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A Woman of Wavering Faith-Rebekah

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Rebekah was certainly one of the most appealing young women in Scripture. She is portrayed as chaste and beautiful, courteous and helpful, hard-working, hospitable, as well as responsive and trusting. She was chosen as the intended bride for Isaac – Genesis 24:15-20 “And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.” I recommend reading the whole chapter 24 to see the story unfold, and how God accomplished His plan for His choice of wife for Isaac.

Verse 28 hints that her family ties were very close, as her first response when she returned from the well was to share with the women in her household all about her encounter with Abraham’s servant. For a girl to be chosen for marriage to a wealthy relative was indeed considered a blessing from God. Her father and brother also knew that this was from God – Verse 50 “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the LORD: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.” But, the choice to leave home was Rebekah’s to make. This tells us how the young women in her culture enjoyed autonomy. (Verses 57, 58)

Rebekah volunteered a lowly service giving the camels water in verse 19. This was not a quick nor an easy chore for a young woman to accomplish. “And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.” This opened a lofty destiny to her as God worked His plan for her life through her mundane daily responsibilities. Her courage and faith at that time motivated her to venture from the familiarity of her family and friends to the unknown new life in a strange land.

God rewarded Rebekah’s faithfulness with a monogamous marriage that began with romance and loving affection (verse 67; Genesis 26:8). Also, in answer to Isaac’s prayer for his wife’s fertility, God removed her barrenness with the birth of twins, Esau and Jacob – Genesis 25:20, 21 “And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.”

It was in her later years that Rebekah’s unwavering faith of her youth faltered. Of course, I am sure it did not happen suddenly but over time as our falling out of close fellowship with God always comes about gradually. Her taking things into her own hands which direction her sons’ futures would take, instead of trusting God, showed a lack of reverence and respect for her husband and his leadership.

The thing I find so very sad about this whole situation is how both parents showed such strong favoritism to their sons. Naturally, this brought rivalry, deceit, and contention into their home – Genesis 25:28 “And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.” Proverbs 28:21 gives us some wisdom about favoring one person over another – “To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” And that definitely took place in this instance!

A few thoughts here may help us to understand Rebekah’s motivation for her deceit: perhaps her discernment of her sons–that is, recognizing Esau as worldly and adventuresome and Jacob as having potential for spiritual sensitivity, or her own close connection to one son over the other, or maybe even a strong faith in God’s revealed plan in Genesis 24:23.

In any case, the deceiving of her husband was without excuse and her poor example to her sons was a far-reaching tragedy. Even if her motives was pure, her action was wrong. Sadly, she paid a bitter price in living out her final years in separation from the son whose presence she desired, in alienation from the son who would ever remember his mother’s deception toward him, and in broken fellowship from a husband who had loved her devotedly. You see, there is no way of escaping the consequences of our actions. Those consequences very often extend out to future generations as well.

As always when we take things into our own hands to bring about our best laid plans, God turns things around and uses it all for His purpose. But we sure can save ourselves some pain and heartache if we just leave things in His all-knowing and caring hands. Try not to let your faith waver.

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2018 in Women of the Bible

 

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Sarai/Sarah-Example of a Submissive Wife

Sometimes when we think of Sarai/Sarah, we tend to remember how she let her barrenness humiliate her to the point that she went outside of God’s will to give Abram/Abraham a son. Today I am thinking of how she appears in the Bible as a great example of God’s ideal for a married woman, in spite of her impatience.

There are two characteristics that mark her life: beauty and barrenness. Because of her beauty, even pagan rulers desired her, but she did not let it make her vain. It was her infertility that caused deep domestic humiliation and even disagreement in her marriage. She was treated terribly by other women in her family because they were fertile and she was not. Perhaps she could have saved herself some of that cruelty had she not given Abram her handmaid, Hagar, to mate with. But God has allowed that for His purpose, just like He does for all of us when we step outside of His will, and come to Him in repentance.

