At His feet

Mary sat at the feet of Yeshua, listening to what He taught.

Luke 10: 39

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I have read the recount of Mary and Martha numerous times in Luke 10:38 – 42. There is a buzz in town as Yeshua Messiah has arrived. Martha sets her house in order and starts preparing to entertain the Messiah. Mary, well she finds a spot at the feet of Yeshua, she hangs off every word He speaks, she is close to him. Luke 10: 38 As Jesus and His disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to what He taught. However, this displeases Martha, who is upset that her sister is not helping with the meal preparation. She is so disgruntled that she asks Yeshua to send Mary into the kitchen to assist. Verse 41 But Jesus said to Martha, “Martha you are fussing over all these details. 42 There is really only one thing that you should be concerned with and Mary has discovered that and I will not deny her this.

It is likely that Martha and Mary had been preparing for this meal from well before Yeshua arrived, and it may be that Mary considered the preparations to be sufficient. Another explanation may be that Martha was so efficient that Mary decided that she would only be in the way. So she positions herself with intent in a specific spot, signalled by the word “AT”. This delineates a specific place, there is a focused decision as to where she sits: at His feet. In the Scripture we are introduced to Martha, the sister who kept the house, this would imply that she was older than Mary. Mary was younger and in love with Yeshua. She was seated at His feet as He reclined at the table because she wanted to be close to Him, she wanted to be ready to jump up and serve Him. What she had discovered was being in love with Yeshua Messiah.

Martha loved Yeshua too, but she was preparing for Him, she was serving Him out of love, but she had not discovered being in-love. She was fussing about detail, showing that she cared, she wanted everything to be perfect for Him. Yeshua does not reprimand Martha, rather He tells her that Mary is in the right place spiritually. Mary is in-love, she recognises the importance of being close, of not fussing and having everything perfect. Mary chooses and desires to position herself at the feet of the one she loves.

After a little reading I discovered that not much is known about Mary, yet she is mentioned again in John 11:28-32. Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary had passed away and they were in mourning. We know that Jesus was very fond of Lazarus and spent a good deal of time with him. A distraught Martha goes out to meet Jesus as He approaches their village. Martha returns to the house and informs Mary that Jesus is on His way. In verse 29 we read, “So Mary immediately went to Him.” and in verse 32, “When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell down at His feet..” This is the second time that we read of her positioning herself in a humble position, being close to Him. Mary positions herself at His feet once more time in John 12:3 when she took a jar of nard oil and anointed the feet of Jesus. This was a prophetic act as it was in preparation for His burial. Once again she is found at the feet of Jesus, this time anointing Him and drying His feet with her hair. She is close to Him, but in humility.

In Ruth 3 we read about Naomi telling Ruth to lie at the feet of Boaz. It was customary for servants to lie at the feet of their master and Naomi advised Ruth to do this to demonstrate her submission and willingness to serve. So for Mary to place herself at His feet, she was demonstrating her willingness to serve, she was humbling herself before the King and she was doing so in-love. Where do we position ourselves? Are we fussing with things that we consider important to prove that we love Him? Or are we humble, ready to serve, listening to His words and in-love, so much so that we desire to be as close as we can to Him.

Take time out of your busyness and put aside the fussing. Just place yourself at His feet, humbly sit there so that you can listen to Him and feel His grace, mercy, and love wash over you. Discover what Mary discovered – be in-love with Jesus.

A sticky situation

This morning I wanted to mix an oil and went to open the bottle of Myrrh that I had ordered. The lid was stuck tight and I could not get it open. I tried various types of pliers that I sourced from my hubby’s toolbox. I tried prying it open with a knife, tried these grippy opening clothes that always help. Each attempt left me feeling frustrated. The essential oil is too precious to discard and was an essential part of the oil I was mixing. BUT no matter how hard I tried I could not get the bottle top off. Out of desperation I boiled the kettle and used heat to try and loosen the plastic cap. I was not expecting this to work at all. Too my surprise it did work and I was able to unscrew the lid. It was then that I discovered why the lid was so difficult to open. There appeared to be a residue of Myrrh that had become sticky and formed a gluey substance that sealed the lid shut.

The irony is that this ingredient was for an oil called Brokenness which relates to tearing your heart, being open and broken before YHWH, so to receive healing, restoration, and cleansing. The sticky residue was hidden from sight and it was only after multiple attempts, using multiple methods that I was able to see the problem. The cap was stuck and was stopping my access to this precious oil, an integral ingredient to a bigger oil. This spoke to my spirit and I began to wonder if I had hidden stickiness that was stopping me from accessing blessings, oil, and anointing. I wondered if there was a residue in my life that I was ignoring that might keep me from being a fragrance.

