Saturday, January 28, 2017


The Lord is, indeed, not finished with us yet. The Holy Spirit is hard at work inside of us constantly, non-stop. Some of us, like me, still have a long way to go until we are able to experience total transformation. I often, still fall into my old ways and defaults…hence the need for forgiveness. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Lord doesn’t allow people like me… or like Martha… moments of immense clarity.

Let’s look at Martha again. As we have seen, Martha is a down-to-earth, practical, realistic woman who struggles with her priorities and with figuring out what is most important. It might be said of Martha that she is action-prone and word-focused rather than contemplative and spiritually-minded. That describes a lot of us, doesn’t it? I know it describes me in a lot of ways…

In her nature, however, our Lord chose Martha to reveal Himself in a most magnificent manner. Let’s look at this passage from John 11:

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11: 20-27

There is so much in here, but let’s begin by dissecting verse 20:

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

I L O V E this passage. Our beloved Martha, springing into action as soon as she hears the Lord is near. That is a reflection of her personality. She can’t help it: “The Lord is here!? Let’s get walking!” If Martha is anything like me…which I think by now, I have discovered that we are pretty much kindred souls…there is no way she could just sit quietly and wait for Him to arrive. No way! Martha is all about action.  She’s gotta get moving! BTW, look at what Mary does...  :) 

You may say that reaction is impulsive, without much forethought…and you would be completely correct. It is a really weird combination of wanting to be in absolute control of all situations surrounding us, while at the same time acting in an arbitrary fashion…go figure…if you are confused, you are just getting a little glimpse of how I’ve felt all my life.

But anyway, the beauty of it all is that the Lord works in us in spite of and through whatever our nature might be like. He uses the essential elements of our being for His purposes, regardless of how conflicting those essential elements might seem. And that’s what we will be exploring in the next few posts, so stay tune!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Changing the Emotional Response Default

Changing one´s default is not easy…ask anyone who has ever tried to make a new healthy habit stick. Ask anyone who has ever tried to break an old, bad habit…

Anything from eating right, stop smoking, exercising more, drinking less to changing the way we react to our circumstances, becoming more eternity minded, increasing our faith, seeking Him first takes a great deal of effort to accomplish. It surely does not happen overnight. Of course, God is All-Powerful, so He can change us instantly if that is part of His plan. I’m a witness to that! He has removed the veil from my eyes in certain, very special occasions in order for me to see the truth at a moment when I was headed for a disastrous ending. In those occasions, God chose to reveal Himself to me to create a radical change in my life upon impact.

Most of the time, however, He has chosen to go the slow-and-steady route in me, to develop my character and to create a lasting change in my life through perseverance. He gives me, this way, the opportunity to guide my steps through every decision, through every mistake, through every victory. I imagine this is closer to the road that Martha had to walk.

Mostly, by our own doing, this is not a smooth road. It is a road marked by the obstacles and hurdles that our stubborn nature and our strong-will place on our way for us to have to jump over and evade. But it is a road of learning lessons that stick. It is a road of awareness. It is a road of intimacy. And it is so, because as we walk on it, we can’t help but to see and feel God’s hand holding ours through every step we take.

Travelling on a reduced-speed road, however, makes changes happen slowly. Therefore, my default reactions when facing challenges are still fret, fear and panic. I’m a work in progress, though. For as long as I can still draw breath, I believe God is not finished with me yet. He is still refining me as He transforms my heart and teaches me to trust and surrender:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6

That is the ultimate key to seeking Him first. We seek Him because we trust Him. And as we trust Him, we surrender.

Like Martha, I’m still dealing with fret, fear and panic: “O no! What am I going to do? All these people?” (fret) “I can’t do this! What’s going to happen?” (fear) “I need help! Where’s my lazy sister? Lord! Make Mary help me!” (panic)

What if both, Martha and I were to react to the challenging situations of life with faith, forgiveness and prayer, instead: “Wow, lots of people coming in with the Lord today…phew! Good thing I’m not in charge here. You are on, Lord, You will provide!” (Faith) “Would you look at Mary? She sure was quick on finding herself a good sit by Jesus. Gotta love her.” (Forgiveness) “Please, Lord, may this house and whatever we so imperfectly offer to you and to your people be pleasing sacrifice, in your Name and for Your Glory.” (Prayer)

I want to keep an attitude of faith in every situation…an attitude that instead of making me fret, makes me trust. I want to be able to forgive, especially me, when at times I will fail at whatever it is I should do and don’t. I want to go to the Lord in prayer always…rather than go on a mad, panic-induced tail spin that depletes me of strength and drains my peace.

Above all, I want to change my emotional reactions to problems so I see the things that make me anxious as growth opportunities that would get me closer to Christ in an attitude of trust and surrender. It is not easy…but with God, nothing is impossible!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

It Doesn´t Come Easily

Being able to make Mary’s choice does not come easily. To someone like me…a control-freak…to put it nicely…surrendering my time, my thoughts, my obligations, my work, my desires, my wants, my plans is a great challenge.

To tell you the truth, I look at Mary and I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I admire her and I wish I could be more like her. On the other hand, I am just as frustrated as Martha was with her. I think she is too care-fee; therefore, there must be something seriously wrong with her… Sometimes I think that there should be a happy medium. I have often thought that perfection falls in the middle, and that I should strive to be sort of like a Mary - Martha morph/blend.

In re-reading the passage, though, I realize that’s not what Jesus is suggesting at all. He is not saying: “Martha, you should be a bit more like Mary.” He is plainly saying that Mary’s got it right and that no amount of whining would merit anyone forcing her to get in the kitchen. He is pointing at Mary as the model of how we should be…not just a bit more like…but how we should be like, period!

Jesus is telling us of our need to surrender our will, our time, our all and seek Him first. And it is hard. It does not happen overnight.

Scripture tells us we need to be transformed, made new. But it also tells us that Jesus is the One who makes all things new, including us. I believe that means we cannot do it alone. Only the transforming power of Christ can do it in us. However, I also believe that it takes a willingness of heart from our part. We need to be willing to change…to be transformed…even if it means to have our world turned up-side-down.

I have a hard time with all of this because I am a very rigid person. I don’t really bend in the wind like a palm tree. I am more like one of those trees that when the storm comes they either break or get uprooted. My default is to fret, fear and panic. As a child of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I need to become aware of all those idiosyncrasies in my personality that make me lose sight of the Only Thing that is Needed while in the middle of a troubling circumstance. And while being aware, I need to pray that the Holy Spirit guides me into learning strategies that will help me change those default settings.

It’s like when I open my Internet browser in my laptop, as soon as I click on the Internet icon that connects me to the World Wide Web, I see a screen that has my default choices. How did those choices get in there? How did they become my default? By habit. Those are the sites that I habitually use every day, so the Internet already knows that and it puts them right there so as soon as I’m online, I have them in front of me. I don’t even have to think…just click.

It is the same way with my emotions. They become my default because of the force of habit. That’s what I always do or feel. Most people have different default emotions depending on the circumstance. I sort of don’t. I have the same default emotions for all circumstances: fret, fear and panic.

How would I change my default screen in my Internet Browser? By changing my choices…by changing my habits. I’m going to extrapolate that thought into my default feelings and say that it works the same way in this area too.

It doesn’t happen overnight, though. In order to create a habit, we have to practice it many times in a row over a significant amount of time. That’s exactly what I need to do if I am ever to change my default emotions: practice a new habit for a prolong period of time.

Why am I talking about all these? Because making the choice of seeking Christ’s presence first should be my default anytime that I am faced with the need to choose between my will and God’s will. I’m talking about this because I need to pray that I learn to be like Mary: Let the world wait while I sit at the feet of My Lord!

Friday, January 20, 2017

What Does It Take to Make Mary's Choice?


In my imaginary visit to Martha and Mary’s house, I sit on the floor, staring at the rows of guests in front of me. I wrapped my arms around my knees as I survey the crowd. Nobody seems to have noticed what went on between the Lord and Martha. They all continue with their merry conversations, enjoying the refreshments that Martha is diligently providing. Then, my eyes fall on Mary…she doesn’t notice the trays of goodies that pass by her. She doesn’t notice the crowds. Of course, she doesn’t notice her sister’s frustration. She probably never noticed Martha complaining to Jesus about her. She made her choice to focus on only ONE thing at this moment. Her choice implies that the rest of the world can simply wait as she seeks the face of Christ…

The question that remains for me is: How does one make that choice?

The answer is simple, but extremely complicated: It takes the surrendering of the will.

Our wills have been at war with God’s since Adam and Eve. This war continues in our lives for as long as we walk on this earth. Ever since we are born, we want to do things our way, and that’s not about to change any time soon. It is a totally insane war, however, since there is no way we can win it unless we surrender.