Without a doubt, Sarah had beauty, brilliance, and creativity, but one quality that plants her in our memories and sets her apart is her unique and unequaled devotion to her husband Abraham. She shared not only her husband’s challenges and heart aches, but also his dreams and blessings. Never did she waver; she stood by his side through good choices and bad decisions, adversities and blessings, in youth and in old age. She is a fine example of a woman who loved her husband unconditionally and determinedly. Many wives today seem to take every opportunity to demean or badmouth their husbands in one way or another. I find that contemptible. True, selfless love will never behave that way.

The Bible devotes more space to Sarah than any other woman. Genesis 23 is a whole chapter that talks about her death and burial. Both her husband and her son grieved deeply when she died at age 127. She was, without a doubt, a very nurturing mother to Isaac. I’m sure she thanked God each and every day for that fulfilled promise. – “And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her…And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Genesis 23:2; 24:67)

Sarah is commended in two New Testament references – Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” and 1 Peter 3:6 “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.” Romans 4:19; 9:9 – “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb:…For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.”

She is also used to illustrate the difference between the bonded and free – Galatians 4:21-31 “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid (Ishmael), the other by a freewoman (Isaac). But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Sarah is titled as one of “the Holy women” of old because she committed her willing cooperation to her husband. From the Biblical account, it is apparent that Sarah was strong-willed; yet she chose to submit to Abraham, an attitude which God commended. She was consistently identified as Abraham’s wife, reinforcing the fact that God viewed the pair as one flesh. Together they were asked to believe that God would give them a son.

Sarah is the only wife named in the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11:11. Her mothering experience fluctuated from emotions of skepticism, embarrassment, envy, and cruel recrimination to intense exhilaration and joy. Even though Sarah fell into sin, God faithfully kept His promise that she would be “a mother of nations.” (Genesis 17:16)

Perhaps more than any other Biblical woman, Sarah stands to teach women two supreme characteristics of Godly womanhood: humble submission to their husbands in marriage, and fervent commitment to nurturing the next generation. As I mentioned above, it seems to be “the thing” these days for women to take the leading role as head of the home and demean the husband and knock him down every chance they get. And, we see results every day in the news of children who are left to their own devices instead of being nurtured as all children have a need for.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Godly Women

 

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Manhood and Womanhood According to Scripture

These passages, from Job and Proverbs, show examples for us to live with Godly character in our manhood and womanhood.

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Job was a great example of how to be Men of Integrity:

Standing in God’s presence – Job 31:4 – “Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?”

Exemplifying Integrity – Job 31:5, 6 – “If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.”

Committing to Personal Purity – Job 31:7-12 – “If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands; Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out. If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour’s door; Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her. For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges. For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.”

Reflecting Justice in all Dealings – Job 31:13-15 – “If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?”

Giving Generously to Others and Showing Compassion to All – Job 31:16-22 – “If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother’s womb;) If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.”

Setting Godly Priorities in Life – Job 31:23-25 – “For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure. If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence; If I rejoice because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;”

Living out Faith in God – Job 31:26-28 – “If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.”

Forgiving Others Without Holding a Grudge – Job 31:29, 30 – “If I rejoice at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.”

Opening His Home to the Needy – Job 31:31, 32 – “If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied. The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.”

Walking with the Lord – Job 31:33-37 – “If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door? Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book. Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me. I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.”

Seeking to do Right – Job 31:38-40 – “If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain; If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life: Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.”

Solomon Teaches How we Women can live with Godly Character in Proverbs:

Managing her Household Well – Proverbs 31:10-12 – “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Working Willingly with her Hands – Proverbs 31:13 – “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.”

Serving Her Household – Proverbs 31:14, 15 – “She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”

Investing Wisely – Proverbs 31:16 – “She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.”

Strengthening Herself Through Proper Care of her Body and Spirit – Proverbs 31:17 – “She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.”

Using her Gifts Consistently and Creatively – Proverbs 31:18, 19 – “She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.”

Giving Generously to the Poor – Proverbs 31:20 – “She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.” (Notice it says, “needy” not those who choose to beg instead of work.)

