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This week you will see Mary “broken and spilled out,” just as Jesus, as she realized, was going to be “broken and spilled out” for her.  I’ve two links for you to augment your study. We are seeing stones being crumbled. If you have been reading but not participating, you are welcome — but if you have had progress with a “stone” — we’d love to be encouraged by your testimony!

Perhaps it is my pride as a woman, but I love it that Mary of Bethany, alone among the disciples, understood what was about to happen to Jesus. The psalmist says “He confides His secrets in those who are open to Him.” She understood He was going to die, and so she took bold action, action that takes my breath away. What broke her idols? The love of Christ. She could give up approval, for He was her approval. She could give up the comfort and security of her savings, for He was her security. And she could give up control and power, for she knew He was King of Kings, and that she was His.

Tim Keller has three sermons on this passage, and it was hard to choose one — each sermon is 2.50 — but the money does go to ministries of Redeemer. This is “Dying to Live”


Then Steve Green’s song “Broken and Spilled Out” has been put to some great pictures by someone and posted on U-Tube. Here is that link. Whoever did the pictures had a good understanding of this passage, and also the Mark 14 version of this story. It may mean more to you after you have studied.


The idols of the heart, the stones that hold us back, are three:

A.  Security/Comfort

B. Power/Control

C. Affirmation/Approval

You will see Mary break all three when she comes to this party to celebrate the raising of her brother.  It is Mark who tells us that the perfume Mary spilled out was worth a year’s wages. This was the family’s wealth, security — but she spills it out and Martha does not complain. There are those who do complain, but that is because their idols are at work. They are using Jesus instead of loving Him.  Be sure to do the study both in John and in Mark — for each writer gives important insights that will stir your soul.

Read John 12:1-2

1. The setting:

A. When did this occur and why is this significant?

B. What is the occasion of the celebration?

C. Who was there?

D. What was Martha doing? How is she the same as we have seen her and how is she different? What does this teach you?

2. Read John 12:3-6

A. Write down everything Mary did.

B. Why does Judas object? Contrast his heart with Mary’s.

3. Read John 12:7-8. How does Jesus defend her?

Read Mark 14:3-9. Though Mary is not named here, I believe it was her, for it was at the same time, just before Passover, it was at Bethany, and the rebuke of Jesus to the disciples is so similar.

4. Here the disciples seem to jump on the bandwagon with Judas, criticizing Mary. What is their criticism?

5. What does Jesus tell them? Does this mean Jesus doesn’t care for the poor? Explain.

(This was a narrow window to bless Jesus on earth, and Mary seized it. I like to think that as He hung on the cross, the fragrance was still on his body, reminding him that there was one who truly loved him.)

Now we can do the same for Jesus by caring for the least of these, for He said, when you do it for those, you do it for me. That’s why I love the pictures in the above U-Tube video that goes with Steve’s Green’s “Broken and Spilled Out.”)

6. What does Jesus say about Mary in Mark 14:8-9? Thoughts?

7. We could say: Go be like Mary, but that would miss the point. Instead, Mary was able to do what she did because her affections were on Jesus. Let us do the same. When Jesus went to the cross, how did it show that none of these three idols were as important to Him as His love for us?

A. How did He give up comfort?

B. How did He give up approval?

C. How did He give up power and control?

8. How does this impact you? Give us your stone reports.

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  1. I just came by tonight to leave a comment about something amazing God did. God showed me that I keep trying to seek approval/affirmation through others seeing this disability in my daughter. Many cannot see it and so I feel frustrated (Though I know it is good for her sake) Anyway, upon praying God showed me that He has my daughter and it is not nec for me to seek out affirmation from any other person. I know her and what is going on and that is all that is needed. My husband and I were discussing this on the way to a church worship concert. I agreed to just let it go. Agree with God in it being sin and drop it. SO here is the amazing part. This guy singing said he wrote a song for some friends who found out their kid might have aspergers. It so relates to our story and I just lost it. Out of about 12 albums these people had they picked this song for our hour concert AND we tried to look up the song and it is not even released. So God had them sing this unreleased song for us. Talk about God singing over us tonight. It was the approval and assurance I needed from Him alone. He is so good and I am so excited to get into this study because I want to be all poured out for Him. 🙂

    1. Angela, that is wonderful! Such peace and I loved that you were able to see the Lord singing over you. God has wonderful plans for your daughter, of that I am sure.

      I keep thinking about what Rebecca said about her oldest thinking and talking so much about Jesus. That is wonderful! I pray for my son to be that focused on Him.

      Just tonight in my small group, a couple spoke of their 2 daughters who are young adults. One is completely on track with a true heart for the Lord and the other one struggles. Here is the thing, the one that is spiritually sound has had difficulties throughout her life. For the other the world was her oyster. My thought is that just as we are learning here, especially with Donne’s poem, difficulties forge character and can drive us into the Lord’s waiting arms. That is why I think that God’s purpose is great for your daughter, even if you are never able to see it, I believe it is great.

      1. Thanks Anne. I see that too. God is in control of this and I am probably the one who needs counseling not her. 🙂 The world is perfect to her. It is so freeing to be able to let go of this stone as it is revealed to me. 🙂

    1. Dee,
      About the poem I saw the sexual metaphor with the ravishing. It is beautiful if we can separate it from what culture has painted in sexual relationships today. So yes that was hard to understand but I get it too. I remember the teaching from Song of Songs. SO many interpretations but I think it is clear about God and us as well as marriage.

      The poem is beautiful though I agree a bit difficult to interpret but when we are fully raptured in HIS love is when we are most satisfied. Same goes with our relationship with our spouses. God is our Husband. So it makes sense in the purest way. It is beautiful – He is a personal loving God who loves each of us right where we are. Right where we need it personally.

      1. OH and I think it is good to move on yet keep the poem discussion open. 🙂

        1. I agree. I think it is good to move on and who knows, perhaps God may continue to weave in the poem with this study as well!!

  2. The psalmist says “He confides His secrets in those who are open to Him.” She understood He was going to die, and so she took bold action, action that takes my breath away. What broke her idols? The love of Christ. She could give up approval, for He was her approval. She could give up the comfort and security of her savings, for He was her security. And she could give up control and power, for she knew He was King of Kings, and that she was His.

    I think I shared this story with you ladies before, but I am still so amazed at what God does and to what lenghts He goes to prove his love for us. I imagine myself sort of like a gumball machine, which God took, turned upside down, shook, until the gumballs (stones) just started rolling out!! 🙂 – making space for the presence of God. I’m sure there are still more stones – but His love has ravished me, so much so that at one point, I had to say stop Lord.

    Last year in Jan., I was diagnosed with lung cancer – stage 3a, in Feb., I had surgery, then a few complications – had to go back in the hospital, caught MRSA, while in the hospital, then had to do an at home Iv for 8 weeks then chemo and radiation, and yes bummer, I did lose my hair :(…but yeah!! it’s growing back!!! But in each step of the way, God has been an ever present help in time of trouble. When you get here you realize your idols cannot help you – God showed up in such amazing ways, I’ve never felt so loved or cared for.

    Sometimes, I do wonder how long I have to live but I just want to testify that He is a gracious, loving God – who loves us – and I know in my case, He doesn’t love because of what I’ve done but in spite of what I have done – it makes me love Him more!

    1. Fellowsojourner,
      That blessed me greatly today. Praying for you. These verses came to my mind for you – Philippians 1:20-22 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

      1. Thanks Angela for those verses!! Great – what I hope the Lord will accomplish in me!! Thank you so much!

    2. Fellowsojourner,

      You are a woman of great – enormous – courage! You found yourself in a place where, as you said, “You realize your idols cannot help you”. Your experience with cancer, and how God is loving you and caring for you all through it, is amazing. Praying for you.

