How to be a Party Crasher

photo-1434077471918-4ea96e6e45d5.jpgWhen a Pharisee throws a party, it is an A lister. Only the elite are invited and, conversely, everyone invited considers themselves the elite. One such event takes place in Luke 7:36-50.

During this particular dinner party, Jesus was the guest of honor. There is great irony in that all of the guests felt completely worthy to be there. I imagine them sitting in various places around the room. There was probably some eating and some drinking and some small talking. I can tell you what did not take place because Jesus is quick to point it out.

No one gave him any water to clean his feet (Luke 7:44.)

No one kissed him in greeting (Luke 7:45.)

No one anointed his head with oil (Luke 7:46.)

They all treated him quite casually. They were oblivious to the fact that they stood in the presence of the Messiah. They were standing on holy ground and didn’t even know it because, when a Pharisee throws a party, it’s all about the Pharisee. This becomes obvious when Simon, the Pharisee, opens his mouth.

If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner. – Luke 7:39

All of the invited guests are enjoying themselves when, suddenly, she walks into the room. She was known in that city. One of the gutsiest moves in all of Scripture – right up there with David standing toe to toe with Goliath – was when this woman crossed the threshold of that house. What was she looking for that night?

Forgiveness?

Compassion?

Peace?

Love?

Healing?

vessel

All I know is that, whatever it was, she had come to the right place. Clearly, she had hit rock bottom. She didn’t care about the knowing eyes that watched her walk across the room. She didn’t care about the I know what you’ve done whispers. She didn’t care about the way everyone inched away lest her dress brush against them and defile their garments.

When a Pharisee throws a party, appearances are everything. But when a woman is desperate for something more, the last thing that matters is whether or not she has an appropriate party dress.

For all of their Pharisaical knowledge, she knew what none of those men knew. Something about the way Jesus looked at her – something in the way He didn’t pull away when she came near – she knew who Jesus was and it was more than she could bear. Her tears fell unchecked and no one else in that room mattered.

She bathed Him with her tears.

She covered Him with kisses.

She anointed Him with oil.

She honored Him the way no one else at the party had done. She loved him with everything she had and, whatever she had come looking for, she received it and more.

And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50 (emphasis mine)

When we come to Jesus in humility and faith, we are able to leave in peace. We bring our baggage but we leave with freedom. We come in shame but we leave forgiven. We enter His presence as that woman but we leave as His beloved.

You are loved. ❤

*******

Optional Study Notes:

Luke 7:37-38   How desperate are you to be where Jesus is? How lavish is your love for Him?

Luke 7:39    What did Simon see? (a sinner)

Luke 7:44   What did Jesus want him to see? (the woman)

 

 

Prayer {Look at Luke}

Right now, there are little girl giggles coming from the bathroom. They do not realize that it’s only 4:30 in the afternoon and we have already had dinner, are in the process of doing baths and mama has her eye on the finish line {aka bedtime.} It’s been a good day, but a long one, and I’m looking forward to some Netflix and coffee once the littles are all tucked in and kissed goodnight.

baby shoes

I’m not anxious for bedtime because it’s been a bad day. Quite the opposite, in fact. It has been all kinds of good. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. to a crying baby who, apparently, was not as excited about falling back as I was because she hasn’t slept through the night since.  But she was all smiles and happy to see me. And, so, I used the time to pray.

Through my Look at Luke non-series, God has been impressing on my heart how often Jesus was in prayer.

And when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened. – Luke 3:21

And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place – Luke 4:42 (see Luke 5:16)

But he would withdraw to desolate places to pray. – Luke 5:16

In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. – Luke 6:12

And taking the five loaves and two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. – Luke 9:16

Now it happened that as he was praying alone… – Luke 9:18

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. – Luke 9:28

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place… – Luke 11:1

It’s no wonder that, eventually, one of the the disciples asked Jesus to teach him how to pray.

Sarah Bible

 

Because how else can we extinguish the arrows of the evil one if not with faith? Prayer is such beautiful evidence of faith – believing that we are heard and that our prayers truly reach the ears of God. Jesus promises that he who asks will receive. He who seeks will find. He who knocks will have the door opened. {Luke 11:10} And what is prayer if not asking and seeking and knocking?

