Gifted to Give

October 13, 2015

Ephesians 4:7-10 (Amplified)
Yet grace (God’s unmerited favor) was given to each of us individually [not indiscriminately, but in different ways] in proportion to the measure of Christ’s [rich and bounteous] gift.
8Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men.
9[But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth?
10He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

Gifted to Give

Our God is such a giving God. What He has given us in the riches of His grace through Christ Jesus I don’t think any of us have fully assimilated and processed what we have in Him. It is implied here that as Christ ascended back into heaven all of the those gifts, attributes and the anointing that rested upon Him from the Father was distributed throughout His body. No one person was given the whole, but we were all given the parts that by coming together and operating as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the many, might become one in Him.
Jesus says in John 14:10-14, “10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Jesus Himself has commissioned through His body a greater works ministry operating out of the power of His name and led by the Holy Spirit. Even as the Father expressed Himself through His Son, He is in turn the expression of the Father through His body that truly believe and dare to step out into this place of faith, having confidence in His promise. We are like children who are learning to swim. At first we are fearful. We thrash at the water. We spit and sputter and often get into a panic. What we have to learn to do is to work with the water and not against it. Slowly we come to find that if we can truly rest then the water will actually support our bodies and we can float. We learn that with minimal effort we can maintain our buoyancy. Eventually we learn to move quickly through the water and the water becomes our friend instead of this body of fluid that we once might have been dreadfully fearful of. This is the way the Holy Spirit is in our lives. The more familiar we become with Him the more at home we feel in His presence and operating out of His directive.
Jesus not only imparted unto us gifts, but also He took those strong men, those oppressive spirits that once held us captive and He led them into captivity. The door of your prison is unlocked. All you have to do is have the faith to open it and walk out. There is nothing that can hold you or separate you from the love of God. You are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. Christ gave us the richest gift that any man could ask for. He gave us Himself. He literally imparted Himself to us. What we see in a foretaste and measure is to become the whole and likeness of Him. Right now it is all of us working in the unity of the faith and operating by faith in the giftings that He has imparted into each one of us. If you don’t know what your calling and giftings are, begin to operate within a body that has body ministry and you will most likely find your gifts coming to the surface. In so many assemblies the body has been dumbed down to think and believe that it is only the missionaries, teachers, ministers or pastors that are ordained to operate in the gifts of the Spirit. This is contrary to what this passage in Ephesians speaks about. Their responsibility is to bring the rest of the body into their purpose and calling in Christ Jesus and to allow the giftings of Christ to abound to the edification and the building up of the body. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
This brings us to the “why” of what Christ has imparted the gifts and the riches of His grace toward us for. He gives to us so that we in turn might give to others. This is the law and economy of His kingdom. He doesn’t give to us to hold on to what He gives us, but to in turn impart it into others. His giftings are so that we might be givers, blessings and the increase of the Lord upon the lives of those around us, both Christian and non-Christian alike. We are the pipeline, the conduits and the sprinkler heads of God’s grace and goodness that we wants to dispense to mankind through so many avenues and in so many ways. We have been blessed to be the blessing of Abraham and through us all of the nations will be blessed in the knowledge and the goodness of God.
You have a gift and a talent. You may not see in yourself any good thing, but God sees it, because He put it there. Learn to work with the water of His Holy Spirit so that by the Spirit it may become manifest and minister the blessing He has imparted into you. You have been gifted to give.

Blessings,
#kent

Blessed are the Peacemakers

September 15, 2015

James 3:17-18
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Blessed are the Peacemakers

