Anointing of Jesus

* In just a few days, Christians will be celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus. This time of year is holy for all who follow the Lord God. It’s a time to reflect and celebrate life, death defeated! This week marks so many pivotal moments in scripture – the betrayal of Jesus, his death on a cross, and his resurrection. This week also holds witness to other accounts in scripture which may seem less obvious such as Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the Promised Land and a woman who anointed Jesus in the most honoring of ways.

The account of Jesus being anointed is found among the gospels, tucked into Jesus’ final days walking earth as Son of God clothed with flesh and bone. Just a few days before Jesus’ death on a cross he was in Bethany, seated at a table with his disciples, when a woman approaches Jesus and anoints him with precious oil. This wasn’t just olive oil, found in abundance, but costly and extravagant pure nard.

“So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3

As the fragrance of this costly oil began to permeate the room, it would have permeated our Savior too. Bathing was not a daily habit in the culture, that fragrance very well could have lingered with the Lord several days, all the way to the tomb.

Some responded with indignation as the alabaster jar of expensive perfume was broken and poured out as act of love, adoration, worship, and devotion. With human eyes it was seen as a waste, finances that could have been liquidated and used to feed the poor. Jesus responded with gratitude and honor, while knowing his earthly death was near. She had anointed Jesus in advance for his burial.

I wonder if the fragrance of that anointing lingered on Jesus as he prayed to our Father? And perhaps as he walked into the room before Pilate or the Sanhedrin for judgement. Then, as Jesus carried his cross while being mocked – did that sweet fragrance of anointing linger even then? What about when his glorious light rose up to darken the door of the tomb? An eternal shadow over death. Did that fragrance of anointing linger even then?

Today, I have a two questions for you.

The anointing permeated our Lord Jesus, and the fragrance filled the house. We are called to be temples or homes to the living God, built firmly on the foundation of Christ. Are we allowing his “scent” to permeate us?

Lavish love and adoration was expressed as the jar was broken and poured out on Jesus. In what way might you be allowing yourself to be broken and poured out in worship to him for no other reason than because you love him?

Would you join me in reading the following scriptures this week and dialoging on those questions with the Lord? Let’s praise him in lavish worship this week through His Word as we celebrate His resurrection!

With gratitude,

Amy

Matt 26:6-13 | Mark 14:3-9 | John 12: 1-8

*A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a friend’s church and listen to a visiting pastor, Joh Nelson from Soma Community Church in Jefferson City, MO. I tell you this because the original idea behind this post is not mine, but another. The general thought of the fragrance of anointing oil lingering with Jesus through his crucifixion was so compelling that it lingered with me and wanted to share it with you.

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“Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of perfume.” John 12:3 (CSB) Photo by Roberta Sorge on Unsplash
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Running Into God’s Presence

It feels so good to be in a rhythm. Our farm has a seasonal rhythm, but it keeps us moving on the fly a good bit. I appreciate little windows of scheduled time for things like regular exercise and school days. One morning, I took a detour from the normal routine and decided to go for a run in a different place and at a different time. It seemed to work a little better given the schedule we were facing for that particular day. Bundling up due to cooler temperatures, I headed out and followed the school bus down the road after making a stop at the neighbor’s.

The air was crisp, the sky holding both the sun and moon simultaneously. Over halfway through my run, I was facing due west with the sun at my back. A long shadow was cast before me, evidence where the source of warm light was coming from.

At some point in time we all find ourselves in a season of uncertainty. Whether it’s with our job, home, finances, school, or relationships with family and friends. Uncertainty has an uncanny ability to disorient us. Evidence of this in my life typically looks like no movement forward, I just stop without a certain direction to go. Stopping is not always a bad thing, it can keep us from getting lost. But for me, it’s easy to get distracted then lose focus and become lazy if I stop for too long. How about you?

Running towards my shadow that morning brought to mind the understanding that in God there is no darkness. Running towards that shadow, it was blatantly obvious where the source of light was located – directly behind me. There was certainty in the direction I was going.

When we are faced with uncertainty in our lives. I’m confident that in those seasons we can do one of two things, open ourselves up to the enemy’s attacks by getting distracted or sidetracked, or we can diligently and patiently seek for a source of light in the darkness. Darkness is simply the absence of light.  We are never absent from the Lord who is light, and in Him there is no darkness.

What would happen if we focused on Him when we felt feelings and seasons of uncertainty rise up in the situations around us? Focusing on the Lord and seeking light may allow us to move forward well. It may be one little bitty step at a time with one faith-filled prayer. Perhaps by doing so, we will not get stuck or tempted to veer off course in an attempt to control or force those uncertainties into certainty.

We serve a God who is mighty and strong, He is in control and we can trust his steadfastness. What if the seasons of uncertainty and shadows in life became evidence of God’s presence rather than enveloping darkness. Let’s fight well by staying focused on the One who was, who is, and is to come – in Him there is no darkness, just pure light and love for his beloved children.

Here are three verses that keep coming to mind. Perhaps they will be good reminders for you too.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

“This is the message that we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him.” 1 John 1:5 (CSB)

My detour that morning and shifting shadow along the way became a good reminder that God and his light are always present, even in the discomfort of the unknown.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we are promised His presence. How has God reminded you of His presence lately?