So, when I ask him to take my little and make it more than enough – I believe he will. And, by believing, I extinguish the arrow of anxiety the evil one sends my way. When I plead with him to fill in the holes of my parenting with his grace – I believe he will. And, by believing, I extinguish the arrows of guilt and inadequacy sent my way. When I ask him to make his presence known – I believe he will. And, by believing, I extinguish the arrow of loneliness that comes flying toward me.

Jesus was constantly in prayer – speaking to his Father throughout the day.

Why would I think that I need to do anything less?

psalm 16

When a Pharisee Throws a Party

candleWhen a Pharisee throws a party, it is an A lister. Only the elite are invited and, conversely, everyone invited considers themselves the elite. One such event takes place in Luke 7:36-50. During this particular dinner party, Jesus was the guest of honor. There is great irony in that all of the guests felt completely worthy to be there. I imagine them sitting in various places around the room. There was probably some eating and some drinking and some small talking. I can tell you what did not take place because Jesus is quick to point it out.

No one gave him any water to clean his feet.

No one kissed him in greeting.

No one anointed his head with oil.

They all treated him quite casually. They were oblivious to the fact that they stood in the presence of the Messiah. They were standing on holy ground and didn’t even know it because, when a Pharisee throws a party, it’s all about the Pharisee. This becomes obvious when Simon, the Pharisee, opens his mouth.

If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner. – Luke 7:39

Let’s back up just a moment.

All of the invited guests are enjoying themselves when, suddenly, she walks into the room. She was known in that city. She was known as a woman who sold herself for money. And, I would be willing to bet, she was no stranger to some of the men in that room – if you know what I mean.

I think one of the gutsiest moves in all of Scripture – right up there with David standing toe to toe with Goliath – was when this woman crossed the threshold of that house. I don’t know what she was looking for that night.

Forgiveness?

Compassion?

Peace?

Love?

Healing?

All I know is that, whatever it was, she had come to the right place. Clearly, she had hit rock bottom. She didn’t care about the knowing eyes that watched her walk across the room. She didn’t care about the I know what you’ve done whispers. She didn’t care about the way everyone inched away lest her dress brush against them and defile their garments.

When a Pharisee throws a party, appearances are everything. But when a woman is desperate for something more, the last thing that matters is whether or not she has an appropriate party dress.

And, for all of their Pharisaical knowledge, she knew what none of those men knew. Something about the way he looked at her – something inheart sugar cookie the way he didn’t pull away when she came near – she knew who Jesus was and it was more than she could bear. Her tears fell unchecked and no one else in that room mattered.

She bathed his feet in her tears.

She covered his feet in kisses.

She anointed him with oil.

She honored him the way no one else at the party had done. She loved him with everything she had and, whatever she had come looking for, she received it and more.

The ultimate party crasher became the guest of honor.  Forever, she would remember the day when she walked into a room as that woman and walked out as beloved.

****

If you can listen to Cece Winans sing this song and not jump out of your skin, well, you’re a better woman than I am. 🙂

A Walk in the Wilderness

I hope you all are following along on my journey through the book of Luke. I refuse to call this a series because, for some reason, every time I attempt to do a series I fizzle out about week three. It’s just too much pressure. But, having said that, if you would like to read my posts from this non-series, just click on the Look at Luke category and catch up. I’m only on chapter 4, so it’s not too late!

*****

There is something about a wilderness that just seems heavy. Even the word itself seems to carry with it loneliness and IMG_0192struggle. If someone mentions a wilderness experience, it is normally not a pleasant time in his or her life. Often, if we are the ones finding ourselves wandering in the wilderness, we begin to ask two questions.

  • What did I do wrong?

We think wilderness equals punishment.

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness… – Luke 4:1

Jesus did nothing wrong. Not only did he do nothing wrong, he had done everything right. He had just returned from Jordan. What had taken place at Jordan?

Jesus also had been baptized and was praying…a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. – Luke 3:21-22

Jesus was obedient, prayerful, full of the Spirit and God was pleased with him. My point is that, sometimes, the answer to the question, “What did I do wrong?” is “Absolutely nothing.” Life is hard, folks. There is no way around it. Trials and heartache will come. Disappointments and broken dreams will show up. There is, however, some good news. Mercy, aren’t you glad?