Romans 14:7 says, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Peacemakers are a kingdom people who sow after the spirit and not after the flesh. Their intent is to reap a spiritual harvest of righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. There are not a lot of peacemakers out here in the body of Christ. Most of us have our own agendas, our own opinions, doctrines of men and will to see things go our way. Therefore our agenda isn’t peace; it is warfare, perhaps not physically, but often verbally and psychologically. We want to manipulate things our way, because that is the way we think they should be. But when you think one way and I think another and when we both think that we are right, are we going to have peace? No, we are both going to strive to establish our own opinion as right.
A peacemaker works out of the wisdom that comes from above. He or she grasps a concept that life isn’t just about the here and now, but what perpetuates into eternity. Their concept isn’t about their way; it is about God’s way. Strife, envy, division and disunity cannot accomplish the purposes of God. That is why the enemy tries to sow them in our midst. We so often speak, move and find our expression out of the emotions of our flesh rather than out of the peace and spirit of the Lord. We need only to look to the Holy Spirit to see the example of the peacemaker. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us, comfort us, teach us, empower us and guide us into peace and righteousness. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the perfect gentleman. He doesn’t override our will. He doesn’t force us to learn of Him. He won’t force comfort on you if you don’t want it. The Holy Spirit, as awesome and Holy as He is, is not forward in His dealing with us. He will work with us when we are yielded to allow Him to have control, but He doesn’t force His control upon us. Hopefully we are wise enough to realize that we are far better with Him than we are without Him. Yet how many of us keep the Holy Spirit locked in the closet while we continue to do things our way and for our own end? If we are peacemakers we are going to operate like the Holy Spirit. We can’t force peace on those who are bent upon war. Often they must go their own way until they come to the end of themselves, but the mature ones will always be there ready to help, assist, comfort, counsel and move in God on your behalf, but their nature is considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit. They are not judgmental or prejudice in their dealings, but are impartial and sincere. The end and the fruit of what they do is righteousness. They are not in this walk for themselves; they are in it for you and me. If we are one of them, then that is where our heart must be also. One of the definitions of a peacemaker from the Lexicon is this, “of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.” Are we at peace with God and man? Are we at peace with ourselves and with what God has given us? If we are not at peace how can we be a peacemaker? Find your rest in God, the Holy One. When you are at peace with Him and in your relationship with Him, then you are in a position to communicate that peace through your life, words and actions. You will stand in the gap to reconcile men to God and to one another. The body of Christ is in great need of a lot more peacemakers who walk in the Spirit and the love of the Lord. If you want to win your argument and your way by being louder, more aggressive and insistent or through the use of manipulation and subversives, you may win the battle but you will lose the war. In order to get your way you may end up proving yourself to be the enemy of God rather than His friend.
Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” If sonship is what you long for, then learn to be a peacemaker.

Blessings,
#kent

Why We Hate to Wait

August 3, 2015

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Why We Hate to Wait

Life is moving at incredible speeds most of the time. We live in a world where we have schedules to keep, deadlines to meet and goals to attain. We don’t have time to waste and so we get very impatient when we have to wait. In spite of that, much of our time is relegated to waiting. We wait in traffic, or for the bus, for the family to get ready to go, to speak to an appointment or in a grocery line. We wait at the doctor’s office, when we have to see a person to get a matter of business taken care of, for our car to get repaired, and for something to start or something to finish. We are always wanting to go a hundred miles and hour, but we are always impeded by that frustrating person in front of us. Don’t you just hate to wait? For all of the waiting that we do, patience and longsuffering isn’t often one of our strongest virtues. Instead it tends to gender more stress and emotional issues.
Now we turn to the spiritual side of our life and here is God telling us we need to wait upon Him, but we don’t have time to wait because we have a life to live and an incredible amount of demands and tasks to get accomplished. We feel like we need to be running, not waiting. Why do we have to wait God?
Since I have been writing this paper, it has taught me more about waiting upon the Lord. Everyday that I write, I have to come to Him and ask Him about what to write and then wait upon Him for the direction. Many times He may give me something right away, sometimes I have to wait a good period of time and occasionally nothing comes at all. Now I can charge ahead and just decide for myself what I will write and I have probably have done that on occasion whether I was aware of it or not, but I know that life comes from the daily bread that the Father gives. Each day I want to approach Him with, “Give me this day, my daily bread.” Spiritually I need for the Father to provide that spiritual food rather it comes through His written Word, a personal word or a word given through an outside source, I need to hear from Him. That means I have to shut up and start listening rather than just talking. We all know that we need to pray and talk to God, but do we all know that we also need to be still and listen. We expect that God should always listen to us, but do we take the time to listen to Him? Now I will be honest with you. There are times I have prayed about matters over a period of time and listened, but I didn’t hear much directly from the Lord. Those are times when as I proceed I place those matters in His hands and ask Him to direct the outcome and His will to be done. There are times when we should have enough of the Word and spiritual principles within us that God expects us to step forward and operate out of His life within us in different situations, but that doesn’t negate the need for us to wait upon the Lord.
If you and I were servants in a house and our lives were to wait upon the master of the house what would we need to do? Our sole responsibility is to wait upon him. Now that doesn’t mean that we just pull up a chair and sit down, it means that we operate in a manner that ministers and meets our master’s needs and not our own. His priorities are our priorities and when He does speak to us, we respond with prompt obedience. Now wouldn’t it be out of place for us to take our agenda to the master and say here is what I’ve got going today, can you help me out? You see many of us get our roles reversed, we are trying to run God rather than serve Him. Waiting is an exercise in putting God’s agenda first in our lives.
We are like batteries. If we are constantly putting out, but never taking in, we will exhaust ourselves and burn out. Waiting upon the Lord is like spiritually recharging one’s self. It causes us to slow down and focus on the things that pertain to life and godliness. It is a time when God renews our strength and empowers us with His life to do His will. If we are living life out of our strength and effort we are like a firecracker that goes pop and we’re done. Nothing lasting was accomplished but a brief noise, but in Christ we are like a slow burning candle giving off the scent of His life and character. It may not seem like we are anything or anyone of great significance, but when we operate out of the Spirit by waiting upon the Lord our life will have meaning and impact. It will make a difference in our world and isn’t that what we really want our lives to be about. Don’t hate to wait upon the Lord, look forward to it. It is your time to be renewed in His life and strength

