Every Wednesday, 6:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Pre-service intercessory prayer
“Mary picked up an alabaster jar filled with nearly a liter of extremely rare and costly perfume—the purest extract of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped them dry with her long hair. And the fragrance of the costly oil filled the house.“ - John 12:3 TPT
I have to first be honest….this thought did not originate with me. It began when I was listening to a teaching from Damon Thompson. And honestly, it just simply messed me up. I’ve been meditating on it for days.
Read the above verse again. As you probably recall Judas, the one who eventually would betray Jesus, did not take too kindly to this extravagant display of worship. His response is found in verse 5, "What a waste! We could have sold this perfume for a fortune and given the money to the poor!”
As critical and pious as we all like to be, if we were honest, we would have probably felt the exact same way as Judas. Especially if you were one who was poor. Think about it…..if you had a huge need and you saw what could satisfy your need being poured out in front of you, would you be quick to question, like Judas, this over the top devotion of Mary?
The only way to be sure is to answer this question, what is the most valuable thing in the room? If you answered the alabaster box of oil you would be incorrect. You see, Jesus is the most valuable thing in the room. And Mary was the only one who understood that. Everyone else put the most value on the oil, and in doing so, revealed a deep truth within their own hearts. Jesus was not the most valuable to them. He was a priority to them, but He was not their obsession.
Priority is defined as something that is more important than other things and that needs to be done or dealt with first. To obsess is to be the only person or thing that someone thinks or talks about; to excessively preoccupy the mind with.
Mary thought more of Jesus than she did the oil. Everyone else considered the oil first, and in doing so thought it wasteful to pour it out. It’s easy to be extravagant when you see and know Jesus to be more valuable than anything else you may have.
I realized that somehow, slowly, I began to think and act like a betrayer. I was comparing Jesus’ worth to things around me; arguing with myself about what He deserved and whether or not I would give it. The heart of Mary within me had been numbed by pain, disappointment, rejection, and unbelief.
What about you? Have you been walking with Jesus for so long that He has slowly become your priority and is no longer your obsession?
And He went up on the hillside and called to Him those He wanted and chose, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve to continue to be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority and power to heal the sick and to drive out demons.
When you read this account in Luke’s Gospel, Chapter 6, we find that Jesus didn’t casually trek up a hillside but that He went upon the mountain and spent the entire night in prayer with the Father. I am convinced that in that all night communions with the Father Jesus taught whom the Father would have Him call out separately from the many who were following Him. The Father spoke to Him of twelve men, including Judas Iscariot. When morning dawned, Jesus responded in obedience to the will and pleasure of the Father.
There are a few things to learn from both the perspectives of Jesus and these called out ones:
First Jesus -
1. Jesus shows us that we must separate ourselves in prayer and communion before we make any decisions. His call to prayer was upwards. He had to ascend to the Father, and we must follow His example.
2. We must be willing to sacrifice time and the needs of our flesh sometimes in order to obtain the direction of the Father. Jesus did not eat or sleep, He communed all night with the Father. We have to take off or watches, turn off our schedules, and reach past the comforts of our flesh to see His face.
3. Jesus respond in obedience to the Father. Rest assured beloved, there wasn’t one called out by Jesus that the Father hadn’t told Him to call. Even the very one who would be used to betray Him, respond in obedience to the Father. Rest assured wasn’t one called out by Jesus that the Father hadn’t told Him to call. Even the very one who would be used to betray Him.
Secondly, the disciples-
1. The disciples stayed near enough to hear the call. There are times in our walk that when we are “separated” or feel a part from His manifested presence, and we must force ourselves to stay near. In the night, fear may come wondering where He is, but when dawn arrives; if we have remained steadfast we can hear Him call our name.
2. Notice that Jesus didn’t come down, He called them up. When they were invited to follow Him Jesus was “on their level.” This invitation was higher; these men were being called out to be sent out.
3. They had to go up. We are required to ascend, just as Jesus did. We have to leave the things of this earth behind and go higher. It’s much harder to go up hill than down. There are a ton of excuses we could probably give as to why we don’t want to wake up and trek up some big mountain first thing. How often do we just stay where our coffee is in the morning instead of ascending? Do we hear Him call our name and yet keep telling Him we’ll come up tomorrow, or after work, or before bed, etc.?
The scripture says He called from on high and they came. The ascending was conditioning them for the sending. Perhaps this is why we, the church, are not walking in power and authority, healing the sick, and driving out demons. Are we ready to ascend?
