Choosing The Good Portion - 2019

A Solitary Place

A Solitary Place

~ Choose the Good Portion – Week Four ~

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

~ Mark 1:35 (NKJV) ~

Last week we discussed that being at Jesus’ feet can be done anywhere, at any time, in any circumstance.  As much as we’ve been taught about quiet time and that being alone with God is important, God is also in the moments with our families and friends.  In fact, He’s in every moment of our day.  We just have to remember His presence and allow Him to be a part of our day with our people.

That being said, let’s look at what was supposed to be last week’s post and remember the importance of getting alone with God.

~~~~~

Did you know that Jesus calls us friend?  If not, or you need a reminder, let’s take a look at one of my favorite verses in the Bible, John 15:15…

“No longer do I call you servants…but I have called you friends…”

There is more to this verse, hence the “dot, dot, dots”, and we’ll touch on those in a bit, but first can we just take a moment and feel the exquisiteness of being called Jesus’ friend? I LOVE this so much!  Guys, this is a universal truth, that everyone wants to be loved and belong.  If you feel less than, unloved, shut out, or alone, you have a friend and His name is Jesus!

And what does any friendship need in order to grow closer to one another?  Time alone with each other.  It’s in the moments when we are alone, not surrounded by others and distraction, that we feel free to share our deepest heart stories.

Jesus exemplified moments alone with God in scripture in the opening verse, Mark 1:35, and others like this…

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.  When evening came, he was there alone, – Matthew 14:23

Jesus knew that in order to have a good relationship with His Father He needed to go to a solitary place and spend time alone with Him.  Time for Jesus to share His heart with God and time for God to share His heart with Jesus.

There is one thing I love to do most with my favorite people, my best friends, and that’s spend one on one time with them as we share our deepest hearts with each other.  And it’s the same with Jesus.  I love to spend alone time with Him!  It’s in these alone times with Him that I can really enter into an intimate relationship with Him.

A truly good friendship is one that is reciprocal, and this is also true for our friendship with Jesus.  If we want Him to give us His all then we need to give Him our all.  We need to spend time in His Word.   When we spend time in His Word, not just looking to get something out of it, but to spend time with Him in friendship, amazing things happen.  First, we need to remember that…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.            – John 1:1

We are literally reading the very words of God when we read the Bible.  Every word in it is His word.  And His words hold unbelievable authority and power.  We see this just a few verses further into John chapter one…

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. – John 1:4-5

In the Bible, which is God Himself, we have God breathed words of wisdom and authority.  In His word is LIFE and LIGHT that cannot be overcome by darkness.  If you’re searching for answers, look no further than God’s Word and spend time with it at Jesus’ feet.  Why?  Well, let’s now take a look at what’s in those “dots” of what Jesus says to us in John 15:15

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

This friendship with Jesus is an amazing friendship!  This is a friendship that shares ALL.  When we’re friends with Jesus, we have the inside scoop on what God’s up to.  We have all the answers, all the help, all the strength, all the hope, all the grace, all the love we will ever need…and then more!  The goodness of this friendship is unfathomable!   And we learn more and more about it and grow closer to our friend Jesus when we spend more and more time in His Word.

Spending time with God in His Word is one of the ways we grow in our friendship with God, but we also do this in conversation with God.   Prayer is the word we use for conversing with God.  I hope you know that God so badly wants to have conversations with you.  He already knows what is in your heart, but He wants you to freely share it with Him anyway.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.   – Psalm 62:8

Pour out your heart to Him.  Like any best friend, He wants you to know that you can trust Him with everything and there is not one thing you will tell Him that will surprise Him.  What may be surprising is the peace, joy and love you’ll find when you’ve let it all out and put it in God’s hands.

Reading the Bible and praying are so important to our friendship with Jesus.  Through prayer, we get to pour our hearts out to Him and by reading our Bible, He gets to pour His heart out to us.  What an amazing blessing to have this kind of friendship with Jesus!

