Day 38 | Remember What He Has Done–Crushed the Enemy’s Head

 

day 38I once heard a sermon which mapped out the last journeys of Jesus.  Do you know where his last stop was before he entered Jerusalem, which He knew would lead to agony and death?  He went to see his dear friends, Mary and Martha and Lazarus.

 

Why did He want to spend his last days with these three?  Think about where you would want to go if you knew you were about to die.  You would go where you knew you were loved.  Jesus went where He would be loved extravagantly.  And that extravagant love would usher in the resurrection power of the risen Christ.

 

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor.  Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.  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.’”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              John 12: 1-12

 

Looking at the above passage, we must ask ourselves what extravagant love looks like.

 

They showed their love for Jesus by welcoming and honoring Him.

 

They showed their love for Jesus in the way they spent their money.

 

They showed their love for Jesus by their willingness to be misunderstood and ridiculed because of Him.

 

They showed their love for Jesus by being willing to serve Him in humility.

 

Mary fell at Jesus’ feet, a sign of respect and awe.  And she ceremonially washed His feet, which was the job of a servant or slave.  Mary wiped His feet with her hair.  In those days a women’s hair was her personal glory.  When Mary let her hair down to wipe His feet she was communicating two things. She was saying, “Lord, I give all my glory to you, for you alone are worthy.”  And she was saying, “I don’t care what others think.  I am willing to appear foolish in expressing my love to my Lord.”  That is extravagant love.

 

Others, also, experienced and enjoyed the fruit of Mary’s extravagant love.  Note that “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3).  When we love Jesus in an extravagant way, the overflow of that love spreads to others.

 

Most significantly, we see that Mary showed her love for Jesus by anointing His feet.

 

It was more customary to anoint the head.  In many passages of the Bible, we find that the head was anointed to signify a prophet, like Elijah or Elisha.  And anointing of the head was especially important in anointing a King, like David or Solomon.  But nothing could make Jesus more of a King. He was already King of Kings when He was lying in a manger.  He was worshiped as a King by the shepherds, and the wise men brought him King-worthy gifts.

 

What needed anointing were his feet, for he had a long, painful journey ahead of Him.

 

He had to walk the hill of Calvary.

 

He had to have those anointed feet nailed to a cross.

 

But most importantly, his feet were anointed for burial, because through death, His anointed feet would fulfill the very first prophesy of the coming Messiah.

 

“So the Lord God said to the serpent [Satan, who had tricked Eve], ‘Because you have done this, ‘Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.  [Here comes the first prophesy!]  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he [Eve’s future offspring, Jesus!] will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’”                                        (Genesis 3: 14; author emphasis added)

 

You see, Jesus would use those anointed feet to spiritually stomp Satan’s headship, forever giving victory to all who believe!

 

We will spend a lot of our time in eternity at those anointed feet, falling down at His feet, casting our crowns at His feet.  Why don’t we just go ahead and start loving Him extravagantly like that now, worshipping Him with all our heart and souls and mind and time and resources and homes.

 

After I thought all about what it looked like to love Jesus extravagantly, I had to ask myself: Would Jesus have come to my house?

 

Do I show extravagant love for Him?

 

Would He have come to your house?

 

It is significant that Jesus stayed in Bethany for six days.  On the seventh day, He entered Jerusalem.  Remember that seven is the biblical number for completion and perfection.  Everything was fulfilled which needed to take place before the ultimate sacrifice began.  And the last thing needed was the anointing for burial which Mary fulfilled through her extravagant display of love.  Once we come to the place of surrender and extravagant love, then we are prepared to see an extraordinary God work mightily in our ordinary lives.


Day 37 | Remember What He Has Done–He Forgave

day 37On the day of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, three women rose early.  They had a mission to do.  Law would not let them fulfill their mission until dawn.  They set out just as the sun began to rise in the east.  They took spices to anoint the bruised body of the one they adored.

Who were the women? What were their pasts? How were they redeemed?

Why were they the faithful ones chosen to be the first to see and the first to know?

Was it that God trusted that they would believe?  Can He trust me to believe?  Can He trust you to believe?

What did they see?

