down, or being unappreciative of all her efforts.  He valued her gifts of hospitality and serving others, and knew that her gifts would be used over and over again.  Over the years to come, many would be invited to share a meal, and afterwards, both Martha and Mary would share and serve to others the more important “spiritual food,” for the planting of seeds of faith. Yes, this spiritual food would satisfy their souls and take root to grow up Christ within each of them.    

          Because of that one evening, Martha and Mary learned a valuable lesson that was used to help them grow up and mature in Christ, and they would pass that lesson on to others.  They were beginning to learn and understand.  The “good part” that Mary had chosen, was to put Christ first.  The things of God are far more important that the things of this temporal world.  Jesus said, “Whosoever drinketh of this water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4: 15) 

          Thereafter, they would be planting the seeds of faith that would catch on fire in the hearts of many more who would also become instruments of the Lord, to serve Him and glorify Him.  Yes, that evening was far more than just a meal.  It was an opportunity to learn from the Master Himself.  While Mary was drawn to sit at the feet of Jesus, to be near to Him, she not only learned from Him, but also learned more about Him and what it meant to love, trust, and obey Him.  The lesson they learned that night was for you and me to learn also.  He wants us to know about Him, but more than that; He wants us to know how much He loves and cares for us.  His love is such a consuming fire.  When that same Jesus kind of love is ignited and bursts into flame within us, it will spread and be ignited in the heart of others, from now and into eternity.

          Yes, Martha thought she was preparing a meal for that night.  Mary thought she was spending a moment in time at the feet of the Lord that night. Neither of them understood that the retelling of the story of that one evening was going to be used to touch the hearts of many for ages and ages to come.  Yes, you and I have been touched by the hand of God also.  That same love of the Lord, once ignited within the heart of anyone that is touched by Him, can never remain as a solitary flame within that one heart, but is meant to be shared and passed on to start a fire glowing so bright that it will continue to burn throughout the ages, being created anew in the heart of every Born Again believer. 

          Once that fire of faith, love, and trust in the Lord is ignited within our hearts, we must not let it go out, but keep on keeping on adding fuel to it to keep it glowing brighter and growing bigger.  The best way to do that is the lesson exemplified in the lives of Martha and Mary that night, and is encapsulated within the following scripture: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt.6: 33)  When we are Born Again, the Holy Spirit is sent to live within you and me, to be our guide.  God’s word is given unto us to be our map, or book of directions and instructions.  The Holy Spirit will empower us to understand and follow the book of directions.  Together, they will do for us what Jesus did for His followers when they were in His presence.  Jesus purchased our redemption when He paid in full the debt that we rightfully owed, as a result of our sin.  He that knew no sin, died on the Cross, taking all our sins upon Himself, that we, through faith in Him, might be set free from enslavement to sin and death.  He took the punishment that we rightly deserved. After He arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to live within all who would believe and trust in Him.  He gave His very life to purchase our redemption and forgiveness of all our sins.  How can anyone resist such a great love as this, a sinless life poured out for whosoever would choose to believe and receive Him?

          The Holy Spirit is He who empowers us to grow up in Christ that we may become less of our old sinful nature and more like Jesus.  Jesus is not just our example, He is our God, and it is His life that is to be lived in and through us by the power of His Holy Spirit.  We start as little baby Christians, having little bits and pieces of His nature within us.  For Him to come alive and grow up in us, it takes our cooperation to yield our will to His, that we might be used as instruments to fulfill His purposes and desires, on earth as it is in Heaven.  This does not happen over night, nor is it easy, for we are forever struggling against the temptations of Satan, the world, and our old sinful nature.  Growing up in Christ is a journey, a life-long process; it’s not just something you “try on” for a moment to see if it fits, as you would try on a coat to see if it fits, or satisfies your desires for the moment, only to be thrown away at a later date when it is no longer thought to be  fashionable.  Christ in you is meant to be an eternal covenant of faithfulness; He promises never to leave you of forsake you, and in turn you are to take that same vow to be faithful and obedient unto Him. 

          When Jesus, God the Son, walked among us on earth, being in one body, He couldn’t be with every believer at all times.  But after He returned to Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to live and dwell in the heart and soul of every Born Again believer.  Sometimes, even though we know He is not just by our side, but actually within us, we forget that everywhere we go, there He is also.  Yet, so often we don’t stop to think of the awful things we may be subjecting Him to as we go about our day, not caring if this is really something that Jesus would do, say, or think.  In fact, often we don’t even think to sit down and talk with Him first to ask Him: “Lord, what would you have me do today; where do you want me to go; what would you have me say; what would you want me to learn from this circumstance or situation?”  Somehow we seem to loose sight of the fact that we were bought and paid for by the sacrifice of His precious life.  We forget that we no longer belong to ourselves.  We forget that we promised to be faithful to Him, and trust in the fact that He only wants what is best for us.  Doesn’t it make much more sense to follow His lead in order to receive that which is best for us? 

