Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day 1 Mary of Bethany


            Bold, courageous, and obedient to follow God’s prompting to anoint Christ before burial, a woman anointed the Messiah.  God had chosen her, planned this purposefully and used it to glorify his son.  A woman’s heart, full of love and adoration for her Savior, anointed Jesus on her hands and knees, face to the floor and washed his feet with her hair.  How long did she smell like him? Would Jesus remember the sweet fragrance while in agony, prayerfully seeking God in the Garden of Gethsemane? If once again the nard poured forth, would the smell remind Mary of her dedication, her love for Christ? Can you picture this amazing, once in a lifetime, sacrificial scene?
As her hands clasped the beautiful alabaster jar, Mary closed her eyes for a brief moment and could feel his presence from the next room.  The love for him burned in her heart as she carried the perfume to her Lord.  The hum of voices stopped as she stood near Jesus. Mary broke the jar, the nard dripping and pouring forth, her eyes locking with his as it trickled down his hair, his face, his beard.  The moment was so pure, so beautiful, it was as if time had stopped for her.  Mary could smell the expensive perfume when the bottle cracked and could feel the hard, dirt floor as she knelt down before her King.  A sweet aroma permeated the house, as it does to God, when a pure, sacrificial offering is made.  Mary did not hear the disciples rebuke, she did not hear the whisperings of the crowd, nor did she see the astonished looks of some.  As her own hair dripped with nard, never again would she be able to smell the perfume and not think of him; the memory of anointing Yeshua would be with Mary forever.
Mark 14:3-9 translates, “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. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
“Leave her alone, said Jesus.  Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.  The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.  But you will not always have me.  She did what she could.  She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.  I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. PRAISE GOD!
John 12:3-8 inscribes, “Then 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. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.  He 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.
“Leave her alone, Jesus replied.  It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.  You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