Dissatisfaction, worry, frustration, fear and all those feelings of wanting and lacking are the daily battles we all fight as part of this war…we struggle and struggle until we have no strength left, and still get nowhere. We don’t understand why we search and search without ever finding what we are looking for.

I am guilty of all of that, and the main reason that my searching remains fruitless is because I lose track of what I truly need to seek. The only thing that will fill the whole in my soul is the One who created my soul. It is not until I start seeking Him with all my heart that I will finally find Him and feel the peace that passes all understanding covering me, making me truly free.

It’s like I read in my devotional: “When lesser goals capture your attention I fade into the background of your life. I am still there, watching and waiting, but you function as if you were alone. Actually, My Light shines on every situation you will ever face. Live radiantly by expanding your focus to include Me in all your moments. Let nothing dampen your search for Me.” (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

May the Holy Spirit grant us the ability to discern the need to seek Christ and the absolute necessity to surrender to God’s will with all our hearts so we can make the choice to put the whole world on hold as we sit by the feet of Our Lord.

Scriptures to review:  Psalm 27: 8; Philippians 4: 7; Jeremiah 29: 13

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

It Will NOT Be Taken Away

From my corner of the room, where I’ve been witnessing the exchange between Martha and the Lord, I just saw and heard Jesus stating a truth that I want to hang on to for the rest of my days on this earth: “…and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 42b
No matter what may happen…I can endure it all if I stick by the feet of Christ.

That’s my job. That’s the only thing that matters. And once I’m there, nothing…no force from this world or the next could pull me away from His presence.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39

Surrendering to Him means that we get to stay with Him. And that is exactly what I want. Let’s just spend a moment still...taking comfort on these words…allowing this truth to sink in…

“…and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 42b

Praised be His Holy Name!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Redeeming the Times

Let’s consider Christ’s words to Martha one more time:

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 41-42

Jesus is definitively talking to Martha about choices. He is saying something like: you can choose to be worried and upset about the useless stuff of this world or you can choose to spend your time dwelling in the presence of the Lord. Look at your sister Mary. Even though you think she is a lazy bum, she has actually chosen wisely…and no temper tantrum or hissy fit from you would cause her to lose what she has rightfully chosen.

In other words, Martha, quit wasting your time and come with me!

Time is indeed the most precious possession we have in this world. It is finite. And here, in this passage, Jesus is calling us to redeem it!

Last night I was watching an old video Dan found, who knows where, and it was of Grant when he was about three and a half years old. Gosh…I could not hold back my tears as I watched that little angel walking around and talking with the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard. There was a moment in the video when I appear there, playing with him and eventually scooping him off the floor to cradle him, squeeze him and cover him with kisses. His little feet dangling in the air as we giggled…man, was that hard to watch.

My soul and heart became overflowing with a love so tender and intense I couldn’t stand it. Then, I looked at my son and realized that the tall, gangly, awkward teen standing behind me doesn’t have much left in him of that little cutie pie I held in my arms all those many years ago. Time has gone by so very quickly. It’s too much to bear. The only thing that keeps me sane is the thought and the prayer that I gave that boy my all. I don’t have any regrets because I believe that I redeemed my time with him when he was little and I trust that the Holy Spirit will give me the clarity to continue to give him my all for as long as I live…

It's the same with the Lord…I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to give Him my all, because He IS my all. He is the King of who I am. In the busyness of life, I don’t want to, one day, be watching the video of my history in this world and find out I wasted my time worrying and being upset about things that didn’t matter or that I couldn’t change…while Jesus was there, in the next room, waiting for me to hang out with Him.

Life is hard enough as it is…I pray the Holy Spirit helps us make it lighter by taken away the unnecessarily heavy burdens our minds trick us into carrying.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Choice

Let’s consider Jesus’ words to Martha again, especially, the last part of Luke 42: “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” This is Jesus’ not so subtle, firm but at the same time, compassionate way of telling Martha that she needs to rethink her choices. “Mary has chosen well…how about you, Martha?”

In my mind, I imagine this scene wrapping up with Jesus’ hand slipping off Martha’s shoulder, the intensity of His eyes piercing through her soul, as He slowly turns and walks away back to his seat…leaving Martha standing there, tray of food still in her hands… dumbfounded…confused…quietly pondering the Lord’s words.

