The Remarkable Women of the Bible ~ Chapter 6

The Remarkable Women of the Bible

Rebekah ~ Tests of Faith

“And Rebekah said, “I am weary of my life.’” ~ Genesis 27:46

Each day when we awaken, none of us know what the course of our day will bring.  This happened to Rebekah.  Coming to the well to draw water was just like any other day, but this time her life would take a turn.  She was to start on her journey to become the bride of Isaac, one who would be the wife of the man of promises, that of great nations, that of as descendants that could not even be numbered, as many as the sands of the sea. But she didn’t know that when she awakened that morning to do her daily routine.  In the same vein, if we live in obedience to God every day, dealing with our ordinary daily routines, when our hearts and minds are yield to Him, God will also come for us at the appointed time to bring us to the wedding supper.  If we are doing our part, being “diligent, ready, willing to perform the spiritual tasks that God requires of us, allowing God to guide our lives, we never know what wonderful things lay in store.

We, like Rebekah will be tested along the way, perhaps in the same way, perhaps in others.  What were some of her tests of faith on her journey?

Test #1 – Leaving All

“Every healthy marriage involves “leaving and cleaving,” and it was no different for Rebekah.  After a bittersweet farewell to her family and a long journey through the desert, Rebekah caught the first glimpse of Isaac, her husband-to-be.  He was in the fields that evening as her caravan moved slowly toward the end of the strenuous 500-mile trek from her home to his.” Pg 66

Rebekah Seeing Isaac First Time

Spiritually, is not our life like Rebekah’s?  We also need to forsake all our carnal, worldly ways in order to live a life that is separate from the world, to “run the race” Christ has set before us in order to be ready for His return and eventually the marriage supper of the Lamb.  It isn’t an easy journey.  We travel down roads unfamiliar.  We are tested along the rugged hills and valleys, through sunny days but also tough, inclement weather at times along our spiritual journey. This was God’s will for physical Rebekah and God’s divine will for our lives.  We have to remember, but God had never left Rebekah as she obeyed Him, and God will not leave you either, his precious chosen spiritual daughters.  Be assured that at the end of our journey, we will meet our Husband to be to live a life of eternity with Him, chosen by the Father Himself.

Test #2 – Barrenness

“God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), and God’s timing is not always our time. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Isaac’s beautiful bride Rebekah had to learn these two lessons about God’s plans.  You see, their marriage made in heaven had one flaw.  Twenty years passed and there was no baby.  No baby to love.  No baby to love.  No baby to continue the family line.  No baby to stand as the flesh-and-blood testimony of God’s faithfulness to His promise. (Genesis 12:2).  As God reports it, “she was barren.”  (Genesis 25:21…and that was a test for Rebekah.” Pg 67

Consider what might have gone through Rebekah’s mind at this stage in her life.  Why? That is a question we might ask after we have taken the vows to love, honor, and obey God, after we are given the promises of God in our life.  It’s not easy, is it? God tests us, refines us with fire at times, only to purify us, as gold and silver is purified, but we can’t always see the end from the beginning.  That’s where faith comes into play.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen.  It is the hope of things to come.

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

“Consider how the heartache of barrenness is often handled today. Doctors are consulted.  Parents are informed.  Best friends are updated daily.  Husbands can sometimes become the target of much anger, blaming, belittling, and criticism.  Emotions can swing from shock to sorrow, from fear to panic.  Arguments and complaints mixed with tears of discouragement and depression, can ring through homes where the happy blessing of children has been withheld.” Pg 67

“What word of advice would God’s couple, Rebekah and Isaac have for us today when our dreams are thwarted?  In a word, pray.  ‘Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife’ because she was barren, and the Lord granted His plea, and Rebekah, his wife conceived.” (Genesis 25:21) Pg 68

Have you ever pleaded with God in prayer for an answer that seemingly did not come when you desired it, but when it was God’s timing?  Was God involved?  Yes. God never left them.  He was always with them on their journey, but He answers prayers in His own time, for His own purposes.  Sometimes, we can’t always understand why until after many years, but we do know for certain that God’s love never leaves us.  He is our Father and takes care of His children.  No matter what your trouble is, God cares, and He cares deeply.

“For what are you waiting, dear one?  Leave the desires of your heart with God through prayer and live each day in full contentment and confidence that your life – just as it is – is a part of God’s perfect plan and His perfect timing.  With prayer you can enjoy God’s peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7…for one more day…for as many days as God’s plan and God’s timing takes!” Pg 68

Test #3 – A Problem Pregnancy

Rebekah’s faith was indeed tested, and both she and Isaac prayed for God’s intervention.  Had prayers already been answered?  Yes, God had blessed Abraham’s prayer for a wife for Isaac.  He answered Isaac’s prayer for Rebekah to conceive after 20 years of waiting.  Now, there was something new, a trial of Rebekah’s pregnancy.  Something was wrong.  She felt her twins struggling within her womb. If you have ever been with child, you know the discomfort it can have on your body during the last months of pregnancy with sleepless nights and pressure on your back, pelvic bones, etc., but this was not an ordinary pregnancy.  She was in pain.  She felt an unusual amount, as her twins struggled within her.  Rebekah’s once again prayed to the Lord to find the solution. Yes, “feeling uneasy commotion in her body, she wondered, ‘If all is well, why am I like this?’” Did God answer her prayer once again?  Yes.

Test #4 – Family Problems

What was God’s answer to Rebekah’s prayer concerning her problem pregnancy?  God informed Rebekah that she carried within her twins and the prophecy concerning both their future fates.

“And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” ~ Genesis 25:23

 “Her twins would reverse the traditional roles of firstborn.  That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? So, what’s the big problem?  Beloved, an entire book could be written on the pain Rebekah’s problem children brought to her heart, her marriage, and the world!  We won’t go into depth about the lifelong conflict between Jacob and Esau, Rebekah’s twin sons.  And time and space do not permit an in-depth discussion of Rebekah’s role in promoting the conflict between the two brothers.  But here’s a list of the sorrows that soon became the constant atmosphere in Rebekah’s home-sweet-home.” Pg 70

 Partiality

Profanity

Strife

Favoritism

Jealousy

Lying

Deception

Trouble

Indulgence

Misery

Evil

Separation

Confusion

Alienation

Injustice

Sin

Grief

Heartache

Rebekah’s beautiful marriage and her hopes of a beautiful family life turned sour.  Her own words declare her anguish – ‘I am weary of my life.”  (Genesis 27:46)

~ Checkpoint on the Journey ~

“Rebekah exhibited her faith in God by praying to Him and inquiring of Him.  When perplexed, disturbed, anxious, and distressed, she turned anxiety into asking.  Why not make it your practice to do the same – to turn your anxiety into asking?  Why not take your problems and struggles and routinely….

Go into the sanctuary of God (Psalm 73:17)

Spread out your case before the Lord (2 Kings 19:14),

And ask counsel at the Almighty’s throne. (Hebrews 4:16)?” Pg 71

We all struggle with life’s issues at times.  Sometimes we can feel all alone in our battles.  “If I were more Christian, perhaps trials would not encompass me much as they do.”  Yes, we can be troubling our own hearts with sins we commit, but as we see from the countless stories of the women of God in the scriptures, they can be women of faith and God can continue to build faith with the struggles we encounter in life.

~Rebekah’s Message For Our Life Today ~

“Everyone struggles…and so did Rebekah.  And every struggle is a test of our faith.  We struggle I marriage, with finances, with health problems, with family members, in our career, in our job, with friends, and with temptation.  Rebekah’s life certainly didn’t turn out as she wished!  She failed too many ways as a wife and a mother, but through her remarkable life’s journey with its hills and valleys, you and I learn many life lessons.

