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  • Women’s Day

    Posted on June 27th, 2013 rhonda No comments

    “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.  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


    I went to a Women’s Day service recently.  In this male-dominated culture, I was happy to see women in charge.  In this youth-obsessed culture, I was proud to see old women in charge.  The first two rows of pews were filled with white-haired women dressed in white.  I loved it.  It was powerful to witness the Grand March of dignified and well-dressed African American women who marched around the church, and then down to the front of the church, to deliver their tithes & offerings to the Lord.  Twenty or thirty years ago, Women’s Day did not impress me.


    The first time I read the entire Bible, I concluded that God didn’t like women.  God didn’t seem concerned with horrific acts of violence against (innocent) women (Genesis 19:6-8); and didn’t mind making violent, humiliating and scary references to women (Nahum 3:5). The Bible can be a hard book for women to read.  Women’s Day didn’t answer the tough questions about how some women are treated in the Bible; but Women’s Day did remind me of other women – women who were clearly friends of God.


    The woman preacher reminded me that some women – Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others – received a healing from Jehovah Rophe (the God who Heals).  They supplied Jesus and the disciples from their own money.  They loved Him enough to follow Him wherever He went, even to the cross; and after the crucifixion, they sought out his body to prepare it for burial.


    The women at Women’s Day received their healing.  The women raised the funds for Women’s Day.  These women love Jesus enough to continually seek Him out; continuing the tradition set thousands of years ago by Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many other women.


    “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord:

    Look to the rock from which you were hewn;

    look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth.”

    Isaiah 51:1-2

  • Succoth v. Seir

    Posted on June 19th, 2013 rhonda No comments


    “But Jacob said to him . . . .

    So let my lord go on ahead of his servant,

    while I move along slowly at the pace of the droves before me and that of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.

    So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir. 

    Jacob, however, went to Succoth . . . .”

    Genesis 33:13-16


    In my last post, I wrote about Jacob & Esau, which prompted me to read through their story again.  During that last reading, I caught another of Jacob’s betrayals.


    Esau was not only ready to forgive Jacob for receiving his birthright, but eager to visit  with his younger brother.  Jacob kept stalling, and ultimately lied.  He said he would catch up to Esau in Seir.  After Esau was out of sight, Jacob went to Succoth.  The Bible doesn’t mention them ever meeting again.  Imagine how much hurt Esau to realize that his brother ducked him – again.  If he’d been ready to forgive, I can see how Jacob’s side-stepping would have reopened that wound, resulting in cold war between two nations.


    Guilt and anxiety can hurt a person and their relationships.  Genesis 32 reveals that Jacob was afraid his brother would kill him; so he took several precautionary measures.  Esau’s warm greeting did not allay Jacob’s fears.


    There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things.  If Jacob wanted a blessing, he should have asked God.  Then he would not have to live in guilt and fear.  If he was still afraid of his brother, he should have talked to his brother.  He maybe should have apologized, not lie and run.


    I’ve had relationships end – in right ways and in wrong ways.  I know from experience that the manner of the ending makes a difference.  Paul & Barnabas argued and separated for a while (Acts 15:36-41), but later reunited and worked together (I Corinthians 9:6).  What’s your experience been?  Make a comment.


    “Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?”

    I Corinthians 9:6

  • Don’t Stand Aloof

    Posted on June 13th, 2013 rhonda No comments


    “Because of the violence against your brother Jacob,

    You will be covered with shame; you will be destroyed forever.

    On the day you stood aloof while strangers carried off his wealth and

    foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem,

    You were like one of them.”

    Obadiah 2:10-11


    I read through Obadiah.  God punished the descendants of Esau (the Edomites) because they “stood aloof” while the Israelites (the descendants of Jacob) were being attacked by other nations.  Esau & Jacob were brothers, and Jacob tricked Esau out of his birthright.  The last time we read about the brothers seeing one another, Esau & Jacob parted ways without tension.  Esau never followed through on his threat to kill Jacob.  In fact, they had a sweet reunion (Genesis 33).  Apparently Esau forgave Jacob.  However, Obadiah makes me believe there must have been a root of bitterness left over that festered for generations; and allowed the Edomites to stand aside & not help Israel defend itself.