          What silly twits we are sometimes; forever rushing headlong into situations and grasping things that are often so inferior, when all along He had the very best for us sitting right there.  If we would only take the time to sit down and talk it all over with Him first, it is His delight to show and tell us the best path to take.  In our silliness we seem to think that we should only go to Him about the “big things” in life.  How in the world is He going to be able to trust us to know how to handle the “big things,” if we never go to Him to learn how to handle the “little things?  Once again, trusting in our own abilities, we go our own way and forget all about putting “first things first”: spend time studying and learning from His word; spend time in prayer to praise, worship, and carry all our cares to Him; and listen to the voice of the Lord as He speaks to us through the power of His Holy Spirit.  It seems as though we often think of Him as though He were a puppy dog, meant to follow around after us, to prance about and perform when we want Him to, but to stay quiet and out of the way when we don’t want to be bothered by His presence.  We forget that we are meant to follow Him and His leading, not the other way around, if we are to reap the rewards of receiving that which is best for us. 

          That night long ago at Mary and Martha’s house, was He saying to Martha and us that we should not plan, prepare, work hard, or do good things?  Far be it!  Instead, once again He was making a point of the need and importance for us to remember to put “first things first.”  It is true that each day is going to carry with it many cares that need to be accomplished in a diligent and responsible manner, not doing things sloppily or half way, but in a manner that will demonstrate our willingness to try to do our best.  After all, are we not supposed to do all things as if we are doing it for the Lord Himself?  Be honest, would any of us want to “clean” our room by shoving all the debris under the bed, and then invite Jesus to come in to see what a “marvelous” job we had done?  I think not!  However, I do believe that Jesus, in His loving and caring way, would say to Martha and to us; “Look Honey, I know that you have a lot to do today, and I know that you want to do a good job.  But Sweetie, if you will come and sit with me awhile, and let us talk and plan with each other, you will find that the rest of your day will go far better.  I know your thoughts are focused on your work and all that has to be done.  But for all your careful planning, you have forgotten one thing; you have no idea of what this day may bring, what need may arise, or what event could pop up that may interrupt all of your best laid plans.  I see all of those things, and I know what you’re in need of to prepare you for unplanned and unexpected events of which you have no idea.  Come, let us dine together, that I may fill you with spiritual food that you may be equipped and strengthened to handle all of the events of the day, not just the evening dinner alone.  Things always go better when we work together than when you endeavor to accomplish things, trusting only in your own talents, knowledge, opinions, and abilities.  Remember what I have said: I will “go before you and make the crooked path straight; I will direct your paths; I will never leave you nor forsake you; I will give you the mind of Christ; I will even order your steps aright and teach your hands to war and your fingers to fight. Come, let me pour out my Spirit upon you that you may “be being filled” this day in order that you may be equipped to stand against the wiles of Satan, the flesh, and the world.  Let me write my thoughts upon the tablets of your heart, and renew for you this day your heart, mind, soul, and spirit.  No, I’m not saying you won’t have troubles; I am saying that I will be with and in you, to help you through them every step of the way.”  Can’t you just hear the love and care being poured out from His heart unto you?

          It’s great to be a Martha, and many of them are needed to help us all learn to plan well, do things in an orderly fashion, make the best use of our time, and so much more.  But let us first learn a lesson from Mary, “to chose that good part,” which can not be taken away from her, you, or me. Let us put Jesus first in our day and in our hearts.  Let us put our trust in Him and in His desires and plans for us, not in our own plans, desires or good deeds.  If we put Him first, then He will order our steps for the rest of the day: the works that He wants us to do; the places He would have us go; and the people He would have us meet and help, and every aspect of our day. Otherwise, even though we may have the best of intentions, we could be doing all the right things but in all the wrong ways, at the wrong times, in the wrong places, and for all the wrong reasons.

          Our good deeds are supposed to fulfill the purposes and will of God, but they should be ordered by God, not by our own limited knowledge.  Remember that Jesus said that He did only that which God the Father showed and told Him to do?  If we don’t ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, we have no idea what God’s agenda is; we may go before Him, putting the cart before the horse, going out in our own strength, power, and limited sight and understanding, and thereby fall flat on our face and make a big mess of things.  I’m not saying that we have missed God entirely when we have honestly tried to do that which we thought was a good thing.  Nor am I saying that if we make a mess of things that God can’t or won’t fix things, straighten out our mess, and then lovingly pat us on the head and say, “That’s alright Honey, and I really do appreciate the fact that you were just trying to help.  But, please, next time, come to me first, and lets sit down and talk it over; remember, put first things first.”  “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” (Psalm 127: 1)  Let us not try to plan and build each day of our lives as though it is ours to do with as we wish, but seek Him and His will first, that He may build in and through us, that His will and purposes may be fulfilled, one day at a time.    

