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December beginning

I think perhaps we’ve had a bad impression of Martha for too long. Not Martha the American mega-business woman. Martha from the book of St. Luke.

We’ve chastised her for being a busy woman. There are a lot of busy, hard-working people whom I admire. They stick to the task. They get things done. They don’t mind getting their hands dirty. They keep at it until the job is complete. We can count on them.

Have we equated being diligent with being un-Christian?

Our first introduction to Martha is in chapter 10 of Luke, ” . . . a woman named Martha opened her home to him [Jesus].” She had the gift of hospitality and she welcomed Jesus and his followers.

When we bring people into our homes, there are things to do. Martha set herself to the task of feeding a group of hungry men.

We see the problem arising a couple of verses later: “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” Ah, the distractions. I have walked in Martha’s sandals.

Other versions of Scripture say she was worried and troubled, disturbed by all her responsibilities. I especially like the rendering of the Message:  “Martha was pulled away by all she had to do . . . ”

I have been pulled away too. Pulled away from sitting at Jesus’ feet, pulled away from what is important by what seems urgent, pulled away from the people I am to serve by my need to finish all the preparations.

As I see it, herein lies some of the problem with the Christmas season. It has become complicated, full to overflowing, demanding, over abundant. We have become distracted by all the preparations. And we have been blinded to the beauty of Christmas.

Martha lost sight of her Lord, the very nearness of His presence in her home, while she became engrossed in the work at hand.

Her distraction and worry brought on accusations and demands. “Don’t you care?” she asked Jesus. “Make Mary help me,” she commanded Him. The audacity.

I have found myself guilty of Martha’s sin. I have wondered if God cared. I have stomped my feet like an angry child who didn’t get her way. I have been distracted, troubled and worried by the tasks and the schedule and have overlooked the reality of Emmanuel.

How can we approach Christmas with a work ethic like Martha and a heart like Mary?

Jesus said Mary chose the best, the place of sitting quietly and listening. Her attention was focused on His words that were Life to her.

That is the challenge. We live in a culture of extravagance, and our schedules fill quickly as we try to do more and be more. Yet we are not called to do everything or be all things to everyone. We are called to be still and know our God first. Then we are called to serve.

We cannot walk in power and peace if we lose connection with the Prince of Peace.

It will take determination, imagination even, and a made-up mind to spend some quiet time with Jesus each day, especially in December. So many voices call after us seeking our attention. We have to make a decision what is most important to us.

If you wonder where to begin, seek out someone you know who has developed the discipline of quiet meditation each day. Or simply ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. It is His specialty.

In the quiet of His presence, we will hear Him speak. We can take a deep breath and feel the calm infuse us. We will get a clear focus on what is important. And we gain wisdom from God who gives it liberally.

His plan for my day is always better than my own.

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Sunday grace

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Rejoice in the goodness of the Lord, for He is always good.

Count His blessings, name them one by one.

Be gentle, unselfish, considerate, for the Lord is near to us all.

Don’t fret and worry.  Anxiety is not the Christ-bearer’s inheritance.

Instead pray and give thanks and tell the Father all that you need.

Expect God’s peace to be your guard, the garrison over your heart

and over all circumstances and threats.

Think about such things as are worthy, honorable, just, pure, lovely and loveable,

kind and gracious, virtuous and excellent.

Practice what you have learned from Jesus’s example, how He lived, walked, spoke, loved.

And the God of peace, of untroubled, undisturbed well-being will be with you.

Live it today.  Live it tomorrow.

Sunday grace, friends.

{from Philippians 4:4-9}

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Monday grace

I read Ephesians 4 for the fifth or sixth day in a row, and I wonder why I’ve never highlighted the first few verses in my marked up Bible?

I beg you . . . to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.  We are all parts of one body, we have the same Spirit, and we have all been called to the same glorious future.”

Humility has never been my strong point.

Yesterday, Sunday, we gathered with fellow believers, dressed up in our Sunday best and smiles that often cover.  Today, Monday, we head into the fray, meeting life head on with those who don’t see things like we do, some who want to argue their point with us, others who are warring against us.

The challenge is to live a life worthy, to be humble and gentle, to be patient, making allowances for other’s faults.  Because of Love.

Because I have been loved, I am called to love in return.  This is my calling no matter my job title, no matter my work schedule. no matter what.

I pray to put on the clothing of Christ:  compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, forgiveness, unity, love, peace.

Not in my own strength but in His.

Monday grace, friends.  Go with God and in the power of His might.

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A little busy

It’s been a little busy at the Wright House this week.  I’ve missed having the luxury of thinking slowly and writing the way I like.  But I will be back soon.

As we finish January 2015 and really face this new year head on, let’s don’t get sidetracked by what only appears necessary and urgent.  We so often give our attention to the “pressing task” when what is really important, the people around us and the work God has give us to do, languishes on the sidelines just waiting.  Just waiting for us to stop and take notice.  Just waiting.

Let us examine ourselves and ask our God and Father, “What’s the plan for today?”  Then may we take the challenge and follow Him wholeheartedly.  It is in the obedience, sometimes the hard obedience, that we find fulfillment, contentment, peace, and joy.

And couldn’t we all use a little more of that in 2015?

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