1.  Decisions must be guided by God’s Word.

2.  Problems must be prayed over.

3.  Marriage must be worked at.

4.  Children must be raised without favoritism.

5.  God must be trusted at all times.” Pg 73

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

To read previous chapters:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

 

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The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 4

The Remarkable Women of the Bible

Rewards of Faith

In chapters 2 and 3 of “The Remarkable Women of the Bible and Their Lessons For Us Today” we peer into the life of Sarah.  We see in Hebrews Sarah mentioned as a woman of faith.

“Through faith also Sarah 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.” 

~ Hebrews 11:11

Indeed, Sarah was truly a woman of faith. We have seen Sarah uprooting from her homeland to be Abraham’s companion on his journey to wherever God led him.  She left her family and her people to follow him as he followed God, making us her “daughters” if we follow her example of submission to follow her husband as God led him.  Do we follow our husband’s lead as he follows God?  Peter states that we are Sarah’s daughter if we develop a meek and quiet spirit and are submissive as Sarah had become:

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

~ I Peter 3:4

“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.”

~ I Peter 3:5

Abraham's Journeys

We have seen that Sarah waited ten long years after the promises were made to Abraham, and then still being barren, assumed presumptuously that God may have had different plans as to how these promises would be fulfilled, that it must not be God’s will that she be the one to bear Abraham’s child.  Therefore, she gave Abraham her handmaiden Hagar to bear a child through her, which was a common custom in those days. This was not in God’s will, however, but we have also learned that Sarah herself was not specifically stated as being the “one” through which Abraham would be the father of many nations at the time she made this decision.

We can find comfort in the fact that while we can have faith in God’s particular promises for us, we may make mistakes in judgment in how to accomplish it along the way at times, but God is understanding and knows our weaknesses.  Yes, we can find mercy and grace in the God of all comfort when slip and fall, using our own human reasoning at times on our journey to the Kingdom.  We also learn through Sarah’s story that we, no matter how merciful and forgiving God is, have to deal with the consequences of our sins in this life.

Then we saw that it was 24 years after the promises were made to Abraham that messengers along with the Lord himself came to Abraham to restate the promises, but this time specifically mentioning Sarah as the one to bear the promised seed.  Previously, she was not mentioned by name, and now it was clear in her mind what the Lord would do.  Sarah laughed.  Yes, she laughed within herself.  Did Sarah lack faith when she laughed within herself.  In the last chapter I’ve stated why I think this was a reaction of amazement, a laughter of “Could it be so, after all this time?” “Could I find pleasure (joy) in having a child in my old age?” (Genesis 18:12) Sarah now being 89 years of age. The Lord encouraged her further, by telling Abraham “Is anything too hard for God?” (Genesis 18:14)

Sarah  and Abraham

Are we waiting for certain promises to be fulfilled in our own lives?

“A prodigal to return to his or her father?  Are you waiting for release of a physical affliction?  Perhaps you are waiting for a husband – or for your husband to return to the Lord more deeply, or to be a spiritual leader in your home.  Could it be waiting like your sister Sarah for a baby.  Or are you waiting for vindication of some unfortunate misunderstanding for God to come to your rescue to show forth His righteousness on your behalf? (Psalm 73:6)  Are you eagerly waiting for the (Kingdom)* for the groaning of your body to cease, for your ultimate victory?

“God bids you to wait – in readiness and expectation – on His riches, on His rewards, just as Sarah did, whose sister you are if you trust in the Lord. (I Peter 3:5-6) pg 48

What blessings can we gain by waiting on God’s “appointed time?”

Blessing #1: Increased value – Waiting increases the value and importance of the thing waited for.  Whether you’re waiting for deliverance from suffering, the discovery of God’s purposes, direction for your confused life, a home at last, a wedding day, a family reunion, a prodigal’s return, or a child’s birth waiting makes the desired object a greater treasure once it is received.”

Blessing #2: Increased time – No one has enough time.  But the one who waits is given the precious gift of time – time to embrace life’s circumstances, time to press closer to God’s loving and understanding heart, time to grow in the hard-won grace of patience, time to feel more deeply the pain of others who also wait with flickering faith.

Blessing #3: Increased faith – The writer of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Please read the rest of Hebrews 11, and notice how the saints through the ages (including Abraham and Sarah) had their faith increased by waiting.  Faith grows and is strengthened through time.

So, while you wait, be encouraged.  We can believe Romans 8:28:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

He Who has promised is faithful to His own promises.  There are over 8,000 promises in the Bible.  I once had a little “Promises of God” book that I kept with me most of the time throughout my heaviest trials put together by categories.  I pulled that little book out any time I started to lose faith or anxiety overtook me.

What do you, by faith, believe to be true of God? Note the “miracles”:

*Eternal life — “I give them Eternal life” (John 10:28)

*Sufficient grace — “My grace is sufficient.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

*Strength for life — “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:13)

*His everlasting presence — “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9) pg 47

What promises and miracles did Sarah receive after 25 years of waiting?

*The witnessing of miracles — The 100-year-old Abraham fathered a child!  The 90-year-old Sarah conceived and bore a son!  And still another miracle followed as Sarah’s worn out body sustained the life of her little one as she nursed him!

*The working of faith — Sarah inherited the promise of a child by”faith and patience:; she exhibited the full assurance of hope until the end (Hebrews 6:11-12)

*The fulfillment of God’s promise — Wrapped up in Sarah’s little baby was God’s fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:2), and the continuance of the family line that would give rise to God’s own Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:2, 17)

*A child to love — God made the barren Sarah “A joyful mother of children.”  (Psalms 113:9)

Indeed, God Himself shared with Abraham and Sarah His promise of a great nation coming through Abraham and as we saw above great miracles.  They earned the place in Hebrew’s Hall of Faith.  What trials are you challenged with today that could be used to exercise your faith? Faith is hope in what is “NOT” seen yet. (Hebrews 11:1)  I sometimes see the small and great challenges that some women are facing, but along with it great faith – yes faith in huge trials and also faith in the day-to-day small battles they are faced with. Sometimes I share with them that perhaps someday they might be may be counted worthy of being placed along Sarah in the Hall of Faith.  Sarah gives us great hope that although we may make mistakes in our judgments at times, if we wholeheartedly are striving to live our lives according to His word, God is faithful to His promises and His rewards many.

One last note:

“Dear one, “with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)  Nothing is too hard for the Lord!  So, I ask you, what trials and temptations do you currently face?  Does some difficulty or affliction affect your every moment?  Do you live alone?  Are your days or your health waning?  Are you stretched to the limit by the demands of each day?  Identify your greatest challenge and then look to the Lord with the greatest of faith.  Remember, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1) pg 51

Be encouraged!

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To read previous chapters:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

*This word was changed for emphasis.

 

The Passover ~ When We Can’t Forgive Ourselves

Perfectionist Depression

Women who are perfectionists, even for the most noble of reasons, that of pleasing God, can often fall into discouragement and even depression because they have a hard time forgiving themselves for mistakes made.  I know.  I was one of them.  We have a checklist each day.  We check it twice.  We check it more than twice.  How about all day long? We have our daily checklist of what the perfect woman, wife, mother, serving member of a church, and/or good neighbor is, and when we slip up….. Well, if they could invent an invisible flog only to be felt by ourselves, I think we would be one of the first ones to run out and purchase one.

Not being able to forgive oneself for mistakes can literally cripple your joy and make life miserable.  The simple truth is, my dear daughters in Christ, WE CAN’T! That’s what Christ’s sacrifice is for.  We’re simply not big enough or powerful enough to do it.  ALL have sinned.  We ALL are growing.  We’re God’s children, and when we put forth our best effort, though not perfect, God is pleased. Remember the verse “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” I might add here, “not who are diligently perfect in everything.” Somehow, we tend to forget that verse and concentrate on our flaws and imperfections.

