A 2014 Challenge: Oh Be Careful!

3 “‘If you follow My decrees and are careful to obey My commands, 4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. (Provision) 5 Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land. (Strength) 6 “‘I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. (Peace) I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. (Safety) 7 You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. (Victory) 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you. (Companionship) 9 “‘I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. (Blessings) 10 You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. (Enough) 11 I will put My dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. (Love) 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people. (Omnipresence)” Leviticus 26:3-12 

        Can you begin to imagine what your life would be like if God walked among us in a visible, physical, humanity inspired body? Of course; it would limit Him tremendously as there could be no omnipresence but His omnipotence and omniscience could remain. None of His neighbors would fear home invasion or natural disaster, right? We would expect sunny skies and fertile ground as all things should be perfect in His corner of the world. But, I wonder … would the world be a better place or would sinners still sin; would murderers still murder; abusers still abuse?

        I tend to believe that nothing would really change; even for those who lived next door to God. Why; you ask? It has been many thousands of years since God declared satan the prince of the earth yet the Lord never relinquished being the King; He never rescinded His overriding abilities. Those who love Him continue to preach the good news to others. Just a few days ago, 95 year old Billy Graham released, what is probably his final message, a recorded message telling the world that the answer to EVERY problem is the cross! Did the world head his cry? Has hatred diminished or selfishness reversed itself into love? We Christians still depend on God for our values, morals, and example of brotherly love; our commands have not changed … our directive to evangelism has not be withdrawn.

        I don’t doubt revival; history repeatedly records the revival and repentance of nations. I believe it is possible but with humanism becoming more prevalent and sinful behavior becoming accepted, even glorified, the probability of our nation, as a whole, turning back to God seems improbable. So, where do we anchor our trust as the calendar turns to 2014? In the promises of God for His people. While I am very aware that the passage I will be examining over the next few days is FOR God’s chosen nation; however, with Jesus’ death for the forgiveness of OUR sin and OUR justification with God … I believe Christians can also embrace these promises. Yet, these promises do not come without a preface… “If you follow My decrees and are careful to obey My commands”… (attentive to potential danger, error, or harm; cautious; thorough and painstaking in action or execution; conscientious). I know I often take my Christianity for granted; do you? 

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart, does the Spirit control?
You can only be blessed
and have peace and sweet rest,
If you yield Him your body and soul.
 

Elisha A. Hoffman 1900

 

Unless noted, scripture is NIV ©1984 Int’l Bible Society

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale-Boone

A Modern Woman of God; Sixteenth in the Series; Chosen Women in the life of Christ

Written and added to this series in December 2010 (three Christmases ago); shortly after Mom met Jesus! 

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Excerpts from Proverbs 31 

She was born into a very poor family in southern New Jersey, far from the Middle East where the other women in this series were born. Her birth came during the Great Depression; the fifth child of a husband and wife who struggled to make a life for their children; three more were to come later. Her childhood was one of love and hard work; side by side with her father who died, with little warning, when she was only fourteen. Shortly thereafter, she left school to help care for her younger siblings while her mother worked. At seventeen, she met the man of her dreams and the rest, as they say, is history! 

          She surrendered her life to the Lord very early in her marriage; my relationship with her began slightly before her salvation. Yet, I have never known her without the glow of the Lord’s love on her face or from her life. I was born when she was only eighteen; five more children were born before she was thirty. Obviously, I’m writing about my Mom … the only perfect mother in the world for me. She is not perfect and she didn’t live a perfect life; but what an example of a woman of God she was! 

          I aspire to be one-half as respected, loved, and cherished as my Mom … not only by my children and grandchildren but by those around me. Even while she faced tests and treatment for breast cancer; she showed incredible courage, strength, and peace in the comfort of God. I’ve pulled just a few verses from the virtuous woman passage that remind me of my Mom; rising before dawn, caring for her husband, helping others, working hard, and sharing wisdom. In the eyes of the world, my Mom was simply a senior Caucasian woman living in a rural area of a blue collar state but in the eyes of her family and friends, my Mom was a treasure of great worth … without a doubt, I can state that my Mom was a valued princess in the eyes of God. 

          You might be thinking … nice story, sweet lady, but aren’t you being just a little self-serving by including your mother in a series describing chosen women of God? To which I would answer … maybe, but I don’t think so. You see, we all have been chosen by God to be part of His story; the sacrifice of His Son, His unfailing love, His forgiven of our sins to reconcile us to Himself! We all have a story, just waiting to be written … you may not be someone’s wife, someone’s mother, or someone’s sibling but if you know the Lord; you are a child of God! You are loved, you are valuable, and you are blessed so you can be a blessing to others! 