Jesus doesn’t force the issue…

He doesn’t directly tell her what to do. He does not command her to do anything. However, it is clear. Martha can’t deny what’s going on…the only thing she can do now is to make a choice.

She can continue her frantic pace, in pursuit of what she considers noble works that reveal a deeply misguided emphasis on the things of this world. Or, on the other hand, she can drop it all and seek His presence…letting Him take care of all the details…letting Him take care of all the rest.

I don’t know what she does… I can only speculate. My guess is that, being the practical woman that she is, Martha probably continued with the preparations to make sure all got done…being the Jesus follower I know she is, Martha was not the same. She might have made sure everything was in place to take care of the guests, but if Martha and I are as alike as I think we are, my guess is also that she was troubled by what Jesus said to her…something in her heart began to change.

I believe that as Martha went on with the chores, she could not stop thinking about the choice she had to make. She understood she was at a crossroads and that soon she would have to make a decision that would change the way she does things. I’m a slow-learner. Therefore, I’ve been at that same spot many times. I have been so concerned and so afraid by the waves and the winds of the storm that I have lost sight of the Only One Who matters, the Lord of the Storm. I hang on to the tasks and forget that I need to surrender all tasks to Him, for He owns the design of the plan that included such tasks, and that it is only by His power that I would ever accomplish any of their details.

There is still a lot of surrendering that needs to happen within my heart. And if Martha is anything like me, I would guess that she still needs at least another face to face encounter with Jesus in order to learn the lesson of surrendering in a way that when the time comes again, she and I would make the right choice.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Compassion and Strength

Like I mentioned in another post, I identify with Martha a great deal. I see a lot of me in her. That’s why I dare to call her behavior, an adult tantrum. As a grownup who has been known to throw hissy fits upon occasion, I know a tantrum when I see one. “You tell her, Lord!” Martha's tattletale on her sister to Jesus is a typical sign... But I’m not interested in delving into Martha’s behavior today. I want to take another look at Jesus’ response.

Of course, Jesus did what every responsible Father does when one of his kids comes to him telling tales: He stopped it. He showed compassion and great care, but He did not indulge Martha’s desire to tell on her sister.

Jesus acknowledged Martha’s situation. He did not dismiss her hurt. But instead of encouraging the behavior, He did the hard thing. He showed her that she was wrong. In a most compassionate way, Jesus pointed out to Martha the need for her to reprioritize. “Only ONE thing is needed…” and that thing is not household chores or publicly exposing your sister’s potential character flaws. “I’m all you need Martha…I should be number one in your life…choose wisely.”

Jesus is teaching us an important lesson here. He is showing us how to be loving, but strong. How often I face situations where loved ones come to me with complaints and/or plain, good-old gossip and rather than steering away from that muddy path, I basically throw in more dirt only to make it messier. In this passage, Jesus is showing me the need to balance being sensitive to my loved one’s legitimate issues, while at the same time stopping the slippery slide into open gossip.

Before I wrap up today’s thoughts on this subject, I would like to quote what I read in one of my devotionals. Perhaps, it will allow us to meditate on these thoughts through the lenses of Thanksgiving and Hope rather than of depression and guilt:

“God’s motivation for surfacing the destructive parts of us is so we will face them and cooperate as He uproots and heals them.” (Beth Moore)

I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us as we dwell in Martha and Mary’s house with Jesus for a while.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Answer

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 41-42

Unlike the unsuspecting boys in my house, Jesus knows exactly what is going on with Martha. But His mercy and compassion allow Him to diffuse the time bomb more expertly than the most highly trained bomb squad ever coming out of the FBI. With a few words, he cuts the right wire and the clock stops ticking, leaving Martha exposed, but in a manner, that induces self-reflection rather than resentment and humiliation.

I can almost see Him, His voice filled with love, saying her name: “Martha, Martha…” I imagine Jesus putting his hand gently on Martha’s arm as He speaks to her. I imagine the sound of His voice having an instantaneous calming effect on Martha’s agitated heart. “Martha, Martha…” I don’t hear the slightest hint of reproach in His tone. All I hear is His love and concern for the soul and character of one of His beloved.

I also hear understanding: “you are worried and upset about many things…”

He knows…

Jesus knows about all our struggles. He knows our sinful nature. He knows all about our insecurities. He knows all about our hurts. He knows if we are worry-warts. He knows if we are easily offended. He knows when we are upset. He knows when we cry ourselves to sleep at night. He knows when we wake up shaking in fear. He knows when we can’t make ourselves get out of bed. He knows when we tremble in terror. He knows when our hearts can’t take another hit. He knows when we are all out of tears.

