Be Still and Know . . .

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Luke 10:38-39 ESV

Mary and Martha. Just reading those names evoke images of a bustling Martha making her home perfect and welcoming for her Lord, Jesus, as Mary sits at his feet drinking in the teaching of her Savior.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Luke 10:40 ESV

Bless her heart.

She meant well.

She had all the best intentions of the world.

She was doing what she had been taught was “the right thing to do,” and she was doing it with all her might. It was the way she could show Jesus that she loved Him, right?

But the love she meant to show soon became tempered with self-righteousness and pride. She couldn’t figure out how Mary, raised in the same household as she, was just sitting there, doing nothing, while she, the good daughter and sister, acted as servant. Their mama taught them better than that, didn’t she?

What did Jesus say to Martha?

41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42

Mary was learning that the only way to truly be in tune with Jesus was to be still.

Martha, ever the pragmatic sister, had to be reminded to stop, and to open her heart and her mind to Jesus. She had to be still in order to hear Him, and to let Him into her heart.

Be-still-520x245I have always struggled with the “should” and “ought to” tasks in life. If I do good things in my own power, who gets the glory? If I’m constantly trying to take care of the messes before I have to admit them to God, what am I gaining? He knows the number of hairs on my head. Knowing what is on my mind isn’t much of a stretch.

If I experience a form of success, I learn to depend on my own brand of “goodness.” If I fail, I wonder why God wasn’t listening. Bitterness seeps in. Oh, but I kind of forgot to consult You, didn’t I? Hmmmm . . .

When I reach this point – and I do, often – I have to remind myself to BE STILL. God is there. He hasn’t moved. I have.

Psalm 46 takes my eyes off of myself, and puts them squarely where they need to be – on God.

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease

to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46

I found the following video, and I hope you enjoy it. It’s an acoustic version of “Be Still” by Steven Curtis Chapman that is on the album “Deep Roots,” in which he is accompanied by his father, brother, sons, and other instrumentalists. It’s a blessing to me, and I hope to you, as you strive, along with me, to BE STILL.

Micah’s call to action- Walk

My annual preparation for the year ahead combines resolutions, a scripture for the year, and a single word that will guide me. As I pondered those things in December, I resolved that I would dig a little deeper into God’s word. I have become pretty good at quoting a few of my favorite verses. Romans 8:28, John 3:16, Matthew 6:33. But I decided that each time I was referring to a particular verse, I would read the whole chapter to understand the context.

I have always loved Micah 6:8. The King James version states it this way: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” I can hear Steven Curtis Chapman singing in my ear as I read. I have always viewed this as a call to live simply, to seek God’s will with mercy, justice and humility.

With my new resolution in mind, I decided to read not only the whole chapter, but the entire book of Micah. It is one of the shorter books of the old Testament. What an eye opener. This prophet warned of wars, conflict, terrible things that were to happen to the people of his day. It is a very timely read, as we see well established institutions and ideas being trampled and destroyed today. So, in the midst of this turmoil, these simple instructions about what God requires of us. It is a reality check for sure.

Ultimately, though, Micah tells us we can’t sit still. The key word here is Walk. This year, I must gather my resources and set out, humbly, on the path that God has placed in front of me. What exactly does that mean? God knows. I will trust Him, as I do justly, love mercy, and Walk.

“This Baby”

Thirty-two people filled our home yesterday to celebrate Christmas. It was a day filled with joy and love—and a lot of presents. My nephew Jason was assigned to keep a tally. He came up with a figure of 145 gifts.

Living RoomWe had a wonderful sit down dinner. I had to make three tables. We put one in the dining room,  two six foot tables in the living room, and one six foot table in my daughter’s room for some of the kids. I hope to add a picture or two of the event later today, so stop back and check them out.

(The picture on the left is of the table in the living room.)

It’s been a particularly difficult Christmas season for which to prepare. With both my husband and daughter having been in the hospital, much of the preparations have fallen on me. Thank goodness my college-age son came home on Thursday!

 

Caroline's reindeerWhen the season gets so busy, and I know it does for each of us, it’s easy to forget the most important things about Christmas. First and foremost, God’s love poured out on us through the birth of a savior.  And second, the blessing of loved ones and friends who travel this journey of life by our side. 

(The picture on the right is of a “reindeer” my daughter made from the gifts we had for their cousins.)

Kinney family2We here at Inkspirational Messages want to send you a Christmas card video every day in the next couple of weeks. (Of course, like all Christmas cards, some will come after the new year.) We pray this will help us all keep the true meaning and spirit of Christmas close to our hearts and will start the new year off with our focus in the right place.

(The picture on the left is the whole crew. Fifteen are under age 18.)

My choice is “This Baby” by Steven Curtis Chapman. I hope it will touch you as much as it did me.

Merry Christmas to all Inksper friends!