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” 

~ Hebrews 11:6

I’d like to consider my recent post on Abraham’s wife Sarah.  She was faithful enough to be written in the Hall of Fame in the faith chapter in Hebrews 11, considered a mother of faith, even though she suffered from many human weaknesses.

Yes, we can forget that it is faith in God’s ability to forgive that frees us from guilt. When Passover season comes around, many women who constantly question their worth, also tend to come to the Passover services with their heads hanging down, feeling that we have too much baggage to be forgiven.  God, however, says otherwise.  Passover is a time to remember that He, the Creator of all living, Creator of the entire universe is looking down on us with eyes that seek to willingly forgive us. If we come to Him with a humble attitude He is quick to praise us for jobs well done.

I have a feeling that David had this same propensity to be a perfectionist, to flog himself for every wrong thought.  When David wrote Psalms 51, I think he probably felt as we do at times.  We too need to have God restore us to the joy of His salvation.  Let’s look at the words of David:

“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.  RESTORE unto me the JOY of thy salvation.  Then will I teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

Psalm 51:11-13

Ahhhh.  I love that Psalm.  I meditate on it when I catch myself in the middle of flogging myself mentally.  I stop and remember these words and instead of beating myself up, go to God in prayer.  This helps to free us from the bondage we put ourselves under. God is the only one who can forgive our sins, and He is much greater and more powerful than you or I, and He willingly with gladness will give us grace in time of need if we’re repentant and our hearts are desiring to please Him.

Yes, the Passover is a solemn time, but it is also a joyous time.  He has given us eternal life willingly.  He didn’t have to.  He deeply desires to forgive us to give us hope and give us peace and joy.

Let’s look at the very Passover service Christ performed before He gave Himself on His own accord for us at His crucifixion.  He reminds us of the peace that He desires to give us.

Here are the some of the words that He wanted to leave with us right before his death…..

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  

“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.”

~ John 14:27-28

Yes, the Father indeed greater and bigger than our capabilities and willingly gave His Son to be our intercessor. Our Father, the great and powerful Almighty God is willing and able to forgive….even when we can’t.  Let’s remember this during this Holy Day season.  It is a season of thankfulness, a season of praise to the great God who loves us so much and deeply desires a relationship with us.

Yes, when we can’t forgive ourselves.  Don’t worry.  God can.  Be joyful for His perpetual grace!

Grateful Woman

Prayer: “Thank you Father for the continual grace you bestow on your children.  I know that I’m imperfect, but you are perfect.  I thank You for willingly giving Your Son as a sacrifice that washes  us clean and takes our sin away from us as far as east is from the west.  Help us to truly come to believe that, and help us to embrace it. Help us to remember that you promise to give us peace, a peace that the world cannot know.  We stand on your promises, dear God.  Help this day to be a day of joy and peace because of the great sacrifice we have in your Son that we are especially reminded of this time of year.  Help us to hold that promise close to our hearts as we walk with you each and every day throughout the year. We thank you.  We love and praise you. In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.”

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 Please see our booklet, Holidays or Holydays: Does It Matter Which Day We Observe?

Holidays or Holydays: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?

The Remarkable Women of the Bible ~ Chapter 3

The Remarkable Women of the Bible

Sarah ~ Advanced Steps In Faith

In chapter 3 of the The Remarkable Women of the Bible and Their Message For Your Life Today, we see Sarah’s faith increasing.  When we first are introduced to Sarah in God’s word, we only have eight words to describe who she was and that is “But Sarah was barren; she had no child.” (Genesis 11:30) She was 65 years old when the promises were given to Abraham and Sarai, her name before being changed to Sarah.  She was Abraham’s only wife.  I would like to add here that many of the patriarchs had more than one wife.  To be Abraham’s only wife at that age suggests to me that Abraham and Sarah had a special relationship, and even though she was barren, he was content with the love that she shared with him.  Abraham had been given the promises of God now, and subsequently God repeated the promises throughout until God opened her womb.  This was taxing on Sarah, as it would be on anyone who was infertile and desired desperately to have children for her husband whom she loved dearly.

Being barren in Sarah’s day had a huge stigma, that of not giving to your husband a son to pass on the family inheritance.

Just think how you would have felt if you were her, being reminded month after month that God had closed your womb.

“Perhaps Sarah wondered, ‘What has gone wrong? What have I done? Why hasn’t God blessed me with children?’ On and on Sarah’s questioning may have gone…and on and on went her pain.  Nothing could relieve it, soothe it, or take it away. It was a stigma in Sarah’s day, and by all indications in the Bible, it was a stigma that seared itself more deeply into Sarah’s soul with each childless sunrise.”

Dear Reader, you and I have the advantage of reading ahead in the Bible to find out how Sarah handled an ongoing problem.  pg 33, 34

Then God revealed to Abraham the promises that he was to be the father of many peoples that were too innumerable to be counted, as many as the sands on the sea.  How excited Sarah must have been at first! Even though she was barren and was Abraham’s only wife, she was to have children now! She had faith at 65 years old, at 66, at 67, at 68, at 69 all the way until she was 75 years old.  I ask you, did Sarah have faith? Did she lapse in faith when she determined God had restrained her from having children? It’s up to us to decide, but I truly believe that she had convinced herself because of God’s silence and her unfruitfulness, that an heir may come a different way.  Did she become impatient? Perhaps, but it may have come from not a conniving heart but one that truly wanted to see her husband succeed.

What can we learn from Sarah as she was waiting for those ten long years? How can we have confidence in God in our own tests of faith:

“Which area of your life, dear woman of faith, calls for you to continue to believe and to choose to exercise your faith today? Is it a physical problem like Sarah’s was? A family problem like Sarah’s was? A personal struggle? A financial test?  Does there seem to be no rhyme or reason to the circumstances, no end in sight, no solution to the predicament?  Don’t give in. Choose to wield your faith one more time! Stretch it! Strain it! Grow it! Trust in God, because “there has not failed one word of all his good promise.'” (I Kings 8:56) pg 36

We also want to be sure that our plans coincide with God’s word.  We may think we have the solution.  We can get things done quicker our way we think, and its okay.  There’s nothing evil about it.  It will work, won’t it? Sometimes we can convince ourselves that as a Christian woman we can take matters into our own hands.  We do not see Sarah, beseeching God for a solution.  She may have believed the promises, yes, but she took matters into her own hands to fulfill.

Here is the conversation that Sarai had with Abraham after ten long years of waiting:

 “And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”

~ Genesis 16:2

Many will point to Sarah’s giving of her Egyptian handmaiden Hagar to her husband to wife as Sarah’s faithlessness.  My dear ones, that was ten years after the promise was given to Abraham.  She is now 75 years old and has no child.  In the promise of God to Abraham, Sarah is not mentioned as the one who would bear Abraham a son.  At that time it was not stipulated that she would be the one, and all the circumstances pointed to her continued barrenness.  Yes, she took matters into her own hands, and the results are still felt today with conflicts in the Middle East; but for now, I would like you to consider the woman Sarai.  If any of you suffer with infertility, you know the pain that one goes through each month, but in Sarah’s case it was each year for ten long agonizing years after the promise.

Again, I see Sarah as one who was faithful for ten years and then her human reasoning came into play.  She was 75 years old when she suggested to Abraham to take Hagar her handmaiden to wife to bear a son for him, which was a common custom in the ancient East, and she thought perhaps God had other plans for Abraham, to continue his line of descendants. It was a common practice for those who were barren to give their husband to their servant, handmaiden to bear a child for them when they were unable to conceive. I must mention here that polygamy was never what God intended from the beginning, and it seems that every instance of Biblical polygamy has turned out to be problematic at best.

