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The house wasn't filled with Martha's fantastic cooking but with Mary's heartfelt worship.
My DreamRecently I had a disturbing dream. I tried to put it out of my head and forget about it but could not. You see although it was not pleasant it did contain a powerful message. I want to share this message with you today, I apologise in advance for the graphic nature of this dream but I honestly believe it is necessary.
In my dream I was in bed with another man getting ready to have sex. I was fully aware that I was married to my husband and that this man had a wife. As we were becoming intimate I had a strong sense that there were people in the house who were also fully aware of what this man and I were doing and also that it was acceptable to them. I was also thinking of my husband but it seemed that he too was aware of what was happening and it didn't bother him, it was the norm. As we had sex I felt violated because I knew it wasn't right but because no one was objecting and because it almost seemed to be expected of me, I allowed it to continue.
I woke up from my dream and felt sick, I had a headache and the tail end of a cold that I had been struggling to shake but I also felt sick inside my soul and couldn't go back to sleep. What a horrible dream. Instantly I recognised what God was saying to me and this is what I would like to share with you today as I believe that I am not the only one who needs to find freedom in this area.
Since last year's King's Daughters Conference to today I have been on an intensely busy journey. My life has spun out of control. I run this ministry, King's Daughters. I run a business called Women's Business Club. I was heavily involved in local politics until a few weeks ago. I have 4 children, two cats, a wonderful husband. A 4 bedroom home that needs cleaning all the time it seems. Somewhere in-between this I also wrote another book, 4 songs and climbed a mountain. I was also on anti-depressants until a few weeks ago because last year I got myself into a state of complete burnout. I wonder why??
Are you impressed with all I’ve done? Please don't be! I beg you do not look to me as an example of how to do life well. Hopefully by the end of this message you will see why. I used to look at people like me and admire then and want to be them – well I have achieved that. Let's take a look at someone else who had a similar problem. Martha.
Now it happened as they went that Jesus entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word
Did you notice that both Mary and Martha started by sitting at Jesus feet?
Both sisters started off at Jesus feet. The term sitting at Jesus feet was not referring to their posture but their purpose. It mean that they were studding with the Rabbi - something that women were not supposed to do in those days but this didn't seem to bother Jesus, Mary or Martha. But what happened was that one of them got distracted – I mean who was going to cook Jesus’ dinner?
Martha was distracted with much serving
Martha lost focus of what was really important and got really, really busy.
Lord, do You not care
Then Martha started feeling far from Jesus, that he didn’t care about her.
She was spending less time WITH HIM and doing so much more FOR HIM. Jesus response was simple - One thing is needed!!
Back to Dream
Is that a good message? Does it help? Well I don't know about you but if I heard a message like this I would fully resonate with it, then feel guilty and then go home and try and change as many things as possible. After a few weeks I would fail and then be back to square one only feeling worse than ever before. Let me share the rest of the story with you. Come back with me to my horrible dream. There are three things I would like to take from it that will help us to get back to sitting at Jesus' feet:
1) You are being intimate with the wrong man (thing, priority)
2) You can't find a way out because it is socially acceptable (why won’t anyone say anything?)
3) You will bear fruit that you don't want
1. Identify the 'man'.
You are being intimate with the wrong man
At first when I realise what God was saying I thought he was talking about my business. Women's Business Club has taken over my life in many ways so I instantly assumed that this was the 'man' that God was referring to but upon some reflection I realised that it goes much deeper than this. The 'man' God was trying to point out was BUSYNESS - just like Martha I had become distracted with much busyness. It should have been obvious to me long ago. I mean I had been on anti-depressant for a year due to burn out - that should instantly have set off alarm bells don't you think? Perhaps God used the analogy of a man to show me how my busyness is adulterous!
You see God wants me to love him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength! (Mark 12:30) Not with the scraps, the leftovers of my time.
We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) in his image (Genesis 1:27), called by name (Isaiah 43:1) with a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11), inscribed on this palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16), the apple of his eye (Psalm 17:8), bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20) and loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
He loves me, He loves you. Surely the Bible has made this clear. But are we faithful to Him or adulterous? Identify the 'other man' in your life. It is this serious. We, the church, are his bride - we should remain faithful to him.
2. Identify the norm
You can't find a way out because it is socially acceptable
What are you doing that you know deep down inside is not OK but because no one is saying anything about it or perhaps are even encouraging you, you feel trapped and keep doing it? As I have said these words it has already popped into your head and your heart. You know it's wrong FOR YOU but you feel trapped because of everyone else's expectations or lack thereof. We tolerate too much these days and bring each other down! What happened to God's standards - His laws - His ways. When did we allow them to get so watered down that just about anything goes - don't worry God is a God of love and grace. Yes his is but he didn't change the 10 commandments - they still stand! At the same time, what about his still small voice, do we still listen?
