I would like to put back in our minds what I spoke about last week out of Luke 10:38 about Martha of Bethany, and her dialog with Jesus, with her sister Mary at His feet. I’m continuing this week revelation that came out of the One Thing Conference in Kansas City my family and I attended right after Christmas. I posted part one on our website blog www.thefurnacehop.com.
I’ll be reading from the Passion Translation because I like the way the scripture is laid out. Again Luke 10:38.
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.
”The Lord answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.”
I have talked with many people since we have returned from One Thing, and it is awesome how the Lord through His Spirit is speaking the same things to those who know Him.
When God speaks to His sons and daughters as a whole, the dialog is the same. God through His Spirit will not say one thing and say another. His words all line up with His character of who He is, and the words He speaks will all be alignment with His Will for His purposes. When He speaks to the church, it is one word, through one Spirit, because God is not a God of confusion, but of oneness and unity in the Spirit. That is why we need to discern in the Spirit what we are receiving from people, and through air.
So when I hear people who have an engaged heart with the Lord speaking the same words as I am hearing, and some of those people do not know me, or we have never conversed on specific God words, I know that God is up to something and He is moving us all in a direction. He is moving the church universal in a direction today. It is evident if you listen.
If we who are called by His name, who are called the Beloved, the Bride of Christ because we allow Christ to own us, and not just live in us as a tenant, and we know to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary did, and allow ourselves to listen, to hear the still small voice inside us, God’s Holy Spirit who guides us to similar truth. A similar word because we are one with Him. Those words are being spoken to the church today.
The words that have been spoken is that we the Bride of Christ have come into the generation that must begin the process of full consecration to Him because a separation is coming.
Today, we need to know how to hear the voice of God. It is imperative that His Family be one, be one in the Spirit, and that can only come through hearing the same voice. It means that we must cut off all of the distractions that are not important to us. And that is hard. People will not understand, people will not like us, even family members. Again, they have no revelation. But God is calling many of us out to take a stand. This will split up friends, it will split up families. We will be hated, like Jesus was hated. The Pharisees are already out there with fists raised.
I’ve been hearing so much from people that they know the Lord is calling them into a deeper relationship with Him, that they must realign their lives to come completely under His Lordship. And it is a struggle, because in this life we live constantly with roadblocks thrown at us it to keep us from the place of hearing and focus.
We in the church need to be a “movement” again, as currently we are just about structure. The church has done it before. Movements happen when people come together as one to complete an objective. Our objective is to operate in the fullness of Christ to fulfill the great commission as stated in Matthew 28, Luke 24, and Mark 16.
But to fulfill the call of Christ, we must know the Christ, and knowing Him comes from knowing His Word and hearing His voice and being a Mary of Bethany. Being at His feet listening.
To be a movement we must have unity, Psalms 133 says about Unity:
“How truly wonderful and delightful to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity! 2It’s as precious as the sacred scented oil flowing from the head of the high priest Aaron, dripping down upon his beard and running all the way down to the hem of his priestly robes. 3This heavenly harmony can be compared to the dew dripping down from the skies upon Mount Hermon, refreshing the mountain slopes of Israel. For from this realm of sweet harmony God will release his eternal blessing, the promise of life forever!”
Unity is precious to us as well as it is to God. But unity as I stated last week comes from us being one in Christ Jesus because Jesus praying for oneness in John 17.
In verse 22 of John 17, Jesus says, “For the very glory you have given to me I have given them so that they will be joined together as one and experience the same unity that we enjoy.”
So its not just about fulfilling something together in Jesus name, but it is the expression of a joyful loving heart that we will have with each other and with our Father in Heaven through Jesus Christ because we are one. Oneness is seeing past man-made differences, and seeing as Jesus sees. It may be us breaking out of our own theology, to focus on Jesus who is the perfect theology.
But back to Psalm 133, where it says “the promise of life forever!”
That promised life begins when we grasp a hold of it in this life; it’s not just for the life to come. God has commanded this unity to be a blessing, so a blessing it will be when we grasp it.
When we grasp a family type of acceptance and love, we will see the fruit of it. The blessing. The great thing is, others outside our family will see it too and be allowed to experience it. We all crave family, because we all crave acceptance, its in our nature, it’s something inside of us, so our blessing as a Body of Christ from having oneness in Him will cause those outside the family to want to be a part of our family too, and I know that we know that, but it takes effort on our part.
