At the Feet of Jesus

This was my sermon for this morning at church.  I used an earlier blog, My Anguish with Luke 7:36-50 and Psalm 46:10-11and created this message.  I hope it inspires you and you enjoy it.

When I first started attending this church I was searching.  I came and I sat on this side, over here.  It was a good seat.  I can remember watching the children’s moment and I would begin to pray to God that I would have children, lots of them.  There were days I ached to be a mother.  I wasn’t more than 20, and I really didn’t know what being a mother meant.  I would soon find out.  See, I was dating a really great guy.  I knew him from junior high school.  We were good friends.  Between high school and me going to college, he had married, went into the Army, had two great kids and came back home divorced.   We started dating.

Do you remember the story read from scripture?  This woman was in Simon’s house.  She was not a reputable woman.  She was a sinner!!  Not just any sinner either.  She was a woman about town.  And here she was in Simon’s house.  Scripture says she was standing at Jesus’ feet behind Him.  Have you ever wondered how that could be?  I was watching a video from Adam Hamilton and he explained it/showed it.  So I want to show you.  See, they were sitting on the floor in a lounging position with their feet to one side and one arm holding the upper body.  Jesus was sitting in such a position that she could be standing behind Him and at His feet.

Jesus' Welcome

At the feet of Jesus from

I want you to envision this.  She was kissing His feet.  They didn’t have socks and shoes.  People were either barefoot or wore sandels.  Can you imagine what shame, what guilt this woman must have felt in order to enter the presence of these men, of Jesus, and cry over His feet.  In order for her hair to brush His feet, she had to be low to the ground.  Yet there she was.

It was customary for a host to provide water for a guest to wash their feet.  Simon had not provided that water.  This woman did, her tears.  The towel she provided was her hair.

Here was this woman coming into Simon’s house, crying over Jesus, washing His feet with her tears and wiping them dry with her hair.  She anoints His feet with oil.  Throughout this she is kissing His feet.  She doesn’t say a word.  she comes into this room full of men and says nothing.  She cries at His feet, kissing them and pouring oil on them.  Whatever burden she was carrying, whether it was guilt, depression, loss, whatever it was put her on her knees.  She had to be desperate because at any time she could be kicked out.  She said nothing because what she was carrying inside her was so heavy.

But what is even more profound, is Jesus did not speak to her.  He did not acknowledge her.  He knew where she was but, He knew her pain to be so great, her feelings of shame and guilt to be so great that she could not speak.

Have you ever been so ashamed, in so much pain, so filled with guilt that you wanted to be alone and be comforted at the same time?  Has life bent you down low?  That’s how life is sometimes.  Sometimes all we want to do is hide ourselves and cry at the feet of Jesus kissing His feet because it’s our last stop our last hope.

I have.  I have been this woman.

I stood there in the dark silence of the chapel with the stain glass face of Christ looking in at the pews.  His hole pierced hands showing an anguish I felt.  No one was here, not in this space or time, yet sounds of a movie floated above me from the back wall.  I did not approach God straight on, I walked down the side aisle, as far away from His face, my head down with my hair falling around my face – hiding my shame.

“Why?  Why me God?  What did I do that is so different then everyone else?  What did I do that was so wrong?”  It was not a whisper but a cry that came welling up from my soul.  “How can you do this to me?  This is not supposed to happen to me!  I am a good girl.  I do not want this baby.  I cannot be pregnant.  Why me?  I didn’t do anything different than anyone else.  Take this cup from me!”

There was no answer.  The stillness crept into my porous soul, which I was trying to cement shut.  I raged at God.  I shook my fist into the air, crying out to the God who would not speak.  The stained glass Jesus said nothing, but His hole pierced hands spoke to my anguish.  The only sounds were those of my soul feeling betrayed.  My shame oozed into the very recesses of my heart and the guilt overcame me.  I found myself prostrate in front of the alter with stain glass Jesus standing over me.  His expression never changed.  His anguish bleed into my mind, reminding me of His humanness.

“Pass this cup from me Lord, if it is Your will.  I cannot do this alone.  I am so sorry for my sin,”  rippled repeatedly off of my tongue.  Time was warped.  I was there for minutes, hours, a life time.  I pulled myself off the rough carpeted floor.  I was wishing, hoping, someone would walk in and offer that act of humanness that God could not give.  No one came.