 

Make my life a prayer to You, I wanna do what You want me to,

No empty words and no white lies, No token prayers, no compromise. 

I wanna shine the light You gave, Thru Your Son You sent to save us;

From ourselves and our despair, It comforts me to know You’re really there. 

I wanna die and let You give Your life to me so I might live

And share the hope You gave me, the love that set me free. 

I wanna tell the world out there You’re not some fable or fairy tale,

That I’ve made up inside my head; You’re God the Son and You’ve risen from the dead!

Words and music by Keith Green

 

Unless noted, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Hugs +/or ChIPS ©3/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Please visit my website at http://www.asistershugs.org

The “others” a5th in the series, Chosen Women in the Life of Christ

The “Others”-Women who Served – 15th in the series Chosen Women in the Life of Christ. 

“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”  John 19:25-27 

I couldn’t close without mentioning, what is for me,  the most moving passage of scripture concerning Jesus and a woman; that of His words with His mother.  In excruciating pain, both emotional and physical, Jesus looked down and saw the deep sadness, confusion, and fear in His mother’s eyes.  One of His last loving, unselfish acts was to assure that she would be cared for; turning over the responsibility of her welfare to the apostle John.  The depth of emotion in this passage never ceases to move me to tears. 

Writing about the “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ” can be controversial as so much information must be based on cultural, non-scriptural, historical information.  In addition to the fifteen we have studied, the New Testament mentions others who closely followed His ministry and teachings.  I will list a few, including a couple who lived after the death and resurrection of our Saviour but were deemed worthy of note by the New Testament writers. 

In the first century, women continued to be extremely important to the growth and development of the early church.  These groups did not own church buildings but met in homes, a domain in which women played key roles. It is not surprising then to see women taking leadership roles in house churches.  Just a few notable women who were not profiled include:

*Salome – Mark 16:1

*Mary, wife of Clophas – John 19:25

*The mother of James and John – Matt. 27:55-56

Lydia – Acts 16:11

Tabitha / Dorcas – Acts 9:36

Priscilla – Romans 16:3

          *One of these women is the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother; there are differing views from Bible scholars 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, showed a tremendous capacity to love with an equality never seen before.  Jew, Gentile, male, female, adult, child, ill, healthy, rich, and poor; each was loved the same.  He saw below the surface of each person’s life directly into their hearts.  This series of studies covers only a few of the women touched by the life of Christ; a life that has ministered to men and women for over two thousands years and is as vital today as the night when He was born in a stable so many years ago.

 

“You make me beautiful

You make me stand in awe

You step inside my heart and I am amazed

I love to hear You say, who I am is quite enough

You make me worthy of love and beautiful”

 

© Lyrics by Bethany Dillon and Ed Cash /

             

   

   

Remember     that every woman is a princess in the eyes of God.  We are daughters of the King of     kings!  “How great     is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called     children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1

   

   

         

   

   

                                                                                                             

   

   

 

The “Others”-Women who Served – 15th in the series Chosen Women in the Life of Christ.

 

“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”  John 19:25-27

 

I couldn’t close without mentioning, what is for me,  the most moving passage of scripture concerning Jesus and a woman; that of His words with His mother.  In excruciating pain, both emotional and physical, Jesus looked down and saw the deep sadness, confusion, and fear in His mother’s eyes.  One of His last loving, unselfish acts was to assure that she would be cared for; turning over the responsibility of her welfare to the apostle John.  The depth of emotion in this passage never ceases to move me to tears

 

Writing about the “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ” can be controversial as so much information must be based on cultural, non-scriptural, historical information.  In addition to the fifteen we have studied, the New Testament mentions others who closely followed His ministry and teachings.  I will list a few, including a couple who lived after the death and resurrection of our Saviour but were deemed worthy of note by the New Testament writers. 

 

In the first century, women continued to be extremely important to the growth and development of the early church.  These groups did not own church buildings but met in homes, a domain in which women played key roles. It is not surprising then to see women taking leadership roles in house churches.  Just a few notable women who were not profiled include:

*Salome – Mark 16:1

*Mary, wife of Clophas – John 19:25

*The mother of James and John – Matt. 27:55-56

Lydia – Acts 16:11

Tabitha / Dorcas – Acts 9:36

Priscilla – Romans 16:3

          *One of these women is the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother;

          there are differing views from Bible scholars

 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, showed a tremendous capacity to love with an equality never seen before.  Jew, Gentile, male, female, adult, child, ill, healthy, rich, and poor; each was loved the same.  He saw below the surface of each person’s life directly into their hearts.  This series of studies covers only a few of the women touched by the life of Christ; a life that has ministered to men and women for over two thousands years and is as vital today as the night when He was born in a stable so many years ago.

