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Posts Tagged ‘Mary’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” – Luke 10:41

If we want to keep Christ in any Christmas, then we keep our love of this world’s things out of it (1 John 2:15).  Otherwise, it is just a catchy slogan about Jesus, without much truthful teeth behind it.  Some people may already be encumbered, perhaps even overcome with many misguided worldly thoughts and financial worries about this impending holiday season.

With hearts and heads already wrapped around the earthly hustle and bustle the last few weeks of each year can bring along with them.  Concluding with the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas, when more visit emergency rooms than any other day.  When nerves finally get stretched out too far and too tight like an elastic band until they snap from all the strain.

Holidays can press upon a soul and create internal stress before beginning.  A barrage of Christmas ads before Thanksgiving may have already killed the so-called “holiday spirit” in many.  Still, a lot of people will likely feel they “have” to do all kinds of cooking and cleaning, send out cards, put up decorations, trim trees, and go visit special people – or have them visit.

It all harkens back to a story from Scripture about another special visitor.  No, it was not Jolly Ole St. Nicholas – but Jesus.  Christ had entered a certain village where two sisters named Martha and Mary received and welcomed Jesus into their home.  Right away, Martha set about in a whirlwind of busyness – encumbered with much serving around the house.

Most probably fixing a meal, doing some cleaning, and a bit of straightening up.  In the meantime, Mary simply sat at the feet of Christ, listening to the words God’s only Son had to say.  Well, it did not take long for Martha to get a little upset – because Mary wasn’t helping out.  Martha asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?”

Christ answered her, “Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10:38-42).”  Matthew Henry once wrote, “Martha was for much serving; plenty, variety, and exactness.  Worldly business is a snare; keeping God’s Word from getting to our souls.”

Every season of Noel can bring mind-numbing and discordant noises not in harmony with heaven, nor in tune with His truth.  Along with laundry lists of what people think they “have” to do – trying to keep as many people pleased as possible (Galatians 1:10).  It can be exhausting if our heart is not right with God. Keeping up appearances; trying to seem “merry.”

Instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus like Mary and hearing what God’s Son has to say (Luke 6:46).  So, if we want to keep Christ in each Christmas, we keep the Word in it – and throughout our lives.  Otherwise, we’re always in danger of being overcome by bondage again to worldly clocks and calendars – observing days, months, times, and years (Galatians 4:9-10).

“The Christmas Guest” is a poem by Helen Rice.  It is about an old widowed man who owned a shop … and who almost missed the message of the season.  As the cock was crowing on Christmas morning, he was told by the Lord to expect His visit that day.  He had been busy getting everything “just right” like Martha did for Jesus.  Now, he waited to hear footsteps.

Sitting quietly inside his festively decorated shop, he listened carefully for any noise outside his window – not wanting to miss the knock heralding the arrival of Jesus.  However, Christ never showed up … or did he? The man rose in anticipation each time he heard a sound outdoors, soon followed by a knock.  Each time, he opened the door to three different visitors.

The first was a shabby beggar clad in ragged clothes looking for better shoes and a warm coat.  After he left, an old woman showed up a short time later, cold and looking for some hot food – and a place to rest (Luke 3:11).  The third visitor was a lost child who had wandered away from her home too far.  Each time the old man helped with a joyful and glad heart.

However, it was now getting very late and he was getting very worried.  Where was Jesus?  Heading off to bed thinking he had misunderstood the message about the promised visit, he prayed for an answer. Jesus replied, “Three times my shadow crossed your floor – three times I came to your lonely door.  For I was the beggar, the woman, and the child.”

The old man had not entertained angels disguised as strangers unaware (Hebrews 13:2), but Jesus himself. The cock crowed that Christmas morning.  However, he did not deny Jesus three times like Peter did – but had acknowledged Christ thrice (Matthew 26:34,75). Will we do the same this season, or will our worldly whirlwinds keep getting in the way (Hosea 8:7)?

Keeping Jesus Christ in our life at all times begins with keeping Jesus Christ in our hearts at all times. We can’t do this without being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  So when times like holidays roll around, we don’t put on a show of Christianity.  Rolling our eyes around in our heads as we put on phony smiles and false fronts, or speak fake words of love.

When we receive the gift of the Spirit from above, we become rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17).  We are returned to the Shepherd of our soul (1 Peter 2:25).  We receive a firm anchor for our spirit (Hebrews 6:19) so we don’t drift to and fro with this world’s motions (Ephesians 4:14) – all entangled in its deceits or cares (Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).

So production of spiritual fruits He commands begins, as we grow up in His grace (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 3:18).  So we can show all others and God we are learning Christ from the inside out (Ephesians 4:20-32).  So our love is purified as it flows fervently and unfeigned to all, and is no longer purposeful lust (1 Timothy 1:5, 1 Peter 1:22).