      1. Thanks Susan – you always encourage me with what you write! Love your honesty! 🙂

  3. 1a-After Lazarus raised from dead/before Passover (6 days) Jesus is about to die soon.
    1b-Jesus honor. Prob celebrate the events in last chapter – Lazarus raised.
    1c-(in only these 2 verses Lazarus, Martha and dinner guests.
    1d-Martha is serving…She is different because she is still working in her gifting but not upset about it. She has first hand experienced the love of Christ and is happy to serve. Her stone has been crushed it seems. 🙂

    2a-Mary took expensive perfume, anointed Jesus feet, wiped it with her hair.
    2b-He sees this perfume as money and it could have been used for something better. If we love Jesus we will not hold back any expense for Him. If we love money we will do whatever to make it even at the expense of Christ. Judas was the second, Mary the latter.

    3-Leave her alone – she did this to prepare me for my burial. You will not always have me with you.

    4-The money you could have received from this could have gone to help the poor.

    5 and 6-Jesus said leave her alone-you will always have the poor and can help whenever you want but she did what she could to prepare my body for burial ahead of time – she has done a good thing to me. I am not with you forever. Her deed will be remembered forever. Love we are discussing it…it goes along with the gospel and will be discussed. 🙂

    Jesus absolutely cares about the poor. I think it is like thinking about a mission trip – we have a choice to go or just send money. Sometimes the going is the better because we show the love of Christ in being there. Sending money is just an act that can do good but maybe not the greatest good for all. Going is best. Like Jesus. It is an act of worship to be His hands and feet to others.

    7-Great point it is not be like Mary it is have the affections for Christ like she did. Like that. Christ gave up security/comfort – Though He was a King He never lived like it. On His way to the cross He gave that up completely – He was to die with no comfort. He gave up Power/Control because He did not have to follow through, He could have taken Himself back to Heaven -He had all power. It was His love for us that kept Him on the cross not the nails. He gave up approval because so many mocked Him and believed He was wrong, not God after all.

    8-Mostly impacted thinking about how others did not even believe Jesus was who He said He was. Thought they were right because of His death on the cross. Jesus gave up approval knowing God affirmed Him and knowing what was going to happen though none believed. (well some did, many mocked) Stone report above.

  4. 1.A. This event occurred six days before Passover. It is significant because it begins Jesus’ final hours with his beloved disciples. He has returned to the region even though he knows a death warrant has his name on it. He has to fulfill his purpose.

    B. The occasion of the celebration is the resurrection of Lazarus but not just that. I believe the disciples honored Jesus also.

    C. According to Mark the celebration was held at the home of Simon the Leper. Mary, Martha, Lazarus, Jesus, Judas Iscariot and John we know for sure were there.

    I want to throw something out here. John tells his readers that Judas Iscariot is Simon’s son. Do you think it’s possible that Simon the Leper is the father of Judas Iscariot? Mark was not an eye witness so he relied on other’s account of the event. John was there so he would know who was who. This is just something that popped in my mind as I was pondering this.

    D. Martha seemed to be the official hostess even though this was not her home. I noticed the phrase ‘they made Him a supper and Martha served”. Evidently Mary helped (this time) with the preparations but now maybe Martha encouraged Mary to go and prepare to give Jesus his gift of anointing. Surely Mary had expressed to Martha what she wanted to do. From what I see the decision of one family member affects all. Maybe the oil of spikenard had been given to Mary by her parents or
    maybe Mary worked as a or for a perfumer. Again just speculation. Martha’s change tells me that when I surrender my life one hundred percent to Jesus, my priorities no longer matter. Martha’s letting go of her idols has enabled her to live in a freedom she’s never known before.

    2.A. Mary takes an alabaster flask which contains one pound of oil of spikenard, breaks it, anoints the head of Jesus (according to Mark) and his feet. She wipes his feet with her hair. I’m sure that was a fragrance she didn’t want to wash out of her hair for it was a reminder of her beloved Savior.

    B.Judas objects to Mary’s gift because he worshipped money and not Jesus. He was the ‘holder of the money box and would help himself to what was in the kitty’. Judas doesn’t really care about the poor. I think his statement was a cover-up for what he was really thinking-how he could have used the three hundred denarii for himself. His heart is controlled by greed and selfishness whereas Mary’s heart is controlled by love and devotion for the one Man who appreciates her for who she is. She’s the only one who gets it that he is going to die.

    3. Jesus defends Mary by telling Judas to back off and leave her alone.

    4. Disciples criticized Mary for her, in their opinion, extravagant waste.

    5. Jesus tells them to back off and stop giving her a hard time. Mary has done a good thing and besides there will always be poor people to see about. I’m leaving your presence soon and you won’t see me again.

    1. Tammy,
      I went back to the last post and re-read your post. You continue to amaze me, you keep growing and growing and we all see it. You have a depth of wisdom forged from your experience with your God; it blesses me to see how He works in your life!

      1. Susan
        Thank you for your encouragement. I’m thinking of all of you who under the blizzard watch.

        1. Tammy you just encouraged me to look deeper. I have been speeding through this. I am now encouraged and challenged! Thanks for being some sharpening iron here for me. 🙂

      1. Dee
        I made my observation based on John 12:4 “…Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son…” and Mark 14:3 “…the house of Simon the leper…”. There was something in the way John pointed out who Judas was the son of that caused me to wonder if there was a connection between Judas and Simon.

        1. Dee
          I use the New King James Version.

  5. Backtracking, but I just listened to Tim Keller’s sermon from the last post, Discipline of Desire. It made me cry, some parts of it. One thing that was meaningful to me was when he said that the very absence of God is a sign of His presence, of His nearness. So often I don’t sense His presence, and I begin to think there must be something wrong with me or He doesn’t love me. This meant alot to me to think that I wouldn’t miss Him or long for Him if He hadn’t already found me.
    Also, when Keller talked about the disciplines of developing an appetite for God – not using “substitutes” (our idols!) for God. He said when we have a problem we often go to somebody else to have them make us feel better about ourselves instead of going to God. That’s me! I can take a step in the right direction to change that habit! I always tend to pick up the phone and call my friend, or my sister and talk to them, and they make me feel better, but that feeds my idolatry of putting people first before God.
    If any of you haven’t listened to the sermon, I agree with Rebecca – it’s worth your time to go back and listen!

    1. Susan, God has given you such a gift of encouragement and a teachable heart. wow..

      1. Thank you Rebecca! I’m anxious to get started this morning; just found out school is cancelled for both my kids today due to the icy weather so I don’t have to pack lunches, et…..
        Going back and reading our lesson and how Dee reviewed the idols we have, I think maybe my dependancy on other people in my life could be an issue of security; I wasn’t sure before why I tend to do this, but seeing security/comfort gets me thinking that I do derive feelings of security from the people in my life; I haven’t yet learned to be entirely secure in the Lord. I know affirmation/approval also is a part of it, too.
        It’s a hard thing because I know God made us for relationship and we do need each other, but He wants us to need Him first. I think this has helped me identify a “stone” and the underlying idol.

        1. Susan, awesome stone report! I think God will start revealing it more and more because you are at His feet like Mary with her oil! AND you will start choosing Him over your idol..It is a process.. I am so excited for you!!

  6. Read John 12:1-2.

    1. The Setting

    A. When did this occur and why is this significant?

    Six days before the Passover. John 11:57 just told us that orders were given that if anyone knew Jesus’ whereabouts, they should report it, so He might be seized. Moving into John 12:1, the verse says, “Jesus, therefore….” I think the “therefore” means because of this (11:57) Jesus came to Bethany. Bethany was just two miles away from Jerusalem; masses of people were likely traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover and Jesus openly comes to Bethany, knowing He is in danger and likely to be seen.
    I also think Passover is significant as Jesus knows that this Passover will be different from all others in that He will be the Passover lamb.

    B. What is the occasion of the celebration?

    Again we have a supper made for Jesus, and Martha serving, but how different from the first one! I like how it points out Martha is serving (but not complaining!). Her heart is in the right place, and Lazarus is with Jesus at the table. Perhaps they are celebrating being together again, Lazarus’ miracle of new life – they have all been changed.

