YET

YET is a little 3 letter word I keep in the pocket of my heart. Frequently, I pull it out and apply it to my life. I can say, “I don’t have it YET.” (definition: up until the present time) Or, I can say, “YET I will praise the Lord.” (definition: nevertheless)

According to II Corinthians 1:20, I know God’s promises are yes and amen. Hebrews 11:1 tells me, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
When I have a need, I find a scriptural promise and ask God to fulfill it. I believe He will answer. However, I do not always see the manifestation of God’s answer as quickly as I would like.
So, I pull out this powerful little word, YET, from my pocket.

For example.
I need a physical healing.
In Exodus 15:25, God says, “I am the LORD, who heals you.” According to Matthew 4:23, Jesus healed every disease and sickness among the people.
I claim and pray. However, my aches and pains do not immediately disappear.
Does this mean I ignore my physical limitations? Certainly not.
Does this mean I cannot claim healing? Not at all!
I pull out the concept of YET from my heart and proclaim, “I do not see or feel my healing YET.”

YET reveals my faith in God’s ability to hear and answer my request for healing.
I walk by faith, not by sight. (II Corinthians 5:7)
I believe in healing.
I also believe God answers in His time. (He has made everything beautiful in its time. – Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Another example.
There are family members who are not walking with the Lord.
I claim the promise of Acts 16:31. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”
No immediate turn around by the wayward ones after I pray.
I verbally state, “These individuals have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior YET.”
I am still believing. I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Kris Vallotton has said, “between the promise and the palace, there should always be a process that is natural and needed.” He goes on to say, “If you’re in the middle of the process, what I really want you to hear today is that this time is just as purposeful as when you will one day be in the palace.” This is where I pull out my YET. No immediate answer to my prayer does not mean God is not answering. He has His way. (“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9)

Since I have the word YET out of my pocket, I use it another way.

In Habakkuk 3:17, the prophet describes his current circumstances. There are no figs or fruit or olives. The fields produce no food and the flocks are deteriorating. Not good! However, he then says in verse 18. “Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

My application.
Although I may still feel physical pain, I will declare, “YET I will praise the Lord for He is God. He is my Healer.”
O
r, I may admit that my loved ones have not changed their paths of life. YET I praise the Lord because He is God. I know He is at work.
I demonstrate my belief in the promise through praise.

I cast my cares on Him according to I Peter 5:7. I choose not to worry as I’m told in Matthew 6:34. I worship – not worry. Like Paul in Philippians 4:4, I will rejoice in the Lord. According to verses 6 and 7, I will “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving I will let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” I rejoice in the Lord always. I rejoice in God – not my problems.

I keep the little word YET handy in the pocket of my heart. I use it often. It is a powerful word.

My Reader, is YET in your heart’s pocket?

 

God’s Word is Alive!

The Bible. It is not simply words about God – it is the Word of God. It is not just printed ink on a bunch of pages – it is the voice of God in print. Graham Cooke says, “God’s Word is living and active. It contains divine energy, always moving and accomplishing His purposes.”

I quote numerous scriptures in most every blog I post. I use scripture verses to support what I write. Today, I want to share verses that validate the power of God’s Word.

The sum of Your word is truth [the total of the full meaning
of all Your individual precepts]; and every one
of Your righteous decrees endures forever.
Psalms 119:160 AMP

The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Isaiah 40:8 AMP

Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it; I will also do it.
Isaiah 46:11 NKJV

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11 NKJV

Then said the Lord to me, “You have seen well,
for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.”
Jeremiah 1:12 AMP 

For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God
shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.
Luke 1:37 AMP

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
so that the man of God may be adequate,
equipped for every good work.
II Timothy 3:16-17

For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow;
it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

But the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever.
And this Word is the good news which was preached to you.
I Peter 1:25 AMP

Do you believe these words from the Word? According to Hebrews 6:8, it is impossible for God to lie. Romans 4:21 reminds us that Abraham was convinced that God could do whatever He promised. We can have the same confidence. II Timothy 2:13 AMP declares, “He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.”

There is no doubt in my mind that God’s Word is true and powerful!

Secret PLACE or SECRET Place

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty
Psalm 91:1 NKJV

Where is this secret place? I want to find it!

In Manifesting Your Spirit, Graham Cooke challenges his readers journal their thoughts upon the secret place.

So, I begin…

When I think about the secret place, I wonder which word to emphasize. Is it the “secret place” or the “secret place”?

If I put the accent upon place, I think about the location. Matthew 6:6 instructs, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Is the secret place where I secretly meet with God? Is it a location no one but God and I know about? Is it the spot where no one can disturb me?

