Monday, November 29, 2010


Over the past four weeks, we’ve been looking at Martha and Mary. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure Martha has to be a first-born of her and Mary. She just has that flavor about her. It’s easy to dissect where leaders make mistakes because they are the ones up front and center and the ones leading visibly, but I think Martha also had some wonderful qualities as well. She was intelligent. She could motivate people to action, and she was generous.

This being said, I began to wonder about Mary. When I looked Mary up in my concordance, it showed me Mary the sister of Lazarus and gave me two additional scriptures Matthew 26:6-13 which is about the woman and the alabaster jar of perfume and Luke 7:36-50 which is the one I want to focus our attention on today.

In verse 37 says a woman with a sinful life in that town went to see Jesus. She was known by her actions in the whole town. In your family, what do your actions say? What about your church? She did not pretend to be more than she was either. Ladies, sometimes we have socialized our sin. We put it on a graded curve from a little, white lie to a big, black lie, and I’m pretty sure God doesn’t see it like that. Your little white lie put Jesus on the cross just like a big, black sin of someone else’s. You are no better than they. The only difference is Christians have been redeemed. Soak in that for a minute. Not too comfortable, is it? I didn’t think so either.

In verse 38 she stood where? BEHIND Jesus. Where was she? AT HIS FEET. What was she doing? WEEPING. When was the last time you wept over your sin? Just asking because it convicted me. Her tears wet the feet of her Savior – the feet that would be pierce for her iniquity, her sin. She was sobbing. Then she wiped them dry with her hair, and what happened next caught my attention. It made me stop in my tracks. I’m not going to tell you either. You have to look it up. Then and only then did she pour the perfume on His feet. Oh, the love she had for her Lord. I want that. I want what she had. I want that softness of heart and Spirit, so His Words convict me and pierce through the walls I’ve constructed around my mind and heart. Jesus recognized her for her love. Check out verse 47. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – for SHE LOVED MUCH. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

I may not have ever murdered anyone in cold-blood, but I may have in my mind. I may not have acted on a hatred, but I may have held it in my heart. I might have envied and coveted without stealing, but in my mind, I’ve taken many things. I want my Jesus to recognize me as “SHE WHO LOVED MUCH.” It’s because of her love of Jesus that she served. She served from the overflow of her love for Him. How much do you love Him? Will He say, “She who loved much” or “she who loves little?”

During this holiday season when we are so rushed going here and there, buying this present, and preparing this meal or that, will your family, friends, neighbors or coworkers see you serving from the overflow of your love of Christ? OR will they see you serving man for the recognition by man or because it is required?

Jesus LOVES MUCH. It’s why He chose to humble Himself and make Himself the most vulnerable as an infant, so He could reach the most common, everyday people – you and me. How will you serve Him this season?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mary and Martha’s Faith Is Defined by a Box

Last week we focused on John 11. I encourage you to read that chapter again, at least to verse 44. Take this time. It is for your benefit. Pray and ask God to open your eyes and mind to show you what you should believe, what you should learn, and what your response needs to be.

We discovered last week that Jesus waited two days before even starting His journey to see Lazarus, Martha and Mary. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was in the tomb 4 days. Jesus was in Jerusalem 2 miles away from Bethany where Lazarus was sick and dying and yet Jesus stayed two more days and it took him 2 additional days to travel 2 miles. (Seem callous? Stay plugged in.)

Martha heard that Jesus was on His way, and she went to meet Him while Mary stayed home. Martha is once again “the doer.” She is a woman of action. She is also a woman of faith. In verse 21 and 22, “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Martha believe that if Jesus had just been present, He could have healed Lazarus, but now that Lazarus was dead and in the tomb 4 days, she believed that He could ask the Father for restoration and that God would provide.

Jesus’s response is simply that Lazarus will live again.

Martha has obviously been sitting at the feet of Jesus because she understood that Lazarus would rise on resurrection day. Martha confesses that she believes Christ is the Son of God, but she still doesn’t completely understand what Jesus is saying to her much like the disciples earlier in this chapter.

Now Martha goes back home and tells Mary that the Teacher is there and wanted to see her. It’s not written that He wanted to see Mary. Maybe Martha thought Mary would have a better chance of getting what they wanted if someone else talked to Jesus. We really don’t know.

Mary’s response? She bolted out of that house so quickly that the mourners who were there to comfort her thought she was running to the grave of Lazarus and ran after her. When Mary saw Jesus, she fell at His feet. In Luke 10:38-42, Mary was at Jesus’ feet listening. Now she is at Jesus’ feet again crying and telling Him of her hurt, “If you had just been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw Mary sobbing and the other mourners grieving the loss of Lazarus, Jesus was moved with compassion. The NIV says, “he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” The crowd took Him to Lazarus’ grave, and Jesus wept. He wasn’t callous. He wasn’t heartless. He was moved by those who were grieving. He knew what the outcome was going to be, and that there would be rejoicing in a matter of moments, but He was with those who were hurting where they were.