 

“You make me beautiful

You make me stand in awe

You step inside my heart and I am amazed

I love to hear You say, who I am is quite enough

You make me worthy of love and beautiful”

 

© Lyrics by Bethany Dillon and Ed Cash /

             

   

   

Remember     that every woman is a princess in the eyes of God.  We are daughters of the King of     kings!  “How great     is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called     children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1

   

   

         

   

   

                                                                                                             

   

   

The “Others”-Women who Served – 15th in the series Chosen Women in the Life of Christ.

 

“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”  John 19:25-27

 

I couldn’t close without mentioning, what is for me,  the most moving passage of scripture concerning Jesus and a woman; that of His words with His mother.  In excruciating pain, both emotional and physical, Jesus looked down and saw the deep sadness, confusion, and fear in His mother’s eyes.  One of His last loving, unselfish acts was to assure that she would be cared for; turning over the responsibility of her welfare to the apostle John.  The depth of emotion in this passage never ceases to move me to tears

 

Writing about the “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ” can be controversial as so much information must be based on cultural, non-scriptural, historical information.  In addition to the fifteen we have studied, the New Testament mentions others who closely followed His ministry and teachings.  I will list a few, including a couple who lived after the death and resurrection of our Saviour but were deemed worthy of note by the New Testament writers. 

 

In the first century, women continued to be extremely important to the growth and development of the early church.  These groups did not own church buildings but met in homes, a domain in which women played key roles. It is not surprising then to see women taking leadership roles in house churches.  Just a few notable women who were not profiled include:

*Salome – Mark 16:1

*Mary, wife of Clophas – John 19:25

*The mother of James and John – Matt. 27:55-56

Lydia – Acts 16:11

Tabitha / Dorcas – Acts 9:36

Priscilla – Romans 16:3

          *One of these women is the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother;

          there are differing views from Bible scholars

 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, showed a tremendous capacity to love with an equality never seen before.  Jew, Gentile, male, female, adult, child, ill, healthy, rich, and poor; each was loved the same.  He saw below the surface of each person’s life directly into their hearts.  This series of studies covers only a few of the women touched by the life of Christ; a life that has ministered to men and women for over two thousands years and is as vital today as the night when He was born in a stable so many years ago.

 

“You make me beautiful

You make me stand in awe

You step inside my heart and I am amazed

I love to hear You say, who I am is quite enough

You make me worthy of love and beautiful”

 

© Lyrics by Bethany Dillon and Ed Cash /

             

   

   

Remember     that every woman is a princess in the eyes of God.  We are daughters of the King of     kings!  “How great     is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called     children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1

   

The “Others”-Women who Served – 15th in the series Chosen Women in the Life of Christ.

 

“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”  John 19:25-27

 

I couldn’t close without mentioning, what is for me,  the most moving passage of scripture concerning Jesus and a woman; that of His words with His mother.  In excruciating pain, both emotional and physical, Jesus looked down and saw the deep sadness, confusion, and fear in His mother’s eyes.  One of His last loving, unselfish acts was to assure that she would be cared for; turning over the responsibility of her welfare to the apostle John.  The depth of emotion in this passage never ceases to move me to tears

 

Writing about the “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ” can be controversial as so much information must be based on cultural, non-scriptural, historical information.  In addition to the fifteen we have studied, the New Testament mentions others who closely followed His ministry and teachings.  I will list a few, including a couple who lived after the death and resurrection of our Saviour but were deemed worthy of note by the New Testament writers. 

 

In the first century, women continued to be extremely important to the growth and development of the early church.  These groups did not own church buildings but met in homes, a domain in which women played key roles. It is not surprising then to see women taking leadership roles in house churches.  Just a few notable women who were not profiled include:

*Salome – Mark 16:1

*Mary, wife of Clophas – John 19:25

*The mother of James and John – Matt. 27:55-56

Lydia – Acts 16:11

Tabitha / Dorcas – Acts 9:36

Priscilla – Romans 16:3

          *One of these women is the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother;

          there are differing views from Bible scholars

 

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, showed a tremendous capacity to love with an equality never seen before.  Jew, Gentile, male, female, adult, child, ill, healthy, rich, and poor; each was loved the same.  He saw below the surface of each person’s life directly into their hearts.  This series of studies covers only a few of the women touched by the life of Christ; a life that has ministered to men and women for over two thousands years and is as vital today as the night when He was born in a stable so many years ago.

