Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Impulsivity for Jesus

By Allen White

Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”

After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”

Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75

Peter was an impulsive person. He was the one who jumped out of the boat to walk to water (Matthew 14:28-31). Peter’s the one who raised his sword to cut off Malcus’ ear at Gethsemane (John 18:10). Peter was the one who wanted to build a shrine at the site of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:4). Jesus said that Peter was a rock (Matthew 16:18). Really, Peter was more of a flake. Then just a few verses later, Peter the rock was a stumbling block.


In this passage, Peter boldly proclaimed that he would never allow the religious leaders to take Jesus and kill Him. Peter wouldn’t stand for it. Everything in Peter wanted to take a bold stand for Christ, but he ended up denying Jesus three times in the courtyard (
Matthew 26:69-75).

Something happened to Peter on the Day of Pentecost. In 
Acts 2, we see that when the people from various nations wanted an explanation for the miracle that they had just witnessed, Peter jumped up and began to preach. He didn’t worry about creating an outline or handing out sermon notes. Peter just opened his mouth and went for it. Three thousand people were saved that day. It was the right bold move on the right day.

I call this personality “The Promoter.” He is the life of the party. She has an idea a minute. He’s never met a stranger. She has great ambition, but has trouble following through. 

The Promoter gets accused of being flakey, because when they are expected to act on the first idea, they are already thinking about the next idea. Promoters bring great energy into a situation. They excel at brainstorms. But, they have trouble following through.


If you have a Promoter in your life, don’t bore them. Tell them stories. Don’t just bark out orders. If you want something done, they will need a deadline. If they still have trouble producing, they might need some help.

While we need to have understanding of each other, a personality type is not an excuse for bad behavior. “Well, Promoters are more social, so they socialize a lot and don’t get their work done.” We all need accountability. We are all responsible to fulfill the things that we’ve committed to. Maybe we need to take a Promoter’s commitments with a grain of salt.

Every person, regardless of their personality, has plenty of room to grow. As we surrender our whole selves to God, He will strengthen our strengths and challenge us in our growth areas.


Are you a Promoter? Who are the Promoters that you know? What new insight do you have into these folks now?


What is your personality? Several great personality tests are available like DISC or Myers-Briggs. Find one online just for fun.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

[From the Archives] Dealing with Irrational People

By Allen White

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”

 “He is worthy of death,” they answered.

Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?” Matthew 26:57-68


Irrational behavior has no good argument. Yes, Jesus challenged the religious leaders of His day, but He loved them just as much as He loved His disciples. Jesus came to save the lost. The high priest and the others were lost. They just didn’t know it.


People who result to anger, cursing or violence aren’t interested in working through a problem. They only want their way. They make it clear that the only way to get along with them is to co-dependently acquiesce to their wishes. As long as you’re willing to stay on the bottom, things will work out just fine for the bully. That’s a hard place to live.

How do you deal with an irrational person? Jesus provides some answers for us.


1. Stay Calm. When someone yells at you, it’s hard not to yell back. But, then again, you’re not in Kindergarten any more. If the other person decides to jump off of the cliff emotionally, jumping off with them won’t solve anything. (Remember what your mother used to say.)

The Bible tells us, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (
Proverbs 15:1). This is a proverb, not a promise. Jesus gave no harsh words. He stayed calm.

2. Speak the Truth. When people are upset, it’s easy to start back pedalling and even saying whatever it takes to get them out of your face. The problem is that you lose your integrity in the process. The Bible says, “…a double-minded man [is] unstable in all he does” (
James 1:8, NIV 1984).

The great thing about always telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember what you said. If you always tell the truth, you’re consistent. But, it’s necessary to “speak the truth in love” (
Ephesians 4:15). Truth-telling is not an excuse for rudeness.

3. Avoid Personal Attacks. Jesus taught to turn the other cheek (
Matthew 5:39), then He got slapped. He didn’t over-react. He didn’t retaliate. He didn’t call down 10,000 angels (Matthew 26:53).