Once the bottle was opened I was able to smell the Myrrh, the scent is heavenly. It took a while for me to clean off the residue, and I had to pry off the drippy part as it was blocked. While cleaning the bottle I had to take great care not to spill this precious oil. I replaced the cap and was able to use the oil as intended. Needless to say my devotion was one of brokenness. The blood of the Lamb cleans away all sticky residue, He provides you with a new life that enables you to be open and pour forth His oil and fragrance. May this encourage you today to ask the Spirit of Truth to reveal any sticky residues that may be inhibiting YHWH from using you to be a fragrance to others, or from pouring out His love to those around you.

Let my sacrifice by sweet

Reading: Malachi 1:6-14               

The Israelites were instructed regarding the sacrifices they were to present before YHWH in atonement for their sins. They sought forgiveness to restore their relationship with Him. Leviticus records the number of sacrifices and the purpose of these, along with the rules for offering these sacrifices. Even more amazing is that by the age of twelve, Jewish boys could recite the first five books of the Bible/Torah on demand. This speaks of a commitment from parents to teach their children the Torah.

However, as His chosen ones we no longer required to know when, what and how to sacrifice to restore a relationship, or atone for our sin. Yeshua came as the ultimate sacrifice! No longer do we need to build altars, sacrifice an animal to receive forgiveness and restoration. Yeshua came so that we are free from these laws! YHWH made restoration and forgiveness more accessible, and provided an open approach through Yeshua Messiah: “I (Yeshua) am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

BUT, when we approach YHWH we still need to check our attitude. In Malachi we read that the Lord was dissatisfied with the attitude with which the Israelites brought their sacrifice. The people brought their offering to the priest and the priest would sacrifice on their behalf. What was happening was that the Israelites were not bringing their best to the priest. The priest was accepting this, and in doing so was comprising his position. Do we as priests of YHWH compromise? The attitude of “Not 100%, but it will do” or “could be better, but it will do.” I find myself shaking my head in judgement at the nation. How could they think that second best would suffice? What were they thinking? The Set-Apart Spirit of Truth tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Oh, and do you ALWAYS give the perfect offering of worship, devotion and time?”

We read that YHWH was angered by the LACK of respect, and fear, that the Israelites had for His Majesty. He was angered by the casual attitude of worship, the rituals that had become habits, and ruts, ingrained in daily worship. YHWH seeks an undivided heart, not half-heartedness. These people brought a substandard offering but expected supersized blessings. They kept the best for themselves, signalling that they put their own importance and will before that of YHWH. Do I bring half-hearted worship and expect things to fall into my lap? Is daily devotions a chore, done out of duty? Do we close the Bible and shut our minds to His Word as we face the busyness of the day? Yet we expect Father God to answer prayers, and often become despondent when He does not answer immediately. Yet, perhaps He does answer but we don’t like the answer, or neglect to stop to listen?

When Yeshua was in the garden, He was on His knees sweating blood and He asked His Father, “If this cup can but pass me by, yet Your will not Mine.” Soon after this an angel appeared and strengthened Him. Ever had an answer like that before? I asked for healing, but was told that I needed to walk through the valley for spiritual healing. This valley was chemotherapy and radiation sessions, but during the treatment period I was strengthened as He carried me daily in grace. In today’s society we praise a child for saying ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’, ‘please’.. general manners. I think that manners matter to YHWH too. It is all about respecting the Creator. Do we really respect the King of Kings? I think many people have lost their fear because life is easy. We get away with things because everyone is too politically correct to point sin out. We are presenting substandard sacrifices to the King.

We arrive at church, ready to go home. We hope the sermon is short because the garden needs attention, shopping needs to be completed, the house needs cleaning or the ironing is piling up. We sing “How Great is our God.” while we are wondering about earthly issues – our lips move but our heart is divided. What is your heart offering? Do you sit and criticize the worship, the pastor and the message? Do we enter the building and leave the same way? Paul tells us that this is like a man who looks at his reflection in a mirror and forgets what he looks like. When you look in a mirror and notice something is not right we naturally fix it, be it hair a whisker or parsley in teeth.

How is your devotional time? Is it a quick, rushed ten minutes ending with a list that is prayed, followed by a quick verse? Or do you put aside quality time that is enough time to come into His presence and sit at His feet. Time enough for the Father to talk to you and for you to hear Him. Time where you push through prayer and allow the Spirit to reveal God’s Word to you. Is your time with Him an habitual ritual? Do you do devotions to stay in His good books? We are told to love Him with all our heart, mind and soul – undivided. Jesus tells us to come to Him and He will give us rest. Mary sat at the feet of the Saviour, she received from Him. Martha could have done that too, but she was too aware that if she did not present her human best effort it would not go down well, pride. Jesus told her that Mary had taken the right choice. Mary recognised that spending time with Jesus was more important than what others would say about the presentation of a meal.

