Category Archives: PITHY, PEDANTIC, & PLUCKY

I love brave writers with brave words, especially those I consider pithy, pedantic, or just plain plucky!

A hero of mine said,

“Little by little, one travels far.”
J. R. R. Tolkien

In her Writer’s Audioshop Ann Lamott said,

Writing, like life, can be a difficult process, you just have to take it Word by Word

She won’t tell you about plot points or how to get published, because, frankly, she doesn’t think they’re important. Good writing, she says, slows you down, opens your heart, and arrives through your fingers, knowing what it’s about. You’ll learn how to keep things simple and how to write honestly about life, family, and friends.
~~~
May you find with this “collection” of posts some of my favorite writers; some with pedantic pluck, and more than a few brave words with true and pithy points.

I hope they steer you to that True North, Jesus Christ.

The Ultimate Final Exam, Dr. Howard Hendricks

The Life of Howard G. “Prof” Hendricks

Our beloved Dr. Howard G. Hendricks went to be with the Lord early Wednesday morning. Dr. Hendricks’s memorial service from Saturday, March 2 is now available to watch online.

A Lasting Legacy

“You’re looking at a completely fulfilled human being. If I died today having produced some of the people God has given me the privilege of shaping, it will have been worth showing up on the planet.”

—Prof Hendricks to the Dallas Morning News, 2003

Dr. Howard G. Hendricks, known simply as “Prof,” directly or indirectly touched millions of lives in the evangelical community and beyond. For more than sixty years Prof served on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), where he taught more than ten thousand students. He also ministered in person in more than eighty countries. Through speaking engagements, radio, tapes, films, the sixteen books he authored and coauthored, countless journal and popular-market articles, his service on numerous boards, and his work as a chaplain to the Dallas Cowboys (1976–1984), his reach was and is worldwide. His legacy, in partnership with Jeanne, his wife of more than sixty-six years, includes four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Holding large audiences enthralled at venues such as Billy Graham’s conference center or Promise Keepers’ stadium rallies, Prof would confide, “It’s wonderful to be here with you, but I have a group of delicious students waiting for me back at the seminary.”

“I don’t believe a word of it”

Howard Hendricks was raised in a broken home. He recalled, “My parents separated when I came along. I split the family.” His father’s mother reared him, and he described himself as a “troublemaker” during his elementary school years, “probably just ‘acting out’ a lot of insecurities.”

“Most likely to end up in prison” was the assessment of his fifth-grade teacher in Philadelphia. Once she even tied him to his seat with a rope and taped his mouth shut. Yet everything changed for that boy when he met his sixth-grade teacher. He introduced himself to Miss Noe, and she told him, “I’ve heard a lot about you. But I don’t believe a word of it.”

Those words would change his life. She made him realize for the first time that someone cared. “People are always looking for someone to say, ‘Hey, I believe in you,’” he said. And in his more than sixty years as a professor, he believed in his students.

Carpe DiemHundreds of Christian organizations were created as a result of Prof’s ministry to his protégés. In the words of one DTS graduate, “He impacted more lives personally than anyone I’ve ever known.” Prof once said, “I think the reason God has used me is that, by His grace, the Holy Spirit has developed in me an incurable confidence in His ability to transform people.” Prof went beyond communicating what students should do to convincing them that they could. According to a 2003 Dallas Morning News article about him, the combined ministries of just eight of his former students, a veritable Who’s Who of Evangelical Christians, reach close to thirty thousand people in the pews every week. Add radio programs and books to the number, and the audience expands to millions.

“If you don’t have a wife, get one!”

What greater tribute to Jeanne Hendricks than her husband’s adamant entreaty, “If you don’t have a wife, get one!” The two met in Philadelphia after Prof became a Christian, and they attended Wheaton College near Chicago as undergraduates. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1946, Hendricks and his wife moved to Texas, where he enrolled in classes at DTS. After earning a Master of Theology degree in 1950, he planted a church in Fort Worth.

Though he was a pastor at Calvary Presbyterian, the words in 2 Timothy 2:22 Timothy 2:2
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2 The things which you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit the same to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

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stuck in his mind: “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful people who will be able to teach others also.” So when Dr. John Walvoord, at that time the theology department chairman, asked Hendricks to join the seminary faculty part-time, he agreed. His reasoning: instead of pastoring only one church, he could train ten students to pastor ten churches.

