Goals, Jesus

Contentment

Have you noticed that when the unnecessary is swept away it allows the simple powerful truth to become clear? The quote below is a great example of this.

_Christian contentment…is the direct fruit of having no higher ambition than to belong to the Lord and to be totally at His di

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Bible, Faith, Goals

Simple

Can you believe it is July already? We are halfway through 2019! I hope your summer is off to a good start and that you are making time to enjoy the simple pleasures this season offers. Here is something I love at this time of the year. The Mimosa trees are in bloom

IMG_20190603_184044222_HDR

Going to share a post with you today that was originally posted in March of 2018.

Pour yourself a glass of ice tea and maybe sit in the shade while reading. Afterward please share your thoughts in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you!



Do you feel overwhelmed with   (fill in the blank)  

  • too much information
  • too many choices
  • too much stuff

I could keep adding to the list but I’m sure you get the idea of what I’m talking about. We seem to be drowning in too much everything! It is the cause of a huge amount of the stress people have come to accept as normal.

Recently this overload has been recognized as the cause of terrible stress, resulting in poor physical and mental health. One of the biggest problems is the overload of social media. Are smartphones really a smart idea?

Great that the problem has been identified. Next comes the challenge of what to do about it. It is pretty easy to find some help today. There are books, articles, videos, even entire websites devoted to returning to a simpler lifestyle. You will easily find much on the subject of living better with less, minimalism, and many practical tips to make much-needed changes.


However, I do not think we have exposed the problem of too much within the Christian community. Many of us are living with an overload in areas like Bible study, prayer, Church activities… There is a constant flood of information, too many choices, and excessive social media options available to the believer today! The availability of all things “Christian” sounds good, but is it all too much? I think so. What do you think? The explosion of instantly available materials, social media and more in the Christian world has contributed to our loss of focus. We begin to drift from the simple basics of our faith.


Here’s what I asked on Facebook ↓

Question:
What comes to mind when you think of the word SIMPLE? 

I was writing this post and wondered if SIMPLE was the right word to use. After reading comments that people shared I feel encouraged. I think I’m starting to hear the rumbling of a move toward returning to the simple basics of the Christian life! 🙂


First, let’s define simple

1. easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.

2. not elaborate or artificial; plain:

3. not ornate or luxurious; unadorned:

4. unaffected; unassuming; modest: a simple manner.

5. not complicated: a simple design.

6. not complex or compound; single.

7. occurring or considered alone; mere; bare: the simple truth; a simple fact.

 (Go to Dictionary.com-simple to find more on the definition of simple)

Looking at definitions causes me to wonder why simple has been so undervalued. It seems that it should be especially desirable for followers of Jesus.


 Let’s take a look at a portion of scripture that might be helpful in understanding how we go off track.

Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed.  “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!”

 The manna looked like small coriander seeds, and it was pale yellow like gum resin.  The people would go out and gather it from the ground. They made flour by grinding it with hand mills or pounding it in mortars. Then they boiled it in a pot and made it into flat cakes. These cakes tasted like pastries baked with olive oil.  The manna came down on the camp with the dew during the night.

Numbers 11:4-9  NLT

 How could it be that God’s provision of daily bread from heaven was not satisfying to the people? Manna was not good enough? These verses seem to indicate an influence from other people and a looking back at the world they left behind. God set these people apart but instead of praising God for His care they craved something more… Simple manna didn’t seem like enough.
Today there is a call from the world to join in a quest for the latest new thing. The push is for constant updating. The result of this influence causes us to think we need to read the latest book, use the newest prayer model, follow the latest Christian social media, join multiple Bible studies… Meanwhile, maybe you never got around to just sitting down with Jesus and reading His word for you today.
Sometimes what we need is to let some things go and cling to what truly matters. Is Jesus enough for you_
In 2 Corinthians 11:3 Paul warned against drifting from the simplicity that is in Christ.
God’s word is never outdated.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The Holy Spirit has a training course that is perfectly designed for you!
We have the written word = Bible

                         Living Word = Jesus

Jesus said

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30  J.B. Phillips New Testament


When you have the time, listen to someone who never seemed to forget the power of the simple basics.

