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

Troubles that Confront Us

November 12, 2014

Philippians 1:19-24
…for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.d 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Troubles that Confront Us

Throughout life, those near us or ourselves personally, are touched by tragedy, disappointments, hardship, setbacks, hurts, sickness and trials of various kinds. If we don’t have a revelation of what our life purpose is we can become discouraged, bitter, unforgiving and even blame God for what touches our life or the lives of those around us. Paul gives us a perspective here of a life that is lived and dedicated to Christ. No matter what adversity befalls him, Paul has one goal and purpose. His life, he does not consider his own, but Christ’s and the life he now lives, he lives by faith, not for himself, but for Christ who died and gave Himself for Paul. Whether in life or death, Paul’s life is about living for Christ and fulfilling his purpose in Him. We all need to get a greater revelation of how Paul lived his life. Most of us still see our lives as being mostly about us. In that place of giving life to self there will always be things that we are struggling with that will touch us through our emotions, feelings, mind and will. Things that we struggle with because we are rationalizing them with the natural mind and understanding. For the person that is truly dead in Christ all that really matters is that Christ is fully living through them. Rather good or bad, it His will and destiny that directs their lives and gives them the purpose for living and being. The body and earthly life are but a tool in the hand of God to work His greater work and will through. We are the callused hands of His working in the earth to make a difference in the lives of those He touches through us. We are also the gentle touch of compassion and grace that leads others to repentance. We are His precious hands and feet to bring the kingdom of God into the earth and we do that as He lives and has expression through us. The more of self that is in the way, the more of that purpose is hindered and His true nature is polluted.
Bad things do happen to good people, Bad things happened to Jesus, the Son of God and bad things can happen to us. It is not the bad things that happen that define our life, but rather the goodness of the God that lives within us. We don’t always see the ultimate and long-term purposes of God. The disciples couldn’t see the purpose and goodness of God when Jesus was crucified. When, we, like Jesus are willing to pour out our lives for others then we can have assurance that God will take the seed of sacrifice that we planted and bring forth a harvest. Let us not be so concerned about this current life, but rather living out of the eternal life that inhabits us. Fear God and not the things you may suffer, for as Paul says in Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” All of this is the preparation for the revelation of the sons of God who will set creation free. Our rest is in our death and His life, so when this life is spent it only gives place to a greater place of glory. It is not the physical death that we must fear, it is the spiritual life or death with which we must be concerned. The purpose of our life is to perpetuate that spiritual life. No matter what confronts us we live out of His life and not our physical strength and being or natural understanding.

Blessings,
#kent

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