If my emphasis is upon secret, I focus upon the information. The Lord says in Jeremiah 33:3 NLT, “Ask Me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.What secret might God want to reveal? I consider it a privilege and honor that God would want to share something with me that might not be evident to someone else.

Perhaps I am trying to interpret something supernatural with natural ideas. Is the secret place a spiritual location rather than a physical location? Where do I need to be spiritually in order to hear God’s secrets? Maybe I need to say like Samuel in I Samuel 3:10, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.

With my Bible and concordance in hand, I search for scriptures that refer to the secret place.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God,
but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever,
that we may follow all the words of this law.
Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT

God has secrets! As His children, He will reveal secret things to us. He shares what will be beneficial to our spiritual walk. If the secret things belong to God and He want to reveal them, we must be in a secret place to hear His secrets.

I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel,
who summons you by name.
Isaiah 45:3 NIV

This verse validates the secret place as both a location and as information. The Lord hides secrets in secret places! He personally calls us to these secret places to reveal Himself. Bill Johnson has said, “God hides things for us, not from us.”

My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me
were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:15-16

In verse 15, the secret place is a secluded spot place where physical intimacy took place. It is an emotional as well as a physical place where love is consummated. It can also be symbolic of a time of spiritual intimacy where we become one with God. I Corinthians 6:17 says, “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.
In verse 16, God’s recorded plans could refer to the secrets God would reveal to David throughout his life. David would best hear these plans while spending intimate, personal time with the Lord. God desires spiritual intimacy with us so He can reveal His plans and purposes to us.

You are my hiding place and my shield: I hope in your word.
Ps 119:114 NKJV

When the Psalmist refers to his hiding place, I believe he is describing God as his secret place. God is his safe spot from his enemies.

When he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver and honor him.
Psalm 91:15 NIV

This can refer to a physical, emotional or spiritual troubling place. Not a good location, but a place where we all have been. It can become a good place if we use this place as an opportunity to pray. The secret is the Lord’s answer to our prayer.

* * * * * * *

We have been thinking about the secret place in regards to revelation. Another perspective can be secrets concealed. Although we want to know God’s secrets, we occasionally try to keep secrets from Him – especially things of which we are ashamed or embarrassed. However, this will not work! Scripture proves it.

For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open,
and every secret will be brought to light.
Mark 4:22 NLT

Jesus promises that EVERYTHING will be revealed. Ecclesiastes 12:14 NLT says, “God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place?
Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the LORD.
Jeremiah 23:24 NLT

God is omnipresent – He is everywhere. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says, “I am with you always.” We may need to be in a secret place to hear God’s secrets, but we cannot keep any secrets from Him.

You spread out our sins before You— our secret sins—
and You see them all.
Psalm 90:8 NLT

God is omniscient – He knows everything. We may be able to keep secrets from people – at least for awhile. However, God knows our sins whether or not we tell Him. The amazing thing is that God will forgive the sins we would prefer He did not know. We just need to admit them to Him. I John 1:19 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” His forgiveness is the greatest secret He has not kept hidden!

* * * * * * *

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.
Psalm 27:4

David found his secret place. It was a spiritual location where he received spiritual insight.

Each of us will have our own interpretation of the secret place. If you perceive the secret place primarily as a location, you will think of the special spot where you spend time alone with the Lord. If the concept of information resonates more, you will focus upon new spiritual understanding God personally reveals.

For me, it is the place where my spirit meets with God’s Spirit. My secret place is where the Holy Spirit reveals His secrets to my spirit.

A good description of the Secret Place is found in the words of I Come to the Garden Alone by Deniece Williams. (Link)

I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known
He speaks, and the sound of his voice is so sweet
The birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He give to me
Within my heart is to ringing.
And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known

 

 

AND not OR

 

Often we hear the question, “Are you a Mary or a Martha?” However, scripture refers to Mary and Martha – not Mary or Martha. We are not required to live exclusively like Mary or Martha. We are given the privilege of exemplifying character traits of both women.

Mary and Martha were sisters. Although closely related, they had very different personalities. If I were to choose a scripture to describe Mary, I would quote Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” For Martha, I would select Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world….”

Martha was frequently looked down upon because of a conversation she had with Jesus in Luke 10. Jesus had come to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus for a visit. Martha was frustrated because Mary exclusively spent time with Jesus while she had to prepare the whole meal by herself. In Luke 10:40, Martha asked, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me!Jesus’ responded in verses 41-42, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. But only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her.