Jesus knew that His accusers weren’t the enemy. He was fulfilling God’s mission. It wasn’t pleasant. That’s for sure. But, it was necessary for our salvation.

When someone challenges you, points out a fault, or falsely accuses you, it’s a natural defense to point out the accuser's faults. It’s childish, but it’s natural. But, it doesn’t get you anywhere. 

If what they are saying is true, even if it’s hard to accept, then we need to take it under consideration. If it’s false, then we really don’t need to worry about it.

My kids often get hurt feelings when one calls the other a “baby.” I’ll ask them, “Well, are you a baby?” “No,” they reply. “Then don’t worry about what they say.” Now, nobody likes to be called a “baby,” not even me, especially when I am acting like one. 

When you’re falsely accused, you need to remind yourself of the truth. You need to be who you are whether others like it or not. When you get into defending yourself to false accusations, you’re just wasting your time. There’s no winning there. “For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants” (
Psalm 135:14).

What irrational behavior are you dealing with these days? Who is getting under your skin? Pray for them. Ask God to help you calmly speak the truth when you encounter them. Then let God do His work. If you need help getting started, pray this: 
Psalm 109.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Becoming Spiritually Prepared

By Allen White

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.  Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Matthew 26:47-56

Jesus’ arrest really wasn’t interesting material for tabloid television. It was fairly uneventful. Jesus wasn’t taken forcibly. There were no tazers. There were no handcuffs. While Jesus could have called in His own angelic SWAT team, He simply cooperated. Jesus had already surrendered Himself to the Father’s will back in the garden. It was a done deal. There was no need to protest. There was no need to struggle. God was in control.


Peter, being his impulsive self, picked up a sword and wildly swung. We can assume that his target wasn’t merely an ear. As Peter jabbed, Jesus’ thought wasn’t “don’t stop there,” or “seriously, dude, that’s pathetic.” Jesus simply instructed His disciples, “No more of this.” Violence was not on the agenda for that day.

Then, in a poignant moment, according to Luke, Jesus touched the man’s ear, and he was healed (Luke 22:51). You wonder what was going through the servant Malchus’ head at that point (John 18:10): “Are you SURE this isn’t the Messiah? My ear was on the ground. I was bleeding profusely. Now look. It’s like nothing ever happened.” But, nothing would deter their cause that day.

Jesus was able to calmly approach the arrest because things were settled between Him and the Father. He had surrendered Himself completely. Jesus was emotionally and spiritually prepared for that day.

What things are rocky inside of you today? What is unsettled? What answer or direction do you need? What reassurance could God provide? What is going on in you that is anything but calm today? I want to challenge you to carve out a short amount of time, even your daily commute, to surrender these things to God.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

[Weekly Digest] Galatians419 Devotionals for week of 3/18/2012

Just in case you missed something: 



Bad Baby Names

By Allen White

I don’t know of anyone who has ever named their child “Judas.” Jerry Seinfeld used to joke that if people named their child “Jeeves,” that child would inevitably turn out to be someone’s butler. “To the theater, Jeeves.”

“Judas” really isn’t the name recognition any of us want. Judas was driven by greed. As the disciples treasurer, he tended to help himself (John 12:4-6). Read more...



Stabbed in the Back

By Allen White


Have you ever been betrayed by someone? If a close confidant or trust friend went behind your back, would you really feel like taking more food in? You’d probably feel sick in the pit of your stomach. The sensation would involve food flowing in the opposite direction.

Yet, Jesus sitting around the table, predicting His betrayal, shares a meal with His betrayer. This is no ordinary meal. This isn’t burgers at Five Guys. This is the Last Supper. This is the model for communion practiced by billions of Christians all over the world. Read more...



Stressed Out and Overwhelmed

By Allen White

Death is not a normal thing to volunteer for. Jesus spoke of His mission on this earth over and over with His disciples. Jesus knew that the end of His mission would result in death. But, even for our All-Knowing God, Jesus had never personally experienced sin and death. His Divine mission was confronted with a strong human reaction.

