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Posts tagged ‘Mary’

The arrival…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
-Romans 12:12

As we think about the characters from the Christmas story, think about how dark and difficult the Christmas story really is. The magi traveled years from the east on dangerous roads, following a star to find the new Messiah. Shepherds out in the hills, shivering, cold, traveled into town to see the new Messiah. And, especially Joseph and his beloved Mary, a 15-yr-old Jewish Middle Eastern girl having her first baby, and it’s cold. Nobody will give her shelter because all the inns are filled. So, she is allowed, finally, to go literally into a barn, give birth, and put her baby in a feeding trough. Now, that’s tough.

When we, as Christians, celebrate the advent season leading up to Christmas, the word “advent” means “the arrival” or “the coming of the Messiah,” and it’s really the coming of a promise. So the season of advent, is a season for all of us who are journeying through the dark night of the soul, going through difficult times in life. Advent is the season of prayer and waiting that the Christ child would be born in the midst of our darkness. So, many of us are like pilgrims, walking a dangerous, dark road to find Jesus.

Let’s keep Christ before our minds as we travel on this road of life. That will set things right. We keep Christ before our minds so that we can have hope.

Prayer: Lord, as we wait the arrival of Christmas, celebrating the arrival of our Savior, may we keep Christ before our minds so that our hope is renewed every day. Amen.

Reflection: How does keeping your mind on Christ give you hope?

No Christmas, No Bible.


And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21

Recommended Reading
John 14:6http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2014:6&version=NKJV )

On Christmas Eve, some families follow the routine of setting out a glass of milk and cookies for Santa’s visit, and even remember to provide carrots for his reindeer. Sleep is often hard to find as the little ones anticipate the day to come that is filled with presents, food, family, and friends. But as much fun and joy as these routines bring, that is not the reason why Christmas Day is so special — it’s the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18).

If there hadn’t been a Christmas, the Bible would be untrue because prophecies of the Old Testament would be left unfulfilled. And if the Bible were untrue, our God would be unknown. If our God is unknown, our sins would be left on the table and our prayers would go unanswered.

But Jesus did come into this world to be our Savior — bringing the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. Instead of fixating on the idea of presents during Christmas, make sure you realize what happened on that day when Jesus was born and what it means for your faith.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
1 Thessalonians 1-5

By David Jeremiah.

You Don’t Need an Angelic Visitation to Respond to God’s Call.


Mary and Joseph in a manger
(© Studio-Annika iStockPhoto.com)

“Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:19-21

We’re given just a little glimpse of Mary and Joseph before Jesus was born. They lived in the hill country of Galilee. Joseph was a religious man. Mary gives every evidence of having a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, even though she was a teenager. The Bible teaches that God was so pleased with her that He chose her to be the mother of Jesus. Mary and Joseph weren’t married, and yet Mary became pregnant.

I’ve often put myself in Joseph’s place—imagined his thoughts, his aspirations about the girl to whom he was engaged. But Joseph decided to break the engagement privately.

While he was thinking about these things, God’s angel appeared to him in a dream to give Joseph an explanation of the situation. All Joseph’s suspicions were put away. He accepted what God had said through the angel, and he was immediately married to Mary.

Both Joseph and Mary followed the call and plan of God, and through their obedience the way was prepared for Christ to come and bless us.

Are you seeking to follow God’s call on your life? Are you actively responding to Him? Tell us on ourFacebook page.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

BILLY GRAHAM

When Your Prophetic Journey Meets With Spiritual Warfare.


woman worshipping
(http://www.stockfreeimages.com)

From her encounter with Gabriel to her experience at Pentecost, Mary’s journey parallels that of any woman who pursues God’s promises for her life.

Mary knelt in the shadow of the cross, weeping in anguish as her first-born Son hung above her, naked and bloody. The ominous roar of thunder was crowded out by His agonizing cry, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

She looked up through her tears. “Why,” she cried out in the deafening silence of her thoughts, “why didn’t You defend Yourself? I saw the raw power of God move through You. At Your word, demons fled, blind eyes were opened, lepers were cleansed. Why didn’t You command the angels to save You?