We have to expose our hearts to people, and that’s not always an easy thing. It’s like confession, but exposing our hearts, exposes others to the real, to life that they can bear witness to and it not only gives us freedom, but others also. When we expose our hearts to others in love, unconditional love if they take it or leave it, we have freedom knowing we gave everything without return so someone would have life. Jesus did that. And that expression of giving life through our open-ended love will cause harmony and oneness with our Father in Heaven.
True heart exposure cause us to have one only one identity, only one. Just Jesus. He is the one who the people see in the end and that is what we want anyway.
Dr. Johannes Hartl who founded a very successful House of Prayer in Augsburg, Germany, spoke at the Leadership Summit we attended before the Conference. The Augsburg House of Prayer has people from multiple diverse societal backgrounds, multiple nationalities, and even really diverse religious backgrounds. Dr. Hartl is a highly degreed catholic theologian, but he is now a Spirit filled Believe in Jesus Christ, and he uses his diverse background to connect. But his connection has come due to prayer.
At the Augsburg House of Prayer they have made it a focus to be intentional to connect with other to come into the fellowship they have there. Prayer is universal within the church, we know that, prayer is what brings people together, and in Augsburg, they have used prayer to do just that.
But Dr. Hartl laid out a few steps that helped with having unity within the diverse church to come together for a purpose, with these steps being outside of prayer and being in the Lord’s Presence which is all part of the equation. What he said was good beginning steps to me that we know already but need to do them.
1. Intentionally make friends outside your church circles. Dr. Hartl said which is true that the Kingdom of God only moves as fast as our relationships do. We need to make an effort to meet people. We need to cut into the schedule, and I am quite aware that some of you do that.
2. Do together what you can do together. 10% you may not do together, but 90% you can do.
3. Allow and even celebrate differences. This is a hard one as he said; intellectuals in the faith always have a hard time with this one because they are always in defense of their “law’ as he put it. I see it as being a Pharisee. We need to cleanse ourselves of the Pharisaical Spirit.
Now this is from me. If something does not go outside of God’s Word, why get all testy about it. The Apostle Paul in Corinthians speaks about us offending others by the way we live, or view things. Sin is one thing, but if they eat meat and you don’t, don’t use that to keep from a relationship. I know you know where I am coming from.
4. Love is the secret of unity. Say it, but also express it. Not expressing it makes it useless. Its like saying you want unity in the church, but do nothing to bring it to happen. Words meaning nothing without action. We have too many people who just talk, but do not back it up in the church today. Unity again comes from oneness with the Lord.
I agree with Dr. Hartl for the most part, because again it is a first step. Most Christians get too hung up on the 10% and don’t see the benefit of 90%. Christ was adamant that we love one another as He loved us so we can’t live in such absolutes that we can’t come together or be close to one another.
But one thing is true that Dr. Hartl said, if we walk in unity, we will be hated, and that by those that do not know Christ in and outside the church.
Some times we have to give, to receive. Too much religion and pride is expressed today. All that is eliminated when we as God’s people humble ourselves and pray, and repent of our hard hearts so God will heal us and heal our land.
That we know only comes by being in His Presence, and The House of Prayer in Augsburg has found that out. Protestants, Catholics, other orthodox believers of all kinds, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and other believers of every flavor have come in to worship and intercede together, and that oneness thing that Jesus wanted is happening. And out of that, the blessing of Unity is moving in Germany. You have strife in Germany, we read it in the news, but God is also moving there. So it should happen here too. Right? And we should lead in it.
Moving on to another piece of the Conference with speaker Corey Russell who was part of IHOPKC leadership for years who is now with the Upper room in Dallas as of this month, spoke about prayer and the prayer movement.
He said now is the time for the wait. Waiting on the Lord. Being in His Presence, getting into the furnace for a time, (I liked that statement) but he said also to burn. We need to wait in the furnace to burn in the sweetness of His Presence, in real prayer and supplication. There is a need for a time of connection with the Lord, for many reconnection, but also, we need to live in the now with faith believing in the Words of Jesus Christ.
Corey spoke about Mary and Martha again, but now from John chapter 11. Remember, they had a brother, his name was Lazarus, and if you know the story, Lazarus their brother had died, and Jesus heard of it.
And from the story, when Jesus came into Bethany, Martha, sweet Martha ran out to meet Jesus, and scripture says that Mary stayed home. Interesting point about the two women.
Let’s read the text beginning with verse 21.