Jesus took Peter, James and John, His inner circle, a little further into the garden. He knew that His betrayal would happen sooner rather than later. He asked them to keep watch while He prepared Himself in prayer. Read more...

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stressed Out and Overwhelmed

By Allen White

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46

Death is not a normal thing to volunteer for. Jesus spoke of His mission on this earth over and over with His disciples. Jesus knew that the end of His mission would result in death. But, even for our All-Knowing God, Jesus had never personally experienced sin and death. His Divine mission was confronted with a strong human reaction.



Jesus took Peter, James and John, His inner circle, a little further into the garden. He knew that His betrayal would happen sooner rather than later. He asked them to keep watch while He prepared Himself in prayer.

Jesus was overwhelmed. The Son of God, the Master and Creator of the Universe, the Savior of the world was overwhelmed. And, He should have been.

Emotions are just so unreasonable. Our emotions motivate us toward things that defy our logic. Some of us were even taught that emotions were scary or bad or both. But, emotion is a part of who we are.

No one should feel okay at a loved one’s funeral. We should grieve. Everyone should feel overwhelming joy and excitement on their wedding day. And, there are days when the circumstances of our life are completely overwhelming. There’s only one place to go on those days.

Jesus, being fully human and also fully God, was overwhelmed. With His disciples keeping watch, He chose to go by Himself and to connect with the Father. No person would understand His plight. No amount of ranting and raving would cure what ailed Him that day. Only a connection with the One who completely understood Him and His circumstance would help.

Where do you go when you are overwhelmed? Do you escape into a bad habit? Do you go to bed? Do you go ballistic? There is only One Person in your life that can take what you’re dealing with, and it’s also the only Person who will fully understand – your Heavenly Father.

God is not surprised by your circumstance. God wired you to feel what you feel. When you are completely overwhelmed, He completely understands.

What are you feeling overwhelmed by today? It’s time to get alone with the One who understands.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stabbed in the Back

By Allen White

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”

They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:
   “‘I will strike the shepherd,
   and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. Matthew 26:17-35

Have you ever been betrayed by someone? If a close confidant or trust friend went behind your back, would you really feel like taking more food in? You’d probably feel sick in the pit of your stomach. The sensation would involve food flowing in the opposite direction.



Yet, Jesus sitting around the table, predicting His betrayal, shares a meal with His betrayer. This is no ordinary meal. This isn’t burgers at Five Guys. This is the Last Supper. This is the model for communion practiced by billions of Christians all over the world.

Jesus treated His betrayer much differently than we would treat ours. While we wouldn’t look our betrayer in the face or speak to him, Jesus broke bread with His enemy. Why?

Jesus knew His mission. He knew that part of His mission involved betrayal, trial, humiliation and death. But, the price He paid would lead to the salvation of billions. His afflictions were the only means of redemption.

Following God’s plan isn’t an easy, uneventful journey. There are setbacks and even stabs in the back along the way. Both the good and the bad in our lives are part of what God intends to do with us and through us.

Thinking of a betrayer as part of God’s plan is quite a stretch for most of us. We usually don’t smile and say, “I know that your stabbing me in the back is exactly what God intended to point me to where God would have me next.” But, isn’t God more powerful than a betrayer?

Now, don’t get me wrong. God doesn’t encourage, endorse or commit sin. But, God in His Greatness can transform any outcome for His Glory. That doesn’t glorify the act. It shows His Power and Might.

As Joseph said to his betrayers, his brothers, in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God never wastes a hurt. He will take even the most painful events in our lives and use them to build our character and give us opportunities.

Now, what about those betrayers? Were they in the wrong? Absolutely. If their actions pointed us to a better path, a new direction and eventually God’s blessing, would we wish them away? Absolutely not.

Who are you struggling with today? Why are you allowing them to continue to have power over you? Isn’t it time to release them? Isn’t it time to release yourself?

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bad Baby Names

By Allen White

Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Matthew 26:14-16

I don’t know of anyone who has ever named their child “Judas.” Jerry Seinfeld used to joke that if people named their child “Jeeves,” that child would inevitably turn out to be someone’s butler. “To the theater, Jeeves.”