Not only does He know, but He cares. And in His love for us, He shows us the way. He shows us the answer. And the way, and the answer are always His presence. Seeking His presence is the only thing that can heal us completely: heart, mind, soul, spirit and body.

May the Holy Spirit allow us to continue exploring this passage some more next time, so He may clearly reveal the answer.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

You Tell Her!

She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10: 40b)

Well, of course He cares. Jesus cares about this issue because He is concerned about Martha’s character. I’m guessing that the whining tone of her request is an outward expression of what’s in Martha’s heart. Once again, she wants to play the martyr role, exposing her sister’s weaknesses as she comes out like the victim of Mary’s unfair behavior.

Hmmm, yep…been there, done that.

-My husband: “do you need any help?”

-Me: “No!”

-My sons: “do you need any help?”

-Me: “No! I got it!”

A few hours later…

-Me: “Why doesn’t anybody help me around here? Can’t you see how much work there is to do? You guys are so lazy!”

I don’t know why I do this, but it happens quite often in my house. I get some sick satisfaction out of playing the victim’s role, I guess…I mean, sometimes, when I’m tense, doing housework helps me clear my mind, and that’s why I choose to do it myself when I can have someone else do it for me. But so often I must admit, I refuse help because of a subconscious desire to make those around me feel guilty or to get a card that I can hide in my sleeve so I can play the blame-game later and win.

I know, I said it, it is sick…but it is all-too-real. That’s why this portion of verse 40 touches me at such a personal level.

The worst part is that I keep accumulating those blame-cards until one day, when nobody is expecting it, I play them all at once, causing an explosion of whining and guilting others, blindsiding them into a corner where there is not much else for them to do than to sigh in frustration, wondering what’s going on.


Martha took her own frustration to another level. She went to the One she knew could end it with one word. She took the matter to Jesus and begged Him to basically give Mary a reprimand. She wanted Mary to feel humiliated…perhaps, because she was feeling humiliated herself.

Often, the kinds of feelings demonstrated by Martha’s behavior are a reflection of one’s own feelings of inadequacy. I’m not a psychologist, but speaking by personal experience, almost every time I want others to feel guilty is because I am feeling guilty myself and I want others to share that self-deprecating state. I feel guilty because of a misguided sense of inadequacy that warps my self-image, making me see myself as someone not worthy. I see myself as a failure who needs to compensate for her flaws by working harder than anyone around to somehow erase some of the character stains I see in myself. My insecurities lead me to a place of victimhood where the role of a martyr seems way more respectable than the perceived reality of a failure and a fake.

In the meantime, those around me are in the middle of a serious amount of manipulation that takes place to play these charades, leaving them exposed not so much to a game anymore, but rather to a time bomb.

May the Holy Spirit clear our vision and allow us to see through our insecurities to realize that we are more than the sum of our past mistakes. May we see ourselves with renewed eyes so we can finally appreciate who we are once we see ourselves through the eyes of Christ.

Monday, January 9, 2017


But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Luke 10: 40a

Mary’s got it right. We all know that. Her priorities were certainly straight. She didn’t worry about preparing the food. She didn’t care if the house was clean or not. She didn’t concern herself with the logistics of entertaining a large group of visitors, that probably arrived at her house with very short-notice. She didn’t think about the pantry, the supplies, the sitting charts, the washing basin, the drinks or whether-or-not-there were enough hangers in the coat closet. She saw Jesus and she found her place at His feet immediately.

Some may think of her as flaky. However, Mary didn’t have to worry about any of it because she knew that Martha had it all under control.

This was probably not the first time they had guests in their house. By now, Mary probably didn’t even bother helping Martha, because she knew her sister’s got it. Mary knew Martha could spare her. Selfish? Maybe. Wrong? Absolutely not.

Notice the problem with Martha’s situation is not that she would rather be doing the preparations than spending time with the Lord. I think she wanted to be there, hanging out with Him as well and that’s why she wanted Mary to get off her behind and help her so they could get things done quickly and get to the important business of spending time with Jesus.

Martha, however, allowed the circumstances to consume her…to distract her. She focused on the stuff that needed to be done and forgot that those things were not all that important when compared to focusing on the presence of the Lord.