Sarah Gives Hagar To Abraham To Wife

We have to remember Sarah truly “believed” the promises of God.  She did not know, however, how God was going to perform it, since it seemingly was not to be from her body. She gave up her one-on-one relationship with her husband of 75 years to give Abraham an opportunity to have a son, so that the promises of God would be fulfilled.  If she had not believed the promises, she would have not given up her precious Abraham for someone else to share his love, so that, in her mind, the promises would be fulfilled.  I have been married 36 years to a faithful husband.  I can’t even imagine giving my husband to a second wife for him to have children and children’s children.

Was it Sarah’s sacrifice for her husband’s success that was in her heart? We cannot know for certain. We can look back and see that it was not in God’s plan. Sarai didn’t know for certain it would be her.  “This may be why God has closed my womb,” she could have thought. “It may be that another will bear him a son” since the promise was that a son be born through his own body.  God said nothing of Sarai particularly being the one — at least not yet.  The Proverbs 31 woman’s heart is that her husband be known in the gates.  Abraham was known as a “prince” among his tribe and the neighboring tribes. Could she have truly believed God had closed her womb and that perhaps it was going to come by other means, seeing she was not specifically mentioned as the one who should bare Abraham a son?

“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.  And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”

~ Genesis 16:1-3

Another note to mention hear is that Abraham listens to Sarah’s request.  Sarai doesn’t demand it of Abraham, she asks him, and he seemingly quickly responded with a positive affirmation. Is it a lack of faith on Abraham’s part?  If Sarah had a lack of faith, then Abraham would be guilty also. Abraham is known as the father of the faithful, even though he agreed with the plan.  We all make mistakes, dear ones, but God is merciful and patient.

Ishmael was approximately 14 years of age when the messengers of God came to restate the promises to Abraham, but this time it was different.  The angel specifically mentions Sarai as being the mother of Abraham’s descendant and, in fact, it was at that time that her name was changed from Sarai to Sarah.  It was now 24 years after the promise was originally made to Abraham and Sarah!  We all know the story.  Sarah was in the back of the tent when she heard the angel speak of her being the one! She laughed within herself:

“Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”

~ Genesis 18:12

Sarah Hears Promise of Son

Again, we can quickly point out that, “No, how can the Bible say that she had strength to conceive because she found God faithful when she laughed?”  But did you know that Abraham laughed as well?

“Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred 
years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?”

~ Genesis 17:17

If Sarah judged God faithful, then God’s word is true.  The two of them may have been laughing for joy.  They couldn’t believe what they were hearing.  The angel heard Sarah, and spoke to Abraham and said to Abraham:

“And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?”

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

~ Genesis 13-14

“Could this be true? I can’t believe it!” She said, “Shall I find pleasure (joy)?”

Is anything too hard for God?

This could be a statement of sheer joy and amazement. Could it be possible that she would finally experience the joy of having a child? Yes, her son was named Isaac, his name meaning in Hebrew “laughter.” Abraham called Isaac this because of what Sarah had done when she heard the direct promise of her bearing a son at 90 years old!

“And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.”

“And Sarah said, “God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”

Genesis 21:3, 6

Does that mean that when people see Isaac born to a 90-year-old woman that she would appear faithless? I doubt that.  I think it could be that they will laugh with joy at the possibility that God can do something that we cannot do ourselves, the impossible! The Hebrew word in Genesis 21:6 can also have the definition of “laughing with merriment.”

The last quote I’d like to share is from the book page 39, “Is anything too hard for God?”

“Is this day of your life too hard for the Lord?

Is the physical difficulty you are bearing too hard for the Lord?

Is the heartache you suffer too hard for the Lord?

Is the problem in your marriage too hard for the Lord?

Is your financial condition too hard for the Lord?

Is the path you are on too hard for the Lord?”

Here is what the author gives us for Sarah’s message for our life today:

 “Sarah had learned to follow her husband.  Sarah completed faith 101 when she learned to trust and follow her Abraham as he followed after God. (Genesis 12:1) True, her life was radical moves and difficult change, but she accepted her lifestyle as God’s will and her husband as God’s instrument in her life.”

“Sarah had learned to trust the Lord – Sarah almost failed the course, but by God’s grace her faith held up to the finger-nail scraping edge while she huddled alone with her fears — and faith — in Pharaoh’s harem.  As she walked out of her hostage situation, amazing at God’s miraculous solution (Genesis 12:15-30), Sarah’s score on this exam of faith soared.”

“Sarah had learned the importance of having a gentle and quiet spirit — Yes, her name Sarah carried the connotation of “contention,” as well as the meaning of “princess.”  (and she had certainly been contentious with her maid Hagar, another story in itself — see Genesis 16).  What a painful time of learning!  How thankful she was to now be adorning herself regularly with the gentle and quiet spirit that pleases God.” (I Peter 3:4-5)” pg 40-41

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

 

Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 2:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Rubies ~ Are We Willing To Take The Pressure?

Virtuous Woman Proverbs 31:10

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” ~ Proverbs 31:10

At times, do trials seem to increase right before Passover season? This seems to be a constant theme for many people as this season approaches.  It would seem Satan does not appreciate this holyday, as it pictures Christ’s sacrifice, and he being defeated.  Christ now gives us the power over death, as we will be resurrected and become spirit-born children of God at His return.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”

~ Hebrews 2:14

Hebrew scholars have correlated the New Testament Passover services with the betrothal of Christ to the church.  Satan knows this, and this season, I believe, reminds him that in the end Christ wins, we are victorious, and he is utterly defeated.   He does not want us at Christ’s wedding supper at His return.

As we see in Revelation, it speaks of Satan going after the church because Satan is angry because he has very little time left, but once again, our Savior steps in and protects His people, His bride. (Revelation 12)

What does this have to do with the Proverbs 31 woman?  The Lord says:

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

~ Proverbs 31:10

If we are striving to live the Proverbs 31 mandate, you can be sure that Satan is going to come out and try to attack those attributes to bring us down in our walk with God; but, “greater is He that is in us then he that is in the world.”

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

~ 1 John 4:4

1 John 4:4

We need to be on guard and vigilant, watching those areas with prayer and thankfulness because we have our Captain, Jesus Christ our Betrothed that goes before us.  With His help, we can look at those characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman and strive, especially now with zeal to live them each and everyday and God will bless us and our families because of our faith and trust in Him. He has shown His faithfulness to us time and time again, and we need to remind ourselves of His constant care when trials beset us.

But what do trials have to do with rubies?

Because God compares the Proverbs 31 woman to rubies, I would like share what this precious gem has to do with some of the heavy trials we face at times in our lives and how God is forming in us beautiful spiritual qualities.

“Diamonds may get all the attention, but rubies and sapphires are the first choice of kings and the affluent because of their extreme rarity. Only special conditions, initiated by the Flood, could have produced these rare beauties.” 1

…but those little gems have had to go through a considerable amount of heat and pressure to form…then be cut and polished to appear in jewelry or be a part of Aaron’s breastplate of judgement.

“Rubies are formed beneath severe heat as well as pressure in the Earth’s crust. The elevated pressure as well as the temperature roots the elements accountable for the formation of rubies to become molten.” 1

Similarly, sometimes in our lives we feel as if we just can’t take the pressure, take the heat? There may be circumstances that are out of our control or trials that have gone on for extended periods of time.  We may become weary and burdened and wonder where God is in all of it, and perhaps even want to give up.  “Lord, it’s just not worth it,” you may ponder if the burden becomes too heavy to bear.  As stated above, rubies, like diamonds are created under intense heat and pressure deep inside the earth.  God also uses our trials to create these masterpieces, precious gems, that will eventually be mined, polished, and treasured.

If we, however, are willing to endure, to consciously make a determined effort…a choice to accept God’s sovereignty in our lives, and to lean on Him, the burden seems so much lighter and easier to bear.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

~ James 1:2-4

There have been many women in the Bible who have gone before us, determining that they were “willing” to endure, giving them a vision….that of becoming beautiful rubies. The Proverbs 31 women exhibited the Godly character traits we need to work on throughout our lives, and especially during trials if we are to be formed into this rare gem. It isn’t  easy to do, but it is necessary in the process to create  such a beautiful gem.