Pray this with me…

Heavenly father there are no words to express the gratitude in our hearts for sending Jesus to be our very best friend!  Thank you for sending Him to show us that this intimate friendship was what you wanted with us since the beginning of time.  Thank you for giving us your Word that is full of wisdom, love and grace.  Father, beckon us to a solitary place and your Word every day so that we can be full up on your promises and truths to carry us through dark and desert places.  Remind us in our darkest hour, that you are a friend to be trusted and that we can pour out our hearts to you because your ear is already bent down to listen.

* Take time to read these scriptures today:

– Psalm 116:2 (NLT) – Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

– John1:1-5 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

– Romans 15:4 (MSG) – Even if it was written in Scripture long ago, you can be sure it’s written for us.  God wants the combination of his steady, constant calling and warm, personal counsel in Scripture to come to characterize us, keeping us alert for whatever he will do next.

– 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) – Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you.

* Think About It:

Write a letter to Jesus, as your friend, today.  Include in it all that you would tell your very best friend, because that’s what He wants to be.  Your best friend.  Then sit with your Bible and allow Him to speak to you through His Word.  Record what He shares with you through His word.

Blessings to you as you Choose the Good Portion today!

 

All biblical references are ESV unless otherwise noted.

Choosing The Good Portion - 2019

At His Feet

~ Choose the Good Portion – Week Three ~

And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

~ Luke 10:39 ~

I had originally planned to share this week’s topic next week but today happened and God said, “This is what I want you to share this week.”  God does that sometimes.  He looks at our well thought out plans and our ideas for what seems like the right thing and says, “You know what, try it this way instead.”

And that’s just what He did today.  Today is Thursday, January 17th.  Today is my daughter’s ninth birthday party.  And oh, the grand plans I had for today!  Plans…that’s laughable!  So many of my “plans” have fallen apart due to life happening, kind of like it did today.

But let’s start at the beginning and give you the short version of my morning…

I woke up with the plan to walk out my daily routine which is to head downstairs to sit with my coffee, Bible and Jesus.  However, I was greeted by a mess because my dog decided to throw a party, with herself as the only guest.  She had consumed my daughter’s candy and chips that were in her open backpack on the floor.  The result of her midnight party…huge mess on my living room floor.

Mess cleaned, no quiet time.  I woke the kids to discover that a temperature and sore throat would be keeping my son at home today.  A sick kid laying on my couch needing my attention was not part of my “get ready for a birthday party” plan.

Cut to the point…by the time I got back home from dropping my healthy kids off at school I was pretty full up on distraction and anxiety, thinking of all l I needed to do.  I had let that become my portion for the day and had given up on my plan of sitting quietly with Jesus until I felt Him say, “Just go sit in the living room.”

I was going to bypass my living room for just a moment to grab my Bible because I thought God wanted me to sit and read it, in what is typical quiet time fashion.  When I reached the stairs something in my peripheral caught my eye.  It was the form of my sick boy who had woken for the day and was now snuggling our midnight party dog on the couch.  God said, “Go sit with him.”

And I did.  I laid down next to him, wrapped my arms around his body, warm with sickness, and oh the sweet conversation that transpired about a man named Abraham and his son Isaac.  One of my favorite stories about amazing trust and friendship in and with God.

If my plans for the day hadn’t been shaken up a bit I wouldn’t have had this amazing moment at the feet of Jesus, with one of my favorite people, my son.  Sure, my house wasn’t as clean as I’d like and the little girls frosted their own cupcakes because I didn’t have time to, but this moment at Jesus’ feet with my son was one of the best portions of my day!

This isn’t the first time God has used my children to teach me that sometimes my plans aren’t quite His.  Sometimes the thoughts and patterns I have developed are misconceptions based on well-meaning peoples’ advice or my own preconceived ideas.

