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Posts tagged ‘Christian Woman’

Respond to Your Call to Influence.


 

group of women
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

The church has not always recognized the spiritual gifts of women. But God has fashioned them to be key players in His kingdom.

Let’s imagine for a moment what the world would be like without women. All the wonderful traits women are capable of providing with exuberance—gentleness, nurture, care, refined beauty—would be missing.

Men possess these same qualities but in smaller supply; women, on the other hand, overflow with them. Without women the world would look like an army base where everything’s painted white or gray and designed for efficiency at the expense of beauty. An awful sense of incompleteness would permeate the planet.

Women have many qualities unique to their gender, one of the grandest being the ability to host life. This privilege to shelter another life at such an intimate level has been granted exclusively to Eve and her daughters.

Women can nurture their newborns through the most intimate interaction between a female adult and a child: breastfeeding. The image of a baby being nursed by a loving mother is a picture of total dependency, perfect care and the most sublime transfer of nurture from one being to another.

Women are also the ones who predominantly shape the character of their children during their crucial early years. They plant tender gestures in the inner layer of a child’s malleable soul and watch as, like the seeds in a flowerbed, the spiritual seeds sprout, spreading beauty over the adult landscape in the form of noble deeds.

When were the seeds planted? During the nurturing years when a child spends most of his time with a woman: his mother!

Jesus’ First Teacher
It was a woman, young Mary, who first heard beating within her the heart of God Incarnate when she was pregnant with Jesus. It was her hands that first touched Jesus’ body and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes.

Think for a moment what this reflects: God Almighty, Creator and Preserver of the universe, took the form of a baby and became dependent on the care of one of His creatures. When God experienced human flesh, with all its limitations, who was there to meet His needs? A woman.

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was His first teacher and also later His first disciple. No other human knew Jesus as intimately as Mary did.

Ponder for a moment the scene at Calvary. While most of Jesus’ frightened disciples hid at a distance, Mary and a group of faithful women gathered at the foot of the cross. Despite the pain and suffering Jesus endured, His last earthly concern was for a woman—His mother.

He could not forget that she had taken care of Him when His earthly life began. And now, as His life was about to end, Jesus lovingly turned her over to the care of His beloved disciple (see John 19:26-27).

Women’s Hall of Fame
Throughout the Bible are inspiring testimonies of other brave and brilliant women who were not mere privates in God’s army but key players who were given pivotal assignments at strategic points and in crucial times.

Moses’ mother challenged the pharaoh’s genocidal decree when she preserved the life of the one who would eventually lead millions of Hebrews to freedom (see Ex. 2).

Rahab held the keys to the taking of Jericho. By turning them in the right direction she assured the fall of the fortress city (see Josh. 2).

Hannah cried out to God for Samuel to be born, and he went on to become the greatest prophet and judge Israel ever knew (see 1 Sam. 1).

Deborah was an illustrious judge and a proven prophetess who delivered Israel from the mighty chariots of Jabin, the oppressing king of Canaan. Another woman, Jael, helped to bring total destruction to Jabin and his leading general, Sisera (see Judges 4-5).

Esther courageously risked her life to save her nation, God’s people, when they were in danger of being exterminated.

Sarah was called “mother of nations” by God Himself (see Gen. 17:16) and is listed among the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11.

Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, instructed and guided Apollos, who had been preaching less-than-perfect theology (see Acts 18: 24-26). The fact that in most tranlations, Priscilla is listed first in this passage signifies the prominence of her role.

On the shoulders of these women—and countless more down through the ages—rested the fate of cities, tribes and nations.

Pillars of the Early Church
One of the main reasons Christianity spread so rapidly in the early years is because its message restored honor and self-worth to half the world’s population: women. Romans had such a low view of women that some men engaged in sex with other men. Jewish rabbis completely silenced women inside the synagogue, and pagans used them as temple prostitutes.

However, early church leaders dignified women by teaching that in Christ “there is neither male nor female” and we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28, NKJV). Women were also given positions of honor and leadership.

Priscilla, for instance, was part of the team that founded the church in Ephesus—site of the greatest power encounter recorded in the book of Acts. She was there, inside the crux of God’s power, when God dethroned Artemis and brought down the demonic socioeconomic structure that had controlled Ephesus.