Proverbs 31 Woman

This we know for certain, if we allow God to manifest His workmanship in us now during this lifetime, we will used by God in His soon coming Kingdom to serve others, be a crown to our husband (Proverbs 12:4), and a blessing to our children.  (Proverbs 31:28)

Are we willing to take the pressure now?

It’s our choice.

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

1 http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v5/n2/rubies

2 http://www.ask.com/question/how-are-rubies-formed

The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 2

The Remarkable Women of the Bible

Sarah – Remarkable Faith

This extraordinary woman of faith in chapter Hebrews 11:11, Sarah, can be perplexing with the different viewpoints that are presented to us in books and sermons and as we read the many accounts in the Bible.  She, indeed according to God’s word, is held up as our spiritual mother if we are respectful to our own husbands as she was to her Abraham, “calling him lord,” a term of respect and honor.

“As Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.”

~ I Peter 3:6

This is brought home even further in Ephesians:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”

~ Ephesians 5:22-34

I’d like to insert the following verse for later use in our discussions of Sarah and Abraham’s relationship:

“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God”

~ Ephesians 5:22

She not only is faithful to her husband but is also held up Biblically as a woman of Godly faith, in 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.”

As I read this chapter of The Remarkable Women of the Bible, it caused me to dig deeper into her life.  The author not only takes chapter 2 to discuss Sarah’s faith but also chapters 3 and 4.  Sarah’s faith was progressive, and it took the author two more chapters to explain it! As I said, there are many differing conclusions as to the true nature of Sarah’s life, and it was no different with this book study.  I would like to point some things with which I agree with the author.

Sarah And Abraham Nomads

Her Journey

We first encounter Sarah’s budding faith when she willingly follows her husband’s charge to leave her homeland and become a tent dweller. Abraham’s vision from God foretold the promise of Abraham to become the father of many nations.  Yes, according to God’s vision, he was to gather up all he had and leave his homeland of Ur, situated on the lush banks of the Euphrates River.  I have to insert here that Ur was no small village, but a teaming, affluent city, second in commerce only to Egypt at the time.  They probably had a very comfortable life in Ur.  Abraham had many cattle, servants, and possessions.  He was no pauper.  He and Sarah were very prosperous indeed.

Just imagine your husband coming to you one day after work and telling you that he had a vision from God. You are to gather up everything you have and leave your family, friends, and neighbors, to become tent dwellers.  Many women today would suggest to their husbands that he had better see a therapist before they would give in to such a dramatic change of lifestyle just because of a dream.  The Bible is silent on her response to Abraham.

Many think this because in that day, men were in authority and women subservient, she just went along.  I think differently, however, because the Bible holds up Sarah and Abraham’s relationship as a type of relationship that was an example for us to follow.   The fact that Sarah is very outspoken on other issues and consults with Abraham on many important occasions tells me that Sarah’s silence means that she agreed without doubting that God truly came to Abraham in a vision and that she willingly went along with Abraham in his walk with God to help him fulfill God’s promise for them. (1 Peter: 3-4)

It turned out that Sarah’s minuscule seed of faith budded when they went out from Ur of the Chaldeans. (Genesis 11:31) Possibly with pain in her heart and tears in her eyes, Sarah reacted to God’s instructions regarding marriage.  ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.’ (Genesis 2:24)

As always obedience to God boiled down to a faith issue.  However it happened, our Sarah took an important step in faith, and that faith grew and ultimately earned her a place of honor in God’s Hall of Faith. Are you wondering and praying, ‘How can I begin taking the steps Sarah took to develop greater faith?

Try these important first steps today:

Turn away from the pleasures of this world, “Do not love the world or the things of this world.” (John 2:15).

Turn to the unknown, the unseen, the eternal with the heart of faith – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (Corinthians 2:5-7) pg 24

Famine

Famine

Most women won’t face a literal famine in their lifetimes as Sarah did in hers, but most will face some kind of trial, a lack of a different kind in their life that causes them pain.  We need to take the problem to God and put total trust in Him. Let’s look at Sarah encounter with literal famine in her journey of faith.

“Oh the heartache! Will it ever go away? Perhaps these words darkened Sarah’s thoughts the day she followed her full-of-faith husband out of Ur. Ur had been Sarah’s home, her life, but God told Abraham to go to Canaan.  Leaving Ur may have been bad, but the land of Canaan was worse! It was 600 miles away from her beloved homeland .  Just when she was getting use to it, then a terrible famine struck, and it was time to move on again.  This time to Egypt, another 300 miles away! Surely, if they would have stayed in Ur, everything would be alright! Maybe Sarah had thoughts such as this.  We really don’t know.” pg 25

Because her thoughts are not recorded, personally I think because of the lack of response, again, she trusted and had faith in God’s promises.  When circumstances in our lives seem to worsen, do we lose heart, lose faith? We all need encouragement to look forward and not back during hard times.  In Chapter 2, the author gives us some of her thoughts concerning those times in our life when we lack something that is truly needed and we are in great distress over a continual trial that lacks a solution.

“Face forward: Real life happens in the present, and God’s blessings happen there and in the future too.

Accept your circumstances – The circumstances of life are one primary way God works in you and works out His will for you.

There “do all things without complaining and disputing.”  (Philippians 2:14)

Again, it isn’t recorded that she was crying or complaining to Abraham because of the mess they were in.  She is silent.

If your circumstances find you in God’s will, you will find God in all your circumstances.

Trust in the Lord – God will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is stayed on Him in full trust.  Isaiah 26:3)

Hope in the future – Hope in God is always the bright star the lights your path in any present darkness.” pg 25

Abraham Talking To Sarah About Talking to Pharaoh

Facing Fear

Sarah was an exceptionally beautiful woman even into her old age, as we shall see.  Many women pay exorbitant amounts for body reconstruction, cosmetics, etc., all in an effort to be as beautiful as we shall see Sarah was.  She was so remarkably beautiful that Abraham pondered it before their travels, that it might pose a problem with the kings or pharaohs  that they ran up against, because, “What if they see you because of your beauty and want you, and kill me to have you?” Abraham talked with Sarah and asked her if that situation arose, would show him kindness by telling them she was his sister?  This was actually a half-lie, as she was his father’s daughter, but not his mother’s.

Notice Abraham didn’t command her to do this, he asked her to save his life in this way.  This shows me there was a strong bond, friendship between Sarah and Abraham? Would you do this for your friend to save his life? The situation did unfold just as Abraham feared.  Their caravan did run up against the powerful Egyptian pharaoh, and he noticed Sarah’s remarkable beauty.  When Pharaoh asked Abraham who this woman was, he said it was his sister.  The Pharaoh therefore took her into his harem.  Again, Sarah is silent.

Was Abraham wrong in saying this was his sister? God doesn’t give us the answer in His word, but He did plague Pharaoh and his household.  Pharaoh did not deal harshly with Abraham as he came back to him asked him why he did not tell him that he was his wife, that he would have done evil taking her as his wife and would have lain with her.  Obviously the plagues were a sign from a powerful god thought Pharaoh. What was Sarah thinking while she waited in Pharaoh’s harem? She must have been afraid.  She had a good relationship with her husband.  What if Abraham’s caravan left without her?

“Surely Sarah wondered with fear, “What will happen to me?  Will Abraham go on without me?  Will I ever see him again? What will life be like as a member of a harem?”  We don’t know, because scripture is silent.  But don’t you hope the silence indicates Sarah’s faith as she sat in her harem-prison, faced her fears, and waited on the Lord?”

