See, there’s a huge problem when the “truth” depends on our perspective. There’s a problem when there is no solid foundation to base our beliefs on. When that is the case we all want to see things through our own experiences or ideas. That is very dangerous and exactly what we are seeing in today’s society. Without God as the foundation of our belief system, there is no right or wrong. How can one judge when there is not a “standard” to use as to what is truth, or put another way, what is right or wrong.
This is true in our personal lives, in the business world or in the government. Hopefully by the time we are finished we will be able to see how our denial or disobedience to God’s truth impacts not only our lives and those around us, but it also has a universal effect! There are a few questions we must answer before proceeding. What do you use as your foundation for truth? If you are reading this devotional I will assume you are a believer in Jesus Christ. If that is the case, do you believe that scripture is the authority in which you live your life? (Notice that the question doesn’t ask if you believe scripture should be used to base your actions, but if you ARE using scripture to order your steps!) If you are not a believer, or may be searching for the truth, I pray that you will take what you read and ask God to make it real in your life. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” (2 Timothy 3:16)
There are no situations in life that scripture does not guide our actions. Look at our opening scripture carefully, Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) There is nothing confusing or unclear in what Jesus is speaking. He clearly states that He is the ONLY way into the kingdom of God. He is the truth, He is the One who is the Word (of truth). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” (John 1:1-4) Only through Jesus Christ do we have life. “even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” (Ephesians 2:5)
You may be thinking that many situations you are faced with are very secular in origin and wondering how scripture applies. Of course, you are not going to blurt out scriptures to everyone you run into when you see things out of alignment, that only brings an offense and division between you and the others. But if you are walking in the power of the Holy Spirit you will be given insight and the words to speak to bring revelation and agreement in many cases. There will be some situations where no amount of reasoning or truth will change the situation, so what then? We walk away and take it to prayer and leave it in the Lord’s hands to guide us when the time is appropriate. This applies to situations with other believers or non-believers. We never see Jesus arguing with others, but everything He said or did was to teach or fulfill scripture.
I seriously doubt that any of us ever thought that our situations are actually teaching times for us as well as others around us. We don’t have to use “words” to teach. Let me give a very quick example. Years ago my supervisor and I took a group of women to an event at our church. Tables were set up and hosted by table leaders. My supervisor chose to seat all of the women at one table then took a seat at the same table and I was the only one left standing. She “instructed” me to sit at another table. Now, a few of the women we brought were also to sit at that table but my supervisor ignored all this and set me alone and kept all of the women with her. I never said a word but took my seat and proceeded to get to know the women at my table and had a very enjoyable evening. However, when the event was over and I drove the women back to the facility they were all very upset about how I had been treated, but they also had learned a great lesson by my actions and were able to apply scripture they had learned to the situation. I use this illustration because I’m sure most, if not all of us, have had situations that were very awkward or someone was making a point of excluding us. While it is a simple example the same principle can be applied to every situation we encounter.
Now let’s look at a passage in scripture which clearly illustrates a couple of things. The first is whether or not we apply what we hear taught in scripture and RESPOND correctly or whether we listen without any intent of understanding what is being taught and remain “in the dark” and place ourselves in dangerous situations, physically and spiritually. “While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head.” (Mark 14:3) The woman is not identified specifically here by name but we know her by the location. Mary of Bethany not only heard but understood that Jesus Christ was going to be killed on Passover. Her focus was Jesus. She was at His feet whenever He visited their home and she listened carefully to what He spoke. She applied the truth of scripture with His teaching and believed He was the Messiah and all that He spoke was truth. She was not a wealthy woman but took the one thing she had that was of worth and that was a bottle of pure nard which was valued at one year’s wages. She wanted to worship Messiah and respond to His teaching in the only way she could to convey that she believed not only WHO He was, but also WHY He had come and WHAT He must do and WHEN it would be.