“You were going to be king of the Jews. It was prophesied; I didn’t make it up. The angel Gabriel visited me, and everything happened as he said. It wasn’t supposed to end like this.”

Most of us remember Mary as the 15-year-old girl who rode off on a donkey to facilitate the Christmas story. But her life was so much more. It was a tapestry of mysteries that unraveled gradually across the seasons of her years, bringing her ultimately to this scene at the foot of the cross.

Mary, you see, was on a prophetic journey. And so are you.

On the day of the crucifixion, Mary’s Son was not all that was dying; so were every belief and prophetic promise she’d clung to for 33 years. Perhaps you, too, have had your life turned upside down. You’ve seen your dreams die. The future looks bleak and empty. You need to understand that your prophetic walk with God is a cyclical journey. Like Mary, you will have seasons of prophetic revelation; seasons ofspiritual warfare and wilderness wandering; seasons of ordinary, “ho-hum” life; seasons of effective ministry. All these ultimately lead to the cross and to the death of all things you hold dear.

But the cross is never the end.

Radical Visitation “One night the angel Gabriel came to me. Me–a simple Jewish girl living in poverty in the little town of Nazareth. What did I have to offer anyone, especially almighty God?

“His voice filled the room. ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored among women. The Lord is with you.’ He told me not to fear and that I would give birth to the Messiah. I cried out,’Yes, Lord, let it be unto me according to Your word.'”

Mary was a sovereign vessel chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Yet the Bible doesn’t indicate that she moved in miracles. She simply possessed a heart of devotion and childlike faith. She said, “Yes Lord, let it be done unto me,” and it changed her life forever. That’s why we can all be like Mary.

The Holy Spirit overshadowed her, and the new life that was birthed in her womb ushered in the Messianic Age. Do you cry out, “Lord, I want to be like Mary–radically overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, impregnated with your purpose”? Do you want to usher in revival?

Then know that there is a price behind the anointing. There is a stigma. Birthing the things of the Spirit is messy, and revival is controversial. Are you willing to be a humble vessel giving birth to God’s purpose in an untidy stable, or will you say, “There’s no room in the inn”?

Spiritual Warfare “In the middle of the night Joseph shook me violently. He was terrified, crying, ranting about Herod’s wanting Jesus dead. He said we had to leave town–right away. He grabbed Jesus and was out the door before I could understand what was happening. We left everything behind that night, no explanations, no goodbyes. Life as we’d known it was over.”

Satan always goes after a move of God in its infancy, when it’s most vulnerable. King Herod diabolically ordered the slaughter of baby boys. But God gave Joseph and Mary divine strategies to protect their son, telling Joseph in a dream to flee with his family to Egypt.

Are you under attack from the enemy? The greater your call and destiny, the greater the spiritual warfare you will face. The enemy wants to abort your prophetic promises. When the stirrings of revival begin to be birthed in you and around you, challenging the status quo, the demonic realm is aroused. Don’t be afraid; God will be faithful to deliver you out of the enemy’s hand.

The Wilderness “Why didn’t God remove Herod in-stead of us? It hurt so much to leave everyone behind. I kept thinking, If only my family and friends could see Jesus grow up.

“And why Egypt? Why did God send us to the land that represents bondage for our people? Are we going to die here or in the wilderness, like our forefathers?”

Maybe you’ve had incredible, dramatic encounters with God. You’ve had multiple prophetic words recorded on tape and transcribed into notebooks. You’re sure that any minute now your prophetic promises will come to pass.

Mary also received prophetic words: Her Son would be king of the Jews. So why were they banished and suffering in an uncomfortable and foreign land? Mary didn’t realize that the prophetic timetable for the fulfillment of Jesus’ destiny would be a grueling 30 years long. You, too, will spend time in the wilderness; you will experience seasons of barrenness. Are you willing to wait on the Lord’s timing?

An Ordinary Life “Finally, after several years in Egypt, God spoke to Joseph again in a dream. Herod was dead. This time it was I who grabbed Jesus and ran out the door with Joseph trailing behind. We couldn’t get home fast enough.

