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I love Jesus more than life, and I mean that. I have been entrusted by God with an amazing family. A husband who I am madly in love with and our three kids! My main goal in raising them is that they will grow to know Jesus, love Him and care about the burdens of His heart.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Extravagant Devotion

Luke 7:37-38
"And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with he tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume."
The Holy Spirit has brought me back to this passage several times in the past few weeks, so I have really wanted to stay in it long enough to GET it. Jesus is invited to dinner at a Pharisee's house. The word Pharisee is indicative of a person who would have been religious and "separate" which is what the word Pharisee means in Hebrew. A woman who is known to be "immoral" hears that Jesus is in town and eating at this Pharisee's house. She brings a container of expensive perfume with her and begins literally showering Him with affection. She weeps over Him and washes His feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair. There are so many culturally unacceptable things about this! Not only that she approached this great teacher, but that she lets her hair down and kisses His feet is culturally shocking. This woman was surely aware of how she would be perceived.
I have played this picture through my head a few times now and it stirs my heart in an incredible way. I imagine her hearing that Jesus is in town and her heart immediately begins beating hard. She has heard that He loves and forgives anyone. She is unusually drawn to Him... as though she would die without knowing Him for herself. Without really thinking, she grabs a container of expensive perfume and has ONE GOAL to find Jesus. Maybe she doesn't even think ahead to what she will do when she sees Him, but just knows that she HAS to be in His presence. I picture her walking into the house knowing that what she's about to do is CRAZY and that the on-lookers will greatly disapprove, but nothing can stop her now. Her heart is so full of worship and love for this man she comes to His feet and lets all of her emotions pour over Him. His presence and love fill all of the gaping holes that have been in her heart for so many years now. It's as though time stands still and she knows that in part she was created for this very moment.
The Pharisee thought to himself, if Jesus were a prophet He would know what type of person this is, that she is a sinner. Ironically, Jesus being a prophet, knew the Pharisee's thoughts and gave a parable (Lk 7: 40-43) *In my own words* The parable was a little like this: American Express has two credit card holders. One owed $60,000 and the other owed $2000. AMEX graciously decided to cancel BOTH debts. Which of these two credit card holders had the greater love? The obvious answer is the one who was forgiven more, which is what the Pharisee also thought.
The cultural norm in that time was to have the feet of a guest washed upon entering the house. Jesus in verses 44-46 said that He was given no water for His feet, but that she wet them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. He was given no kiss, but she kissed His feet, His head was not anointed, but she anointed His feet with perfume. VS 47 "For this reason I say to you her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
I love this woman's devotion. I am in a season of asking the Holy Spirit to reveal my heart and sin to me. I believe that the closer we get to the Lord and the more we understand of His holiness, our sin is revealed to us more and more. There have been times in prayer that I seriously have thought that my sins are few or serious. I know there is a major flaw in that thinking and have been asking Him to show me the truth of my sin so I can be forgiven and come nearer (only to repeat :) He has done this in a major way recently in revealing things in my heart I didn't even know were present. I want to KNOW the depth of the darkness of my heart because He alone can cleanse and transform it!
I love this extravagant devotion and love and want to pursue it in ways that might be culturally inappropriate or misunderstood because He thinks it's beautiful. It pleases Him and makes me complete! Lord, let my heart always beat harder at the mention of Your name!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My Confidence Restored

Imagine with me that 700+ people join an internet group, loosely committing to buy a raffle ticket to help raise money. That would represent $7,000 and in a perfect world, they all buy a ticket and tell at least two friends. That ends up being $21,000! Wow, the prayer movement just got a big boost!... well, that's not exactly how it went. I started the raffle, and after the first week, there was only $2,000 in the account. I then decided to extend the raffle for two more weeks and it slowly crept up. So my anxiety set in... not only will I not be able to bless the house of prayer, but in addition to that I am going to lose money by not getting what I could have if I had just SOLD the car instead of doing the whole raffle thing.
A completely separate set of circumstances opened the door for me to go on an 11 day missions trip to Costa Rica for very little money (July 22-Aug 2 if you want to pray for me and my family). I had been asking the Lord for an opportunity to go overseas for a short term trip soon and this opportunity came up. The majority of the way was paid for me to go on this trip so I prayed about the opportunity and timing and really felt the "green light" was there from the Lord. Then there was a travel miscommunication and the Atlanta/Houston ticket I bought was completely unusable because my ticket to Costa Rica was booked from Mississippi to Houston to Costa Rica (MS is where the rest of the team is out of). So, my purchased ticket is useless (can apply the credit to travel in future... for a fee of course :) ), but I had still had no way to Mississippi or back. I finally got it all worked out, but not without stress and frustration and more money.

The raffle was tanking, and instead of making money from the car for the House of Prayer, I was loosing money on tickets that I couldn't use! I seriously started thinking, do I even know how to hear His voice at all?! I felt like everything I touched became poisoned.... like when you spray round up to kill all of the weeds, but this was obviously not intentional! For several days, I just felt that nagging anxiety, frustration and oppression of those situations. The sermon series at church was on cultivating joy and I could tell I wasn't following the recipe too well! I have begun to judge if I am "in the Spirit" or "in the flesh" by Romans 8:5-7, the mind set of the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. I definitely knew that I was not walking according to the Spirit and knew that it was a spiritual battle, but felt stuck.

A friend called me and I casually mentioned the oppression I felt stuck in. She started praying for me on the phone and the stress, frustration, anxiety funk left immediately!! I was so immensely grateful to her and to the Lord that I really felt free to know that the raffle REALLY WAS in God's hands. It was as though I heard the Lord saying that what I considered "successful" for the raffle wasn't necessarily the same as His gauge for measuring. I began to believe that He was going to accomplish everything that HE wanted accomplished through it! If I personally lost money or if The Well didn't receive what I had hoped, He could meet those needs in completely different ways...without me or my little raffle being involved! What a great God; He truly loves me in my weakness and immaturity!

I love that the call to walk in faith like a child keeps resurfacing in my life. Why do I continually choose to put myself under a burden and stress that is unnecessary. It is so freeing to let Him have it ALL and to enjoy Him. As I wrote that, I thought about the fact that for MANY marriages, the issue of finances is what causes the most stress, tension and arguments. Our relationship with the Lord has been set in that bridal imagery in the Word. How much more am I able to simply enjoy Him when I trust Him daily?

The awesome part is that after I really felt free to believe that how the raffle went was no indication of it's success... because He will accomplish His purposes through it, the Lord really blessed us at The Well on Saturday night. A team from Korea with Youth with a Mission came and were a real blessing in many ways. We wanted to take up an offering for them, but they ended up blessing us immensely when just before they left they told us they pray and obey and the Lord wanted to bless us through THEM. They gave us enough money to cover two months mortgage at The Well!

I just want to say God is good! What an awesome affirmation that experience was! He is freeing me from the world, the approval of man and even my own weakness and faulty expectations. I would gladly follow You step by step daily than to have a 5 year plan for my life! You capture my heart and fascinate me with Your love! What an adventure we are on together!
this is the only copy of this song I could find... this one the Lord has used several times now to really show me Himself in an intimate way. Love it!