Now let’s look at the others who were present. They had also heard Jesus speak the same things Mary had heard. Were they excited to join in and worship and show their love and adoration for the Messiah? NO! Their concern and total focus was on the money! They were angry and very critical of her because of her actions. They were without any spiritual understanding. “But some were indignantly remarking to one another, ‘Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they were scolding her.” (Mark 14:4-5) Unfortunately this is where the great majority of us are today. Unless we have spiritual understanding of the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal and teach us the application of prophetic teaching of the scriptures, we will be like the disciples and others who were in attendance and totally unprepared for what is happening in this world. We will be totally focused on OUR needs or OUR plans or OUR pursuits.
It all comes down to this, DO YOU HAVE A KINGDOM MINDSET? Are you more interested in the things of God or the things of this earth? Our actions and the way we live our lives (privately and/or publicly) will more clearly answer this question than any words will ever convey! Let’s look at the response of the Messiah and then what took place. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them. They were glad when they heard this, and promised to give him money. And he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time.” (Mark 14:6-11)
Notice in the previous scriptures when those in attendance were rebuking Mary and scolding her she never opened her mouth, she did not respond or get angry. What was her response? She looked to Jesus as her defense. (I am reminded of Jesus’ words to the disciples in the previous chapter when He was explaining what was to come. He made a very interesting statement that goes very much against our human nature but one that is critical to our understanding of scripture. “When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11)) As we know, the Holy Spirit was to be sent after Jesus was crucified and then ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father. (John 14:16) Here we see a clear teaching of the power that will encompass the Holy Spirit when we have the same spiritual mindset as Mary.
Jesus uses Mary’s action to teach (again) what He has been telling them all along and to remind them that He is going to die. She becomes a teaching example of the proper response we are to have when we hear the Word. Her response reminds me of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders around the throne in Revelation. “And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, ‘HOLY, HOLY, HOLY THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.’ And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.’ ” (Revelation 4:8-11)
There apparently was not one person in that room, other than Mary and Jesus, who had a kingdom mindset because there was, again, no response. In fact, look at Mark 14:11 again, Judas Iscariot got up and left to go speak to the chief priests to see how much money they would give him to betray Jesus!
Dear friends, can we stop here a minute and again read these sections again and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us? Allow Him to ask the following questions and search you. Who are you serving? Are you truly interested in the Kingdom of God so that you can be a vessel in this world to reveal the glory of God? Or, are you interested in the Kingdom as a place you will go when you die? Don’t rush past this point, stay here as long as you need to so you, too, will be filled with the same worship and adoration as Mary and are willing to submit your whole being to the authority of Jesus Christ!
Jesus obviously did not take lightly what Mary had done, notice again Mark 14:9, “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” I don’t know about you, but I have never heard a sermon or teaching on this act of worship in any church I’ve attended! Yet Jesus commands us to tell about it. Why? It definitely is not to give Mary the glory or attention. The point is Jesus! Are we listening to JESUS and responding to what we hear in an appropriate way? Or, are we like the disciples who were still spiritually bankrupt and had no understanding of what the Messiah was teaching and what was about to happen? They were more concerned in their agenda than the Messiah’s.