“Things eventually settled down, but mothering Jesus was always a challenge. Once, when He was 12 years old, and we were returning in a large group from the festival in Jerusalem, I realized He wasn’t with the other children. We frantically returned to the city to look for Him. Finally, we found Him in the temple. You know what He said? He said I should have known He was there! Oy vey! I wanted to ground Him until He was 21!”

Do you feel as if you’re on a shelf, living an ordinary life? Are you changing diapers, cooking dinner and dealing with the neighbors while crying out in your heart: Lord, have you forgotten me? Why don’t people recognize my gifting? Don’t they realize I had a radical visitation back in 1990?

Mary had 30 years of obscurity to develop a hidden testimony–a secret history with God. You, too, have an appointed time to build family, community and greater intimacy with Jesus. In the midst of that time you may feel like crying out, What’s taking so long? By the time my destiny comes, I’ll be pursuing it in a wheel chair! But seasons of preparation are important. These are the times when God works patience, radical passion and deep devotion into your life.

Finally, Ministry Begins “When I was 45 years old, life changed dramatically for Jesus and me. He started bringing home a ragtag bunch of fishermen to dinner. Then, at a wedding, He changed water into wine. From then on He moved in amazing signs and wonders, and a huge crowd followed Him everywhere. The excitement grew daily as Jesus walked among the people, bringing revival. But I still don’t understand what He meant when He said, ‘Who is my mother?'”

Mary had to relinquish control of her life and Jesus’ life in the midst of an outpouring of the Spirit. In your life and ministry, you also have to let go–of your plans, your expectations, your ways. Just as Jesus had to leave His home and follow the Father, you also have to relinquish control of your life and follow the Father, even if it takes you to the cross.

And it will.

The Dark Night “Why God, why? Why have You forsaken Him? Why have You forsaken me? He was supposed to deliver us. He was our salvation, and now He’s gone. If you really love us, why have You allowed this to happen?”

Jesus was in the prime of His life. The countryside was in the midst of a tremendous revival. But now He was dying on the cross–and so was Mary. Overcome by feelings of abandonment and betrayal, she was in the middle of a crisis of faith.

When Jesus chose to go to the cross, Mary was compelled to go there, too. The truth is, the cross is always being worked in our lives–sometimes through the choices of others. Your daughter has an abortion; your son abuses drugs; your husband files for divorce. You never intended to go to that cross, but there you are.

You want to believe the Lord will rescue you at the last moment, but often His plan is to crucify you. Everything dies at the cross: relationships, ministries, agendas, reputations, finances. It’s painful, but it’s necessary. If you cry out to be part of the bride of Christ, then you must be–you will be–identified with the sufferings of the Bridegroom.

Resurrection “He’s alive! I thought I’d cried all my tears on Golgotha, but when our eyes met, it was like a flood. As I ran into His open arms, He scooped me up and spun me around in joyous laughter.

“The times we shared after the resurrection were the most precious of my life. They made it easier to release Him–again. As I watched Him ascend, I prayed again, ‘Lord, let it be unto me according to Your word, for the rest of my life.'”

Out of great death comes great life. Mary’s prophetic promises had been limited by her worldview. In her mind’s eye she had seen Jesus as king over the little nation of Israel for the span of His lifetime. In reality, He was King of kings and Lord of lords for all people and all time.

At the cross, God crucifies our limited view concerning the fulfillment of our prophetic destiny and resurrects it to His eternal view. The Lord revives our broken dreams–when they come to pass, they rarely look as we thought they would.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

Our Annual Christmas IQ Quiz.


How well do you know the Christmas story?

Most of us know the general outline because we’ve heard or sung it or watched it being enacted in the Christmas programs that most churches offer during December. We know about the shepherds, the angels, the “Wise Men,” the star, the innkeeper, the long journey of Mary and Joseph, the baby in the manger, and we know about the gold, frankincense and myrrh. But how much of what we know is tradition and how much comes from the Bible?

For the last several years David Langerfeld, Associate Pastor of Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo, has given a Christmas IQ Test to his Sunday School class. I should warn you that this is a tough quiz. When I took it, I missed several questions. Try taking it first without checking the Bible to see how well you know the real Christmas story.