“Judas” really isn’t the name recognition any of us want. Judas was driven by greed. As the disciples treasurer, he tended to help himself (John 12:4-6).

Judas’ specific actions of betrayal were prophesied hundreds of years before they happened. Psalm 41:9 foretells that “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” We find the fulfillment in Luke 22:3-4. Zechariah predicted the exact price of 30 pieces of silver that would be paid (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-15). Both Jeremiah and Zechariah revealed that the money would be returned and would be used to purchase a Potter’s field (Zechariah 11:12-13; Jeremiah 19:1-13; 32:6-9; Matthew 27:3-10).

Was Judas’ wickedness a part of God’s plan? Judas plays a unique, if undesirable, role in the days leading to Jesus’ death. It would be easy to turn Judas into some sort of detestable beast, a Hannibal Lecter-type disciple. Certainly he was something that we could never become. Yet Judas’ sin and ours drove Jesus to the cross of Calvary. We’re not so innocent. Fortunately, through Christ’s death and His forgiveness, we are redeemed.

Judas regretted his actions to the point of taking his own life (Matthew 27:5). If only he had known that even his actions were forgivable. No one is unredeemable.

There is no sin bigger than God’s ability to forgive. What is dragging you down these days? Wouldn’t you like to be free? Give what is binding you to God and seek His forgiveness. He’d love to forgive you.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

[Weekly Digest] Galatians419 Devotionals for week of 3/11/2012

Just in case you missed something last week.



Jesus Loves Stubborn People (and Everybody Else Too)

By Allen White

The Bible teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The Bible also teaches that Jesus is God (Matthew 1:23). The conclusion is that Jesus is also the loving God. This passage, however, doesn’t sound so loving.

Jesus loved the Pharisees, Sadducees and other religious leaders just as much as He loves you and me. The difference is that some of us were more fertile soil for Christ’s message (Matthew 13:1-23). The religious leaders were obviously hard ground – paved over, cemented shut, and covered in RoundUp. Nothing spiritual was growing there. Read more...


How Jesus is Like the Gator Boys

By Allen White

My son and I have gotten into a show on Animal Planet called Gator Boys. These guys rescue alligators from ponds, pools and other places gators happen to wander in Florida. They bring the gators back to their preserve where the animals live out their days.

The main technique in capturing alligators is to wear the animal out before they attempt to apprehend it. As they “work the gator,’ it grows tired, and eventually they can tape the mouth closed and haul it away in their pickup.

Every time the Gator Boys capture an alligator, one of them will turn up the animals snout and kiss it. My son asks, “Why do they kiss the gators?” Read more...


Don’t Cry Over Spilled Perfume

By Allen White

One year at youth camp as I was unpacking my bag, a full bottle of cologne dropped on the concrete floor. I think it was Halston Z-14 back then, or was that the car I wanted to drive…. After the initial nauseating fumes wore off, we had the best smelling cabin for the rest of the week. I think we won the “Cleanest Cabin” award every day that week.  It was a costly, though unfair advantage.

 But, this cologne wasn’t the equivalent of my life’s savings. It was easily replaced with 20 bucks at Walgreens. The woman gave a priceless treasure to Jesus. She couldn’t afford to own this bottle of perfume let alone pour it out. Read more...

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Friday, March 16, 2012

How Jesus is Like the Gator Boys

By Allen White

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Matthew 23:37-39

My son and I have gotten into a show on Animal Planet called Gator Boys. These guys rescue alligators from ponds, pools and other places gators happen to wander in Florida. They bring the gators back to their preserve where the animals live out their days.



The main technique in capturing alligators is to wear the animal out before they attempt to apprehend it. As they “work the gator,’ it grows tired, and eventually they can tape the mouth closed and haul it away in their pickup.

Every time the Gator Boys capture an alligator, one of them will turn up the animals snout and kiss it. My son asks, “Why do they kiss the gators?”

