A Beautiful Thing

   Now when Jesus was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment. She poured it upon His head as He reclined at table.  And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “why this waste?”  For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.  But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to ME.”  Matthew 26:6-10

   Just days before the Cross, before all it’s agonies, betrayals, and denials, a beautiful thing is done to Jesus.  Knowing what He was  soon to face, Jesus must have so loved this one act of reckless worship from this woman of Bethany.  It seems she was determined to lavishly love Jesus in this way.  She cared little that she was interrupting a group of men, (which was not done by a woman).  She brought the most priceless possession she owned (probably, her dowry).  This woman was prepared to give her gift totally, as it was broken and spilled out, not to be gathered up again and taken back.  She gave her gift with abandonment and with her whole heart.  The fragrance must have  permeated every crevice and corner of the room with its’ heavenly scent.

    What a wonderful response our Savior gave, as He defended her act of worship.  The others did not see.  They did not know or understand what she did nor why she did it, but Jesus understood.  He called her act “a beautiful thing”.  He told them, she has done this beautiful thing to me and she will forever be remembered for it.

      What words to be heard from our Lord’s lips!  How this must have both stirred and satisfied this woman’s heart to it’s very depths.  I wonder… what is the beautiful thing I can do for my Lord?  What has He given to me that, I must return to HIM in abandoned worship?  Regardless of what the world may say, regardless of the cost to me, what am I to give today and each day? Do I break open the flask of pain and suffering in my life and release it in praise to Him?   Or do I give back the blessings He has so lavishly given to me?  Do I keep on keeping on in that difficult situation with His joy and peace in my heart?  What is in my heart that I must willingly submit to His leadership, His purpose, His glory? What is the beautiful thing I can do to HIM?

        Oh that Jesus would say of you and of me….”She has done a beautiful thing to Me.”

 

The Heart of Hospitality

     Plunged into the middle of Paul’s exhortation of how we Christians should be living in Romans 12 are these words in verse 13, “pursue hospitality”.  It is as much of a definite command as ; be constant in prayer in verse 12, love one another in verse 10, or bless those who persecute you in verse 14.

     Why does practicing hospitality get relegated to the bottom of the list of God things to do?  As I looked at this recently, I was challenged in new and deeper ways and here is why…

      Hospitality must be a discipline that is theologically driven.  Our practice of hospitality should be drawn from the very heart of God.  Think of the amazing hospitality of God.  How, as recorded in Genesis 1, God  went about preparing a place in creation in order to welcome His honored guest—man.  God, in His very nature is fundamentally hospitable.

       Think our Lord Jesus, as He moved among earth people, again and again practiced hospitality.   While preaching to the multitude, He said, ” We must feed them”.  He gave invitation after invitation, (and still does today) saying, “Come unto Me”.  He tells the story of the father welcoming his wayward son home with the party of all parties.  He said to Zacchaeus, “I am going to your house today”.  He knocks at the door of our heart because He wants to sit down with us and spend time together.

     As welcome is fundamentally in the nature of God so it should be in us.  As He is so very hospitable to us, so we should be to others.  Isn’t grace really the unearned hospitality of a loving God?  Isn’t it the outstretched arms of our Savior?  How can we not be hospitable?  As we invite others into our homes, we reenact the divine love we have received  And our practice of hospitality will grow us into the likeness and desire of our Lord Jesus.

     What blessings we miss when we fail to obey this command! So fling open the door, cook the fatted calf (or the chicken), prepare your part of creation, and welcome with the open arms of Jesus those who come inside.  After all,one day we will gather around the Table of all tables and feast upon the very presence of our Lord…. so why don’t we practice some now?

 

And the Two Shall Become One

image   Like a Lock and Key….

 

” A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.”  This verse is spoken by God in Genesis 2:24, by the Son in Matthew 19:5 and by the Holy Spirit through Paul in Ephesians 5:31. Do you think it could be important?  I think so…. The truth stated in this verse is of utmost importance as it is applied to the marriage relationship.  The lessons in leaving and cleaving will be looked at another time, but I want us to focus on the goal that God wants us to work toward in our marriages….. to become one….Oneness.

  In  our world of individualism, isolation and independence, the concept of two becoming one is often foreign to our experience.  But it is in our coming together in oneness that we most reflect the image of God. A husband and wife each bring a plethora of differences to the marriage; different personalities, backgrounds, not to mention the totally different outlooks just because of being male and female. Our Father God wants to somehow knit these different colored threads together into one masterpiece that brings glory to HIM and causes each marriage partner to grow and become better. So why is pursuing oneness so difficult?  Why do we compete rather than complete each other?  Why do we thrash out in our differences rather than embrace them?  Why do I want to change my husband to be more like me? Who made me judge?  After all. two identical people make for a boring, uninteresting relationship. If we are just alike, then one of us is unnecessary…

   So I encourage you to celebrate the differences rather than destroy and bury them.  A lock and a key are totally different shapes, having different functions but when each yields to the other and  fulfills the purpose for which it is made… doors are unlocked, new horizons open before you and new adventures begin.  These totally different implements are meant to work together and come together in a oneness that not only gets the job done, but does it smoothly and effortlessly. As we each embrace our beautiful differences, our ebb and flow, our highs and lows , our quirks and giggles, it can be a holy adventure in becoming one that reflects His image in a greater way than we could have done singly.