For extra fun, make copies of this quiz for your Sunday School class or small group and see how much everyone knows about the Christmas story.

Click here to read the answers (along with a few additional comments from me).

1. Joseph was originally from… (Luke 2:3)
A. Bethlehem
B. Nazareth
C. Hebron
D. Jerusalem
E. None of the above

2. What does the Bible say that the Innkeeper said to Mary and Joseph? (Luke 2:7)
A. “There is no room in the inn.”
B. “I have a stable you can use.”
C. “Come back later and I should have some vacancies.”
D. Both A and B
E. None of the above

3. A manger is a…
A. Stable for domestic animals
B. Wooden hay storage bin
C. Feeding trough
D. Barn

4. Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus’ birth?
A. Cows, sheep, goats
B. Cows, Donkeys, goats
C. Sheep and goats only
D. Miscellaneous barnyard animals
E. None of the above

5. Who saw the star in the east?
A. Shepherds
B. Mary and Joseph
C. Three Kings
D. Both A and C
E. None of the above

6. According to the Bible, how did Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem?
A. Camel
B. Donkey
C. Walked
D. Joseph walked, Mary rode a donkey
E. Horse-drawn chariot
F. Who knows?

7. How many angels spoke to the shepherds? (Luke 2:10)
A. One
B. Three
C. Multitude
D. None of the above

8. What did the angels say/sing? (Luke 2:14)
A. “Glory to God in the highest, etc.”
B. “Alleluia”
C. “Unto us a child is born, Unto us a son is given”
D. “Joy the world, the Lord is come”
E. “Glory to the newborn King”

9. What is a heavenly host?
A. The angel at the gate of heaven
B. The angel who serves refreshments in heaven
C. An angel choir
D. An angel army
E. None of the above

10. There was snow that first Christmas…
A. Only in Bethlehem
B. All over Israel
C. Nowhere in Israel
D. Somewhere in Israel

11. What is Frankincense?
A. A precious metal
B. A precious fabric
C. A precious perfume
D. None of the above

12. In Matthew, what does “wise men” or “Magi” refer to?
A. Men of the educated class
B. Eastern Kings
C. Men who studied the stars
D. Sages

13. What is Myrrh?
A. Middle Eastern Money
B. A drink
C. An easily shaped metal
D. A spice used for burying people
E. None of the above

14. How many wise men came to see Jesus?
A. 3
B. 6
C. 9
D. 12
E. We don’t know.

15. Where did the wise men find Jesus? (Matthew 2:11)
A. In a manger
B. In a stable
C. In Nazareth
D. In Saudi Arabia
E. In a house
F. None of the above

16. When the wise men found Jesus he was… (Matthew 2:11)
A. A babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
B. A young child
C. A boy in the temple
D. A grown man

17. The “star in the east” that the wise men followed… (Matthew 2:9)
A. Stayed in the same place their entire journey
B. Disappeared and reappeared
C. Moved ahead of them and stopped over the place where Jesus was
D. Was just a mirage
E. None of the above

18. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem… (Matthew 2:2)
A. To inform Herod about Jesus
B. To find out where Jesus was
C. To ask about the star
D. To buy presents
E. None of the above

19. Where do we find the Christmas story?
A. Matthew
B. Mark
C. Luke
D. John
E. All of the above
F. Only A and B
G. Only A and C
H. Only A, B, and C

20. When Joseph found Mary was pregnant, what happened?
A. They got married
B. Joseph wanted to break the engagement
C. Mary left town for three months
D. A and B
E. B and C

21. Who told (made) Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem? (Luke 2:1-5)
A. The angel chorus
B. Mary’s mother
C. Herod
D. The shepherds
E. Caesar Augustus

Dr. Ray Pritchard

Author, Speaker, President of Keep Believing Ministries

Don’t forget to check the online answer page to see how well you did. Your comments are always welcome.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free email sermon.

The Unopened Gift.


For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

Recommended Reading
Proverbs 3:5-6 ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%203:5-6&version=NKJV )

We expect a lot from December: Christmas songs, yummy Christmas cookies, decorations, good food, and time with those we love. As we rush to buy last-minute gifts, we try to remain calm amidst the crowds and busyness. It shouldn’t surprise us that we tend to overlook the one gift that can help us keep perspective during the month of December: God‘s Word.