Who is your time with God about? 90% you and 10% worshipping His name? I know that we are supposed to give our tenth, but that is earning not spiritual time. Quality matters to YHWH, not quantity. He desires your full and undivided attention. I know we all have jobs (God-given), homes (blessings from the Father) and families (more blessings) and these things need attention, but we need to prioritize. We read, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and ALL things shall be added unto you.” This speaks of not only physical things, but most importantly of the spiritual tools to bring glory to the King.

Verse 17, “You have wearied the Lord with your words.” Bring an honourable act of worship to God. Adjust your heart before you approach the Almighty God. Sing His praises with true meaning, thinking of Him and putting aside yourself. Take up your cross before you approach the throne. Don’t let your time with Him be crippled with the burdens that you are dragging around. Don’t be deafened by your inability to shut out the noise of the world and hear His voice – take time to listen. If you are singing and dancing to Him, do so with a contrite heart. Don’t sing songs that have no meaning or don’t make sense – be selective in what you sing to the King. In Revelations we read of simple songs that are sung to YHWH, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty’. Put aside your TV remote, laptop, iPad, iPhone (they all start with I???). Pick up His Word, become quiet and soak in His love for you. Receive His rest and peace that is freely available – sit at His feet. Open your eyes, look outside and see His glory in nature. Whatever you do, do it unto God and not man. Don’t try and serve God with human rituals and habits, He is far above us and nothing we do can bring Him the glory and honour He is due.

Give YHWH the best of you, give Him quality time and song. Sacrifice your will to honour Him. He desires the worship worthy of a King. He is to be awed and esteemed above all. He is and was and is to come. We fear Him, not because we are scared, but because we love Him. We need to fear YHWH, with a fear that is based in respect, fear that is healthy and brings a desire to serve, worship and want to be called, ‘My loved servant, whom I am well-pleased with.’

Nobody can change your attitude, you need to do that. Don’t blame the worship team, the air conditioning, the sound team or pastor – they are NOT your sacrifice or worship. Your heart, soul, and mind, are your vessels of worship and sacrifice. What will you bring before your King? What will you lay on the altar of praise? But by the blood of the Son can we approach the King of Kings. Chosen ones, the bride of Yeshua.

Oh Lord, may my worship and prayer be pleasant to You. May my deeds and motives be pure in Your sight and bless You. You are omnipotent and awesome and I want to fear You, I desire You to be proud of me and say of me that I am your servant and that You are well-pleased with me. Amen

You want me to do what?

Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Revelation 16:4

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2 Kings 5 narrates the events of Naaman and Elisha. Naaman was a great commander, the right-hand man to the king. However, Naaman is struck with leprosy, and the king sent a letter and gifts to Elisha. Elisha, the prophet was renowned as a miracle worker. Naaman was a man of wealth, he was short of nothing – except faith. Elisha, he had a double anointing from YHWH, and walked in obedience and faith.

Aram was a neighbour to Israel, and the Arameans had raided Israel. When the king of Israel received this letter, he thought that is may be an ambush. He considered the consequences if Naaman was not healed, and if that would lead to more raids. Naaman wanted to be healed, and realised that this disease would be the end of the king’s favour as and his ex-communication from society. He had everything to lose, he was so desperate that he listened to a servant girl. How amazing is our King? He places people in our lives to show us the way! Naaman sets off, with high expectations of meeting this man of God.

Naaman was a man accustomed to fanfare and respect. However, the leprosy is an outer illness, and there is an inner healing needed deep within Naaman. Elisha does not come to meet Naaman, instead, he sends a messenger to meet him. The message is simple, “Go and wash yourself in the Jordan River, and wash seven times.” Naaman was full of pride, very aware of his position and standing, his wealth – in short full of self-importance. This is evident in his reaction to the message.

We are left questioning how much Naaman needs healing, how deeply does he want to be well again? He fussed and became offended by the fact that Elisha did not even appear before him – he was Naaman, the kings right-hand man. He had expected that this man of God would approach him, and wave his hand over Naaman. But instead a message is sent that he is to wash in a murky river? You want me to do what???? It would appear that his pride was greater than his desire to be healed. YHWH is able to heal us with a wave of a hand, but there has to be some effort from your side. Think of the healings that Yeshua preformed, in all of them there was faith needed by the sick person – washing eyes in the pool, picking up a mat, coming out of the tomb. These all required effort and faith. Naaman already believed that God worked through Elisha, and that He could heal. His faith was there, it was just that he didn’t expect that he would have to do something ‘beneath’ his standing to receive the healing.