          If we can strive to act more like Mary, by putting Christ the Lord first, then He will help all of us Martha’s, Mary’s and Joe’s  to fulfill His purposes in our life. He will enable us to live life in a manner that is far superior to any self-designed plan that any of us could ever devise.  The best plans are those which are derived through our willing cooperation with the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. 

          There is a further need for the application of the principle of “first things first” in the life of every true believer.  Believe it or not, when I sat down to write today, I had no intentions of writing about the story of Martha and Mary.  Instead, I began by studying I Peter chapter 4, which is about suffering and how it is used as a tool in the perfecting of our lives.  I read verse 4, “who shall give an account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.”  That led me to read the following commentary notes: (I Peter 4:5) “The basis for salvation is whether we have believed in Jesus. (Acts.16:31), “but the basis for judgment is how we have lived.”  I read it over several times and began looking at the parts, as if they were pieces of a puzzle.  Somehow, if I could just figure them out correctly, I might be able to see a bigger picture that was being presented here. So I began to dissect it to study one part at a time.

Salvation = believing in Jesus Christ; it doesn’t say believing in your works, another god, riches, career, power, or fame.

Judgment = based on how we have lived; the judgment of God is received by those who do not accept the grace and mercy of God through faith in Christ; that is, God does not force anyone to believe in Him, but will allow them by their own free will to choose to reject Jesus and the free gift of salvation; thereby letting them go their own way without Him or any of His benefits.  That was their choice, not His choice for them.  One other important word is inferred, though not directly stated, and that is works, or

Good deeds = how we have lived: Those who do not believe will face the judgment of God.  The problem here is they may think their good deeds earned salvation, for after all hadn’t they done their best to live a good life?  Maybe they even thought they had done good deeds for the Lord, for that was what really mattered, right? No?  They skipped over the truth of the basis for salvation. No, it isn’t based on doing good deeds. It isn’t sending out positive thoughts and positive power to everyone.  It isn’t spending hours in chanting contemplative phrases.  It isn’t based on praying on your knees four or five times a day. It isn’t based on following your inner light, inner self, or any other path of your own choosing.  It is the simple act of faith, believing on Jesus Christ (because of who He is, God the Son), and what He did on the Cross.  These are not my words, but His: “Jesus answered, I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14: 6)

          Somehow, in trying to understand the connection between faith, salvation, judgment, and works, the following question sprang up in my mind: “Who’s seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty?”  In fact, I thought that was supposed to be the title of this story.  Funny isn’t it?  I started out with one “plan,” and the Holy Spirit steps in and says, “Wait a minute Honey, lets you and I think this thing through.”  On the surface, if you were reading the scriptures from I Peter 4, you may question, just as I did, what has the story of Martha and Mary got to do with it?  Their story is not even referred to in this part of the scriptures.  Yet, it was the commentary which directed my thoughts towards the following questions: What part do our deeds play, or what value do they have in the life of a Christian; what is the basis of salvation; and what dangerous effects can result from getting works and faith confused or out of order?

          I had all these questions formed in my mind as I began my story, and   wrote the title; you know the one I had planned, “Who’s seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty?”  Then the Lord led me to start writing about Martha and Mary.  Again, I was still wondering what they had to do with finding an answer to these questions.  How was He going to use them to help me find the connection between faith, salvation, and good works?  Not knowing the answer, I determined to continue on as He led the way.

          Our basic cornerstone of faith, upon which all else is built, is whether we have believed upon Jesus Christ, the risen Savior, God the Son.  Without that basis we are lost in our sin and our faith is in vain, there is no forgiveness of sin, nor is there God’s mercy and grace for our redemption.  Secondly, good deeds will be a result of believing in Christ, for they demonstrate that our faith in God is genuine; the Spirit of the Lord works in us that we might become more Christ-like, and through us that we might give all the glory to God for the mighty things He has done.  With God’s help, may we be that salt on earth to be a part of His handiwork to demonstrate that “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” (Psalm 126: 3)

          In my further study for the day, I read II Peter chapter 1.  Guess what this chapter is all about? The topic is “guidance for the growing Christian, and character qualities to develop in life.  Once again, I read the commentary notes:  

(II Peter 1: 1, 2)  “Many believers want more of God’s kindness (“grace) and peace, but they are unwilling to put forth the effort to get to know Him better through Bible study and prayer.  To enjoy the privileges God offers us freely, we have to combine getting to know him better (“knowledge of God”) with complete trust.”