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/radio.aspx?tid=email_listenedevo )

When we open the Bible, we find encouragement for those times when our expectations remain unmet. The birth of Jesus lacked most of the comforts we now associate with Christmas. Mary did not expect to give birth to her first child in a barn. Joseph did not expect Mary to become pregnant before they wed. They were alone and far from family. Despite their difficult circumstances, Mary and Joseph trusted God. They had received the gift of God’s voice and they followed His directions.

We too can hear from God. Scripture reminds us of what is important. It speaks to our deepest needs and keeps us focused on God and His will during each season of life. Let’s not forget to open this gift this Christmas and throughout the year. God’s Word has the counsel, wisdom, and power we need. Open it today.

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Galatians 1-3

By David Jeremiah.

Should a Wife Keep Her Husband’s Sexual Sin a Secret?.


What should a bewildered wife do if she catches her husband viewing pornography?
What should a bewildered wife do if she catches her husband viewing pornography? (Suus Wansink)

Consider this predicament. Your boss, the company CEO, has given you a high-level project. After a few months on the job you discover that your new responsibilities involve falsifying records.

Not only that, but it appears your boss has been trying to cover up questionable accounting practices. When you confront the CEO, he makes it clear that your career will be over if you share his secret. He makes a strong argument that you have much more to lose than gain by going public. Then he demands your silence, asserting his authority as your supervisor to ensure you will comply.

Out of respect for his position of authority do you keep his secret? Even if means you are putting yourself at risk, now that you are knowledgeable of a crime but choosing not to report.

Now read this scenario. Mary’s husband Jim hasn’t been himself for months—moody, short-tempered, abrupt. One night, Mary wakes up and Jim is not there. When she walks downstairs, the reflection of the computer screen in the dining room mirror tells the story. Jim says he is sorry and it won’t happen again. But the computer history tells a different story—he is binging on porn and it’s only getting worse. When Mary suggests counseling, Jim refuses. Asserting his position as leader of the home, Jim also forbids her from telling anyone. Ever. Period.

Out of respect for his position of authority, should Mary keep his secret? Even if it means postponing her own healing and subjecting her family to the devastating effects of her husband’s escalating sexual sin?

Why is it that the corporate whistle-blower is applauded for standing up for what is right, but the wife who wants to sound the alarm is often silenced by the very community that should be offering her the most support. Unfortunately, the not-so-subtle message being communicated by some in the church to these hurting women is honor your husband by keeping silent, even at the expense of your own healing.

Who is communicating this destructive message? It’s the elder who tells a wife that she is over reacting. It’s the Sunday School teacher who whispers that maybe she should first try heating things up in the bedroom. It is the pastor who suggests the wife spend some more time praying for her husband to come around before meeting with a counselor. It’s anyone who even thinks, “That is just how God wired men.”

I’m not advocating a wife take to Facebook to share her pain or make a phone call to activate the prayer chain. There is no healing to be found there.  But she should be free to get the help she needs in the light of this devastating revelation and it’s time the church came alongside her with their full support.

Yes , she should be cautious who she shares with and, certainly, it would be considerate of her to share  her intentions with her husband to get outside help.  But if a husband attempts to use his authority as the spiritual head of the household to discourage his wife from getting help, then someone needs to call that out for what it is—spiritual manipulation, misuse of authority and unloving, self-centered sin.

There is nothing that strikes at our own core more deeply than our spouse’s sexual sin. Marriage, by its very nature—the becoming of one flesh—means the husband’s struggle is now the wife’s struggle. So if a wife wants to talk to someone about his struggle (now her struggle) she should be encouraged to do so, regardless of her husband’s discomfort.

A husband might wonder why his wife would even want to share her painful story with anyone anyway. It is something most husbands have tried so hard to hide. They don’t like to acknowledge its ugly existence, much less have conversations about it. Here is what husbands need to realize:

  • We don’t like talking about it, we need to talk about it.  When we get the thoughts out of our head and express them and hear feedback, it helps us grieve. It is like a valve releasing some of the pressure that has built up.
  • Talking about it helps us feel less isolated and alone.
  • Talking about it helps us organize our thoughts and emotions that feel out of control. Any sense of control is calming in the midst of this storm.

