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Archive for the tag “Women in Ministry”

God’s Equality

The other day, a man was arrested for sharing the Good News. Of course, he doesn’t live here in this country. He lives in a predominately Muslim country so he is in a very bad situation. His family may be targeted next. He and his family need a miracle. It seems so foreign to me because of where I live; I can’t imagine that people all over the world have the same kind of risk when sharing the Gospel message.

There are women all over this world who are looked down upon because of their gender – not their skin color, but gender. They can’t walk on the streets without their husbands or brother or father with them. Even then, the men walk ahead of them. They can’t vote or even drive a car. They have no rights when it comes to civil affairs. Again, this is just so foreign to me that I can’t imagine a time when I couldn’t go where I wanted and do anything (within reason) I wanted to do.

We see in ancient times the same thing happened – women were second class citizens. It wasn’t until Jesus came along when He elevated them to equal standing before His Father. When the woman who was caught in adultery was brought before Jesus (the man wasn’t accused of the same act), everybody expected Jesus to accuse her and stone her – it was the law in that day. However, Jesus said that the man who had not sinned could throw the first stone. One after another left that day, because the only one who could actually condemn her would not do so – Jesus was the only one who had never sinned, yet He did not pick up a stone. He said in John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” It was His right to do so, but He chose another way.

Women were counted among those who were in Jesus’ circle of influence. Many women were acknowledged for helping support the disciples in their work. After Jesus was resurrected, Jesus appeared to the women first. They came to anoint His body with oil as they do for all dead people. But Jesus wasn’t in the grave. He appeared to them outside the grave, alive and glorified. The stone was rolled away; there was nothing left to hinder their approach to Him. The door had been opened to a greater role for women to play in God’s plan along with every man of every color and nationality.

However, I have come to the conclusion that life on earth isn’t fair in any shape or form. Skin color, economic status, background, sexual or verbal abuse in the home, or sexual orientation; there are many different shapes to an unfair disadvantage. However, I am told through the Gospel message that everyone is equal in the eyes of God – Jesus came for us all.

The cross of Jesus is on level ground. We have either received the grace of God by Jesus’ death and resurrection or not. Doesn’t matter of nationality or gender, we are all one in Him if we have received the grace. We are brothers and sisters of the same family – there are no grandchildren, just children of God. We all have a role to play in the family – with no hierarchy to it; every role is important. That’s pretty special!

This “take a knee” for the anthem doesn’t upset me like some. Of course, I haven’t served our country and risked my life for the freedoms I enjoy. I recognize the importance of the good that this country has done through the years. The sacrifice of all who have served throughout the years to give me a right to freedom of speech and the fearlessness of being a believer in this country; to keep us all safe from those who would destroy us if given the opportunity. This country as great as it is, is not my first citizenship – my first citizenship is in the Kingdom of God. My knees hit the ground for Him alone. I am His disciple.

I will stand for an anthem because it’s a respect for those who came before me and for all the rights and privileges I enjoy today because of where I live out this earthly presence. But one day, we will all come to a place of understanding – this is not our home. This is just a journey through until we one day will stand in the Promised Land – a land so rich and beautiful that we can’t even imagine; where streets are paved with gold and waters flow from a throne. And we will all stand before that throne. One day, everything will be equal at that throne. In the meantime, let’s pray for one another and encourage one another. Life is tough for many right now. We have a great God who listens to the prayers of His children. He will meet every need as we lift them up together. Let’s stand together – united as one in Him!

I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing, dressed in white robes and waving palm branches, standing before the Throne and the Lamb and heartily singing:

Salvation to our God on his Throne!
Salvation to the Lamb!

All who were standing around the Throne—Angels, Elders, Animals—fell on their faces before the Throne and worshiped God, singing:

Oh, Yes!
The blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving,
The honor and power and strength,
To our God forever and ever and ever!
Oh, Yes! Revelation 7:9-12 (MSG)

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Change is Good!

Have you ever written or told your full story? I have written three different versions and none of them seem to be the right story to tell. I have experienced heartache (as we all have). I have had many sicknesses that were painful and wondered how I was going to survive it. But I did. I have had triumphs and struggles with addictions. Up and down it goes. There is story after story of times when I believed a lie only to discover the Truth in the story. In the midst of it all, there is one thing that was constant – change. I never liked change when it was thrust upon me – when my Mom, Dad and I moved away from family and friends. Those were hard years. Or when I lost a job, and I realized I needed to move back in with my parents (dread upon dread). Or when I learned that I had an autoimmune disease, which I chose to treat holistically. Change isn’t easy to navigate, but it’s one that builds our character!