Blessings,
#kent

Body Ministry

February 27, 2015

1 Corinthians 12:25 –26
so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Body Ministry

Yesterday, I began to have some gout flare up in the ball of my foot, above my right toe. It causes swelling, inflammation and pain that can become quite severe. It is a little affliction, not any greater than many others endure, but I felt like through it the Lord was ministering to me this morning about the body. I noticed how my own body reacted to the pain in this member. My hands would gently message it and my other leg and foot would take upon itself more of the weight when I walked. My mind was thinking about what I needed to do to get rid of it. My body was cognizant and responsive to the pain in one of my members. Each one did what it could to lessen or relieve that pain or minister to it.
I began to think, are we in tune with the body of Christ like our own bodies are with their members. In this scripture and those that precede it, the apostle Paul goes through quite a discourse explaining how the body is many members and yet one spirit. These many are made one and function as one through the unity of the Holy Spirit.
As I was meditating this morning on this truth I was thinking about how many times we, for instance, attend the funeral of a friend and we offer our condolences and then we often remark with the platitude, “if there is any thing that I can do, call me.” I think that is more for our benefit than theirs. We feel like somehow we have reached out and made ourselves available for their need, when in reality we have excused ourselves from really meeting any needs. Wouldn’t it be far more effective if we looked around and saw a particular need that we could do that would really minister to them in this time and then with their permission do it? That would effectively be ministering to the need in the body and this particular member.
I know that with myself it is far too easy to get caught up in my life, my agenda and all that I need to do and really miss the ministry and responsibility I have in meeting the needs of the body; rather that would be in my family or in others. I can become desensitized and unaware of the hurt in others and what I could do to minister to that need at that time. This is where we all need to stay in tune and sensitive to the Holy Spirit, because we function and minister to one another through His power and anointing. It may not be miraculous, but is often practical and necessary. Often the miracle begins to take place after we have ministered and went our way. We are not there in those circumstances to get the glory, but to minister the love of Christ and bring Him the glory.
The second part of body ministry is that even as we fill up one another’s needs, strengthening, providing and empowering each other, we, in turn are the servants of the world. A healthy body of Christ is God’s ministry and gift to the world. We are there individually and corporately to minister to the needs of others. We are willing to give ourselves, even as Jesus did on a daily basis to minister in whatever circumstances the Father placed Him in. Let us be sensitive and responsive to the needs around us.
The key to body ministry is that we all function out of the Spirit and by the Spirit. That Spirit is love and love always is thinking and moving on the behalf of others. The Holy Spirit mobilizes us as one man, for one purpose, to fulfill the will and expression of the Father. The expression of the Father is love and love meets the needs in one another.

