Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saint Martha

Today is the memorial for Saint Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus. Whenever we hear of Mary and Martha, most of us automatically think of Martha's conversation with Jesus. She was perturbed that Mary was not helping her prepare a meal for her guests (Jesus and His disciples). Mary was, instead, sitting at Jesus' feet--listening to Him teach. Jesus' response to Martha is well known: " 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.' " (Luke 10:38-42)

The picture here is how most of us picture Martha. Pestering Jesus, and busy about her meal preparations.

That is how I often picture myself. Busy, busy, busy. And frustrated with anyone who isn't as busy as I am! I long to be as Mary...sitting quietly at the feet of my Lord. Learning from Him.
Who wants to be like Martha, who received a scolding from Jesus?

And yet...

If we read another passage, in John, we get a completely different picture of Martha. Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus had just died. Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Bethany to comfort the sisters. Martha meets Jesus on the road (always a woman of action!) and says, "If You had been here, my brother would not have died. However, I know even now that whatever You ask of God, He will do." Jesus promises Martha: "Your brother will rise." Martha, still not quite understanding, replies, "I know he will be resurrected on the last day." Jesus makes it plain to her: "I am the resurrection and the life! Anyone who believes in Me will have life!" Martha's response is so incredible. A true proclamation of faith: "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world." Wow. She made an amazing announcement to any who was nearby!

It seems obvious that some heart changes had taken place in Martha since the earlier encounter at her home. She had learned a great deal from her times spent with Jesus.

This is the Martha I desire to imitate. The one who knows who Jesus truly is, and trusts Him implicitly. Not too busy any longer to wait to see what Jesus will do for her. Not "anxious and worried" about many things, but willing to simply trust Jesus. And willing to proclaim to all that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Yep, I'm trying a new profile pic...

I have no idea how to truly customize my blog. I just have to use what Blogger provides.

I may go back to my "dots" eventually...but you just never know!

Hidden Dirt

The topic of my previous post was on "hidden work." That no matter how insignificant, meaningless, or mundane our work may is all to be done for God's glory. But there are other "hidden things" in our life that need to be dealt with as well.

While the boys and I were cleaning house last week, in preparation for visitors, I emphasized to them several times to do their jobs thoroughly. As I'm sure you have experienced, "thoroughly" to a 13 year old and a 9 year old means something completely different than it means to me! When we washed our car one day, my constant reminder was, "Every inch must be cleaned boys! Every inch!" On the aforementioned cleaning day, it had more to do with dust on furniture and dust balls behind doors. Then there was the scrubbing of the kitchen floor. And the response to my insistent pleas for complete cleanliness? "If no one can see it, why does it matter? Why do you want the house to be perfect, Mom?"

The answer to those questions came to me later, as I was scrubbing out my kitchen sink. When I removed the drainer, I discovered some hidden "gunk" that I had no idea was lurking in my sink. It was hidden by one of the little legs of the drainer. No one could see it, but there was a small bit of mold growing under that leg. Left to itself, it could grow to be a bigger problem. And do I want that on my clean dishes? UGH! Obviously not!

It got me to thinking about the hidden gunk we have in our lives. Those "secret sins" no one else really knows about. They are just little things, after all. And no one else knows about them. The little buggers aren't affecting anyone else, so why does it matter?

For the same reason our hidden works matter: "God sees." In Matthew 6, Jesus warns his followers not to "practice their piety" before men, in order to be seen by them. They shouldn't give their alms to impress others. They shouldn't fast or pray to draw attention to their own spirituality. The reason, "your Father who sees in secret will reward you." (vs. 4, 6, 18) But I believe the reverse is true. If the Father sees our secret works and rewards them, He also sees our secret sins...right? In another passage, the writer reminds us that "there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed." All secret sins will, in one way or another, at some time, be revealed. Whether it is in this life or not until the Judgment, it will take place.

Just like that hidden bit of mold, our secret sins do not remain static. They don't just sit there and remain small. They grow. Unless they are rooted out and confessed, they will become even more deadly to our spiritual well-being. Until I sprayed that nasty bit of gunk with some hefty 409 "gunk killer," it was on its way to becoming a larger bit of gunk. The more it grew, the more of the sink it would have affected. The more the dust balls accumulate, the more they will affect my family's allergies. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.

It's so easy to try to excuse the "little," hidden sins in our lives. But really, is anything that creates any distance at all between us and God really small? In Scripture, we are admonished to "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." That leaves no room for even "small" sins, does it?