Slowly as I stood there, I felt I was not alone.  I turned around and looked into the darkness carefully, yet I couldn’t find anyone.  The very air changed.  A calmness washed over me.  I was surrounded by angels.  I could not see them but the sense of them was so palpable I could breathe it into my soul.  “Hush.  Shhh daughter.  Be still and know God is here.”

I could not hear Christ because I could not release my guilt, but I could feel His messengers.  I was single and pregnant and in college.  I felt alone because I was afraid that my parents would stop loving me.  I was afraid they would disown me.  If my parents didn’t want me, how could God want me? I was unworthy of His love.  God’s angels placed me in the protective sphere of His guardians.  I was not alone.  He had not abandoned me.  I became still.  God was there even though I didn’t feel Him.

I want to stop here and pause and go back to scripture.  During the whole conversation Jesus has with Simon, the woman is weeping, anointing Christ’s feet and kissing them.  And Christ does not say anything to her, does not acknowledge her presence.  Yet He is there.  But this is not the only time Christ was in the company of an ill-reputed woman and did not say anything to her directly.

In John 8:2-12, a woman is brought before Him by the scribes and Pharisees, caught in the act adultery.  They are ready to stone her.  For Adultry.  He writes in the sand and says, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  He bent down again and wrote in the sand.  The men left.  And it was just Christ and this sinful person.

See, I am these women.  I find myself in their stories.  I am the woman in deep shame and guilt, crying at the feet of Jesus.  I am the woman waiting to be stoned for my sin.

Yet what is Christ’s words to these women.  Go in peace, sin no more.  Your faith has saved you.

In that darkened chapel that night, I knew Christ was present.  He calmed my spirit.  While we don’t know the rest of the story for these women in the Bible, we know where I am.  I am right here in this place and time.

God has given me peace.  It is the same peace He offers you.  What I learned in that darkened chapel that night is that Jesus is with me.  Some believe He died on the cross in place of us, or to carry our sins away.  But I believe it is more than this.  In that darkened chapel I learned that Jesus was with me.  He died so he could be with us.  He is with us when we are committing our sins.  He is with us when shame and guilt consume us.  He is with us when we confess and seed repentance.  He is with us when we celebrate our arrival out of darkness.  He is with us when we are singing and dancing and praising His name.  He is with us in our joy.

Right now the Holy Spirit may be calling to you to committ your life to Him, or maybe you’re being called to renew your committment.  For some of you, this is a time to be with Jesus, and for others this is a time to dance and celebrate.  Regardless of where you are in your walk, Be still and know God is with you.



Doing It Again

So I am walking and talking to God this morning, and I realize it has been a long time since I have had a deep meaningful, give and take conversation with Him.  I apologize.  I ask for forgiveness.  He simply asks me, “Are you doing what I have asked you to do?”  There is no condemnation in the question.  There is no expectation that I will feel guilty.  There is no ‘attitude’.  It’s just a question for me to ponder.  But I say to Him, “No.”

It is then I realize that while I have given my last hold out, my health, over to Him, I have slipped.  Food has been and will always be an issue for me.  I see it, I want it, I have to have it … NOW.  It doesn’t matter if I am hungry or not.  And lately, I have fallen into the mind-trap of, “I just rode 22 miles this morning, I can have ______________ to eat.”  (Fill in the blank with any food you love, but shouldn’t have every day.)

Some of my favorite foods.

Because I am not taking time to be with my best friend, God, I am not focusing on what is really important in my life.  I am derailing myself.  So this morning, after my walk, before showering, or getting on the scale or eating breakfast, I am writing.  This is what God is calling me to do with my life.  I am no longer afraid of the ‘what ifs’.  That’s not the problem.  It is balancing being a graduate student,  being a mother, being a wife, a new career move, my health, and my faith.  Notice my faith is last.  That is where I have placed it, and yet it should be the first.  My time spent with God should be at the beginning.  Once I place God where He should be, everything else will fall into place.

