Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomband saw two angels in white,seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her,“Woman, why are you crying?Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her,“Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic,“Rabboni!”(which means “Teacher”).
One of the most mentioned women in the New Testament. She is also the most misunderstood, rumored, and gossiped about woman from the Bible. She has been called a prostitute. She has even been called the mistress or wife of Jesus. Art, books, movies, and plays have only served to perpetuate these erroneous attributes.
So, who is this Mary Magdalene actually?
Mary was one of the most common names in her day, so to distinguish her from the other New Testament women, she is always referred to by the town she grew up: Magdala (“Tower”) Tarichaea (“Salted Fish”). Located on the coast of Galilee, it was once a thriving seafaring and textile town; now it is nonexistent. According to Jewish text, this place did have a seedy reputation, which is possibly one of the aspects that has added to the rumors. This is also one of the reasons scholars believe she was not married as she would have been referred to differently.
Mary was possessed by seven demons. Her torment was probably beyond what we can even imagine, with evil forces battling inside her. She was most likely in great disarray and anguish when she encountered Jesus: hair disheveled, movements beyond control, eyes glaring or afflicted... But this sought-after teacher and Messiah, Jesus, had compassion on her and healed her of this terrible infliction. (Luke 8:1-3; Mark 16:9)
This marked her. It changed her. She had an encounter with Jesus, and she was forever changed. She was grateful, and she showed it with her actions.This is what scholars agree marks Mary the most: Mary was devoted to Jesus.
Just when I thought I had this parenting thing down, my kids became Teenagers. While we might remember those challenges of being a teen, things are different today, and that means we parents could use a little help.
CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast of Jo's interview with Dr. Jim Burns on his book, Understanding Your Teen: Shaping their Character, Facing their Realities.
God has not called me to be successful, He called me to be faithful.—Mother Teresa
If anybody understands, it would be Ruth. When her husband died, instead of returning home and starting again, she chose the harder path of traveling and taking care of her mother-in-law.
Does disappointment sometimes take the reigns of your life? When life doesn't turn out the way we thought it would, how can we keep walking and still trust God for our future?
Click HERE to listen to the podcast of Jo's conversation with Crystal Evans Hurst on her book, She's Still There: Rescuing the Girl in You.
It was raining outside, the day I stared out the window of my mentor’s office, hoping our visit would help me determine my next steps. I had witnessed a horrible wrong, done not only to me, but to others like me. Many were suffering, and many more would suffer as news of this wrong spread. I wanted compassion. I wanted a shoulder to cry on. I wanted someone to listen and agree with my reasons for hurt, anger, and fear.
But I did not get my wish. Instead, I received a challenge to take that fear that kept me wrapped in a ball on her couch and toss it aside. “You have access,” she said. “You have a voice that others do not have,” she reasoned. “What if you are the one God has given this experience to so that you will stand up and speak? What if you’ve been placed in your position, in your situation, for such a time as this?”
I had heard those words before. “For such a time as this,” were words echoed to Queen Esther thousands of years ago when her uncle, Mordecai, let her in on a terrible secret—that all of the Jews of Susa were going to be rounded up and killed. That included her uncle, her friends from the village, and her—if anyone ever found out that she was not Persian, like she said she was, but was indeed a Jew.
Esther, like me, had a choice. Would she stand up and be heard? Would she risk embarrassment, ridicule, or death in order to stand up for those whose lives were at stake?
Esther’s road to “Queen-ship” wasn’t typical. She was a teenage girl from a small village who agreed to take place in a beauty pageant of sorts. King Xerxes had recently decreed that all beautiful young women should compete for the King’s favor. He was searching to fill a void created by the quick dismissal of his last Queen, Vashti, when she refused to appear before a group of rowdies, drunk, men at one of the King’s lavish parties (I happen to like Vashti, but that’s a subject for another blog). Esther, a young Jewish girl from outside the palace, gave herself the Persian name, Hadassah, and entered the contest. To her surprise, King Xerxes chose her! But she had not been Queen for long when a crisis occurred. The King’s chief advisor hated the Jews and wanted them eliminated from the land. He convinced the King to sign a decree that would bring death to all Jews.
Has life turned out the way you planned? Maybe the person you've become isn't who you always imagined? God knows the potential and purpose that others haven't seen. He has a dream for you to see it too.
Click HERE to listen to the podcast of Jo's interview with Jo Saxton (I like her name) on her book, The Dream of You: Let go of broken identities and live the life you were made for
I've invited my cousin's daughter, Amber Krueger, to once again grace our pages. Her thoughts are probably what all of us are thinking this winter...
Despite the forecast. Live like it is spring.—Lilly Pulitzer
Sometimes we keep parts of our lives hidden, keeping us feeling boxed-in and full of shame. In sharing even the unspeakable and unattractive parts of our journey, we can actually find freedom. And if we're lucky, even those shameful parts of our story can point us right to Christ.