  • God, where are you?

Let’s look at that first verse, again.

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness… – Luke 4:1

Jesus did not go into the wilderness alone. We are told that he was full of the Holy Spirit. That word translated here as “full” means completely filled up and thoroughly permeated with the Holy Spirit. God was all over him, y’all! But that isn’t even the best part! Are you ready?

all i knowWhen Scripture says that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, that word translated as “led” means so much more than you think. The Greek word is agō and it means to lead by laying hold of or to attach to one’s self as an attendant.

God did not just point the way and wish him luck. Jesus was going into the wilderness but, by golly, God had his hand on him. I do not even let my children walk across the parking lot at the grocery store without having my hand on them. We are quite the sight – one mama with five children all trying to hold a hand or an elbow or a pocket. But that is the only way we are all going to make it safely through.

God knows that this world is a lot more dangerous and scary than the parking lot at Kroger. Do you think, even for a moment, that he would let you wander through a wilderness without laying his hands on you? Oh, no.

If you are navigating difficult territory or find yourself wandering in a wilderness, know two things.

One, wilderness is not always a punishment. {Yes, I know. Sometimes, it is. But, sometimes, it’s not.}

And, two, you do not have to wonder where God is during your wilderness experience. He has completely attached himself to you. When the enemy seems too close and the pain seems too much – God is all over you. 

When You Feel Covered in Ordinary

starSometimes, I look around and my life seems very ordinary. I get a little disillusioned because I thought my life would be somehow bigger. I had big dreams and big plans and I was going to do big things. And, yet, I feel very small in the grand scheme of things. While I know that I am completely surrounded by blessings {Like, seriously, I have blessings hanging off of every limb.}, I also worry that I somehow missed some holy assignment God had for me. Like, maybe, I’m here washing the same dishes and folding the same laundry day in and day out and, all the while, there is some “thing” out there that I am supposed to be doing. What if God had a job for me to do but I missed it because I had to change a diaper or it was nap time or it’s Friday and, sorry God, but that is my grocery shopping day? Does God even see me here covered in ordinary?

Then, I read this verse.

There were shepherds out in the field, keeping watching over their flock by night. – Luke 2:8

Read it, again. Nothing special, right? Exactly!

The shepherds were out in a field. Well, where else would shepherds be?

The shepherds were watching over their flock. Well, what else would shepherds be doing?

They were not hanging out in the city for fear they missed out on something. They were not trying to write a motivational book, build a small business, and gather a following on social media all while watching over their sheep. Those are all fine endeavors but it is also okay, for crying out loud, for a shepherd to just be a shepherd. I’m afraid that we have turned into a society where everyone thinks they have to be something more. I’m not talking about being lazy or lacking ambition. I’m simply saying that it is okay to be content where God has you in the moment. Before we focus on bigger things, what if we were just really diligent and faithful in the things God has us doing right now?

Because, here’s the thing. God loves to reward the faithful.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them… – Luke 2:9

There they were doing their usual, every day, nothing out of the ordinary chores and God just showed up. He showed up, y’all! Right there, in the middle of all of their ordinary, God himself made an appearance. He invaded their ordinary with some of his holy. Do you think God just happened upon these particular shepherds? Maybe all of the really popular shepherds, the ones with big platforms and followings, were already booked that night? Of course not. I think he saw shepherds being faithful shepherds and it pleased him greatly to bless them with his presence.

Maybe you are feeling a little ordinary. Possibly, this morning, you’re getting ready to go to the same 9 to 5 that you go to every day. Or, it’s carpool time again. Today is just another day of doing what you do every other day and, sometimes, you feel a little lost in the lonely. You’re a little overwhelmed by the ordinary.

If that is you, can I just remind you of one thing?

When the angel appeared to the shepherds in the field, they were just doing what shepherds do. They were in a field watching sheep. But God invaded their ordinary and made it holy.

Whatever your “ordinary” is, just be faithful to it. Be obedient to what God has called you to do. Then, don’t be surprised when he shows up in your office, dorm room, factory or laundry room and invades your ordinary with a little holy.

You are so very loved.

2-1