Throughout the epistles women are unapologetically exalted as pillars of the faith. Paul identified two women as the headwaters of Timothy’s faith: his mother and his grandmother (see 2 Tim. 1:5). In Romans, a letter intended for wide circulation and public reading, Paul praised several women as people of faith and proven ministry (see Rom. 16:1-15).

The first European convert was a woman, Lydia, and hers was the first household to be baptized (see Acts 16:14-15). She was very assertive in her interaction with the apostles: “She begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ So she persuaded us” (v. 15).

Three centuries later, the driving force behind Constantine’s conversion and the subsequent Christianization of the Roman Empire was another woman, Helena, the emperor’s mother.

Extraordinary Sensitivity
Women have an extraordinary sensitivity to spiritual things. I am not saying that they are more godly than men, but I believe they are definitely more spiritual. This is why Jesus was able to reveal two of the most powerful truths in the gospels to women.

He told Martha that He is the resurrection and the life (see John 11:25-27). To the Samaritan woman Jesus explained that He is the living water (see John 4:7-15). These women were in a state of confusion when Jesus found them, but both were able to hear, understand and believe these profound truths.

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Did Jesus Reject Women as Disciples?.


 

Jesus reaching out

It sometimes puzzles me that women weren’t included among the twelve disciples. How easy it would have been for Jesus to have six disciples of each gender. But as I’ve been pondering it over recent days, I’ve come to a realization…

Jesus never seemed to care too much about his reputation. In fact, sometimes it seems he went out of his way to deliberately provoke the Pharisees and other religious leaders.

They found plenty of things to accuse him of–some true, some false:

  • He ate with notorious sinners (Luke 15:1)
  • He was a glutton and drunkard (Matthew 11:19)
  • He consistently broke the Sabbath (eg. Matthew 12:1-2)
  • He claimed to be the Messiah (Luke 23:2)
  • He caused riots wherever he went (Luke 23:5)
  • He told people not to pay taxes to the Roman government (Luke 23:2)
  • He was criticized for
  • Not washing his hands properly before meals (Luke 11:38)
  • Allowing an immoral woman to touch him (Luke 7:36-39)

The religious leaders were out to get him. They tried to provoke and trap him by asking tough questions over various issues (Luke 11:53-54):

  • Divorce (Matthew 19:3)
  • Taxes (Matthew 22:15-22)
  • The most important commandment in the law (Matthew 22:34-40)
  • The right punishment for a woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11)

I find it very interesting that the one thing they didn’t accuse Jesus of was immorality. Why not? Because he gave them no grounds. If women had been among the twelve disciples, especially considering the intimacy of his relationship with the disciples, I’m sure he would have been accused of sexual depravity.

Jesus didn’t care too much about his own reputation but I think there might have been a couple of things in his mind: firstly, he was protecting the good name of his female followers/disciples. Secondly, he was initiating a Way of life–a movement characterized by a depth and transparency of relationship and yet by purity/holiness. If there had been even the appearance of wrong-doing in Jesus’ life, the integrity of this lifestyle/movement would have been compromised.

What do you think? Tell us on Facebook.


Adapted from Felicity Dale’s blog, Simply Church. Felicity Dale is an author and an advocate for women in the church. She trains people to start simple/organic/house churches around the world. 

3 Spiritual Robbers That Steal From You.


woman being robbed
(http://www.istockphoto.com)

We often allow our lives to get clogged with envy, jealousy, selfish ambition and other kinds of rottenness. It’s time to toss out the leftovers!

It shocks people to learn that my five kids consume about two gallons of milk and a loaf of bread every single day. That’s why trips to our local grocery store are quite the adventure for me. I’m always pretty pleased with myself when I don’t pass out after the cashier announces the total amount I owe.

Most of the time cashiers and bag boys have no idea I’m buying just one week’s worth of groceries. They automatically assume I’m stockpiling for some impending disaster. But they’re not totally off-base. The impending disaster comes as I try to fit an aisle’s worth of groceries into a tenth-of-an-aisle-sized kitchen.

Out With the Old

After my last shopping adventure, my 10-year-old daughter, Allie, helped with the putting-away process. “Mom,” she said, “I can’t get all the new groceries to fit in the refrigerator with all this other stuff in here.” So I suggested she make some room by throwing out food that had gone bad.

She looked at me with fear and doom in her eyes. “You mean you want me to clean out the refrigerator?” she asked.

