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Jesus Cares for Widows

Ronald Rae Widow Woman 1992. Ragley Hall

Ronald Rae Widow Woman 1992. Ragley Hall (Photo credit: amandabhslater)

 

Jesus raises a widow‘s son from the dead”

Luke 7:11-17 “11. And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him,and much people. 12. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  14. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.”

As we see in the passage, there was “much people” with this widow, making much ado, grieving the death of her son. Though it is human to grieve for those who pass, I should think it would have been more of a solace to the widow if someone had stepped up and offered to take her in or give her aid. Instead, the crowd of mourners would go home, having accomplished their all-important ritual, and she would be left destitute and alone.

Back in those days there was no such thing as Medicare or Social Security. Women, especially elderly, were dependent upon their husbands and their sons to take care of them. Not only did Jesus care that this woman was in pain over her loss, I believe that He felt her pain. He also knew that her situation was dire, and that it required drastic measures. She had lost her husband, and now her last avenue of support through her only son. She was most probably past the age of childbearing and would never marry again. I would guess that the widow found Jesus’ words, “Weep not,” much more consoling than the raucous commotion that the crowd was causing. He knew that He was her only hope, and “he had compassion” on her and immediately brought her son back to life.

The Jews had many traditions they were bound to and their display at funerals was an important one to them. The family of the dead person followed the body as it made its way through town.  There were hired mourners who cried out drawing bystanders to the procession as well. The family then continued their mourning for 30 days. One thing the scribes and pharisees hated about Jesus’ ministry was that he chastised them for their many traditions and laws that were too hard on the people. Instead of seeking to know God and have a relationship with Him, they made stringent rules that only burdened the people. Jesus taught that those rules and traditions will not secure our home in eternity. He is the only Way.

Jesus also never missed an opportunity to glorify His heavenly Father. He used this event to illustrate salvation to a world that is lost in sin, just as the widow’s son was dead. We, like the dead, can do nothing to help ourselves. But God had compassion on us, while we were yet sinners, and sent His only Son to raise us to newness of life in Him. As the woman’s son could not earn a second chance at life, so we cannot earn our new life in Christ. We can, however, accept God’s gift of eternal life, praise Him for it, and live our lives to do His will.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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The Samaritan Woman

English: Christ and the woman of Samaria at Ja...

English: Christ and the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s Well (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Jewish culture in the first century treated women as second-class citizens. They had very few of the rights that men of that time had. Jesus respected all people equally, but he showed a special care for women. In this category, I will be sharing from God’s word about some of the encounters Jesus had with different women during his ministry on earth.

This first entry will be of the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well. You will find this story in John 4:1-26. It begins with Jesus leaving Judaea and traveling to Galilee because of mounting opposition from the Pharisees. Most Jews of that era hated the Samaritans and avoided them like the plague. Jesus had no use for such cultural limitations, and since the route through Samaria was the fastest one to Galilee, that is the way he chose. I like to think that our Father in Heaven told him something like this, “Hey, Son, since you are going that way, there is this Samaritan woman who needs to know that we love her, and we have a cure for her sin.”

Before, I continue with the story, we must first understand the history behind the Jewish hatred of the Samaritans. Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom before it was conquered by the Assyrians. When they invaded the Northern Kingdom, many Jews were exiled to Assyria and foreigners from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim were brought in to Samaria to settle the land and keep the peace (2 Kings 17:24). Most Jews who remained in Samaria married the foreigners and they became a mixed race.

The Jews from the Southern Kingdom considered themselves to be a pure race of Jews. They became very prejudiced against the spoiled blood line of Samaritans because they felt that they had betrayed their people and their nation by mixing their Jewish blood with foreign blood.

Now at Jacob’s well in Samaria: Jesus was weary from his journey “and it was about the sixth hour” or noon. Usually the women went to fetch water from the well in the morning and in the evening. This woman came at noon to steer clear of others, probably because of her poor reputation.

John 4:7-9 “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”

This woman must have been quite taken aback by Jesus’ (a Jew) request for a drink of water. First of all, she was a woman. Second, she was a hated Samaritan woman who was known to be living in sin, and she was in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman under such circumstances. But Jesus did.

Verse 10 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

I believe that Jesus knew full-well who this woman was and what her life was like. I can imagine him resting near the well, watching the woman looking this way and that as she approached with her water pot. His heart must have ached knowing the pain her sin was causing her. He offered her “living water.”

The Old Testament compares thirsting after God to one who thirsts for water (Psalm 42:1; Isaiah 55:1; Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1). God is also called the fountain of life in Psalm 36:9, and the fountain of living waters in Jeremiah 17:13. When he told the woman that he could give her living water, he was laying claim to being the Messiah, the only one who could offer this gift that gratifies the very soul.