I believe there are thousands of wives sitting in our church pews each Sunday, suffering alone in silence. What can churches do to release wives from being their husband’s secret-keeper?

  • Become a congregation where people are real, suffering in this world is understood to be inevitable and the body is involved in helping broken-people heal. This example will give courage to couples that are afraid to share their brokenness.
  • Give wives a safe and confidential place to share.
  • Hold husbands accountable to their positions as spiritual leaders Sunday through Saturday—do this from the pulpit, on the golf course, one-on-one, and in small groups.
  • Don’t support a theology of secret keeping.

Think about it this: Who do we partner with when we help hide sin? In 2 Thessalonians 2:7 the Bible says the secret power of lawlessness is already at work and will remain at work until the man of lawlessness is completely removed. Church, we partner with our very Enemy when we encourage sin to remain hidden. To do so under the cloak of “respect for spiritual authority” is a joke. And the Enemy is laughing while our marriages are dying.

Leaders of the church, free these wives. Encourage them to get the help they need. If that means exposing their husband’s secret sin, against their husband’s will, then so be it. It is the most loving and respectful thing they can do on behalf of their marriage.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ NEW MAN.

MARSHA FISHER

Marsha Fisher and her husband Jeff are the creators of Inside Out Ministries and Porn to Purity. They are using their marriage recovery story as a platform to shed light on the growing problem of pornography addiction within the church and the gospel-centered resources available for those who want to find freedom.

The power of positive words…


By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
-Proverbs 18:21

In Luke, we read how the angel appears to Mary telling her that she’s going to become the mother of the coming Messiah. Probably 15 years old or so, Mary’s just recently become engaged to Joseph. They have not consummated their relationship, and yet the angel says that she’s going to be pregnant before they’re married. To Mary, this should come as very bad news.

Think about the repercussions socially for Mary, an unwed, teenage virgin. Joseph is going to think that she has cheated on him and she will become an outcast to her community. The outcome could be life threatening because, in those days, to have a child out of wedlock meant that you and your child were probably going to sit on the street and beg.

This is terrible, terrible, terrible news for Mary socially. However, because the news comes from God through an angel, she somehow knows that it’s not terrible news. Something great is going to happen.

And how does Mary respond? Does she respond with doubt? No, she says, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be as you have said.” She receives God’s blessing, speaks her own positive words of blessing over it, and then she begins to sing.

Remember, there’s power in our every word.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you so much for the example of Mary, who had such deep and abiding faith in you that she was willing to embrace a life change that almost anyone else would have rejected. I pray that I will be as open to your every blessing as was Mary was on that very important day. Amen.

Reflection: Have you ever experienced a radical life change that you could have faced with fear but instead, because of your faith in God, faced positively?

God’s View of a Woman.


women of different races
(© zdenka iStockPhoto.com)

Editor’s Note: What follows is the transcript of a spoken message Frank Viola delivered to a church in Chile. Keep in mind that the Chilean culture tends to have a very low view of women.

After tonight’s message, if this recording gets out of this room and someone hears it in your country, I will be declared a heretic. I may even be in danger of my life.

Further, after tonight’s message, some of the men in this room may not want me to come back. Thewomen, however, will want me to move here!

Note the following passages:

“And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how His body was laid” (Luke 23:55, KJV, emphasis added).

“These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren” (Acts 1:14, emphasis added).

Let’s take a trip back to ancient Israel and look at how women were viewed before Jesus came. Generally speaking, the Jews had a dim view of women. Jewish women were not allowed to receive an education. Hence, they were largely uneducated. Their only training was in how to raise children and keep house.

Women were also largely excluded from worshipping God. In Herod’s temple, there was a special court that stood on the very outside. It was called the Court of the Gentiles. The Gentiles could go into that court, but they were limited to that area alone.

Five steps above the Gentiles court was the women’s court. The women were limited to that one area. Fifteen steps above that was the Jewish men’s court. Thus men were given far more privileges to worship God than were women.

