Jesus would approve of a “Hall of Fame” for the FIRST Women of the Way?

If there were ever an elite hall of fame for Early Christians, the men included would be many. There would be Great men of history that did significant things to further the cause of Christianity. Hebrews Chapter 11 comes to mind with its list of great leaders of the faith from the Old Testament. The New Testament would have its own noteworthy contribution of great men of the faith as well.

art design gallery group
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Any Hall of Fame for Christians wouldn’t be complete without including the women who’ve made their mark in early church history and in the Christians faith. Even though Hebrews Chapter 11 doesn’t mention any women, and early Christian history doesn’t site the contributions of women very often, we know that Jesus would approve of a special wing in this Hall of Fame to honor to the women who were the first followers of THE WAY.

Through His relationships and communication with women in the gospels, Jesus elevated the status of women during His earthly ministry. Women were a significant part of his financial support. The followers of The Way included both men and women where the girls were just as vital to the ministry of Christ as the guys.

architecture art cathedral chapel
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

This special wing of our Hall of Fame would include the very FIRST followers of the WAY. They would be the women who actually walked with Jesus, talked with Him, and participated in His ministry during His time on earth. These women must be honored for their whole-hearted passion and devotion to our Lord!

Of course, first in line would to be honored is Mary.

As the mother of Jesus, Mary was the first person ‘to carry the gospel’. We all rise and called her blessed because of her willingness to say yes and her obedience to being apart of God’s great plan of salvation. She knew being a Christ follower wasn’t a short term gig; she knew it was a lifelong commitment.

Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus.

Mary and Martha were not only followers of Jesus, but they were also friends of Jesus. They mirror back to us the common struggles of all women who long to balance what’s good with what’s best. They had a special connection with Jesus where he dined with them, sat with them, and wept when their brother died.

Woman with Alabaster Box worshipped deeply.

If you’ve ever had a debt paid or a loan forgiven, you have just a tiny glimpse what it could have felt like to be this woman. She was forgiven much so therefore, she loved deeply…..to the point of using her own tears and hair as acts of worship. Pouring out her love on Jesus was such an overflow of her gratitude that she didn’t care who was watching. Jesus was so moved by her expression of love that he said it would be remembered and discussed for ages.

Mary Magdalene was the first of many.

Good Ole’ Mary!  Even though she wasn’t family, she positioned herself at the cross with His Mother. She made sure she was one of the first ones at the tomb and was one of the first to see the Resurrected Christ! She was the first person to tell others the Lord is Risen- the first evangelist! She wasn’t just a fan, like Kyle Idleman would say, she was a follower. No doubt her influence as a first followers of The Way was great!

We are the modern Women of the Way….

As we discover who we are as the modern Women of the Way and what it means to be passionate, devoted followers of Christ, it’s such a delight to pause to reflect on the very first Women of the Way who paved the way for the rest of us to follow Him too! Even though these women lived thousands of years ago, they struggled with the same issues that we still struggle with today. We can identify with their hopes and dreams too. They are shining examples of how God used them to further His Kingdom which gives us hope of how God can use us to further His Kingdom. These precious women were the beginning of this Kingdom which helped to lay its foundation.

bodyofChrist
Women of the Way 2013

Could it be that we will be apart of finishing this Kingdom helping to usher in Christ’s completed Kingdom in the world??

Which one of these women can you identify with most? Who inspires you to be more passionate and devoted to Jesus?

Who else would you add to the list?

Let’s continue to talk about women throughout history who were Women of the Way……..

~Amy

 

Advertisements

When you want to be more like the FIRST followers of THE WAY…..

In all the years we’ve been doing this “Women of the Way”, I don’t believe I’ve ever explained out loud the reason for its name.

Why are we called “Women of the WAY“?