He also knew that if she accepted his gift, her life would change drastically for the better. He does not wish for any one to hurt or suffer, and a life of sin is very damaging to the human spirit.

Verses 11-15 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12. Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13. Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14. but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”

No one had ever talked with her about her spiritual hunger and thirst before. She misunderstood and thought that Jesus could give her an endless supply of water so that she would never have to return to the well. He was teaching her that our souls hunger for spiritual food and water, just as our bodies do for physical food and water.

Verses 16-20 “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18. for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

The woman became uncomfortable when Jesus hit her sin square on the head. She was quick to shift the focus off herself by changing the subject. It was a smokescreen to keep Jesus from her deepest need. It happens to all of us at one time or another, especially when we are under conviction about something. Jesus did not let her get away with that tactic. He brought up the very important point that where we worship is not as important as our attitudes when we worship.

Verses 21-26 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Wow! Can’t you just hear the authority ring from that passage?  When Jesus referenced “salvation is of the Jews” he was saying that only through the Jewish Messiah would the world be saved. Jesus knew that the woman was familiar with the passages in the Old Testament that foretold of the coming Messiah. He finally got through to her.

As we read on we see that the woman was so excited to share what she had found that she left her water pot at the well and told people to “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (Verse 29) Then in verse 39. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.”

As we can see, Jesus spent not a little time with this woman because he cared about her. I know from experience that it does not matter how sinful we are, we are worth Jesus’ time. He stands waiting with open arms to give to each of us “living water.”

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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Becoming a Godly Woman Part 3

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino ro...

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino rojo. Русский: Грозди винограда. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Titus 2:3 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

Today’s topic will cover “not given to much wine”. I think that is pretty straightforward in that we are not to be drunk with wine. I would go so far as to say that it would be unwise and a very bad example to consume alcohol at all. Would those looking to us for guidance take us seriously if they witnessed us in a drunken state? Of course not. In fact it would be more likely that we would cause some to stumble in their walk.

I find that God’s word, as always, says it best:

Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Proverbs 21:17 “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

Proverbs 23: 29-32 “29. Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?”

“30. They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”

Proverbs 31:4-6 was written as wise advice to a king, but I feel that it is also fitting for those of us who wish to become a Godly example to others:

“4. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5. Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.”

Though alcohol may be used to sooth and comfort, it is only temporary, and we must be aware of the dangers it imposes on its victims. It dulls our senses, limits our judgment, hinders our self-control, and destroys our bodies and minds. Very many families and marriages are destroyed by it as well. It is not a solution to any problem. Instead of losing ourselves in alcohol; why not find ourselves in God?

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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Becoming A Godly Woman

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, ...

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Over the past year, God has placed a strong desire in my heart to become a more Godly woman. I know that I have definitely grown in my walk, just not as much as I could have. I have stopped listening to Satan’s lies that because of my past I am not good enough. I have made the decision to no longer allow guilt to hold me back from being the kind of woman that God has always intended for me to be.

I have come to learn that the biggest hindrance to my growth in the Lord has been my need for control. Since I have made the choice to endeavor to place my life under God’s complete control, I have felt an overwhelming joy and peace. I mean, did I ever really have control in the first place? The only control I had was to say no to God’s control. Will I have times of doubt, most assuredly. But, I know where I can go to receive immediate confidence.

I think about what being Godly means — to be like God, to think, speak and behave like Him. The greatest compliment we can receive is when others see us as Godly. They can see God in us, and this brings glory to our heavenly Father. Am I saying that to be Godly is to be perfect? No, of course not, that is impossible while we are in our human forms. I am saying that we can all do our best to be ‘like’ God. This does present us with quite a challenge, but it is achievable.

With that said, I have asked the Holy Spirit where to go in God’s word to find the direction I need. I believe He has led me to start in Titus Chapter 2. I will attempt to take this inspiring Scripture a step at a time beginning with verse 3.

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

Okay, aged, meaning old. While I believe it is including elderly women, it is also making reference to “mature” women. Yes, that sounds much better to me. Since I am well under the age of 60, I think it is speaking of those of us who have raised our children, but we are not ready for the rocking chair yet.

Our behavior is to be such that becomes holiness. I would put it this way – we are to live in a way that honors God. We are to set an example by living reverently for God – respecting Him and His rules – basically just doing what is right.

There are many young women watching how we older women deal with the challenges that life throws our way. We can either be a Godly example and show them that it is God’s hand on our shoulders that gets us through, or we can be a worldly, selfish example and see them turn their backs on the Christian life.

It is heart-wrenching to watch women today as they struggle to just do their best without God’s direction, and therefore, miss out on His blessings. Along with that comes regret. It does not have to be that way.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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Creation of the First Woman

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The first time the word woman appears in the Bible is when God created Eve from Adam’s rib or side. The Hebrew word for this usage of woman is nashiym (naw-sheem), “because she was taken out of man” (Genesis 2:23). The stress is on identification of womanhood.

God’s word tells us that he created the earth and the heavens and everything in them in seven days. It was on the 6th day that he created mankind. Genesis 1:26, 27 – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

We see that God made both man and woman in his image. One was not any more the image of God than the other. Neither sex was of more or lesser value to God. He fashioned and prepared us for various tasks, but his purpose was for us to live with the same intent: to honor God. Though one of us is not superior to the other, each of our genders has its own exclusive privileges.

In Genesis 2:18 God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone; he was incomplete. “I will make him an help meet for him.” So God formed all of the beasts of the field and the birds in the air and gave them to Adam to see what names he would give them. But there was no help meet found for him among all of those.

God put Adam into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs and made a woman and brought her to him. The Hebrew word for rib used here is the feminine tsalah (tsal-aw). Literally it means a rib, as curved, of the body; or figuratively, a side or chamber of a person. Wow! It makes me think of woman actually being taken out of a chamber in man’s side. That helps me to understand why it is a God-given instinct for a man to take his woman under his wing to care for and protect her. It also explains why we women have a deep desire for our knight in shining armor to ride in, whisk us off our feet and devote his life to us. I believe that deep down inside, every woman wants her husband to step up and be the Godly leader that God created him to be. I know that I find that very comforting.

God could have made Eve from dust as he did Adam, but he chose to create her from the man’s flesh and bone. This symbolizes how a man’s and a woman’s hearts and lives are mysteriously joined together in marriage. We can see throughout God’s word that he takes this union very seriously.

A good question to ask ourselves before marrying is : “Are we willing to keep the commitment which makes the two of us one? The ultimate goal in marriage is more than friendship; it is oneness.

Side Note: God did not create man out of man nor woman out of woman that they would be godly joined in union as one. His word clearly states that he made woman from the side of man. The natural union of man and woman in marriage is a sacred blessing from God.

Homosexuality: to “change” or “leave the natural use of” sex

For those who live a homosexual lifestyle and try to justify it by pointing to God’s love and grace, I say, examine yourselves as to whether you are truly a born-again child of God, or ask yourselves if you are being led astray by Satan’s deceivers. Some are choosing to be deceived by so-called preachers (some who are homosexuals themselves) who teach that they cannot help being the way they are. Many believe and teach that their desires are normal and that they have a right to express them. God does not encourage us to fulfill all of our desires, as they are not all good desires. We must restrain those desires that violate his laws. Satan’s liars do not set the standard for God’s Law, and they will answer to God for it.

Yes, God does love the sinner, but he does hate the sin. He is willing to receive anyone who comes to him in faith, and as Christians, we should always love and accept others, but not their sin. We are not to stand in judgment, but to use good judgment when it comes to tolerating what God looks upon as sin.

Homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes. Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination.” The Hebrew word here for abomination as referenced to God (because this act is an abomination in God’s eyes) is toebah (to-ay-baw) – and it describes people, things, acts, relationships, and characteristics that are detestable to Him because they are contrary to His nature.

Can a saved person live the life of a homosexual? I have pondered that question much because I know and love some who live that lifestyle and say that they are saved. Only God knows that for sure. Saved people are sinners and we will be until we be with our Lord. We are to live day by day in God’s grace, repenting for sins that our natural flesh is tempted to. Repenting means turning away from.

I would venture to say that if they are saved, they are ignoring the roots of whatever issues they have in their pasts that may have led them to this lifestyle. I would also submit, that if they were totally honest with themselves, they would admit that they do not have God’s peace that passes understanding in their spirits.

To those who have homosexual desires: You can and must resist acting upon them. As with temptation to any sin, you must consciously stay away from places and behaviors that you know will spark these temptations. Do not underestimate Satan’s power and goal to lead you astray. Also, I beg you to consider the risk you take for serious harm if you keep giving in to these temptations.

If you are saved and living a homosexual lifestyle: Do not forget that God will forgive sexual sins the same as he forgives other sins. The key is to completely surrender yourselves to the grace and mercy of God, and ask him to show you the way out of sin and into the light of his liberty and love. Immerse yourselves in prayer, Bible study, and the loving support of Christians in a Bible-believing church that does not water down God’s word to make you feel better about your sin. Those actions will help you to gain the strength that you need to resist those powerful temptations. You may even need to seek the help of a trustworthy and professional true, Christian counselor. Christian meaning living a Christ-filled, Christ-like lifestyle.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in God's Love

 

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