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July 24, 2017

Today I have another interview with another writer friend of mine Tracy Gregory. She connected with me on Facebook and we became fast friends. I read her most recent book, her first novel called Ways of War. I wrote a review.

Review of the Ways of War

The Vietnam War was the most despised war in all of American History would have had to have been the Vietnam War. I remember being a young child while the war was going on. I remember the agony of daily body counts and the unbelievable celebrations of MIAs who returned after years of torture by the Viet Cong. I remember the reports of I remember draft dodgers and the protests.

What I didn’t know about was the secret war, the insidious war of mind control experiments that the government conducted at the same time. Tracy Gregory in this book brings them all together when Grant Windsor goes to Vietnam leaving behind a wife and two young children. Word comes back that he was killed in a fire, his body never recovered. The only sign that he had ever been there, was his dog tags. His wife Anna tries to move on, but even though she has Stephen waiting for her in the wings, she can’t seem to shake the idea that if she falls for Stephen, she will be cheating on Grant.

 

I highly recommend this intriguing spell-binding historical novel. I look forward to reading future novels by this author.

 

Interview withTracy Gregory

ME: Hi Tracy, I am glad you could join us today. First, would you be kind enough to tell my readers a little about yourself.

 

TRACY: Well, I was born in Concord, New Hampshire and raised in Soldotna, Alaska. My parents divorced when I was young. My mother remarried which resulted in our moving to the Last Frontier. We lived a simple life in Alaska. We lived without electricity and water for some years. Our free time consisted of hauling wood and water. I learned to appreciate every little gift, even the gift of free time. I am the second of six children. When I graduated from high school, I returned to New Hampshire to attend college. I got married, had two children and got divorced. I remarried when my children were young, and remain married today. I love to read and write. I’m an avid gardener, and I enjoy being outside. That’s the short version. Maybe the long version will show up in bookstores someday.

 

ME: What or who inspired you to start writing?

 

TRACY: Believe it or not, my desire to write came from Judy Collins. She is a folk singer whose stories mesmerized me and sparked my imagination. When I was eleven or twelve, I received a record player and a Judy Collins record from my mom for Christmas. I still remember the record “Early in The Spring.” I listened to the songs over and over wishing I could tell the stories she was singing.

 

ME: Do you find it difficult to get reviews from readers?

 

TRACY: At first, I was somewhat defensive when it came to comments made about my writing. But once a sat back and thought about the big picture I came to realize that the opinion of my reader is important. Their opinions and input are what will make me a better writer. I try to look at it as constructive criticism. I have learned you can’t please all the people all the time so I have resorted to pleasing my readers first by placing value in their opinion.

 

ME: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

 

TRACY: I love to read! I have a library of books that I have read and reread. I enjoy everything from the old classics such as Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Dickens to science fiction writers such as Wells, Bradbury and George Orwell. I would have to say my favorite genre is historical fiction. I enjoy Jeff Shaara, Phillipa Gregory, Michael Sullivan, Amy Harmon, Soraya Lane and Cygnet Brown of course.

 

ME: Do you have an interesting writing quirk? If so, what is it and how does it help your writing?

 

TRACY: I lead a busy life, as I’m sure you (and many others) do so I believe you can relate to that statement. Because of the interruptions, I find it difficult to write every day. I find the most productive writing time for me is at night when the world is asleep. I consider myself a marathon writer. What I mean by marathon writer is instead of writing a little each day, I find myself hiding in my library and writing forty thousand words at a time. I then set the work aside, and it could be weeks before I return to writing.

 

ME: How many books have you written? Which was your favorite?

 

TRACY: Ways of War is the first Novel in what will be a series. Usher of Truth will be the second and should be released by the winter of 2017. Days of Doom will be the third work in the series. I haven’t decided if that will conclude the series.  I also have some poetry available on Amazon. If I had to say I have a favorite Novel, it would be “Ways of War” as it is the first to be published. I will say my favorite work of poetry would be “Children’s Anthology.” The poems are all inspired by my children.

 

ME: What are some of the greatest struggles you’ve faced to further your writing career?

 

TRACY: The greatest struggle for me as with many other writers is the promotion of my first work. The idea of having to prove myself to a base of readers that have an interest in a topic so broad yet very targeted was challenging. Historical fiction in itself is as broad as the history that defines the genre. It is difficult to target a market of readers and present the “hook” so to speak that would draw them in and create a following.

