That Good Part

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part,

which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42

That good part always involves people, not things. That good part stops to talk with the elderly church member who lives alone and craves fellowship more than you are craving food because the preacher went longer than usual.

That good part calls the stay-at-home mom who is overwhelmed with those active little tykes, instead of spending more time on facebook.

That good part stops to talk with the cashier and show concern for her day even, though your day is out-of-control crazy, running way behind schedule.

That good part takes a meal to a shut-in, joins the choir, cleans the church, sends a note a fellow follower, offers a hand at the next church gathering, takes a turn in the nursery.

And what is it that we are so busy about?  I am such an expert at this because I am guilty of all of the above!  Our lives are so jam-packed with activity!  Why do we even put porches on our houses anymore? Certainly not to sit out there and relax!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  This Monday morning, I have purposed to STOP after a wonderful, wild, weekend full of great, memory making activities, and read the Bible for ME!  As a pastor’s wife, it’s easy to fall into the trap of reading the Bible for others: preparing for the children’s church, or the Ladies’ Sunday school class, or the Wednesday evening Master Club class, or a blog! But this morning was for ME!  It wasn’t much because I need to get busy :), but my time in God’s Word was just enough to keep my perspective on this coming holiday season. I need that good part more than the others who may benefit from it.  My heart is filled with joy for serving my Master, and once again I revel at my spot at His feet.

It isn’t by accident that Chapter Ten of Luke begins with Jesus sending out the seventy, and includes the words: Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.(20)  How our hearts should, first of all, rejoice in that fact that we are God’s blood-washed children!

Scene Two in the chapter is the story of the Good Samaritan.  What a wonderful follow-up to the previous account of the seventy, lest we get too proud in thinking that we have the corner on the market of serving! the seventy did amazing things–the Samaritan chose that good part.

And then God, the Heavenly Author of this Wonderful Book, concludes the chapter with the story of Mary and Martha!  I love these two women! I always find myself coming to Martha’s defense; however, Jesus’ final words in the chapter are certainly the capstones of the entire chapter:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

May you fill this entire holiday season with all those needful things, choosing that good part, and you will find that the joy, and understanding, and personal relationship with the God of the Universe and His Precious Son, shall not be taken away from YOU! Blessing to you all, and may your home and heart be filled with thankfulness!

The Undo Button

This is my favorite feature on my laptop, especially because I often accidentally brush the touchpad with my thumb which signals my computer to highlight and delete a portion of my writing!  How wonderful to be able to undo the unwanted action!

Oh, if I could only do the same with some of my words and actions: a harsh, critical word, a roll of the eyes, a Mr. Sticky sticky bun! What if we could just hit a button and the unwanted words and their affects would be gone, or the extra sugary calories would be eliminated from my system!  Sad to say, it doesn’t work that way; however, God does give us some advice!

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.Ps 141:3

Here, the Psalmist is asking for help—asking the Lord to guard his mouth.  That’s a great way to start every day: make it an active part of your prayer time in the morning and throughout the day!  When you feel those nasty words building in the back of your mind, think of your lips as a beautiful door that the Lord has given you to send for blessings and not cursings.

 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD,
my strength, and my redeemer.Ps 19:14

Here’s another “watch your words” verse, spoken straight from the heart of prayer.  If we ask for the LORD’s criteria for the words we speak—words that are acceptable in [His] sight–that will illuminate those “undo” moments of speech!

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. Pr 12:22

This verse happened to be a memory verse from last year’s Bible Club.  I can still hear the kids saying the word abomination!  It really made an impression on them and me!  It’s quite a strong word. Who wants to be abominable in God’s sight?  That thought alone sparks me to keep my words truthful.  Abomination or delight—seems like a no-brainer!

 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.Pr 4:23

And here’s the key: keeping our hearts—working hard at it—knowing that all the issues of life flow from the heart.  Backing up to the heart and making certain it is scrubbed clean with the word is the best antidote for keeping our words and actions clean as well.

The following three verses have been Club Verses for various children’s programs we have used over the years.  Somehow, just reading them in sequence seems to sum it all up!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.Col. 3: 16
  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.1 Cor. 15: 58
…for one is your Master, even Christ. Matt. 23:10

There’s no “undo” button in the Christian life, but there is a “can-do” one!

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

Ready, Set, WAIT!

IMG_7323Well, the last job is done for the winter—tilling the garden.  Dear old Tilly is out there now, purring away until the gas is gone.  A good wash and she gets to rest for the season.

The garden is ready, but for what?  It’s ready to rest; however, any seeds that are still in the ground are also ready to sprout as soon as the weather gets warmer.  Even while the snow is on the ground, that seed is ready—ready for the sun! The question is: Am I ready for the Son and His Word to sprout in my life?

It’s not by accident that the next few verses in Luke eight are about soil. The chapter starts with an account of Jesus and his followers going from town to town “preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.” As though to encourage the sowers, Jesus tells the parable about the four soils: wayside, rocky, thorny, and good. Our responsibility is to give the Word.  There’s nothing wrong with the Seed—the Word of God, and there may be nothing wrong with the sower—YOU!  Doing a heart-check is always good to be sure that the Spirit has free reign and our motives are correct; however, it is also good for us to remember that the fruit of the hearer is NOT our responsibility.  I can no more make someone respond to the Word of God than I can make my tomato plants grow!  How comforting!

SOOO, what about when WE are the soil, we are the receiver of the Seed–what is our responsibility to the Seed of the Word?  The question becomes: Am I responding to God’s Word correctly?  1 Corinthians 15:58 gives us some pointers on the issue:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

  1. Be steadfast—unwavering, unfaltering, resolute, persistent, committed, dedicated, unswerving, firm. (Aren’t synonyms helpful?)
  2. Unmovable—unaffected, unmoved, untouched, unbothered, unbending, inflexible, unyielding, unwavering, rigid, obdurate (that’s a new one to me!), adamant, unreceptive (INTERESTING!), unrelenting, not influenced or swayed
  3. Always abounding in the work of the Lord IS the fruit of always bounding in the Word of the Lord! Be ready. Even though you may be in a ‘winter’ time of fruitfulness, know that God is always working in your heart, your children, your ministry. Be ready!  Be set! Be willing to wait!