Blessings,
#kent

Our Steps are Ordered of the Lord

Acts 26:16

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.


Psalm 37:23 says, “The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”  People of God, we have feet that are prone to wander.  We know and love God, but our hearts are still deceitfully wicked.  Our spirits are fully redeemed and delight in God after the inward man, but there is a soulish body of sin, that doesn’t want to let go.  It has been sentenced to death through the cross, but it doesn’t want to die.  It is an avenue of temptation that satan uses to lead astray and cause us to wander.  We can’t change ourselves, but we must maintain a vigilance to keep ourselves in relationship and in a place of sitting daily at the feet of Jesus.  We have to keep our focus on the kingdom of heaven and what our life’s purpose is about.  So easily our eyes and heart can turn away and something other than Christ catches our heart.   We often wonder why we experience so little of the Lord’s presence.  Perhaps it is because our time in seeking it and pursuing Him is so limited.  Here is what the Lord spoke through Jeremiah the prophet to Israel, which is for our example.  Jeremiah 14:10 says, “This is what the LORD says about this people:  “They greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet. So the LORD does not accept them; he will now remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.” Does that sound like us?  

I don’t speak out of condemnation.  I speak out of conviction.  I speak out of shame and disappointment with myself at how often and how many ways I must grieve the precious Holy Spirit. God knows our form and He knows our weakness, but that cannot become our excuse, because it is no longer who we are.  Everyday we must lay hold of the life of Christ and when I miss Him, He will forgive me if I repent, but it must become the exception and not the rule.  Our steps are ordered of the Lord.  We must find and stay upon that path.  How subtly we can be steered out of it.  Usually it is just one little step at a time until we suddenly find ourselves in the deep waters of sin and wonder how we got there.  Many times we may find the discipline of the Lord upon our lives or even the course of the natural consequences of our sin.  God loves us.  His desire and purpose is always to draws us back into Him and into His heart.  Hebrews 12:11-15 of the amplified version exhorts us like this, “For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. 

12So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, 

13And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured. 

14Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. 

15Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it—” Our Father is for us, not against us.  Even in our weakness and failing He so greatly loves us.  Praise His Name, He loves us enough to correct and discipline us, even though it is often painful, to bring us back to Him.  

If we are walking out of His ways today, come back to Him.  Even this word you are reading now is God’s invitation and cry to come back to Him.  He desires that none of us “falls back and fails to secure God’s grace.”  Luke 1:79 says of Jesus that He came, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and [in] the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Who is ordering our steps today?  What are our hearts following after and our feet carrying us into?  The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord.  Let us delight ourselves in His ways and follow wholly after Him.  “God help us to loose ourselves and renounce the strongholds of sin that want and have taken hold upon our lives.   We are marching to Zion and we must not be turned out of the way.  We behold the throne of God and the Lamb of God that sits in that throne with Him and in Him.  “We must fix our eyes and our hearts upon You, oh Lord.  Order our steps, oh God, and direct our paths in righteousness for Your Name’s sake.”

 

Blessings, 

kent

Be Kind to One Another

February 3, 2014

 

Be Kind to One Another


Ephesians 4:32

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. 


It occurs to me that simple acts of kindness are perhaps one of the greatest expressions and testimonies of the love of God working through us.  Think about the example of marriage for a moment.  Two people start out deeply attracted and hopelessly in love with one another.  There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for each other.  What changes?  Through time we tend to become more involved with life outside of each other, little irritations and annoyances begin to eat at us, our familiarity with each other begins to give place to disregard and sometimes even contempt for each other.  What was so special becomes more and more common and less and less special and appreciated.  Soon we begin to give expression to annoyances, irritations and dissatisfactions.  In defense and hurt the spouse releases their own barrage of complaints.  Little by little, what was so perfect and beautiful can become a battleground of insults, hurts and offenses.  The relationship becomes divided; each party withdraws from the other more and more till often the end result is separation and divorce.  

