Can you look back and see the times a closed door or rejection or rebuke was Jesus protecting you? Do you know you are protected by Jesus?
I know sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. When bad things happen, hearts are hurt, and doors slam in our face over and over, we may be tempted to believe that God is mad at us. He set us up to fail. But that never is the case.
Protected in Ministry
For all my dear sisters who’ve felt called to pastor or preach the good news of Jesus to the Church, not just to other women or children, this is for you. It’s difficult to be a woman called by God to preach. I’ve gone around and around in my own search for answers of a woman’s place in the Church. I’ve obediently sat silent, accepted rejection of the gifts I brought to the church, used them where I could, and waited on God.
I believe he’s protected me.
I also believe the enemy has stolen opportunities.
But one thing I’ve learned is to trust God. I let him use me wherever I am. I continue to pray for opportunities to serve him, and obey every step he leads.
That’s what Mary of Bethany did. Do you remember how she bravely interrupted the party of men sitting around a table to anoint Jesus? I wrote about it in A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called. Jesus protected her.
Protected as We Obey
.….Her perfume wouldn’t be used on the night of her wedding nor for a gift to the poor. Her gift was for Jesus. The Messiah defended her actions when immediate accusations and disapproval came from Judas and other dinner guests. I love how Jesus protected Mary.
This is the second time He came to her defense. First with her sister, this time from one of His own disciples. One of the Twelve. And, just as he’d done previously, Jesus rebuked Mary’s antagonistic naysayer. He said to Judas, “Leave her alone” (John 12:7). Our three English words are employed to translate the original single word admonition, aphiēmi (af-ee’-ay-mee). The definitions I found for this Greek word were: “Don’t send away” or “Don’t dismiss.”
. . . . Just as He recognized the value of her presence at His feet as a disciple.If Mary’s presence was valued by Jesus, I believe our presence is also….A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called
Protected as We Worship
Mary of Bethany’s brave act of lavished love was one of obedience. She could not say “No” to the soul prompting that led her into a room of men to do what no respectable woman would. She gave away one of the most expensive resource her family owned.
But though the men didn’t appreciate her gift, Jesus’s words trumped their negative accusations.
Are you being prompted, called, by God to step out in faith? Are you worried about the reaction of those who will witness your obedience?
Mary’s act of obedience was an act of worship. And our response to the Spirit’s nudge, the Call of God, is also.
This week as we continue our study of Ruth, we are on Day 19, pages 161-167. If you don’t have the book, here’s a printable to use. Just as Mary dared to obey a prompting, Ruth dared to obey Naomi and do (in my mind) the unthinkable. In her obedience she finds protection and blessing. Here’s a peak of the reading plan.
Monday: Ruth 3:5-6
“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
Prompt: Naomi “commanded” Ruth to go to the threshing floor, and this was Ruth’s reply. How did you follow commands as a child? How well do you follow rules now? Are you a people pleaser or rebel? What do you want God wants for you?
“I’m a people pleaser working on not being one. I was the teacher’s pet. I’m not bragging, just confessing. Funny, what I used to think was a strength, was actually a weakness. (All strengths can be.) People pleasers follow instructions blindly, too afraid to veer off course. Ruth was wiser” (Ruth Key Word Bible study, p. 163).
Ruth followed most of the instructions (stay tuned for more next week!)
Tuesday: Hosea 9:1
Do not rejoice, Israel;
do not be jubilant like the other nations.
For you have been unfaithful to your God;
you love the wages of a prostitute
at every threshing floor.
Prompt: This verse is a bit painful, isn’t it? Underline the words and phrases that stick out to you. We’re reading this verse to get a better picture of what often happened during the middle of the night on the threshing floors. It will help us better understand the next “bite of bread.” But until we get there, What is heartbreaking about this verse? Can it apply to us today?
Wednesday: Ruth 3:14
So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”
Prompt: Last week we uncovered where Ruth really lay which was next to Boaz. (Watch my YouTube video for some really interesting information about this scene, translation, and the adulterous woman no one stoned.) Boaz not only remained a gentleman, he protected her. Do you think God has protected you? Write it down.
Thursday: John 12: 1-3
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Prompt: Linger here moment. Close your eyes and picture the scene. Can you smell the perfumed oil? This is an act of worship, an anointing of our King. Write a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for the life he has restored to you.
Friday: John 12: 4-7
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
Prompt: Jesus protects Mary. He defends her place in the room and her actions. He commands the others to let her stay. This is our Jesus. He explains her actions as preparation for his burial. I don’t know if she knew, but I do think Holy Spirit prompted her. Has he prompted you to do something that made no sense? What happened?
Wednesday Night Live
I’m so excited to tell you that I finally got my “Live” option back on my phone! It’s a long story, but I will be Live on Facebook Wednesday night at 7:30 PM ET using my phone! Yay! It provides such better quality. I hope you can join me as we continue digging into Ruth and discuss how Jesus protects us. (Of course, this is Lord willing that there is no hurricane.)
Prayer for Protection for those in the path of the hurricane
Speaking of hurricanes, as I write this post, Dorian is moving over the Bahamas. Will you pray with me?
“Jesus, you are our protector. You can calm the storm, and Lord we cry out for your arms to surround the people suffering the devastating power of this hurricane. Don’t let it stall. Move it out to sea. Miraculously protect the families who live there and have so little. I pray they found safe places to wait out the storm. In Jesus’s name. Amen. “
I Pray You Feel His Protection,