I should know this by now.  I’m a mature Christian.  I’ve done this act before.  I am so glad that my Lord knows me and loves me so completely.  I am glad that I can sin, receive true forgiveness.  I am glad that while I don’t always learn from my mistakes, I can continue to move forward in my life, and God will always be there to guide me.

He’s waiting for you too.  Take some time today to listen for His word in your life.


Have you ever served communion?  Today I helped serve communion.  There is something incredibly powerful in placing communion in someone’s hand and saying, “The Bread of Life given for you.”  See, I was raised Catholic, and the only person allowed to serve the bread and wine was the priest.  It was the actual embodiment of the body and blood of Christ.  I believe to a certain extent this is true.  When we accept communion, we accept the fact that Christ endured agonizing pain for us.  When we accept Him, we are called to be like Him.  Communion is a way to remind ourselves that Christ is forever connected to us.  We are taking in His presence in our lives.  It is that reminder I cherish.

It is strange for me to give communion.  I find myself offering this symbol of Christ to those in our congregation.  Some of them are my good friends.  It is no longer a friendship when I offer The Bread of Life, but a deeper relationship that connects us.  It is a God connection.  People who I laugh with about the antics of our children are now serious.

Then there are the elderly people.  Who am I to serve these people who have forged a lifetime of faith?  I am humbled in their presence.  I am even more humbled when I place this life giving symbol into gnarled hands that have experienced a life time of work.  As different as we may be, we are more alike in our love for Christ.

I have to hold back my smile and laughter with our children that come to kneel at the railing.  They are so serious, and yet moments before they were whispering in the pews about all kinds of kid things.  My son and his friend have been in deep conversation throughout worship, yet here at the railing, that has gone.  My son simply says, “Hi mom”, gives me a smile and accepts this simple offering.

In the midst of giving communion, are people who I do not always like.  In fact they irritate me.  We agree to disagree and stay out of each other’s way.  And yet, at this railing, there are no disagreements.  This is God’s railing and not ours.  It is this act of communion, of coming together, that makes us His children.

Each person accepts communion differently.  There are those that make no eye contact.  Their hands are open to accept the offering and not once do they look up to see who is giving the offering.  They are in their own space and time with God.  But there are those that make direct eye contact with me as I am saying to them, “This is the Body of Christ given for you.”  And I feel something more than just eye contact.

There is a God connection.  I am the giver of something greater than I have a right to give.  Yet here I am giving this precious gift that God, that Christ, has generously offered.  I am humbled.  I am truly His servent in this time and place.  He has blessed me and given me grace.  He is my Lord and Saviour.

Giving communion is a giving, an offering, a connection to God that we need.  I am honored to have given this gift today.




God’s Blessings

God is so good.  I went and worked out this morning and came back to weigh in on my scale, and it was down.  It his me like a ton of bricks; I am being faithful to God and He is blessing me.  No, it’s not just about the weight.  Before the new year came, I had time to really talk with God.  He made it clear that changes were going to happen in my life this year.  Change is coming, be faithful.

This does not mean I sit back and do nothing and wait.  No, this means I have to follow God’s plan for me.  Funny thing is, it’s not always my plan.  Here is what I know God wants me to do:  Pray fervently, lose weight – hand over the eating to HIM, write abundantly.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a praying girl, but He’s asking me for more of the quiet, meditative prayer rather than the rush requesting prayers.  I exercise, but I have rebelled when it comes to food.  I allowed food to rule over me and I was losing the battle.  And of course I write, but this is writing beyond me.  This is writing to share.

God is good.  He wants to bless us, if we let Him.  I am ready to let Him bless me even more.  How about you?  Will you join me at His banquet table.

My Beloved Daughter

I quiet myself and come into the presence of the Lord.  I feel His smile reach me.  It is so warm and loving.  I look into Christ’s face and ask Him, “What do you want me to do?”

Be still my child, my beloved daughter.  Be still and bask in my embrace.  I know all you are going through.  You are my beloved daughter, and you are precious to me.  I want you to know I love you no matter what.  Whether you listen to me, walk away, deny me.  There is nothing you could ever do that would stop me from loving you. 