Truth is truth whether or not we choose to receive it. By refusing to receive the truth and acting upon it, we are placing ourselves in total opposition to God. Following this meal at the home of Simon the leper (another testimony of who Messiah was because Jesus had obviously healed him of his leprosy or they could not have been in his home), they ate the “last supper” before Passover and Jesus again explained to them what was going to happen before He went to the Mount of Olives so He could pray. Listen to Jesus’ warning to the disciples, And Jesus *said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED.’ But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” (Mark 14:27-28) Don’t you think this would have caught their attention and caused them to begin to understand the situation? I would have thought that at least one of them might have realized that they missed something along the way and would have asked some questions. They didn’t believe He was going to be killed, but here He was talking about being raised and meeting them in Galilee! But they still were not listening with understanding and Peter basically responded like he did the first time when he had actually heard (not understanding) Jesus say He was going to die. However this time he boasts that he won’t fall away and Jesus tells him in verse 30, "...Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.” (Mark 14:30)
Did you ever wonder why the rooster would crow two times and Peter would deny Him three times? Numbers are very significant in scripture. Unfortunately, the teaching of numbers I received in church doesn’t line up with the interpretation in scripture according to Judaism. (Even though the scriptures are written in Greek it is all based on Jewish customs, tradition and lifestyle.) The number two here means that there are two divergent choices or opinions laid out. Is that true in this situation? Yes, Peter’s choices were to identify himself as one of the disciples or to deny that he was one of the disciples; he chose to deny that he knew Jesus. The number three means a revealing of something. What was revealed? That Peter was walking in the flesh, or in other words, in his agenda and did not seek out the truth to have understanding that Jesus had been teaching. When we walk in our own understanding we will never stand against the enemy, he will defeat us every time. But when we walk in the spirit we walk in victory because it is not us who is doing the battle but the Holy Spirit residing in us. What a perfect example for us to learn this valuable lesson. As soon as Peter heard the crow the second time he remembered his conversation with Jesus and the fulfillment of His words. His spiritual condition was revealed to him and he was devastated. Dear ones, until we are brought to the end of ourselves we will continue a downward spiral. Peter hit bottom.
Now you can better understand what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he wrote, “for we walk by faith, not by sight— “ (2 Corinthians 5:7) “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12) Peter learned a valuable lesson that night, do you know what it was? Without prayer (the armor of God) we cannot stand. The next portion of the scripture reveals this truth to us.
They went to the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus took Peter, James and John further into the garden with Him and asked them to “keep watch”. What did they do? They fell asleep! Not once but twice! And what happened next? Peter denied Him. Did Peter mean what he had previously told Jesus that he would die for Him? Yes, but the problem was he was walking in the flesh and was not as we would say “prayed up”. Neither Peter nor the other disciples had taken the teachings and prayed for understanding. Stop here and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal if you may be in the same place right now. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
But what do the scriptures tell us about Jesus? He often went out by Himself early in the morning or after He had sent the crowds away to be with His Father. He didn’t do anything apart from His Father. (John 6:38, 14:10) “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;” (Ephesians 5:1)
The point here is what does our Father want to do with your life? Have you asked Him? Are you even willing to ask Him? Are you willing to be obedient to that path regardless of where it might lead? If the foundation of our lives is not FIRMLY ROOTED in God’s Word, we will stumble and fall. We will not allow God to fulfill His design and plan for our lives. “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:16) “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) And, worse of all, we will not glorify the Lord so that others may experience His testimony and receive salvation.
Along with the Apostle Paul, I pray, “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (Colossians 1:9-12)
I want to share a very disturbing dream I had this week. There were two large vessels for transporting people, the vessels resembled a boat of some sort. There were people on both vessels and two young women came up the ramp and the driver of the one boat spoke. He said to them “this is the vessel to hell or you can choose the other vessel where there are twenty seats still open on the vessel to heaven”. The women chose the vessel going to hell. I was in the spirit and this vessel began a rapid descent down a river. Everything was black around us but we could see that we were passing luxurious houses along both sides and the captain of the vessel was stating that those people would be on the vessel the next day also going to hell. I was jolted awake and had a very heavy feeling that I could not shake. Brothers and sisters, this is exactly why the Lord has called me to write His words on this website. While many (and probably most) reading these devotionals are saved, they may not be living according to God’s word and will experience much loss at the judgment seat. “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15) “...work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,” (Philippians 2:12-15)
If you are not saved or have friends and family that are not saved I pray that you will ask the Lord to open doors that you may share. Your responsibility is to be the light and sow the seed and praise God that it will be received. You may not see the results, the important thing is that you allowed the Holy Spirit to speak through you to the lost and hurting.