 

ME: How can readers discover more about you and you work?

 

TRACY: It is my desire to be a successful author and create a following and keep those followers interested for years to come. I am only as successful as those that support me and share my work with their peers. I try to make sure I am available in as many ways as possible. My website address is http://www.tlgregory.com. You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tlgregory.info/  My Twitter address is http://www.twitter.com/@TracyLGregory . In addition, I have a blog site Traces of Tracy Gregory the site address is http://www.tracesoftlgregory.com.

 

Tracy’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes&Noble.com, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, other local bookstore, and on her website.

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There are a lot Marys in the Bible and it is easy to get confused about what Mary does what? Here is a true or false questionnaire based on what the Bible says (and only what the Bible says) about the various Marys. Take this quiz and see how good your knowledge of the Marys of the Bible really is.

Will you live forever with the one who died to save you?

Which Mary is this?

 

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was a Prostitute-

FALSE According the Bible, Mary had seven devils, but nowhere does the Bible say that she was a prostitute.

  1. T or F Jesus Mother Mary was a virgin.

TRUE-the Bible says that Mary asked the angel how it was possible for her to have a child since she had never known a man.

  1. T or F The name translated into Greek in the New Testament-Mary- is the name Miriam or the Latin name Marie

TRUE-Mary, Jesus mother was Miriam while the other Marys were Marie.

  1. T or F Mary of Caesaria was sister to Lazarus and Martha.

FALSE- Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha was from Bethany.

  1. T or F After Lazarus died, Mary went on the road to meet Jesus while Martha stayed behind.

FALSE– It was Martha who met Jesus on the road. Mary did not see Jesus until he arrived at the house.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene washed Jesus feet with her hair and a Spikenard ointment

FALSE Mary of Bethany, Lazarus and Martha’s sister was the Mary who washed Jesus feet with her hair and Spikenard.

  1. T or F If Moses’ sister Miriam would have been in the New Testament rather than the Old Testament, she would have been called Mary.

TRUE-As stated in question 3, Miriam was translated Mary in the New Testament. Jesus Mother Mary was Hebrew so her name was actually Miriam.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus alive after the Resurrection. She was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. The name Magdalene indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers. Luke 7:37, Luke 8:23, Luke 87:36-50

TRUE-She saw him early in the morning. She didn’t recognize him at first. She thought he was the gardener.

  1. T or F-Mary Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her.

TRUE-

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was a Prostitute-

FALSE According the Bible, Mary had seven devils, but nowhere does the Bible say that she was a prostitute.

  1. T or F Jesus Mother Mary was a virgin.

TRUE-the Bible says that Mary asked the angel how it was possible for her to have a child since she had never known a man.

  1. T or F The name translated into Greek in the New Testament-Mary- is the name Miriam or the Latin name Marie

TRUE-Mary, Jesus mother was Miriam while the other Marys were Marie.

  1. T or F Mary of Caesaria was sister to Lazarus and Martha.

FALSE– Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha was from Bethany.

  1. T or F After Lazarus died, Mary went on the road to meet Jesus while Martha stayed behind.

FALSE– It was Martha who met Jesus on the road. Mary did not see Jesus until he arrived at the house.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene washed Jesus feet with her hair and a Spikenard ointment

FALSE Mary of Bethany, Lazarus and Martha’s sister was the Mary who washed Jesus feet with her hair and Spikenard.

  1. T or F If Moses’ sister Miriam would have been in the New Testament rather than the Old Testament, she would have been called Mary.

TRUE-As stated in question 3, Miriam was translated Mary in the New Testament. Jesus Mother Mary was Hebrew so her name was actually Miriam.

  1. T or F Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus alive after the Resurrection. She was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. The name Magdalene indicates that she came from Magdala, a city on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus cast seven demons from her, she became one of His followers. Luke 7:37, Luke 8:23, Luke 87:36-50

TRUE-She saw him early in the morning. She didn’t recognize him at first. She thought he was the gardener.

  1. T or F-Mary Magdalene had seven devils cast out of her.

TRUE-

  1. T or F-Three Marys stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. Mary, the Wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Jesus’ mother.

