by Gwen Smith
Girlfriends With God Devotional
Today's Truth "Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me" (Matthew 26:10, NIV).
Friend To Friend
I am completely crazy about cool jewelry, so when the Lord prompted me to take off my favorite necklace and give it to the woman who had just admired it, I tried to pretend I did not hear Him.
"It's mine, God!" I reasoned. "It isn't replaceable! Why would ask me to do that?"
My self-plan did not like the God-plan laid out before me. God was asking me to give up something that meant a lot to me so that another woman could be blessed. It seemed crazy and unnecessary. However, in this instance, through the strength of Christ, I chose to obey even though I did not want to. It hurt. It cost me big. I felt the loss.
God softened my childish heart, however, as the woman wept at the Lord's blessing. As I silently confessed my selfish thoughts, God poured a deep joy into my soul. He showed me that my sacrifice was an act of worship to Him. Blessings boomeranged right back to my heart as I humbly thanked Him for allowing me to participate in His moment with her. It was a beautiful thing.
There are just times when I would rather give gifts that don't cost me too much. That is probably something that only I wrestle with, right? (Wink! Wink!) It is hard to be open-handed with things that we hold dear, isn't it? Some of us struggle with an unwillingness to give away material things or money. Others hold tightly to our schedules, our affections, or our availability while still others try to keep a tight reign on our children, grandchildren, spouses, parents or other people in our life.
God must have known we would struggle with this because His Word addresses this issue and shows us a beautiful picture of surrendered devotion in the life of Mary of Bethany. The offering she poured out onto the feet of Jesus was worth a year's wages. She lavished her costly perfume, her attention, her affection, her time and her worship on Jesus because she loved Him. He was her Savior - her Friend - her Hope. The Healer who had miraculously brought life back to the stench of death that had fallen on her brother Lazarus.
"While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." (Matthew 26:6-13, NIV)
The Message version says it this way: "She has just done something wonderfully significant for me." (Matthew 26:10)
When I read this story, I am compelled to wonder if God sees a beautiful thing when He looks at my life. Does He see me do anything that is wonderfully significant for Him?
What do you think He sees when he looks at your life?
Does He see a beautiful thing?
The more time we spend with God and reading His Word, the more beautiful our life will become. Therefore, here is my challenge to you: I challenge you to commit 15 minutes a day to God for one week. Just one week. Can you do that? Read a chapter in the Psalms and spend time in prayer each day for seven days. Make the sacrifice. If you already have a disciplined quiet time, I challenge you to add 15 minutes of prayer time. It will be a beautiful thing to both you and God.
When we open the hands of our lives to His presence, to His service and for His glory, rest assured God will see a beautiful thing. When we obey His promptings and listen to His voice that whispers to our soul, He will fill us to overflowing with joy, peace, satisfaction and His beauty.
Now It's Your Turn
Consider what you are holding back from God. Spend time in prayer returning it to Him
Read Psalm 96. Read through it a second time, but pause after each verse with a personal and prayerful response to God. Journal any verses that you want to remember.
More From The Girlfriends
Every beautiful act of worship begins with the heart. If you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be transformed into a picture of God's beauty, order Gwen's book Broken Into Beautiful. This resource will help you experience the power of hope, healing and restoration!
Alabaster Box - by Cece Winans
The room grew still
As she made her way to Jesus
She stumbled through the tears that made her blind
She felt such pain
Some spoke in anger
Heard folks whisper
There's no place here for her kind
Still on she came
Through the shame that flushed her face
Until at last, she knelt before his feet
And though she spoke no words
Every tear she she shed was heard
As she poured her love for the Master
From her box of Alabaster
And I've come to pour
My praise on Him-like oil
From Mary's alabasterbox
Don't be angry if I wash His feet with my tears
And dry them with my hair
You weren't there-the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When He wrapped His loving arms around me
And you don't know the cost
Of the oil in my alabaster box
I can't forget
The way life used to be
I was a prisoner
To the sins that had me bound
I spent my days
Poured my life-without measure
Into a little treasure box
I thought I had found
Until the day-when Jesus came to me
And healed my soul
With the wonders of-His love
So now I'm giving back to Him
All the praise He's worthy of
I've been forgiven
And that's why
I love Him so much
Dr. Charles Stanley
A righteous life has no room for lingering anger, whether in the form of rage or resentment. Fury that hardens in our hearts becomes a stronghold for Satan.
The fleshly method for "curing" wrath is to either let it out (rage) or suppress it (resentment). Neither is effective for solving problems or making an angry person feel better. God's way of dealing with this dangerous emotion dissolves it and sets the believer free. As today's passage reminds us, we are to "let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from [us], along with all malice" (v. 31). But to do so requires that we recognize it's there.
Whether we are annoyed at ourselves, another person, or God, we have to own that feeling. Pretending that the emotion doesn't exist or that we've somehow risen above anger is useless. If you're angry, admit it and then identify the source. Knowing who or what ignited the initial fury can prevent people from misdirecting irritation onto the innocent.
Here are some questions to help in identifying a source of anger:
• Why am I angry?
• At whom am I angry?
• What caused me to feel/act this way?
• Where or when did this feeling start?
• Have I been angry a long time?
Once we know the source of our anger, it's time to forgive, no matter what. Fury and unforgiveness often go together, and they're heavy baggage that will drag you down. God calls us to set them aside and take up love and kindness instead. Forsaking anger means walking in His will with a light step.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org