One of the givens in life is that even the people you love the most will sometimes offend and fail to meet your expectations and likewise you will do the same to them.  The greatest antidote to these shortcomings is love, forgiveness and kindness.  Let’s back up for a moment and see what precedes our scripture on kindness.  Ephesians 4:24-31 says, “But ye have not so learned Christ.  If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 

 Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with [his] hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:” Right here some of us may see our relationships and where they have come too.  If we find ourselves here, we are not only grieving that person we are in relationship with but we are also grieving the Holy Spirit.  You may say, “but you don’t know how much this person irritates me, failed me and disappointed me.”  You may not realize how much you have irritated, failed and disappointed the Holy Spirit.  If God dealt with us, as we deserved we would all be toast.  The Lord sees beyond our faults, shortcomings and the attributes of irritation and sees our heart.  He has determined to love us in spite of ourselves and He operates in our lives for our highest good, not His.  If the Lord were only looking out for His interests He would have never laid down His life for the undeserving creatures that we are.  In Christ, we must adopt this same mindset, where we are no longer responding and acting from our feelings, but out of the mind and heart of God.  This is an attitude in life where we are not easily offended through the hurtful comments and actions of others, where we return good for evil, where we bless those who curse us, give beyond that which others may take from us, go the extra mile and act out of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness.  These are the love and actions that the world can’t understand, because it so supersedes any kind of love we find in the world.  

Our place to develop and practice this love and kindness of Christ is first in our own homes and relationships.  Most of the time the hardest people to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving too are those of our own household.  This is most often where we will see the reflection of the true nature that is working in us.  Do you like what you see?  Is it what you want and hope to be?  

As we learn to bring every thought and action under submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit we may find ourselves speaking and acting, not out of what we feel in the natural, but out of what we know to be the mind and love of God.  As we plant these seeds of kindness, tenderheartedness and forgiveness, we may find our harvest much richer than we ever imagined.  We can’t change the heart and actions of others.  They alone are responsible for those.  The way we can change them is by first changing us.  Perhaps they aren’t really the problem; they are only a symptom of a problem that may have its root in us.  Let God have His perfect work of grace in you today.  Speak the words of kindness that bring grace to the hearer.  Let random acts of kindness fill your day as you bless even those who may not deserve it, even as the Lord has blessed you.  Take this to heart concerning your former nature, “But ye have not so learned Christ. If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 

 
Blessings,
kent

Washing His Feet with Tears

November 8, 2013

Washing His Feet with Tears

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

There are many that have carried and shared the gospel of good news, but there is none to compare with the author and giver of salvation itself, Jesus. His feet are the most beautiful and wonderful of all. He stepped down out of heaven as the Son of God and Lord of all and walked the dusty roads of earth to fully reveal God to us and to turn our feet into the way of salvation and life. It was His feet that walked the walk of the cross; that carried that bruised and wounded and horribly afflicted body to the ultimate sacrifice. It was His feet that stumbled and struggled under the weight of that cross that He bore for us. Never were there more beautiful feet than the feet that bear the hole from the spike that was driven through them.
There was a woman named Mary who had a revelation of how precious these feet were. They had walked into her life when she was nothing more than a shame and usable commodity of men, despised and looked down upon by most. When she had been cast down at His feet, He did not judge and condemn her, though He had every right to do so. He loved her and forgave her when she was the most unlovely and undesirable. He gave her back a life of dignity, respect and purpose. I don’t think there is another example in the Word of God that demonstrates the love, the submission, the feelings of appreciation and gratitude like the act of Mary. While she couldn’t love Jesus with physical intimacy, she so expressed the intimacy for Him and the love for Him she felt in herself through an act of worship that natural men couldn’t understand and even despised.
John 12:1-7 tells us, “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.
4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5″Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7″Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
In this story we see the scene taking place in Bethany where Lazarus lived and where Martha was serving. Mary was their sister. In Luke 7 we see the same event happening only it is described as taking place in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Perhaps Simon was the father of Lazarus, Martha and Mary and that would explain why Mary had access into the house in the first place. I’m sure not any woman of the street was allowed to come in. This account in Luke 7:36-50 reads like this,” 36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41″Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
This woman could have been, and I believe is, what exemplifies the love of the bride for the bridegroom. She loves much, because she was forgiven much. Her tears flow from a heart of tremendous gratitude and worship. She uses her hair, which is her glory, to glorify the Savior and to wipe the feet of Jesus. She kisses His feet expressing her deepest affection and her unreserved submission. She breaks and pours out upon the feet of Jesus her most precious material possession as she anoints Him from her body, her soul and her spirit. Truly if there were an act of spiritual worship and expression, she demonstrated it that day. She didn’t care what anyone else thought or how they were going to view her or think of her. She only had eyes and a heart for Jesus. She demonstrated for all of us what it is to sit and bow at the feet of Jesus and not just be ministered too, but how to serve, love and appreciate Him. Most only knew how take from the love and virtue of Jesus, but here is the least of women, the outcast of society that demonstrates how to minister, serve and give back love to the One who first loved her. How much we can all learn about ministering at the feet of Jesus through this woman, Mary. Jesus used this moment to show us the difference between the religious protocol and outward service compared to the unabashed expression of a heart that loved and yearned for Him. A heart that was willing to give the best of all she was or had to glorify and love Jesus. What kind of heart do we have for the Lord? How do we minister and worship at the feet of Jesus?