    C. Who was there?

    Jesus, and I think also His disciples this time, Lazarus, Martha and Mary.

    D. What was Martha doing? How is she the same as we have seen her and how is she different? What does this teach you?

    Martha is serving. She was serving before at the first dinner which was at her home. Martha’s gift or talent is serving in the form of hospitality, she is a hard worker and likes to attend to the needs of her guests. But now she no longer is trying to be in control of the situation nor get attention or approval for herself. She has let go of those idols! She is focused on serving Jesus, that is the attitude of her heart.
    This teaches me that I need to keep persevering in breaking these stones, these idols, so my heart can be free to serve Jesus in whatever I am doing. That’s got to be the key in serving Him to please Him, not people.

  7. Read John 12:1-2

    1. The setting:

    A. When did this occur and why is this significant?

    * This occurred 6 days before the Passover that Jesus intended to be at..I will guess that the timing is significant because it was time to fulfill prophecy and put all the pieces together for the culmination of the events leading up to His death, burial and resurrection.

    B. What is the occasion of the celebration?
    * A dinner to honor Jesus

    C. Who was there?

    * Martha, Mary, Judas Iscariot, Simon the leper, Lazarus and others.

    D. What was Martha doing? How is she the same as we have seen her and how is she different? What does this teach you?

    * Martha was serving dinner..it was the same in that she was serving, doing what she did the last time..Yet, SHE WAS DIFFERENT. She didn’t complain when Mary anointed Jesus feet and I don’t think she was among those who complained that Mary broke the costly perfume vial. It is obvious her last encounter with Jesus crumbled her idol of control..This encourages me to know that when I am satisfied in His love..I won’t need my idols..They will crumble. Psalm 63 keeps coming to mind, over and over..”because your steadfast love is better than life.”

    1. Tim Keller’s sermon has me thinking Psalm 63 would be a good one to memorize!

      1. Amen sister, me too..I am almost totally done with psalm 24, but want to meditate on that one a bit more first, but yes Psalm 63 should be next on the list! 😉

        1. Dee, We are under the blizzard warning here in Kansas. No blizzard yet, but snow is falling. Thankful that our power lines are underground. 🙂 I think in Central Missouri they are supposed to get historic levels of snow, like 20 inches plus!

    1. Dee, I love your stories about Steve. Wow, what an inspiration or model of someone truly in love with Jesus..What is even more incredible is that His testimony lives on through you.. It’s beautiful.

    2. I do too! From what you have shared with us about him, Dee I know that anyone would love to spend time with him. He was the very picture of Christlikeness! I sense the pain of your loss but also how it has become sweet in a way as you said it does.

    3. Dee,
      I love your sharing about Steve and Psalm 63, how he would pray it in the night. And your memories of being snowbound with him. Memories to be treasured!

  8. The other day I started feeling the bodily signals of my idol as an event occurred which brought more on my plate than I already have..I saw myself starting to go toward my idol, so I recalled Dee’s advice prior about feeling it and going into the bodily feelings then thinking about the antecedent/what triggered it..I began to do that and I told my husband exactly what was going on in my body and why..I told him all of a sudden after we discussed it, my stomach turned, I tightened up, my arms crossed over my stomach, my teeth clenched and I started longing for some really unhealthy food as a way to comfort me in my distress-just like when someone who is a drug addict, alcoholic takes to drugs, cigarettes whatever to calm themselves…In essence I was in the beginning stages of turning my face from Jesus and running to food for a temporary fix..These thoughts were a few seconds long..so the process started and it was QUICK..BUT I STOPPED at that point because I saw where it was coming from and where I was headed..Right after that I told my husband that I am choosing to rest in Jesus’ love and I am going to think about Him right now..A few verses of Psalm 24 and 63 came to mind..Jesus brought victory! He satisfied me..

    I admit in this process I have failed some as well, which is normal because it has been a really stinky habit, but I am choosing to remember the victories that Jesus has brought me..It gives Him glory and hopefully will encourage everyone reading this to press on!! Don’t let Satan tell you it isn’t worth it and this idol’s grasp is impossible to break.. that isn’t true.. we see it in a huge way with Martha and with other women on this blog..As Anne brought up..choose to remember the stones of His victory over your idol!!

  9. What a beautiful picture for this post! More than that, I see it happening in our lives. Rebecca, Susan and Tammy in their posts are a portrait of what it is to be broken and made whole. Fellowsojourner, you are living it out in your body (praying for you so much dear sister). Angela, the verses you shared from Phillipians really helps to take my mind from temporal things of the body to eternal life in Christ. I can only worship at what God is doing in our lives!

    Last night I was thinking about the physical effects of my stones, the butterflies in my stomach, and they are gone! Soon I will have to move on to the comfort stone of food because now I am gaining weight!

    1. Thanks Anne, your post touched me. I also see Christ in you! I love what God is doing with us all!

  10. 1. The setting: a private dinner in Bethany honoring Jesus. Mathew’s account tells us it is at a man known as Simon the Leper’s, house.

    A. It was 6 days before Passover
    B.Celebration of Lazarus’ being risen, preparation of Christ’s burial, although they did not realize this
    C. Who was there? Mary, Martha, Lazarus, the disciples
    D. Martha served, but there is no mention of an “attitude” this time. I imagine she is serving because this is what her gift is, and she was serving out of a heart of true hospitality and not resentment.

    2. A. Mary took out a jar of pure nard, expensive perfume, and poured it on Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped his feet with her hair.

    I love that she did not care what anyone would think. She was so single-mindedly focused On Christ Alone.

    Judas says Mary was being wasteful—that the perfume could have been sold and the money used for the poor. He missed the point—no one could ever be more deserving of our acts of giving than the Lord. And He was about to become the poorest of all as He hung ion the cross with His life poured out for us.

    I think Judas was probably actually aware of how deep a love Mary felt for Jesus, and how generous she was able to be. He was jealous that his own heart was not like hers, so he found a way to belittle her actions.

    3. How does Jesus defend her? He says to leave her alone! And that Mary had followed the intended purpose—she was in God’s will by doing this, she was led by the Spirit.

    My stone update: I am in anticipation of a real struggle this week (prayer request alert!)–my mother comes for a visit and it is always difficult. I feel like my idol of comfort is most threatened in her presence, as well as control. She is a very invasive person and I feel myself getting tense as I try to secure my comfortable little world of my husband and kids. I’m from a large family and now live states away from everyone–it has been nice to finally have “breathing room” from the dis-function I had growing up. So, her visits always bring me back a bit to the old place and I struggle.

    But, the last 2 days I have seen God do “little” things to remind me He loves me and cares and has plans for my good and not to harm me (jer. 17). Things like reminding me at the store of something I’ve needed and been forgetting and never would have thought of! Yesterday “my plans” were totally thrown off but I didn’t even have time to stress because things kept working out better than they would have according to my plan, and I know He was showing me to trust.

    The title this week–“broken and spilled out” has been ringing in my mind since seeing it Sunday. That is how I want to be for my mom this weekend–broken, pouring out love, without thought of approval or my own neediness.

  11. 6. Jesus tells us that Mary had done her best for him. She reminds me of what the nameless widow did-gave her last mite as an offering to her beloved Lord. She too is remembered. Had Mary waited to use the oil to anoint the dead body of Jesus he would not have been able to smell the fragrance of the oil and he would not have been able to appreciate Mary’s adoration and worship. And, most importantly, he would not have set up a memorial in her honor as an example for us to follow.

    Stone report: I have not been putting off meeting with my Lord. I’m focusing more on him and how he is changing me instead of me demanding that my circumstances be changed. I thought of these words I read yesterday when Susan stated that she needs to talk to so and so to feel better:

    ‘God delights in the well-being of His servant. Psalm 35:27
    We think, “I have to X and then I can feel better. God is whispering You are loved. You are secure. You are mine. Let Me make it well with your soul…right here, right now.’ (written by Holley Gerth)

    I want to share this prayer I wrote in my journal this morning. It sums up how God is using this blog to work in my life.