I told him the men were single and lonely. Actually, I didn’t. I told him that the Gator Boys love them some gators. He doesn’t understand why. Neither do I.

Jesus’ words express the heart of God, who never gives up on anyone. Patience may not be the first word that comes to mind here, but that’s exactly what Jesus is saying.

Jesus isn’t saying, “I am so sick of you. How many times have I tried, yet you’ve rejected my word? You’ll get what you deserve.”

No, Jesus reiterates His tender affection for them. Similar to a hen who gathers her helpless chicks, Jesus wants to shelter these religious leaders under His wing of protection.

God sent prophet after prophet to warn and redirect His people. In return for hearing the Good News, they hurt, abused and killed God’s prophets. I’m thinking there weren’t many potential prophets on the waiting list.

God didn’t tire of their disobedience after messenger upon messenger was mistreated and ignored. God sent another, and then another, and finally His Own Son.

Jesus didn’t fear what the religious leaders would do to Him. He knew His mission would involve the same end result that the prophets met. But, what the religious leaders didn’t know is that Jesus would rise from the dead.

When Jesus said, “For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,’” what He’s really saying is “I’ll be baaack” in His best Arnold Swartzenegger impression. If the people wouldn’t believe a living prophet, maybe they would trust a risen Savior.

How long would it have taken us to give up on these people? How patient would we have been? How many prophets would we have sent? When would we have just given up? God is not like us. Thank God.

Maybe there are even areas of your own life where you’ve given up on yourself. After years of struggling, maybe you’ve decided you can’t change. But, that’s not God’s decision for you. God wants you to become more like Him in character – not by working hard, but by allowing the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to live and work inside of you.

The religious leaders in Jesus’ day were among His worst enemies. They lived so close to spiritual things, yet they were so far from God. They were sick with a spiritual disease and were inoculated by religious activities and their version of what it meant to follow God. They were so close to the cure, yet they would only seek it on their terms.

God will wait for people to run out of steam, out of ideas, and out of options, hoping that road will lead them back to Him. Jesus said if we were tired or heavy burdened, we could come to Him for rest. Jesus won’t give us an “I told you so.”

He knows He’s right. Jesus loves us and wants us to fully surrender ourselves to Him. Aren’t you tired of wearing yourself out? God loves you, and you’re much better looking than a gator.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Perfume

By Allen White

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of 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. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 26:1-13

One year at youth camp as I was unpacking my bag, a full bottle of cologne dropped on the concrete floor. I think it was Halston Z-14 back then, or was that the car I wanted to drive…. After the initial nauseating fumes wore off, we had the best smelling cabin for the rest of the week. I think we won the “Cleanest Cabin” award every day that week.  It was a costly, though unfair advantage.

 But, this cologne wasn’t the equivalent of my life’s savings. It was easily replaced with 20 bucks at Walgreens. The woman gave a priceless treasure to Jesus. She couldn’t afford to own this bottle of perfume let alone pour it out.

Acting on impulse, she chose to honor Jesus with a costly gift. Though unaware of the impending events in the days ahead, she anointed Jesus with the best of what she had in preparation for His death.

The disciples rationalized the poor stewardship of such extravagance. “This should have been sold to help the poor.” Of course, the question is: what were they selling to help the poor? If the poor were so significant to them, what were they sacrificing?

Sacrificial giving isn’t so popular among us. God gives us extravagant grace and endless blessings, yet we tend to hold on to what we have. What we don’t realize is we’ve only experienced a taste of what God has for us.

When we hold ourselves back from God’s purposes, we limit who we can become. When we are reluctant with our resources, we don’t experience the depths of His riches. We cling to worthless things rather than plunging headlong into eternal blessings.

Years ago, Steve Green recorded a song about this event in Jesus’ life called “Broken and Spilled Out.” The chorus says:

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of you Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on Thee
Broken and spilled out
And poured at Your feet
In sweet abandon
Let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee

What is God calling you to offer Him today? What is that part of yourself you hold so tightly? God can multiply everything you give Him hundreds of times over. What do you have to lose?


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