My generation was taught by some of the books and leaders of the time that we needed to wake early in the morning and seek God first, using verses like Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God…”, to push this point.  We were taught that we needed to set aside ten to fifteen-minutes to read our Bible as well as ten to fifteen-minutes praying first thing each morning.  This misconception of quiet time carried into my life as a wife and mamma.  As a new mamma I found it impossible to seek Jesus first thing each day, because kids are your alarm clock and God blessed me with a little boy who woke up EARLY in the morning.  I’d set my alarm clock earlier and earlier each day, but it seemed my son would arise even earlier the next day.

One early morning, when my son was about two-years-old, I sat crying on my couch.  Like most mornings, I had just laid my sweet boy back in his toddler bed and explained to him that mommy just needed a few more minutes alone so I could have time with Jesus.  Like every other morning, he had his arms tight around my neck and through his little boy sobs, was saying, “I jus’ wanna hol’ you.”   The truth is I just wanted to hold him too, but I also wanted to do what I thought was the Christian, godly woman thing to do so, I left my crying boy in his bed and went back to my place on the couch.  I sat there hugging my Bible to my chest, tears streaming down my cheeks, and said, “God, this cannot be right.  How does this show my son your love?”

Then I did one of those Russian roulette things you do with your Bible when you don’t know what to read but want God to speak to you.  It doesn’t usually seem to work for me, but when I let my Bible fall open that morning, God spoke to me through Matthew 25:40…

“Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me.”

And God said, “When you love on your son, you are loving me.”

I knew instantly what God was telling me to do.  I went back upstairs, gathered my boy and his blankie in my arms, and we read God’s word together that morning and many mornings since.  I no longer send an early rising kid back to their bed, I just open my arms, grab their little kid Bible and we read, pray, and share moments at Jesus’ feet together.  Sometimes we don’t even read our Bibles.  Sometimes we do what we did today and talk about what God is doing in our lives.

God used my little man to teach me that time at His feet looks like so many things.  It doesn’t have to be just me and God for a certain amount of time, the very first thing in the morning.

Sometimes my time at Jesus’ feet is alone time with Jesus and I love that.  But I also love it when I get to snuggle under a blanket with my kids and read them their Bibles.  I love it when time at Jesus’ feet is listening to our favorite Christian podcasts or sermons as we’re driving to school or another activity.  I love it when time at Jesus’ feet is worship music blasting out of our speakers and we’re all singing at the top of our lungs with smiles of joy on our face.  I love it when time at Jesus’ feet is time behind closed doors at the end of a hard day and I get to just hold my babies as they pour out their hurts to me and we pray together.

In the verse above, Luke 10:39 Mary isn’t alone when she’s sitting at Jesus’ feet.  There are others around listening to Jesus’ teachings as well.  And she didn’t wait for the perfect time to spend at His feet.  She didn’t wait until all the things were done and she didn’t wait until she could steal a moment away with only Him.  Mary knew about relationship and moments.  She recognized this was a moment to be completely in and she took advantage of it, ignoring all other cares, so that she could grow in her relationship with the Lord.

You see, God is bigger than we give Him credit for.  He is in the quiet of the morning and in the noise of the afternoon.  He is more than a ten to fifteen-minute time slot in your morning routine.  He is in every minute of your day.  He is with you just as much on your drive to work as He is in your favorite quiet time place.  He is everywhere, in all moments, in every situation and circumstance.  I invite you to make Jesus your portion today and invite him into EVERY moment of it!

Pray this with me…

Thank you!  Thank you, Jesus, that you are more than we will ever be able to comprehend you are.  Help us to take you out of the box of misconceptions and preconceived ideas that we’ve created or bought into and let you out in the openness of relationship and intimacy.  Help us to step outside of the borders of careful plans and schedules and allow you into every moment of our day.  Remind us that it’s more than okay to not get moments alone with you.  In fact, it’s part of your perfect plan for us to sit at your feet alongside our family and friends and do this thing called life together.  Thank you, for caring so much about us, and relationship, and for being in all the moments.

* Take time to read these scriptures today:

–  Matthew 6:33 (NLT) – “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

–  Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I among them.”