“Strength for today and hope for tomorrow are sometimes realized – by you and me as well as by Sarah – in the silent  patience of faith.” Pg 27

The author continues:

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. (Psalm 27:14)

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. (Psalm 37:7) Truly my soul silently waits for God. (Psalm 62:1)

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  (Isaiah 40:31)

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly.  (Lamentations 3:26)

Blessed is he who waits. (Daniel 12:12) pg 27

At the perfect moment when things looked the blackest, God made a miraculous appearance.  Although He was never seen, it was not forgotten. What a scene! What a rescue!

Abraham receives Sarah from Ambimilech

Trusting God Again and  Again

Now, wait, the same performance happened again, almost the same word for word, event.  Sarah was noticed for her beauty and taken 25 years later by another ruler (Exodus 20:9-11), almost word for word.  Again, God came to the rescue.  Again, her faith was perfected.  God seemed to be asking Sarah to to face her fears, and her faith once again toward Him and to, once again trust Him. After all, what had she learned those decades ago about trusting the Lord?  What are some of the great lessons that we must learn in the making of great faith?

Lesson 1:  Pray – “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.”  (Psalm 34:17)

Lesson 2:  Trust – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding” – or any one elses. (Proverbs 3:5)!

Lesson 3:  Believe “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not see.”  (Hebrews 1:11)

Lesson 4: Wait – “I waited patiently for the Lord: and He inclined His ear to me, and heard my cry.”  (Psalm 40:1) pgs 30-31

Sarah’s Message For Your Life Today

The author comments that some of Sarah’s trials were repeated time and time again.  She asks,

“As you enter your new day, is something in your life a “repeat” problem?  Are there daily difficulties you constantly fact?  Are there people who regularly let you down or fail to follow through?  Are there seemingly impossible hardships to be endured day after day?” pg 30

She asks us to look at a multi-faceted diamond.  This stone has to be repeatedly cut to bring out its beauty.  God can also use the trials that befall us to shape and build our trust in Him.  Remember, in your life you have a constant power available, a constant help in time of need, no matter how alone you feel, no matter what odds your face, no matter who has let you down or forsaken you, you are never alone for:

Above you are God’s overshadowing wings (Psalm 91:4) Beneath you are God’s everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27) Around you the angel of the Lord encamps on all sides to deliver you. (Psalm 34:7) Inside you God’s peace that passes all understanding guards your heart and mind. (Philippians 4:7) pgs 30-31

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

To see chapter 1 of “The Remarkable Women of the Bible Book Study ~ Chapter 1” click here.

More articles and sermons on the life of Sarah:

Profiles of Faith:Sarah ~ A Story of Virtue

Hebrews 11 – Sarah’s Improbabilities

Sermon: Was There Faith in Sarah?

Planted By The River ~ Fruit of Self-Control

Tree Planted By The River

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.” ~ Psalms 1:3

This beautiful verse in Psalms says that Christians are likened to trees planted by the rivers of living water, not wild but planted. God calls us out of the world, and He plants us. The water that God provides is His spirit and nourishment is through His word, allowing our roots to grow deeply.

There are many fruits that are expected on this tree. One of the fruits is self-control. If you lack this essential fruit, this post is for you, myself included! If we are to have self control, we must remain near the source of living water.

Satan has us so very distracted today that, like the trees in fantasy movies, we can pick up our roots and follow our own hearts desires. We go where we should not wander to solve our difficulties on our own. The danger is that we walk away from our life source, the only true source of wisdom and strength to solve any difficulty in our lives and minds.

Walking Tree

Yes, we live in a fallen world and oftentimes Satan feeds us the lie that because of the troubles of the world and our significant trials, we need more than that water.  We need…. well let’s imagine some addictions to soothe our troubled minds – sugar ladened treats, alcohol,  entertainment void of God’s moral laws, romantic novels which take us where we shouldn’t venture, an itching ear to hear the latest gossip, celebrity soup, on and on.  We’re bombarded by thoughts of taking a “break today” to avoid the craziness.  Yet, oftentimes it’s not to the living waters for a cool refreshing drink to sooth a disheartened or wearied soul that we run to. We can pick up our roots and wander over to the nearest feel-good location to empty our minds of pain or sorrow and fill it with what the world wants to us to focus on.

Where’s the first place we go for that relaxation? Do we use the spirit of self-control to find it, or are we drawn away by our own lusts and enticed by the relaxation of the world?

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” ~ James 1:14

Sugar Addiction

Oftentimes we don’t choose the difficult situations in our life; yet there are times when can cause our own troubles by trying to find peace in all the wrong places because of our own lack of self-control.  We live in a fallen world and there will be plenty of trials in our lives.  Christ forewarned us concerning this, but He has given us living water available 24/7. He has promised that He will be there for us.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

Remember, we’re planted.  We need to stay there.  The problem is that it takes self-control to stay there, where we were planted.  Therein lay the catch.

What to do? What guidelines does God give us to help us with self-control? One of the first things we can do is simply to ask Him for it. God says we don’t receive because we don’t ask or we ask for the wrong reasons:

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” ~ James 4:3

For instance, we can ask God for the spirit of self-control so that we don’t overeat, but we may really want to lose weight just to look good to be accepted by the world’s standards, to look like that model in the women’s magazine and to draw attention to ourselves. Or is it our prayer to ask God for self control to be healthier so that we can serve others?  The truth is, in fact, is that we need self control to glorify God being moderate in ALL things, not just food. We are here to represent our betrothed Jesus Christ, to let His light shine in us with the fruits of the spirit, one of them being self-control. We have a symbolic engagement ring for all to see, the way we conduct our lives.  Do we represent and honor the One to whom we will wed? (I Titus 4:15)

Another thing to consider is when we do beseech God for the spirit of self-control, do we then totally ignore God the rest of the day, going about our own business, not bringing to mind the scriptures and taking every thought into subjection the rest of the day? We need to bring to mind His words throughout the day, where God’s spirit can remind us of the verses concerning how to utilize self-control in our daily lives. David meditated on God’s law day and night. (Psalms 119:48, 148) He was called a “man after God’s own heart.” Do we want to be the women after God’s own heart? (Acts 13:22)

Let’s ask God with a pure heart and let His spirit fill to help us make decisions in our life based on the spirit of self-control in all things.

Let’s not forget the tools God has given us to draw closer to Him, stay close to river of living waters: prayer, study, meditation on His word throughout the day. (I Titus 4:15, Philippians 4:6) When life gets tough and you feel like running to unhealthy or ungodly ways of coping, go somewhere quiet and relax and ask God to hide you under His wings and shelter you. (Ruth 2:12) Ask God then to fill you with His spirit, the spirit of self-control. Then we can make the decisions in our lives that won’t draw us into an addictive lifestyle.  Place scriptures cards around your home in plain sight to remind you of His promises and His way of life.  Listen to CDs of sermons while driving to and from activities. Place your Bible where you habitually sit and relax. Stay planted by the riverside. Make God’s living waters a priority, so that your roots can strengthened and let them stretch deeply into the soil that God has planted you in. Soak up the pure living water throughout the entire day.  Only then can we find real peace and joy in life and bear the fruits of the spirit, and one of them self control.

 I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

Our lives are important to God and He has a plan for each and everyone of us, to become literal sons and daughters in His family.  He gives us of His very own spirit, so we can be grow up with His characteristics, one being that of self-control.

To find out more of God’s purpose for you, please see our booklet “What is Your Destiny?”

What Is Your Destiny?

Published in: on December 17, 2013 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

“You Deserve a Break Today”

We live in an “Age of Entitlement.”

Open Hands

The Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident….that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Pursuit of Happiness

The question I have today is how do we define happiness? The overriding mode today is that of “relativism,” morality and ethics defined as whatever makes us “feel good.”  We are living in a world that expects to “feel good” every hour and every minute of every day. If we happen to experience an uncomfortable feeling, we try to fill it with a quick fix. We quickly fill those moments with any of a myriad of distractions…food, a form of entertainment perhaps even something as praiseworthy as increasing knowledge can be used to ease our discontentment.