A small example from my own life is that wine o’clock became a things amongst us self employed ladies. It was the time of day when we rewarded ourselves for a hard day’s work with a glass of wine. It became a thing! I started to realise that I had joined in with this fun end to a day. At times I even used a glass of wine to push myself and squeeze more work out of my weary body and mind. It dawned on me that this behaviour was unacceptable and that I didn’t want to participate in wine o’clock anymore. I mentioned it to a few people but I could tell I wasn’t taken seriously. I knew deep down inside that it wasn’t the life style I was to live but because everyone was doing it and because I wasn’t getting drunk or technically sinning, it was very difficult to stop. It was socially acceptable. If I continued no one would frown upon it. In fact it didn’t matter to anyone because it was my conviction not theirs. To be honest if it was a bar of chocolate every day at 5 it would have been the same – it wasn’t the wine that bothered me as much as the habit. So I knew that for me it was not healthy and so I stopped.... most days.
There are many things we deem acceptable these days. Some people watch movies with blatant sex in and don’t feel the least bit uncomfortable. Other’s are happy with violence and swearing in movies and don’t mind if their children see and hear these things too. It is social acceptable, everyone is doing it, but have you considered how much movies influence us and fill us with stuff? Or what about books, do we will ourselves with romantic novels leaving our poor husbands at a loss as he can never, ever measure up to Mr Darcy or Christian Grey if you are that way inclined. Trying to make fiction into our reality is very dangerous!
The point I am trying to make is that we need to identify what NORM we are using as an excuse for our unfaithfulness to our God. Do you know that the Bible is full on instructions to us so that we can have an abundant life! It’s not do this and don’t that or I will smite thee but rather I love you so much and if you want to lead a great life then remain in my arms, remain in me. (John 15:4)
He loves me, He loves you, He loves us! We must separate ourselves - consecrate ourselves - and refrain from what everyone else is doing because it’s what best for us.
3. Identify the fruit
You will bear fruit that you don't want
Look ahead and decide for yourself what fruit will result of this intimacy with the wrong things. What will be born of it. In my case busyness has resulted in complete and utter burnout. It has also robbed me of precious time with my children. It has robbed me of so many peaceful moment, fun adventures and life itself. Most importantly it has robbed me of my relationship with God. To motivate myself to get back to Jesus feet and away from the distraction of busyness I MUST take an honest look what will be born into my life if I continue the way I am.
If you are intimate with food as I mentioned before the fruit that will result is poor health
If you are intimate with trashy movies or books the fruit that could result is poor relationships
If you are intimate with money the fruit that could result is any sort of evil
If you are intimate with negative thinking the fruit that could result is depression or anger
Identify the man, identify the norm and identify the fruit that you don’t want.
So we have covered a lot of possible dos and don’ts. It’s a lot to remember and if we try to tick all the boxes to get it right we will probably fail. Even God doesn’t want us to leave here today carrying a massive burden to fix our lives. I may have gone deep and heavy but I don’t want you to leave with this burden but rather His burden which is easy and light (Matthew 11:30) There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). My aim is to help us know the truth which will set us free (John 8:32)
My prayer is that with the Holy Spirits help you would have identified some things in your relationship with God today that are hindering you from receiving His amazing love. Perhaps you are being intimate with something or someone other than God. Perhaps your time or money is going to the wrong priority. Perhaps you, like me, have been caught in the very sticky web of busyness and are struggling to get free.
The big question now is HOW?
How do we put things right?
How do we get free?
How do we find the way forward?
The answer is simple, Jesus told it to Mary and Martha.
Choose one thing to love, one thing to put first, one thing to do first.
Consider how Mary worshipped Jesus in John 12:1-3, Martha served but Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
The house wasn't filled with Martha's fantastic cooking but with Mary's heartfelt worship.
We don’t have to remember everything we heard today, we only need to remember one thing and do one thing. Because there is only one way. Do we know him?
Matthew 7:21-23 says that we can do loads of fantastic things for him and in his name but if we don't KNOW him he will tell us to depart from him.
Let’s get back to our first love (Revelation 2:4) Let’s take that first step in the right direction. Let's reunite with the one who loves us, the one who desires to have complete intimacy with us.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
God is showing us our earthly marriage relationships represent the relationship He wants to have with His church. God loves his church soo much, he loves us but he loves us as his church . When will the church become pure and beautiful? When will we realise that we are the church - right here, right now and He loves us! We are his beautiful bride. It's a wonderfully romantic thing - that Jesus loves us that much. He doesn't see us as dirty even though we are sinners, He doesn't see us as broken even though we are, He doesn't see us as unworthy, even though we are. He sees us as worth giving up his life for. He sees us as his bride - oh my goodness!
Now let’s focus on just ONE THING. Let’s get back to sitting at Jesus feet. From that place everything will make sense, everything will fall into place. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it!