They saw an angel in a white robe. The angel said what angels always say: “Don’t be afraid.”  And then, as usual, the angel issued a call to respond, a command.

Go.

Go and tell.

And so it is with us.  We must overcome fear.  We must go.  We must tell. Who we tell depends on what He tells us to do.  But we all must go.  We all must tell.

Who were these particular women supposed to tell?  The disciples … and Peter.

Peter.  Poor, poor Peter.  Peter was still deeply wounded from the greatest failure of his life.  I’m sure the memory of the sound of the cock’s crow haunted him over and over in the waking hours and filled his mind with troubled dreams at night.  And yet the angel said:  Tell the disciples and Peter.

I envision the scene like this:  The women, amazed and overwhelmed, rush into the room where the disciples are hiding and grieving together.  They are talking all at once, laughing and crying, creating such a commotion that all are confused.  Peter, still filled with grief and shame, stands detached in the corner.  When he hears “He’s not there!  He has risen!” he rushes forward to hear more clearly.  But then, he hears something else—that same cock’s crow haunting his mind and spirit once again.  He turns, head down, back to the corner, thinking to himself, “Even if it is true, He wouldn’t want to see me.”  Shame and guilt and regret threaten to break his heart once again.

One of the other disciples finally halts the commotion of women laughing and crying, and men begin shouting at once the questions they all have.   And when at last there is a pause, he says, “Slow down.  Tell us slowly.  Tell us exactly what he said.”

One of the women rises to the position of spokesperson and says,  “There was a man in a white robe.  He said, ‘Tell the disciples and Peter….”

At the sound of his name, the cock’s crow became silent.  “He called me by name!  He wants me to know that He has risen.  Then he must forgive me.  He is alive!”  And with that we see the first recorded occurrence of the power of the resurrection.  He lives.  And He forgives.

And what was Peter’s reaction?  He took off running toward the Savior.  He searched for Him with all his heart.  And it was upon this forgiven rock that Jesus built his church.

The revival in Peter’s heart had begun.  And it would ignite revival throughout the world.  We need another revival, don’t we?

Do you hear him call your name? Listen carefully.  He is calling you.  And your name, whispered through His holy lips, will silent those horrible thoughts of sin, shame, and insecurity.  Let this truth bring revival to your own heart. Then go and tell.


Day 36 | Remember What He Has Done–Everything

day 36I have had the privilege of witnessing the beauty of the unity of the Body of Christ. When I was living in Costa Rica, we went for a weekend to a Young Life Camp called “La Vida”.  “La Vida” means “The Life” and what an accurate description that was. There was beautiful life everywhere:  in the indescribable beach setting, in the countenance of the people there, and in the message which they proclaimed.

The director of “La Vida”, Marv Asphalt, led us in a beautiful Sabbath service right on the beach.  I found myself surrounded by all different kinds of people, from all different walks of life.  There was a youth group from the United States, who had an incredible heart for worship. There were the Asphalts, who had committed their lives to missions and to leading young people to Christ. There were Costa Rican “La Vida” staff members who had also devoted their lives to spreading the gospel.  There was a Costa Rican Catholic priest, who ran the orphanage located next to “La Vida”.  And there were lots and lots of beautiful Costa Rican children, bound to each other because of a common lot…being an orphan.  We all came together with all of our differences, and worshiped in unity.  We were allowed the gift of witnessing a historic event…it was the first time that Marv, a Methodist minister, and the Catholic priest had come together to share the Sabbath.  They stood side by side and broke the communion bread together, reminding us of the broken body of our Lord.  Marv spoke of the Body of Christ….of the Unity of the Body, and of breaking down the divisions in the Body.  Together, they served the group.  Each person received a special blessing as they were served…it was if the focus was totally on that person.  It brought to mind the reality that the Cross was a personal gift to each one of us…if I was the only one that needed saving, Christ still would have died.  Impossible, yet true!  Before each of the orphaned children, Marv knelt, looking each one in the eye, explaining that the Broken Body of the King of Kings was a gift for each of them; that we are all orphans until we are adopted into the Family of God, whereby we cry, Abba!  Father!  Daddy!