    Through Susan you give answers to my questions as to why I run to others instead of you for comfort. It’s because I want to feel better and I think talking to a family member will help me. Through
    Rebecca you show me what living in total abandonment and freedom looks like. I so want to live there. Through Joyce you keep me lifted up in my prayer. She is one of your mighty warriors. Through Dee you tell me to dive to beneath the surface of your word and go down to the depths where there is no bottom to touch. Your Spirit is the air and light there. Through Fellowsojourner you show me, and all of us, life in the midst of death, perserverance through pain, and ALL glory given to you Jehovah-Rapha our Healer. Through Angela, Cyndi, Elizabeth, and all the other sisters who have shared you show me I am not the only one who struggles with the soul infirmities of mankind. Finally, Lord you know one of my greatest desires is to have fellowship with my biological sister Ann. She has rejected me once again and so I lay down what Drs. Cloud and Townsend call defensive hope. The hope that causes me to hold to the fantasy that my bio sis will indeed say ‘yes I want you in my life and I regret the years that I have rejected you’. I let go of that expectation today. Last year you brought along side me another Anne my sister in Christ. She encourages me, gets me, and misses me when I am away. It is so true that what the world takes away you replace many times over for you have not given just one sister in Christ but more than I can count. Strengthen us, protect us today from the evil one, and make our minds one with you. You are our reason for living. In your holy name I pray Amen.

    1. Oh Tammy, I am praying right now for you to continue to be able to lay down your desire for a relationship with your sister. Reading your words, I identified with your pain. I held onto that some day hope with my dad and it never came before he died. I look back now and wish I had laid it down at the altar and been able to love him sacrificially, not based on the condition that he would some day respond as you said above. I don’t know your situation, but for me, the years and years I clung to my pain, to my wanting and waiting, stripped me of much joy. It is so hard, but I pray He will fill you to overflowing in that part of your heart that longs for her acceptance.

      1. Thank you for praying for me Elizabeth. I have noted to pray for you during your visit with your mom. It sounds as if we have much in common family wise. I have to keep my phone turned off after I go to bed for my mom thinks nothing of calling me and waking me up for no reason other than to talk about herself. I love her dearly but am glad to live two states away so I can breathe.

  12. 1A. When did this occur and why is this significant? It occurred before Passover at the Festival of Unleavened Bread. I think this was the preparation for Passover celebration.
    B. What is the occasion of the celebration? It was the Festival of Unleavened Bread. If I remember right, in the following week preparations were made in the homes for Passover. The women cleaned their houses of all leaven and possibly the men prepared the animal for sacrifice. It is a picture of John the Baptist’s ministry calling for repentance and preparation for the coming Messiah.
    C. Who was there? Simon who HAD a serious skin disease. If the meal was held is his home he must have been healed by Jesus! Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Judas Iscariot. Likely the rest of the disciples were also there since it was an important festival.
    D. What was Martha doing? How is she the same as we have seen her and how is she different? What does this teach you? Martha was serving but not complaining as she has been freed from her control idol.
    2. Read John 12:3-6
    A. Write down everything Mary did. Mary took the perfume, poured it on His feet and wiped them with her hair.
    B. Why does Judas object? Contrast his heart with Mary’s. This is such an intimate moment between she and Jesus. I think the others were not only indignant but also embarrassed. Matthew 26:8 says that the disciples were indignant. The reason for Judas’ objection is given. He states he is concerned for the poor but his heart of greed is revealed by the Holy Spirit.

    Mary’s heart makes me think quite a bit. I wonder if this perfume was not hers alone. I have always wondered if this was not Mary Magdalene. If it was she may have had money of her own because of a past of prostitution. That would also explain why she owned this container of nard. If it is true, what a work of restoration Jesus did in this family. I think Martha’s heart in Luke 10 seemed self righteous. After all she had always been good and hard working. I think she was condescending to Mary. Before the events of Luke 10, I think Mary’s heart had already been broken and restored. If much had been forgiven for her, she would love much which is what I see in her.

    1. Anne, On “C” in regard to leprosy..I just found on a few Hebrew websites that the word leper is actually Aramaic. They say the word is garaba which means ‘jar maker’. They are saying it was translated as ‘garba’ which means leper..So they are saying it was a mistranslation of that word and that Simon was a ‘jar maker’. Hmmmm…Not sure what to think of it yet..

      Oh and from what I read Martha was serving at Simon’s house so were they related? I know Martha, Mary and Lazarus were..If Simon was Judas’ father..WOW.. then perhaps they were all related somehow..Hmmm…more to think about.

    1. Dee
      I’ve been pondering how Simon (if this Simon was his dad) must have felt after Judas betrayed Jesus. His son, one of the disciples, the circle of twelve who had witnessed and done mighty things in the name of Jesus, turned out to be a deceiver. Jesus knew this all along and still he demonstrated mercy toward Judas. I believe God’s Spirit is using this passage to encourage me to keep demonstrating mercy to my ex. It is so difficult day in and day out dealing with someone who refuses to let go.

  13. O.k. so I go away this morning as everyone is home due to the weather and come back to this awesome discovery! Yes, this is something to ponder..I can’t wait to hear what you all come up with…I’m thinking of googeling this while I eat lunch to see if I can find anything..

  14. O.K. my searching led me to Luke 7:36-56 as being another account of the same Simon..and Jesus having dinner at his house..Not sure if this is the same Simon?

      1. Thanks! That cleared that up! Wasn’t sure if I wanted to go down that rabbit trail or not. 🙂

  15. Enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and I’m lifting you all up in prayer. Love to all

    1. Love to you too sweet Joyce..Been thinking about you! 🙂

  16. Wow, Ladies, checking in to tell you that we are REALLY getting some snow!! Wow!! And it is really blowing! It’s a white out on and off. I can’t see the houses behind us or past our deck at times! I am thinking we have at least a foot right now here in Kansas. I can’t help but be reminded of the awesome power of God as to how big this storm is..what is it, 9 states and 2100 miles? wow He is mighty!

      1. Amen!!!

    1. Wow..I don’t think my words could really bring out anything in this video..It speaks for itself..I am blown over by the symbolism of the perfume vial..pondering this..Mary broken and spilled out for Jesus, she abandons herself, and everything she is, her stone is broken..the vial, and the perfume fragrance symbolizes freedom from her chains..her stones..Her love is deep for him..Like a passionate bride for her groom..Just like Jesus’ love runs deep for us so deep that he too was broken and spilled out for us, yet he was perfect..Then the video extended this kind of love for us to pour out onto others..wow.. Those are just my immediate thoughts..Still thinking about it and can’t wait to hear what others think. You know, the fragrance can’t fill the room unless the vial is broke and the perfume is spilled out..

    2. I think that I have gotten several events confused in my mind. I was thinking that Mary Magdalene was the woman caught in adultery. I was also getting Simon the Pharisee confused with this Simon. Do I need Bible study or what?

      1. Anne, haha! I can relate..With me I think it has to do with age and children still at home. ;P

  17. I could not understand all of the words to Broken and Spilled out. I found them though on his website.
    Broken and Spilled Out

    One day a plain village woman
    Driven by love for her Lord
    Recklessly poured out a valuable essence
    Disregarding the scorn
    And once it was broken and spilled out
    A fragrance filled all the room
    Like a prisoner released from his shackles
    Like a spirit set free from the tomb

    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

    Lord you were God’s precious treasure
    His loved and his own perfect Son
    Sent here to show me the love of the Father
    Just for love it was done
    And though you were perfect and holy
    You gave up yourself willingly
    You spared no expense for my pardon
    You were used up and wasted for me

    Broken and spilled out
    Just for love of me Jesus
    God’s most precious treasure
    Lavished on me
    Broken and spilled out
    And poured at my feet
    In sweet abandon
    Lord you were spilled out
    And used up for me

    1. I haven’t heard this song before today. What a great way to spend a day inside with a blanket of snow covering you..focused on this scene in scripture..The boys have been doing great just finding things to do and playing. 🙂

  18. Anne–thank you for finding the words–so powerful!

    Rebecca–you said: You know, the fragrance can’t fill the room unless the vial is broke and the perfume is spilled out..