Protecting her Children – Proverbs 31:21 – “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”

Dressing Herself Attractively but Modestly – Proverbs 31:22 – “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”

Representing her Husband Well – Proverbs 31:23 – “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”

Using her Time and Energies Efficiently – Proverbs 31:24 – “She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.”

Exhibiting a Spirit of Optimism – Proverbs 31:25 – “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.”

Speaking with Wisdom and Kindness – Proverbs 31:26 – “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Exemplifying Faithfulness and Excellence – Proverbs 31:27-29 – “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

Receiving Praise for her Work – Proverbs 31:30, 31 – “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Now, these are the best guidelines we will find anywhere for living our lives with Godly character. As I read through each of these examples for me to try to emulate as a woman, I must admit that I am definitely lacking in several areas. It was good for me to be reminded to try to do my best to be a better example for my Lord and not be an embarrassment to Him. I am encouraged that God Almighty would choose me to be a shining light for Him.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2017 in Godly Women

 

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Do we treat our husbands as the God-given gifts that they are?

I find it totally disgusting how this world and today’s media demean the heads of our homes. Our husbands are a gift from the Lord, if we have first sought God’s will as to whether this man is God’s chosen mate for us. Many of us have had to learn the hard way the heartache and irreparable damage to all concerned when we seek our own will and jump into a relationship based on lust or “love at first sight.

When God brings the man He has chosen for our life-mate into our lives, that man truly is a gift from God, and he ought to be treated as such. To us women, a man is the most complicated of all God’s creatures to understand. (I know we hear men joke all the time about how they will never understand us women, and that is true also. 😉 )

He has high expectations for himself – when he fails to attain his dreams, he experiences emotions that he finds hard to handle. At times he may be afraid of rejection – comparison to another man, the inability to satisfy his wife. He may feel inadequate, insecure, frustrated, and helpless as he faces the challenges of life. During these times of vulnerability, our husbands desperately need us to understand and be his helper – “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Genesis 2:18) He needs acceptance, appreciation, and affirmation.

A Godly husband will show respect for his wife in the way he treats her. This begins with his thought life – “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” (Proverbs 23:7) and it moves to his lifestyle – “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7) then to his communication – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29) Because women are great responders, we generally will respond to efforts or lack of efforts from our husbands. This give-and-take is part of the mystery in human sexuality.

Just as God extended acceptance to all people in that He did not wait until we were worthy of His love – He simply loved us first – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) A loving wife will want to treat her husband as if he is already the person God desires him to be. That is the greatest encouragement we can give him.

  • A husband needs to have and deserves to have the respect of his wife – “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)
  • A husband needs and deserves our appreciation. This means that we should recognize his worth, and hold him in high regard and respect. Notice how his face lights up and his chest bursts forth when we express how grateful we are for our life with him, his faithfulness, his hard work, and how he provides and cares for us. God has laid on my heart many times to let my Ron know how thankful I am that God brought him to be my life-mate and how he completes me. It is the truth and he needs and deserves to hear that from time to time.
  • A husband also needs affirmation. We should want to speak kind words to our husbands – “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” (Proverbs 31:26) We enjoy assuring our husbands of our love and devotion to only him –  “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Proverbs 31:11, 12)
  • A husband needs sexual fulfillment and sensitivity on the part of his wife to this need – “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5)
  • A husband needs a home to which he can go for comfort and peace – “And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” (Genesis 24:67) I can sense immediately when my husband has had a trying day at work. I try not to hit him with any challenges I may have had, but ask him how his day went. I see instant relief as he lets our a slight sigh and shares his day with me. It is not always about challenges he had. Many times he loves to share pride in how he overcame some obstacle that no one else had an answer for.
  • A husband needs to find his wife attractive and to be proud of her “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” (Proverbs 31:28, 29) He needs to share mutual fellowship and fun with her. After all, our husbands are our best friends.

