Devotional: The Road to the Cross-Part Two

You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me. (Matthew 26:11)

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FreeImages.com/Adriana Herbut

As I think about the journey Jesus took towards the cross, I’m reminded of the woman who used perfume or “expensive fragrant oil” and poured it on Jesus’ feet. It was 6 weeks before the Passover.

What compelled her to “waste” (in the disciples’ point of view) the perfume on a man’s feet? Did she understand what she was doing or why she felt the need to honor Him in such a way?

Judas, the disciple who would later betray him, felt that this perfume could be sold and given to the poor, but Jesus told him to leave her alone. He said, “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”

There is so much I find interesting about this story. First, the home that they were staying at was his friend Lazarus’.  He was the same friend He had raised from the dead weeks ago. Surely, Jesus’ stay there was purposeful and not just because of a close friendship. I’m sure He was there to say goodbye, but also to remind His disciples that He had power over death. The proof reclined at the table with them.

Secondly, the Bible says a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor and Martha was there serving them. Yet, it was Mary who had honored Jesus by washing his feet with the perfume and wiped it with her hair. Was it because of her love and devotion to Jesus and for raising her brother from the dead that she did so?

I can’t help think about another time Jesus visited this family. Martha had invited Him and His disciples to her home. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to his words while Martha was busy with all the preparations that had to be made. She was upset that Mary had left her to do all the work, but Jesus told her that Mary had chosen to do the right thing; sit at his feet and learn about the salvation that only comes from Him.

So, here is Mary at Jesus’ feet again anointing Him. I think it’s because of her great love for him, but also, because she had become spiritually intuned to the will of God though she may not have realized it.

What does that say about you and me? Am I listening for God’s will? Is my spirit connected to the joys and sadness that He experiences when I do what he wants or don’t do what he wants? What about when I see others in pain or suffering? Or when others feel joy and happiness?

Lord, help me to keep my priorities in perspective. Let me see what is most important to You and Your will for my life. Thank You for the love You have for me.

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5 Reasons to Wear Symbols of Christ

This past week someone complemented me on something I wear all the time. I wear it for a reason, but this person didn’t know that. They just like what they saw. It made me wonder, what do people wear and why?

Here is a list of reasons I came up with:

  1. Because they just like it.
  2. It has a personal meaning to them.
  3. It reminds them of something.
  4. It represents something.
  5. It represents who they are.

Here is examples of what I’m talking about:

  1. I like pink, so most of my shirts are some shade of pink.
  2. Some people wear necklaces with a cross pendent because it means they are a believer in Christ Jesus.
  3. Some people will wear a pink ribbon because it reminds them of a loves one who have fought the fight against breast cancer.
  4. Some people have favorite sporting events and will wear the colors of their favorite team.
  5. Some people will dress professional every waking minute, whither they like it or not, because that’s what they are.

In the bible, when God talked to the Israelites about his law he told them to:

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:7-9.

Of course, when Jesus came He changed things for us. No longer do we just have God’s word for guidance, but we can have His Holy Sprite living in us too. Personally, I like having the options I have on this side of the cross than on the other side. Though we don’t have to “tie them as symbols” on our hands or “bind them” on our foreheads we can still show other’s that we are not ashamed of being a child of God.

Do you wear something that is representative of a child of God? Do you have art work or something that tells guest who entering your home that you are a follower of Christ?

WWJD?

I have always believed that there was no way I could teach my two boys to be men. I just can’t do it. It is genetically impossible. Ever since I read “Bringing Up Boys” by Dr. James Dobson, I have held the belief that it takes a man to teach a boy to be a man. There are just some things that a mother can’t teach her sons. This belief was again confirmed when I read half of the book “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. (One day I will finish it.) A book written mostly for men to help them recover their masculine heart. Sounds funny doesn’t it? But, there is a real issue that there is a lack of men in boys lives to help them become men. I’m talking about real men. A man after God’s heart.

As an author I wanted to understand this a little bit better so I can make my male christian characters more believable. My Sunday school teacher, someone I would consider to be a real man, talked about this idea of a real man to us and is striving to teach the teenagers on his football team. (He is head football coach of our local college.) When I talked to him about it he recommended I read a book called “Season of Life” by Jeffery Marx. I had more fun reading it than I did the other two books. (Seriously, I am going to finish reading “Wild at Heart” someday.)

I was probably half way through the book when it all made perfect sense to me. Yes, I know, men think differently than women and how could I understand it. That’s not what I understood. I understood that there were more things that I could teach my boys than I thought. It all comes down to the perfect example any man or woman could have. I can now tell my boys that I can’t teach them to be men, but I know the one person who can other than their own father. That man is Jesus.

“Season of Life” made me think about Jesus and remember a time when I was a teenager. My youth director pointed out to us a few things about Jesus that I wouldn’t have thought about. He talked about what most pictures of Jesus looked like; long hair, beard, mustache, skinny man. Then he reminded us that Jesus had been a carpenter. He made us think about what it would take for a carpenter to get wood to make furniture or to build a house. There were no machines, no electric saws, nothing but maybe an ax or a saw to take down a tree. I can only emagine what he had to do to get the tree back to his shop. Not only that, but furniture wasn’t made of particle board like it is today. It was solid pieces of wood that would make a table heavy. Do you remember what happened in the temple when Jesus was angry? That’s right. He turned the table over. Not an easy thing if the table was made of thick solid wood. I could never picture Jesus as a skinny man again.

There was more to Jesus than just strength. He was a man who put other’s first. He was never there to take care of his own agenda, but always to help other’s. Ultamatly, his main purpose was to do God’s will. It was God’s will that we all have a relationship with Jesus. Those two things where his cause, his purpose in life. This is why I think thousands of men went to see Jesus and why woman were willing to drag their children along with them to hear him.

So, did this book help me to understand better what a christian man should be like? Yes! Do you have to be a christian to understand how to be a man? No. This book did not go into detail about the bible or about Jesus. Though it touched upon it a few times, I could probably count on one hand the number of times.

One more thing. After reading this, I think I will buy a copy of this book to give to every coach my boys will have. I think I’ll give it to their scout leaders, too. Not that I don’t think they are not men, but that any one would benifite from reading it. They may not read it, but that’s ok.

Is there a man in your life who almost always puts other’s before himself? Is there such a man? If you enjoyed this post leave a comment.