The first gathering of believers in Jerusalem after Jesus death, resurrection and ascension called themselves followers of The Way. Luke makes reference to this when describing Saul’s persecution of believers in Acts 9:2. Also, The Way is  mentioned in Acts 19:23 when talking about a riot in Ephesus. Finally, in Acts 22:4 as Paul describes his own conversion, he told about his determination to arrest and even kill followers of The Way.

gold and black crucifix
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Because they were still Jews, they continued to perform the Jewish practices of the day by worshipping at the temple and synagogues and maintaining the rules and customs of the ritual law. Increasingly though, the Jewish leaders were not happy with these followers of Jesus. They began to arrest them and try to stop them from talking about Jesus. Just like they stamped out Jesus, they were determined to do the same with His followers.

Why were the followers of The Way such a threat?

They were passionate about their mission to share Jesus Christ.

The fire that filled them on the Day of Pentecost gave them such a that ignited their passion like never before. They preached about Christ in the streets and at the temple. They were not timid in their witness to share about the Good News. And when the pressure started heating up, they prayed for more boldness and passion just like it says in Acts 4:24-35….

When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.”

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

These first faithful followers were devoted in their practices of following Jesus Christ.

They met in homes for worship, ate meals together as the sacrament of communion was developed, and they met the needs of those around them as well as each other’s needs. They were devoted to prayer and worship, and loved each other deeply. Their earnest desire to follow Christ, to serve Him, and to share it with others was evident to all. The Way wasn’t just a trendy, new Jewish custom. The Way was a way of life!

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Act 2:42-47 NIV

It didn’t take long, however, for the grip of persecution to begin bear down on the followers of The Way. Increasingly, the Jewish leaders arrested them and threatened them to stop their preaching. The Pharisees mistakenly thought they had stamped out Jesus and could easily do the same with His foolish followers. This pressure only deepened their resolve, and they celebrated the fact that they were being treated just like their Lord.

The stoning of Stephen was the match that set the whole thing ablaze! Believers were forced to flee Jerusalem in order to escape being killed or imprisoned. That fanatical Saul was now out for blood trying to wipe out The Way so many of the believers scattered. The true beauty of their escape, though, was that the Gospel was spread in so many new places. Churches were started in many different communities which is what God had intended all along!

10647208_10153156503354314_3811544316976079317_n

When I developed this local women’s gathering, I not only wanted it to include all kinds of church denominations, but I also wanted us to follow the same ideals as Christians in the early church to be passionate, devoted followers of Christ. We may worship at each of our churches differently. We may have slightly different interpretations of Scripture, but we can be united under the same banner of Jesus is Lord just as those first Christians were.

I want us to be passionate and bold to share the Good News of Jesus with those around us. I want us  to pray, without hesitation, for someone right where we are or to give generously as people have needs around us. I want us to serve the community with overwhelming generousity…..

Women of the Way 2018

I want us to be fully and utterly devoted to Jesus Christ. I want us to be women of prayer, women of worship, and women of study so that our lives are defined primarily by our relationship with Christ and not by simply what we do or where we live or what we have.

And finally, when faced with the possibility of persecution, I want us to feel so honored to be treated like our Lord that we do not waiver in the least to proclaim the Good News even when it’s not easy. I want us to stand, resist, and infiltrate the enemy’s territory to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.  Lastly, we would support our fellow brothers and sisters around the world who are facing true persecution for The Way as we pray for them an financially support them.

In this, we can be like those original followers of The Way.

How can you be more like them?

What are you already doing to be passionate and devoted for Jesus? What needs to change so that you are filled with passion? What do you need to do to be more devoted to Christ?

Stay tuned for more as we discover the women throughout history and the women we know as passionate, devoted follower of Christ!

In the meantime, would like some ideas on how to connect with other believers who want to be more like the first followers of the Way?

Sign up here for “How to Be More Interdenominational” & “Prayers & Meditations for Unity”. I’d love to share some encouraging stuff with you!

~Amy

 

Summer Gardening: A Decision, a Discipline, and a Delight

I’ve enjoyed sharing this little spin on Summer Gardening by growing in spiritual disciplines and in Christian life.