A year after Hendricks joined the faculty, president Lewis Sperry Chafer died suddenly, and the newly appointed president Walvoord implored Hendricks to fill the full-time teaching vacancy. Prof accepted—on one condition: a Christian education course had to be included in his teaching load. He was twenty-eight years old with a passion for teaching and mentoring students. And in the years that followed, that passion never changed.

“You never graduate from the school of discipleship.”

Even more than his wonderful teaching, the time Prof took to mentor students is what most emphasize when they talk about his influence on their lives.

authenticityIn the days before air-conditioning, a certain campus bench between Stearns Hall and Mosher Library was known as “Prof’s bench.” He kept “office hours” there; students could stop by. Their questions drew on Prof’s wisdom. What students remember more than his answers was his availability.

Eventually bench time gave way to early-morning discipleship time. Tuesdays and Thursdays at six a.m. brought two groups of twelve men and women each semester. And whether one-on-one or in a classroom, Prof taught. He was known to stand on a chair while teaching if that’s what it took to captivate a bored-looking student. Before those in his classes, he served as “stand-up comic, cheerleader, personal trainer, encourager, and super teacher,” observed a student who cringed at the recollection of her professor’s favorite gesture, wiping his sleeve across his nose. Hendricks often mimicked the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo, by scrunching his face, squinting his eyes, and sniffing. Students too young to remember Magoo considered the gestures “pure Hendricks.” But Prof’s creativity had a purpose—that students might center their lives in Jesus Christ and live according to His Word. Prof was known to say that if he had his way, every student would memorize one thousand Bible verses before graduating.

In 1986, at the request of then seminary president Dr. Donald Campbell, Prof founded the Center for Christian Leadership. Its first program, Spiritual Formation, continues to build Christian identity, community, integrity, and diversity in DTS students through weekly small-group meetings. The program presents a model of discipleship intended for replication.

DTS chancellor Dr. Charles Swindoll, a 1963 graduate, whose Insight for Living radio program reaches across the world, recalls that Prof “is the one man who has had the greatest impact on my entire life. And there is no doubt in my mind that since the late 1950s to the present day, no other teacher at DTS has been more influential to more of our graduates, or more magnetic to more potential students than Dr. Hendricks.”

“Few have marked as many lives or have multiplied ministry passions like our beloved Prof,” said DTS president Dr. Mark L. Bailey. “Prof was a friend and a colleague who has marked us deeply for the cause of Christ.”

When Don Regier as a student told Prof, “I can’t preach. I don’t know what I am going to do,” Prof Hendricks convinced him that he had creative gifts. Regier has now invested those gifts for more than four decades of service as a professor at DTS.

Retired professor Dr. Eddie Lane remembers when he and now Dr. Tony Evans were the first African-American students on campus. “Dr. Hendricks made it clear that he was glad to have us in his classroom. As a student, I majored in Howard Hendricks.” DTS’s first women students echo the same sentiments.

Dr. Howard Hendricks“How big is your God? The size of your God determines the size of everything.”

The sixty years spent mentoring students held their share of pain. Seventeen years ago, Prof reported to the doctor’s office for removal of a small skin cancer. Eight hours later, more cancer cells remained. Eventually invasive surgery into his skull endangered Prof’s ears, eyes, and brain. Holding Jeanne’s hand, he said, “Either God is sovereign or He is not. And, if He’s not, we’re in deep trouble. But I’m coming down on the side that He is.” The mail brought a stack of cards six feet high from people around the world whose lives he had touched.

After the operation, the doctor reported, “It’s obvious that God is at work in your life. This cancer went as far as it could go toward your ear without affecting your hearing, as far as it could go toward your eye without affecting your eyesight, and as far as it could go toward your brain without affecting your mind.”

“If God had said to me, ‘I’ll give you another course [in trusting],’” Prof quipped, “I would have said, ‘Let’s make it an elective.’”

“Spend the rest of your life doing what God prepared you to do.”

During his years of service Prof received numerous honors including an honorary doctorate from Wheaton and the 2003 Tom Landry Excellence of Character Award from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In 2010 Prof added to his long list of honors the National Religious Broadcasters’ (NRB) Board of Directors Award, given to a Christian who “demonstrates integrity, displays creativity, and makes a significant impact on society.” While he appreciated such accolades, for Prof the greatest reward came in mentoring. At that time, he repeated what he had told the Dallas Morning News ten years earlier: “For me, [mentoring is] very important because I think it’s really my fulfillment,” he said. “I tell people, ‘You’re looking at a completely fulfilled human being.’ If I died today having produced some of the people God has given me the privilege of shaping, it will have been worth showing up on the planet.”