When Jesus came to their home, each woman chose how she would honor their guest. Mary chose to sit with Jesus and listen to His wisdom. She wanted to learn everything possible from the man who was her Savior and Lord. According to Romans 11:6, we are saved by grace, not by works. She was hungry for spiritual nourishment. Martha chose to prepare a meal for Jesus and His disciples. She wanted to nourish their physical hunger.

Jesus complimented Mary for making a good choice. Today, a person with a Mary personality would desire to spend time with Jesus through praise and prayer. According to Psalm 22:3, the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 100:2 tells us to “Serve the LORD with gladness; come into His presence with joyful songs. Verse 4 goes on to say, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and bless His name.

Martha’s actions concerned Jesus only because she allowed responsibility to take priority over relationship. Serving is not a bad option. An individual with Martha traits today might remember James 2:26, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.” Paul exhorts in I Thessalonians 5:13-14, “Now, we ask you, brothers, to respect these who work hard among you,… Hold them in highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.

Like Mary and Martha, we have a choice. Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.How will we choose to honor Jesus when we answer His knock on our heart’s door?

Will we want to spend One on one time with Him? If so, we may make our choice based upon Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.We may also validate our choice according to Jesus’ words in John 6:35. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.


Our other option would be to express our love for Jesus by satisfying and gratifying physical needs of others. This decision may be based upon Isaiah 58:10. If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.We might also remember the conversation in Matthew 25:37-40. “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”


It is good for us to begin our day sitting at Jesus’ feet and studying the Word. Then we will be ready to put feet to our faith while fulfilling our responsibilities. Works are not the reason for salvation. Works are the evidence of salvation. James 2:17 NLT points out, “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

We are not required to just make a one-time choice of being a Martha or a Mary. God created each of us to be a mixture of Martha and Mary. Does your character better exemplify one woman over another? God has placed within you specific gifts and talents. Embrace who God created you to be. Do not be jealous of a Mary if you are more of a Martha. Do not look down upon a Martha if you have more of a Mary personality. Some say we need to have a Mary heart in a Martha world. We each must discern what is required of us in a particular situation. Sometimes we need to strengthen our spiritual heart like Mary. Other times we need to manifest our servant heart like Martha.

Matthew 6:33 NLT is a good scripture for us to remember. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously.Our life’s goal should be I Corinthians 16:14. “Do everything in love.

 

 

 

 

Into-Me-see and Into-me-see

One definition for intimacy is closeness. With a few changes to this word, it could be phonetically pronounced “into me see”. Nothing is held back during intimacy. To spiritually define intimacy, I hear God saying “into-Me-see.” My response is “into-me-see.” God is a relational God and He desires intimacy. He created me for intimacy with Him. I am created in His image. So, I too, want intimacy.

Intimacy is often associated with love expressed between a husband and wife. I perceive four things transpiring in physical intimacy. There is penetration and receptivity. This results in consummation with the possibility of new life. I believe physical intimacy is a shadow of the spiritual intimacy God desires to have with me. These same steps apply. John 3:6 says, “Flesh is born of flesh but spirit is born of Spirit.

Do I hear Jesus saying, “Into-Me-see”? God is an open book when it comes to revealing Himself. In fact, His open book is known as the Bible. I want to dig into His written word and let it penetrate me. May I be receptive to God’s written word (logos) as well as the Holy Spirit’s pricks (rhema). Psalm 103:2 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all His kind deeds.

The consummation of Jesus inviting me to “into-Me-see” and my response of “into-me-see” is known as faith. Ephesians 3:17 says that Christ dwells in our hearts through faith. There is new life according to II Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Although there is new life, the need for intimacy continues. God invites me to “into-Me-see”. Am I receptive in allowing God to “into-me-see”? I want to consider how well my soul (mind, emotions and will) align with God’s plan. Do God and I become one?

My Mind: What thoughts do I think?
Are they predominately positive or negative? When I allow God to “into-me-see”, then He will give me the mind of Christ according to I Corinthians 2:16.

My Emotions: What emotions do I most experience?
Do I show more love or anger? In I John 4:8, I learn that God is love. I Corinthians 13:3-7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind,etc. Ephesians 4:6 warns, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Do I yield to God’s peace or do I worry? Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do I feel more joy or sorrow?
Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Do I spend more time believing or doubting?
Mark 11:23 tells me not to doubt in my heart but to believe and it will be done.

My Will: How would I describe my will?
Am I strong willed? Do I want my will or Thy will to be accomplished? In
Matthew 6:10 NKJV, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.”

Graham Cooke says that the mind will reason us out of what God desires. He also says that our emotions are not dependable feelings. We need our will to connect with faith.