(II Peter 1: 3, 4) “The power to lead a godly life doesn’t come from within us, but from God.  Because we don’t have the resources to live “full of glory and virtue” God makes us “partakers of the divine nature,” to keep us from sin and help us to live for Him.  When we are born again, God by His Spirit empowers us with His own goodness.  See John 3: 6; 14: 17-23; II Cor. 5:21; and I Peter 1:22, 23.”

(II Peter 1: 5-9)  “Faith must be more than belief in certain facts; it must result in action, growth in Christian character, and moral discipline, or it will die away (James 2: 14-17)  A life of faith leads to learning to know God better, developing patience, doing God’s will, and loving others.  These actions do not come automatically; they require hard work.  They are not optional; all of them must be a continual part of the Christian life.  We don’t finish one and start on the next, but we work on them all together.  God empowers and enables us, but He also assigns us the responsibility of learning and growing.  We should not be surprised or resentful of the process.”

          There you have it; He revealed to me how Martha, Mary, and my questions were connected.  And He had given me a new title: PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST.  Mary exhibited the example of devotion and love of God, by placing Him first, spending time to learn from every word and deed that came forth from Him.  She was so in love with the Lord that she wanted to spend every minute possible to drink in every part of Him that she could.  I can imagine that she may have wished that she could be a sponge, and soak up all that she could of Him into herself until; if possible, there would be more of Him in her than there was of her own self.  Can you imagine soaking up so much of the Lord within you, that as you went about during the day, you might literally feel like that overflowing cup (as in the song, “Fill My Cup Lord”).  Wouldn’t you just love to be so filled to overflowing, knowing that everywhere you went that day, He would flow in you, through you, and out of you, just bubbling over and sharing God everywhere you went?  Maybe, some people might look at you and think: “Look at what a mess she’s making!  Don’t pour out any of that stuff around me?  That’s not for me; keep it to yourself!” But maybe, just maybe, there might be others that would be drawn to you, wanting to know just what is it that’s overflowing from you, and would you be willing to share some of that very same wonderfulness with them?

          Now enters the danger in confusing faith and good works; thereby, getting them out of order, leading to destruction rather than salvation.  Sad to say, many religious Christians today (Christians in name only) are so wrapped up in their fancy clothing of good works, failing to do “first things first.”  They have forgotten the most important of all things; to believe in Jesus Christ that they may receive Him, and by faith be clothed with the robe made of His “imparted righteousness.”  We all need that for, in the eyes of God, our righteousness is as filthy rags for we can never reach the standard of perfection of the Living God.  Until or unless Jesus is received through faith, there can be no growth in Christ.  Many have hopped on the band wagon of “Good Deeds,” but have left behind the Band Leader, the Holy Spirit.  Many have often gone before the Lord, without asking first for His directions and instructions for the day.  Some have even denied not only His power, but even His very existence.  Instead, they have put their sole trust in their own efforts, thinking they have no need of Him at all.  Many are willing to lock hands together, and follow in step with the “Brotherhood of Man,” but want nothing to do with a “Relationship and Fellowship with God.”  Let us not deceive ourselves.  Even Born Again believers can not point the finger and say we never fall into these very same pits of sin that can eventually deteriorate the image of Christ within us to the point that no one can see the difference between us and the unbeliever.  There go I, except for the grace of God.  We are saved only by the mercy and grace of God, and always in need of confessing our sins to Him that we may be forgiven.

          Generally speaking then, what is the outcome of putting the focus on good deeds?  Usually, slowly and surely we marginalize the importance of both God and His Word, until eventually both seem to be nonexistent, having little, if any, place or effect in our busy, modern, and “more enlightened” life (NOT), that becomes increasingly ruled by the wisdom and knowledge of mankind.  In our foolishness, by not submitting our will to the will of God that we might be led by His wisdom and knowledge; we miss His ultimate good that He has meant and planned for our lives.    