    This is a simple thought, but I what you said made me think about the fact that the vial lay their broken it pieces. She was willing to destroy it because of what would result… in order to be willing to break the vial (maybe corresponds to the stone we cling to), one must realize that there is more value to be found in breaking it than in not–that the reward of breaking it, is worth it…

    Sorry if this seems foggy, I’m feeling icky today and my head is a bit foggy 😉

    1. Elizabeth, from your responses to this study foggy or not God is giving you insight sis! to extend it to others…YES! perhaps the fragrance also can symbolize that..remember when we studied about being an aroma to others a pleasing fragrance..when we are broken and spilled out for Jesus-we are free from the chains of our idols..we are free to love others. Our fragrance fills the room as we extend that love to others..It flows out of us, but it is from Him. 🙂

  19. The lyrics for this beautiful song were written by Gloria Gaither which does not surprise me. It focus’ on Jesus’ marvelous sacrifice for me. While there is reference in the song about willingness to be broken and spilled out for others, I think the video is very much about this. It should be the natural outcome of gratitude for what has been given to me. But it is not natural and it is not easy for me and I think that may be because I need to be broken and spilled out personally. I feel the stones right now and I wonder is that really what it takes?

  20. I have been reading the posts and marveling at all of the insights. Today I was focusing on Mary’s taking the alabaster jar of nard and anointing Jesus’ head and feet with it. Somehow I must have overlooked just how costly it was. A whole year’s worth of income! And she gave it up gladly, willingly. One can see where her treasure was (“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21)…it was Jesus. That was where her heart was. Then I think of my tithe…only one-tenth! The gift Mary has chosen to give has caused me to consider, what do I value? Could I give up something that is of great value to me to benefit someone else; could I make that sacrifice, and do it whole-heartedly, willingly, boldly, without looking for approval, without minding giving up that possession I hold of high importance/value? This is what I am thinking on tonight.

  21. Thinking about your foot (and now possibly more) of snow, Rebecca!
    We’ve had rain here but it is freezing, temperature goes up and then down! No school again today!

    Elizabeth, I will pray for your visit with your mom.
    Your comments and Tammy’s about your relationship with your moms makes me begin to think, in a different vein, about the kind of mom I want to be with my children when they are grown and possibly married.
    I have one son who will be 20 this spring, and a 17 year old, and a 10 year old. It would hurt me dreadfully to think they found my visits hard to take.

  22. 2. Read John 12:3-6

    A. Write down everything Mary did.

    * She took a pint of pure nard and rubbed it on Jesus feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of perfume-she anointed him pre-preparation for his buriel.

    B. Why does Judas object? Contrast his heart with Mary’s.

    * Judas objects because he is a thief at heart..His heart is consumed by his idol..He is passionate for wealth, control, and money not Jesus and therefore he wants to hold onto it..His idol has convinced him his life is better than Jesus’ love. Mary is totally the opposite..Jesus’ love has compelled her to give up her idol of comfort (this treasure was a comfort-provision)..His loving kindness is better to her than her life..

    3. Read John 12:7-8. How does Jesus defend her?

    * He immediately came to her rescue and said to leave her alone. She was in his prison of love and he was protecting her..I LOVE THIS being a woman and all. ♥
    He received her love and affirmed her love for Him in front of them by saying they will always have the poor but they won’t always have him. So he was saying she has him..wow..Jesus tells them “Mary has Him”.

  23. feeling like all of you answered the questions so well that I really have nothing to add. I have really enjoyed all your insight.
    stone check
    snow days should be fun, right??? I have very bored older kids at home who want to watch netflix all day and I am a very mean mom and will not let them. and I have 2 little ones who still need to do school (introducing borrowing :0) with all the extra activity in the house….add to that the fact that my back went out on monday and its just been a very long 48 hours.
    this stupid stone of control does NOT like it when the schedule is messed up.
    When my kids act less then perfect it brings up so many feelings of failure in me. I feel like if I would have just done a better job teaching them that they would be perfect, unselfish, lovely young adults……I put the blame on myself whenever they act unkind or lazy. don’t worry! I KNOW in my head that thats crazy, none of us is perfect, least of all me, but its getting my heart to believe it thats the hard part.
    I have one stomping around because his i-pod wont work and I’m making him shovel snow with out it!!! one is standing with her nose against the wall for telling me she WAS NOT going to take her ornaments off the tree like i asked her to. one sitting next to me asking me after EVERY problem if it is right, and one yelling at me because i didn’t hear her asking me a question….and my back is killing me. *sigh* I think Martha had days like today…..
    I think I just need to let go of the allusion that I ever really have control at all. I am also trying to find humor in my day instead of getting all bent out of shape.

    well, i must contunue this later, the little girls are getting snow stuff on and need help and this has taken over an hour to type as it is…….should wait untill they are in bed!

    1. Lifting a prayer for you Cyndi. We had this being snowed in together twice this winter for 5 days each time! Crazy! That never happens in TN. So I completely understand. Hang in there and keep looking at it as ways God is helping you see the idol and giving you the opportunity to release it to Him. 🙂 Hope you all thaw out soon!!

  24. Just got to watch the broken and spilled out song…Was so good. About a minute in that little piece of pottery is about the size an alabaster jar of perfume would be. I learned that at a Messianic Jewish museum I toured. It just made it more real to me. Glad that was in the picture. I also think of the aroma…God uses in Exodus/Leviticus the words a sacrifice being a pleasing aroma to the Lord. I see Mary’s sacrifice like that (It was so costly much more than bulls or rams AND much more personal – throwing down all her idols) It surely was a pleasing aroma to the Lord. I do believe I was once like that. Then came rejection and pain at the hands of brothers and sisters in Christ. Then I ran to idols thought God was not there when He experienced the same. How deceived I have been. I am praying we all have a heart fully His like this. That He will plow up any fallow area in us. That we will be pleasing sacrifices to Him. A pleasing aroma of Christ (Like Paul talks about). I am HIS alone. He is my all.

  25. WOW! I just listened to the video–amazing. So powerful and humbling to watch.

    Thank you all so much for your prayers–we just decided to change the flights for 3 weeks out due to the weather. It’s always hard to be “up” for it, and yet I do love her so much. My poor mom is just a really hurt one who doesn’t realize it, if that makes sense, so it comes out in controlling ways that are just difficult to be around. Anyway, I am glad to have more time to prepare my heart and be broken myself–ready to be spilled out!

    I’ve been pondering the last questions–just thinking of how He gave up comfort stops me. Here I am complaining about how my visit with my mom disrupts my comfort zone, and the weather not being what I want because I REALLY don’t like the cold!, but HE. He released it ALL. No whining, no defeated attitude,HOW? When I ponder on this one thing, that one time on the cross, I am just so overwhelmed. I feel so small, so ashamed of my own attitude. And yet, I think He wants me this time to think not about my unworthiness so much as His great love for me. That is harder to sit with, so I think that’s what I need to do.

    Thanks for being here–what a blessing this “spot” is. It’s amazing how close I can feel to all of you without knowing your face 😉

  26. I loved the video so much. as i watched it I was reminded of what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to give yourself away. the temptation is to want to be comfortable and have things go our way…YES, THATS WHAT I WANT!
    He had lessons beyond this study that he wanted me to learn! like… giving up my own agenda and serving those he has given me to serve.