“Martha said to Jesus, “My Lord, if only you had come sooner, my brother wouldn’t have died. 22But I know that if you were to ask God for anything, he would do it for you.” 23Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise and live.” 24She replied, “Yes, I know he will rise with everyone else on resurrection day.” 25“Martha,” Jesus said, “You don’t have to wait until then. I am the Resurrection, and I am Life Eternal. Anyone who clings to me in faith, even though he dies, will live forever. 26And the one who lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27Then Martha replied, “Yes, Lord, I do! I’ve always believed that you are the Anointed One, the Son of God who has come into the world for us!”
Martha was not looking at the now. She had faith, and actually had good theology, but it was mistimed. Jesus made a plain but powerful and to the end of the age statement, as He said, “You don’t have to wait until then.” Jesus is the Jesus of the now. Our freedom is now. Our healing is now; the door you have been afraid to walk through is open now.
Martha again was in a rush. She heard but did not spend time to listen. The scripture says when she said what she needed to say, she ran off to get her sister Mary.
Martha wanted Jesus to fix the situation by being there before Lazarus died. Jesus wanted her to feel the situation about what was going on. Martha was in the flesh, Jesus wanted her to see what was going on in the Spirit, something that she could not do in her state of mind of hurry. Sometimes we are so quick to throw up prayers to Jesus with no thought that He will act. Hoping the outcome will happen the way we want, not sensing what He is really doing.
28Then she left and hurried off to her sister, Mary, and called her aside from all the mourners and whispered to her, “The Master is here and he’s asking for you.” 29So when Mary heard this, she quickly went off to find him,”
Mary was waiting for the Master; she was waiting for His call, she did not move until He did. When she she responded, she found Jesus was waiting for her. We need to learn that.
30for Jesus was lingering outside the village at the same spot where Martha met him. 31Now when Mary’s friends who were comforting her noticed how quickly she ran out of the house,
Mary ran directly to Jesus. She wasted no time. The Master called because she waited for His voice, and now she was ready to respond.
32When Mary finally found Jesus outside the village, she fell at his feet in tears and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (This is in a complete different Spirit then her sister Martha) 33When Jesus looked at Mary and saw her weeping at his feet, and all her friends who were with her grieving, he shuddered with emotion and was deeply moved with tenderness and compassion.” That is our Jesus. Full of emotion, tenderness and compassion. Even today with eyes of fire, and a voice of thunder, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, He is still the loving, tender, merciful Lord.
It states in verse 35, because of Mary’s tears, and the others, Jesus wept Himself. It moved Him to do what He said He would do. And we know what He did; He raised Lazarus from the dead.
Corey Russell said and I agree and I know you will agree it is time to stop praying plastic prayers. Plastic is cheap, we need the real today. Real Prayers with real faith, and yes, with real tears.
It is time to pray the prayers of faith as it says in James 5, but we need to get back to praying from the heart, not the head. Praying prayers of supplication in faith, contending in the Spirit for God to move His hand to fulfill His promises. Jesus is waiting for some Mary’s to arise.
Psalms 37:3, “Keep trusting in the Lord and do what is right in his eyes. Fix your heart on the promises of God and you will be secure, feasting on his faithfulness.4Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.”
Jesus is looking for those who will listen for His voice, who will wait on Him, but cry out to Him, knowing who He is, because of being at His feet. He knows your voice, and knows your heart because you know His, and when you cry out, He hears and is moved with compassion to fulfill His Word over you.
Psalms 126:5, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
That is a promise.
We as a people of God are being called out today. He is calling us to be His people by standards that He created, not man. Individually He is calling us to a Priestly consecrated life. We are priest and kings remember; we need to live it. We must live above the norms of society, and even above the norms that men have established in the church. The Word of God has set our standards to live by. We live by God’s normal. We live by the standards of Heaven, not the earth.
We are to be Holy because He is Holy, and as we move from the things of this world, setting our eyes on the prize, our obedience, our brokenness in humility, honoring God moves Him to move on our behalf.
When we accepted Christ, we opened a door within us for Him to come in. Is Jesus just a tenant, or does He own the whole house. He wants the whole house. He wants to rebuild the house. He wants to keep it up, keep it new. Cause transformation.
He needs complete control inside, so He can cause us to do great things outside. As long as Jesus is just a tenant, and our will overrides His, and he is not allowed to remodel, we remain the same or really we rot. We live and are like Martha, consumed in the ideals and life structures that do not matter really not living for the now, when we should be like her sister Mary. Mary, sitting at His feet, or waiting in the house, listening to His voice, or waiting for it, having faith for Him to do something today.
We are given a choice. Go is a good God by not making us clones or robots. He gave us free will. But He has laid out this day a path to follow. But do we hear His voice to get up to follow the path, and what path to take?