–  Hebrews 10:24 – 25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

–  1 John 1:7 (MSG) – But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared

life with one another…

* Think About It: 

–  What misconceptions or habits are you holding on to, that though they seem Biblically sound, are holding you back from experience the fullness of the good portion with Jesus?  Pray that God will help you to give these up and guide you into a new understanding of the good portion.

Blessings to you as you Choose the Good Portion today!

 

*All Biblical references are ESV unless otherwise noted.

Choosing The Good Portion - 2019

Mary’s Choice

~ Choose the Good Portion – Week Two ~

But Martha was distracted with much serving.  And she went up to Him and said, “Lord, do you not care…Tell her then to help me?  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, that will not be taken from her.”

~ Luke 10:40-42~

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that choosing as Mary did does not come naturally to me.  My intention of choosing the good portion is often interrupted with distraction and anxiety.

I find myself frequently uttering Martha’s words of “Lord, do you not care?”  Not so much in these exact words.  My “Do you not care?” sounds more like this…

To my family, “No wonder I can’t get much done around here, I’m constantly picking up after everyone else.”

To God, “Why am I always the one having to clean this stuff up?  Couldn’t you have made my kids just a little bit more like me?  Help them to learn how to see a need and meet it.”

These phrases and more have been my cry of, “Don’t you care?”

Warning, I am about to break the hearts of my fellow clean freak friends out there as I share a real hard truth I had to learn and am still learning…He does not care about these things.

He does not care if my house is clean.  He cares that my heart is clean.

He does not care if my pillows are out of order.  He cares that my heart is in order.

He does not care if dishes are unrinsed.  He cares about my reaction to the unrinsed dishes.

What God does care about is hearts.  We see this in His reply to her, “Martha, Martha…” I can almost hear the gentleness and love in His voice as He speaks truth to her heart.  He loves Martha.  He cares about her heart and because He does, he drops a truth bomb that blows up her pity party saying, “No, girl, you got it wrong.”

Because he cares about our hearts, sometimes He’ll tell us things that are difficult to process, things that go against our nature and our belief of how things are supposed to be.

My nature is cleanliness.  My belief is that everything has its place, and everything should be in its place.   Guess what!  There are five other people in my home that haven’t been gifted (Yes, it’s a gift!) with my nature and bend towards cleanliness.   Guess what else!  As much as it pains me to say it; a clean house, turned over pillows, dishes in the sink, these aren’t the good portion.  Trust me, a clean house brings me so much joy that my heart gets a happy little flutter for the five minutes each month that my home is clean.  But these are just distractions that add up to anxiety.  I cannot add any more value to my heart or the value of my loved ones’ hearts by getting anxious over mess and disorder.  Hearts are more valuable than these daily distractions.

And because He cares about my heart, because He cares about your heart and the hearts of the people He has placed in our homes, He beckons us to make the choice Mary made.  He beckons us to sit at His feet, the feet of our friend and savior Jesus Christ and listen to His teachings.  Because when we truly listen to what His teachings are, we will learn ALL that is Him, the good portion.

Listen all, I’m talking to myself right now.  I write what I need to hear.  And daily, probably more accurately, hourly, even moment to moment, I need to be reminded to CHOOSE THE GOOD PORTION and leave behind distraction and anxiety.  God is teaching me to take the time to be with him and trust him with the undone of the day.  And He’s using scripture like Matthew 7:25 – 33 to do this.  Here’s a VERY paraphrased version he’s spoken to me…

Do not be anxious about the unfolded blanket, or the messy counter.  Do not worry about the things you cannot accomplish today.  Is not time at my feet, learning from me and being intimate with me more valuable?  And do not chastise your husband and children when they don’t do exactly as you asked.  Is not the care you give to the condition of their hearts more valuable than the care you give to the condition of your home?  I know you love order, and schedule, and cleanliness.   Yet I tell you, I remind you, Dear daughter, so do I.  I am the one who created order in this world.  I am the one who positioned the planets in perfect alignment, just as you have put your home in perfect position.  I am the one who created time and space.  Will I not do the same for you?  O you of little faith, do not be anxious, saying, “Don’t you care?”.  I will make a way for you to do all that I want you to do in your day.  I, your Heavenly Father, know all the things you desire and need.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

I pray that we can learn to trust God with the undone, and trust in His daily plan for our lives.  We need to spend time with Jesus, at His feet, learning from Him and of Him, so that we are able to share the good portion with our families.  After all, they are His gift to us!

