Sunday, November 25, 2018

Choose peace...

 Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]
John 14:27, especially in the Amplified Bible, is a lifeline verse for me. I meditate on it and pray it aloud almost every day. I've also shared it on my own blog and here at Woman to Woman Ministries on more than one occasion. Yet, I felt that, especially during the busyness that the holidays bring, this verse was worth sharing again.

I have some pretty strong Martha tendencies. You know her, don't you?  She was the busy beaver sister of Mary and Lazarus. She was busy in the kitchen while her sister was sitting in the living room attentively listening to Jesus. Resentment started bubbling up in Martha's heart, so she put a bug in Jesus' ear and asked Him to make Mary lend her a hand. Instead, Jesus responded, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things." Then He told her that Mary was making a far better choice. Both Martha and Mary had made a choice. And in John 14:27, Jesus again is talking about choices for those of us who, like Martha, struggle with being anxious and troubled about many things.

We have a choice to receive peace. Before His death, Jesus bequeathed us His own peace. His inheritance to us was to give us the very peace that ruled in His own mind and heart. His peace is our portion.

We have a choice to reject anxiety and fear. Anxiety and fear will inevitably come knocking at our door. However, we don't have to invite them in and entertain them! Instead, we can choose to bring them immediately to our Father God, presenting our request for Him to handle whatever concerns us. "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully." 1 Peter 5:7 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

We have a choice to not allow ourselves to be agitated and disturbed.  I mentioned that I have some pretty strong Martha tendencies, but the truth is, I have a Mary heart. I've come to recognize that I am way more easily agitated and disturbed if I have neglected to choose well, as Mary did. For me, that means spending time in God's presence before the busyness of the day begins. However, us Martha types can even turn morning devotions into work! Prayer and Bible reading becomes a chore to accomplish instead of a relationship to relish. God has been helping me to choose to rest in His presence, to receive His love and to be real and honest with Him about the state of my own inner being instead of rushing right into my morning religious rituals of prayer lists and reading requirements. Martha-ism comes easy for me. Being a Mary is a choice I have to nurture daily.

We have a choice to reject fear, intimidation, cowardice and unsettledness. Let's face it, in our sin twisted world we live surrounded by enough situations and circumstances to keep us in a state of continual inner turmoil. However, we can choose to let Jesus' peace be the guard that keeps that turmoil from taking up residence within us. "... surely when the great waters [of trial] overflow, they shall not reach [the spirit in] him." Psalm 32:6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition

And now a note of encouragement for all of my fellow Martha types. Here's how the Lord felt about Martha, even with her struggles. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.] John 11:5 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition Now wouldn't you expect it to read, "Now Jesus loved Mary and her sister and Lazarus"? But, when the Holy Spirit inspired John to write his gospel, He wanted us to see His great heart of love for Martha and, I think, for all of us that can relate to her.  I hope that will encourage you, but that you will also realize that you don't have to continue to live like an anxious and troubled Martha. We can all choose to live in peace. Our Prince of Peace loves us lavishly and has freely given His peace to us. Remember, His peace is our portion.

still following,

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