    I really love the picture of the clay on the potters wheel. how it is gooshy and wet and not pretty but its moldable. I am praying that I can be like that clay, covered with the holy spirit and being molded by my fathers hands, gooshy to his touch.
    i tend to be hard and breakable, wanting to be that finished product on display for all to admire…..uggggg, that sounds soooooo bad!!!! but, its true none the less. i want people to “see my good deeds adn praise my father in heaven” how do you ballance those two things? I long to be moldable under the hands of God and yet I want to be usable as well.

    perhaps I just need to be content being the soup pot and not the priceless vase. usable in His hands yet somewhat invisable to the ones he has me serve.

    there have been many times in my life that God has had to break me in order to use me….I long to get to the point that He can just “re-mold” me!!

    the look of pure joy on mother teresa’s face as she holds that baby! I want that kind of Joy as I serve my family.
    I really hate looking at myself so honestly yet feeling God hold me as He opens my eyes is well worth the pain……

  27. cyndi reminded me:
    “Yet you, LORD, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

    I will keep that image as you said Cyndi–to be squishy clay. It’s hard for me–I want to want that more than I honestly do–my fear stiffens me. But He is the Lover of my soul, He is more than worthy of my trust…to be like clay, in His hands, is a gift, an honor, I do want that!

    1. my fear stiffens me too!!! I love that vs. I love the song too. I am the potter, you are the clay, mold me and make me, this is what i pray….

  28. I’ve been meditating on and memorizing ps 63:1:

    Oh God You are my God
    Early will I seek you
    My soul thirsts for you
    My flesh longs for you
    IN a dry and thirsty land
    Where there is no water.

    And I’ve also been contemplating how Jesus gave up comfort when he went to the cross. I thought first of his leaving the presence of His Father in heaven to become as one of his creation. He never really settled in here. He always knew he had to be about his father’s business. As he journeyed toward his ulitmate purpose he left the family business and responsibilities of home. At the age of 30 he chose not to have a home to call his own. He knew he had only 36 months left on the planet. During those months he carefully chose his inner circle, not just the three, not just the other nine, but a host of friends who clamored to have him in their homes. Jesus was welcomed in so many places. When he went to the cross he never asked when will the pain end he only wants to know why his father had turned his back on him. Jesus gave up the comfort of communion with his father for us.

    I’ve been thinking about what the nineteenth century circuit riding preacher Francis Asbury wrote in his journal during a bout with illness, “A living man should not complain”. I realized yesterday that I have been inwardly complaining. I’ve been saying, ‘God my life isn’t the way I want it’. Then what do I find out tonight in the first session of bible study at church? ‘I’M JONAH’. So begins a new journey in a new study: Priscilla Shirer’s Jonah Navigating a Life Interrupted. I found out tonight how privileged I am when God interrupts my life to issue an invitation to kingdom work.
    The truth is if my life was the way I wanted it I would be living the selfish life not caring for anyone but myself and I certainly don’t want to be one of those who ‘serves and then complains about it’.
    To everyone else my life many look like its stuck on hold but I know my God is up to something and I get first hand insight and sometimes it just gets so exciting.

    Stone report: I prayed for insight as to why, when I was a child, I turned to food for comfort. The answer was I used food as a subsitute for the parental love I was not getting. Now that I accept and know I am fully secure in the love of Christ I see that I no longer want to bow to the idol of comfort. I sense that stronghold has finally been knocked down.

    1. Tammy, Wow what a great update and stone report! God is really working in your heart sister! 🙂

    2. Tammy,
      I am also memorizing Psalm 63, and it’s wonderful how the words will come into my mind and seem to be “calling me”…
      O God, You are my God,
      I shall seek You earnestly;
      My soul thirsts for You,
      my flesh yearns for You,
      in a dry and weary land
      where there is no water.
      Apparently they led you into some deep meditations.

      I like what you said about how if your life was the way you wanted it, you would be living the selfish life, not caring for anyone else but yourself. Honest, and true – I know the same is true about me. It is a daily battle.

  29. 4. Here the disciples seem to jump on the bandwagon with Judas, criticizing Mary. What is their criticism?

    * That she poured the expensive perfume out and they said it was a ‘waste’..Judas said they could have sold it and gave the money to the poor.

    5. What does Jesus tell them? Does this mean Jesus doesn’t care for the poor? Explain.

    * That what she did was beautiful and that they will always have the poor but not always have Jesus.

    * Actually, after looking at this this morning I see how Jesus reflects his deep concern and love for the poor. He could have said, “The poor?? Do you realize who I am?? He didn’t..He was truly humble..

    1. May I give my testimony of the impact this study has had on my life so far? I will try to keep it short, but that will be hard. 🙂

      One of the things I keep remembering is that scripture says, “God is love”.. That has been haphazardly used in our culture and probably not taught or mentioned that much in our churches. In my upbringing in the Lord, God’s love was talked about but not delved into as much as it is here on Dee’s site. I came to know Him back in 1988 because His love drew me and I loved Him..Somewhere along the way I started becoming more cerebral in a sense..

      I remember as a new believer I wrote love poems to Jesus..One of a picture of me falling onto his chest feeling his strong arms around me and him holding me. I described His warmth, his strong chest and how secure I felt in his arms..it was a love poem. Jesus was my husband..When I took it to my pastor, he said..this is good but be careful if you share this as someone might get the wrong picture of it. He said it in love as a way to protect me, but I walked away feeling a bit of shame in a sense or silly…BUT after doing this study I realize now that wasn’t silly, but Jesus loved that poem and I am in love with Him all over again, but in a deeper sense. Just like that poem I wrote.

      I think Jesus basked in Mary’s reckless abandonment of love and affection for Him. He wants my affections to be on Him, to love Him more than to merely desire to be used or have this cerebral relationship with. I think being a workman not ashamed stems from loving Him..The desire for deeper study has to stem from loving Him.

      I can love Him like I did when I was first betrothed to Him, as a new believer, but OH HE WANTS ME TO GO SO MUCH DEEPER STILL, but I am just one step away from stupid and I need other believers..I prayed for godly, mature women in the Lord that I could learn from and be encouraged by for they have been hard to find, but He has brought them..He is faithful!!!!!

      He will come to my rescue in the future too if I go into a cold season again, but I don’t want to go into a cold season. Tim Keller helped me with that by saying when you go into one that is when you need to warm up.

      Today, what Dee said when she wondered if Mary’s fragrance stayed with Jesus as He went to the cross as a remembrance that someone truly loved Him, is sticking out to me. What a thought to ponder on.

      I can’t wait to be challenged in regard to extending this love to others for I am LACKING in that. Perhaps He wants us to leave our fragrance on others as Mary left it on Him. To truly pour ourselves out to others as He did for us.

      1. Rebecca,
        that was one of the most beautiful testimonies I have ever heard. The beauty of the relationship of love you share with the Lord Jesus. Certainly nothing to be ashamed of, but to bask and delight in.
        And I think you got it so right about what it means to be an aroma of Christ to others, that we should leave this fragrance on others as Mary left it on Him.
        I’m so glad you shared this with us!

      2. Beautiful testimony Rebecca! I too, have thought of what Dee had said about the fragrance of the perfume Mary spilled out staying with Jesus as a beautiful reminder that someone loved him. Thank you Dee, that was such a beautiful thought – I think of Jesus, fully God, yet fully man and what comfort that must have brought him! Thank you for sharing that! 🙂

        Another thing that I have never seen before, which is quite obvious, that you brought out Dee, is that this night they (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus) were honoring Jesus, the dinner was in his honor! I think of both the brokenness and gratefulness of Mary – Jesus – there is no one like Him!

        Thank you for all your lovely thoughts everyone, your honesty and vulnerability! 🙂

      3. Rebecca, this is a lovely testimony! Is it not always His love that draws us? I also loved Dee’s thought about the fragrance of the nard staying with the Lord in His suffering. Even when the Father had to turn His face away, her love was with Him. While there is nothing we bring to Him that He needs, our love may be the greatest gift we can give to Him. How precious your poems must have been to Him. I think you could teach us a thing or two about loving Him.

        It is unfortunate that your pastor stifled what the Lord was doing in your heart. I can understand his concern in the wake of foolishness like Jesus Christ Superstar, which probably had an effect on him if he was my age (which is soon to be 56 :} I think that sometimes when we try to protect we cause more harm than good.

  30. 2. Read John 12:3-6.