A Gift For Your Husband

image

             My husband never seems to want any gifts and if he does, it will certainly be something very practical.  I love to give gifts so this can be frustrating at times.  So what is it that I may give him that shows my love and would also be happily received by him?  I think Ephesians 5:33b  informs me of a precious gift which costs no money, but would be priceless to my husband.  That gift is RESPECT… This is what it says:

“let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband (that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.)”     Ephesians 5:33b Amp.

       Wow… that verse in the amplified version says much!!!  God knows what my husband needs, so He gives me as his wife this command to respect him.  Notice that there are no adjectives describing what kind of husband to respect.  I am to respect him in his God given role in our marriage, whether he is always fulfilling that role or not.  I often share with young women to marry a respectable man because it makes it much easier for her to obey this scripture. I believe that your husband will grow and blossom as you share with him daily this biblical gift of respect!

         So whether it is Valentine’s Day or just each ordinary day remember to respect your husband in the way that Ephesians 5:33b describes. This may help you or you could write your own reminder.

R–Rightfully honor your husband

E–Esteem him above all others

S–Shine when you are with him

P–Praise him often, preferring him

E–Eyes looking at him when he speaks

C–Calling his name out in prayer daily

T–Treating him with love and kindness

        If a  little respect goes a long way,imagine what a lot of respect does?  So wrap up RESPECT for your husband and let him receive it each day.  You both will be glad you did!

 

Do You Think Highly of Yourself?

     The Gospel redefines us. One of those ways affects how we come to think of ourselves.  Romans 12:3 tells us, “For by grace  given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgement, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”     This passage is introducing the gifts given to believers for the benefit of the Body of Christ.  But my thoughts ponder how this verse speaks to believers in the area of relationships especially in the relationship of marriage.  I think as husbands or wives our struggles are often rooted in thinking too highly of ourselves in this relationship of two.  When we have this attitude, the results may be —

  • To lord it over the other, to be disrespectful.
  • To not listen or give full attention to.
  • To be unwilling to serve, to patronize, or to speak down to with sarcasm.
  • To not try to please the other, when inconvenient for you.
  • To see your own agenda, work, time, as more important.                                                         Do you see yourself in any of these actions?????

  It is important to see why we may act in these ways toward our husband or wife.  Do I think more highly of myself?  Jesus says love is thinking more highly  of the other. Agape Love  (God’s kind of Love) puts the others needs and desires, before my own. This will move into our daily life in very real ways.

  • Do I sacrifice my time to share my heart and thoughts  toward soul oneness?
  • Do I want to please my spouse in meeting intimate physical needs more than pleasing my own?
  • Do I daily cherish the other and want to make him, not only happy, but fulfilled.

  We are commanded in other scriptures to do this very thing.  Husbands are to lay down their lives for their wives.  Wives are to submit to their husbands. Neither one of these commands can be fulfilled if we are thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. Marriages work as we work through life situations, conflicts, back grounds, or different personalities.  It takes putting the other first, much humility, unselfishness and agape love.  Is this difficult? Yes, without Christ it is impossible!  But if we are His, His power to live like we ought lives in us. Jesus is our example. He put us before Himself. He literally laid His life down for us.  He made of Himself of no reputation. He thought more of me than Himself…. That is Who lives in us, so we can do this, not perfectly all the time, but shouldn’t it be a goal to live like this in our marriage?

 

Don’t Miss the Miracle

    There is a wonderful story in the second chapter of John about a wedding.  Jesus and His disciples had been invited to a wedding.  This was not just an event of a few hours but could last for several days.  We know the story of how the host had run out of wine and Jesus’ mother, Mary, decided to remedy the problem and she knew just who could do that!  Jesus seems reluctant at first, but gives instructions to the servants to fill the large jars that usually held water meant for washing.  He tells them to fill them to the brim.  They do what He says and the water the servants had poured into the jars becomes fine wine. The host is saved and the wedding continues with finer wine than was served at the beginning. This is the very first miracle performed by our Lord Jesus.

    As I pondered these verses and their applications, I saw how we can apply this story to our marriages.  The points of this application are simple but profound and when put into practice may very well be life changing or maybe we should say marriage changing….

               Invite Jesus to your marriage… every day.

               Do whatever He says do…already written in His Word.

               And do it to the brim…obey completely.

               Quickly obey…no second guessing.

                Then watch for the miracle….when the ordinary becomes a miracle.