Pray this with me…

Jesus, we thank you for your patience as we learn that the best place to be, is with you!  Thank you for the gentle ways you remind us to spend time at your feet.  Help us to learn from your teachings no matter how difficult they may seem.  Help us to care what you care about and to trust you with the undone.  Lord, we also thank you for the gifts you’ve given us in our families and loved ones.  May we be gentle with their hearts and share you, the good portion, with them through our actions and words today.

* Take time to read these scriptures today:

– Matthew 6:25 – 33 – Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap but gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you be being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” 

* Think About It: 

– In what ways do you need to trust God with the undone so that you can take time to sit at his feet and learn from Him?

Blessing to you as you Choose the Good Portion today!

*All biblical references are ESV unless otherwise noted.

Choosing The Good Portion - 2019

Martha’s Choice

~ Choose the Good Portion – Week One ~

But Martha was distracted with much…

~ Luke 10:40 ~

 

Many mornings have passed when I’ve woken up early with the intention of sitting down with a cup of coffee and my bible, filling up on Jesus.   I walk down the stairs, full of anticipation for what I’m going to learn from Him, lighten the darkness by flicking on the switch, and I’m suddenly reminded that a family of six lives in my home.

My clean-freak self is not quite as exhausted as I was the night before and wants to start folding the blanket on the back of the couch and straighten the pillows that are not in their proper upright positions.  As I reach for them, Jesus whispers, “Go start your coffee and grab your Bible.”

Yes, I can do that, I inner monologue.  I walk toward the kitchen where, in the sink, lay a pile of last night’s dishes that didn’t get done because we had a late night of one activity or another.  I start to rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher and Jesus whispers, “Leave them be and start your coffee.”

Yes, I can do that, I once again inner monologue and I prepare my coffee. While I wait for my coffee to brew, I rinse some dishes and notice that the washcloth has that nasty funky smell they get when overused.  YUCK!  So, of course, I bring it to the laundry room, where I see the laundry bin of clean clothes that I didn’t find time to fold so I start to fold them…

Long story short, I have become distracted by one thing after another.  Eventually it’s time to wake my children for the day and I missed the opportunity to answer Jesus’ call to sit with Him and listen to His teaching.

Guys, it’s hard to admit, but I have done this way too often.  I have made the same choice as Martha, and allowed myself to be distracted with many things, missing out on the good portion.  When I let the voice of distraction win, my heart is heavy and it seems nothing goes quite right that day.

Oh, but I am so thankful for God’s grace and all the ways that He is showing me to choose the good portion!  When I choose to take every thought captive and silence the voice of distraction, when I choose the good portion with Him and His word…oh how my heart soars on wings of eagles and there I find my strength!

Pray this with me…

Heavenly Father, I thank you that through you, we have the ability to silence the voice of distraction and anxiety.  Help us to start setting aside time for you, our good portion. Remind us that it doesn’t have to look the same every day.  It doesn’t have to be in the morning.  It doesn’t have to be a marathon bible reading, prayerful session.  Remind us that you’re in the big and small moments and can do amazing things to our spirit in just five minutes.  Beckon us to take that five minutes and sit at your feet in whatever way is easiest today.  Lighten our burdens and give us strength for today.   Amen.

* Take time to read these scriptures today:

– Psalm 62:1 – Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.

– Isaiah 40:31 – but they that wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

– Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

* Think About It (Comment below or share with a friend so we can come along side you to encourage and pray for you):

– What distraction is keeping you from choosing the good portion?

Blessing to you as you Choose the Good Portion today!

*All biblical references are ESV unless otherwise noted.