    After giving Esau’s birthright to Jacob, Isaac couldn’t richly bless his firstborn, but God could – and did.  The Lord speaks to Edom (Obadiah 2:4) and says, “Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the starts, from there I will bring you down”.  If Edom wasn’t blessed, how could he be soaring like an eagle?


    Pastor taught me that forgiveness meant refusing to bring the offense to the attention and memory of (1) the person who offended us, (2) other people and (3) ourselves.  Obadiah caused me to believe that developing a willingness to help our enemies actually completes the forgiveness process.  Pastor also taught me that words like “love” and “forgiveness” are not emotions, but actions.  I can forgive someone without having warm & fuzzy feelings about them. 


    Praise God for making me a different person.  I have prayed for my enemies; and I actually did a favor for someone that I believe wronged me in the past.  I have learned how to forgive.  What’s your experience been with forgiveness?  Let us know.


    “He put a new song in my mouth,

    A hymn of praise to our God.”

    Psalm 40:3

  • My Soul Looks Back & Wonders

    Posted on June 6th, 2013 rhonda No comments

    “How I got over, how I got over
    How I got over, how I got over
    My soul looks back and wonder how I got over . . . .

    I wanna thank Him because He brought me
    I wanna thank Him because He taught me
    I wanna thank Him because He kept me
    I wanna thank Him because He never left me”

    I woke up on Friday with a song in my head – Aretha Franklin’s version of How I Got Over.  To wonder means “to stand back in awe and amazement; to marvel at”.  I listened to the song a few times before I went to work.  By midday, I was wondering at God.


    Previously I wrote about how the last few years have been a struggle for me.  I was angry at God.  I was angry, in part, because I felt God allowed my enemies to harass and exploit me.  I wrote to God, and actually asked Him if He loved me.  If He did, then when was He going to get revenge for me?  Well, now I can see His justice on the horizon.  There are a group of individuals who have been a thorn in my side for a while.  On Friday, I got news that they were starting to be exposed for what they are.  That bit of news lifted my spirits. 
    When my soul did look back and wondered about how I got over, I know that it was staying in the presence of God.  In addition to Sunday, I started going to mid-week and evening services as often as I could.  I shared a lot of what I was taught on this site.  Months ago, I wrote about a sermon where the Pastor told us to celebrate, in preparation for the victory, because the “Egyptian” that’s pursuing us, is an “Egyptian” we will never see again.  Hallelujah.


    When your soul looks back and wonders, how did you get over?  Let us know.

    “And the God of all grace,

    Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ,

    After you have suffered a little while,

    Will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

    To Him be the power for ever and ever.


    I Peter 5:10-11

  • Not Guilty

    Posted on June 2nd, 2013 rhonda No comments


    She is pillaged, plundered, stripped!

    Hearts melt, knees give way,

    Bodies tremble, every face grows pale.

    Nahum 2:10


    By the time I finished Not Guilty, a novel by Teresa Pollard and Candi Pullen, I didn’t quite know what to think.   The character declared “not guilty” is Carrie Shepherd, a single-yet-engaged, Christian woman who was raped in 1974.  (ISBN = 978-193870806-0)


    As a woman, crimes against us, especially rape, are close to my heart.  As a survivor, Carrie goes through periods of anger, grief, shame, and guilt, as her friends and family wonder at how uncharacteristically distant, defiant and secretive she’s become.  Nonetheless, I was struck by how rapidly she healed.  Not Guilty definitely presents a wholesome, Christian worldview.  Sometimes I wondered, “too wholesome?”  Carrie bounces back so well that I wonder if people would walk away thinking that either rape isn’t that bad, or that it’s easy to heal from.  I was also a little angry about the rapist’s fate.


    Yet, God says that vengeance is His; and that by His stripes, we are healed.  So do I doubt the book, or did Not Guilty reveal my doubts about God and His Word?  Not Guilty is intriguing, but not fun.  One has to wrestle with it.   HopeSprings Books gave me a complimentary copy of the book through BookCrash, but maybe the wrestling match is worth paying for.


    So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak . . . .

    Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

    But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

    Genesis 32:24 & 26