I glanced over as she slowly removed and opened the first plastic container, handling it like a vial of toxic waste. “Mom, there’s something in here … ,” she said, with a frightened, then a disgusted, and finally a sort of amazed look on her face. “I have no idea what this is.”

“Probably some leftovers,” I said reassuringly. But as I studied the contents myself, I realized I had no idea what it was either. Do you know how unnerving it is to find leftovers growing in your fridge and have no clue what they’re left over from?

“Could it be a chicken?” Allie asked. “I think I see a beak.”

We both shuddered, and Allie quickly dropped the container and its contents into the wastebasket. We also tossed a brown, slimy bag that must have been lettuce in another life, some spaghetti that seemed to have made its own meatballs, and a little surprise butter dish that contained something that was definitely not butter. Before long, all the old junk had been thrown away and the fridge was filled with fresh new groceries.

I don’t think Allie was too traumatized by the ordeal—but come to think of it, she’s stopped eating anything with chicken in it.

Get Rid of Jealousy, Envy, Selfish Ambition—and More

The entire episode made me think about how much we can “miss” spiritually when we hang on to old things that are rotten. The Lord wants to supply the new, but we tend to hang on to fleshly old stuff.

Jealousy, for instance, can be as putrid as month-old chicken. Left alone, it will mold and ferment just like that container of “whatever” Allie found. It can squeeze out the peace that’s ready and waiting “in the grocery bag.”

Isn’t it sad to imagine God the Father saying, “Oops, no place in here for this piece. The bag’s too full of rottenness.” Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” (NIV). (Is it just me or are you also picturing a petrified chicken bone?)

Jealousy and envy start to grow when we stop celebrating the success of others. We allow a rejoicing opportunity to mold into selfishness, wondering why we didn’t receive the blessing instead of someone else.

Make room for peace. Make room for Jesus.

Let Him fill every corner of your heart. He brings with His peace the whole list of fruit from Galatians 5:22—love, joy, goodness and all the rest.

This fruit doesn’t need preservatives—it never shrivels, never rots, never even needs a seal-and-burp container. Plus, it’s healthy and gives life to our bodies. Now, those are the kinds of provisions we really need!

Galatians 5:19-21 lists the rotten things that God‘s fruit can replace. Paul named them “the acts of the sinful nature.” Jealousy appears in verse 20 and envy in verse 21.

Here’s some good news to store up: As we make room for Jesus and stockpile His virtues, we begin to automatically chuck jealousy, envy and the like. Even after God stuffs His long and wonderful list of virtues into our lives, there’s still plenty of room left over for more goodness!

Sorry, did I say, “left over”? Don’t worry—it has nothing to do with moldy chicken.

It would do us all good to take this wise counsel to heart: “But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:14-18).

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

RHONDA RHEA

Rhonda Rhea is the author of Amusing Grace, published by Cook Communications. Her writing has appeared in several magazines, including HomeLife, Parent Life and Today’s Christian Woman.

Thanksgiving: Celebrating God’s Graciousness.


Ephesians 5:18-21

I was in an office several weeks ago waiting for an appointment. And while I was waiting, I decided that I would redeem the time and pick up a magazine and read. The magazine that I picked up was entitled “Today’s Christian Woman,” and there was an article in there by Madalene Harris. And I thought to myself, “Well, a Harris must surely have something good to say.” And so I decided to read the article which was entitled “Being Grateful.” And she started off by saying, “Deciding to be grateful rather than bitter is a choice anyone can make.”

She continued, “Grouchy or grateful — what makes the difference? The causes of ingratitude need to be discovered so that choices in the direction of gratitude can be made. Even Christians are not immune to the problem of ingratitude, which may have causes stemming from childhood.

“But underneath the more obvious causes lies the real culprit: unbelief, denying that God knows what is best for us. The results are ‘worry, anger, self-pity and a judgmental, complaining spirit.’ But gratefulness produces ‘peace, faith, contentment and a positive attitude.'”

And then Madalene Harris gave some suggestions for conquering ingratitude:

1. Choose to give thanks. Decide to express gratitude “in all circumstances” (I Thessalonians 5:18). It will become a habit, though there may be some slip- ups along the way.

2. Change your focus from circumstances to God. Regardless of how bad circumstances may be, God is still good. Focus on that instead of complaining.

3. See the bright side. The same situation can prompt either gratefulness or cynicism, depending on how we look at it.

4. Wait and see. God asks us to give thanks in advance — even before we see or know the circumstances. Practicing giving thanks can minimize and shorten the pain of a difficult experience.

