pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Opportunities

Reading: John 12:1-8

Verse 3: “Mary took… expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair”.

Mary offered an extraordinary gift to Jesus in our passage today. Mary, being open to the lead and guide of the Holy Spirit, offers Jesus a gift. We read, “Mary took… expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair”. We know from Judas’ objections that this perfume was costly – worth 300 denarii or a year’s wages. While the value of the offering is significant, the personal nature of the gift is much greater. It is a beautiful scene of one follower giving her all for Jesus her Lord. To kneel and wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair is an act of humble and loving servanthood.

As we also read, Mary is helping to prepare Jesus for burial. Mary senses that Jesus is making His final stop at their house as He heads to Jerusalem for the last time. In her offering, Mary is joining Jesus on His journey.

We too will find ourselves in places and in moments where we have the opportunity to give generously to another. Our gift need not be worth a year’s wages although it could be if led and guided by the Holy Spirit. For some, such a gift is possible. Ultimately, though, the gift does not have to be valuable by worldly standards. What really matters is what is behind the gift. Mary’s gift came out of her love for Jesus as Lord and Savior. The gift would have been just as significant if it were inexpensive perfume. When we see a need or are led by the Holy Spirit to give generously and graciously and sacrificially and from the heart, our gift can be extraordinary too. A relatively small financial gift or the gift of our presence or the time we help out physically in a time of need – these offerings or gifts can make “all the difference in the world” to the person or persons impacted.

When we find ourselves in those opportunities, when led and guided by the Holy Spirit, may we too give all we can for the building of the kingdom here and in the future.

Prayer: Generous Lord, may your Spirit ever guide me to be loving and kind and giving to all I meet. Whether by my physical hands and feet or by my presence or by my monetary giving, make me responsive to the needs I encounter. May it be so. Amen.


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Our Rock and Redeemer

God is perfect.  Therefore we find perfection in His laws and in all of His ways.  The psalmist extols the laws’ benefits – it revives the soul, makes the simple wise, and makes the heart rejoice.  Benefits come from living under the law.  The psalmist recognizes his own imperfection and acknowledges that God does not expect perfection from us either.

The ways of God are valuable and important to life.  To the psalmist they are as valuable as pure gold and as sweet as honey.  For us as well there are benefits from following God’s statutes.  They give us both guidance and protection.  Life is smoother and within a peaceful contentment more often when we seek to follow His ways.  Yet we cannot always follow all of His laws and the psalmist admits this as well.

The psalmist goes beyond this admission as he asks God to find his hidden faults too.  The obvious sins are just that.  But we sometimes sin in ways that we do not even realize and he is asking for forgiveness for these as well.  Perhaps these are things like the missed opportunity we did not even see or the words that hurt another unbeknownst to us.  We too need what the psalmist asks for – forgiveness from sins and protection against future sins.

The psalmist closes with a popular and well-known prayer: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Today, may this be our prayer.  May the words in our mouths and in our minds be acceptable to God.  May all of our thoughts and ideas honor God.  And may we find rest, peace, comfort, and love in the Lord, our rock and our redeemer.

Scripture reference: Psalm 19: 7-14