This situation here is the classic scenario when one person blames the other for choosing what they wish they had chosen as well, but didn’t because of some misplaced sense of duty that made them think they just could not do that too even though they could have. Mind twisting, I know. “Look at all the stuff that needs to be done around here! And what´s my lazy sister doing? Nothing! Of course! She is not even thinking! She is so unreliable! So selfish! What am I going to do? I´m here stuck with all the work, while she is over there enjoying herself! Man, that is so unfair!” Been there, done that.

I’m not 100% sure, but given the fact that the sisters are opening their house to at the very least 13 people (Jesus and the 12, not to mention any other followers that might be squeezing in, like us) makes me think they might be rather well off. Therefore, going out on a limb here, I bet they probably had servants that could have taken care of everything. Martha forgot that. She forgot that she really did not need to be so immerse in the chores.

Perhaps, pride had something to do with this? I may be willing to bet that Martha’s hostess abilities were well-known in the area. She did not want to fail…especially not during the most important entertaining session of her life! She wanted to have every detail be just perfect, which means she had to be there. And by not being able to let go, the task became the thing that prevented her from giving her full attention to the Lord. Her priorities were out of line…(shopping, wrapping presents, baking cookies, decorating, casseroles, parties, dinner…O yeah…Christ was born…)

But, better yet, why not allow the kitchen help and everyone else in the house to come and listen to the Lord and then get to the food and preparations later on?


Guilty as charged…I mean, me…I do all these all the time. I lose sight of what really matters because I become distracted by all what’s going on around it. And when I see others who were wiser than me, taking their place in the presence of the One and Only…I get grumpy. I begin the blame game. I play the martyr role.


It doesn’t mean that the preparations are not important. These men need to eat! But I’m sure they could wait a bit while we all share in the presence of Jesus first. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we go through life, so we don’t get sidetracked by the distractions that so easily entangle us. May the Holy Spirit give us discernment to sort through the tasks so our priorities are in line with what may as well be the main goal of every Christian: to seek Him first.

Friday, January 6, 2017

At the Feet of Jesus

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. (Luke 10: 39)

Today, we enter the home of Martha and Mary along Jesus and His followers. We are the last ones to come in. We look around and we see the house full of live and activity. Martha is directing the guests to the gathering place, pointing to empty spots where they can find a seat to rest their tired bodies after being on their way for a while.

If they weren’t feeling the sting of hunger yet, by now their mouths are beginning to water just by the smells filtering out from the kitchen where Martha has already come back into to continue the meal preparations. I’m not sure what she is making, but it sure smells good!

We finally make it into the room where all the visitors are gathered. And, even though we had to squeeze in way in the back, we make sure we can still see Him…

Jesus reclines at a prominent place as the guest of honor, surrounded by all whom He attracts like a magnet. As usual, He is talking and we all listen in a state of awe for the power of His Words penetrate our hearts and souls. Out of all the people around Him, however, there is one whose state of contemplation exceeds all others so much so that she almost seems transported…as if she is not even there…as if she is in a place where nobody or nothing else matters or exists…only Jesus.

We finally meet Mary…at the Lord’s feet…listening…

We look at Mary and suddenly we get it. We know. That’s exactly where we all should go. She is at the precise right place, the only place where all Christians should be: at the feet of Jesus.

My eyes shift back to His face and there He is, looking at me…

Yes, we want to be Mary. She shows us what the priority really is. All else can wait. As long as we choose Him first…all else will fall into place, somehow because we trust Him. He will take care of it all while we dedicate our entire attention to Him.  While we worship Him.  While we surrender to Him.

May the Holy Spirit exchange our hearts of stone for hearts of flesh so we can discern the right choice, and how the right choice is always to put Jesus first!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Woman Named Martha Opens the Door

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. Luke 10: 38

I love the words in this verse.  They serve as the opening to Martha and Mary’s story.  When I read them, I feel as if I’m crossing the threshold into their home.  But before that, let me just linger outside for a bit longer, as I take in the scene… 

“…a woman named Martha…”

I love that phrase.  Not the daughter of a certain Father; not the sister of a beloved brother…no…a woman, all of her own…with her own name: Martha. 