    A. Write down everything Mary did.

    Mary took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. An act of love and adoration and worship.
    I would love to know her thoughts as she got the idea to do this, was she following the leading of the Holy Spirit?

    B. Why does Judas object? Contrast his heart with Mary’s.

    Judas objects and says, “why wasn’t the perfume sold and the money given to the poor?” Outwardly he seems concerned but John reveals his true motive – Judas was their treasurer and was a thief who pilfered what was in the moneybox.

    Judas’ heart
    does not belong to Jesus
    money was his treasure
    his idols on the throne of
    his heart

    Mary’s heart
    belongs to Jesus
    Jesus was her treasure
    giving and selfless
    Jesus on the throne of her heart

    3. Read John 12:7-8. How does Jesus defend her?

    Jesus says “let her alone, in order that she may keep the custom of anointing for burial for the day of My burial.”
    He says you will always have the poor but I wont always be with you.
    Mary took a big risk, risking criticism and ridicule. Jesus says, in effect, the one who looks to Me will never be put to shame.

    Read Mark 14:3-9.

    4. Here the disciples seem to jump on the bandwagon with Judas, criticizing Mary. What is their criticism?

    That the perfume was WASTED. Stop right there! They weren’t thinking about Jesus – the person/object of her act of worship using the perfume. If they were, how could they say it was wasted on Jesus? That it could have been sold and the profit used for the poor.

    On the other hand, perhaps because they had heard Jesus’ teachings on caring for the poor over and over, and because Jesus was so selfless, perhaps they fully expected Him to agree with their point of view.

    5. What does Jesus tell them? Does this mean Jesus doesn’t care for the poor?

    Jesus says to let her alone, “why do you bother her?” And, “She has done a good deed to Me.” He says you’ll always have the poor with you to do good to them but you wont always have Me with you.
    Jesus certainly cares about the poor, but this act of Mary’s had a bigger picture, a part in God’s plan for His Son to be sacrificed for sins.
    I like Dee’s wondering if the fragrance of the nard still was on His body on the Cross? And one of you said in your post that fragrant offerings were given to the Lord and it was said that it was a “pleasing aroma” to the Lord. If anointing a body for burial was done after death (I don’t know if the sick person who was near death was anointed before he died?), yet here Jesus is anointed before His death, perhaps that was a part of the plan, as He was the sacrifice of atonement, and the perfume played a part in that?

    6. What does Jesus say about Mary in Mark 14:8-9? Thoughts?

    Jesus says that Mary has anointed His body for the burial, and that wherever the Gospel is preached in the whole world, what Mary did will be spoken of in her memory.
    Jesus honored Mary and also, through her, He honors all women by letting them know that God honors and esteems women. How precious hearing this would be to women in many places of the world where they are treated badly and like they are chattel, that Jesus loves them and Mary is a part of the gospel.

  31. Stone report

    I’ve done some thinking about my stones, and the idols that are behind them.

    My tongue – critical words, disrespectful, at times yelling, saying hurtful things (most often directed at my husband)
    The idol – power and control.
    I have the “power” to punish and hurt with my words and to control my husband. I thought of the verse in Proverbs, “the power of life and death is in the tongue”

    My thought-life – daydreaming, fantasizing, entertaining ungodly thoughts.
    The idol – power/control – can make me feel powerful in situations where I am powerless, also self-importance. Also affirmation – seeking to affirm myself and comfort – an escape from boredom or unpleasant situation.

    Unforgiveness and bitterness
    The idol – power/control – I will continue to punish the person by withholding love, sulking, pouting, giving the cold shoulder. I determine when they have “paid” for hurting me.

    The idol – affirmation/approval – protecting myself, my image

    The idol – security/comfort – trying to comfort myself through buying something

    The idol – power/control – desire to control others to love me more
    Affirmation/approval and security – not secure enough in my identity in Christ that I strive to be first – it shows my insecurity and need for approval of men.

    Dependence on people for feelings of security
    Idol – security/comfort – turning to mom and dad or my sister or a friend before I go to God. I need people to make me feel safe and secure, needed, wanted, loved, a sense of belonging.
    That’s okay to a point, but God must fill up those needs first.

    I have been having more control over my thought-life, just stopping a train of thought and saying, even out loud, “I don’t want to think this, I don’t need this.” I’d rather think about Jesus. Memorizing scripture really helps redirect my train of thought. Asking myself (about the thoughts or attitudes) – is this true? noble? right? worthy of praise?

    1. Wow Susan’s list was so convicting for me! I have glossed over so many of these areas lately–you have helped me face some truths and some hidden, subtle sins.

    2. Susan, your stone report is awesome! I know this other stuff may be troubling but I say take one thing at a time and rejoice in this victory! You are talking to your soul and she is listening.

  32. This is the song of my heart today!! I REALLY want to sing this sometime..some of the words in the bridge are hard to hear, but if you listen close you can hear them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iduL7r_8sWs

  33. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIdvtRcPGBg this is the song that speaks to my soul.

    1. Cyndi..YES! This is SO awesome!!!

  34. O.K. so today Dee brings up loving the poor, the oppressed..loving, loving them and I come across this today on Ann VosKamp’s blog..God is amazing: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2011/02/what-really-happens-when-you-give-to-the-poor/

    1. Really great Rebecca – thank you!

  35. I did a favorite study years ago called Gospel Transformation (World Harvest Mission), and this quote really spoke to me:
    “We serve, love, desire, trust, fear, and worship other things apart from God to give us joy, peace, freedom, status, identity, control, happiness, security, fulfillment, health, significance, acceptance, and respect. Sometimes are idols are obviously wrong. However, the things we desire are often good in themselves…even good things become idols when they start to rule our lives.”

    My stone report–
    I get angry if my husband isn’t home right on time. Idol of control.

    I fear getting sick, and having health problems. Satan has attacked me bad in this area in my past and it is still a fear. Idol of comfort/security–I want some type of assurance that I won’t have a something debilitating happen to me.

    My pride is the root of all of this and so often I excuse my behavior by saying I am just tired or that it’s been a hard day. I want to live in absolute trust in Him, not my self.

    I want to be more grace-giving, especially with my husband and kids. I act as though I have a right to my frustration , when I need grace so much in my own life and yet the way I act is so self righteous.

    Sorry to ramble!

    1. Elizabeth, I don’t know if this helps, but living in the shadow of the dementia that took my mother, which is genetic, and for which I have the gene, I know that even then, He will be faithful. I lived in fear of this and when I found I had the same gene, I had to come to terms with it. This is how He did it for me. He is faithful no matter what.

      1. Anne, that helped more than you know–thank you! You reminded me too of when my son was born. When we adopted him at birth, we found out there were drugs in his body and that the birth mom had a long history of drug use and mental disorder. Our case worker said we could change our minds since none of this was what the birth mom had told us before, and that the child would go to CPS under such circumstances. The Lord had already knitted me in that moment so tight to my son, there was no way we would change our mind. A friend later said she had prayed for God to protect our child while he was in the womb, without even knowing all the circumstances. To this day, I firmly believe her prayer was answered. Sorry for the long reply, but you helped me see that what I have believed for my son, I can believe for myself.

        Thanks for being vulnerable–He used that to bless me just now!

      2. Elizabeth, you have a true mother’s heart for your son. God will be faithful.

  36. 4. Here the disciples seem to jump on the bandwagon with Judas, criticizing Mary. What is their criticism?

    They think the oil was wasted in what Mary did with it.

    5. What does Jesus tell them? Does this mean Jesus doesn’t care for the poor? Explain.

    Reality check is what comes to my mind here. Jesus is going to die. The disciples have been with Him all this time and they have understood His heart for the poor. They are still on that but Jesus is moving on to another thing which is His main reason for coming to earth. Don’t we do this all the time? We get a glimpse of God’s heart and carry out ministry in the Spirit, but then He wants to take us higher and we are still doing the same old thing. I don’t mean that the old thing is not important like in this case, caring for the poor is still important but He will provide for that in His time.