Now, we’re learning the facets of prayer. And one vitally important facet of prayer is thanksgiving. Already we have looked at the facet of adoration, and last Sunday we looked at the facet of confession. And having properly confessed our sins, making sure that there is absolutely nothing between our souls and the Savior, we are free to express our thanksgiving to God unhindered.

Now, this morning as we look at verse 20 of our text, we shall see that thanksgiving is a definite mark that we are filled with the Holy Spirit. And in order to be properly thankful, there are three things that I want us to notice. First of all

I. OUR THANKSGIVING MUST BE CORRECT IN ITS DIRECTION
It is unto God that you are to give thanks. Notice what Paul says in this verse: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is unto God that you are to give thanks. You know, sometimes we say, “I certainly was lucky.” The Bible says: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from …

By Dr. J. Gerald Harris

Christian Woman in Pakistan Freed After ‘Blasphemy’ Accusation.


(Jugni)

In a rare triumph of rule of law over mob mentality in Pakistan, police last week resisted intense pressure from violent Muslim protestors and released without charges a Christian woman falsely accused of desecrating the Quran.

Muslim teachers at City Foundation School in Roranwala village, in the suburbs of Lahore, accused the school principal, Saira Khokhar, of desecrating a quranic scripture booklet on Feb. 22.

Sources told Compass that police refused to bow to pressure from Islamists clamoring outside the school for registration of a case against Khokhar under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s widely condemned “blasphemy” laws. In most such accusations against Christians in Pakistan, they said, police file charges without proper investigation to quell pressure from accusers.

After police rescued the principal from the mob, sustaining injuries from irate Islamists in the effort, Superintendent of Police Imtiaz Sarwar told Compass that after a thorough investigation he had concluded that school staff members had falsely accused her.

“The minute I interviewed the staff members, I knew that the charge against Saira was completely fabricated,” he said.

He commended his officers for putting their lives at risk while rescuing Saira from the mob that was demanding she be handed over to them for “swift justice.”

“Such an attitude cannot be allowed under any circumstances,” Sarwar said. “No one should dare take the law into their hands. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.”

He acknowledged that in most blasphemy cases, not all suspects were as fortunate as Khokhar.

“Such cases are extremely sensitive,” he said. “The police had to face the severe reaction by the majority and at the same time secure the suspect. It’s regretful that in most cases officials have not been able to face the pressure.”

A school cleaner alleged that Khokhar had deliberately thrown a “Surrah-e-Yaseen” booklet into a dustbin while clearing the cupboards of her office. Upon hearing this accusation, the teachers rushed up to the principal and demanded an apology.

“I told my teachers that I didn’t even know that the booklet was there, as the maid was helping me clean the cupboards,” Khokhar told sources at the police station. “She should have brought the booklet to my notice right then, but she deliberately took the dustbin to the staff room and instigated the teachers.”

The Muslim teachers went home after she told them that she was unaware of the booklet’s presence amid the trash and was sorry for the inadvertent incident.

“The next day [Feb. 23], as soon as I reached the school and sat in my office, a teacher named Asma rushed into the village and started shouting that I, ‘a Christian,’ had desecrated the Quran yesterday,” Khokhar told Compass sources. “Within minutes, a large mob gathered outside the school and started shouting slogans against me.”

Police later arrived at the school and, led by Barki Deputy Superintendent of Police Malik Ijaz, began trying to rescue Khokhar as the Muslim mob pelted them with stones. Officers responded with a baton charge and managed to whisk her away despite several policemen, including Ijaz, receiving head and body injuries, sources said.

Police rushed Khokhar to the office of Superintendent Sarwar, who in the meantime had reached the village and had begun investigating.

Khokhar told sources that when she joined the school in 2009 as the only Christian amid a 14-member faculty, one teacher resigned in protest, further predisposing other teachers against her. The only other Christian employee of the school is a security guard.

“The Muslim teachers made a mountain out of a molehill just because of my faith,” she told Compass sources. “A teacher had resigned in protest the same day I joined the school, so there was an element of prejudice present in the staff.”

Three years passed without any trouble, however, and she was able to maintain a good working relationship with her staff, she said.

A senior government official has taken measures to ensure that the principal remains safe following her release. Unconfirmed reports indicated Muslims have protested against police after Friday prayers for releasing Khokhar.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

By Compass Direct News.

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