You see, what Naaman had to do to receive his healing was to get out of his clothes, he had to remove his rank and wealth. Naaman had to expose his leprosy to those around him, he would be making himself vulnerable. Naaman had to lay who he was in the Aramean kingdom on the muddy banks of the Jordan, he had to immerse himself in the water, not just stand on the side and splash. This meant he had to deal with his pride issue, he had to humble himself before YHWH, he had to take up his cross and sacrifice his position and standing before the King of Kings. He had to tear his heart.

There is a truth here about revealing who we really are. Sometimes we hide behind our Sunday best, and masquerades dictated by the world. We often become unwillingly distracted by our ‘dressings’, position and importance. Before you know it we have grown an attitude of pride – if this has offended you, then take a closer look at your heart. I am not pointing fingers, I have to daily strip off pride!

Naaman was not impressed with ‘lowering’ himself, physically and spiritually, into the river. He considered the Jordan River not good enough for him, as there were better rivers at home – he still did not get it. Sorry for the pun, but Naaman’s healing skin-deep. The true healing was in the secret place, his heart. His pride was blocking his physical healing, until he was willing to lay his pride aside he would not receive the healing, and he stood to loose everything if he didn’t humble himself. Naaman had a choice to make, he could strip off or get back on his mule and go back home.

Enter the voice of reason, a brave officer from the ranks. Another person positioned for a time such as this by YHWH, to reason with this stubborn and proud commander. How often do we ignore the voice of reason? Often pride dictates that we have to be able to point out that we are who we because we used our own strength/brainpower/expertise or wisdom. Perhaps washing in a muddy river was too simple for Naaman? The officer’s reasoning made Naaman realise his desire to be healed was greater than getting into the water. He had travelled so far. He must have been so itchy and sore, the dust and travelling would not have made this journey easy for him. To make that journey back home without dipping into the water seemed ridiculous. In verse  14 we read, “So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times as the man of God had instructed. And his flesh became as healthy as a young child’s, and he was healed.” There is a double healing here!!! His flesh is healed and his inner is healed. AMEN. Naaman submitted, he obeyed YHWH, and he was made whole. He was healed not because of his authority, strength or standing – Naaman was healed by the power of an Awesome God. He realised this and committed to serving God above all.

Naaman was buzzing and so excited that he wanted to pay Elisha. He put a price on his healing of 340 kg of pure silver, 68 kg of pure gold and 10 sets of clothes. Naaman is so grateful, but he needs to learn another lesson from Elisha. Elisha refuses the gifts, he redirects the glory and esteem to YHWH. Elisha shows humility and acknowledges the strength of God, he does not claim any esteem or glory for himself. In the end Naaman returns to Aram with a sod of soil to remind him of the miracle in his life, and of his commitment to YHWH.

I have a personal testimony of healing similar to that of Naaman. I feel though that I must say upfront that as individuals we experience traumatic events in our lives differently. I have prayed for family members who have not received healing, I have had close Christian friends pass away. So the views expressed are personal, they are my journey, and my beliefs may differ from yours regarding healing.

In 2011 I was diagnosed with Grade 4, invasive cancer of the bladder and statistically given five year if the bladder was not removed. The urologist wanted to remove my bladder and create a pseudo bladder using part of my colon. This would mean that I did not have an outer bag, but an inner one that still needed to be emptied with a catheter. After prayer I received a promise that no part of my body would be removed, but that I was going to have to walk through the valley of treatment. However, I was promised that this would be a time of blessing, and the journey would take me into a deeper place with Him. My husband and I met with the urologist and told him that we would not be opting for bladder removal. He strongly advised me to reconsider, but as a step of faith, I held fast to the promise and opted for treatment, chemo and radiation. I maintain that I had spiritual cancer, and that the physical cancer was a stop sign for me to stop and take a good look at my heart. I had become so wrapped up in me and my own world. I was in a middle management position at a prestigious Christian school, was completing a Master of Education, and doing well. I was running and fit, spending hours training my body. I had all the trappings of Sunday best, smiles and bling. Yet, this list did not include spiritual wellbeing, where was God in my life? I needed to be woken up. I needed to go to the river, strip myself of myself, and dip myself in humility and obedience. I needed to tear my heart and not my clothes. I will be forever grateful that YHWH put that stop sign in my life, so glad He took me on a journey through a valley with Him. Many people have asked me a question. “If you say that you are healed, how come you are faced with treatment?” The answer is never simple, but my personal experience is that, like Naaman, sometimes we have to heal the inner to heal the outer. I love the Healer of my soul, all the glory and honour to Him. May you come before the Stream of Living Water and immerse yourself, stripping off all, and humbly and eagerly dip into the everlasting waters. Amen