So our hospitality is without grudging (1 Peter 4:9). So our charity is cheerful as purposed in our hearts – not out of worldly wants or desires to get something back while on earth (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8, Luke 6:35, 2 Corinthians 8:12-14, 2 Corinthians 9:7).  So God’s grace becomes sufficient always; so the power of Jesus may rest upon us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Otherwise, keeping Christ in Christmas, or any other season is nothing but a catchy slogan about Jesus with little truthful belief of His Word behind it.  This creates spiritual spikes and dips depending on what calendars dictate.  Leaving holes in the heart to fill up again after holidays are over, unless Jesus and God have truly been there all along (Ephesians 3:19).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– In a dream, in a vision of the night – when deep sleep falls upon man in slumberings upon the bed.  Then He opens the ears of men and seals their instruction – that He may withdraw man from his purpose – and hide pride from man.  He keeps back his soul from the pit – and his life from perishing by the sword. – Job 33:15-18

– “These dreams go on when I close my eyes – every second of the night, I live another life.” (“These Dreams“, recorded by Heart, words and music by Martin Page, copyright 1985)

Each day, God goes by us – and we do not see Him.  The Lord passes on also – yet we don’t always perceive Him (Job 9:11). The madness of modern society can create such mind-numbing noises – it can be hard for anyone to hear God’s still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12).  Giving and sealing His instructions of what He wants us to do – and where He wants us to go – as we’re led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1-14).  Things right in His eyes – not ours (Deuteronomy 13:18, 1 Chronicles 13:4).

Quiet moments are difficult to capture in today’s world for any length of time.  How do we know then what we’re doing as believers is truly coming by God’s counsel – and not the counsel of other Christians?  Whether He has led us to do them – or if they’re just ideas out of our own minds (Numbers 16:28)?  The time most of us are the stillest each day, the longest – is during sleep.  Why wouldn’t God use this time to open our ears – so we can truly hear what He has to say (Psalm 121:4)?

Dreams and visions appeared to people throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament, God appeared to Abraham in a vision, saying “Fear not, Abraham – I am your shield and your exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1).”  Samuel feared showing Eli a vision from the Lord – for it meant Eli could no longer purge his sins with sacrifices or offerings ever again (1 Samuel 3:10-15).  King Nebuchadnezzar‘s pride was high – and it was removed after a troubling dream came to fruition (Daniel 4:5-37).

Following the birth of Jesus in the New Testament, the wise men were warned by God in a dream they should not return to Herod – but depart into their country another way (Matthew 2:12).  As soon as they left, an angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph – telling him to take Mary and the Christ child into Egypt until further instructions were received from above – not below. Herod was still seeking Jesus – to destroy the Son of man – and Egypt would be safe haven for a while (Matthew 2:13).

Once Herod died, another vision told Joseph it was safe to return to Israel – as those seeking Christ were dead (Matthew 2:20). A third dream warned Joseph to turn aside and go to Galilee instead of Judea – for Herod’s successor was there – and Joseph was afraid to go any further (Matthew 2:22).  All these dreams show God knows where we are, what we’re doing, how we’re feeling – and how He can tell us through them to start, stay with, or stop something – or go another way (Isaiah 30:21).

In the classic song “Sounds of Silence”, we hear: “Because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping – and the vision that was planted in my brain – still remains.”  Just because we have a dream – it doesn’t always mean something good or bad is going to happen immediately.  It could take weeks or months to come to pass.  If it’s a warning from God and it’s heeded – we may not see a similar dream for a while. Unless we’re turned away from Him again (Deuteronomy 13:5).

Our dreams can free us from troubling matters of the day – even those between us and other believers.  God can give us the direction and discernment necessary in making a decision to depart from fellow brothers or sisters.  The Lord tells us to withdraw ourselves from those who walk disorderly among us – in the name of Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:6).  Or, from those who seem to be perverting the gospel (1 Timothy 6:5).  But – we are not to take these matters into our own hands (Acts 5:36-39).

Our dreams can also frighten us with troubles – to the point we’re afraid to sleep at all.  The beds and couches offering us an image of rest and comfort – perhaps after a long day at work – may not look so inviting when we’re ready to lie down (Job 7:13).  Our visions have become so vivid and terrifying – we’d rather try to stay awake – lest they come again if we go to bed (Job 7:14).  Sometimes, the dreams are so scary – we can tremble as the hair of our flesh stands on end (Job 4:13-15).

Despite their nature, we must always be careful we don’t take any dream from our deceitful hearts and minds – and make it into a false divination from above (Jeremiah 14:14, Jeremiah 17:9, Ezekiel 13:7).  God speaks exclusively about this in Jeremiah, Chapter 23, verses 9-40:  “I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed ‘. Yes, they are prophets of the deceit of their own hearts (Jeremiah 23:25-26).”

Everything in creation is continually bare and manifest before God’s eyes (Jeremiah 23:24, Hebrews 4:13).  Maybe dreams of being naked in front of audiences – or audiences being naked in front of us – are His reminders that nothing is hid from His view. Our Father is always pursuing us and giving chase – even when we’re not with Him.  So He can catch us with His grace – before we fall too far and risk having received it in vain when Christ returns (2 Corinthians 6:1, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:10)

Dreams with no rhyme or reason may be how we see them – but how will God be qualified to judge us if He’s unaware of them (Romans 3:4)?  Maybe their primary purpose is to draw us away from our own (lead verse) – and towards His (Romans 8:28). The One against us could be God – for good reason (Romans 8:31).  If we should get so caught up in our own lust, self-will, presumption (2 Peter 2:10), and pride – maybe He’s trying to reach us through dreams – before we fall into the pit forever.

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