These are the kinds of conversations I have with God.  This one is about me, and I am willing to share it.  Lately, when I come to Him, I ask Him what He wants me to do.  Sometimes the question is different, but this is the one that has been popping up more frequently.  And usually I ask Him what He wants me to write.  Today has been no different.  So someone out there needs to here this message.  Take the time to stop and not just come at God with requests, but stop and bask in His presence.   Isn’t that what we want with our own children, spouses, partners, loved ones?  Don’t we just want them to bask in the love we have for them?  That’s what God wants for you today.  He is calling you, beloved child.

God loves you for who you are right now

This was the message I gave this morning in church.  It amazed me how slowly time went this morning before walking into church.  I am so glad I decided to fast, my stomach had no room for the nerves.  But the amazing thing is, God was with me.  The inner core of me was calm while the outter part was shaking.  There is something calming about the Holy Spirit.  Here is my sermon with the Bible verses listed first.  May my words help you find God’s presence.

Matthew 19:26  With God all things are possible.

John 15:15-16  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Take out a pencil and the sermon notes and write down, God loves you for who you are right now.

One if by Land Two if by Sea

          I’ve known about standing up here for at least 6 months.  I left the idea ferment in my mind.  Something would come, and it did.

And I lost what I wrote.  A couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t sleep.  So, I got up and decided I would start my New Year’s Revolution; I would get up and pray.  I would write.  And I wrote, I thought I was done writing everything the Lord had to say to me, laid back in my chair to go to sleep, and I had this image of a lamp light being shown across the bay and Paul Revere riding through the towns crying, The British are coming.  There was no sleep for me!!!  God had more to impart.

Now when I was growing up, I thought the whole story of Paul Revere’s ride was just  Paul Revere alerting all the colonists.  Somehow, magically, a light appeared in the church steeple and Paul Revere went riding all through the night warning everyone that the British were coming by sea.

In actuality Joseph Warren told Paul Revere that the British would be crossing the Charles River and would be landing in Cambridge and heading to Lexington and then Concord where the ammunition was being stored.  Revere had Robert Newman, a fellow colonist; put the lamp signal to warn Charlestown the British would be coming by sea.  In order to alert the surrounding towns a plan had been created for riders to ride through the country side declaring the British were coming in order for the militia to be prepared.  Another patriot and rider, William Dawes took a southern route and Paul Revere took the northern route.  Away they rode to warn the colonists.

Here are some cool things I learned.  1) By the end of the night there were over 40 riders warning the colonists that the British were headed towards Lexington and Concord.  2) A warning system was in place to alert the militia in the surrounding towns.  This system included alarm guns, bells, bonfires, drums, and trumpets.  It was so effective that towns 25 miles away were alerted.  The system was so effective that the militia was ready and prepared before the British were off the ships.

What does this have to do with you?  First, God is doing everything He can to signal you.  He wants a relationship with you.  See He sent His son Jesus Christ to signal you.  He allowed His son to die on the cross for you.  This is a huge signal.  More than 2 lights in a church steeple signal.

In John 15 verses15-16 He is clearly telling us He wants us.  Listen to what He says again.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  He is speaking to us, right now!!!

God is calling you to have an intimate relationship with Him.  It is not a pew relationship, or a “I’m going to read the Upper Room relationship”, or a I’m going to be active in doing “things” relationship.  While these activities can build upon a foundational relationship with God, they do not create an intimate relationship with Him.  God wants to know you intimately, and He is using the lantern, bonfires, bells, trumpets, people and His word to get to know you.  This Bible is full of examples of people in relationship with God.  What’s fantastic is that these are stories of people who fall out of relationship with God, just like we do, just like we do and sin, horribly, just like we do, just like I do.  Yet when they come back to God, He is waiting, and they do great, powerful things with God.

George and I are studying 2 Samuel.  David, a man after God’s own heart, goes out of relationship with God to pursue his own desires, Bathsheba.  This is a very interesting story to explain to a nine year old.  Lots of prayers went into this one.  But I explained to George that David sinned when he met with Bathsheba, he sinned when he tried to trick Uriah to meet with his wife Bathsheba to cover her pregnancy, he sinned when he told Joab to pull away from Uriah while he was in battle so Uriah would be killed.  David sinned all the way through this.  David did what we all do.  When we do something wrong, we try to fix it ourselves, try to cover it up.  Nowhere in this chapter does David talk to God about what he has done.  At no time does David say, “Hey, God, I really messed up.  I am so sorry.  I need your help.”