  37. 6. *That she has ‘done what she could’, she anointed my body beforehand for burial. What she has done will be spoken of throughout the world.

    * He said that wherever the gospel is preached she will be be remembered..It will be in memory of her. Jesus exalted her..A verse just came to mind..It is in 1 Peter 5..I had to google it because I forgot the verse reference:

    1 Peter 5:5b-7

    “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
    Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

    * Mary is a picture of true, biblical humility and the men who grumbled are pictures of pride.

    Question: Can we correlate God “exalting” us when we are humble before Him in 1 Peter with Jesus saying because Mary did this she will be “remembered”? Not sure if we can..I researched a bit and couldn’t find the original word for “Exalt”..

      1. Amen! Yes I see it..He DID exalt her just like God will exalt us in His time..We won’t be canonized but perhaps it will be just as or even more glorious??

  38. 7. When Jesus went to the cross, how did it show that none of these three idols were as important to Him as His love for us?

    A. How did He give up comfort?

    * He was beaten, flogged, humiliated, and He had to endure momentary separation from God on the cross as He was soaking up our sins..Can you imagine how lonely that was for Him?!?! He knew what lie ahead, yet obediently went..This is also a great example of going against his feelings..I mean, he was scared when he prayed if this cup should pass..He was just obedient because of His love for God.

    B. How did He give up approval?

    *The humiliation and shame of the people making fun of Him, calling Him the king of the Jews..people laughing and mocking him.

    C. How did He give up power and control?

    * When He soaked up our sins on the cross and really the whole process..Letting them nail him to the cross..Just giving up Himself the whole time..Not stopping it.

  39. 8. How does this impact you?
    * Jesus was totally submitting Himself to God..Humble..willing to give His life because He loved God and loved us.

    God wants me to be like Jesus..

  40. 8. Stone update:

    This kind of dovetails with #7.. I have seen victory and I look at it like I am in a ‘humbling’ process..

    The more I keep my affections and love on Him the more my stone will be crumbled. I know this comfort idol is getting kicked off his throne right now, but he is in the background and my control idol is trying to jump on it now. But I am aware of it now thanks be to GOD moving on Dee’s blog!

    Some days this week I have succumbed to my idol and other times I haven’t, but I am in a healing mode and God is doing the healing.

    He is encouraging me with some victories..Little steps are SO GOOD!!! Progress!

    OH and a victory I had last night was I confessed to my husband that I haven’t been loving him and the kids like Jesus wants me to love them..THAT WAS HARD TO DO..But I must press on..Obey and do it and as I am doing it trust that He will do that work in me.

    God is showing me this running to my idol is a strong habit like smoking, but worse..I have made a habit of running to my comfort and control gods..So, the more I make a habit of running/clinging to His word, meditating..memorizing like we are doing here, even if I need to get up earlier than 4:30 a.m, praying, fellowship with other believers, and seeking wise counsel, the more often my idol will stay in the background.

    Also I think as I am pouring my affections on Jesus He will bring people in my life He wants me to love and mentor. To pass it on and pour myself onto them-the beautiful fragrance of Christ like I did when I first came to know Him.. It’s beautiful knowing Him..

  41. 7. Go, be like Mary, but that would miss the point. Instead, Mary was able to do what she did because her affections were on Jesus.

    Some thoughts….. I could go and be like Mary, but still miss Jesus. I think the point is to look deeply at her love relationship with Jesus, and to know that He is the same today as He was when Mary lived. I can have that same abandoned love for Him, if I take the time to get to know Him. In my life, and in each one of our lives, we have an “alabaster jar” filled with something precious that we can pour out for Jesus as an act of love and worship. Maybe it’s the breaking down of a wall we’ve put up between us and another person and loving that person unconditionally. Or the spilling of a long held onto idol at His feet. Maybe it’s our own heart that we haven’t fully given over to Him. It could even be sin we’ve avoided admitting, or dealing with and we’re ready to come clean without excuse before Him.

    1. Susan, thanks for this: “Maybe it’s the breaking down of a wall we’ve put up between us and another person and loving that person unconditionally.” God is really showing me that with someone in my family right now..Thanks for confirming that today. God is good!

      1. Me, too, Rebecca.

    2. So good, Susan

  42. I’m reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers right now. The main character, Angel, wants to run back to her old life as a prostitute for alot of reasons, but one is that the love of her husband, Michael Hosea, is a love she’s never known before, and it makes her feel unworthy and uncomfortable, even in pain because of his unconditonal love for her.
    I wonder if that’s why I often return to old ways and habits, they’re somehow familiar and comfortable, and Jesus’ unswerving love can be unnerving.

    1. Susan
      that is so true. we would rather stick with what we know then feel so uncomfortable. its hard to be loved, to except love that we feel as if we don’t “deserve” I had a cousin live with us for a year growing up. He had lived in a car for a year when he was 16 and we found out and brought him home. He was in a safe, loving home and he kept on going back to the junk of his past. we could not understand it but this is what was going on. he is 40 now and just now sees that we did love him. it was so different then the type of “love” he was used to that he couldnt even feel it as love.
      our idols FEEL like love, comfort, control,etc to us. God’s Love IS love but sometimes we cant FEEL it as such because its harder, its different, its beyond us and we want what we are used to.

  43. Today a whole new thought came as I read the passage in Mark! What struck me most today was Jesus’ defense of Mary.
    I thought about what I truly hold back, my real vial that I don’t want to break open, it is ME, my heart. I hold myself tight and secure–only sharing some things with some people I trust…there is wisdom in that, yes, but I go further into fear. I only want to show the part of me that is acceptable. I have been wounded before and now am guarded. I share openly (mostly) with my husband, but anyone else I like to keep at arms length.
    I’ve known this about myself, and dismissed it as being healthier to not over-expose, like I used to do with people. But today I realized I do this with Jesus. Yes, I have had many broken moments in my walk, poured out my heart to Him…but the pattern lately is much more reserved, safer…guarded.

    I can trust Him with it all. Look how He defended her, He won’t let my openness ruin me. He wants me broken to Him.

    1. I just re-read and this isn’t exactly what I’m feeling…I do feel a deep love with Jesus, I have just been so scheduled and rushed with my relationship with Him lately…sometimes I miss the old college days year and years ago of lingering longer with Him…I feel like I never take the time to linger anymore, to sit, to be slow and open with Him. I pray constantly throughout the day–the one “discipline” I actually regularly do! But not sitting still, it’s always while washing dishes, driving, or a quick prayer request someone asked me to pray. My quiet time has become structured, not free and flowing like the perfume…like I want to be…an aroma to Him…may my praise arise like incence…

    2. Elizabeth, wow..Jesus is taking you into deep waters! I can’t wait to see more updates later on this..

  44. Butterflies are wreaking havoc with me. Please pray that I will be able to press in and trust the Lord alone. Lord, help me to see You and lean only on You. You alone are sovereign. The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom should I be afraid? When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh, my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell. Though an army deploy against me, my heart is not afraid; though war break out against me, still I am confident. I have asked one thing from the Lord; it is what I desire:to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the Lord and seeking Him in His temple. For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock. Psalm 27:1-5

    1. ANNE…Your post brought this worship song to mind..It is one of my favorite worship albums..It is off of “Enter the Worship Circle”..1000 portraits and Waterdeep…The song is called “In the land of the living”..It is a song written from Psalm 27…It is awesome..Hope it encourages you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlmYLUjvMRs

    2. I’m praying for you, Anne

    3. That is a good song Rebecca, just where I am right now. Thanks. Joyce, thanks so much for praying. Is your back getting any better yet?

      1. Anne, I am taking water therapy in three times a week for my back and my arthritis every where else and it is wonderful.I praying it will help, but so far, I am the same as I was before surgery. Thanks for asking

  45. I realize that I have felt well because things have been going well. I think it is time to get out of the nest and learn to fly.

    1. Anne, I can relate oh so well! I think this is part of the process God is taking you through so I will pray..