On the Wall

Mary Magdalene and Jesus

A woman entered Simon the Pharisee’s house with Jesus at dinner time. When guests took their place at the table, she took her place on the wall behind Jesus. She washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She kissed them and poured perfume on them. Have you wondered how this woman had enough tears to wash Jesus’ feet. Women, during this time, collected their tears in lachrymatories (tear bottles). When a woman’s husband came home from battle she showed him her lachrymatory to demonstrate how she grieved in his absence. It was also customary in Jesus’ time for outcasts, sinners and the poor to line up on the wall away from the table where people ate.

Simon said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.” Knowing the Pharisee’s thoughts, Jesus said, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven,” and “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:36-50).


Simon ignored the cultural rules of hospitality–to give a kiss of welcome, to offer water to wash his guests’ feet and a towel to dry them; to anoint guests with oil. The woman let down her hair in public, washed and dried Jesus’ feet and anointed them with perfume. Could Jesus have met her before? Could she be Mary Magdalene? The Bible didn’t give her a name. Maybe that’s so we could put our names there. Jesus rescued this woman from a life of sin by forgiving her. He does the same for us. He cares what happens to us.

“Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll–are they not in your record?” (Proverbs 56:8)


Thank you, Father God, for Jesus. Thank you for forgiveness and new life with you. Thank you for examples of worship found in your word. Help us to live in light of our salvation as the woman on the wall did. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Clean Hands, Pure Heart

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The Pharisees washed their hands before they ate, which was a tradition carried over from Old Testament times when a person’s hands reflected their activities. Clean hands symbolized pure actions.

One day, “The Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?’ He replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules'” (Mark 7:5-7).


“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands a a pure heart . . . ” (Psalm 24:3-4).

Henry Blackaby said in Experiencing God Devotional, p. 227, “The closer you get to holy God, the more obvious even your smallest sins become. The more your know of God’s character, the more you will realize the need to wash your hands and purify your heart before you get close to Him.”


Thank you, Father God, for your word. It helps us know better how to live for you. Help us to become more like Jesus. In His great name, we pray, Amen.

The Preemptor

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The first snake in the Bible lived in the Garden of Eden and tempted Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which she did. Then she took the fruit to her husband Adam and he ate. The snake thwarted the good that God planned for man, and since this time he has been a symbol of evil. Could he have set a pattern of preemption in motion through history?

Pharaoh feared the Hebrews in Egypt because they were too many, and he thought they might someday overpower the Egyptians. During the time of Moses’ birth, Pharaoh ordered the death of all Hebrew baby boys, but Moses was saved by a miracle.

Herod heard of a newborn King of the Jews, and during the time of Jesus’ birth, he ordered the death of all Hebrew baby boys. An angel visited Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt until after Herod’s death. Jesus was saved by this miracle. Satan showed up again after Jesus’ baptism to tempt Him and preempt His ministry. Jesus stood on the words of Scripture and was saved to bring about our salvation and eternal life.

During World War II, Hitler murdered more than 600,000 Jews, but in 1948 God gathered His people back to Israel to become a great nation.


When you are in God’s will, do not be afraid and do not be discouraged when all hell breaks loose. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For ‘In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay'” (Hebrews 10:36-37).

This is exciting! “Look at the nations and watch–and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even if you were told” (Habakkuk 1:5).

There has never been a more important time to be in the will of God than today. Be strong and courageous. Our Lord is coming, and He is bringing rewards for His people, even a great inheritance.


O Lord, our Lord, be strong in us today. Let your light shine in us to overcome the darkness that surrounds us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Two Covenants

Ten Commandments, Christian Ministries Church, Hot Springs, Arkansas

I felt like I was home when we moved to Arkansas. Near our home are the stone tablets that bear the Ten Commandments. “Wow!” I thought. “This could not happen in many states in America.” However, I consider the Ten Commandments foundational to our faith. They are part of the Old Covenant. God wrote on stone tablets on Mt. Sinai and gave them to Moses to show the Israelites how to live God’s ways. However, He knew no one could completely keep the law so He required the sacrifice of animals for the forgiveness of sin. People had to go to the tabernacle or the temple and the priest sacrificed an animal first for his own sins and then the sins of the people. I’m sad that so many animals had to die for the sins of the people.

Jesus ushered in the second covenant. He, the Lamb of God, became the sacrifice, once for all, to take away our sin and grant forgiveness. Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin, death and Satan. An earthquake rocked the temple and the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place where the sacrifices were made was torn in two, top to bottom. This means that you and I have access to our God for the forgiveness of our sins and for help in times of trouble. He is our God and we are His people. We can worship and praise Him in the dark of night or the light of day. God is always available. We will never get a busy signal!