TRUE– In John’s gospel we read that “there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25)

  1. John Mark’s Mother was also named Mary. She was the sister of Barnabas.

TRUE-(Colosians 4:10)

  1. Mary was a very common name at that time in that culture.

TRUE-The Bible mentions nine Marys in the New Testament and Miriam in the old (which is the same name in Hebrew). This gives us a total of ten Marys mentioned in the Bible.

  1. T or F-Three Marys stood at the foot of the cross when Jesus was crucified. Mary, the Wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene, and Mary Jesus’ mother.

TRUE– In John’s gospel we read that “there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25)

  1. John Mark’s Mother was also named Mary. She was the sister of Barnabas.

TRUE-(Colosians 4:10)

  1. Mary was a very common name at that time in that culture.

TRUE-The Bible mentions nine Marys in the New Testament and Miriam in the old (which is the same name in Hebrew). This gives us a total of ten Marys mentioned in the Bible.

 

Any comments? Disagreements? I would love to hear what you have to say about this little pop quiz.

To get a little more green into your life, (saving money and healthy plants) read my free e-book Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, it is available through Smashwords in e-pub (Nook), mobi (kindle) or pdf formats. and to keep up with all my writing and events that I will be attending sign up for my free newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bPpzXX

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Return_of_the_Prodigal_Son_1667-1670_Murillo

In Galatians Chapter 3, we learn that the law was created as a teacher to teach us that we cannot be right on our own. The Law was created so that we would know that we needed something more.

Last week, we celebrated the holiday where God came to earth as a baby. In Galatians 4:4 it says that God sent his Son made of woman under the law so that we could be made sons. You see, we weren’t able to follow the rules, so God sent us one who could and did. As it says in 4:5, he came to redeem them that were under the law so that we could receive the adoption of sons. We receive this adoption when we choose to believe, as it says in Hebrews 11:6 that we must have the faith to believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

We can call Him Father

In Galatians 4:6 it says that because we are sons, God sent the Spirit of HIS SON into our hearts so that we could cry out to him as Our Father. WE are no more servants but heirs of God through Christ. Once adopted, God doesn’t unadopt us when we do wrong, but he does allow you to suffer the consequences of our actions until we ‘see the light’.

The Son That When Astray

Jesus told about a younger son who decided that he didn’t want to have to follow his father’s rules and decided that he wanted to go out and see the world for himself. He took his inheritance and went out into the world. At first he had a great time. He partied. He chased women. He enjoyed himself, but then his money ran out. the next thing he did was start accepting work that was against everything that he was taught to believe in. He had to feed pigs which were considered unclean animals in his culture. He was underpaid for the work he did and didn’t even have enough to eat. He started stealing the pigs food in order to survive. Finally he said enough was enough. His Father treated his servants better than that. He decided that he would go back to His Father’s house and ask to be his servant.

If you know anything about the story of the prodigal son, you know that the father would have none of that. When he saw his son coming from afar off, he run to him, took him in as the son that the son always had been even when  he was not acting like a son.

The Son That Didn’t Know What He Had

Which brings us to the part of the story concerning the older brother. This older brother was not happy when his brother who wasted all that he was given was welcomed back with open arms. The older brother could not understand how it was that the Father could accept him with no questions asked. He then compared himself to the other brother. he had done everything as the Father had told him, but the Father didn’t celebrate that. The Father then said that he could have celebrated any time he wanted, that everything the father had given him was his to do with as he wished. The older son, because he always obeyed the Father acted more like a servant than one who was to inherit everything that belonged to the Father.

Learning What We Have In Christ

This parable reminds us that though we go out into the world and live like the world, it’s not all its cracked up to be. However, this story also shows us that living under the Law is bondage as well because it keeps us living as though we were servants rather than the Sons that God created us to become. Like the older brother, we have not because we ask not. Everything that the Father has, belongs to us, and yet we don’t accept it because we think that we have to somehow earn it. The truth is, Jesus already earned all of it. What we have to do is learn to accept what he has already given us and it is more than simply keeping us from going to hell when we die.

During the coming year,I am going to look what our father has given us. He saved us from more than just hell. We simply have to accept what he has given us and celebrate those gifts. Won’t you join me in learning what it is that God has for us. He has so much more to give us than just a “get out hell” free card?