Having eyes, see ye not and having ears, hear ye not and do ye not remember.
The disciples had forgotten to bring along some bread on this particular trip, and when Jesus began speaking to them about spiritual matters (verse 15) and he charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod,” the disciples didn’t have a clue what He was talking about. They reasoned that Jesus must have been talking about the bread they had forgotten.
Aren’t we the same way? We think we understand so much when in all actuality we don’t have a clue! They thought that Jesus must be worried about the fact that there was no bread on the boat. Jesus asks them (I will paraphrase), “Hello! Do you really think I am worried about that? Did you forget about the multitudes that were fed? Think about it guys!” I can imagine the tone in His voice was slightly comparable to mine when I am the forty days He fasted in the wilderness. He definitely could’ve lasted on this short trip.
“Do you not remember?” Jesus says. Of course, as soon as He said that, they all remembered. I can see their eyes opening wide and saying, “Oh yeah!” This is where I want us to concentrate today. The definition for remember does not only mean to recall, but it also means to ‘rehearse.’ We are fortunate today because we have the Word of God readily available to us. Let’s say if today something occurred, and we immediately thought, “Oh no! We aren’t going to have ________!” That blank can be filled in with a multitude of things—money, peace, joy, victory, deliverance, health, etc. As soon as that thought comes, we need to rehearse the Word. We need to go to the Word and get the Truth. The Word of God is what allows us to see Jesus, to hear Jesus, and remember what Jesus does, did, and said. We rehearse His Word.
If the disciples had rehearsed what had happened previously, they would have known not to be concerned about the lack of bread. That is what Jesus wants us to do today. Too often though we are wringing our hands nervously and assuming we know everything. And Jesus has to get our attention by saying, “Hey, don’t you remember?” If not, you can refresh your memory by opening the Word of God. You will be pleasantly satisfied to see that whatever you are lacking can be filled with Him and by Him.
If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace. He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up,
You know, it takes great courage to stand in the face of your enemy and opposition and boldly make a confession like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did. Let’s put ourselves in their position—You have a situation where you can choose to serve God or serve man/flesh. You may have to seriously contemplate what it is you are going to do. Are you going to trust the Lord?
These three men made their choice: they were going to serve God knowing that the end result could kill them. You know that once you make the decision to trust and serve God, this feeling rises up in you. You know you did the right thing. You know that our Father is pleased with you. You anticipate Him blessing you because you chose the right way—His Way! And what happens? You get thrown into the furnace! Hold up! This is usually NOT what we expect. We expect to be obedient and avoid the furnace! This is where we begin to seriously freak out. Our brain takes over and tells us we made the wrong choice. We could have bowed to the idol . . . what was the big deal anyway. We rationalize that our heart wouldn’t have bowed to the idol, just our body, and on and on. Perhaps we would be screaming on the way to the furnace, “I’ll bow! I’ll bow!”
Beloved, we have to know that when we obey God and choose to follow Him, we won’t always avoid the furnace. The problem isn’t always going to go away. If you only measure His faithfulness to you by the number of fires you avoid, you will miss Jesus altogether. Jesus wants you to see His salvation in the midst of the problem. Why? Because it will change the lives of others around you! There are others watching. They are expecting your problem to consume you and kill you, but Jesus has a far greater plan!
So if you have been standing on the Word of God and find yourself in the midst of a fire that you thought you were going to avoid: PRAISE GOD! He is about showing up and showing off!
For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
We are told here that it is a pleasant, or delightful, thing for us when we keep the Word within us. To keep means to guard, to protect, to attend, and to hedge about. That is what we are supposed to do with the Word of the Lord. We are told that keeping His Word within us is a delightful thing.
It literally does make you feel better to have the living Word of God inside your heart. The passage goes on to say that they, the Word, shall be fitted in our lips. The word fitted means to stand erect and to confirm. What is on your lips? Complaining? Negative words? What is within your heart will confirm what is on your lips. That is why we cannot change our confession until we begin to place the Word of God within our hearts. (Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts)
Finally, verse 19 says because we guard and keep His Word in our hearts that it will cause us to trust in the Lord. When we take the time to read, study, and mediate on what our Father has spoken to us, we find ourselves getting to know Him more. And with more intimacy comes more trust.
You realize that He truly is your Refuge. He is the place you can run to when the chaos or even the mundane are around you. Today, Jesus is speaking to you through His Word. Have you taken the time to see what it is He has to say? You will grow in love, faith, and trust as you daily partake of His Word.
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