Blessings,
kent

Ephesian 5:25-33
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

The Prominent Woman of the New Testament

I was thinking this morning, “If I were to identify the most prominent woman in the New Testament, who would it be? Would it be Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth or one of the other godly women? Then it struck me that the most prominent woman and the one to whom the whole New Testament is dedicated too, is the bride of Christ, us, His Church.
He loves us so much that He laid down His life to redeem us for His bride. His love for His bride becomes the model of every husband’s love for his natural wife. For Jesus, the life that he lived, the love that He proved in action, the Word that He gave and His Spirit that now indwells, all speak to the passionate love that He has for us. He did nothing for Himself, but all was for us.
The Word teaches here that even with the same love and care you extend to your personal self, you should extend to your wife; loving your wife as your own body. Our wife is an extension of our own flesh and blood. Spiritually she is united and one with us. This scripture teaches us that all that Jesus did and is still doing, even His very life was dedicated to this woman, His bride. All that He has done and is still doing is to make us all that we were called to be in union with Him. We were called and betrothed to holiness, so He cleanses us with His blood for the forgiveness of our sins and He washes us with the water of His Word that renews us in our identity with Him; His mind, His heart, His love. By the sacrifice of His own self He imparts into us His own righteousness and virtue to remove every stain, wrinkle and blemish. As husbands who follow this example, we are compelled to provide an atmosphere and environment where our bride is treated in the same manner. When she submits herself to us there is no fear or trepidation in her, because she is so secure in our love and best interests for her. In that love she finds such a place of security and peace. She knows that she is at the forefront of all that we do and provide. She delights to submit, because her joy is to reciprocate the love that is so freely and unselfishly lavished upon her. Her husband has cut all ties to his former obligations and earthly commitments that He might put her first. She is His treasure and He will protect and cherish that treasure with His very life.
This may all sound very idealistic, but it shouldn’t. It should be the way, we, as Christian men and husbands should think and believe, because it is the Word of God. It is the way that Christ loves us. Since we have inherited this same love, it is incumbent upon us to love our wives in this same manner. God gave us all of His Word, but in particular the New Testament as His love letter to His bride. His one desire is to bring us into all that He is and all that He possesses. Jesus loves us with undying, unfailing and unending love. Just as He is so in love with us; He wants us to be so in love with Him. He gave us marriage to practice that love affair. In the same way that we love one another in that marriage relationship, it is the same way we love Jesus. You may think your spouse is so stubborn or has such issues that you can’t get along and love them in that way. Do we think that it has been any easier for Christ to love us through all of our issues and sins? Yet He does. His love never fails, it never gives up and never runs out on us. He looks past our faults and sees our needs. While He would have every justification to divorce us, He doesn’t. He patiently loves us, forgives us, ministers life and blessing to us, even when we live in defiance and rebellion to Him. Love never fails when it comes to this prominent woman in the New Testament. He has committed to stay with Her until He brings Her into His highest and into the fullness of Himself.

Blessings,
kent

%d bloggers like this: