As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
The holidays are here. To be honest, the holidays snuck up on me this year. Now it is madness until January 1st with weekends filling up quickly. Holiday shopping, hosting family dinners, Friendsgiving, home decorating, the list goes on and on. Every holiday season seems to be a whirlwind and afterwards I’m left exhausted with the feeling that I wasn’t truly present in the special moments I was given. In these times, I think to myself, “am I being a Mary or a Martha right now”?
Martha may have been referred to as a “hostess with the mostest” by her friends, which is a title that I have always strived for. However, it wasn’t Martha’s hosting skills that captured the heart of Jesus. Mary sat at His feet soaking in the moment with her Lord. To Mary, it did not matter if the meal was presented “just so”, if Jesus used a coaster underneath his glass, or if He received the nicest present under the tree. Mary simply presented herself as she was.
I see so much of Martha in myself and I am sure there are times you can relate. Martha scurried about the kitchen, flustered and worried. Comparison truly got the best of Martha’s mind and comparison, my friends, is the root of discontentment. Jesus consoles her by saying, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better.” As the holiday season begins, I encourage you to let go of the Martha inside of you and embrace a Mary mindset. Come to the Lord without all of the fluff. Afterall, he already knows and loves you just the way you are.
11 I am coming soon.Hold on to what you have,so that no one will take your crown. Revelation 3:11
No one can take away what we have as a Christian. No one can take away the covenant that God made with us.
No matter what’s happening in this world, we have a hope. We have a promise. We have a future. We just have to keep our grip and not let go.
Nothing compares to what Jesus has in store for us. So no matter how rough the road gets – hold on tight. Better days are coming soon.
Odds get our attention. We often rely on odds to help make decisions. We like to size up a situation before we make a decision. In a mathematical sense, odds are the expression of the probability of an event happening or what will be the likely outcome of an event. (I’m having flashbacks of a statistics class I had to take.. ugh). When we look at the odds in our personal situations we collect and analyze information about our strength, our power, our resources… looking to see what advantages exist for us… what are the odds against us… In other words, are the odds in our favor?
The odds are what the ten spies considered when they made the decision not to move forward in their conquest of the land promised to them. Information was collected – giants in the land. Information was analyzed-we can’t conquer them. Decisions were made and the wilderness wandering began.
And Gideon’s focus on the odds is why an angel of the Lord finds him threshing wheat in a winepress in secret, hiding his substance for fear of the Midianites who had come in great numbers against the children of Israel. The angel informs Gideon that he is the one the Lord is sending to defeat the Midianites. Gideon begins to consider the odds, collecting and analyzing information – “My family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” He was defining and confining himself by what he considered his deficits. And then… “The Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shall smite the Midianites as one man.”
When the Lord is with us, His strength, His power, and His resources are with us. And so we see in Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites with only 300 men! Talk about some odds! There was no doubt that God was with Gideon.
What if when we are faced with odds, instead of focusing on what we consider deficiencies, we look at the sufficiencies of our Father? Odds are not meant to define and confine us. It’s in the midst of the odds that we discover more about our Father. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth (Psalm 46:10.) God is exalted in our personal lives because of the odds. He will be exalted, not maybe but will be exalted. This tells me that the odds are in my favor because God is exalted in the odds! There will be no doubt that God was in our situation. Odds are in our favor because that is how God is exalted and glorified in our lives.. for all to see. Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at His word, and as a result he became the father of many nations. God’s declaration over him came to pass: “Your descendants will be so many that they will be impossible to count!” (Romans 4:18)
Do today’s situations have us looking at the odds? Are we allowing our own strengths and resources to define and confine us?
My prayer for you my “ friend “ is the same prayer Elisha prayed for his servant, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” … Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. ( 2 Kings 6:17)
He saw the strength, the power, and the resources of God. Against all odds, God will be exalted… The odds are in our favor… Let’s open our eyes. Blessings – Lisa
It’s never wrong to be kind. And it’s never wrong to be hopeful.
I’m gonna say it one more time – no matter what you’re going through, no matter what’s going on around you – you can still choose kindness. You can still choose hope. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
🎶Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace
Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free🎶
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” Colossians 3:12
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
My great grandmother used to say that constant worrying was insulting to God, She shared with me at an early age that when we pray to God to ease our worry, we are handing those worries over to Him. “Give it to the Lord and don’t take it back.”, she would say. I had to be reminded of this often, because I worried about EVERYTHING. Looking back on childhood, I was constantly anxious about the future, my safety, and the safety of those I loved. My mind always went to the worst case scenario and my vivid imagination would create so many “what ifs”.
How many times do we worry about something that hasn’t even happened? The fear of what could be can cause us to become engulfed in anxiety and blind of our blessings. Anxiety robs us of experiencing joy in the daily moments. It makes our blessings more difficult to see, It causes us to miss out on so much.
When I become anxious and worry takes over, I remember what my great grandmother taught me: give it to God, and don’t take it back. Although I fail miserably at this sometimes, I’ve found that her words ring true in every situation. My first response to feeling anxious is to count my blessings. Gratitude is food for a soul that is starving for peace. Being intentional about expressing gratitude provides a pathway to joy in the daily moments. God is waiting on us to be thankful for the abundance of blessings He bestows upon us! Even in the most troubling times, there is always something to be thankful for.
2020 was supposed to be a BIG year for the McEacherns. We began 2020 with an engagement and impending wedding, and we looked forward to our second child’s graduation from Texas A&M in May. Kiddo number three was coming right along in her college career. Things were good, great even.
Then COVID. PANDEMIC. The world shut down. And I panicked.
How were we going to plan a wedding? Have a graduation? Could we even have either of these things? How was I going to order flowers, pick dresses, choose a venue/caterer/baker/florist? Schedule graduation pictures? Coordinate the grandparents attending graduation and NOT getting sick? The list goes on and on of the details I fretted over. The devil is in the details, for real.
But then time slowed down while we quarantined, and I realized that the devil may be in the details but God is in control of the big picture. God had given me the gift of time. I suddenly had time on my hands to reflect and gain some perspective on what was really important in my life and what to focus on for the events coming up.
In-person graduation didn’t happen, but I got the chance to spend the day with my parents, safely in their own home, as we anxiously awaited Chase’s name and degree to be conferred on the big screen at Kyle Field. (Whoop!) Chase is just as graduated as he would be in person, and my parents remained safe from the virus. It was a relaxing, yet exciting day, and I wasn’t stressed about all the unimportant details (parking, social distancing, navigating the graduation itself, etcetera). We all just chilled out, shorts and t-shirts style, and waited for our graduate. It was perfect.
We planned and executed a beautiful wedding in the middle of a pandemic. We ordered a dress and booked the first and only venue we toured prior to March, just prior to everything closing. Were there pitfalls? Yes. Would I want to do it again under these circumstances? Nope. Did I possibly offer to bribe her sister to elope? Maybe.
But it was good. WE were good. Caitlin and I spoke more via text and Facetime than we ever had before. I realized very quickly that my demeanor determined her demeanor, so I vowed to “keep the main thing the main thing.” She was amazing. While I tended to get bogged down in random things like napkins, flowers, and signs, she was laser-focused on being married and building a life with her future husband. The devil may have been in the details but God had given her a beautiful view of the big picture He was laying at her feet and she didn’t really care about anything other than that.
My kids made me realize that this pandemic, while awful, was an opportunity to slow down, to take it all in. We watched TV together (remotely). We spoke daily. Two of my grown-up college kids moved home for a brief time. Time slowed down and I got to soak a little more of them in. I got to be involved in the details of their lives. Details that I wouldn’t have gotten to see in normal times. And it was a gift.
The devil may be in the details, as my mom said, but God has the big picture. ALWAYS.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
The ebb and flow of David’s pain was based on poor choices that he made. No one did this to David. He did it to himself. It’s easy for us to read about David’s shoddy decisions and get all kinds of Judgy McJudgy.
But seriously, y’all. We do dumb stuff, too. We are quick to close out communication with God so that we can bathe in our own worldly pleasures. We are quick to tune out the Holy Spirit in hopes that feelings of self-condemnation will not dance their way across our hearts and souls.
I said all of that to say this – David really did make some bigger than Texas mistakes.
But David used all of his pain and everything he learned from it to encourage other Christians to hang on to God. To not give up. To show us that we are never too far gone.
Are you using your past mistakes to encourage others?
Someone needs you to do that.
Someone needs to know what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and who you’ve hurt along the way. Someone needs to know the nitty gritty.
Someone needs to know that God brought you up out of that deep, dark, gritty pit. They need to know He will bring them out, too.
“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” Psalm 31:24
We have some similarities and we have even more differences. But there is one thing that we all struggle with and one thing that we all face in our lives: SIN.
Those that have heard me preach and teach before know that I love to ask questions: so, this morning – for a new audience – I ask you the following questions. Do you ever wish that you could be different? Have you ever wished that you could change? Have you ever wished that you could be a “better person”? I also ask, are you living in sin or in grace?
Maybe there is a certain sin that you struggle with, a sin that you just wish you could get past. It feels like it’s always there, hounding you, lurching over you; that any time you try to escape from it or get away from it, it’s always there to ensnare you again. Anyone of you ever felt that way? (If you are honest, you will probably say “yeah, I’ve felt that way” or maybe you are feeling that way now). Is there some part of your life that you are trying to “control” and dictate yourself? Or have you completely submitted to God? (Really, be honest with yourself).
Today, I will tell you, with the Lord’s help, it is time to move forward and find joy in the life you have with Him. For, Jesus is our joy, our peace, our hope and the evidences of these things are found in His glory. Believer, man, woman – person – who are you following? Are you following self? Or are you following God? Are you ready to move forward as a new person in Christ? Man, woman, Jesus lover, believer – GET UP. MOVE FORWARD. NEVER – EVER LOOK BACK.
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, spent much time in the beginning of the letter describing and showing his original audience the depravity and wickedness that we as sinful people live in. (men and women). He laid it out very plainly in Romans chapter 3 by saying “all have sinned” and that “all come short of the glory of God.” He quickly cleared up the dense despair by saying that there is a way out of your condemnation. He said that we can be freely “justified by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In other words, saying that if you would believe in Jesus you “through faith in His blood” would be declared righteous, “justified” in the sight of God. Then, in Romans chapter 5, Paul said this: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have …”. He then listed in verses 1-5 several benefits that we now have, in and because of Christ Jesus. He said that we as believers, justified by faith, have peace with God, access to God and hope in the coming glory of God. Not only does God freely justify us by His grace, through faith in His Son but, He then treats us that way. How amazingly awesome is that! (The human language and my vocabulary is too limited to describe how truly exciting this should be for us). We become His children, His beloved, by His grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone – then He treats us better than we ever deserve. So, I ask again, is there something that you are struggling with today? Is there some sin that you are still holding onto? Have you completely submitted to God? I really want to get you thinking this morning and want you to consider your life before Christ. Why, would you want to go back to that life? What does it have to offer you? Now, think about your life with Christ and what He has done for you. And the benefits He alone has given you. So, again, I ask; why go back to that life? (I want you now to take your Bibles and read Romans 6:1-7). Say what? Really, no joke, open God’s Word and read for yourselves.
In Romans chapter 6, Paul now begins to write and teach on the outcome of “justification by faith” and the practical effects of salvation. In verse one Paul, like I have said this whole post, asks questions. He says: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” Obviously, these questions are rhetorical in nature, including the question he asks in verse 2; but think … should we surely continue in sin? As a believer, justified by the blood of Jesus Christ; how should we live? Should we live godly lives before Him and others? Again, I ask, do you ever wish that you could be different? Have you ever wished that you could change? Have you ever wished that you could be a “better person”? … In verses 1 and 2 Paul basically is saying “get up” in your new life with Christ because you have so graciously been given one. In verses 3-5, Paul is saying to “move forward” in your new life with Christ. In verses 6 and 7 he suggests that we as believers – justified by faith – should “never-ever look back” to our old self. Remember, Paul also said in, 1 Corinthians 5:17 “therefore if we be in Christ, we are a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are becoming new …”. So, how should you live in your new life with Christ? What can you do differently?
1. Get Up – with CHRIST
2. Move Forward – with CHRIST
3. Never – ever look back, to your old life. Why? Because CHRIST has given you a new one.
I know many of us struggle with feeling overwhelmed. When that feeling creeps in my mind it’s hard at times not to cry and only focus on the negative things.
But I’m telling you that God is sitting right there waiting for you to just call out his name. Trust in him and only him to help. When we think positively about the good things in our lives then the negative thoughts won’t be as important.
Everyday I have to tell myself to think more positive as I do not want those negative thoughts to crowd my mind and bring me down.
I truly feel that there is something good in every situation. Cry out to God instead of running to other things that only help for a brief time. God will bring you a forever joy!
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
WAITING, the story of most of our lives, right???
We wait in line at the store, we wait at the doctor, we wait for test results, we wait at red lights, we wait for the weekend, and the list goes on and on. One of the most challenging, but most important parts of waiting, is waiting on the Lord.
The bible speaks of waiting on the Lord in the sense that He is coming back for His children. 2 Peter 3:8-9 says, “But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.
This shows His gracious mercy for us all. Praise God for this!!!! We live in a culture today where we want it now and the world makes it so easy to act quickly. It’s easy to make decisions based on our emotions, so that we feel like we have control. As Christians we are to take all our petitions to God in prayer and YES, most of the time we must wait for Him to answer.
This is where it gets challenging for me. But God wants us to wait patiently and courageously, trusting in His timing and His will. The whole point of waiting on the Lord is that we learn to seek Him, to pray, meditate on His word, and hear His voice. He expects us to be completely dependent on Him and to turn over the control we think that we have.
So, when we feel overwhelmed with life’s worries, we need to stop, take a breath, and go to the Lord in prayer. It is okay to let the Lord know our doubts, but then we need to leave them with Him – trusting that He knows best. It is also okay to bring our wants and needs to Him, but we must be patient enough to wait on His direction and His answer. We must let go of all the outside distractions.
His timing is perfect. When we have to wait sometimes it is just not the right time. Other times it can be a sin that God wants us to deal with. This is where seeking Him in prayer, listening for His answer, and giving Him full control of our lives gives us the strength to wait for His will. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait I say, on the Lord”.