I am going to end this devotion with several scriptures that I pray you use in your personal study time with the Lord. The Holy Spirit will bring conviction to you if you are lacking in any of these areas. I am so very grateful that our Father loves us so much to meet each of us where we are and continues to teach us how to walk the next part of the journey!
Our first scripture is a good challenge as to who are we following, God or man. “Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed?” (Isaiah 2:22) Who do you spend more time with and pattern your life after?
When we are not in the Word and spending time to receive understanding and revelation, this next verse is clear of what the outcome will be. “Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; and their honorable men are famished, and their multitude is parched with thirst.“ (Isaiah 5:13) Before you dismiss this scripture too quickly please realize that when we are removed from the leading of the Holy Spirit we are “exiled” into another existence that does not produce fruit or blessings!
“For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Philippians 3:18-19) The very sad truth that the Apostle Paul was speaking of was people who were stating they were believers but were not and they brought much destruction to the believers. Unfortunately, not everyone who quotes the Word of God is of God. Is your foundation firm enough to discern the truth? We are faced with this same apostasy/false teaching today and unless you KNOW the TRUTH because of understanding of scripture you will begin to follow those who will teach to “tickle the ear”. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,” (2 Timothy 4:3)
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21) There is nothing new under the sun! These words were given to the Prophet Isaiah for the children of Israel and they are are pertinent and timely today as they were then. Remember that because of the Israelites disobedience over and over again, they were given over to exile. We are in that exact same place today! Unless the people of God begin to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and stand up for the TRUTH we too are going to lose our freedom. We may even be too late for the country as a whole, but it is never too late for someone to believe and receive salvation so that they are not lost forever in their sin!
The Apostle Paul reminds us of another great deception. The Pharisees and scribes are a great example of this. They were the leading spiritual leaders yet the problem was not that they didn’t know truth but they chose to not obey truth and instead followed their own traditions. We see much of this today as well in the different denominations and churches. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;” (Colossians 2:8-10) Are you filled with God’s discernment to be sensitive to the truth?
“It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread.” (Isaiah 8:13) Are you more concerned with disappointing your boss or your friends than you are God? Godly fear is to “fear” to hurt the One we love. Jesus had it! “And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear;” (Isaiah 11:3) Jesus walked this out by seeking His Father and being obedient to all that He told Him to say or do. While we will never be perfect, as Jesus was perfect, is it the INTENT of our heart and DESIRE to please the Father in all things?
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21) Our citizenship is NOW in heaven, we are a sojourner on this earth. Does your life reflect this truth? Again, are you kingdom minded or earthly minded?
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4) I love this verse because it reminds me that if I keep my focus on Jesus that He is faithful and I can have peace no matter the storm going on around me. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to pray or to be inactive. He is our Rock and will hold us steady through the storm! “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
I believe that this passage of scripture reveals the most accurate description of the life of a believer. Is this you? Have you walked away from the “old life”? Have you surrendered your anger or foul mouth and abusive language over to the Lord? Is the Holy Spirit able to convict you of sin in any of these areas? Again, are you committed to walking in the new creation in which you received upon salvation? If there is no evidence of this in your life, I would encourage you to stop and allow the Holy Spirit to search you. Repent of the things that He reveals that are out of alignment and be willing to consecrate yourself to the Lord. “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—“ (Colossians 3:1-10)
Last, but certainly not least, I pray that the desire of your heart and mine would join with the Apostle Paul in having the following the reality of our lives. “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;” (Philippians 3:7-15)
Abba Father, I worship You and thank You for Your truth. You hold my life in the palm of Your hand. I am humbled by Your great love and mercy. Thank You for Your grace that convicts me and calls me to Your righteousness. I, too, submit to You and ask that if there is any different attitude in me that is not of Your truth that You will reveal it to me so that I may repent and receive forgiveness. I love You and long to be with You physically but am beyond grateful that You should be with me spiritually each and every day of my life. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You, the author and finisher of my faith. All this I pray through the blessed name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.