A woman had no voice in her marriage. Her father decided whom she would marry, when she would marry and why she would marry. A woman couldn’t divorce her husband under any condition. Only a man could initiate a divorce.

Jewish women were to be seen as little as possible in public. In fact, young men were warned about talking to women in public—so much so that it was a shame in ancient Israel for a man to talk to a woman in public. Consequently, most women stayed out of the streets.

Women were regarded as inferior to men. They were regarded as property, just like cattle and slaves. Jewish males prayed a daily prayer of thanksgiving. This prayer shows how poorly the Jews looked upon women. It goes like this:

Praise be to God. He has not created me a Gentile.

Praise be to God. He has not created me a woman.

Praise be to God. He has not created me an ignorant man.

This was man’s view of a woman in first-century Israel. It was not much better in other cultures. In fact, ever since the Fall of humanity, women have been regarded as second-class citizens—inferior to men. But something happened that changed all that.

Jesus came.

In Jesus Christ we find God’s view of a woman. Not man’s view. Not the American view. Not the European view. Not the Asian view. Not the African view. Not the South American view. Not even the Chilean view. But God’s view.

Jesus Christ is God made flesh. As such, He embodies all of God’s opinions. In His earthly life, Jesus was the visible expression of God Himself. By His actions and His words, we discover God’s view of a woman. And that view was utterly contrary to the prevailing view of His day.

Consider this. When God decided to make His entrance upon this planet, He visited a woman. He chose a woman to bring forth the eternal Son, the Messiah—the Anointed One for whom Israel had waited thousands of years.

The life of God was first placed in the womb of a woman before it got to you and to me. And God was not ashamed.

Sisters in Christ, this is your Lord’s view of a woman. Take your high place.

But that’s not all. As Jesus ministered, He ripped down all social conventions that were pitted against women. On one occasion, He rose to the defense of a woman caught in adultery. He became her attorney and saved her life. And God was not ashamed.

Jesus was noted for palling around with sinners. He supped with prostitutes and tax collectors. We are told in John 4 that He met a woman, and He did something that shocked the disciples: He talked to her in public. And He was not ashamed.

Not only was she a woman, but she was a divorcee. But not only was she a divorcee, she was actively living in immorality. Yet not only was she a woman, a divorcee, an adulteress living in sin, she was worse than a Gentile. She was a Samaritan—a half-breed. (A Samaritan was a person with whom Jews were never to talk.)

Your Lord talked to this divorced, adulterous, Samaritan woman in public, and He forgave her of her sins. And He was not ashamed.

Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.

But that’s not all. Jesus Christ had a custom of using women in His parables and making them heroes. He talked about the woman who searched and found her lost coin.

He spoke of the woman who was unrelenting in the presence of the unjust judge who honored her for her persistence. He spoke of the widow who dropped all the money she had into the temple treasury and praised her for doing so. And He was not ashamed.

Source: CHARISMA MAGAZINE/ SPIRITLED WOMAN.

{ Day 330 }.


Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. —John 11:5-6, NKJV

Because of our preconceived notions, we sometimes draw wrong conclusions from God‘s silence or His presumable lack of intervention on our behalf. We often conclude that God’s love for us has waned or that we are unworthy of His attention or perhaps that we are being punished for something. But that was certainly not the case with Lazarus. The Scriptures say several times that Jesus loved Lazarus along with his two sisters, Mary and Martha, but His delay in coming to help Lazarus in his greatest need was precisely calculated. We know that Jesus’s seeming lack of response had nothing to do with lack of love, but had everything to do with fulfilling the redemptive purpose of God. The ensuing miracle was a prophetic sign to many of His own resurrection. But for Lazarus, Martha, and Mary it was something more—a lesson to trust God always, even when they must walk in darkness beyond the edge of their understanding.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Father, like Martha I often cry out, “Why didn’t You come when I called?” Teach me the lesson of placing my ultimate trust in You even when I cannot understand Your plan and purpose.

We often conclude that God’s love for us has waned
or that we are unworthy of His attention or
perhaps that we are being
punished for something.

By MIKE BICKLE.

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