We ought to consider our husbands as a precious gift from God, and treat them with sensitivity, tenderness, and love. To meet his needs requires time–listening, touching, doing kind deeds, and creativity in doing the acts of love. When we do those actions, we will also receive in kind from him – “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

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Posted by on August 17, 2017 in Godly Women

 

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Women in the Early Church

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We are so blessed that God has gifted each of us special gifts to be used in His church. Here are some great examples of how Godly women used their gifts in God’s early church. As we search these Scriptures and take them to our hearts today, we can still follow their examples to be the Godly women that He needs us to be in today’s church.

Apphia – Philemon 2 Hosted believers in her home. “And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:”  It is believed that Apphia was Philemon’s wife and Archippus was Apphia’s and Philemon’s son, and a leader in the church that met in Philemon’s home. Apphia played a crucial role in carrying out the desires that Paul expressed for Onesimus, as a new believer, because as the mistress of her home, she was also the supervisor over household slaves.

Damaris – Acts 17:34 – Responded to the Gospel of Jesus. “Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”

Dorcas – Acts 9:36-42 and Proverbs 31:20 – She reached out to the poor and needy. “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.”; “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.”

Elisabeth – Luke 1:39-56 – Served as a mentor or spiritual mother to Mary of Nazareth and undoubtedly to many others. “And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.”

Lydia – Acts 16:11-15 – Supported Paul in his ministries. “Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis; And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.”

Mary Magdalene – Mark 16:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:15 – Proclaimed the Gospel. “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.”; “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

Mary of Nazareth – Luke 2:19; Acts 1:14 – Mary prayed. “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”; “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”

Older, Mature Women in the Church – Tutus 2:3-5 – Were and are to teach younger women and new women believers about Godly character and home responsibilities. “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Phebe – Romans 16:1, 2 – Was a courier for transporting one of Paul’s letters to the church in Rome. And as we can see in verse 2, she was known as a “succourer” of many – Someone who gives help in times of need, distress or difficulty. “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.”

Priscilla – Acts 18:18, 26 – She and her husband traveled throughout the country doing evangelism and missions. They also taught the learned Apollos. – Romans 16:3-5a – They suffered for their faith, and held church in their house. “And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow…And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”; “Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house.”

Women of Wealth (yes it is God’s desire for His children to be wealthy as it is all His anyway, and He blesses us so that we may bless others) – Mark 15:40; 16:1; Luke 8:3; 23:55-24:10; Hebrews 6:10 – They supported Jesus’ work; their generosity was a blessing to the Kingdom work. “There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;…And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.”; ” And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.”; “And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.”; “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2016 in Godly Women

 

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What is True Wisdom?


First, wisdom is a healthy fear and awe of our Lord. It is the process of discernment in which choices are considered and alternatives weighed. For the Godly person, choices are always to be made in keeping with God’s purposes and desires.

In the Old Testament, wisdom was used in various ways which ranged from describing artistic skills as in Exodus 36:1-3 “Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded. And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it: And they received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of the sanctuary, to make it withal. And they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning.”, and financial savvy – Proverbs 8:18-21 “Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”, to the ability to discern truth. Wisdom is regarded as being very practical in application. It flows from a reverential awe of God and a deep respect for God’s Word – Proverbs 1:7; 2:6 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction…For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” The wise person is repeatedly described as one who acknowledges, relies upon, and trusts God’s superior understanding. Wise decisions are those that keep a person from all that is wicked and perverse – Proverbs 2:7-12 “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;”

The wisdom teachings of the Bible–Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and selected Psalms–contain passages that offer very practical advice and give observations about the results of wise and foolish choices. Throughout the Book of Proverbs, wisdom is portrayed as a woman, i.e. Proverbs 1; 8; 9. Wisdom begs and pleads for women and men to choose the way that leads to health and life, the way of fearing the Lord that brings purpose and meaning to life and the development of a living relationship with God. The wisdom of Proverbs is applied in a special way to the many relationships that women have: wife-husband; mother-child; daughter-parent; friend-friend; employer-employee; and neighbor-neighbor.

Wisdom for believers is our knowledge of God’s will that allows us to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord – Colossians 1:9-10 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Wisdom is evident in our lives when we lead a life that is marked by purity, peace, gentleness, a yielding spirit, mercy, and “good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” – James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The Good News all through Scripture is that our Lord gives us wisdom liberally and without reproach, if we but ask Him – James 1:5-6 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” In other words, if we ask the Lord in faith to show us what to do, what to say, and how to live, we can count on Him to reveal His answers to us.

Wisdom Personified:

Proverbs 9

1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

2 She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.

3 She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city,

4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.

7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.

8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.

12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

13 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.

14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city,

15 To call passengers who go right on their ways:

16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,

17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2016 in Godly Women

 

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Jesus Pardons an Adulteress

I chose to use the word pardon here because I believe it is important for us to realize that when God forgives our sin, we are completely exonerated of our wrong-doing and made innocent through what Jesus did on the cross. It is as if we never sinned.

Satan knows that our human nature is to think back on forgiven sins and feel guilty and worthless because of them. He will bring the sins of the past to our remembrance in his attempts to hinder the work God wishes to do through us, but we must come against him. God assures us that not only does He forgive us of our sin, but he casts it as far away as the east is from the west – they never meet. When we listen to that stinking old devil and try to remind God, “Remember when I did that, I am so sorry.” God remembers it not. We must realize that when He forgave us we began anew and we now look forward, not backward.

Today’s Scripture – John 8:1-11

The book of John is my very favorite of the gospels. I will re-read it continuously while I have breath in me. I love that John shows how Jesus always won the great debates that he had with the Scribes and Pharisees. They were constantly attempting to trip Jesus up or trick him into stumbling, to no avail. They hated that he, as the Light of the World, revealed their Godless behavior. Re-reading this during times of attacks in my own life, gives me the peace of knowing that God is always in control and will always win over evil. Since my strongest spiritual gift is that of prophet, I strongly detest injustice.

In this passage, the Jewish leaders brought a woman “caught in adultery” without bringing the man she was caught with, as set forth in their own Law, to Jesus with the purpose of trapping him. If Jesus said the woman should not be stoned, they would have accused him of violating Moses’ Law. On the other hand, if he encouraged them to execute her, they would turn him in to the Romans who did not allow the Jews to perform their own death penalties.

Note in verse 2 that Jesus was sitting down as he was teaching. He “stooped down and wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.” It appears that Jesus was trying to ignore them, and he really did not want to get involved in this issue, but they continued to press him until he had to address it.

Go Jesus! “he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.” I do not believe that he meant if they were totally sinless in general; nor that if they had never broken the 7th Commandment that they could cast the first stone. It makes more sense that he may have been saying, “if there is one of you who is innocent of this sin, then let him cast the first stone at her.”

Then Jesus stooped again and continued to write on the ground. The thought has come to my mind that it is possible that he was writing the names of those men who had committed adultery themselves, perhaps with her. Rather, knowing Jesus’ compassion for all, he was more likely giving them the chance to slink away without having to face the all-knowing look in his eyes.

When Jesus stood again, the accusers were nowhere to be found. Their plot had backfired on them. They were the ones caught in their own trap! This is usually what happens when hypocrites impudently strive to point their fingers at others.

After asking her where her accusers were and seeing that they had fled, he said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” She had watched as Jesus craftily sent her accusers creeping off in the opposite direction, as she awaited her fate.

The door to salvation was opened when Jesus showed her unimaginable grace and gentleness instead of condemning her. This must have begun a burning desire to hang around and reverently learn more from the Master. I find it ironic also that the Pharisees’ intentions to trip Jesus up not only backfired on them, but if they had not brought her to Jesus this day, she probably would have continued in her sin until her heart was so hardened that she would not have been able to be saved.

GOD ALWAYS KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING! PRAISE HIM!

1   Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2   And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3   And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4   They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5   Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6   This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7   So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8   And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9   And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10   When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11   She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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