Jesus then told them to remove the stone from the grave. Martha’s response? He stinks. He’s been dead for 4 days. Jesus insisted, and the stone was removed, and He began to pray. Read verse 41 and 42. Thank you.

In this glimpse into Mary and Martha, we see Martha has more knowledge than some of the disciples at that time, but she didn’t get the full understanding. She had faith. She was a believer, but she didn’t understand the magnitude of Jesus’ power. She knew He could heal, but didn’t know about His ability to raise the dead to life. How often do we put Jesus in a box because of our own limited knowledge or ability?

In Martha’s grief, she showed incredible faith and knowledge even though it was limited based in her humanity. Mary is a woman who is driven by her emotion, her conviction, yet she didn’t ask Jesus to raise Lazarus from the grave. Why?

Just like Martha and Mary too often we put Jesus into a box – a box that is defined with human definitions, confined by what we know by our own humanity, BUT GOD. Jesus may have been God in Flesh, but He knew His source was the Father and through Him all things are possible. God can’t fit into any box you have created. You have a problem or situation or a relationship you can’t get straight, think outside the box – GIVE IT TO GOD.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus – developing a picture

The past couple of weeks we have been going over Luke 10:38-42. We reviewed Martha’s stressors and how we all have “been there and done that.” Sometimes I still go there, but as I looked at that passage, I really wanted to learn more about Mary, so I started digging.

Before we get start, please start with a time of prayer. Ask God to make your heart tender to what He wants you to receive. Ask Him to make it tender to the things in your life that He may not want in your life. Ask Him to make your heart tender for the things His heart is tender for.

The next couple of weeks we are going to be reading over John 11:1-44. Take time to read it. Read it all the way through and then go back and meditate on different verses throughout this week.

The chapter starts by introducing the characters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, and in verse 2 it reads, “This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.” (Did you know that? I didn’t know that! We will be visiting this a lot more later, so stay tuned.)

Mary and Martha sent for Jesus saying, “The one you love is sick.” When Jesus heard the news, He knew what was going to happen. He knew what the end results would be just like He knows what is going to happen to you later today and tomorrow. Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Whatever struggle or difficulty you are going through, will God’s Son be glorified in it? Will your actions point others to Christ?

I love the next part. Verse 5, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Jesus knew that his friends were about to go through a difficult time, that He would be glorified in it, and His thoughts for Martha, Mary and Lazarus were of love. He loved them. He loved them before the storm in their life got really bad. He loved them when life got more than they could handle, and He loved them when their hearts were broken and grieving.

Do you need His loving? Does it feel like you are struggling and nothing is going well? That is where Mary and Martha were. They sent for Jesus. They looked to Jesus because they had faith in Him to fix it.

But Jesus didn’t get up and jump to, did He? He stayed TWO MORE DAYS!!!! (What is up with that? Two more days? What is the point?) There was a quote in one of Beth Moore’s Bible studies that said, “God misses a few good opportunities to be early, but He is ALWAYS on time.” Isaiah 55 tells us His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts because He is higher than our ways and thoughts. He sees the big picture whereas we see through part of a mirror darkly. A song says it like this, “Sometimes He calms the storm with a whisper peace be still. He can settle any sea, but it doesn’t mean He will. Sometimes He holds us close and let’s the winds and waves go wild. Sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child.” There are times when it doesn’t seem like we can find Him during those horrible or difficult times, but He is there. And one more quote, “When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.” God isn’t in the business of hurting His children. He’s in the healing business, the disciplining business, the restoration business, and the redeeming business.

If you are going through one of these rough spots, I encourage you to journal. Sometimes when we are in those dark valleys we can’t always see God’s hand moving, but when we go back and look we can catch a glimpse of His hand working in our lives by the people He leads to us, the way He leads us to pray, and by the circumstances we can’t understand.

“When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

“Kristy Michele!”

Last week I asked you to read Luke 10:38-42 from a couple of different versions. Read those verse again after you’ve had a time of prayer.

We also looked at how Martha opened her home to Jesus, His disciples and whatever crowd might have shown up. Martha and Lazarus’s sister Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. We saw that Mary opened her heart and her mind to be filled by her Creator, the Lover of her soul.

Let’s look again this week at Martha. In verse 40 we read that Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. AND WHO WOULDN’T? It’s not like she could call in an order at Monjuni’s and pick up some lasagna for a house full of people. If she was going to fix chicken, she was going to have to catch several chickens, kill them, pluck them, wash them, and that is before preparing them to be cooked. She was probably also considering what else she should serve to go with the entrĂ©e. Do I have enough dishes for this many people? I haven’t dusted this week. My house is a disaster! I can totally appreciate it if Martha was thinking these things. Can’t you? I mean, after all, it’s JESUS entering your home. You are feeding JESUS. It is a big, flippin’ deal! And in the middle of her frenzy, Martha turns around to order Mary to do something, and she isn’t there. As a matter of fact, Mary isn’t anywhere near the kitchen. Mary has gone and sat her scrawny self down and isn’t lifting a finger to help. That would burn me up to know that the person who should be helping me has ditched me. Can you feel Martha right now? Have you walked in our sista’s shoes? (I know you can’t see me, but I am SOOOOO raising my hand right now!)