Intimacy involves a knowing. When the “into-Me-see” and the “into-me-see” are consummated, there is a deeper knowing that occurs. Intimacy penetrates into the heart and does not stay in the head. Heart knowledge (knowing Him) is born rather than just head knowledge (knowing about Him). In Philippians 3:10 Paul says, “I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.

My intimacy (into-me-see) with Him is based upon His intimacy (into-Me-see) with me. In Manifesting Your Spirit, Graham Cooke says, “God loves to be close. He loves to declare who He is for me. His intention is always about a deeper relationship. He is totally committed to upgrading our experience of Him and to bringing us into a deeper place of rest, joy and assurance in Him. He seeks to develop the capacity in us for trust and faith at a high level.”

Cooke also points out that worship leads to deeper intimacy. Intimacy gives birth to trust and confidence. David says in Psalm 57:7, “My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.

Psalm 86:9 says, “Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth.” This allows me to experience God’s “into-Me-see.” Psalm 22:3 says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. This gives God the opportunity to “into-me-see”.

I want to draw near to the Lord in order to see things from His perspective (into-Me-see). I also want to know what He sees in me (into-me-see).

My Reader, do you want intimacy with God? Do you want to see into who God really is? Accept His invitation to “into-Me-see”. Are you willing to allow God to see intimately into who you are? Extend an invitation to Him to “into-me-see”. Intimacy is Christ in you and you in Christ.

God of All

Do you realize that God wants to be as intimately involved in your life as He was in the lives of those recorded in scripture? A friend recently pointed out how reassuring it was knowing that we serve the same God whom Abraham, Isaac and Jacob served. This knowledge can be a validation for who God is. It may even give you a reason to trust God.

While thinking about some of these men and women of faith, we will highlight how God intervened in their lives. Then we will think about how we can relate to these individuals.

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
These men are often referred to as the patriarchs of our faith. God cares about families and lineage and heritage. God first revealed Himself as the God of these three men when He spoke to Moses through a burning bush. God said in Exodus 3:6, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
God cares about your family. Do you have grandparents and parents who set a Christian example for you? Thank God for them! Maybe you are the first one in your ancestry to become a believer. Blaze the trail for future generations.

Moses and Joshua
God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. Joshua was their leader when they entered the Promised Land.
Who has God used to lead you to Jesus and out of sin’s bondage? Who may become a believer in the promises of God because of your influence?

Ruth
Ruth was a Moabite. She did not believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Because of the influence of her mother-in-law, Naomi, Ruth became a believer. She says in Ruth 1:16, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
As a believer, you are a witness for Christ. You may be unaware of your influence upon those around you. Is there someone specific to whom you are called to be a witness?

Isaiah and Jeremiah
These two men are examples of the Old Testament prophets. Prophets foretell and forth tell words of the Lord.
Prophecy is one of the nine gifts of the Spirit listed in I Corinthians 12:8-11. Do you have the gift of prophecy? If so, use it according to Romans 12:6. Paul says in Ephesians 4:1, “I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received.

Sarah, Hannah and Elizabeth
T
hese women had trouble conceiving a child. However, over time, God was faithful to answer their prayers.
Conception problems can be either physical or spiritual. Is there an area in your life where you are struggling to give birth to something new? Be encouraged by how God intervened in these women’s lives.

Mary the Mother of Jesus
An angel appeared to Mary and told her that she would give birth to a son named Jesus. Although Mary did not completely understand all that was happening or the significance of it, she carried Jesus within her body for nine months.
Have you asked Jesus into your heart but still have things of faith you do not understand? Just as Jesus grew in Mary’s body, your faith will also grow with time.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
These men are the authors of the four gospels. They wrote about the stories of Jesus’ earthly life. Their messages tell a spiritual history.
Your story, your testimony, tells His story in your life. It is your spiritual history. Your story becomes HIStory. Revelation 12:11 says, “They (believers) triumphed over him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

Saul/Paul
This man’s story begins in the book of Acts. He was first named Saul, but later was known as Paul. Both his nature and name were changed when he encountered Jesus on his way to Damascus. He went from persecuting Christians to proclaiming Christ.
May you never quit praying for family and friends to personally encounter the Lord. Lives can be changed. Jeremiah 32:17 says, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.

Ephesians 4:4-5 says, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” God is God and Father of us all! Just as God was God of each of these Biblical people, He wants to be Lord of your life. With which individual do you most identity? Which person gives you the hope that God is with you and understands your situation?

According to Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” God wants to minister to you. He is alive. God knows everything – He is omniscient. God is in everything – He is omnipresent. God is working – He is omnipotent. All fo us learn of His faithfulness through stories recorded in His written word. What He has done in the past, He will continue to do.