          Once again, salvation is based upon whether you have believed (faith) in Jesus Christ, the risen Savior and Lord.  Some have confused salvation with just studying and knowing scriptures, thinking that by just knowing the written word, instead of knowing Jesus, the Living Word, that they are thereby saved.  Have we forgotten that Satan and his followers know the written word?   They even know who Jesus is and tremble before Him. However, they will never worship or obey Him?  Some have become so confused that they have replaced faith in God with faith in themselves and their own good works, thinking that through them they have earned their own salvation.  By replacing faith in Jesus Christ with faith in our own good deeds, we thereby declare that, at least where our own life is considered, the persecution and sacrificial death of Christ on the Cross was all in vain, and accomplished nothing.  There is no greater insult to God than that, for by doing so we have obliterated the value of the precious sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God.  Furthermore, we have thus removed Him [not in the lives of others, but in our own life] from His rightful position of being “seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;” “from thence, He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.” (I Peter 3:22; 4: 5; Acts 5:31; Acts 2:33; Luke 22: 69; II Tim. 4:1) 

          If by some chance, either out of choice, or out of ignorance, you have been guilty of removing Christ and placing yourself and your own good deeds to be seated in the place that rightfully belongs to Him, I pray that you will realize your error and confess your sin, and ask His forgiveness.  He is patient and long suffering, and it is His delight to pour out His mercy and grace upon you and me.  Acknowledge Him as God the Son, your Savior and Lord, repent and receive His offer of salvation and of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

            So how have Martha and Mary been used to answer all my questions concerning faith, judgment, salvation, good deeds, and finally growth in Christ?  Without Christ, all is in vain and is of temporary value only, not eternal value.  We are spiritual beings, and will live eternally in either Heaven or Hell.  All are offered salvation, but not all will receive it, because some will reject Christ himself, the one whose blood has already prepaid the sin debt that we owed, but could not pay.  Finally, with God’s help let us endeavor with all our being to “Put First Things First.”  Humble ourselves before the Lord our God.  Confess our sins and repent.  Ask the Lord to forgive us, and He is merciful and quick to heal and deliver us from the law of sin and death.  Endeavor to set aside a time each day to truly spend time with the Lord: studying His word, praying and seeking His will in all things, listening to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and interceding for others, especially those who have not given their heart to the Lord.  Jesus stands waiting patiently at the door of every heart.  The door to any heart is closed to Jesus only because the owner of that heart will not open the door and invite Him to come in.  Believers, let us always remember to ask the Holy Spirit of God to go before you and me that He may direct our every thought, word, and deed.  Ask Him to lead you and guide you that you may have the mind of Christ.  May He empower each of us to do only that which our heavenly Father wants us to do.  Don’t ever give up on God, yourself, or others.  Remember, He has been long suffering towards us, forever demonstrating His love, grace, mercy, and patience towards us in measures beyond our wildest imaginations.  If you begin to get discouraged, not seeing your prayers answered concerning salvation or some other matter, stop and think!  Perhaps you will never know how long someone else got down on their knees and prayed for you, whether it was for salvation, healing, deliverance, or whatever.  Discouragement is a tool of the devil; don’t give into him.  Our Lord Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father, forever interceding for you and me.  He never gives up on us, no matter how many times we fail.  Patience is one of the characteristics which  the Lord develops within every believer if we “faint not.”  As long as we are willing to listen, obey, and follow Him, He is forever and always faithful to watch over and care for us.  “Put first things first;” spend time with the Lord and you will be blessed by falling deeper and deeper in love with Him each and every day.  He’s not a religion; He is the one that has loved you first and has loved you the most.  No one can out-give or out-love the Lord!

          I’m not sharing this story because I have always been a great Mary, but because I have experienced the results of both times of famine, when I was not diligent to spend time with Him, and times of feasting at a banquet, when I chose to be more diligent to draw near to Him.  I can’t do anything about times of past neglect, but I can certainly do something about today and each future day that God gives me to live.  I’m also sharing this story in the hope that by doing so, I may encourage others to “choose to do the good part, that can never be taken away from you.”  Once you have dined at the Lord’s table, to be filled with the Bread of Heaven, and drink deeply from the cup of the Fountain of Life, you too will exclaim with all that is within you: “O taste and see that the Lord is good; His word is sweeter than honey; The Lord is more precious than silver and gold; and Didn’t our hearts burn within us when we were with Him!”



Study His Word, Pray, Apply His Word in Your Life, Depend upon His Holy Spirit.

  Trust in the Lord your God and not in your own feelings, intelligence, talents, knowledge or abilities.  His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. 

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt.6: 33)

**The commentary notes that I presented were from the LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE. (KJV)  I have found it to be an excellent study bible.  I pray that the notes were used to enlighten the eyes of your understanding.  They have often been of much help to me.

I encourage you to study for yourself.  Trust in no one’s word, except it be in the word of the Lord.  Listen to the Holy Spirit; He’s not an “it,” but rather the third person of the Triune God. Don’t grieve Him; believe Him.  Put your trust in the one true God: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


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