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Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church in Brandsville, Missouri.  As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


John the Baptist

Of The Priestly Line
John the Baptist was of the lineage of Levi because his father was a priest and his mother (Elizabeth) was also of the tribe of Levi. Because John the Baptists mother was also Jesus’ mother’s cousin(Luke 1:26), we also know that Elizabeth was also a descendant of Judah. John the Baptist, in his flesh was both a descendant of Levi and a descendant of Judah. In the flesh, John the Baptist was both a priest and king, but God knew our salvation could not come through our flesh nor could it come through the law which the tribe of Levi represented. Jesus did not have Levitical blood. If Jesus did have Levitical blood, we would be required to remain under the old covenant. As it is, Jesus is not a descendant of Aaron and in Him we are not under Levitical Law.
John the Baptist therefore became a type (a living example) of what the Levitical Law was designed to do. John the Baptist showed mankind that he needed to turn back to God. The Levitical Law did the same. It showed that human beings could not follow God through laws.
Proclaimed A Greater Baptism
In Luke 3:16-17 John the Baptist said that he baptized with water, but there was one greater who would baptize with the Holy Ghost (Spirit) and fire. He said that he would separate the wheat (Godly Righteous) from the straw (unrighteous sinners).
Then Jesus came to be baptized by John the Baptist and John said that Jesus didn’t need to be baptized by John the Baptist, but he needed to be baptized by Jesus. John recognized that under the Levitical Law, he was no match for the power that Jesus as High Priest would represent.
Everything that John said was true, however, Jesus told him in Matthew 3:15 that it was necessary for John to Baptize Jesus in order to fulfill all righteousness.

The First Evangelist

John the Baptist announced that God provided a better way than the law had to offer. Unlike the rest of the priests who stayed in the comforts of the temple, John the Baptist shucked his priestly garments of fine white linen and the delicacies of temple food for camel hair clothes, a leather belt and honey and locusts and went out into the wilderness to lead the people to repentance and to baptize with water.
The word for evangelist is euaggelistes in the Greek. The meaning of this word in the original language is a preacher of the good news. Traditionally, an evangelist is a preacher who preaches the gospel in areas in areas where there is no permanent clergy. This technically made John the Baptist the first evangelist because he told of and provided preparation for others to receive the truth of Jesus Christ’s authority.

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


Will you live forever with the one who died to save you?

Will you live forever with the one who died to save you?

The book of Hebrews opens with the writer telling us how God relates to people. He says that in times past, God related to us through the prophets, but now He relates to us through His Son who He has made heir of everything and through Him God made the world.

The writer then describes the Son. He looks just like God the Father. He has his glory and power. His power is in His Word. He is the one who purges us of our sins. He is now sitting at the right hand of The Father in Heaven. He is much higher in status than the angels (including Lucifer) and has a more excellent name than they have.

More than Just a Name

The word used for name in this passage and most passages in the New Testament is the Greek word onoma which is translated name, but is more than just ‘name’ the word includes the individual’s character and authority.

In old times, if someone were to go somewhere and say, “I have come in the name of the king”, this person means that they represent the character of the king and they have that kings authority.

More Than Just Believing In the Existence of God

It says in Acts 2:21 that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. This means more than believing in his existence. In James 2:19 it says that the devils believe that there is one God and tremble, but simply believing in his existence did not save them. The key word in Acts 2:21 is not in the believing, but in the word “name”.  In order to be saved from eternal death, we must believe Christ’s authority and power as the Son of God and through his perfect saving work upon the cross. Hebrews 11:6 says, “without this faith, it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” It is our faith in his saving power and our seeking to seek his will in our lives that we are able to please God.

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .


The Opposition

 

Much debate has come about during the past several centuries about whether women can be in the position of pastor, prophet, teacher, or apostle in the Christian Church. Most of the doctrine that limits women in ministry are the teachings of Paul in I Corinthians 14:33-35. These verses say that women are to keep silent in the church. The support this stance using other verses including one from the Old Testament Genesis 3:16 which states that because of the curse, women were subject to painful labor and that they would have to be subject to their husbands. Other verses that support this belief are also found in the Pauline epistle  I Corinthians 11:5, 11:13: 14:22; 14:35, Ephesians 5:22, and  First Timothy 2:11 and 12. In addition, they use I Peter to support their claim.