Click on one of the links below to watch ↓
Apparently, some are now debating if Billy Graham’s theology was too simpleWhat do you think?
Who wants to join me in a return to the simple basics?
Please comment below 
IMG_20190603_183951237_HDR - Edited
Mimosa tree near my house
Bible study, Jesus

Martha and Mary Part 2

Be sure to read Martha and Mary Part 1

Part 1 ended with the following question.

What exactly bothered Martha about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus?

I hope you take some time to ponder this and other questions that come to mind in this study. Sometimes we are quick to listen to someone explain when we are actually well equipped to read and learn on our own. If you are a believer you are not alone because Jesus is present with you. The same Jesus that spoke to Martha is with you today. Pray that you will see and understand what Jesus has for you to learn as you dig into the story of Martha and Mary.

Please read the passage again and then share your answer about what was bothering Martha.


Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”     Luke 10:38-42


We already saw in Part 1 that Martha’s upset was no slight irritation but the overflow of a deeper problem. The way she spoke to Jesus suggests the possibility that she was not only disturbed by the many things and what her sister was doing but she may have even been upset with Jesus.

Martha and Mary (2)

Martha was in an agitated state when she observed her sister sitting at the feet of Jesus.


Sitting at the master’s feet was the place of a student

The fact that Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus made it absolutely clear that she was a devoted disciple.

I am well aware that it is not popular in today’s culture to say outright that Martha was wrong. But she was. I’m not sure why so many who write about Martha seem to feel compelled to defend her.

Jesus corrected Martha and heartily approved of Mary’s choice. There was nothing vague about the response that Jesus gave to Martha.

Martha must have been taken by surprise when Jesus answered her. What do you think she might have felt and thought about what Jesus said?

Let’s dive a little deeper into the upset about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus.

N. T. Wright on Mary and Martha from Women’s service in the Church: The Biblical Basis

Most of us grew up with the line that Martha was the active type and Mary the passive or contemplative type, and that Jesus is simply affirming the importance of both and even the priority of devotion to him. That devotion is undoubtedly part of the importance of the story, but far more obvious to any first-century reader, and to many readers in Turkey, the Middle East and many other parts of the world to this day would be the fact that Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet within the male part of the house rather than being kept in the back rooms with the other women. This, I am pretty sure, is what really bothered Martha; no doubt she was cross at being left to do all the work, but the real problem behind that was that Mary had cut clean across one of the most basic social conventions. It is as though, in today’s world, you were to invite me to stay in your house and, when it came to bedtime, I were to put up a camp bed in your bedroom. We have our own clear but unstated rules about whose space is which; so did they. And Mary has just flouted them. And Jesus declares that she is right to do so. She is ‘sitting at his feet’; a phrase which doesn’t mean what it would mean today, the adoring student gazing up in admiration and love at the wonderful teacher. As is clear from the use of the phrase elsewhere in the NT (for instance, Paul with Gamaliel), to sit at the teacher’s feet is a way of saying you are being a student, picking up the teacher’s wisdom and learning; and in that very practical world you wouldn’t do this just for the sake of informing your own mind and heart, but in order to be a teacher, a rabbi, yourself. Like much in the gospels, this story is left cryptic as far as we at least are concerned, but I doubt if any first-century reader would have missed the point.   – N. T. Wright

Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel (see Acts 22:3)

Jesus said “Mary has chosen”

Chosen is not difficult for us to understand. It means to choose, select, choose for oneself.

So there was a choice, an option and it was available to Martha as well as Mary.

What did Mary choose?

We have the same choice today. It does not matter what your gifts, talents, interests, personality traits are— it is a choice

This relationship is offered and available to followers of Jesus but not forced upon anyone.

Whole-hearted devotion and a life of discipleship or something less? The choice is yours.

The next time the Bible mentions the sisters is found in John 11:1-11

Don’t skip reading that important portion of scripture! I am not covering it at all in this study. But please don’t miss it!


Let’s close this study by reading another time Jesus comes to visit in John 12:1-8

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”     -John 12:1-8 NKJV

(The anointing at Bethany is a subject worthy of a separate study but we will touch on it briefly here as it is relevant to the current study of Martha and Mary)

Notice that Martha is again serving but perhaps not overwhelmed by the activity like she was before. I like to think that this time she chose to serve something simple prepared in advance allowing undistracted time with Jesus.

Jesus was again approving of Mary and defending her actions.

Mary is again quietly keeping her focus on Jesus. As a devoted disciple, she had listened, learned and believed what Jesus taught. She had followed His teaching so closely that her belief spilled over into this worshipful act of anointing Jesus.

What do you notice about Mary in this portion of scripture?

What is Jesus saying to you through these verses in Luke 10:38-42 and John 12:1-8?

Please share your comments below

Here is a blog post that contains some practical help for living daily as a devoted disciple of Jesus – Constant Prayer

You can live every day with The King!


Martha and Mary 

  • Luke 10:38-42
  • John 11:1-44
  • John 12:1-11

Martha Mary (1)

 

Bible study

Martha and Mary Part 1

Please join me in a Bible study of Luke 10:38-42

Start by reading the passage in your Bible and perhaps in more than one version.


Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

-Luke 10:38-42  NKJVMartha and Mary (1)Now let’s focus in on verse 40

The NKJV says Martha was distracted. Distracted is a word in common use today but it is not very specific.

Reading the verse in other versions may be helpful in getting a clearer picture.

The best way to dig a little further is to find the original Greek word used in this verse.

Step one is to go to the KJV where we find the word used is cumbered

Here are verses 40-42 in the KJV

40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.


You can do some quick and easy research here at Blue Letter Bible

The first thing you find is the number in Strong’s which leads to the Greek word. Click on the number and you should find yourself  HERE

Strong’s  4049

Greek word  – perispaō

verb

Cumber: lit., “to draw around” (peri), “draw away, distract,” is used in the Passive Voice in the sense of being over-occupied about a thing, to be “cumbered,”

Interesting that this word is only used once. We don’t have any other verses with the same word to compare with Luke 10:40. However, there is one instance of a similar word used in Luke 13:7. See this in the Blue Letter Bible Follow the Strong’s number 2673 to the Greek word

Isn’t it great that you can so easily access the original words, their meanings, and additional information? Take advantage often of the free resources at Blue Letter Bible



Read what John Wesley wrote about this portion of scripture

verse 40 – Martha was encumbered – The Greek word properly signifies to be drawn different ways at the same time, and admirably expresses the situation of a mind, surrounded (as Martha’s then was) with so many objects of care, that it hardly knows which to attend to first.

verse 41 – Martha, Martha – There is a peculiar spirit and tenderness in the repetition of the word: thou art careful, inwardly, and hurried, outwardly.

from John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes


from Matthew Henry’s Commentary

  • She was cumbered about it; periespato-she was just distracted with it. Note, Whatever cares the providence of God casts upon us we must not be cumbered with them, nor be disquieted and perplexed by them. Care is good and duty; but cumber is sin and folly.
  • She was then cumbered about much serving when she should have been with her sister, sitting at Christ’s feet to hear his word. Note, Worldly business is then a snare to us when it hinders us from serving God and getting good to our souls.



It seems clear from only a quick study of verse 40 that Martha was not simply concerned about cooking a meal for her guests that day. She was overwhelmed by a number of cares and worries perhaps every day. Seeing her sister sitting at the feet of Jesus instead of joining her in the meal preparation was the tipping point for Martha. She became so upset that she went to Jesus about it. Her question to Jesus clearly revealed her anxious state of mind. Without realizing it, she had done the best thing she could have possibly done in her situation. Anxious, stressed and overwhelmed? Call on Jesus!