 

“You make me beautiful

You make me stand in awe

You step inside my heart and I am amazed

I love to hear You say, who I am is quite enough

You make me worthy of love and beautiful”

 

© Lyrics by Bethany Dillon and Ed Cash /

             

   

   

Remember     that every woman is a princess in the eyes of God.  We are daughters of the King of     kings!  “How great     is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called     children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1

   

   

         

   

   

                                                                                                             

   

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

   

   

                                                                                                             

   

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woman with the Alabaster Jar; 14th in the series “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ”

Read: Psalm 23; Luke 7:36-50 

“She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”  Luke 7:37B, 38 

The scriptures record two different women anointing Jesus with expensive perfumes.  Matthew, Mark, and John record the story of Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointing Jesus with Nard at the home of Simon, the Leper; Luke’s account is of a sinful woman who anoints Him with perfume from an alabaster jar at the home of Simon, the Pharisee.  There are similarities but also distinct differences; the sinful woman is Luke is unnamed. 

It was uncommon for Jesus to be invited to the home of a Pharisee; nor do we know the motivation of Simon for inviting Him but Luke’s gospel tells us that He was reclining at the table.  In the Jewish culture, the reclining position was used at important dinners or those held on feast days.  No matter what Simon’s reasons for the invitation, the dinner was probably extravagant and showy. 

Suddenly a woman entered the house, carrying an alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume.  She was a sinful woman, probably a prostitute.  Hers was not usually a chosen profession in the Jewish culture and the extenuating circumstances that might have led to her life of sin aren’t mentioned.  Possibly abused or orphaned as a child, maybe widowed with no other means of support; we know that she was immediately recognized and her sin was well known. 

Without warning, she knelt behind Jesus, broke open the alabaster jar, poured the perfume on His feet, and began wiping His feet with her loosened hair mixed with her tears of repentance and adoration.  Simon wondered why Jesus allowed a woman so sinful to touch Him; didn’t Jesus know what kind of woman she was?  Of course, Jesus knew but He chose to teach a lesson of forgiveness and love. 

Speaking in parable, Jesus told the story of two debtors, both forgiven of their debts but one who owed much and one who owed little.  Simon answered quickly when Jesus asked who would be more grateful; of course … the one who was forgiven more.  Although his answer was right, Jesus chastised Simon for his hypocrisy; the dinner was extravagant but it was all for show ~ Simon hadn’t shown love for Jesus, he hadn’t even shown common courtesy, and yet, the sinful woman brought her most valuable possession and gave it all for Jesus.  

Maybe she had saved all of her life for the perfume, perhaps it was inherited, long ago it might have been purchased for her dowry, we will never know but once the jar was broken and the perfume poured out it was gone.  Yet, she never hesitated to give all she had as a token of love for the Lord but as she wiped his feet with her hair, the perfume mixed with tears returned and covered her.  The sinful woman entered with a costly gift but left with a free gift of unattainable worth; her sins were forgiven. 

This is the time of year when our thoughts center around gift giving.  What can we give Jesus that would show our love? Only ourselves; He desires nothing else. Have you poured your everything out at His feet?  Give expecting nothing; in return you will receive everything!

 

“A woman came to Simon’s house; she knew the Lord was there

And when she walked into the room she was greeted by the stares

She surely must have shocked a few of the people gathered there

With tear-filled eyes and trembling hands she took down her long dark hair

And from an alabaster vessel precious ointment filled her hand

As she wept she kissed His feet and began anointing them

 

With her hands she was touching Him;

The Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning and the End

And with her hands oh she was holding onto His

And the source of life was right there in her hands”

C Ray Boltz

 

Unless notes, all scripture is NIV, copyright 1981 International Bible Society

Hugs and ChIPS copyright 03/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Visit my website:  http://www.asistershugs.org

 

The Hemorrhaging Woman; 13th in the series Chosen Women in the Life of Christ

Read: Leviticus 15:19-28; Mat 9:20-22; and Luke 8:43-47

 

“She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” … He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”  Mark 5:27-28, 34 

Twelve years is a long time; the age of most sixth graders, yet the Galilean woman had been bleeding for as many years.  The story is recorded in three gospels sandwiched between Jarius’ plea for Jesus to come heal his little girl and his arrival at the home of the synagogue ruler where He healed the child.  The area surrounding the Sea of Galilee had seen many of Jesus’ miracles; His reputation preceded Him. 