Mary ignored everyone around her and whatever the men had to say or murmur.  She would be obedient, tears and perfume heavily pervading the house. Her lips and hair brushing his face as she wept with her heart full of love and joy, completely oblivious of how this simple, but spiritually overwhelming task would be penned and written for every Christian woman to read and pray for eternity. It was the promise of Christ, I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. This expensive perfume was probably held for her wedding day.  Like a hope chest, Mary had treasured gifts waiting for the special one God had for her.  This perfume held by a woman with a pure heart, pure motives and obedient toward God, was intended for this wedding ceremony for all mankind.  We are the bride of Christ and the church a representation of a beautiful wedding ceremony.  We are to come to him with open arms, a heart ready to spend a life time together, walking, loving and cherishing one another.  God appointed this special task, the first union of a woman coming to her bridegroom, for Mary.  How beautiful, how precious God is to bequeath a woman the honor for his son. 
I do not know how God prompted Mary to anoint Jesus, but I do know she was sensitive to the Spirit for she had sat at the foot of Christ long enough to know and heed the voice of God. I encourage you to sit quietly at his feet.  When you pray, go into a place where it is quiet, no distraction, no phones, television, commuters or ipads.  Close the door to your closet and sit at the Savior’s feet.  In prayer, picture Mary and the scene for which she poured her offering out to Jesus.  Imagine him sitting in front of you; imagine that it is you who pours out the nard, running your fingers through his hair, watching the perfume drip through his beard.  Kneel before your King and imagine Christ’s feet there with the scars of nails to remind you the price he paid for you.  Use your hair to anoint Jesus’ feet, lifting your prayer as a sweet aroma to God; not a prayer for repetitious words, but a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving, truth, tears and joy. If the Lord is prompting you to give up something, give him your stronghold, sit in his presence, soak up his word, or whatever you know God is calling you to do. Do it for Jesus.  He will give you the strength to accomplish anything in his will through the Blood of the Lamb.  What are you willing to break for the Lord in his service?
Dear sister in Christ, you were born for such a time and season as this.  You were born, chosen to be a living, breathing epistle for Christ.  Have you broken your alabaster jar? Have you given Jesus every part of your life?  Is there any area where you’re holding back, ashamed, guilt ridden, addicted to substance or pornography, angry, jealous, or unforgiving to those around you? Break that stronghold, break that barrier, and anoint your King with your heart, your tears and your prayers.
As you develop a deeper prayer life, a deeper understanding of Christ and the power of his resurrection, sitting at his feet, soaking in his Word, those around you may not understand or as Mary, will rebuke you harshly.  Christian you may have a few who encourage you, but many will admonish you.  Ladies, you have to be strong enough to follow the Holy Spirit, ignoring those who do not understanding, forgiving those who mock your decisions, and loving those who God gives to you for prayer, counsel and guidance.  Do not miss the opportunity the Lord has for you at a specific moment or time.  As Mary was flagrantly in love with her Savior in the midst of men, we are to be unashamed of the Gospel.  We are to follow Christ unashamed before men so our Father will not be ashamed of us as we stand before him to give an account for our lives.
Many will not understand your desire to stop drinking, smoking, watching television, reading the bible, going to church or being active on a weekend instead of at a party.  Many will not understand your desire to fast and pray seeking God’s plan and purpose for you life.  Your job, as Mary, is to diligently seek Jesus, study his Word and do what he says to do. She sat at the foot of the Messiah and Jesus let her.  Christ broke the barrier between women and men, allowing her to listen, learn, follow and soak in what He was saying.  Yeshua never told Mary to leave or get up and serve with her sister, but looked at Martha and said, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Yes! Any woman who struggles with this world, trying to prove herself or even mocking the Christian faith believing the lie Christ holds women back from working, speaking, teaching and serving a purpose is deceived.  Jesus allowed women to serve him, told Martha to sit as Mary and Mary of Magdalene to go and tell her brothers.  We ALL can be used for his glory, but we ALL must sit at the foot of the cross, submit before his will and make disciples of other women.
It was a woman, full of love who anointed The Messiah.  It was a woman who God used to pour a fragrant offering over his Son before his suffering.  What are you doing in which God has chosen you for a special, specific task to anoint Jesus?  Are you breaking the alabaster jar, anointing Christ on bended knee in prayer and petition, lifted his name on high and glorifying Yeshua? What will you be remembered for?
Seek Jesus’ presence, sit at his feet, and immerse yourself in everything he tells you.

Abba Father,
            Bend your ear low and listen to your daughters.  May each of us know you and the power of your resurrection.  May we sit at the foot of your cross, at your feet and soak in your presence, your mercy, your graciousness, and your love.  Bring us into a deeper understanding of who you are and the plan you have our lives.  May we study and read your Word, may you open the eyes of our hearts and remove any scales or hindrances from us.
Repeat out loud and CONFESS the Word of God:
            Lord Jesus, I want to follow you, your ways, your paths and your truths (John 14:6).  I want to have the life you purposefully planned for me such a time and season as this (Galatians 1:16).  Help me sit at your cross, your feet everyday (Luke 10:39).  May my heart sing with joy in your presence that I diligently seek (Colossians 2:6).  I pray the path for me is revealed and I may be used to glorify you and your kingdom.  May my prayers be a sweet fragrance up to you (John 12:3-8, Mark 14:3-9).  I pray I fall at your feet, to learn, to grow, to listen, to love, to anoint, and to glorify you (1 John 2:24, 27).  I pray for the strength to be unafraid, bold, and courageous to always stand for you no matter the obstacles, the persons present or what they say (John 2:24-5, Galatians 1:10, Psalm 25).  I pray my spirit is sensitive to your commands.  I pray for quick obedience and submission to your will and plans for me (Mark 14:36, Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:42
John 18:11).  My hearts desire is to shine for you, and be a sweet fragrance to you in your presence as I wash your feet with my hair in service. Show me where I need to break the alabaster jar, giving my life to you, boasting only in your name and giving you all the glory.  In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen!

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