Jesus answered Martha by first explaining her true state of mind. He described her as worried and troubled by many things. This revealed the truth of a deeper problem that Martha may not have even realized herself.  What Jesus said to Martha removes all possibility that Martha’s irritation that day was simply a little stress caused by the desire to serve a nice meal.

We do not know what all the cares, troubles and worries were that surrounded Martha. Daily responsibilities and financial concerns connected to maintaining her home may have contributed to the load she carried. These alone could have been heavy on her mind.

We may not be able to determine the many things that distracted Martha on that particular day but we can definitely know where her focus should have been.

  • Martha was distracted from  ____________.
  • What exactly bothered Martha about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus?

To be continued…

Meanwhile please research Luke 10:38-42 yourself and then come back and share your discoveries in the comments below? Love to know your thoughts!

Don’t miss part 2 of Martha and Mary

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Martha Mary

 

 

Bible

Call To Me

This post is super short and to the point but contains life-changing truth!

God desires to reveal hidden things to those who will ask Him.

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.  – Jeremiah 33:3

Jesus said,  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

Please notice in these Bible verses there is a part for us to do and it comes first.

Call

ASK

God wants to answer you

Call to Him today!

Jer. 33_3 (1)

Bible, Jesus

Worth Living

What makes life worth living?

There are so many possible answers to that question.

For many people this question doesn’t have an answer. Some find themselves drifting from one day to the next without a reason or true purpose. Others have something in their life that makes them feel at least for the moment that it’s all worthwhile. But when circumstances change, health fails, friends leave … life disappoints— then what???

If you are depending on yourself, another person, career, activity, possessions or anything else to make life worth living you are going to find yourself devastated one day. Any and all these things are going to fail to provide a life worth living. Like a dream or an illusion what once seemed so real and lasting will simply be memory.

BUT JESUS SAID

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). – John 10:10 AMPC

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
-John 10:27 NKJV

I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. – John 14:6 AMPC

Jesus makes life worthwhile!

Life is worth the living because Jesus lives

Do you want to know Jesus? You can start right now. He is waiting for you.

If you have access to a Bible start reading in the gospel of John. Here is a link to read the Bible online – https://www.biblegateway.com/

Matt Maher – Because He Lives (Amen) [Official Lyric Video]

Live your life every day with the King and you will have a life worth living!

Bible, Bible study, Jesus

John 21:22

John 21:22

Sharing this scripture today as a follow up to the recent post – Envy

Please take a moment to read chapter 21 of the gospel of John. After reading the chapter go back to look at verses 21 and 22.

Here is a link to the chapter on the Blue Letter Bible website → John 21  If you take some time to explore the website, you will discover many tools to help you in your study of the Bible. The page I’ve linked to is the chapter in the KJV because it is the easiest place to start for accessing the tools. However, at the top of the page, you will see where you can easily choose another Bible translation.


Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.     John 21:22  KJV

Jesus said to him, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.    NKJV

Jesus said to him, If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me!    – AMPC

If I want him to remain until I come, Jesus answered, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.     -HCSB

If it is my wish, returned Jesus, for him to stay until I come, is that your business, Peter? You must follow me.   – J.B. Phillips

 

If you have read the chapter, you see that Jesus is speaking in response to Peter’s curiosity about John’s future. I don’t know about you, but I can easily follow Peter’s thinking that led him to ask about John in this chapter. I have often found myself wondering about other people’s situations and life story. This is especially likely to happen when things appear to be unfair. This is also the place where wondering and seemingly innocent questions quickly lead to comparison and envy.

John 21 contains the answer for when our focus shifts from following Jesus to wondering about what is going on with other people.

Interesting that this is the last time Jesus speaks in the gospel of John.

 

what is that to thee_ follow thou me.1 (2)

 

Bible, prayer

Envy

What comes to mind when you think of envy?

Read the definition here – Envy

Below is a powerful 4 part series on the subject of envy from John Eldredge’s excellent podcast. I personally found it to be a fascinating discussion and also extremely convicting. Can’t imagine there is another resource on the subject that compares to this series. So take some time to listen and then share your thoughts on envy by leaving a comment below.