Thursday, December 25, 2014

Martha's Miracle

As I was reading the word today, my eyes fell upon the scriptures in John 11:17 regarding the story of Lazarus. You are probably a bit familiar with the story, and I won’t go into all the details of it because it’s always great to read it for yourself. Something caught my attention today much differently than when I’ve read it in times past, and that’s what I’d like to share.
I’ve always had this negative perspective of Martha, probably because that’s pretty much how I’ve heard messages preached. Mary was the sweet, attentive and devoted sister that sat at Jesus’ feet, worshipping and paying attention to his teachings. Martha, on the other hand, always got kind of a bad rap. She was the fussy, complaining, overly busy and controlling sister that wanted Jesus to get others to do what she wanted. That’s how I always saw her. Until today.

The scripture says that Lazarus had died and everyone was mourning his death. Jesus had deliberately stayed in Jerusalem when he could have easily made it back before Lazarus died. It was only a couple of miles. So there was a lot of misunderstanding and feeling of disappointment surrounding Lazarus’ death. No one questioned Jesus’ identity at that point. Many, including Lazarus’ own family members, believed Jesus was exactly who He said He was; it was His timing they questioned. Because they didn’t understand His purpose, they felt incredibly let down. They knew He could have intervened before it was too late, but God himself allowed their deep disappointment at events that didn’t turn out the way they had hoped. Have you ever experienced that?

When Martha got word that Jesus was on his way, she was moved to action. Jesus was on the way but she was compelled to go find him before he even got into town! When she met him, the first thing she said was, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now, I know that whatever You ask of God, He will give you.”

I have always looked at that as though Martha was saying it accusingly.[My translation]… “Gosh, Lord, why’d you wait so long? You could have healed Lazarus and he wouldn’t have died. Why did you let me down?” In other words, “Don’t you care about us anymore??” But you know what? I didn’t see it that way as I read it today. Today what I saw was Martha’s faith in action. Her confession that Jesus was the Son of God, and with Him, nothing would be impossible. She was the one, not Mary, to get up and go in search of the One who held the power to change the circumstance. It was Martha that put a demand on the anointing when she said, “But even now…even now that everything looks hopeless and it’s way past time when we had watched and waited for you to show up…even now, Lord, I know that whatever You ask Your Father for, He will give You.” The unspoken please was hanging like a heavy weight in the atmosphere. Please, Jesus. You have the power to change our sorrow to joy. Please.

All the times when Martha was busy cooking, serving, and fussing in the background while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, she was still listening. Her faith was growing. That little seed was being watered by all the testimonies of people being healed. That little mustard seed of faith was a pure seed. There was no mixture of doubt or double mindedness. No false teaching. No spiritual error. No confusion about who Jesus was or what He came to do. Martha didn’t doubt His will to heal and restore. Though the scriptures don't state it directly, I believe Martha was close enough to Jesus to witness the miracles. Jesus was close to her family, so it makes sense that she too would be around to witness a great deal of Jesus in action. She knew He healed those who seemed worthy of the blessing and she saw him save, heal and deliver the demoniacs, too. His love wasn't a matter of who deserved it and who didn't. She remembered a troubled woman who once approached Jesus on behalf of her demon possessed daughter. She did not go to Him based on her own merit. Her need drove her to appeal to Jesus' mercy, and He responded to her faith. (see  Matthew 15:26). Martha also remembered Jesus’ words when He said, “If you’ve seen Me, then You’ve seen the Father.” God was inherently good. Martha wasn't a perfect woman by any means, and none of us are, but it didn't stop her from getting up from where she'd been to go seek out the One who had all authority and power to help her. While Mary sat at home in her grief, Martha was driven to action. Martha was determined to ask even though the circumstances looked impossible. Jesus freely gave to those that had faith to come to Him! There was no fear in asking for the desire of her heart. She asked only for Lazarus’ life to be given back to him, and God agreed.

Pure faith is so powerful, it only takes one little seed. I liken it to the example of a drop of essential oils. Do you know anything about essential oils? They are so potent, even billions of molecules are contained in just one drop. They are super concentrated. That’s what faith is like and it’s what Jesus meant in the whole parable about the mustard seed. When your faith is pure, then it's potent, and all you need is the tiniest seed of faith to move a mountain. Nothing shall be impossible for you! What did Jesus say? Tell that mountain to go throw itself into the sea. It will never bother you again. 