Only God could say what this new spirit forming in you will be… accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose Wisely.
—Karen Kaiser Clark
When the winds of change blow in it can be unsettling. Scary, even.
Especially when the change is dramatic. Like the unexpected loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or our health. That kind of change in life upends us. Leaving us with a sense of uncertainty. Insecurity. Upheaval.
No wonder we seem so averse to change.
Although change of any kind can be painful, it can also be a place of growth. A place where our faith stretches. A space that is transformative.
I think one of the reasons why we resist change so much, is that we like to feel safe. Cozy. Comfortable.
I know that is how it’s been lately in my life.
But, that’s not how it always was.
My hubby and I, in our younger days, were adventuresome. We embraced change.
When Rey had the opportunity to play basketball in France we welcomed it with open arms and made the move.
When a church in Colorado Springs needed a Youth Leader, we dove right in and loved every minute of it.
I remember the day we moved to White Bear Lake. I stood on our front stoop and asked God not to let me drive my tent stakes down too deep. I wanted to be willing to pull them up again if God had other plans.
But, then life happened. We rooted ourselves firmly. In the neighbourhood. In our kid’s activities. At church.
Oh, we still took little adventures now and again. I went to Ukraine to speak at a Women’s Conference. Rey went to Tijuana with the Youth that he’s been a part of for 20+ years.
I even went back to school to become a certified Spiritual Director and started my own publishing company.
But, that’s almost a decade ago now.
Then, a year and a half ago we lost our dearest friend to a three-week battle with cancer. It rocked our world. We had always assumed we would grow old together.
Amid our deep grief, I began to sense the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart. Telling me it was time to let go and play it safe no longer. It was time to be stretched. Because life is short.
Striving to be perfect can leave us exhausted and discouraged. Actress Andrea Logan White talks about how she learned to embrace her flaws and imperfections, knowing that God loves her even though she is perfectly unfinished.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are beingtransformedinto his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
—2 Corinthians 3:18
We have this cute young lady who has been living with us for several months. My husband has dubbed her the Energizer Bunny. So it isn’t surprising that in her dialogues and answers she often uses an enthusiastic, snappy, staccato, “yep!”
So guess what I hear coming out of my mouth these days? Yep. Literally. And it’s probably not so cute coming out of an almost 52-year-old.
Then there’s my daughter. Her go-to phrase is, “That is so real.” So lately when I hear a statement that rings especially true, what do you think has been sliding off my tongue like a canoe down a waterfall?
Whether I like it or not, the people I hang around rub off on me. Like when I touched my hubby’s freshly-painted robins-egg blue walls. Marked.
And I am influenced by others’ actions as well. Which got me to thinking… Although who I hang with did not make my initial list for 2018 goals, I decided it was something I needed to add. Who do I want to influence me? Since I want to be like Jesus the most, it struck me that I need to hang around him a little more than I do.
Our culture applauds what we can produce, what we can show, and what we can upload. But God notices us even when we are tucked away in hidden places.
Click HERE to listen to the podcast of Jo's interview with Sara Hagerty on her book, Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to be Noticed.
Catch Jo live on Connecting Faith every Friday at 12:00 p.m. on Faith Radio Network / KTIS AM 900 or online at myfaithradio.com
When it comes to dealing with your "stuff," peace IS possible.
Click HERE to listen to Jo's interview with Kathi Lipp. on her book, Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying your Space.
We're kicking off the New Year with our sweet friend, Hannah Sorvik Fordice, who has a blog of her own called Rubble and Rescue. If you've had a tough 2017, you too may be wondering how 2018 will unfold. Praying her words will minister to your soul...
Were you so engrossed in planning the "best" Christmas that you missed out on Christmas' best? Next year can be different. Author and mother Alexandra Kuykendall found herself burnt out from planning previous holidays, so she ushered in a new way of "doing" Christmas. Her experiment left her uttering words like hope, love, joy, and peace - keeping the focus on Christ and the reason for celebration.
This week on Connecting Faith, Jo spoke with former athiest, Mark Clark about his journey of faith. Listen in as they discuss his book,The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptics Challenges to Christianity
Click here to listen in as they discuss the challenges of philosophy and science as well as how to equip believers to defend their faith.
As the days countdown to Christ's birth, we Heart Matters gals thought that the best gift we could give you is some time set apart with Jesus. This quiet time experience Julie Miller has written is really the gift that Ignatius of Loyola left for us as one of his many legacies. Ignatius loved God's Word and approached it uniquely. Rather than read the word to fill in blanks on a page, he stepped into it as if he were living the stories out.
So, in the words of Frederick Buechner...