Mom's Time Out

Do we grumble or complain if we don’t get our “me time” when the kids go to bed or after a long hard day’s work have a chance to unwind from the stress of the day; because, after all, “We deserved a break today.” You may feel deprived, angry, or discontent because life just “wasn’t fair” to you today.

I am not stating that relaxation is not a positive thing; but when we begin to feel we are “entitled to” happiness at all times, we open ourselves up to feelings of discontentment and unhappiness.  It is really an “aha” moment when we begin to understand that life wasn’t created just for our own pleasure and relaxation.

Does God have the attitude of entitlement? Does He expect that His creation will always treat Him right all the time and never disobey? He knows this is how children learn – you sin, you repent, you are forgiven if you are in the process of change.

His whole purpose in creating the earth was to raise a spiritual family.* He has a full time job, which He enjoys immensely.  He is love, and everything He does is out of love for His children. He is totally “other” centered, and he has called us to be “other” centered also.

“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” 

~ Philippians 2:4

Yes, we need a break, but is it “I deserve it” or “Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to serve You when I do work, and then I can rest in You.  Let me use my time of service to glorify Your name, and help me remember I’m serving You when I serve others, including my family and co-workers.” Then we can truly have a chance to enjoy the fruits of our labor, because we will have done it with a different outlook, a different attitude.

Godly Woman Praying

 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”

~ Matthew 25:40

“Blessed is every one that fears the LORD; that walks in His ways. For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” 

~ Psalm 128:1-2

It is a different attitude, a different orientation, i.e., other centered instead of self centered, that brings happiness. If we understand the mind of Christ, we can be content with the rest He affords us.  We will become less stressed, because we can then do it with joy and satisfaction. If we are discontent in that, we can ask God to give us a different outlook, which He is eager to give.  Let us ask God to show us where true happiness and rest lie, and be thankful for the opportunity to glorify His name, for which “He is entitled.”

To find out more about God purpose for creating humanity to become the literally sons of God, for which is His passion, download free book from:

http://www.freeebookse.com/United-Church-of-God-PDF2-280146/

Or write in for a hard copy at: http://www.ucg.org/booklet/what-your-destiny/

What is Your Destiny

I Love Comments

Does Being Organized Matter?

Woman To-Do List

I found these quotes an interesting study for the women of God.  My personal notes will follow:

From “The True Woman” by Susan Hunt:

“We’re not talking about ‘Susie Homemaker,’ but neither is it intended to belittle homemaking skills.  Creating the ambiance of a loving home and church is a woman’s prerogative and privilege.”

“A friend of mine was helping a young woman who was a major messy.  They had worked on cultivating the disciplines of Bible study, prayer, and Scripture memorization.  Then one day my friend said, “Now would you like me to help with your organization skills of your home?”

Messy House

[I would find this hard to do, but if she would ask, I would try to lovingly help her.]

“The young woman was surprised.  ‘It doesn’t matter.  My husband is just as messy as I am.  Neither of us would be happy without our clutter, and the kids would probably think they were in the wrong house.’”

“My friend persisted.  On the Sabbath day, the young husband talked with me and assured her that he was quite happy and really preferred things as they were.  My friend still persisted.  ‘This is an aspect of your discipleship.’  Then my friend marshaled the troops to help the young woman.  One woman in the church who had organizational skills spent a day helping her organize her cabinets and closets.  Another taught her how to plan meals and shop with a list, and another taught her how to clean and how to delegate chores to her children.  Then a woman helped her decorate her home.  The transformation was remarkable.”

[I feel much of this can be done via reading blogs or asking assistance from a more experienced mom or women who has mastered the realm or organization.]

“Several weeks later the young husband again approached my friend.  ‘I didn’t think it mattered, but it does.  I can hardly wait to get home now.  Home has become a haven from the CHAOS of the world.  The amazing thing is that I feel closer to my wife and appreciate her more than I could have imagined.’”

“The Puritan teachers thought humane family life, in which Christian love and joy would find full and free expression, could not be achieved till the ordered pattern they envisioned –the regular authority-structure and daily routine – had been firmly established.  Their passion to please God expressed itself in an ardor for order; their vision of the good and Godly life was of a planned, well-thought-out flow of activities in which all obligations were recognized and met, and time was found for everything that mattered: for personal devotion, for family worship, for household tasks, for wage-earning employment, for intimacy with spouse and children, for Sabbath rest, and whatever else one’s calling or callings required.”

I feel that in my life, without any order at all, there leaves little time for one-on-one personal time with God, family and husband and frustration with the endless confusion of a home not well ordered.  I’ll have to admit here, it took much time for me to set my house in order.  My laundry room dirty clothes pile appeared much like a moving amoeba on the floor, and I don’t think that changed until they were old enough to do their own laundry.  There is so much time in the day, and there are times when we just can’t fit everything into one day.  So, my list sometimes took a week to achieve, and at first I would be very frustrated with myself and condemned myself ruthlessly, but then I remembered to put the most important things first, and then all else fell into place eventually.  The children had their order of chores everyday and helped me make meals and clean the home.  (See my post on teaching children to serve https://teachtheyoungerwomen.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/raising-children-who-serve/).

Children Helping With Chores

No one is perfect, and there were days when there just wasn’t time to do a lot of personal Bible study and get personal prayer time in, oh perhaps just a short prayer before bed and first thing upon arising and my time spent with the Lord was reading Bible stories or discussing God in our life with our children. It sometimes consisted of listening to the Bible or sermon tapes while working in the house, washing dishes, etc.

Mother Reading Bible To Children

When one has many young children, perhaps working, it can be a bit of a challenge.  First things first.  After focusing my mind on God, one-on-one time with children (love to children spells T-I-M-E), working together, playing and enjoying one another and husband is a priority.  Discussing how their day went and reading perhaps Bible stories or the Bible took precedence over outside activities.  I tried to make this first on my list after prayer. I found I had much more time with Bible study and prayer when my children were older or my husband would purposely spend extra time with the little ones for that reason.

Woman Studying Bible

Yes, getting our house in order takes time, and one will probably not get everything done in a day, but our goal is to work with what we have.  It is a privilege to serve our Lord and Master, because God says if you do this unto them, you do it unto Me. Getting our house organized can be part of that end goal and give us the time we need one-on-one with the ones we love; and in the process, teach our children to serve.

Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

When we look at this, our chores and priorities take on a different meaning.  Our lives become a beautiful picture of serving God through serving our families.

Spending Time With Family

If we strive to become more organized, that leaves time for close personal contact with the ones that mean the most to us, God, family, church.  Keep up the good work trying to implement this as a goal in your life; and you will hear the words of our soon coming King:

Matthew 25:23 “His lord said unto him, well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

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‎30-Day True Woman of God Makeover Challenge ~ Day 4

A Wife’s Commitment

“She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12 It doesn’t say she does him good and not evil as long as he does her good—as long as he’s kind to her, as long as remembers her birthdays and anniversaries, as long as he meets her needs. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Why? Because she’s a covenant-keeping woman.

I enjoy sometimes studying or reading about the lives of the wives of great men. It’s amazing how often, behind those great men of God, it’s really true that there was a wife who had a heart for God and was encouraging and supporting her husband in his work, being a helper to him.

One of the women I’ve been reading about recently is Catherine von Bora. Now, that name may not be familiar to you, but the name Martin Luther probably is familiar to you. And Catherine was affectionately known by Dr. Martin Luther as his “faithful Kate.” She was the wife of Dr. Martin Luther. [We do understand he was not called of God, but this is a good example of a wife’s devotion].