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“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105  // Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

Waiting with Expectant Hope

Recently, my mom took several flights traveling throughout the south-east and mid-western United States. There were many delays due to weather, airport shutdowns, and various other factors. Needless to say, she experienced plenty of waiting and ample displays of humanity in distress. Waiting well is hard. Stress and fear have a way of crashing over us in the blink of an eye, especially if we aren’t paying attention and mindful. We lose our marbles! Guilty!

Waiting is part of life. I don’t know a single person who isn’t waiting for something. We’re waiting for our flight to take off, waiting for a phone call, healing, to finish school, retirement, or the next step – Whatever that looks like. Maybe we’re just waiting for lunch time! It can be tempting to look at waiting as a waste of time. Waiting can present time for anger and fear to grow in our minds, occasionally spilling out and on to others.

If waiting were viewed through the lens of God’s providence, our waiting goes much deeper. What if the practice of waiting became an opportunity for us to trust God more and grow in relationship with Him? Rather than grow impatience, we grew expectancy and trust?

Waiting well. Tony Evans talks a bit about waiting well in his book, Detours. (It’s an encouraging, easy read. And personally, very timely.) Take a look at his list on waiting well, and being patient with detours.

“With anticipation.

With hope.

With longing.

With expectation.

With desire.

With faith and obedience.

These things, and more, dissipate doubt. It dissolves despair.”[i]

I appreciate how Dr. Evans presents us with the fact that waiting well dissipates doubt and dissolves fear. Waiting with faith puts our focus on to eternal things, rather than the earthly and temporal things. That being said, our waiting is almost always with the earthly and the unknown. Though mysterious, God’s character is known and revealed through His Word – His goodness surpasses all. That is what we can put our hope, longing, desire, and expectations in.

“I wait for the LORD; I wait and put my hope in his word.

I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning –

more than watchmen for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the LORD.

For there is faithful love with the LORD,

and with him is redemption in abundance.”

Psalm 130:5-7 (CSB)

As watchmen on the wall of a city, I can imagine that it would be easy to let our imagination run rampant during the wait for dawn. Those wee hours before daylight, darkness doesn’t seem to have an end. It’s always coldest just before dawn. We grow desperate for light. If you’ve ever waited in the wee hours of the morning after a long night with a sick child, you know the feeling. Desperation and exhaustion.

Will today be the day for __________ ?

Let’s be expectant for God to show up in the unexpected, and in unexpected ways.

What are you waiting for, with God? What promise are you faithfully standing on? Would you join me with hope and expectancy, trusting in His providence and sovereignty as we wait?

He is our God of faithful love, and with Him is redemption in abundance!

Love you so much, siblings in Christ.

With Gratitude,

Amy

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[i] Evans, Tony. (2017) Detours, The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny (pg. 169). Nashville, TN, B&H Publishing.

Constant Companion

Do you ever feel completely alone and lost? Whether physically or mentally, feelings of being alone or away from God’s presence can be incredibly overwhelming. It’s easy to get stuck in that rut of thinking when our earthly plans, or even plans that we believe with 100% certainty that God is ordaining, go totally awry with a dramatic life detour.

Don’t you just love when God begins to speak something over you in not one but two places. Presently, I’ve been reading Genesis in during my quiet time, and for fun it’s been Tony Evan’s book, Detours. (It’s an easy and relevant read. Go for it.) The story of Joseph came up simultaneously over the past week, in both locations.

While in Genesis 39 the phrase, “The LORD was with Joseph” stuck out to me like a bruised thumb. In fact, it’s used three times in that particular chapter. This covenant making, covenant keeping LORD proclaims through scripture that he was continually with Joseph in times where most would feel lost and alone.

As Joseph was being sold as a slave to Potiphar, an officer to Pharaoh in Egypt, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:2)

As Joseph was being accused, stripped of his responsibilities in Pharaoh’s house, and thrown into prison, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:21)

As he served in prison, “The LORD was with Joseph”. (Genesis 39:23)

Throughout these detours into slavery and prison, Joseph’s respect and desire to serve God is revealed. Out of his fortitude and desire to not sin against God, Joseph stands for what he believes to be true – no matter the cost. I believe we see a maturity taking place as God provides opportunities for growth in his faith and character.

Joseph’s big mouth and haughty attitude got him into trouble in the first place (Gen. 37), but God never left his side. We are all a work in progress, and we serve a God of completion – even if it takes some drastic detours to get our attention. I have more questions than answers through these chapters in Genesis, but one thing is for sure. God does not leave His children.

Generations of our spiritual brothers and sisters are told countless times by the LORD that he would never leave them or forsake them, promise. I believe that promise is carried on to us too. Jesus tells the disciples in Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always,” I believe that’s a promise we too can hold on to.

No matter where you find yourself in this present moment, God is with you. I believe that with every fiber of my being. Our Great I AM is always with us, and will never leave or forsake us.

Put your name in the space provided, it’s taken from Genesis 39:21.

But the LORD was with ___________ and extended kindness to him/her.

How might you be able to open your heart and mind to knowing you are not alone, but securely in the LORD’s presence? Could you be willing to patiently extend your hand with me in receiving His kindness today?

Comment below if you’d like, and I’ll be joining you in prayer over these things.

With Gratitude,

Amy

but the lord was with joseph and extended kindness to him.
Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash