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6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 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.

8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you,[a] but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 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 26:6-13

A dip in the creek -   

“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” - Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

On a recent morning, I walked down the hilly slope to the edge of our land. A heavy rain had fallen during the night, and I wanted to see if our creek was filled again with water after running almost dry. Even though we live near a natural aquifer, drought is always a possibility; knowing that we had fresh water again would be one less worry on my mind. To my delight, the creek was burbling happily, swollen with fresh, clear water that coursed along the banks! 

A tiny flash in the creek made me wonder if I’d caught sight of the season’s first tadpoles darting along the stream’s limestone bed, so I stepped even closer for a better look… and immediately felt my feet slipping out from under me on the rain-soaked grass and soft mud. I grabbed desperately at the cedar branches hanging over the creek, but their pliable arms merely slowed down the inevitable, guiding me into a gentle glide right into the middle of the stream. 

Within seconds, there I sat: my sneakers filled with water, my jeans soaked through, and tadpoles detouring around me. I couldn’t help myself: I burst out laughing, and not just for the ridiculous sight I probably made of a 60-year-old woman soaked in a creek bed! I laughed in sheer happiness, for the freedom of making a fool of myself, for the welcome rain that caused a slippery slope, and for a doting Father who always provides me with what I need…even when I fall in a creek.

“Gracious Lord, You make the proud stumble and Your stiff-necked people fall so that they might acknowledge Your sovereignty over all creation and time. Give me a child’s trust in You that I might rejoice always in Your presence.”

 

Jan Dunlap is the author of the new suspense novel Heaven’s Gate: Archangels Book I, the bestselling memoir Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God (Authentic Publishing) and the acclaimed Birder Murder Mystery series (North Star Press, Inc.). She holds MA degrees in Theology and English Studies and lives in the Hill Country of Texas where she spends every clear night marveling at the stars and the brilliance of God’s creation. She is a frequent contributor to FaithHappenings.com and welcomes visitors at www.jandunlap.com and on Facebook at her two author pages BirderMurderMama and Archangels.

More of Jan Dunlap: http://www.jandunlap.com/

What Are You Planting?   

by Ron Moore

David said, "My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it." So David made extensive preparations before his death. - 1 Chronicles 22:5

David desired to build a great temple for God. But God told him, "You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in." That job was for David's son, Solomon.

How would you have responded? Your dream denied. Your desire squelched. David's effort to show his love for God was given to the next generation. Would you have become angry, discouraged or have thrown a spiritual tantrum? Many people respond to God's "no" in these ways. But reread David's response in today's passage.

David spent the rest of his days making plans for a structure he would never see. David didn't spend his golden years at the golf course, tennis court, or traveling. He was willing to use his experience, influence and time to make preparations for a great house for the Lord, in spite of knowing he would not be around for the grand opening. How about you? What are you planting today that you may never see grow?

Father, help me to live my life investing in things that will outlive me. In Jesus' name. Amen.


- See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/ron-moore/what-are-you-planting#sthash.mf8kvvxU.dpuf

Devotions.org, a division of Back to Bible has a daily source of devotions to keep you in touch with God and His word, written by some of today's top authors and Bible teachers. Browse the variety of resources completely on their website. 

More of Devotions.Org: http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions

How Quickly We Forget -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Some troublemakers among them wanted better food, and soon all the Israelites began complaining. They said, "We want meat! We remember the fish we ate for free in Egypt. We also had cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" —Numbers 11:4-6 (NCV)

God used Moses to help free the Israelites from some 400 years of bondage and hard slavery in the land of Egypt. God had supernaturally provided for the Israelites along the way, providing them with manna – a special food – and water. No one went hungry. But, a year into the journey towards the Promised Land, the complaining began about the food. The Israelites wanted meat. They remembered the good old days of the free fish and veggies from the land of Egypt and longed for them. But, in reality, those days were anything but good. They were difficult days of slavery. They were days the Israelites cried out to God for deliverance. The Israelites had quickly forgotten the generations of misery in slavery to the Egyptians.

We might be tempted to wonder how the Israelites could be so ungrateful. God was providing for them. Still, I don’t think we’re much different from them. (If you think we’re different, just imagine eating oatmeal – at every meal – for a year!) It’s easy for us to forget how God has taken care of us in the past. It’s easy to make the past look better than it was and to blame God for what we think we need today – but aren’t getting. There’s an old saying that’s so often true, “Be careful of what you desire, because you just might get it.”

The Israelites grumbled and complained, “We want meat.” So, God gave them meat. It wasn’t in the way they expected or had hoped for. But they got what they asked for. God sent quail into their camp for a whole month. He sent the quail, not as a blessing, but as judgment because they had rejected Him and complained about leaving Egypt. There were quail three-feet deep on the ground all around the camp. A plague broke out in the camp and many people died.

What about you? Have you forgotten the many blessings and provisions God has given you in the past? Do you find yourself grumbling, “What has God done for me lately?” Let’s learn from the example of the Israelites of old. God calls us to be thankful people, people who remember his goodness and trust in Him to provide for our needs.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Is there something you want badly and are frustrated that you haven’t gotten it? Take some time to evaluate your desire. What lies behind this desire?

 

2. Make a list of ways God has blessed you and provided for you in the past. Spend time thanking God for these things.

 

FURTHER READING:

Numbers 11; Exodus 3:7-10; 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

I love to star-gaze, so I bought a telescope to give me a better look into the night sky. In particular, I wanted to see the Seven Sisters – the Pleiades star cluster. Whenever I tried to see them with my eyes alone, they blurred together, so I opted to buy a telescope that would give me higher resolution. The down side was assembling and aligning the telescope; it was almost as confusing as assembling Barbie Dream Houses for my daughters when they were children. After finally getting all the mirrors and lenses in place, however, I still couldn’t get the telescope to operate properly, so I turned to a friend for help. 

“I need your expertise,” I told Pat, an accomplished amateur astronomer. “I followed all the instructions, but I can’t see anything in the sky. What did I do wrong?” Pat checked over the telescope, made a few minor adjustments, and then patiently demonstrated how to line up celestial bodies in my viewfinder. Success! I looked into the eyepiece and there they were, the bright seven stars of the Pleiades shining distinctly in the night. “Take a look,” I said, turning to Pat. But Pat was already observing the same stars…with an old pair of binoculars.

“I do most of my stargazing with these,” he explained, passing them along for me to try. I put them to my eyes and there were the Seven Sisters shining brilliantly in the night, just as distinct as they appeared in my high-tech telescope, but without requiring assembly, alignment and expert assistance. As it turned out, I didn’t have to have a telescope at all to see the Pleiades clearly; just a bit more focus made all the difference. It reminded me that very often, simple is all you really need.

Jesus told his disciples the same thing. In the MSG version of Luke 9:1-3, we read Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick. He said, ‘Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment.’”

I’m going to keep that advice in mind the next time I think I need a host of credentials, or any other special equipment, to speak about Jesus to others. Witnessing to my faith is as simple as opening my mouth and praising my Savior; my experience, my relationship with God is the only equipment I need. Simple is good, especially when you just add a little more focus.

Jan Dunlap is the author of the new suspense novel Heaven’s Gate: Archangels Book I, the bestselling memoir Saved by Gracie: How a Rough-and-tumble Rescue Dog Dragged Me Back to Health, Happiness and God (Authentic Publishing) and the acclaimed Birder Murder Mystery series (North Star Press, Inc.). She holds MA degrees in Theology and English Studies and lives in the Hill Country of Texas where she spends every clear night marveling at the stars and the brilliance of God’s creation. She is a frequent contributor to FaithHappenings.com and welcomes visitors at www.jandunlap.com and on Facebook at her two author pages BirderMurderMama and Archangels.

More of Jan Dunlap: http://www.jandunlap.com/

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