The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me..” (John 10: 2-3, 14)

He knows us by name, because He gave us our name.  And as He calls us, we recognize His voice because we belong to Him…and we open the door … and He enters: “opened her home to Him.” 
We may say whatever we’d like about Martha, but she opened that door for Jesus!  She was the one who actually took it upon herself to physically open that door.  She was the one who stood there as He walked inside.  It is undeniable that she is a woman of action.  And her action brought up the greatest reward: Jesus coming into her house!

I’m not saying that our actions cause our salvation. Only the actions of Our Lord can achieve that.  But I believe that once Jesus calls us by our names and knocks at our doors, the next move is on us.  Our hearts need to surrender to Him and the doors must be opened by our hands as an act that demonstrates our surrender.

What a glorious day, the day we open the door.  May we be quick to obey the call, so as soon as we hear His voice calling out our names.  May we swiftly stand at the doorway, with the door wide open to welcome Him into our home.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

At the Door of Martha and Mary's House

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38-42

A few years ago I decided I was not going to make a New Year’s resolution.  Instead, I opted for prayerfully considering a guiding word.  A word that would encompass an ideal goal for the year.  My guiding word for 2017 is surrendering.  The ideal goal is surrendering to God completely.  As I write this, I notice that the word surrendering is, indeed in the progressive form.  You would have to excuse me, but as a humble grammar enthusiast, a verb in the progressive form indicates exactly that, progression…something on-going…not done yet…but progressively moving forward.

The essence of surrendering to God implies just that…something on-going…not yet there, but progressively moving towards the goal.

I know that surrendering to God totally and completely won’t be achieved in one year…but I believe that my job is to never lose faith and to continue striving toward that state of being under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.  I think that’s how we train our hearts to be hearts after God´s own.

As I take baby steps in this journey, I´d like to take a look at my two favorite sisters in the Bible, Martha and Mary.  Much has been written about them.  Wonderful lessons have been drawn from the little we know about these two women.  But I think it is appropriate for me to revisit them now since I still have much to learn from them.  So, I´m going to pretend to be another visitor in their house to witness Martha´s impeccable hospitality skills as well as Mary´s enviable free-spirited soul.  Let´s wash our tired and dusty feet at the door and hang out for a few days at their home.  I´m sure it will be an unforgettable treat.

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Only Thing

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. (Luke 10: 41-42)

The New Year is here...and with it, a long to-do list unfolds as well.  From laundry and cleaning, to grocery shopping and cooking, preparing for class, getting the kids ready for back-to-school and everything in between...the tasks pile up faster than I can sort them...and stress mounts higher than I can bear it. 

But then, the Good Shepherd calls my name and reminds me that all the frantic fretting this world brings amounts to nothing at the end, for the only thing that truly matters is Him...peace is found in His presence.

My devotional reading reminded me of reminded me of the constant need to go to Him and seek His presence above all else.  Rather than allowing my thoughts to jump all over the place, from problem to problem, from task to task, I need to re-direct them to His face!

We are not to skimp on our time with Christ.  Instead, we need to resist the clamor of tasks waiting to be done and choose the only one that is needed: Him!

I want to have a heart like Mary´s as I live in Martha´s world.  

May the strength of the Holy Spirit dwelling in me keep my eyes focused and my thoughts under control so I can learn how to seek the only One that matters.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Beginning

I like to think of the first day of every year as the beginning of a new adventure.  It is like an opportunity for everyone to become explorers into a great unknown.  It is like we can all be astronauts, making big leaps into the vast expanse of uncharted territory.

The greatest challenge we face, not unlike the one faced by all adventurers, is the decision of how to make of our voyage.  Are we going to embark on a boat of fear and anxiety, limited by the restrictions of our own meager power and confused by our own blurry vision? Or are we going to leave our own pitiful, self-made boat behind and finally board the ship the Most High has prepared for us, allowing the Light of His Presence to be the Lamp that guides our journey ahead?

Every first day of the year we face the same choice.  Are we going to hang on to our old ways of doing things? Or are we going to open our hearts, spirits, souls and minds to the The Word who "became flesh and made his dwelling among us." Are we going to be the same we've always been, or are we going to be transformed by "the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth?" (John 1: 14)

Today, I choose to make 2017 a year of surrendering to my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ!

Today, I choose to make this new year an adventure of trust in Him, the Only Faithful One!

Today, I pray I can navigate in that river of peace that flows from the very Heart of God so I don't have to be afraid or anxious or worried anymore.

Here's to a new beginning, filled with the Hope of the Peace of Prince!  Come, Lord Jesus, come.  Come, Immanuel, come again soon!