In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Matthew 26:12 ESV
Many years ago, as we sat through an average Sunday service, our pastor began to preach about the cross. First, he described the terrible beating that Jesus received and how the crown of thorns was pressed down on his head. “Next they took the nails” our pastor went on, “And they drove them through His hands….” he was suddenly interrupted by a tiny voice that pierced the silence of our congregation. “EEEW!” a little girl in the back cried out. The rest of us heard the message that morning, but I believe that in God’s eyes, she was the only person actually listening!
In our scripture passage today, it seems that just like that little girl; only Mary seemed to be listening. Jesus had told them many times that He was going to Jerusalem to die. But only Mary, understood that Jesus would not be with them much longer. Only Mary, who chose to sit at Jesus’ feet listening, did something to give Him her blessing while she still had time. Other people were celebrating and relaxing at the supper, but Mary poured out her alabaster box of perfumed oil on the Master’s feet. Everybody listens to someone. Who are you listening to today? If we want to fill the room with the fragrance of the presence of Christ, it all depends on listening at His feet and then acting on the words we hear!
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.Luke 18:10 KJV
Two men went into the temple to pray One a Conservative The other no way! The conservative began with his voice filled with pride And thanked God that he Was an upstanding guy! Then he started to talk All about his good deeds The money he gave and the time on his knees And how he’d avoided the casino and bar And being holier than All those liberals by far!
But the guy in the back Heard his words and just wept He knew he’s messed up and was way out of step With the way that the Savior would want him to live So he just bowed his head and cried “Jesus forgive!”
Now Jesus asks us to consider these guys When we go to church and are wondering why God seems far away and we can’t wait to go And after it all we leave feeling low
Because God made His church Not just for the good Who have dotted their i’s and done all that they should Instead it’s a clinic for the hurting and lost Who are looking for help whatever the cost
So don’t you give up God’s is faithful and true If we just tell Him the truth He'll make everything new!
He'll Make Everything New By Peter Caligiuri Copyright 2023 all rights reserved
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2 NIV
Eighty-one years ago, no one was ready for change, least of all, eleven-year-old Diane. That Sunday morning, she was just slowly waking up. She snuggled down under the blankets quietly thinking of how wonderful it was that her father’s job with the Navy had moved them all the way from Connecticut to Hawaii. The temperature the day before had been in the upper 70’s, and compared to snowy New England, that felt like heaven! Just then she heard the sound of a plane flying strangely low over their house, and she sat up and looking out the window caught a glimpse of a plane as it turned towards the harbor and noticed a bright red circle painted on its wings. Next the phone began ringing, and she heard the door to her parent’s room creak open and her dad’s footsteps padding into the kitchen to answer. Diane slipped out of bed and tip-toed to her doorway, just in time to see daddy running back into the bedroom and hear her mom yelling for her and her older brother Don to wake up. Then from the direction of the harbor, came the sound of explosions, such as she had never heard before. Suddenly everything she knew was turned upside down. My grandfather, who was the captain of one of the destroyers which were not damaged, went out to sea and my grandmother with mom and her two brothers moved back to Connecticut and the world was changed forever!
On this first week of 2023 we are no more ready for what lies ahead than Diane (who was my mom) and her family were on December 7th, 1941. Not even the United States Navy knew that 360 Japanese planes were coming to attack our fleet as it sat at anchor that morning. We can never know what challenges, disasters, or difficulties await us this year. What we can do is pray. Prayer means more than simply sitting up in bed to look out the window. Prayer man’s the anti-aircraft guns at the entrance to the harbor of our souls. Prayer means, watching God’s spiritual radar for enemy infiltrations of our airspace and helping our loved ones to a place of safety when we are under attack. Prayer means staying spiritually awake, but not fearfully huddled in a corner, flinching at every sound. We must devote ourselves to prayer in the same way the U. S. Navy did when it repaired its ships, recruited and trained thousands of seamen and went on to win the war. With God in charge at our spiritual Naval headquarters, we can trust that He knows the plans He has for us, and we can be thankful that He will be with us through the dangers and lead us to victory no matter what lies ahead!