Friend, what would restore your joy? What do you need to restore you to your purpose? Perhaps there is someone on your heart that desperately requires a meeting with God to deliver them or heal them. What is the need that is crying out for God's intervention? If you have even a mustard seed of faith then all things become possible.

I know that there are many people in a waiting mode right now, and hearts have grown heavy. I think there are many people that don’t understand what is taking so long. As with Lazarus, we know it’s not a question of God’s power. It’s His timing we don’t always understand, but sometimes the delay is purposeful in order to show God's glory. He waits so that everyone knows when something happens that could only be His doing. Friend, don’t lose hope while you’re waiting. The promise is on the way. Jesus is on the way to your house, but take that little mustard seed of faith and get up from where you’re at. Get up out of hopelessness and despair. Get up out of depression. Get up and stop talking yourself out of your miracle. If you make it all about you, then maybe you're focused on the wrong thing. I don't know what you're waiting for, but miracles and breakthrough are often about others. Remember who He is! Go find Him. In worship, in prayer, go find Him. Pay attention to your dreams, for God often gives clues to what remains to be resolved through your dreams. Come into agreement with Him in your asking, not just for what you want, but for what needs to occur before the promise can be birthed. When you do, put a demand on the anointing. Ask again. Ask Jesus to ask His Father to release your promise. Whatever it is you have been waiting on. You can move that mountain out of the way with your faith!

Jesus was moved with compassion and wept over Mary’s grief, but I believe He was moved to action over Martha’s confession of faith. Martha, the one who always seemed to be looked down upon in scripture, got up and went to find the Lord and lay claim to the miracle that Lazarus needed. It wasn’t specifically for her. She went to God on behalf of her brother, and her faith helped move that stone away from the tomb. Jesus wasn't the only one to come out of the tomb, you know. And that's a testimony for all of us to lay hold of. No matter how deep the pit, how lost or forgotten we may feel, how alone, how dead our dreams may appear...GOD IS ABLE to resurrect them all and bring our promises out of the grave! Jesus did many things to display the power of God, but He also asked a question, “When the Son of God comes, will He find faith in the earth?” My friend, I ask you, “Will Jesus find the kind of faith He is looking for – unwaivering faith - in you?”

You know the rest of the story. He went to the tomb and commanded the stone be rolled away and Lazarus to come out. And so he did. The grave clothes were stripped away and Lazarus became a living testimony of God’s resurrection power. He was a living witness to Jesus’ ministry. His testimony was so powerful that many people became filled with fear and tried to kill him! The fear of the Lord is a powerful thing. It can snap sense into people in a hurry and restore a healthy awe and respect towards the Lord. We need that again. God wants to restore the fear of the Lord so that many will be saved.

Every time I have felt I have prayed everything that there is to pray and I’ve exhausted every angle of prayer, God eventually reveals something else that needs to be prayed through. I know that transition and delivery can be exhausting, but don’t stop now! God’s delay is not an indicator that His promise is not going to be fulfilled. It may mean that there are some details that are still in need of attention, and perhaps you need to pray in agreement with Him to take care of those loose ends before your miracle can come forth. Or, like Martha, perhaps you need to pray for someone else to receive their miracle…their resurrection…or someone else’s restoration before you can receive your own. Breakthrough is often like that. God often requires us to consider the needs of others above our own, and enlists the aid of others to pray in various parts of the many breakthroughs on His agenda. Ask the Lord to raise up intercessors to pray for your needs as you give your attention and prayers to those of others. He will do it! There are breakthroughs that cause a ripple effect throughout the body of Christ, families and communities. Today, stop praying for what you desire. God already knows what you need and what you hope for! Instead, pray for someone else’s miracle. Ask Him to send spiritual doctors and midwives. Sometimes, the thing that represents the spiritual baby’s head gets stuck. Remember, we are all a part of one body. Christ represents the head. We are His body. Each one of us represents a part of the function of His body. The baby must be in proper position. A lowered head represents humility and readiness to come out of the birth canal. Ask Holy Spirit to deliver the head so the rest of the baby can come forth and the birth can be a safe one. Far too often there are dreams and promises that are either stillborn or abort prematurely simply because God requires a great deal of prayer. He looks to and fro to find intercessors to birth the plans of God and bring forth the promises for us all. Ask God to send angels of breakthrough. PUSH! Pray Until Something Happens. It’s time to deliver the promise!

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