Thursday, February 28, 2008

Update on Mary-of-the-alabaster-jar

It struck me yesterday after posting the story of Mary and her expensive perfume in the alabaster jar that we don't use our sense of smell much in Bible study. Maybe it was on my mind, but I wish I had the courage to ask Mr. Non-Food manager at Tom Thumb what aftershave he was wearing. Wow. Talk about how a fragrance memory can linger---I gotta find that stuff for my dearest. Whew.

Then when we went to Wednesday night Bible Study, the pastor was continuing through the book of Luke. In chapter four, Jesus stands up in his hometown synagogue and opens to a specific passage in Isaiah (61) and reads half the sentence, and stops before the vengance line, and sits down and proclaims that what He just read has been fulfilled that day.

"The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, tyo proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

The "anointed" word did not leap out at me at that point. I was busy reading ahead in Isaiah 81 where the passage reveals oil of joy instead of oil of mourning.

What is festive oil? What is oil for mourning?? Mary knew.

Jesus points out in Matthew 26, Mark 14 and John 12 that Mary is anointing His body for burial.

The fragrance filled the house and made the disciples mad about the waste and extravagance.

Jesus smells good. Anointing of kings was done with special oil.

Thank you, Lord for all the extra hints and extras enrichment yesterday. Thank you for the gift of the sense of smell. Please make our prayers a pleasing aroma to your nose. The gift of your Son is the gift beyond what we fathom in cost. That is why its a gift--because we can't pay, and we don't earn or deserve it. But, the gift of Your Son is also of such high value, so precious, so beyond what we could appreciate at first when we were just searching for Hell-fire insurance. For anyone to reject Your Son must be such a slap, or if someone tries to graft on their own dead works to treasure, must be downright rude.

Thank you for sending Your Son to die for us. And I thank You that He is no longer dead. He arose and smells great. You are Able to protect me from stumbling and make me stand in Your presence of Your glory, blameless and with great joy...with no regrets. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Singled Out

Spotlight on the Mary of Luke chapter 10, Matthew 26 and Mark 14 and John 12

Jesus would go to the cross soon. Too soon. He often stayed at Mary and Martha and their brother's house in Bethany. Matthew 26 says Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, and Mary walks in with an expensive alabaster vial of fragrant oil and she poured it on Jesus' head as He was reclining at the table. The disciples were indignant at the waste. Jesus' used the word you'd use for a snorting horse---and ask the disciples, why do you snort at her? She has done a good deed to Me. The poor you will have with you always, but you do not always have ME. By pouring this oil on My body, He said, she has prepared Me for burial. I assure you: whenever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be be spoken in memory of her.

She has done what she could (see the Mark 14 account)

In the John chapter 12 account, this seems to be the straw that breaks Judas Iscariot's back. This sends him over the edge, and out to betray Jesus.

LET HER ALONE, Jesus says.

When read in context, Matthew 25 deals with giving help and aid to the poor, the sick, the thirsty. But, Mary got to do something extravagant. And only of her is it said: SHE HAS DONE A GOOD DEED TO ME.

How do we do a good deed to Jesus? Again, read Matthew chapter 25

Jesus defended this woman. She had seen Jesus raise her brother from the dead. She knew who He was. But, she also knew He was the Lamb. And that Jesus was going to have to suffer and die.

To this God-given tune in my head I sing:

She has done what she could
She has done a good deed to Me.
Why do you worry, why do you fume and fuss at her?
She has done what she could.

The poor you will have with you always,
But you won't always have Me.
What she has done will be spoken in memory of her.
In memory of her.

Wherever the gospel is preached
Throughout the whole, wide world
what she has done will be spoken
in memory of her.
In memory of her.

She has done what she could.
She has done a good deed to Me
Why do you worry, why do you fume and fuss at her
She has done what she could
She has done what she would.

This was not the virgin Mary. I am not Catholic. I am not trying to glorify women or take the focus off of Christ. But, know that one day, one woman was singled out, and she did something brave and beautiful. With tears in her eyes, and a pure heart, a heart that was breaking, she expressed her love in a very special, unique way. She poured out on His head some very expensive perfumed oil from an alabaster jar. No one told her to. She did not ask permission. She certainly did not get the approval of Jesus friends and followers. She did something extraordinary. And this gift, like the widow's mite, was recorded forever, and noticed by the Creator Savior Jesus Christ.

What can we give back to God? It all belongs to Him, anyway. He made everything. Created everything. Set history in motion. He has a plan, and desires our love, our worship, but He does not force us to give it. We certainly are happier creatures when we do, but we can only marvel, as we read these accounts of a lady who Jesus proclaimed---look at her ! She got it !

I guess this is one of my favorite stories, and favorite women in the Bible because she received what I want---to hear Jesus say of me, she has done a good deed to Me. She has done what she could.

Women in the Bible

Ishah. That is what Adam called her. Then Eve.
Eve's daughters
Cain's wife
Enoch's wife
Irad's wife
Mehujael's wife
Methushael's wife
Jabal's wife
Naamah (sister of Tubal-cain)
Tubal-cain's wife

Seth's wife
Enosh's wife
Kenan's wife
Mahalalel's wife
Jared's wife
Enoch's wife
Methuselah's wife
Lamech's wife
Noah's wife
Mrs. Shem
Mrs. Ham
Mrs. Japheth

Mrs. Gomer plus three sons' wives
Mrs. Magog
Mrs. Madai
Mrs. Javan plus four sons' wives
Mrs. Tubal
Mrs. Meshech
Mrs. Tiras

Mrs. Cush plus five
Mrs. Nimrod
Mrs. Mizrim plus seven
Mrs. Put
Mrs. Caanan plus eleven

Mrs. Elam
Mrs. Asshur
Mrs. Arphachashad
Mrs. Lud
Mrs. Aram plus four

Mrs. Shelah
Mrs. Eber
Mrs. Peleg
Mrs. Reu
Mrs. Serug
Mrs. Nahor
Mrs. Terah
Mrs. Nahor
Mrs. Haran

Milcah (also Mrs. Nahor)
Deborah (Rebekah's nurse)
women rescued with Lot in Genesis 14:16
Lot's two daughters
Potipher's wife
Pharoah's daughter
Canaanite woman of Gen. 46:40 and Ex. 6:15
Aaron's daugher-in-law Genesis 6:25, mom who names Ichabod
and her six sisters
Cushite woman Numbers 12
Noah (yes, its a woman) Numbers 26, 27, 36
Keturah Joshua's daughter Joshua 7:24
Daughter of Manesseh
Caleb's daughter
Jael (armed with a tent peg and fermented yogurt)
Gideon's many wives (70 sons)
Jephthah's mom, the harlot
Jephthah's daughter
Mrs. Manoah
Samson's first wife
woman who threw the millstone
Gilead's wife Jug. 11
Levite's concubine Jugd. 10 and 20
women who encouraged Naomi
women who served I Sam. 2:22
Eli's daughter in law
400 virgins of Judges 20 and 21
dancing daughters of Shiloh
Saul's daughter, Merab
Saul's wife
Rizpah 2 Sam. 21
captured women of 1 Sam. 30:2
woman who hid Jonathan and A
wise woman of 2 Sam. 10:16, 22
cannibal woman of 2 Kings 6:26-30
medium of Endor
Tamar 2 Sam. 13
Tamar 2 Same. 14:27
woman of Tekoah
Abishag the Shunammite
two harlots of 1 Kings 3
Queen of Sheba
Solomon's 1,000 (wives and concubines)
pretending queen of 1 Kings 14
widow who helped Elijah
Elisha's mom (parents are mentioned)
Elisha's widow helper
Shunammite of 2 Kings 4:3, 36
Hebrew slave girl 2 Kings 5
nurse of 2 Kings 11
bad queen Athaliah
Huldah the prophetess 2 Kings 22:14 and 2 Chron. 34:22
daughter of Machir 1 Chron. 2:21
Jabez's mom
Sheshan's daughter
Jewish wife 1 Chr. 4:18
Aramean concubine 1 Chr. 7:14
Maacah 1 Chron. 7:16
Beriah's mother 1 Chron. 7:23
Sheerah's daughter verse 24
Micaiah 2 Chr. 13:2
Queen Vashti
Queen Esther
Job's wife
Job's first three daughters
women singers in Song of Solomon
Loruhamah Hos. 1:8
Ezekiel's wife
Queen Candace
Nodiah the prophetess of Nehemiah 6:14

Did I miss any women in the Old Testament??

Here are the New Testament women:

Mary, Jesus' mom
Peter's mother-in-law (3 accounts)
Resuscitated daughter Matt. 9:18
bad Herodias
bad Herodias' daughter

Mary of Mark 7:37 (alabaster, feet and tears)
Gentile woman who pleads Matt. 15:23-27
her daughter
mother of the sons of Zebedee
Mary with alabaster vial of Luke 10, Matt. 23, Mark 14

Mary Magdalene
Jarius' daughter (3 accounts)
hemorrhaging woman Matt. 9:21 and Mark 5
Elizabeth Luke 1
Annah Luke 2:36
healed woman of Luke 13
widow with the gift
Bride of Cana
woman of Samaria
woman caught in adultery John 8
Jesus' sisters
Lydia Act 16:13
Timothy's grandmother Eunice
Timothy's mother, Lois 2 Tim. 1:5
four virgin daughters of Acts 21:9
Euodia and Syntyche Phil. 4:3

double mentions in the Matthews geneology: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, wife of Uraiah, Mary
and the women of Hebrews chapter 11

How many women are mentioned in the Bible?? At least 2,000 depending on how many daughters you assign to the daughters mentioned in the geneologies---two each literally, or more like ten, twenty or one hundred.

How many men are mentioned in the Bible??

Monday, February 25, 2008

The List---yet incomplete


After the Flood:

Deborah (Rebekah's nurse)

These are the named women of Genesis, but not all. It bothers me. I am going to have to go back and add back the other significant women. For they are precious even though not named here. God knows their names, and we will learn their names in heaven. Until then, we will know them as Mrs. Noah, for example. I just can't leave them out. But, first I must go buy milk...


EVE in Genesis 3:15

God said: I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

God is speaking to the crafty serpent, but in front of Adam and Eve. God then turns to the woman and says: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children in anguish. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will dominate you.

And God then said to Adam: Because you olstened to yoru wife's voice and ate fromt he tree about which I commanded you, "Do not eat from it", The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat form it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust. Adam named his wife Eve because she was the mother of all the living. The Lord God made clothing out of skins for Adam and his wife, and He clothed them.

And God drove them out of the garden to prevent them from eating of the tree of life. And set a cherubim with a flaming, whirling sword to guard the way to the tree of life.

We start chapter three with a talking serpent. We end chapter three with a sword whirling angel. No where in chapters one and two or three are angels mentioned. Yet one pops up armed and ready to pull guard duty at the end of chapter three. That too, is proof to me that there is an unseen battle going on.

When Satan fell, he took one third of the angels with him. Fallen angels feature in the Genesis 6 story, and figure into why God has to flood the earth.

Let's go back and examine what EVE was told: childbirth will involve labor pains, and you will desire to rule over you husband. The same word is used in the next chapter when Cain is warned that sin is crouching at the door, its desire is for you, but you must master it. Eve is told she will desire to rule over her husband, but Adam needs to dominate, and be the authority. And Eve will need to master her desire? Cain fails and murders his brother. How did Eve do?

More about EVE

More about EVE, first MOM

Let's go back to Genesis chapter three. Now the serpent was more crafty...

That struck me as funny the other day, as "crafty" among women sometimes means scrapbooking, or knitting, crocheting, or other craft-type hobbies.

Let's back up and attack this chronologically:

Genesis 2:8,9 God planted a garden in Eden, placed Adam there, and the Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every three pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the midst of the garden, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:16 and 17 Adam is told he can eat from ANY tree except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. "for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die."

The woman is not brought onto the stage of the garden until after, for first God points out Adam's need of a helper suitable. But, she is told of the prohibition, because she recalls it and adds to it in the next chapter, when the serpent deceives her. tricks her.

But, let us not rush on in the story. Let us linger with the thought that woman was made to complete, to help, to fit, formed from the man's rib. Why not start over? Instead God pulls out one of Adam's ribs---Adam's bone, blood, dna, cells. Adam will live for almost one thousand years with a rib missing from his own body, but walking around in the beautiful wife God made/formed/fashioned for him. She completes him. He will "know" her and love her, and provide for her. They will enjoy the garden without children and in-laws for who knows how long. They get tested, sin, and get kicked out of the garden, and yet all is not lost. God continues to provide. Skin clothing. Leather. purpose. jobs. farming skills. Bread. Vegetarians?

Five-thousand-seven-hundred-sixty-eight years ago, Eve became a mom.

We start counting the years from that first Mother's Day. And look at what EVE says: (Genesis 4) "I have had a male child with the Lord's help." For you see, she was listening back when God promised them a Savior, back in Genesis chapter three. So, let's go back and see why she thought her firstborn was the One.

Six thousand years ago, God planted the Garden, and set in motion the creation of man and woman. We don't know exactly how long they frolicked in the Garden before being tested by Mr. Crafty serpent. And Eve gives birth to Cain, and Abel. Cain murders his brother, Abel. Genesis 5 begins with: These are the family records of the descendants of Adam. ON the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God; He created them male and female. When they were created, He blessed them and called them man. Adam was 130 years old when he fathered a child in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. Adam lived 800 years after the birth of Seth, and he fathered sons and daughters. So Adam's life lasted 930 years and he died.

I am going to guess that Adam was one hundred years old when Cain was born. And Genesis chapter four deals with those thirty years. I could be wrong. But, it looks like Seth is a replacement for Cain and Abel. Abel was murdered, and Cain was a major dissappointment. Seth is the chip off the old block. Noah, and eventually, the line of Christ will come from this line of Seth.

And did you notice that EVE does not say much?? Let me rephrase that. I am sure EVE said plenty. But, the Bible records her words to the crafty serpent, and her words at the birth of Cain, her firstborn.

How did she know to nurse? How did she know how to cook? How did she know how to sew?? The fig leaves had to be scratchy. How long did the leather outfit God made her last??? She credits God with helping at the birth. Surely, Adam lent a hand?

Let's go back to chapter three in Genesis to record the Temptation and Fall. It is a beautiful, yet sad story. Adam and Eve, like Job, are not told of the bigger battle going on in heaven. They don't know of the bigger power struggle, the bigger fall, the winged-ones created before who are watching this new act in the old play.

I believe God created the heaven and the earth. I believe God then created angels. I believe God created Lucifer as the highest angel, and he fell first. He was cast out of heaven, he fell to earth, made a mess of it, and the earth was locked in an ice pack. There was a trial. Lucifer now satan, whined, "how can a loving God cast His creatures into Hell??" And God restored the earth, and created a lesser being without wings, but with free will, to prove He is a loving God.

When you read Genesis from the first verse: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Instantly. Perfectly. Whole. Pretty. Perfect. Then in verse two, we see a different earth. formless. frozen. void. dark. covered in water. And you and I know that without light and heat, water is frozen. Slush. Something happened. I believe the dinosaurs and lush tropical plant life revealed in fossils existed before the fall---Satan's fall. Between the first two verses in Genesis, I believe there is a gap of thousands of years. I could be wrong. But, that is what makes sense to me.

The events of Genesis chapter one are events of restoration. For our earth hangs in just a special place beyond our sun so that life can exist here. God set it all up so that the parade of history can be played out. God promised a Savior, and so for all of the old testament, they waited and watched God fulfill His Promise in His perfect time. From the New Testament side, we look back at the Promise fulfilled. And God has graciously given us the whole story. All we need to know is in the Bible. The clues are all there.



First woman. Let's look at her story. The first female. A helper suitable.

Genesis 2:18 God says: not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him...and as Adam names the animals paraded before him, he realizes his need with, "there was not found a helper suitable for him."

Genesis 2:21, 22 tells us that from a rib, Eve was fashioned. She is brought to him who is now awake from his deep sleep, and Adam calls her: bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh. ISHAH. And verse 24 continues the prophetic: for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be called one flesh. Verse 25: naked and not ashamed.

She is lead to Adam, brought to Adam. Presented. Suitable, helper, beautiful, perfect. The first wife. Told to leave and cleave before there were even parents or children. No dating. No engagement. Before she is even named, Eve, the words for female so far: she, mother, woman, helper suitable, wife.

She seems perfectly comfortable with her Creator who leads her to Adam. She seems to be listening as he proclaims and claims her. She seems to come fully equipped with a perfect body, and brain, and is able to see God as well as Adam.

Genesis chapter three: Now the serpent was more crafty..and said to the woman: you shall not eat from any tree of the garden? And instead of running to Adam and asking about a talking animal, the Bible says, the woman said to the serpent...

Adam had been told in Genesis 2:16: From any tree of the garden you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.

But, the woman adds, in Genesis 3:3: you shall not eat from it nor touch it lest you die !

A tree, in the middle of the garden. A danger. A test. Why did God create such a tree? Why place it in the middle of the garden?? Why this one test?

We send our kids to church and school and college for knowledge of good and evil. They got their knowledge from fruit? No, but from the easy pickings of fruit to toiling for bread, Adam and Eve will be banished. And to Eve is added the pain of childbirth. More later....

The List

Cain's wife
Enoch's wife
Irad's wife
Methushael's wife
Tubal-Cain's wife

The first moms. Cain's line. Cain's wife was also Eve's daughter. Why aren't we given her name??

Eve's replacement son after Cain killed Abel: Seth's line:

Seth's wife
Enosh's wife
Kenan's wife
Mahalalel's wife
Jared's wife
Enoch's wife
Methuselah's wife
Lamech's wife
Noah's wife

These are all significant women, moms all, but we are not given their names.

At the Flood, the numbers will telescope down to eight people: Noah, his wife, three sons, and their wives. Eight people.

So, the pre-Noah women of the Bible could have been a hundred or a thousand or a million. Genesis chapters 2-5 only infer twenty. Twenty significant moms. How many children did they have?? What was their daily life like? Did they live almost a thousand years each just like their husbands? Did they see a thousand springtimes and harvests? What sort of shelter did they live in? Did they roam about with herds? The Bible is mostly silent about this group between Adam and Eve and Noah. Some call on the name of the Lord. Some are corrupted in the Genesis chapter six and are so evil, that God floods the earth to start over.

How many women are in the Bible? I count 98 named in the Old Testament. But, 549 significant women that we know only as Mrs. Noah, for example. Solomon throws the number up a thousand with his one thousand wives and concubines, but we only know a few of their names. Thirty women in the New Testament do not include the wives of the four and five thousand fed where the headcount was only done by the men.

To do a word search to find them all, plug in these words in a Quickverse wordsearch: wife, wives, mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, nieces, aunt, harlot, concubine, midwives, female servants, queen, widows, girl, virgin, prophetess, nurse, cook, seamstress, dancer, and the plural of each. Some were rich women, some were poor. All were witnesses of the Greatest Story Every Told.

How many of the women of the Bible can you name? Who are your favorites? If you were compiling a list, how would you go about doing it? Why is it important to count the women of the Bible??

Little girls identify with the women and girls in a story. Little girls are fascinated with the daughters of kings, called princesses. Little girls can be taught science and can be shown the possibilities of working on the space station when shown women who pilot the shuttle and space station. Little girls need to be rescued from the present day feminist lies by the stories of women in the Bible. The warriors, and strong women who used what was at hand, like the story of Jael.

To one extreme, for every man mentioned, we know he had a mom. Every man except Adam, that is. But, I think God gives us the names of women in the Bible for a reason. And for some reason, it is a fascinating study to me---to find them all. And ponder why we are given the names of some really bad girls, but not the name of a woman an angel appears to, Samson's mother?? The angel appears to her twice, and gives her specific instructions. I call her, Mrs. Manoah, for lists and counting purposes. Her story needs telling.

I want to encourage women to know their Bible. Never tire of studying it. The five women of the kingly line of Jesus Christ have always fascinated me. And the heroines of Hebrews chapter 11. The role of mom means the training of the next generation, the continuation of all we hold dear. Moms train by word and example. All these women in the Bible are given to us to study, and learn what God would have us know by their example, good and bad. And unless we teach the next generation that being a mom is a worthwhile and necessary profession, the next generation may see nothing wrong with aborting children as inconvenient. The Bible teaches again and again to favor children, to honor the elderly, and take care of the widow and orphan. The Bible teaches life as valuable, God-given, God breathed, in the image of God, and His perfect, beautiful design. Blessed by God is the life He gives. God breathed life into Adam and Eve. Think about breathing life as in CPR. It is very hands on.

So, start a list. I am sure I missed a few. But, I can't wait to interview these women in heaven and learn about their lives.

What does Love look like?

First Corinthians 13 has thirteen verses. A dear lady at church gave us the assignment of reading the chapter every day for a week. I failed. But, the days I remembered, and the days I listed the concepts made for much better days. Why do I resent assignments that are good for me?? Pastor Mark also gave the assignment to read through Titus everyday. Can't very well be pugnacious when I read we are not suppose to. One day, what really leapt out at me was the word: LIVE

I like that. I need to be reminded to stop and smell the roses. Notice how the new green pine needles are so pretty in contrast to the sky blue sky. Notice how spring is here in Texas. Daffodills. Blooming trees. Buds.

Love is patient
Love is kind
Love does not envy
Love is not boastful
Love is not conceited
Love does not act improperly
Love is not selfish
Love is not provoked
Love does not keep a record of wrongs
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
Love rejoices in the truth
Love bears all things
Love believes all things
Love hopes all things
Love endures all things
Love never ends

For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but thn I will kow fully, as I am fully known. Now these three remain: faith, confidence, and love. But the greatest of these is love. Pursue love.

Friday, February 8, 2008


There is something rising

Upon our spare room bed

I move it in the sunshine

And then I burp its lid

Don’t want to get your hopes up

Don’t want to make you drool

But when you get home this evening

It will be waiting for you

(can be sung to Stayed Upon Jehovah)