Still, this woman had lived for years on the brink of desperation.  Mark records the medical struggles she had endured while looking for a cure, a search that had, long ago, depleted her financial resources.  Her condition had become worse instead of better; her body weakening with every week that passed.  A woman who was bleeding from her regular menses or disease was considered unclean by Jewish law.  She was forbidden to engage in sexual relations with her husband and isolated from socialization with others.  Destitute, gravely ill, and lonely she risked everything to enter the crowds that were pressing around Jesus and the disciples. 

Her faith in Jesus’ ability to heal her circumvented everything she had ever been taught about both the law and the stigma of her illness.  Pushing her way through the crowd she knew that there was little chance of Jesus ever taking notice of her but she didn’t care.  She had no desire to speak with Him, that wouldn’t be necessary, nor did she want to touch Him – that would make Him ceremonially unclean; she didn’t want that.  But, if she could just get close enough to touch his garment; that would hurt nothing and she would be healed!  She knew it! 

Staying as low as possible without being trampled or spotted by someone who would have her physically removed, she kept reaching for Jesus … if she could just reach far enough before the crowd reached Jarius’ house.  Finally, she was successful and felt the healing power of the Lord immediately; no more bleeding.  What happened next, she never expected.  Jesus stopped, looked around Him, and asked, “Who touched me?”  

The exuberance in her heart turned instantly to fear but she sensed that He knew it was her touch; quietly she confessed.  Instead of being angry, Jesus looked at her with compassion and love.  She saw the kindness in His eyes and smiled as He spoke forgiveness of her sin and granted her peace.  The risks, the struggle, the fear … all of it paled as she left, rejoicing in her healing! 

Even today, there are those who would wonder what she had done to deserve such an illness yet, this story isn’t about the condition of her body but the condition of her heart!  Faith is believing that God can and will do what He has promised in His Word.  He’s promised that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), to be our strength and shield (Psalm 28:7) and to love us as His children (1 John 3:1).  And Jesus still whispers to us today, “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” 

“Peace, peace, wonderful peace

Flowing down from the Father above

Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray,

In fathomless billows of love.”

© W. G. Cooper

 

Unless notes, all scripture is NIV, copyright 1981 International Bible Society

Hugs and ChIPS copyright 03/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Visit my website:  http://www.asistershugs.org

 

The Adulterous Woman; 12th in the series Chosen Women in the Life of Christ

Read Leviticus 20:1-22 and John 8:1-11 

“Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with His finger.  When they kept on questioning Him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said.  “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”  John 8:6-11 

Earlier in this series, I mentioned that many of the “chosen” women’s stories could be used as a basis for a “Movie of the Week,” this one probably has.  Both Jesus and the adulterous woman were, in the vernacular of police, lawyers, and detectives, being “set up.”  He was simply spending time with His disciples and a group of people who had gathered to her His teaching.  Although she was committing adultery, she was behind closed doors.  For their own hypocritical purposes, the scribes and Pharisees came dragging her out into the streets, into the Temple courts, and threw her down in front of Jesus.  Admittedly, this thought adds nothing to the story but haven’t you often wondered where the adulterous man was while all this transpired? 

Publicly embarrassed and in fear for her life, the woman lay at His feet listening as they loudly addressed Jesus so everyone in the crowd could hear.  They reminded Him of the Law of Moses, which the Law called for her to be stoned, and asked Him what they should do.  She knew His reputation and cowered while waiting for His answer; Jesus just stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. 

The scriptures don’t tell us what He wrote or why but I believe He was probably just doodling, hoping they would go away … but He knew better.  They kept pressing Him for an answer, knowing that an affirmative answer would oppose His message of love and a negative answer would show a disobedience of the Law of the Jews.  Finally, He stood saying to all who could hear, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her,” knelt back to the ground, and started to write on the ground again.  In my “femaleness” and with knowledge of the end of the story, I like to think that Jesus knelt back down, knowing that he had won this battle, to hold back a little snicker and so no one would see the smile in His eyes.  He knew that she was still fearful and I’m sure He wished to whisper peace to her heart but also knew she would soon be free, not only from her accusers but also from her sin. 

One by one the scribes, Pharisees, and crowds people dropped their rocks and walked away.  The only man who could condemn her looked into her astonished eyes and spoke softly, asking who was left to condemn her.  A whispered, “No one” and she, finally able to exhale into hysterically sobbing, listened as He said, “Go now and leave your life of sin.”   

We never hear of her again, nor do we know whether she repented of her sin and lived a changed life.  What we do know is that she met the Master that day and her life would never be the same.  Have you met the Master?  If you have, has He changed your life or are you forgiven but still struggling with emotional or spiritual strongholds?  Jesus was the woman’s intercessor that day, His words stood between her and death by stoning; today He is our intercessor for His blood tore down the wall between us and the Father.  Are there stones you need Him to talk to Him about? 

“One by one they walked away, they left the stones behind

I wish I could have seen her face when she opened up her eyes 

‘Cause all she saw were the stones, All she saw were the stones

Jesus said, “I forgive you, ‘Go and sin no more’

She knew she’d never be the same.

Oh no, for all she saw were the stones!”

© Ray Boltz

 

Unless notes, all scripture is NIV, copyright 1981 International Bible Society

Hugs and ChIPS copyright 03/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Visit my website:  http://www.asistershugs.org

 

The Woman at the Well; 11th in the Series “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ”

800×600

 

Read Luke 10:25-37 and John 4:1-42

 

 

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a Man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?’  They came out of the town and made their way toward Him. … Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’  John 4:28-30, 39

 

 

Jesus’ meeting the Samaritan woman wasn’t coincidental; no way! It was a divine intersection ordained by the Father; look at this passage with me Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.” John 4:6  One of the last people she expected to meet while going to the well in the middle of the day, to avoid seeing or being seen by anyone, would be a Jewish man and He certainly shouldn’t be asking her for water!

 

 

Jews did not like Samaritans but that was ok because Samaritans didn’t like Jews; the animosity continues through today.  As with any “blood feud,” the issues that began the mutual dislike between the two cultures weren’t life changing but historic.  In the eyes of the Jews, the Samaritans were half-breeds.  They only accepted the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and they worshipped God in the wrong place (Mt. Gerazim instead of Jerusalem).  The Samaritans were upset because Nehemiah, Ezra, and other prophets kept them from helping build the walls around Jerusalem and because the Jews didn’t accept them.

 

 How did she know He was a Jew?  Why was she brazen enough to begin asking Him questions?  The scriptures don’t answer either question but she did and her actions were to change her life forever.  Twice in the scriptures we see her say, “He told me everything I ever did” and she had done plenty.  She had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband; definitely not the “type” of woman that one would expect Jesus to overextend himself to speak to, yet He did.  And He brought her hope, The time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23, 24  Jesus told her that He was the Messiah and she believed Him!

 

 

The scripture tells us that, just as the fishermen had left their nets, she left her water jug and ran to tell others about Him.  A woman who had deliberately avoided people just minutes before was now running up to everyone she knew to tell them about Jesus, is that spiritual rebirth or what?  The next amazing part of the story is that they listened to her, followed, and believed!

 

These Bible truths are found in the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman:

 

1.    1.  Jesus gives an eternal life with God.

 

2.   2.   Jesus ministered to outcasts of Jewish society, which indicates that (a) all people

 

           are important to God and (b) Jesus wants us to show love to everyone, including

 

           our enemies

 

3.  3.    Jesus is the Messiah.

 

4.  4.    True worshipers worship God in spirit and truth.

 

5.    5.  Telling about Jesus leads others to believe in Jesus.

 

We will never know the name of the woman Jesus met at the well, at least not this side of Heaven, but when the sun was at its hottest over Jacob’s well she had a divine encounter with the Son of God.  We all have divine encounters with God; what will you do when Jesus meets you for a reason known only by Him and the Father?  Will you speak with Him and listen as she did or will you make excuses to avoid His calling?  We all travel to the well in the middle of the day for our own reasons, what is yours?

 

 

 

In my going out and my coming in,

 

Let it flow from your fountain.

 

You’re the well that never runs dry

 

Fill my cup Lord, Let it keep on running over

 

 

 

Bless me Lord, Bless me Lord

 

From the crown of my head to the sole of my feet

 

Bless me Lord, Bless me Lord

 

You’re the prince of peace, The great I Am

 

Lyrics © Dwon Reed

 

 

 

Unless notes, all scripture is NIV, copyright 1981 International Bible Society

 

Hugs and ChIPS copyright 03/05 Eleanor J. Gale

 

Visit my website:  http://www.asistershugs.org

 

 

 

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}

800×600

Mary of Magdala; Tenth in a Series “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ”

800×600

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}

 

Read John 19, 20

 

“The Twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”  Luke 8: 1-3

 

Let’s, begin the study of one of my favorite Bible characters, Mary of Magdala, with opening a discussion of her professional life.  We do not know that she was a prostitute, although church history has long precipitated that rumor.  With concrete foundation in the word of God, we know she was “called Magdalene” and that she had been possessed by seven demons.  Personally, I prefer to believe that she had been a “working “ woman because I see her as filled with the strength, dignity, and forthrightness of someone who was familiar with being on her own.  However, be it by prostitution or for profit in her demon possession, I believe this was a woman who had been used by men throughout her lifetime.  However, whatever her profession, she had obviously been financially successful as she is among the women listed who were supporting the ministry of Jesus by with their own funds.