Yet God still loved David.  David comes and talks to God, intimately.  Worships Him.  Yes, David sinned.  Yes David made mistakes, yes, there was a consequence, but God wanted a relationship with David, and forgave him.  And God blesses David.  Through the line of David comes Jesus.

God wants a relationship with you.  Do you want a relationship with Him?

The great thing this book, this Bible, it shows us that we are not alone in our faults and our weaknesses.  Story after story people fail, they sin – when they work by themselves.  When they come into relationship with God, when they come and ask for forgiveness, God blesses them.  And here’s the best part about being in sin; Are you ready for this?  God still loved them!!!  God still loves you!!!  There was nothing any of these people could do to keep God from loving them.  And the same is true for you.

It does not matter what we do or say or how we behave because God still loves us because with God all things are possible.  Oh, isn’t that a verse in the Bible.  I think it is.  Matthew 19:26  This is the story of the rich man trying to enter the kingdom of God.  Listen to the whole story.  (read 19:23-26)  God is telling us it is possible with Him.

When we are in relationship with God, we are able to see and hear and smell and touch and be in contact with Him – beyond our worldly senses.  We are awakened to the supernatural.  We are called to Him.  This is when we are able to do incredible works for God as the people of God.

It does not matter if you are a mature Christian or a brand new Christian or you have not asked Jesus to be your savior.  God wants to talk with you.  He wants to share His love with you.  Yes, you sitting right here in the church pew this morning.  I must tell you, though, there is one catch in this relationship with God.  He does not want you to keep His love to yourself.  He wants us, every one of us, to share this love.  And that can be scary.  It can be difficult to share who God is, how he has transformed your life, how much he loves you with strangers, with friends, with family members.  It is very scary.  Sometimes the person He calls you to share His love is with another mature Christian.

Now you might ask me, “Jozett, what do you know about this relationship with God that you are talking about?”  Well, the truth is, I fall in and out of relationship with Him on a regular basis.  Why?  Because when He calls me to do His will, I get scared.  It is outside of my comfort zone.  I think to myself, “I can’t do this.  This is a crazy idea.  What if I get hurt?  Worse yet, what if I fail?”  So in my mind, it is easier to put God off rather than follow Him.  I’ll let you in on a little secret, God has been calling me to write for the past two years.  He has called me to be healthier, specifically in what I eat and how I eat.  I have ignored that call.  Did God leave me or abandon me while I was shoving potato chips into my mouth, or when He would wake me in the night to write something and I ignored Him because my sleep was more important than His message?  No, He stayed with me, He loved me through my stubbornness and sin.

I decided in December I was going to hand it all over to God.  I asked for forgiveness and repented.  Because I have righted my relationship with God, I am being blessed in ways I do not have time to describe here today.  But what is clear to me, is that I am being called to share this same unconditional love with others.

This is where the 40 riders come into play.  If I intend to have this intimate relationship with my Father, I must reach out to others.  We must reach out to others

He chose us.  He appointed us to go and bear fruit.  He wants us to spread the love. In Paul Revere’s ride, it starts with one man giving information to Revere to spread the word.  Let’s see how this works.  We are going to practice reaching out to others right here and now.  This will not be easy for some people, but I believe we have to practice what we preach, in a safe environment. Before we do this, let’s pray.

Heavenly Father help to open our hearts to Your will.  Allow us to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Holy Spirit, guide us to the people who need to hear of God’s love for them.  We pray this all through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.

I am going to model what I want you to do, and then I am going to ask for you to find someone here in this church and tell them sincerely, God loves you for who you are right now.  This means you may end up getting out of your seat.

So take out what I had you write down at the beginning, once I have given the message, I want you to go and find the person that God wants to hear this message.

Now if that weren’t enough, those of you who have cell phones, take them out, turn them on.  I want you to text, email, tweet, facebook people who are in your social network God loves you for who you are right now.

If 2 riders can go out and spread the news, The British are coming, The British are coming, and get 40 riders by dawn to spread the same messge, and towns can signal each other 25 miles away, certainly we can do the same.

God loves you.  God loves you.  God loves you.