The Rebuttal

paula-white

Are Women Called Into the Ministry? Today’s Number One Female Preacher, Paula White.

 

The verse in Genesis 3:16 speaks of women who are under the curse. I could argue that we are no longer under the curse through salvation through Christ. When taken in context of the locations where Paul told women to keep silent in the churches,  therefore was for women in Corinth and Ephesus. When you understand that goddess worship was prevalent in both of these cities, it easy to understand why this order of women being silent in the church was specific instructions to the women in these cities.

Corinth was filled with influence of cults of the gods of Egypt, Rome and Greece. There, the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, stood atop the Acrocorinth. This temple, though in ruins by Paul’s time, but the influence was still present through local prostitution. The city catered to sailors and traveling salesmen and earned the unsavory reputation in its immoral activity. The name “Corinth” was at the time, in fact, synonymous with immorality.

Likewise, Ephesus was famous for its Temple of Artemis. Artemis of Ephesus is represented as a woman with many breasts.These breasts symbolized the vitality and the nourishing capacity of the earth.She is the goddess of nature, of productivity,,and the protector of wild animals and sailors.Her cult spread to the Mediterranean shores as even as far as Marseille and Spain. Visitors were provided with all sorts of entertainment and paid handsomely for statues of the goddess. Since Timothy was the pastor at Ephesus, the advise Paul gave him was also related goddess temple worship where many of the women who attended had left roles as temple prostitutes.

Women in Paul’s day were uneducated and were only able to obtain understanding of the teachings of Christ through their husbands. In Christian gatherings, women were told to submit to their husbands and learn about Jesus from them rather than trying to ask during a meeting. In addition, what understanding these women had of spiritual things came from worship of idols in the Greek goddess temples.

Examples of Biblical Christian Women Leaders

In Colossians 4:15, Paul identified a woman who had a church in her home. In the New International Version of this verse, it says,”Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea and to Nympha and to the church in her house. Because there is no mention of her husband, there is little doubt that she was the pastor of that church. The King James version incorrectly translated the Greek  Nympha (female) to Nymphos (male) because they thought that it could not be possible that Nympha was the right translation of that name.

Another example where a woman is identified as a leader over a church is in 2 John where the entire book implies a pastoral woman’s leadership. In verse ten, in the King James Version translation reads the “elect” lady. whereas other translations use the term “chosen lady”.  Verses 9-10 (NIV) reads, “Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him.” Verse 10 in the New Living Translation reads a little differently. It says, “if someone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth…” The operative word here is “meeting.” All would agree that during the times of the early church many church meetings were held in houses. and  this chosen lady held a church in her home and directly was told not to allow anyone in the meeting to teach opposite Christ’s teachings. She was therefore in charge, making her, by any practical definition, pastor of the church.

Still another woman who was in leadership in the church was Phoebe mentioned in Romans 16:1-2. .Phoebe was a deacon (deaconess) in the church in Cenchrea. The Greek word translated deacon here is the same word that is translated deacon in I Timothy 3:8-12 (“diakonos”). Just because the role of deacon is stated as a role for men in the verses in I Timothy, does not mean that it excludes women from that office.(nor did it exclude single men like Timothy from pastorship).

We have the example of Romans 16:7 “Greet Andronicus and Juia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Junia was a females name in which Paul identified as an apostle who was in prison with him.

Serving as pastor is listed in  I Corinthians 12:27-31 as a spiritual gift. In Romans 11:29, it says that  Gods gifts to us are without repentance. Therefore, why would God give a woman a gift in preaching or the ability to pastor if he did not want us to use that gift? Additionally, in Ephesians 4:7-13, the scripture says that Christ gave some to be pastors. This word “some” in the Greek is not gender specific meaning that it does not exclude women nor is the office of “pastor” diminished in regard to women.

Therefore, there is no definitive scriptural evidence forbidding women to pastor. Just as Timothy was subject to his mentor, Paul, every pastor, woman or man, should  be subject to a man in authority over them, not that women should not be allowed to serve as pastors that put them in authority over any man. If any woman believes that she is called to be a pastor, she may face opposition from others in the church, but she should not ignore her gift and calling.

