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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Magdalene’

The eerie revelation to self that isolates one in the face of an sacred community. What is revealed is a moral inferiority that makes one vulnerable to irresistible forces. As a state of feeling, shame is fearful, chaotic, holistic and humbling. –Definition of shame (Jack Katz)

Liberating hope…those two words caught my attention; my eyes drawn to the speaker.  Jesus gives us liberating hope.  Hope from shame…from the deep sense that you are unacceptable because of something done by you, to you, or in association with you.  And my heart skipped a beat.  I knew I wasn’t the only woman shifting uneasily that morning…as if the pastor could peer into my heart and see the secrets I had buried there.

And he spoke of Mary Magdalene–the woman who had been hostess to seven demons.

Imagine her life…merely a lowly woman in that ancient culture, Mary would have been shunned; avoided; a topic of discussion but never compassion.   She was despised for the burden she carried within–the inescapable filth, fear, and fiendish vulnerability.  Mary understood deep, soul-searing shame.  Unacceptable…dirty…and filled to overflowing by the chaotic, controlling influence of her own personal demons.

And Jesus did something revolutionary.

 Instead of avoiding Mary, he invited her.  Rather than casting stones, he cast out demons.  Not willing to condemn with his words, Christ offered Mary a new name–“Daughter of the King”.  And in her newfound freedom a woman was re-born…transformed–from demoniac to disciple and unlovable to beloved.

Jesus gave Mary Magdalene liberating hope–true, lasting freedom from a past that might have destroyed her.  The road to freedom was a difficult one for Mary.  Her burdens were as real as yours.  Take just one step today, Dear Friend–one step toward the healing arms of Jesus.  Yes, sometimes this path that promises healing seems more like an insurmountable mountain, but Christ paved the way to wholeness with each step He made toward Golgotha.  Our freedom is a certainty because Jesus did something revolutionary for you and me–He died that we might be fully restored.

So today…take a step in faith toward the revolutionary Jesus.  Begin your walk to freedom by declaring–in all of your doubt, fear, or cynicism–that He is able to do a transformative work in your heart…your life…your ever-after.

Prayer for Today

Dear Lord,

I feel like a Mary–carrying my own personal demons around inside of me–and they haunt me as much as they did when I was a child.  Like Mary, I didn’t ask for these burdens.  They were thrust upon me by someone who should have loved and cared for me, but instead used me for personal satisfaction in ways that left me feeling isolated and ruled by fear.

But now, Lord, I’m calling out your name.  I’m desperate for deliverance…for a liberating freedom that breaks the chains of the past.  Give me a vision of the future where I have been transformed and made whole because I choose to believe and claim the power of your word which tells me “that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns”.  (Phil. 1:6)

In the name of the revolutionary Jesus Christ,

Amen.

 Response

Was there something you read today that prompted you to think about the shame you carry?  What one step can you take on the road to healing today?

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A social outcast, Mary Magdalene was the bad girl of Galilee.  Women warned their sons about that woman and respectable men turned away in embarrassment at her knowing smile.  Mary was hopeless.  Rejected.  Irredeemable.

A beloved son rejected his father and his God for the false pleasures of the world.  Having ruined the family name, the young man returned home an impoverished and downtrodden fool…the stench of wild living still clinging to him.

Known for his religious zeal, Saul served as coat valet during a murderous rampage of  Christian converts.  Children cowered in his presence.  Families mourned.  A self-proclaimed executioner, Saul was guilty.

What do these people have in common with each other?  With a beloved friend or relative?  What do they have in common with us?

His name is Jesus Christ–the Savior sent to restore the rejected and rescue the irredeemable; the Shepherd commissioned to guide wayward children home to the Father; and the Lamb offering His life for those who are guilty.

Be encouraged!  Christ came to save the prostitutes, prodigals, and perpetrators.  He came to save the sinners.  He came to save you and me.  No sin is too great nor soul too tarnished to be outside the grasp of a loving God.

Verse for Reflection

We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross.    (1 Corinthians 2:8-10)

Action Step

Who did God put on your heart as you read this devotion?  Are you struggling with the idea that God offers love and forgiveness to you?  Or have you been praying for a friend who hasn’t yet met the One who sets us free from our sins?  Tell the Lord about it and then give Him that concern, thought, or prayer for today.

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