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The tomb could not hold Jesus. He rose from the grave and more than five hundred people witnessed His appearance following the resurrection and before Jesus ascended into Heaven. He promised He would prepare a place for us, and He would come back to take us (believers) to be where He is forever. Eternity is a long time. We have a choice. We can spend eternity with God by following Him or we can follow our own selfish ways and leave God out of our lives. When we leave Him out, we choose to be left out of heaven.


Holy Lord, I know you do not want anyone to perish outside your perfect plan. You sent Jesus to be our sacrifice, and whoever believes in Him will be saved from a horrible eternity. O Lord, open people’s eyes. Open their hearts to a new and awesome life with you. Thank you for your amazing love. Send your Spirit into this world to shine your light and pierce the darkness so people will know the truth, the truth that will set them free to love you in return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mystery in the Star of David

Illustration in stained glass style with an abstract six-pointed blue star on a blue background

The star of David has two triangles, one interlocking with the other. It is the foundation of the Jewish and Christian faith.

When Israel was rescued from slavery, Moses commanded the Hebrew people to sacrifice a lamb and put the blood on the door posts–above and on the right and left sides. Consider each mark a point in a triangle that points upward, and that it represents man reaching up to God for redemption, to be saved from the Angel of Death (Passover is described in Exodus 12).

As Jesus was crucified, there were three points where His blood spilled, one at His right hand, one at His left hand and one at His feet. Consider each mark a point in a triangle that points downward, and that it represents God reaching down to men to give them the redemption they hunger for, the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life with Him. He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.


For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Beloveds, let the beauty of God’s message of salvation penetrate your hearts that you may recognize His presence in your lives and experience His amazing love.


O Lord God Almighty, send your Spirit to shine into the darkness of this world and expose lies and deception, to bring about justice, to show compassion and mercy and forgiveness to those who desperately need it and may not even know it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Poetry in Motion

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“We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which He prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Jairus, a synagogue ruler, fell at Jesus’ feet and implored him to save his dying daughter. On the way to Jairus’ house, a crowd pressed against Jesus. A woman was there who suffered from an issue of bleeding for twelve long years. She came up behind Jesus and touched the hem of his garment. Immediately she was healed. Jesus’ asked who touched Him. Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for power went out from me.” The woman came to Jesus trembling and falling down before Him confessing how she touched Him and was healed. Jesus said, “Daughter your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

While Jesus was speaking to her, someone from the ruler’s house reported, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more,” but Jesus told the ruler, “Do not be afraid; only believe.” He went into the room where the girl was with only her parents, Peter, James and John. He took her by the hand and said, ” Child, arise,” and she got up. Jesus directed the parents to give her something to eat (Luke 8:40-55).


Jesus came to earth to serve: to heal the sick, raise the dead and teach about the Kingdom of God. He didn’t get stressed in His ministry, but allowed interruptions as in this event with Jairus–all for His purpose and glory. This is His workmanship, as each of us are.

A poem is the workmanship of the poet, but we are each God’s workmanship. A poem tells a story, and our lives do too. What kind of story do you tell the world? Does it reflect the work of Christ or something else?


Our Lord and Savior, we are the work of your hands. Help us to be your hands and feet on earth, following your example to reach out to others with your love and compassion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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Do you have doubts about who God is or how strong He is or if He does what He says? If you do, you are not alone. The Bible tells about people who had the same experience.

John the Baptist preached about repentance and salvation, but when he was in prison, he wondered why he suffered for preaching the truth. He asked his disciples to go to Jesus and ask if He was the expected Messiah. Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Luke 7:22). This verse is fulfillment of Isaiah 29:18, one John would have known.

Thomas, one of the disciples, doubted that Jesus was who He said He was. He would not believe in the resurrection unless he placed his finger into Jesus’ nail-scarred hands and feet. Jesus did not condemn him for doubting but let him touch his hands, feet and side. Then Thomas said, “My Lord and my God!” In response Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:28-29).


Scripture has many more stories of doubters–Moses, Gideon, Solomon; to mention only a few. What about you? Do you doubt Jesus is who He claims to be? Do you doubt God’s power to work in your life today? Do you doubt your worthiness to be loved by God? No one is worthy of God’s love, but He loves us anyway with a love that is incomprehensible. Know that it’s okay to have questions. The answers come in a relationship with our living God. You can know Him by admitting your need of Him and reading His word. He is faithful to speak to your heart at your greatest need, your need to know Him.


Thank you, Holy Father, for Jesus your only Son who paved the way for us to have a relationship with you by sacrificing His own life on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Help us to live in light of this amazing love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.