Saturday, April 2, 2022

Are You Focused Or Distracted?

I've just finished teaching a series on my podcast entitled "Are You Focused Or Distracted?" The series is based on Luke 10:38-42. Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. What a contrast between Mary, who was focused on Jesus, sitting at His feet, and Martha, distracted from Jesus by her preparations in the kitchen. I can understand Martha being distracted, wanting everything to be perfect for Jesus and His disciples. After all, very special guests were in her home.

Martha apparently was a natural server. I've known many folks along my walk with Jesus who would do just about anything for me, to benefit me in some way. These had the gift of serving. God gifts such persons for the purpose of serving and blessing others. So let's understand, Martha was not evil. Her problem (which according to Jesus was a lifestyle for her), was that her serving was more for her own personal gratification. She was a perfectionist. When things were not perfect, she stressed! According to Jesus, she missed out on the only thing necessary, which could never be taken away from her, by not sitting at His feet and receiving from Him.

On the other hand, Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His Words. Earlier Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." (John 6:63) The most important thing to Mary was not how well she could please Jesus, but how much Spirit and life she could receive from Him, humbly seated at His feet. Mary understood that time and space were important to Jesus, and eternally significant to Her. What do I mean by time and space? Well, time is self-explanatory. Mary realized that time in Jesus' presence was far more beneficial than stressing out over a meal in the kitchen. I also mentioned space or "place". Mary purchased the place (at Jesus' feet) with her time. Her decision to spend or "purchase" time with Jesus determined her place...sitting at the feet of Jesus. And according to Jesus, what she chose was the good part, the only thing necessary, which could never be taken away from her.

The significance of Martha's stress, worry, and anxiety would last for maybe an hour our two, but certainly not throughout eternity as would the significance of what Mary chose.

Martha's desire to serve and make things just right was not in itself evil. But the harm was that it distracted her from choosing the good part; being seated at Jesus' feet, receiving His eternal Word. Most Christians today are distracted from precious intimacy with Jesus. Why? Because most American Christians are simply too busy! 

We all have the same amount of time in each day. Time is like currency. With it we purchase our priorities. If Jesus is THE priority in your life, you will "spend" your time to purchase the space in which you develop intimacy with Him. For me it's our guest bedroom. Early every morning this guestroom is transformed into a holy sanctuary in which I hang out with Jesus. I anticipate my time with Him through the night because I sense He is anticipating being with me each morning. It's worth the investment! Time and space with Jesus, like Mary seated at the feet of Jesus, produces a supernatural strength and sensitivity to His Spirit throughout the whole day.

In no way am I saying that serving is evil. But true service (and any form of serving Jesus and others) should be born out of time and space at the feet of Jesus. This enhances the gift of serving and adds the supernatural element of Holy Spirit.

So, are you Mary or Martha? Are you focused on Jesus, or distracted from Him by life itself. Let me encourage you. Like Mary, choose the good part. Choose the only thing necessary which can NEVER be taken away from you!

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Monday, February 7, 2022

Honduras Outreach 2022 Report

 

Harvest Missions' recent outreach to Honduras, March 11th - 18th was very successful! We made new contacts in new areas. What a blessing! In addition we ministered to many children in various places. We were extremely blessed by Pastor Manfredy Zelay and his incredible staff as they saw that our area need was met while we were there.
 
 Our 5-person team consisted of one from Mississippi, two from the Dominican Republic, and two from Alabama. God orchestrated and coordinated the team to do exactly what He wanted done. There were some physical challenges, but all were overcome by the blood of Jesus and His incredible power!
 
We were able to minister in three churches while there. God moved tremendously. One of the highlights of our outreach was the very special Pastor's banquet we held our last night in Honduras. What a blessing to spend part of the day and the evening with these Pastors. One pastor and some of his staff came all the way from the North Coast of Honduras. This required an 8-hour bus trip, one way!
 
Of course, another highlight of our trip was the afternoon we spent in the village of Concordia with the awesome children! None of our 11 outreaches (so far) has been without this special time with the children!

Thank you for ALL the prayers before, during, and after our outreach. They clearly made the difference!

Steve Hutto, Harvest Missions



Thursday, January 13, 2022

Jesus Can Heal Your Marriage!

Soon after making this post Connie and I will celebrate 48 years of marriage. We've been serving Jesus for about 43 years of our marriage. Our marriage blew up at the 4 and a half year mark. It was then that I cried out to Jesus. He answered my cry as I surrendered my entire life to Him. Connie accepted Jesus about 14 months later. But Jesus went to work to heal and restore our marriage the moment I surrendered everything to Him. Let me say as I begin this post...Jesus Can Heal Your Marriage! He did it for me. He will do it for you!

Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10) Jesus made this powerful statement just after He had announced He was going to visit the home of the “wee little man” Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus had heard about Jesus and was eager to encounter him. But why? The truth is, Zacchaeus was a rich man and lacked nothing. In fact, as a tax-collector, and a chief one at that, he had become rich by defrauding folks who owed the Roman government taxes. He had Roman centurions as bodyguards to protect him as he raided homes to collect overdue taxes. Since he was a chief tax-collector, he had tax collectors collaborating with him who were at his command. Tax collectors were rich because they collected more than the people owed, and for that reason they were hated by their own people, the Jews.

So why was Zacchaeus so eager to encounter Jesus? Because Jesus had become well-known for restoring lives. Zacchaeus was living a life of rejection and guilt for all the fraud he had been committing against his own people. Even though he had become wealthy, he was sick and tired of living in total shame. When he heard Jesus was about to pass by, he desperately wanted to see Him. The Bible says he was a very small man, so he climbed up into a Sycamore tree in order to get a glimpse of the man who restored lives, as He was passing by. You know the story. Jesus stopped, looked up into that Sycamore tree and declared, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”  (Luke 19:5) Zacchaeus scurried down that tree and received Jesus gladly. I did mention he was a crook didn’t I? The religious folks standing around were grumbling about Jesus going to the home of a man who was a sinner. Imagine that!

The fact that Jesus gave Zacchaeus His undivided, compassionate attention touched his heart. He proclaimed in the presence of the crowd, Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much." (Luke 19:8) Wow! A crooked tax-collector saying, “If I have defrauded anyone!” Zacchaeus meant it however, because Jesus was restoring his heart, and his life to that of being a son of Abraham! Jesus said, Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:9-10)

Zacchaeus wasn’t eternally saved that day because Jesus had not yet offered Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind on the cross. But Zacchaeus was saved that day. The word for saved is from the Greek word sozo. Sozo means: “To save, to deliver, to preserve, to make whole, to heal, to protect”. On this side of the cross, sozo can mean “eternal salvation” as well.

If you look closely at the Bible you will notice something very special about Jesus. When He was physically on the planet, He didn’t save souls. He restored lives. Yes, He came to bear our sins on the cross and make it possible for you and me to be eternally saved. He did that at the end of His life and ministry on earth. But when He was here He made people whole. He freed people from demonic bondage. He worked miracles that affected lives immediately. Listen to what Jesus said at the very beginning of His earthly ministry. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) My point is that Jesus came (as He said) to seek out and to save/restore that which was lost. His very life and ministry demonstrated this. Zacchaeus was just one powerful example out of many.

The great news is that Jesus is still restoring lives through His body here in the earth. When the church was established with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Jesus continued His ministry through His church. Jesus still continues to seek and to save that which was lost. He still  makes people whole. He still sets captives free and works miracles. He still restores marriages. He did it for me, and He will do it for you! If you are married, it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve been through, or where you are right now. Jesus wants to restore your marriage. He wants to preserve your marriage. He wants to bless your marriage. He will do it if you allow Him to. Jesus doesn’t just save souls, He saves marriages!

The moment I totally surrendered my life to Jesus, God went to work healing our marriage. My friend, you must understand that God is the Creator of marriage. Therefore He is the only One who can retore your marriage and make it even better. If you are looking for help in your marriage, don’t take it to manmade institutions. Take it to the One who created marriage. He knows best. When everything fell apart for us, it was finally clear to me I had made a big mess of it all. This is because our lives were nowhere near being surrendered to Jesus. By God’s infinite grace it also became very clear to me that Jesus is the only One who can retore my marriage! And you know what? He did!