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Donna Brown is an ordained minister. As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 

 


Lazarus and Martha’s Sister, Mary

lazarus tomb in Bethany

The name “Mary either in its Hebrew form (Miriam)  or Greek form (Marie) was a common name throughout first century Judea, therefore the different Marys were described in the Bible in relation to where that person was from and in relation to those around her. Mary of Bethany was one of those people. One of the more interesting Marys of the Bible is a woman that I will refer to as Mary–Martha and Lazarus’ sister.

Where was Bethany?

Mary–Lazarus and Martha’s sister is also referred to as Mary of Bethany. Traditionally, Bethany has been identified with the present-day West Bank city of al-Eizariya which means “Place of Lazarus”, This site of the reputed Tomb of Lazarus is located about 1.5 miles east of Jerusalem on the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives  Just prior to the final passover in which Jesus was crucified, Jesus and his disciples stayed in Bethany.

Martha and Lazarus’s Sister

In Luke 10:38-42 we first meet Martha and Mary. Martha is  trying to serve Jesus by taking care of her home and serving Jesus meals. Mary, on the other hand, sat listening to Jesus, asking him questions. Martha chastens Mary, but Jesus chastens Martha for not recognizing that Mary has chosen a better way to spend her time.

We see Mary and Martha again later in John chapter 11. At the feast of Hanukkah, religious leaders tried to stone. Jesus escaped across the Jordan River to where John the Baptist baptized. While there, a message came from Martha and Mary saying that their brother Lazarus was very ill. Jesus stayed there an additional two days. It took him an additional two days to get to Bethany. Lazarus had been dead for four days.

When Jesus was about two miles from Bethany, Martha came to meet her, but Mary stayed behind at the house. Martha told him that if he had been there, she knew that Lazarus would have been healed. Jesus told her that if Lazarus believed in him (Jesus) he would live. Martha thought that Jesus was lking about the resurrection at the time of judgment. Jesus had something else in mind. He arrived at the house where Mary fell at his feet begging to know why he let her brother die.

As we all know, Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead.

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An Epiphany that Is Often Missed

In John Chapter 12, we learn that after Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, friends and family celebrated the event. However, there is an incident that is mentioned during the feast. Mary comes running into the room and pours spikenard at Jesus feet. She is crying, and dries his feet with her tears.. Spikenard was used for deep physical, emotional, and spiritual pain.  Spikenard is a very spiritual oil and had been used in Egypt and by priests and kings for an anointing oil and to induce meditation. The oil was often used to release us from the need to control and rebel against power and authority. It was a good oil for emotional healing. She knew that Jesus was going to die and she wanted to help ease his pain by anointing his feet in the spikenard.

This was more than a symbolic gesture on Mary’s part. She used the spikenard and was crying because she realized that Jesus was going to die and that he would be in excruciating physical, emotional, and spiritual pain.. She was offering  him relief from that pain. Even the act of putting the spikenard on his feet is significant. Spikenard and other essential oils are absorbed into the body through the skin and absorption is especially good when applied to the feet. A woman’s hair in that culture was her glory. Drying his feet with her hair was evidence of her humility.

My Personal Take Away

Just as Mary of Bethany sat at Jesus feet and listened to what he told her, we too should spend time from our busy lives to listen to what the Lord has to tell all the time. We are often too busy. Often we blame our current society, and that we don’t have the same amount of time that they had back then. However, we have the same twenty-four hours and we don’t have to work as many hours as they did back then, just to provide a roof over our heads and food on the table. We really have no reason except that we do not choose the important things.We need to recognize that he wants to speak to each of us.

Lazarus was not healed right away, but he was raised from the dead. In the end, we need to humble ourselves and serve him because he already has served us with far more than we deserve.This reminds us that we need to recognize that when things do not go as we expect, even though we don’t understand his rational, God has other, better plans.

Finally, I learned that Mary knew more than anyone else in the room concerning what Jesus would be facing in during the next few days. A woman named Mary though it was not his mother, was the first person to know that Jesus would also rise from the dead. This was probably the reason that she was not among the women at the tomb on the day of his resurrection.

 

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Cygnet Brown has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. Her upcoming book A Coward’s Solace will be available soon. Click here for more information about Cygnet Brown and her books.

 

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