Dr. Howard HendricksDrawing on wisdom gained through experience, Prof wrote a journal series on aging for Bibliotheca Sacra. In it he argued that there is no such thing as retirement from service in the body of Christ. Consequently, he continued teaching for as long as he was able. But he did believe in making room for the next generation. So in the spring of 2011, in his sixtieth year at DTS, he retired from faculty responsibilities and formal classroom ministry. At the time of his retirement he was distinguished professor emeritus of Christian Education and Leadership.

About that time Prof described aging as a “quiet, ill-defined blur that steals up on one with little advance warning.” He said, “My body refuses to cooperate with my mind, as if it were a stranger. Mysterious little aches and odd moments of forgetfulness pop up. Birthdays become irrelevant. The surprise is that I no longer seem to be quite the ‘me’ I have always known.”

Even after he no longer had teaching responsibilities, Prof could be found on the Stearns bench. And though his presence was not required, he would make it a priority to attend the annual faculty retreat, to be present and available as long as he was able.

In one of Prof’s last chapel messages, titled The Ultimate Final Exam, he drew on the text of 2 Timothy 2:152 Timothy 2:15
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15 Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.

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to emphasize three passions every believer should have: The Lord well pleased, the work well done, and the Word well used.

He alluded to a constant argument over whether Michelangelo was greater or the teacher who trained him. At one point the teacher perceived that his student was resting on his talents rather than dedicating himself to excellence. So he batted Michelangelo’s sculpture, breaking it into a thousand pieces. The teacher insisted, “Talent is cheap. But dedication is costly.” Prof’s conclusion: “If you and I are going to serve and be approved, our service is going to cost us. If you want success and significance, both will cost you. But it will cost you more not to have made the investment.”

From the earthly perspective of those who mourn his loss—and the DTS family feels this pain acutely—Prof made that costly investment. He was content to be the teacher behind many great communicators of our day, modeling a passion for his Lord, a passion for the Word well used, and a work well done of investing in lives for the glory of Christ.

Karen Giesen and Sandra Glahn contributed to this story.  They gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Kelley Mathews, and Julie Cramer.

DTS Dr. Howard Hendricks tribute

©  Dallas Theological Seminary

 

Remembering Jade Cove by Pastor Jack Hayford

Jade CoveAlong HWY 1 in California is a place called Jade Cove, near Big Sur. It was at this place that by the grace of God, I “turned the corner.” I don’t mean a curve on that twisting, perilous highway, but the turn-around at Jade Cove rescued me from something as bad as a car accident.

For several weeks, I had been experiencing a horrible accumulation of pressure—mentally and emotionally. Work had piled up, schedule demands were burning me out, and through a combination of circumstances, I was riding the ragged edge of a potential nervous breakdown.

Some nights I would dream of being chased and then crushed by a massive object relentlessly pursuing and slowly gaining on me as I ran to escape it. Other nights I feared closing me eyes to go to sleep, feeling if I did I would not awaken again; that my heart would stop or my breath cease. I was rational enough to know this wasn’t true, but weak enough in my emotionally drained condition not to be able to break the tormenting thoughts.

Jade Cove

Then I discovered the words of the songwriter. Listen to this, Loved One: “I will lie down to sleep and find peace-filled rest, for You, Lord, preserve me in safety” (Psalm 4:8Psalm 4:8
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8 In peace I will both lay myself down and sleep, For you, Yahweh alone, make me live in safety.

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). And another lyric: “I laid down and slept, and awoke in the morning, for the Lord Himself did sustain me.” (Psalm 3:5Psalm 3:5
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5 I laid myself down and slept. I awakened; for Yahweh sustains me.

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I can hardly describe the power of those words of God’s eternal truth from His heart to mine, written in the Bible to become a strength to my weary soul. These words meant even more to me, because I knew they were written by a man of accomplishment—David, a successful king and conquering hero; yet a man who needed release from pressures that threatened his sleep.

God’s words buoyed my soul for several weeks, until that day, while I slowly drove northward, hoping a break in schedule would take the pressure off my brain and the fear from my heart. I stopped at Jade Cove and walked down near the water’s edge to look at the beautiful seascape.

It was there something happened—better yet, Someone. Because as surely as I knew His Word had sustained me when fear plagued my nights, I knew God’s presence had drawn near to deliver my mind. Like fog burning off the coastline, the Son of God lifted the burden I had carried for months.