May your faith and your confidence in God grow as you meditate upon what He has done for those who have gone before us. Hebrews 12:1 encourages us, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Mary and Martha’s Prayer

While reading the account of Lazarus’ death and new life in John 11, I gained a deeper understanding of prayer.

Previously, we have been introduced to the family of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. They were Jesus’ friends. He often visited at their home. They had a personal relationship with Jesus. John 11 begins by telling us that Lazarus is sick – very sick. Mary and Martha wanted Jesus to know what was happening.

Verse 3 says, “So the sisters sent word to Jesus. ‘Lord, the one You love is sick.’” When Mary and Martha sent this message to Jesus, they were praying. (Most everyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus prays. At the very least, we cry out to God during our times of need.)

Time progresses and the story progresses. Although Jesus received the message, He did not respond as Mary and Martha expected. Jesus did not come to them. Verse 6 says, “So when He (Jesus) heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days.” Not a quick response to Mary and Martha. (All of us know what it is to wait for answers to prayer.)

Jesus says in verse 7, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory…” Jesus got the message, but He had other plans. (Have you ever prayed a prayer that was answered differently than you expected? Of course – all of us have! However, God’s glory should always be our motive.)

I wonder how the sisters were feeling two days later. One may have asked, “Why hasn’t Jesus come? What is taking Him so long?” Or, the other one may have said, “I thought Jesus loved us. Maybe He doesn’t care about us as much as we imagined.” (Have you ever made such remarks when a prayer you prayed was not answered immediately?)

It is interesting that Jesus says to His disciples in verse 15, “and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” Jesus desired to deepen the faith of His disciples as well as that of Mary and Martha through His answer to their request. Jesus had a greater truth to reveal than just healing Lazarus from his sickness. Jesus was not in a hurry. He knew how and when He would respond. Mary and Martha’s expectations of how Jesus would respond had to die as well as Lazarus had to die. (God may have more in store for us than we realize when we pray. Do not limit God by expecting Him to only answer as you desire.)

Lazarus died. Jesus had not arrived yet. But, He does eventually come. Verse 17 says, “On His arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.” (Have you ever felt like it was too late for Jesus to answer your prayer?)

Martha is the first sister to meet Jesus when He finally comes. Her first words to Jesus are recorded in verse 21, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” (Notice Martha’s words “but” and “if”. Have you ever used these words when questioning or explaining something about your faith?)

Although Martha did not completely understanding all Jesus was saying and doing, she still believed. I think she passed a test of faith.  And, Jesus had more to reveal to her. (We, too, must keep our faith and not doubt.)

Mary then arrives on the scene. Her greeting in verse 32 is, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Sounds familiar! Mary’s words are the same as Martha’s words. It is not that she does not believe, she just limits God. (Beware! It is very possible that we have not interpreted Jesus’ words and promises correctly or with full understanding. He is able to do so much more than we can ask or think.)

The next verse that catches my attention is verse 35, “Jesus wept.” Shortest verse in the Bible. Why did Jesus weep? In verse 36 the Jews say, “See how much He loved him!” Although this statement is true, I believe Jesus wept for additional reasons. I think He was sorrowful that those around Him were not able to understand all He could do – all He was still going to do. (Have you caused Jesus to weep because of your limited understanding or expectations?)

We are nearing the climax of the story. In verse 39, Jesus says, “Take away the stone.” The stone in front of the grave hindered Jesus from doing what He was about to do. (Are there any stones you need to remove before Jesus can fully answer a prayer you continue to pray?)

Jesus prays in verse 41, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I know that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me.” (Jesus gives us the example of how we are to pray. We are to thank God for what He is going to do – not just thank Him after we have received the answer.)

In verse 43 Jesus commands, “Lazarus, come out!” Finally Mary and Martha receive their answer to the message they sent to Jesus at the beginning of the chapter! Lazarus is not merely healed but brought back to life. A greater miracle than either sister could have requested. (Yes, God answers our prayers – not always when and how we want, but in the way that most glorifies Him.)

Jesus makes on final statement in verse 44. “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” There was still something for those surrounding Mary, Martha and Lazarus to do. Lazarus was alive but he needed the help of others to freely walk in the life given to him. (I think God requires us to be stewards of the answered prayers and miracles we receive. He may want us to help the person who has benefited from our prayers. Maybe we are to share the testimony of how God has answered our prayers.)

This account of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, is a wonderful miracle in and of itself. However God also has a message for us regarding prayer. Meditate upon what I have shared. See if it applies to you.