 

Mary Magdalene seems to have shared the spirit of Peter; she saw, questioned, believed, and then followed through!  We see her mingling with the Apostles and the other disciples of Jesus; caring for their need of food and domestic care.  I can almost imagine the women washing clothes, fetching water, preparing meals; all the while listening to the men as they questioned Jesus and heard His teachings.  I can hear them singing along with the group as they walked from town to town; sharing stories between themselves as women always do. 

 

She is mentioned in every gospel, as well as Acts.  Her devotion to Jesus is deep, not only because He drove out the demons who had ruined her life for so many years but because He had done something so many other men had never done, He had shown her love desiring nothing in return.  She was with His mother, Mary, and the Apostle John at the foot of the cross; she heard His cries, her clothes possibly sprinkled with His blood  yet one can almost feel her resolve to be stand fearless before others in her dedication and trust in Jesus as her Lord.  The focus of the crucifixion is where it should be, on the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, but one envisions Mary Magdalene holding the arm of Mary, soothing her, reminding her of His promises and His love.  The demons which at one time inhabited her may have been in residence in the bodies of those standing around her but Mary Magdalene stood firm in her love, faith, and trust in Jesus.

 

How her devotion was rewarded!  Alone and finally free to cry, she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”  “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put Him.”  At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.  “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”  Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have put Him, and I will get Him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned toward Him and cried out, “Master” John 20:11-16

 

Don’t you admire the fortitude and lack of fear displayed by Mary Magdalene?  She tells a man who could have been sent there to murder the disciples of Jesus to tell her where He was and she’d get Him.  Without thought, she risked herself for the message of Christ.  Are you devoted to Jesus?  Do you remember the day He drove the demons from your life and set you free?  Would you stand beside her, demanding to uphold His message and defend Him with dignity?

 

“We shall behold Him, we shall behold Him

Face to face in all of His glory;

 And we shall behold Him, Yes, we shall behold Him

Face to face, our Saviour and Lord.

We shall behold Him, our Saviour and Lord.”

© Dottie Rambo

 

(Note: There is no scriptural, archeological, historical, or theological basis for any marriage or physical intimacy between Mary Magdalene and Jesus.  Movies, books, plays, etc. stating the opposite are exactly what they were written to be … fiction.)

 

Unless noted, all scripture is NIV, copyright 1981 International Bible Society

Hugs and ChIPS copyright 03/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Visit my website:  http://www.asistershugs.org

 

Mary and Martha; Ninth in the Series “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ”

800×600

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

 

A friend is defined as a favored companion or one attached to another by affection.  “Friend” is a perfect word to describe the relationship Jesus shared with Mary and Martha, the sisters from Bethany, and their brother Lazarus.  We meet this trio in Luke when Jesus, traveling with His disciples, is invited to their home by Martha.

 

Much seems to be non-traditional about the siblings and the scriptures record three visits of Jesus.  Scholars, however, believe that He often spent time with them using their home as a “resting spot.”  Bethany was a small town inhabited primarily by well educated, conservative trade’s people.  Located on the Mount of Olives, it is approximately two miles from Jerusalem.  As no parents are ever mentioned, it is assumed that they were orphans and Martha, as eldest, was the head of the home.  They were obviously affluent since they had a home large enough to seat and entertain quite a number of people and no visible means of support for the three is substantiated.  It is interesting that around this home, where Jesus seems to be very much at ease, three important episodes in His ministry take place.

 

Luke’s account doesn’t mention Lazarus but focuses on the relationship between Jesus and the sisters.  Martha, as the eldest, took on the responsibility of preparing for Jesus’ physical needs; she busily scurried around the home cooking and cleaning.  Mary did nothing to help, instead sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach.  Often, we think Jesus was rebuking Martha when He told her to leave Mary alone.  This is untrue; He had no argument with Martha’s preparations, only that she demanded that Mary share the workload.  Jesus knew how short His ministry would be and felt it more important that Mary hear His teachings.

 

The sisters’ personalities normally complemented the other; Martha was a doer, Mary the thinker.  One important aspect we see in this episode of the friendship is Jesus’ disregard for the “traditional” roles of Jewish women.  He allowed, even encouraged, Mary to sit in a “man’s” place and listen to teaching usually reserved for men.  He also didn’t “make” Mary attend to “woman’s work.”  However, don’t be too hard on Martha; she shows a deep faith in the second recorded visit of Jesus.

 

Frantic, with their brother terminally ill, the women sent a messenger to summon Jesus.  Although Jesus loved the family, He finished his business with those around Him and then traveled to Bethany.  His visit was against the advice of those who loved Him, the Jewish leaders were “out to get him,” He had been warned.  When she heard they were coming Martha went out to meet them and, in true faith and trust, said to Jesus, Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if You had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give You whatever you ask. … I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God.”  John 11:21-22, 24

 

At the request of Jesus, Martha called Mary to meet them at the tomb.  When the Jews visiting and mourning with the sisters followed, they arrived in time to see Lazarus ~ alive and emerging from the tomb!

 

The final visit (John 12:1-8) takes place early in the week leading up to the crucifixion.  Jesus is enjoying the company of His friends when Mary comes into the room and breaks an expensive jar of perfume, Nard, using it to anoint Him as Lord and King.  While the disciples complain of the “waste,” Jesus sees only the love and devotion of His precious friends.  After His death and resurrection, while walking with His disciples on the road to Bethany; (Luke 24:50-53) [possibly to visit with His friends one last time(?)] He was called to sit at the right hand of His Father, for eternity.

 

One of the most beloved hymns of the church is “What a Friend we have in Jesus.”  Is He your friend?  Would you as easily do His beckoning as that of your best “earthly” friend?  Is Jesus a favored companion of yours; do you spend time with Him, speak with and listen to Him, cherish His blessings, and express your love?

 

“Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them

And a friend will not say “never” ’cause the welcome will not end

Though it’s hard to let you go in the Father’s hands we know

That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.”

Lyrics © Michael W. Smith

 

Unless notes, all scripture is NIV, copyright 1981 International Bible Society

Hugs and ChIPS copyright 03/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Visit my website:  http://www.asistershugs.org

 

Anna; Eighth in the Series “Chosen Women in the Life of Christ”

800×600

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;}

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.  She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were looking forward to the Redemption of Jerusalem.”  Luke 2:36-38

 

Often, we overlook the value of older, more mature Christian women in our churches.  If we are to emulate their wisdom, we must desire to learn from them, to seek them out as mentors.  My accountability partner is almost 80; I cherish her and covet her dedication to prayer.  I could talk with her for hours, just absorbing her wisdom and spiritual knowledge; I can relate to Elisha’s request of God in II Kings 2:9 “Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”  “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.  While studying Anna, the precious senior saint that Mary and Joseph met in the Temple upon presenting Jesus for circumcision, I thought of her importance in my life.

 

The Bible tells us that Anna was 84 years old when she met the Messiah.  Jewish women usually married by age 14.  After only seven years of marriage, she was widowed and left childless.  She could have rebelled against God in bitterness for her lot in life; instead, at 21 years old, she took up residence in the Temple.  Upon the arrival of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, she had spent 63 years worshiping, praying and fasting in the Court of Women on the east side of the main temple area.  The court was lined with rooms normally used for storage; can you imagine sleeping in a storage closet for 63 years?  But even as a prophetess, she would not have been permitted inside the inner court and could only look through the openings at sacrifices, feasts, and prayers of the priests.

 

I believe the proclamations made by Anna and, her probable long time acquaintance, Simeon should be included with the “Christmas” passages with which we are familiar.  There are no coincidences with God; He had planned this day for centuries.  Luke tells us that Simeon, a righteous, devout man who God had promised would not die before seeing the Messiah, had been moved by the Spirit to be at the Temple this day, “For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel” Luke 2:30-32.  After her years of dedication, Anna witnessed the words of Simeon and also received knowledge from God that this baby was Israel’s promised Redeemer.  The scriptures tell us she shared her knowledge with l those in the Temple and who better to spread the good news than a woman who had served her Lord for so many years in the sight of all who worshiped there. 

 

God rewarded Anna for her faithfulness to His call for her life.  He was truly her Lord; her “Kurios” ~ the God who had absolute authority; to whom she owed complete obedience.  Can you truly call God, “Lord” in your life?  
 

“O come, O come, Emmanuel

And ransom captive Israel

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.”

Author Unknown – 12th Century

 

Unless notes, all scripture is NIV, copyright 1981 International Bible Society

Hugs and ChIPS copyright 03/05 Eleanor J. Gale

Visit my website:  http://www.asistershugs.org