I share that with you in hopes that you will also receive His Word. “I will lie down and sleep and find peace-filled rest, for you, Lord, preserve me in safety.” Call upon His Holy Spirit to deliver you. I know He will, because He did that for me at a place called Jade Cove, and He did through the power of a man named Jesus.

And He’s there for you right now. You don’t even need to go to Jade Cove. “Those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” (Acts 2:21)


© Jack Hayford Ministries

The Square Peg Alliance


square peg allianceThe Square Peg Alliance is a group of singer/songwriters who really like each other. We have all been doing music on our own but have decided to join forces like the wonder twins – except there are 13 of us instead of 2. There is no guy in a suit putting all of us together. We really just believe in each other’s art and want to support it.

We don’t write music so we can be the next big thing (or if we do, it hasn’t worked for us). We believe that there are folks out there who like music even if it isn’t played every three minutes on the radio, even if it isn’t on a big label, even if it isn’t accompanied by a music video, even if the shows aren’t flashy or even if the records don’t go platinum (or gold, or silver, or aluminum foil, etc.).

That is why we are the Square Peg Alliance. Thirteen artists who might not fit perfectly into the traditional mold of the music business, but have found a home with each other.”[FROM THE SQUARE PEG ALLIANCE’S MYSPACE PAGE.

The Square Peg Alliance is, at the moment:

Katy Bowser

Jeremy Casella

Billy Cerveny

Randall Goodgame

Andy Gullahorn

Matthew Perryman Jones

Chris Mason

Sandra McCracken

Andrew Osenga

Eric Peters

Andrew Peterson

Jill Phillips

Derek Webb

More here from Matthew Smith on a recent Square Peg Alliance show in Nashville.

© Shaun Groves

tolkien quote


 

What Is God’s Will? by Lysa TerKeurst

decisionsI used to think it was crucial for me to know God’s will. If I knew His grand plan for at least this season of my life, then I could direct all my decisions to fall in line.

Is it His will for me to stay in this job or change to that one?

Is it His will for me to send my kids to that school or make another choice?

Is it His will for me to teach that Bible study, serve on that committee, or go on that mission trip?

I ponder and I pray. I ask friends. I read the Bible. I look for confirmations that point in one direction or the other.

I assume there is one right answer and in order to stay in God’s will I must make the right choice.

That’s a lot of pressure for a simple girl like me. After all, I’m choosing between one good thing and another good thing. And so I fret and wonder, which of these things is God’s will?

But what if I’m wrong?

What if God’s will is more simple than that?

It’s great to pray, ask friends, and look for confirmations. But what if God is more concerned with us looking for Him than looking for answers?

What if God just wants us to pay attention to Him in the midst of whatever choice we make?

Recently I heard a story that shook me to the core. It had been a busy day at a restaurant with lots of customers coming and going. But at one point a guy came up to the manager and handed her a card. He told her, “This is for your staff.” And with an emotional catch in his throat, he said, “I just wanted to make sure they knew.”

The customer then turned and left as the manager tucked the card into her apron pocket.

A little while later, she had time to open the card.

It was a note directed to the staff thanking them. It wasn’t for their service or for the food. It was for their smiles.

He explained in the letter that he’d made plans to take his life that day. But their gift of simple conversations with simple smiles gave him the gift of hope.

As I heard the story, I cried.

Something stirred deep inside of me.

I got this overwhelming feeling that this is such a beautiful picture of how God’s will works. He intersects our lives with people that need His hope and whispers to us, “You have the hope they need… give it to them.

Maybe it’s to offer them a little of our time. Maybe it’s to share a little of our story. Or maybe, like with this customer, it’s to simply offer a smile. And when we listen, a shift happens. It’s like the world splits open with each of our simple acts of obedience to God and His light breaks apart the world’s darkness.

God instructs us to let our light shine. This is His will. This is His plan. This is His instruction.

And when we get in the habit of obeying His instruction today, we’ll develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow.

The more we pay attention to these moment-by-moment instructions by God, the more our thinking starts to line up with God. Our mind gets in a new rhythm of seeing what He wants us to see, so that we can do what He wants us to do.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2Romans 12:2
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2 Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

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, NIV)

This is why I wrote The Best Yes. I want to unrush my schedule, unrush my life, unrush my soul… so I can have enough space to pay attention to God. To see those divine opportunities with people who need hope and to be able to say yes to God’s instruction. These are my Best Yes moments. And I don’t want to miss them.

I suspect the same is true for you.

Rejection, Heartache and a Faithful God by Lysa Terkeurst

No person’s rejection of me can ever exempt me from God’s love for me.
A Gut-Honest Look at Love.” That was the title of my first blog post of this year. Based on 1 Corinthians 13, I wrote, “Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from this world, love is what I have the opportunity to give.
This perspective on love has been a lifeline during the most painful season and decision of my adult life. I so wish we were sitting face-to-face so you could see my tears and hear the deep grief in my voice as I share this with you. My husband, life partner and father of my children, Art TerKeurst, has been repeatedly unfaithful to me with a woman he met online, bringing an end to our marriage of almost 25 years. For the past couple of years, his life has sadly been defined by his affection for this other woman and substance abuse. I don’t share this to harm or embarrass him, but to help explain why I have decided to separate from him and pursue a divorce. God has now revealed to me that I have done all I can do and I must release him to the Savior.

Anyone who knows me and Proverbs 31 Ministries knows how seriously I take marriage. I’ve always encouraged women to fight for their marriages and to do everything possible to save them when they come under threat. So, for the past couple of years I have been in the hardest battle of my life trying to save my marriage.

When I first found out about Art’s infidelity 18 months ago, I made the decision not to divorce him. I had just finished fasting and praying for 28 days and really felt led by the Lord that I was to love Art in my reaction to this shocking news and trust God for every step moving forward. I was still committed to doing everything I could think of to make our story one of restoration, even in the face of the worst kind of betrayal imaginable. I prayed continually. I sought counsel from family and other wise friends. And Art and I even made repeated trips across the country together for intensive counseling especially designed for marriages in crisis. But sadly, though I have repeatedly forgiven and accepted him back, he has continued to abuse substances, be unfaithful, and refused to be truthful to me and our family.

I believe I have the capacity to love Art and to forgive him, but his steadfast refusal to end the infidelity has led me to make the hardest decision of my life. After much prayer and consultation with wise, biblically-minded people, I have decided that Art has abandoned our marriage. Yet, the Lord has been so faithful to help me at every step of this very painful journey and has now assured me I’ve done all I can do.

I am brokenhearted beyond what I can express. But I am more committed than ever to trusting God, His promises, and His plans, whatever they are from here.

As many of you who have followed our ministry know, I’ve never shied away from sharing how God has gotten me through tough seasons and even grown me through my struggles. Thankfully, my story has been one of learning that I’m not defined by my circumstances. I’m Lysa, a beloved child of the one true God. My true identity doesn’t shift or fall apart under life’s strains, failures, my own imperfections, setbacks or heartaches. While people—even God’s people—change, I’m so glad I serve a God who doesn’t. I love this verse in Malachi 3:6Malachi 3:6
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6 “For I, Yahweh, don’t change; therefore you, sons of Jacob, are not consumed.

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“I the Lord do not change; therefore you, children of Jacob, are not consumed.”

So what does all of this mean for Proverbs 31 Ministries and for me? Well, for over 20 years I’ve had a calling supported by my family for equipping women to deepen their relationship with God, study His Word, and to share their stories for God’s glory. Though my heart is so heavy that I’ve certainly pondered giving up, I’m determined not to let darkness win here. Therefore, after a season of rest and continued Biblical and professional counseling, I will continue to do ministry with an even deeper belief in the goodness of our God and a greater empathy for the deep heartbreak that happens to us all in this broken world.

Many people think Proverbs 31 is a picture of a perfect woman; but the Proverbs 31 woman is, at her core, someone who seeks the Lord in everything she does and trusts Him wholeheartedly with her life. Our mission is to meet women where they are in the real, hard places we all experience, and to intersect God’s Word right there. We are simply a group of women sold out to saying yes to God—and He truly does the rest.

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” That’s what the Psalmist wrote long ago (Psalm 27:13Psalm 27:13
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13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of the living.

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) and it beautifully reflects what I’m holding on to in the midst of the deep grief my children and I are now walking through. We have some amazing counselors and pastoral leaders who are committed to helping us pursue healing and learn how to move forward.

What can you do for us? I’d simply ask you to pray. Pray for my precious children and grandchildren. Pray for me. Pray for our team at Proverbs 31. And yes, please, please pray for Art.

I love you all. Most of all, I love the Lord, who first loved me.

 

Leading Women on the Adventure of Faith

© 2016 LYSA TERKEURST ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Fantastic Post on Martha of Bethany!

A Woman Who Dishes Out Truth by Liz Higgs

From (Proverbs 31 Ministries)

“‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’” John 11:27John 11:27
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27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”

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(NIV)

All my best friends are Marthas. They may be named Annie or Elizabeth, but they all share the gift of hospitality with a certain Martha in the Bible who opened her home to a bunch of ragtag disciples.

Over the centuries, Martha has gotten a bum rap for wanting her sister, Mary of Bethany, to stop sitting at the feet of Jesus and start serving the meal. “Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40Luke 10:40
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40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came up to him, and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister left me to serve alone? Ask her therefore to help me.”

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, NIV) Martha demanded of their guest of honor.

Jesus was gentle with Martha, but firm. “You are worried and upset about many things” (Luke 10:41Luke 10:41
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41 Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,

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, NIV), the Lord told her, discerning the real problem — Martha thought her efforts were of greater significance than Mary’s. Those of us who are talkers and doers often discount others who are listeners and thinkers.

The good news is, Martha learned from Mary’s example, and most of all, from their Master Teacher.

The next time Jesus came to Bethany — summoned by both sisters on behalf of their dying brother, Lazarus — Martha leaped to her feet and ran out to greet Him. “‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died’” (John 11:21John 11:21
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21 Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.

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, NIV).

Wait. Was she scolding Jesus? Was she saying this never would have happened if He’d returned sooner? We’ve seen bold Martha in action before, quick to speak her mind. Was she disappointed or frustrated or confused?

Her next words give us the answer: None of the above. “But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (John 11:22John 11:22
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22 Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

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, NIV). Instead of being fueled with anger, Martha was filled with faith, certain of the Lord’s ability to restore her brother to life. When she said, “God will,” that shows how trust is talking, not doubt or fear.

Jesus pushed her faith to the next level in telling her “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25John 11:25
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25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he die, yet will he live.

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b, NIV) Then He made a mind-boggling, eternity-spanning promise that “whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:26John 11:26
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26 Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

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a, NIV)

But won’t our bodies eventually wear out? Won’t the usual procession of flowers and sympathy cards and memorial services follow in the wake of our passing? Yes, but our souls, the eternal part of us, will live forever because of Jesus.

Finally, He asked Martha the Big Question, the one we all must answer: “Do you believe this?” (John 11:26John 11:26
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26 Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

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b, NIV)

This means all of it: Who He is, and why He came and what that means for us.

Martha’s response was swift and sure, a courageous expression of faith and our key verse today: “‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world’” (John 11:27John 11:27
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27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”

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).

Go, Martha! When Jesus said, “I am,” she affirmed, “You are.” Her “I believe” confession is remarkable because she stated His title, His divine nature and His calling. Neither Peter nor John made this bold proclamation that day in Bethany. But a woman did. God’s woman.

Martha’s faith was now as solid and unshakable as her sister Mary’s. She who served the food also dished out the truth: “It is for Your coming that the world has waited” (John 11:27John 11:27
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27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”

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, AMPC).

What Martha did is something you and I can do as well: Profess our faith. Proclaim His truth. Promote His kingdom. This isn’t a one-hour-a-week Jesus we’re dealing with. Someone we sing praises to on Sunday morning, but forget about on Sunday afternoon. Jesus expects and deserves nothing less than our total commitment.

We don’t all need to be dazzling hostesses or confident cooks, just women who throw open the doors of our hearts and make Him welcome.

Lord, teach us how to be as faith-filled as Martha, and trust Your promises, no matter how impossible they seem. Remind us that with You all things are possible, including Your resurrection and ours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Romans 6:5Romans 6:5
English: World English Bible - WEB

5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection;

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, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES: Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth and Mary Magdalene: The Women of Easter, a new book from Liz Curtis Higgs.

CONNECT: Liz invites you to celebrate the Easter season on Facebook, on Twitter with daily tweets from The Women of Easter and on Pinterest with colorful boards for three women named Mary, each of whom has a life-changing encounter with Jesus.

REFLECT AND RESPOND: Jesus said, “You believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1John 14:1
English: World English Bible - WEB

14 1 “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me.

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, NIV) Faith in Him and in His Word is the very heart of Easter. This year if someone asks you, “What makes you so sure Jesus rose from the dead?” … what will you tell them? –

© 2017 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.

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