Then in Martha’s frenzied state, she goes to Jesus and says, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work BY MYSELF? Tell her to help me.”

What Martha is saying is, “Jesus, I can’t do this alone! It’s too much. I need help. There is just too much to do.” But then she goes one step further. She bosses Jesus! “Tell her to help me!” (Oh, no she didn’t! Oh, yes, she did!) She told Jesus the One whose Father only has to speak a thing into existence to go tell her sister to get up off her scrawny behind and help her. (That my sisters is skating on some thin ice…in my humble opinion.)

But God is gracious. He is merciful. He could have in that moment squashed her like a bug, but He didn’t. Instead, He was compassionate yet firm (Oh, how I wish I could parent like this!) Jesus calmly called her by name…twice. “Martha, Martha.” (When I was growing up if my momma or daddy called, “Kristy Michele,” then I knew I was in deep trouble.) But Jesus’s tone isn’t one of scolding, it’s one of calming Martha down. “Martha, Martha.” I just love the fact that He knows my name. He knows your name. It’s personal. He’s personal.

Martha didn’t have to tell Jesus everything that was on her plate because He knew. “You are worried and upset about many things.” He knows what is on your plate. He knows what is going to be happening the week before the tea and the day of the tea as we prepare. HE KNOWS!

Then Jesus leads Martha where she needs to go – “Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” What was that ONE thing? Who was that One?

As you prepare to serve the women who will attend this tea, what needs to be our focus? Who needs to be our focus? Do not neglect your quiet time with Him. Crawl up in your Father’s lap with His Word, and let Him love on you. Let Him fill you up because it is when we are filled up with Him that your act of service will most reflect Him.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mary and Martha - The Christmas Tea

I have to admit I borrowed the title for our Christmas Tea from a sweet friend of mine who leads a women’s ministry in Virginia. I thought the title was so appropriate, but little did I know how God planned to use the title, “How to Have a Mary Christmas in a Martha Month” to affect me.

Many of you know I am going to seminary to earn a Master’s degree in Christian Education with a focus on Women’s Ministry. This past week I was there taking a couple of classes – “Bible Study for Women” and “Women and Church Growth.” While there I had an opportunity to participate in a ministry that I had looked forward to doing, but as the day progressed, my heart became heavier and heavier, and I knew I would have to miss the ministry opportunity to meet with God in my little hotel room. What He led me to and through is what I would like to focus our next few postings to in order to best prepare for our tea.

Before we get started, please take time to pray. Focus your attention on your Creator, the Lover of your Soul, the One who gives meaning to your life. Tell Him the things for which you are grateful. Tell Him why you love Him, and then ask Him to open your eyes to see what it is He wants you to see and ask Him to reveal to you what it is that you are to apply to your life.

Please open your Bible and read Luke 10:38-42. We all have our favorite version when reading the Scripture, but I’d like for you to go to and select another version and read these same verses.

In the verses, we are told that Jesus and His disciples were on their way to see Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Whose home did they go to? It said that Martha opened her HOME to Him. My mother-in-law designed her own home…every inch of it. She is creative and gifted. She made the bedspreads, cornice boards, drapes, and bed skirts to all match and of course they complement the paint choice flawlessly. Her home is in cool blues, and I find such peace and serenity when I go to visit. She thinks of every little detail and has things prepared ahead of time. What a gifted hostess. Martha was about to be hostess to thirteen grown men and whatever crowds may show up. Have you ever had that happen to you? A large group of people just show up? We don’t know if she knew if they were coming or not, but what the Scripture does say is she opened her HOME.

The Scripture then goes on to say Martha’s sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet. Mary sat. Where did she sit? At the Lord’s feet. I love to sit and soak in the Word. It’s refreshing to hear others teach the Word of God, but I can only imagine what it was like to sit at Jesus’ feet. Not only did Mary sit, but she was listening. She wasn’t idle or lazy. She was listening and learning.

Martha opened her HOME, but Mary opened her HEART and her MIND to be filled by Jesus. Martha was so distracted and worried and upset by so many different things that she did not make set her priorities in the right order.

As we prepare for this Christmas Tea when we will have an opportunity to invite our coworkers, girlfriends, and family members, let’s remember to keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus, so we may be full of Him and not so distracted by the stressors and craziness the life affords.

My prayer is that you will follow this blog at least until the tea. Please be praying for this tea that girls and women will come to Jesus and will be encouraged to open their hearts and mind to Him as well.

I love ya’ll.

His Daughter,