He did have some bouts with depression and a lot of physical ailments that probably contributed to that over the years. He was an extremely busy man—and for various reasons, not the least of which is probably all the pressure that he was under, as he was an object of attack and ridicule during the birth of the Reformation.

So there were times when he really did struggle with physical and emotional depression. And God gave him just the right woman in Kate, or Catherine. As we read about her, we’re told that instead of murmuring at these times when he was really discouraged, she would do all that she could to comfort him, to encourage him, to cheer him up in any particular occasion when he was really discouraged, and nothing Kate did could seem to lift him out of the doldrums. So Luther actually left home for a few days to try and get back his cheerfulness—went off to be alone and to try and get restored. But when he came back, he was still very heavy-hearted.

The story is told that when he entered the house, he found Catherine sitting in the middle of the room, dressed in a black gown with a black cloth thrown over her and looking very sad. She had a white handkerchief in her hand which was wet as if it had been moistened with her tears.

When Dr. Luther encouraged her to tell him what was the matter, at first she was hesitant. Then she said, “Oh, dear doctor. The Lord in heaven is dead, and this is the cause of my grief”—at which point he burst into laughter, knowing that she was doing this to show him what he was acting like.

And he said, “Oh, dear Kate, it’s true. I’ve been acting as if there were no God in heaven.” And the story is told that from that moment, his melancholy and despair left him. Here is a woman who knew how to do good to her husband, how to encourage him, and how to be a helper suitable to him.

That’s the heart of what we come to in the next verse of Proverbs 31. We come now to verse 11. We’re reading about a virtuous woman, an excellent woman. We’ve seen in verse 10 of Proverbs 31 that she is rare, that she is more valuable than any amount of material wealth that her husband could have.

Then verse 11 tells us, “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.” Verse 12: “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.” I love these two verses because they describe for us something that is true of a woman who reverences the Lord—and how this affects her relationship with her husband.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain”—or “no need of spoil,” your translation may say (KJV). Another translation says he “lacks nothing of value.” He trusts her, and he has in her all that he needs. And then verse 12: “She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

 

When I read those verses, there are a couple of words that come to my mind. First of all, the obvious word: trustworthiness. Here’s a woman who is trustworthy. Then, the word loyalty. She’s loyal to her husband. She has a permanent, unconditional, lifetime commitment to act in a way that is according to his best interests—not to serve herself, but to serve her husband.

I like the way the Amplified Bible reads at this point. Listen to what it says: “The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.”

Here’s a woman who is loyal. She’s got a covenant relationship with her God that enables her to keep her covenant relationship with her husband, regardless of what he does. And don’t even think for a moment that this husband doesn’t ever blow it, that he doesn’t ever fail, or that she doesn’t ever have to love him unconditionally—on faith, rather than based on her feelings.

First Corinthians 7 says that the godly woman is concerned about how she may please her husband (verse 34, paraphrased). She’s always looking for ways to do him good.

Now, in the Scripture there are illustrations of some women who did evil to their husbands rather than good. Who’s the first one that comes to mind? The first woman—Eve. The woman who was made to be a helper became a tempter. And then we have Solomon’s wives who drew away his heart from Jehovah God.

And then Jezebel—that name kind of, for us, epitomizes the evil woman. But she was not just an evil woman. She was an evil wife who did evil to her husband. She stirred up her husband to commit wickedness. Then do you remember Job’s wife, who called upon her husband to curse God and die when he was suffering?

Proverbs talks about women who do their husbands evil and not good. It talks about a brawling woman, a contentious woman who makes life miserable for her husband. I think all of us as women have known what it is to be contentious—to be that whiny woman who’s like a dripping faucet and makes her husband wish that he could live on the corner of the roof, or out in a desert somewhere, once he gets tired of that kind of woman who is not doing him good. She’s doing him evil.

She does him good all the days of her life. He trusts in her. He has no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. How long is that? As long as she’s alive; as long as he’s alive.

It doesn’t say she does him good and not evil as long as he does her good—as long as he is kind to her, as long as he remembers her birthdays and anniversaries, as long as he meets her needs. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Why? Because she’s a covenant-keeping woman; she’s a woman who’s made a vow, and her vow was first to God.

So she says, “I will be faithful to you, regardless of what you do or don’t do to me.” She’s loyal. She’s faithful in financial matters. She’s not going to spend beyond their means. She’s going to do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

I have a friend who told me recently about how disconcerting it is to her . . . She said, “We have friends who have million-dollar mortgages, and their husbands are working like crazy to pay the bills for a wife who cannot be content to live within their means.”

This woman is faithful. She’s loyal. She’s a covenant-keeping woman in implementing her husband’s heart in the home with the children. When she gives direction to the children, she represents the heart of her husband, and he can trust her. When he’s gone from home, she’s going to be implementing his heart in the home.

He can trust her to speak well of him and to keep confidences, not to go out blabbing things to other women that are private matters in their marriage. He can trust her in the way that she speaks about him. He can trust her to protect his reputation.

Now, by saying that, I don’t necessarily mean absolutely. There are times when to do good to a husband may mean to appeal to the appropriate authorities at the church or the civil authorities. If a husband is breaking the law, to do him good is to get him into a position where he can be helped by the law, or restrained by the law, or by the church authorities.

So the concept is that you will always speak things that will do your husband good, that he can trust his reputation in your hands. It makes me very sad to hear women making jokes that are negative jokes, or sarcastic, or put-down lines about their husbands. And they all laugh, but it’s not right. She’s not being trustworthy. She’s not being faithful. She’s not being loyal.

This man can trust his wife to meet his physical needs. He has no need of spoil. He has no need to seek marital intimacy elsewhere because his wife is faithful. Whether she feels like it or not, she is committed to be a giver in the physical aspect of their marriage, to meet his needs sexually.

Ladies, let me just say here, if you don’t meet your husband’s physical and sexual needs, there’s another woman somewhere who would be happy to. And you may end up putting him in a position where—not justifying, not excusing, his sin—but you may make him more vulnerable to temptation and to immorality if you are not faithful to him in even your physical and sexual relationship, as a giver.

She’s faithful to the marriage vow. I hear and read about women—Christian women—leaving their husbands and leaving their children. Twenty years ago this was unthinkable—certainly highly unusual. Today it’s not particularly unusual. If a woman wants her own life—to do her own thing, to have her own way—she just takes off. God’s way is that this woman will do her husband good and not evil all the days of her life.

So he has no need for jealousy or suspicion. He doesn’t have to doubt her love. He doesn’t have to be insecure. He doesn’t have to look elsewhere to have his needs met. He’s confident that while he’s gone, while he’s at work, while he’s at home, she is one in spirit with him. His interests are safe in her keeping.

She’s consistent. She’s a covenant-keeper. She has an unconditional commitment, and that is what earns the trust of her husband. She always, always, always has his best interests at heart. She’s not in competition with him. She’s committed to his success.

That’s what inspires the man to be worthy of her devotion. He rises to that because he knows he has a woman who is an asset, not a liability—a woman who supports and encourages and helps him in every way possible.

Now, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be that kind of woman. You don’t have to be incredibly talented to be that kind of woman. You don’t have to be physically beautiful to be that kind of woman. You just have to have a heart that reverences the Lord. Out of that heart for God will come that kind of commitment and devotion to your man, to your husband.

Do you have that kind of commitment to your husband—a commitment that, by God’s grace, you will do your husband good and not evil all the days of your life? That, by God’s grace, you will be faithful to him regardless of what he does, regardless of how he may or may not live up to your expectations or hopes or dreams?

Purpose in your heart: “God, by Your grace”—and it takes the grace of God; no woman can live up to this apart from the Lord—”by Your grace, I will do my husband good and not evil all the days of my life.”

Doing good to our husbands doesn’t always seem natural or easy.

~We’re going through Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ 30-Day True Woman of God Makeover Challenge