John 12:1-3

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Mark 14:3

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

               Guilt and Shame

My choices have filled me with guilt and shame,

Now pursues me mental torment, anguish and pain.

How could God forgive all that I’ve said and done?

Could there truly be complete forgiveness through His Son?

Though His gift is something I could never deserve or earn,

Because of His grace, from darkness to light I’ve now turned.

Washed in the blood of Christ I’m now set free,

Guilt and shame no longer have a hold on me.

Kent Stuck

Shame and Guilt Anoints Love and Mercy

               Mary was a product of God’s grace and love through Jesus.  It becomes evident as we read further in the scripture that Mary was a woman of reproach, looked down upon by many of those who thought themselves far more righteous than she. 

               I saw Mary here as that alabaster jar.  Beautiful stone, but hardened by sin, shame, guilt and rejection.  We can only guess at what might have brought her to this place, but what Mary illustrated for us is that those who are forgiven much, love much.  As I see Mary here breaking this alabaster flask, I see her braking open her very heart.  Out of that formerly hardened heart flows a fragrance so rich, sweet and fragrant that the whole place is filled with it sweet aroma.  Mary doesn’t stop there.  She demonstrates the fruit of true repentance, humility, brokeness, love and adoration.  She pours out upon Jesus not only the sweet fragrance of this perfume, but the deepest expression of worship she could hope to give to Him and show Him.  It wasn’t just about the costliness of the perfume for Jesus, it was about a life, so precious to Him that would be purchased and fully redeemed through Calvary as He became that alabaster container that would be broken and the fragrance of His precious blood would be poured out to anoint all of humanity with the gift of forgiveness from guilt and shame.  “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

I’m not guilty any more because the sweet fragrance of His mercy and sacrifice eradicated forever the stench of my guilt and sin.  When we get a real revelation of what that is then we will feel what Mary felt as she anointed Jesus and washed His feet with her hair and tears.  We will become worship poured out on the One who is so worthy of all the praise, glory and adoration that we can pour out upon Him.  We will no doubt be ridiculed and resented by the crowds and the religious without who operate out of pretense, rather than heartfelt worship. They have no real clue of what this love affair is about. 

               Mary gave materially, without reservation, of the most costly possession she owned because it represented the gift of herself, her all, her very heart and soul poured out and given to Him who alone was worthy.  Shame and guilt had come to anoint Love and Mercy, because Love and Mercy no longer regarded or held her guilt and shame against her.  If ever there was a love story this is it.  It is a spiritual love exchange like no other.  Instead of her body, she comes to express the giving of all of her heart and soul.  She shows all of us that higher level of worship where what we do is no longer to earn or please, but to express gratitude and worship to the One who took all of our guilt and shame upon Himself and in exchange, allowed us to become partakers in His righteousness, which alone is acceptable to the Father.

               Are we willing that our lives would be broken open for Him, that all that we are might be dispensed to His glory and honor?  Do we have that heart of immense gratitude, love and worship for all that He has done for us?  Mary was an example to all us how that former guilt and shame can anoint Love and Mercy.  It is loving Him, even as He first loved us, giving Himself for us.  We are the products of the Lord’s grace and mercy.  No greater love should we have, than for Him who withheld nothing, and gave everything for us.  Should our lives, like Mary’s, be any less for Him?

Blessings,

#kent

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Follow Peace with all Men

Hebrews 12:14

Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

                Often our relationships with others reflect the true condition our soul.  Just as our words are the reflection of our heart, our relationships with people should be the expression and the root of our relationship with our heavenly Father.  So often there is such a contradiction between what we want to think we are our as Christians and how we really treat other people.  Can we say that we are at peace with all of those that we have been in relationship with?  Have we ended up offending, hurting, betraying, backbiting, gossiping or taking advantage of someone we have been relationship with at some level of social interaction?  Have we found people that, for some reason, no longer want to associate with us or have turned against us?   Unfortunately, we aren’t often as pure and godly as we would like to think we are.  Through careless words, deeds or acts of selfishness, we can offend and hurt others without even realizing it.  This is especially true of the ones we say we love; our families, spouses, children or parents.  Loving and close relationships are much like our reputation, we can spend years building them and in one careless moment we can destroy them.  Perhaps some of us have issues like that today.  We may have even acknowledged our offense, repented of it, but maybe the person we have offended won’t allow us to mend that fence.  They may still carry that hurt and offense. 

                It is so important for our spiritual lives and social relational lives to line up with one another.  We say we love and serve God, but do we most often work in our self-interest or the interest of others?  Are we willing to truly live Christ before men and especially toward the irregular people that most push our buttons and whom we have a hard time dealing with? 

                We are all like a bunch of rocks in stream.  As the turbulence of life and trials pass over us we rub against each other with our sharp edges, we offend and hurt each other.   Over time the ruff edges begin to wear off and instead of rough rocks we become smooth stones.  Are you still rough around the edges?  Are you still wearing on and irritating those around you?  It is often ironic how God can turn the tables to allow us to experience from others what we ourselves have been guilty of.  When we judge others, do we first judge ourselves and see how, we too, have been guilty of many of the same offenses?  All of this is a part of growing up and maturing in Christ.  The end of the matter is that if we are truly pursuing holiness with God as the Word says we should, that also reflects on our human relationships and how Christ comes out of us with regards to others.  Our fruits of actions, words and deeds should bear out who we are in Christ; by the way we treat and respond to others.  Colossians 3:17 exhorts us, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”  1John 3:18 likewise encourages and commands us, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”  Our actions speak louder than our words.  What have we promised our children or our spouse that we never follow through with?  Are we a people whose actions verify their words? 

                Sometimes we create offenses that we can’t fix or make right, ‘but as much as possible live peaceably with all men.’  Roman 12:16-21 leaves us with this instruction about our human relationships, “Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” 

                Let’s be right and make things right as much as possible with others.  Let us really walk in love toward our neighbor and fellow human beings.  May they truly see Christ and not us.  This is pursuing holiness in the fear of God.

Blessings,

#knet

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