Sunday

Walking in Mary Magdalene's Shoes


Have you ever known someone who knew everything about 
you . . . but loved you anyway? 


That was Jesus. 

I’d heard him preach. Lots of times, from a distance. He talked about the kingdom of heaven, and oh, he made it sound so wonderful – like he’d been there, just the other day . . . “In my father’s house are many mansions. . .” 

But I knew I’d never see it. Too many sins. And too many demons, always at war within me. I followed him, but on the outskirts. He drew me in, in spite of myself. 

I watched him laugh with the children. I could tell he loved them. You can’t fake that. He’d gather them up in his arms and hold them close, then he’d whisper something in their ear. And they’d smile. Every time. 

I watched how he walked among the people – sick people, blind people, lepers even, and healed them. Why would he, a rabbi, touch them? They were unclean. Outcasts. The slum dogs of society. 

And then he cast the demon out of that little boy. That's when I began to hope. Maybe, just maybe, he could help me. 

So I waited. Until he went to Simon’s house. 

 And I brought my most precious treasure – ointment for his head. But when I cracked it open, my heart cracked open too. Standing there, him so pure and holy, and me so unclean. How could I dare to stand in his presence? 

My knees gave way, and I crumpled to the ground, oil sloshing onto his feet. He was looking at me – everyone was looking at me – but I couldn’t raise my eyes. My sin stood hopelessly between us. 

But then I remembered the blind man, and the lame man, and the leper. And my heart cracked open more. I began to weep, my tears mingling with the dust on his feet. 

That dirt – I knew it was a picture of my sin. This God/Man had walked the world and allowed the sin of us all to cling to him, yet it never became part of him. It washed right off. 

The more I sobbed, the more my repentant tears flowed. I knew I was making a scene, but I couldn’t help it. The fragrance of the oil permeated the room as I rubbed it onto his feet. My tears made silver trails on his dark skin. “ 

“Leave her alone. . . . she’s anointing me for my burial.” 

I heard his words, but they sounded far away and otherworldly

These feet . . . feet that had walked a hundred miles to search for the lost sheep of Israel. I loved those feet – the the part of him that was most like me – dirty. And calloused. And . . . human. I kissed them over and over again as gratitude filled my heart to bursting. 

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

Then Simon’s voice, squirmy and self-righteous. “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” 

My tears, and the oil, and the dirt had puddled around those sacred feet. I reached for a towel, only to find I had none. Desperate to clean the mess I’d made, I fumbled with the tie that held my hair back. Grabbing a handful of my hair, I wiped frantically at the fragrant mess, trying to remove the evidence of my bold indiscretion. 

“I came into your house,” I heard him say to Simon. “You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.” 

I felt his fingers, rough from work, touch my face. Tenderly he raised my chin. I wanted to run, but a force stronger than fear held me in place. I waited for the condemnation I knew would come. 

 “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 

I heard his words, but they made no sense. 

“Your sins are forgiven,” he repeated to my disbelieving ears. 

“Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” 

Sometimes it’s good to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. 

As we follow him to the cross, it’s appropriate to ask: Have you ever seen your sin for what it is? Not a mistake or an indiscretion, but the thing that stands between you and a holy God? 

Have you, like Mary Magdalene, come to Christ in humility and repentance, wanting only to be cleansed? 

Have you believed, by faith, that Jesus has the power to forgive your sin and transform your life? 

Have you accepted his gift of forgiveness? 

If you have, then the words Christ spoke to Mary belong to you as well: 

“Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”


If you’d like to share what God has done in your life, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

(You can find this story in Luke 7:36-48.)








Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.

Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.




Wednesday

Three Coins and a Treasure - Unexpected Blessings in God's Word

I found a quarter, a nickel, and a penny in the bottom of the washing machine today. It made me happy, not because I needed thirty-one cents, although another Aldi quarter is always welcome. I felt happy because I’d found something valuable in an unexpected place

God’s Word isn’t an unusual place to find treasure, but I had a similar moment of delight during my quiet time recently. 

I read the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego standing before the king, and I discovered treasure in two little words tucked into the narrative: “even if.” 

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’” (Daniel 3:16-20). 

Even if God doesn’t rescue us, we will not sin against Him. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s bold and faith-filled declaration made my heart swell. Like these young men from long ago, I want to stand for right, even when it costs me. I want to love God so much that I’d risk my life to please Him. I want to be a courageous witness and an unwavering representative of Christ in this dark world. I want to make God proud. 

I suspect you do, too.


Like the coins in the bottom of my washing machine, little words with great meaning are sprinkled throughout the pages of Scripture. 

Lord, give us eyes to see them and hearts to obey.

Now it's your turn. Have you found treasure in God's Word lately? Share it in the comment box so we can all enjoy your discovery. If you're reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online and share your thoughts.   



Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.

Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.







Sunday

How Do We Wear His Name?

 I spotted the shirt from across the gym. Distinctive blue letters on a bright red background said Red Sox

Because I grew up in Rhode Island, my family and I were fierce supporters of the Sox, cheering them to victory over the despised New York Yankees. 

Now that I live in South Carolina, I don’t see Red Sox paraphernalia very often. I guess this is why the man’s red shirt stood out to me. Block letters on the back said B-R-A-D-L-E-Y. 

I hope Bradley’s a good guy, I thought. Sox or no Sox, I wouldn’t want to wear someone’s name on my back unless he was someone I’d be proud to be associated with. 

During the tribulation period, people won’t be choosing which baseball player’s name to wear on their backs. They’ll be deciding whether to wear the mark of the antichrist (Revelation 3:16-17) or the name of God (Revelation 14:1). 

The mark of the antichrist will grant them the ability to buy, sell, and conduct business. The name of God could get them killed. 

Although creation groans for the end times, we’re not there yet. In the United States at least, we can still assemble for worship, carry a Bible, and share our faith without fear of persecution. 

But for how long? 

How long before, like our brothers and sisters in China, our pastors will be arrested, our churches closed, and our members will have to hide to worship? 

Or, like believers in the East African country of Eritrea, we’ll be arrested and imprisoned for years without ever being charged with a crime? 

Or, like Christians in North Korea, we’ll risk being tortured as a traitor for swearing allegiance to God instead of the ruling family? 

We don’t like to think of these possibilities, but they are real. They could happen—to us. 

When the stakes are high and the punishment severe, will we be so quick to wear the name of Jesus? To display His cross around our necks? To pray like Daniel did when he knew evil eyes were watching? 

First Corinthians 4:2 reminds us, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 

We have, indeed, been given a trust—a weighty trust—one that may soon come to an end. For now, we have the freedom to name the name of Jesus without fear. What are we doing with this trust? 

How do we bear Jesus’ name? Are we cowardly and ashamed? Or bold and winsome? Do we share the good news of our faith as if it truly is good news? Or do we treat it like some awkward family secret we reveal to only our closest friends? 

We owe it to our brothers and sisters in China, Eritrea, and North Korea to wear his name proudly and without fear. 

We owe it to Jesus. 




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.

Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.







Wednesday

The Habit that Changed My Heart

“I bought a Bible yesterday,” Sarah said, “and I’m going to start reading it. I hope to find some answers.” 

Sarah and I talked a bit about how to begin. “The Bible isn’t like most books,” I said, “where you start at the beginning and read straight through, although many have read it that way. The first time I read it, I began in the New Testament, with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.”

I’m so excited for this woman who’s seeking answers. She’s come to the right place. 

James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 

As she reads, Sarah will find answers. 

Better yet, she will find God. 

John 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” 

As Sarah reads the Word of God, she will encounter Jesus. 

And Jesus has the power to change her life. 

My Confession 

Twenty years ago I wrestled with one of two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 

I loved God with my soul—I had trusted Him as Savior. I acknowledged him with my mind, too, as King and Sovereign Lord. 

But I struggled to love Him with my heart—my emotions and my passion. I didn’t feel for God the emotions I normally equate with love. I felt awe, respect, and gratitude, but my heart didn’t swell like it did when I thought about my husband, or my children, or even my friends. 

Something was missing. 

A Curious Thing Happened

That year I began to read through the Bible for the first time. I used the MacArthur Daily Bible, which breaks up the text into daily readings, a portion from the Old Testament, a portion of the New, a Psalm, and a Proverb. In fifteen minutes a day, I’d read through the Bible in a year. 

As I read, a curious thing happened. My heart stirred.

I read in Genesis how God created mankind from nothing and walked and talked with Adam and Eve at the end of every day, and I glimpsed God’s desire for a relationship with us (Genesis 3:8). 

I learned that though He had every right to destroy the people He had created because they spurned His love and believed Satan’s lie, He immediately put in place instead a redemption plan, one that vanquished death and hell for those who would believe (Genesis 3:15). 

I listened to His heart as He described His plan to bless all those who would believe in Him (Psalm 37). 

I heard Him weep as he rescued rebellious Israel over and over again from the folly of sin (Jeremiah 8:18-21). 

I read how He longed to gather His children in His arms and care for them all the days of their lives (Matthew 23:37). 

And I read, on every page and in every story, God’s Father heart calling to His children, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 28:11). 

The more I read, the more I fell in love with God. 

Heart-swelling, chest-bursting, tell-the-world love that couldn’t be contained. Tears of overwhelming emotion often dripped from my eyes onto the pages of my Bible. A warmth I’d never experienced wrapped around me like the softest blanket, cradling me in God’s embrace.

I loved Him. 

I LOVED Him. 

I LOVED HIM. 

With all my mind, all my soul, and all my HEART, I loved Him

This is the power of God’s Word. We cannot read it and remain unchanged. We cannot read it without falling in love with its Author. 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God.” 

I’m so excited for Sarah this year. Not only will she read the Word of God, she’ll encounter the God of the Word. 

If she seeks Him with all her heart, she will find Him. 

And her life will be changed forever. 

What About You? 

In the article, “Ten Questions for a New Year,” Don Whitney invites us to prayerfully ask ourselves, “What one thing can you do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?” 

The answer for me, and, I suspect, for most of us, is Read the Bible

Nowhere else will we experience the depth and breadth and height of God’s love for us. Nothing else will expand our love for Him. Nothing will transform our lives more than the living, active, powerful Word of God. 

If you’re skeptical, why not try it and see what happens? 

Begin your Bible reading time by asking, as Moses did, “Lord, show me your glory.” Then read with an open heart. In a journal, write down what you learn about God. Before long you’ll have a list longer than the list I made as a 13-year-old girl about THE ONE I hoped to marry someday. Strong, patient, kind, loving, sacrificial, humble, gentle, smart, creative, wise, honest, fun-loving, joyful, peacemaking . . . and on and on it will go. 

How can you not fall in love with Someone like this? 

He will draw your heart to His with cords of loving kindness and fill your life with joy. 

What are your plans for the new year? Do they include a daily commitment to read God’s Word? 

I hope so.



Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.

Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.






Sunday

Our Prayers Have No Expiration Date

When was the last time you found treasure in an unexpected place?

I found some today. Like reaching into my pocket and finding a twenty dollar bill, this unexpected discovery made my heart happy.

I reached into the book of Luke, and there it was, nestled in the folds of the Christmas story. 

Zechariah, the elderly priest, had drawn a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to burn incense in the temple of the Lord. “He was a just man, observing the Lord’s commandments and serving blamelessly.”

But. 

“But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years” (Luke 1:7).

As Zechariah prepared to offer the fragrant incense to God, an angel appeared.

An angel.

Angels appear frequently in the narrative of the Christmas story. Familiarity often causes us to breeze right past them. But they weren’t common in the first century. Seven hundred years of silence had echoed in the space between the final promise of Malachi and the first whisper of Matthew, and now the silence was over.

God picks up the conversation right where he left off—by heralding the forerunner of the Messiah. He sends an unexpected message through an otherworldly messenger.

I wonder, did the angel’s clothes shimmer with ethereal light from God’s presence? Did he shake space dust from his mighty wings? Did his feet shine with the reflection of golden pavement?

I’ve no doubt his appearance was awe-inspiring, because Scripture tells us Zechariah was “gripped with fear.”

Maybe he reached for his nitroglycerin pills or leaned trembling on his staff. Perhaps he blinked his cataract-clouded eyes—more than once.

“Do not be afraid,” the angel said (v. 13).

“Zechariah, your prayer has been heard.” 

My prayer? What prayer? Zechariah blinks again, this time in confusion.

 “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son.”

God heard my prayer for a son? I prayed that prayer every day. I cried. I begged. I fasted.


But that was decades ago. And when Elizabeth’s womb remained empty and her fruitful years passed, I stopped praying. That dream died.  


“Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth” (v. 13-14).

A joy and a delight. 

The angel’s words to Zechariah were a gift. They are a gift to us as well. 

They remind us that there is no expiration date on our prayers. They go ahead of us into eternity. They continue to accomplish God’s purposes long after the words leave our lips.

In the fullness of time, according to His good plan, God moves. 

Zechariah saw his prayer answered decades after he had uttered it. But he didn’t get what he asked for.

He got so much more. 

Instead of giving him an ordinary little boy who lived an ordinary little life, God gave Zechariah John the Baptist, the one who would come “in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).

Because we are human, our understanding is limited and short-sighted. We ask for things that seem right and reasonable.

But God has greater plans. His understanding is boundless and his purposes eternal.

We take the short view of today and tomorrow and next week. He takes the long view and sees into the end of time.

His plan of redemption and grace march on, unaltered by human frailty and failure. God will rescue His people (Deuteronomy 32:36). He will complete the good work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).

And He will answer our prayers. Perhaps not in the way we think. But in the way He knows is best.

Perhaps this is why Jesus encouraged us to “always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).

What are you praying for today? What have you prayed for in the past and failed to receive? Zechariah’s story reminds us that we can trust God not only to hear our prayers, but to answer them—in ways we could never have imagined.

Those unanswered prayers that make your heart hurt with longing? You can trust Him.

Ask Zechariah.



Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.

Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.