A little heavy for this lovely Tuesday day, I guess. But that's what's on my heart today. As always, I cherish your thoughts.

On a side note: Thank you for your continued prayers for our pastor, Fr. Joe. He is still recuperating, but making progress. We are so thankful to the Lord for His continued work of healing in Fr. Joe's body. Please keep up the prayers!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hidden Work

Today I read a story in a devotional about a team of young adults working on a project at a deaf school. This school was in a very impoverished country. The team's project one day was to paint the back of a building. The only people who would ever see the back of the building were the person who cut the grass, and anyone who would ever have to work on the septic pit behind the building. It would have been tempting for these young adults to just slop some paint on the wall and move on to some other project that was more visible. Yet one of the girls said, "Nobody will ever come back here to see this, but God will see it. So let's make it look nice."

A lot of what we do in our lives will never be seen by crowds--never receive great acclaim. Many of us have jobs that seem insignificant or tedious...very "behind the scenes" type stuff. It's tempting to think that we can just "get by" because what we do doesn't really matter, in the big scheme of things. As the author of the devotional noted, "But if that is what God has called us to do, we need to work with all our heart." Some would say, "God hasn't really called me to scrub this toilet." Or, "I'm only doing this temporarily, until I can do what God has actually called me to do." And that is really missing the point! God has called all of us to do whatever we do with all our might, as unto Him. Our aim in life is to always please God, whether anyone else can see what we're doing or not.

Whether our work is public or private...whether it is on the street or behind a building..."the important thing is that God likes what He sees."

Quotes taken from Our Daily Bread, July 16. Author: David Branon

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Big Va-K

Well, we survived our trip out to Kansas! There was never really any doubt, right? LOL

We left bright and early on the 1st, and drove as far as Columbia, MO. There's a certain motel we stay in every time, because it's right next to a Cracker Barrel. We do looove Cracker Barrel's food! The only glitch of the evening was a family get-together at the motel. Some folks were having a reunion or something, and EVERYONE was staying at our motel. They were enjoying each other's company quite a bit...especially around 12:30 in the morning! Then, after that quieted down, the people in the room above us decided to do their morning drill routine at 5 a.m. Not marching, folks. STOMPING! Wow, was it loud!

We made it the rest of the way to my mom and dad's without incident. When we arrived, my sister (from Colorado) and her family were there, too. My kids and hubby finally got to meet Isaiah and a niece's husband...and we all got to meet miss Elyssa. Let me tell you, the kids are even cuter in person!

The next day, the whole crew was together. The only family member unable to be there was my brother-in-law from Colorado. We missed him! And we all had such a good time together. That afternoon, several of us made the journey into Greensburg. I have to tell you, the residents are making great progress. But it's still very hard to be there. It's just so surreal. It's never going to be the same again...

The next day, we went into Mullinville, the town where I attended school K-12, for the all-school reunion. It was also the 125th anniversary of Mullinville! We watched the parade (my youngest son got pocketfuls of candy!), and spent time seeing people I hadn't seen in over 20 years. It was really great to get back in touch with so many people. Being from a small town, we were all like a big, extended family. So, it was almost as if I had two family reunions this weekend!

I spent most of that afternoon with my cousin Sandy. Sandy and I grew up together, and have always been close friends. We even roomed together in college. That was precious time to me, to reunite with her and catch up on life. Later in the afternoon, we walked through the high school together, noting changes...and things that never change.

That evening, after a hamburger fry put on by the local volunteer fire department, we got to enjoy the fireworks. It was neat seeing my whole family (except the one brother-in-law) enjoying the fireworks together!

Sunday was a bit of a "down time" day. After we all returned from church and had lunch, it was NAP TIME! :o) We did have some late afternoon visits from relatives and friends, but overall, it was a pretty quiet day.

Monday (6th) was another busy day. The Colorado crew came and visited again, as we were all heading back to our respective corners of the country the next day.

The trip back home was pretty uneventful, too. We always stop in St. Charles, MO, on our way home. It is a really neat area. If you're ever in St. Louis, you should definitely check out the historic district in St. Charles. The river area is especially worth visiting, if you're a history buff!

We arrived back home on Wed., July 8th, exhausted, but rejuvenated and full of new memories made. Thank you all for your prayers. God truly watched over us!

As a side note, check out my hubby's blog. He is doing a neat devotional series right now over at One Pilgrim.