Over the last few years, I have come to understand that God allows change to happen for our good and His glory. It’s in the telling of the stories that we see His hand of protection, provision and providence. God is sovereign over all things. Nothing surprises Him. Sometimes we just don’t understand the timing of it all though. But there’s a reason for that too. I was listening to a message Christine Caine gave at Liberty University when she launched her Propel magazine. She made a comment about each one of us being plucked from eternity and placed into the time continuum. We were placed in this time for a reason. Maybe we actually get to see Jesus return one day if we live long enough! This will be the greatest change the world has ever seen in its history, and we could be eyewitnesses to it! (Now, wouldn’t that be a story to tell!)

Her message struck me though as I consider why now? Why is this the time I was planted in this particular time of history? In this country, women have greater rights, greater privileges than ever before. Women are allowed to hold office (even run for Presidency). We can own homes. We can do so much more than fifty years ago. Everything changed after World War II. Change is the only thing that is constant in this crazy world we live in! And change is happening with an increasing frequency. Technology develops rapidly. You blink, and there’s a new version of a gadget that you just bought! So what is God up to? Why the increase in change, and why are we so blessed to live in this time? Only God knows at this point. He hasn’t given me any revelations that I could share with you. But I believe we are going to see something great in our lifetimes – it may not be Jesus coming back. I do believe though we could see a great revival throughout the world. And maybe women will be leading the way!

We all have stories that God has given us to tell so that He could get the glory. Stories are meant to share. The ones on our path need to hear of a conquering hero that saved us from the evil one. There is power in the stories we tell. Everyone likes a good story where the damsel in distress is rescued by the Prince and they live happily ever after. There is a “happily ever after” in our stories. We might not see it right now, but one day we will. We have been written into The Story of God’s Glory. Each one of us who call Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have a good ending. Christine Caine made a comment about her ordeal with cancer last year that really has resonated with me. She reflected before she was put under for surgery – “has she done everything that she was supposed to do while she was here and did she bring everyone she was meant to bring to heaven with her?”

Change is meant to grow us and develop our character. Our character is meant to glorify God. And our stories of how we got to where we are, is the life-change that people need to hear so that they too can have the future with the happy ending. Change is a very good thing, even when it’s forced upon us! One day, I’ll share more of my story. In the meantime, I am just grateful for being a work in progress knowing God still has amazing things to show me!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

Making a Difference

I have been attempting to write my story for over a year now. Last year, I started writing because I felt compelled to do so. I finished the first draft by the end of the year. However, I felt compelled to focus in another direction with my story. So I started again around the first of this year. I wrote for a few weeks then came to a dead-end. I put it aside and didn’t pick it back up until August 1. I have been in the writing mode ever since. My hope is that it will make a difference in someone’s life. But my focus is not on one person. My focus is on Jesus. I want Him to tell His story through me and my experiences.

I was reading a passage found in John 4 which really spoke to me about the love of Jesus. The Gospel of John is all about Jesus. If you have never read the Bible, this is a good place to start. In this passage, Jesus felt compelled to go through Samaria en route to His hometown. There were many roads He could have taken to get to where He was going. But on this day, He had a divine encounter to keep. Samaria was not looked on favorably by the Jewish people. Most avoided that area and the people. Jesus, however, went to the well to meet a woman. In doing so, changed one woman and changed one town. One woman who had a sinful past. One woman who everyone looked down on. One woman who felt compelled to go back to her village and tell the people about a man she just met.

Women were looked down on; they were considered property. Yet, many times Jesus spoke to women. He showed compassion and love to them like they had never experienced before. On this day, the woman went back to the village and told everyone to “come and see” this man who knew her completely. Through this woman’s testimony about Jesus, the whole village was changed. Verse 39 said many believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony. One woman made a difference in her community just by telling her story.

I am so encouraged by this story. I don’t know if God has any great plans for my testimony. I just know I am compelled to write it. What He does with it after it’s done, that’s for Him to decide. I am obedient to what I hear even when I was delayed in writing it. But my focus is where it should be – on Jesus. For the encounter I had with Jesus was life changing. I will never be the same (THANK YOU JESUS!) It’s also encouraging to see how one woman can make a difference. Even when I think I am less than significant, God can do greater things with those who are willing to share the love of Jesus with others. That’s what it’s really about. Sharing the love of Jesus without fear! One person at a time until the whole world knows.

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

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