When all had been served, Marv lifted the remaining bread toward heaven.  With tears streaming down his face, he said in a loud voice…. “It Is Finished!”

“It is finished!”  Those words were spoken from the cross, just before our Savior died for us.  “It is finished.”  There is nothing more, which needs to be done.  He did it all for us.  We don’t deserve it.  We can’t earn.  Jesus bought it for us.  And it is free.  The completed work of Christ offered as a gift to our weary, lost and orphaned souls.  The Body was broken once and for all.  Communion is a reminder of that.  We do not need to break the Body again, as we often do through our divisions and pettiness and self-righteousness.  In the High Priestly prayer, the last before his betrayal, our Lord included a call to Unity…

 

“My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me….

May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

John 17:20,21, 23


Day 35 | Remember What He Has Done–He Called Us By Name

day 35My daughter loves names.

It’s so ironic because for the first 22 months of her life she didn’t really have a name.  She was more of a number in the vast orphanage system.  She was assigned a “name” in the orphanage, but part of that name was simply an abbreviated part of the name of the city where the orphanage was located.  Her last name was “Yang” because her orphanage was in Yangchun City.  For the first 22 months of her life she was identified by where she was, not who she was.  And where she was was a sad place.  I hate that she was identified by that sad place, instead of by the joyful girl she truly is.

On March 9, 2012 she officially became our daughter, a US citizen, and was officially given a new, real name.

My daughter loves names.

Most every sentence she says, she adds the name of the person she is addressing.

“I’m hungy, Mama.”

“I go play, Mama?”

“Mama, mook at me!”

“Who’s dat, Mama?”

“What’s dat, Mama?”

She wants to know the name of everyone and everything.  And once she is told the name of anyone or anything, she usually remembers it, too.

My daughter loves names.

So does her Heavenly Father.  I can’t wait for her to be old enough to understand that He calls her by name.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

                                                                                                                     Isaiah 43:1

 

I can’t wait for her to be old enough to learn that in heaven God has a delightful surprise for her.  He will give her a special gift—a beautiful white stone.  And with that gift, He will give her a holy nickname, known just between the two of them.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”

                                                                                   Revelation 2:17

She will love that!  She loves names.


Day 34 | Remember What He Has Done–He Said Yes

day 34Driving down the road, I kept hearing the same muffled noise over and over.  Sally had my cell phone and was replaying her favorite video clip.  It was a video of her and her brother Joshua.

 

“Sally, what does Mama say?”  Joshua asked over and over.

Her response was always the same, “Honey, no!”

With each question her answer was more exaggerated.  This little Asian has mastered the art of a Southern accent.

“Hooonnneyyy, nooooo!” she said, with her Asian eyes disappearing into tiny slits, as her facial expressions supposedly mimicked mine.

 

I had to laugh.  It’s so funny that out of all the things I tell her each day that is what she remembers.  Every day, countless times throughout the day I tell her I love her.  I tell her she is beautiful.  I tell her she is my angel and she is precious to me.  I know she hears those things, as well, but the first thing she remembers is “Hoooonnnneyyyy, noooooo!”

 

Many Christians view God the Father in the same way.  We think of the all the no’s He says.  We focus on the don’ts instead of the do’s.  And yes, He often has to tell us, “Honey, no.”  But, just as I say no to Sally because I love her and want her to be the best she can be, so God the Father tells us no because He sees the end from the beginning.  Father knows best.

 

But today, I want to focus on all the many ways He says yes to us.  In fact, I bet His yes’s far outweigh His no’s.

 

He says yes to accepting us as we are, while gently leading us to higher ground.

He says yes to forgiving our sins over and over and over again.

He says yes to countless blessings, though He knows we may not even notice them.

He says yes to redeeming our worst to make it our best.

He says yes to making us, the bound up slaves, into His treasured sons and daughters.

He says yes to all the promises in His Word offered to an undeserving people.

 

He said yes to sacrificing His one and only Son.

He said yes to watching Him suffer and die in agony.

He said yes to His Sacrificial Lamb being the payment for our sins.

He said yes, so does it not make sense for us to say yes to Him?

Will you say yes today?