My summer of turning the soil (silence and solitude), soaking in Living Water (worshipping in His Presence), and fertilizing the soil (reading and listening to good books) has been and continues to be really wonderful!!!

It’s been a delight, but it hasn’t always been.

In summers past, I slept late everyday.  I had very little time to myself because taking care of the kids was is wonderful but nonstop. It seemed like by the time I got up and got rolling, the day was mostly gone. Even with the gift of summer days at home, I still wasn’t tending to my heart like I really wanted. I had the desire to deepen my relationship with God, but the choices I made was not getting me there.

Like with any summer gardening, you need the right tools to get the job done, to get to where you really want to be.

I had to make a decision and develop a discipline in order to make it a delight!

The routine I wanted to grow my heart wasn’t going to change until I made the decision to change. The desire for the outcome I wanted had to be stronger than my current habits which caused me to waste a lot of time. I had a lot of excuses too- I’m not an early morning person, I don’t have a lot of time for reading, I don’t have a lot of time by myself, etc. While I’m working during the school year, it truly is more difficulty to do the things I really desired to nourish myself so I knew I had to steward the gift of my summer days at home better than this. Nothing really changes unless you make the conscious decision to do something different. So, making the decision to make different choices was my starting point.

 

Next came the discipline. I am not an early riser by nature. I love to sleep late. I love my summer laziness. It’s the great gift of being a school teacher to sleep in and take it slow and easy through the morning…..at least it is for me! During that season where the kids were babies and toddlers, there was no sleeping late. I thought I would never sleep past 7:00 again! As they’ve grown, of course they are sleeping later! Hallelujah!

Following my decision to make new habits, I began the discipline of getting up before the family. At first, it was hit or miss. Some days I would and other days, sleepiness would win. With each day I said ‘yes’ to the discipline, the choice to rise up got easier and easier.

Proper discipline requires balance, and it is summer, after all. So, on Saturdays, holidays, and vacation I sleep in. Glorious! And, on Sundays, I’m getting ready for church.

Day after day of choosing to wake up early for silence, soaking and study quietly and almost without notice became a delight! I would find myself looking forward to this precious time. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in Saturdays, I found myself thinking “oh, tomorrow is Monday, I will have my morning time!”

Devotion to my spiritual disciplines has turned into a delight! When the alarm goes off, I roll out of bed and take my place. I still have days where I have to make a decision to get up, but it’s always worth it. When school starts again, I’ll have to amend this routine to fit the schedule. I’m not quite sure how that will work. It may be a new decision with a new discipline

I bet many of you are early birds and don’t have to work at rising early. What other areas could you make a decision and a discipline turn into a delight to deepen your faith and help your Summer Garden grow?

I’d love to hear about it!

Check out this Facebook Live video where I’m talking about the 3 D’s here.

If you need a little help with your summer gardening, I put together a little e-book with Scripture meditations, reflections questions, and a resource list just for you! When you sign up, you’ll get access to other Bible studies and the WoW Newsletter. Sign up here. Hope it helps!

~Amy

 

Summer Gardening: Rich, Dark Soil

You gotta have rich, dark soil. Any good gardener or farmer will tell you that.

After years and years of growing a crop or a flower bed, the earth gets depleted of its nutrients and its substance. The ground gets stale from constantly bearing fruit.

It’s no different with my heart.

After a season (or many seasons) of output and productivity, my heart becomes depleted of its nutrients and substance. I can get stale and weary if I don’t take the time to put nourishment back.

We’ve already talked about how silence and solitude are like turning the soil and soaking in His Presence is like soaking in water. Now, we must put the good stuff back by fertilizing the soil.

I wish I could use another idea to describe nourishing the soil because fertilizer is….well you know what it is. And, I don’t want to imply that taking care of your heart is B.S, but you get the idea, right?

In my summer gardening, I’ve been fertilizing the soil of my heart through listening to and reading books.

At the beginning of this year, I challenged myself to deepen my literary scope by reading some classic Christian authors and widen my scope of Christian history. However, with work and home and church and ministry, it was really hard to have the time or energy to dig into such dense spiritual nutrients.

So, for the summer, I’m making it a priority.  First off, I’m reading the Bible. I’ve already worked my way through Jeremiah and Lamentations. Now, I’m reading Ezekiel. I do this first thing in the morning while the house is quiet before the kids wake up. Since it’s still kinda hard to sit down and read a book, I’m using the book app, Scribd, on my phone to listen to books while I do other things. I’ve already listened to A.W. Tozer’s The Crucified Life and am currently working through Weight of Glory, a collection of sermons by C.S. Lewis. I have a real book that I hold in my hands called The Joy of Ministry by  Thomas W. Currie, III that I’m slowly digesting bit by bit.

My strategy is to rotate different kinds of works and authors to get a variety of deposits into my spirit- Christian discipline, theology, etc. Next, I hope to include some good ol’ church history and some practical ministry resources. I’m also watching videos of one of my favorite authors, Alicia Britt Chole. She has a series on TBN called The Sacred Slow. I haven’t had the chance to read her book yet, but the videos have been a great addition to my other books.

Of course, I have to add some good, yummy fiction to round out this diet for my soul. I have a few titles picked out on my Scribd account that were recommendations, but I have a physical book by my favorite fiction author, Francine Rivers. Many years ago, I read her Mark of the Lion series which is wonderful, so for a few minutes a day, I’ll read A Voice in the Wind. Delightful!

Can I tell you how wonderful this has been? The Tozer and Lewis pieces were simply inspiring and gets me motivated to exercise. The phone app has been really great because I’m still a better listener than a reader. I can’t wait to dive into the church history. Watching Alicia always draws me closer to Jesus. I feel like I’m nourishing myself well.

By depositing Scripture, authors, and ideas into my spirit, I hope to enrich the soil of my heart by teaching my mind and nourishing my heart so that I can have a more fulfilling relationship with God and hopefully, continued quality seasons of productivity and ministry.

Last week, I talked about it here on Facebook. Check it out.

What books are you reading? How are you fertilizing your soil? How’s your summer gardening going?

If you need a little help with your summer gardening, I put together a little e-book with Scripture meditations, reflection questions, and a resource list just for you! When you sign up, you’ll get access to other Bible studies and the WoW Newsletter. Sign up here.

Hope it helps!

~Amy

Summer Gardening: Soaking in His Presence

The most satisfying experience in all my existence is being the in the presence of God.

Out of all the pleasures that are ours to enjoy….eating, sleeping, playing, satisfaction in completing a task or job, reading, learning, nature, friends, music, art…or even chocolate……none compare to being in God’s Presence. Only the love for a child and the embrace of intimacy even come close.

These God-given, human experiences delight us and make us happy. They are part of the full, abundant life that God delights in giving us. We are content, satisfied, and blessed, but they leave us wanting more. When the experience fades (or the food is digested), the hunger or desire or longing returns, and we want more. It satisfies, but then we must experience it again to be satisfied again.

Being in God’s Presence, however, is not just pleasing to my senses or fills a physical need. Experiencing God touches something deeper than the biological requirements of my body, or the intellectual questions of my mind, or the expressing of my emotions. Being with God satisfies my spirit. Deep within me, at the essence of my being, God’s presence connects with mine.

I am satisfied in a way that is so much more complete than any of those other earthly experiences. I feel whole. I feel I am who I was meant to be.

This deep spiritual satisfaction radiates from my inmost being and rises up in me expressing itself in overwhelming floods of emotion- love, joy, peace, thankfulness. My mind has ideas and thoughts that only come from the wisdom and knowledge of the Holy Spirit so that my questions get answered and guidance is given to my decisions. My body responds with tears and laughter and words that may or may not be understood, and out of me overflows a love for those around me.

Soaking in His Presence, or worshipping God, continues as part of my Summer Gardening. Communing with God’s Spirit is like drinking up, bathing in or, diving deep into water so that’s why soaking seems to be the appropriate gardening imagery. Like a gentle rain on a lazy afternoon, my spirit is saturated and satisfied worshipping God, soaking in His Presence.

cometothiswater

Many of us worship God in lots of different ways. For me, though, my primary mode is through music. Singing and playing has a way communicating to God and with God in a way that puts me in that Holy Place like no other. Music is the language that intersects the spirit, mind, and emotions. It fills the room when we are alone and unites the assembly when we are together.

But music isn’t the only way to soak in His Presence. Being in nature, reading, creating, spending time with precious friends or family, communion, reading Scripture are all ways to worship and to soak. Each person is uniquely created to relate to God in a variety of ways.

The mode or method, I’m learning, isn’t as important as the sincerity. Worshipping God doesn’t look the same from person to person as I once used to think. From God’s perspective, He doesn’t need us to worship in any particular fashion. He doesn’t need it in any certain way. I do think, however, the object of our worship should be glorifying to God. A Godly activity that makes us feel good is nice, but are we focusing on who God is and Him being exalted in our lives and in that moment.

The purpose of my summer gardening and soaking is to be intentional and take this extra time I have at home to really pursue God. Like I mentioned in Tending the Soil, those seasons of busyness can take a toll on one’s body and spirit. So, pursuing the silence, solitude, and worshipping in God will deepen the roots of my relationship with Him while He replenishes and renews me.

There’s nothing more satisfying than soaking in His Presence. Check out this video where I’m talking about it on Facebook.

What are the ways in which you were created to worship God?

How do you soak in His Presence?

If you need a little help with your summer gardening, I put together a little e-book with Scripture meditations, reflection questions and a resource list for you! When you sign up, you’ll also get access to other Bible studies and the WoW Newsletter! Sign up here! Hope it helps!

~Amy

Living Water

Water is amazing.

Water serves us as one of the most perfect gifts God has ever created on this earth. Think about it. It nourishes and hydrates- we drink it to live. It cleanses and heals- we wash to be clean. Water is comforting and relaxing. I am reminded how wonderful water is as I’m floating in my friend’s pool and all the tension in my body melts away. Even a simple fountain with trickling water soothes my mind and helps me breathe deeply. Aaaaahhhhh….can you just hear it?

But water is also powerful.

My family and I went hiking to a cave recently in the hills of Tennessee. It was a beautiful trail, a bit rocky at times though as I huffed and puffed my way down the path. When we finally reached the opening of the huge cave, waves of cool air hit us in the face as a reward for the long journey. A small creek was flowing out of the cave trickling down over several levels of boulders and rocks into a nice running stream. Taking off my shoes and wading in the chilly water, I was refreshed and renewed (no, I didn’t drink it. I learned that lesson the hard way many years ago).

I began to notice how all the rocks were shaped differently by the water. Some rocks were smooth and rounded. Some rocks had been hollowed out like perfect bowls. Some rocks had jagged or sharp edges made by the water. Flowing water had even carved out this cave.

The same water that can nourish and relax has the power to shape rock.

We have been given a similar gift. We have been given the promise of Living Water.

Water splashing over rocks.

Jesus tells us in John 7:38-39 “Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” 39 (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)”

The Holy Spirit that Jesus is speaking of fills us and flows out of us like a river. The Spirit comforts like a float in a calm pool. The Spirit cleanses like a long, hot bath. The Spirit refreshes like wading in a cool spring. When we drink of this water, we will never thirst again.

Yet, there is one difference between the Living Water and the H2O stuff all around us. While the Holy Spirit is powerful enough to topple a city or sweep out a town like a flood or tsunami, He will never, ever over take you. He will never force or flood you more than you can handle or desire.

img_2050

Like the slow, steady trickle from a cave spring, the Holy Spirit can take those rough, rocky places in our hearts and smooth out the edges, hollow out the stone and shape into us  a cave that only God can fill.

“Come to this water, there is a vast supply. There is a river, that never shall run dry.”

Come, drink- and be satisfied.

~Amy

 

Being Made in His Image (or..I’m turning into my mother!)

It was bound to happen.

All my life, people told me how I favored my mother…blue eyes, round cheeks, smile. However, as I’ve become older, I notice how I am acting like my mother! It started with my husband saying, “you sound just like your mother when you said that!”…or….”you squinted your eyes just like your mother.”

I mean, I’ve heard plenty of times how women would say they looked in the mirror and saw their mother. That was no big surprise. But, in the last couple of years, I notice all kinds of little habits that are just like her! How I hold my hands, making a gesture, asking a question…..or even how I LOVE my favorite fountain drink on ice in a styrofoam cup complete with lid and a straw! I actually get giddy! (except I love Diet Mountain Dew and momma loves Diet Coke)

The good news is I don’t mind! I kinda laugh to myself when I do something that is just like her. What I find so interesting is that I never set out to try to do any of these things like her. I’ve never sat across the dinner table observing her subtle moves and gestures. I’ve never calculated and taken mental notes to consciously mimic her. Sure, part of it could be genetics. Maybe. But most of it is just from being around her for 40 years.

I’ve been formed in her image from being in her presence so much!

One-Bella-Casa-I-Am-My-Mother-Pillow-70588PL (2)

Now, she’ll be the first to tell you I’m not a carbon copy of her. There’s a lot I don’t do like her (I rarely iron…sorry mom…I just don’t!). So many little parts of her have formed into me from simply being around her that I subtly pick them up!

It’s the same with our relationship with God.

Hopefully, I am being made into His image from being in His presence. When I spend time with Him in prayer, study, meditation, and worship, I began to pick up his characteristics of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control and goodness. I began to love people like He does and want to reach out to minister to them.

If I tried to exert effort to act like Jesus, I would most likely fail because I am trying to be something that is not in my nature. But….if I am in His presence so much that His nature subtly changes me, then I find myself looking and loving and acting more like Him. Simply being around Him is going to affect the way I behave.

I think being like Jesus has rubbed off from my mom too!me&mom

So, next time you us zooming down the road, we’ll likely have our fountain drinks in hand!

How about you? How are you turning into your mother? How are you being made into His image??

~Amy

Silver and Gold

**One of the biggest blessings I receive from WoW gatherings is meeting and getting to know precious sisters in Christ! But not just me…watching all of you make friends and making new connections is such a joy to watch!! You are my Silver and Gold**

friends

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.  A circle’s round it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend.”

Life is not about the stuff you accumulate or how much money you make. It’s not about your achievements or the letters behind your name.  It’s not about what you drive or your net worth.

Life is about Silver and Gold. It’s about friends, old and new. Those precious relationships mined out of life’s ins and outs. The people we meet that make our lives richer.

I’ve been keenly aware of the silver and gold in my own life this summer: A day at the pool,  sending that selfie from a dressing room ‘does this dress work?’, catching up on the phone, stopping by the office for a quick hug, planning a meet-up on Facebook, attending a difficult life changing event, inviting some over for a party, staying over for dinner, sharing revelations, and studying Truth. All of it precious. All of them Silver and Gold.

We can’t make it without friends. We need that wide circle of friends to cheer for us and have fun. We need that tight circle of confidants to tell us, “Girl, you’d better put that down!” We need that one kindred spirit to whisper those secrets of the heart. We need to nourish these relationships because we draw so much nourishment from them.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

I love it that I get sharpened by my Silver and Gold. Keeps me humble. Gets me loved. Lets me grow. Makes me More than I am.

Who are your Silver and Gold? Don’t let them tarnish. Polish them as often as possible. In turn, they will polish you, sharpen you. And, you will never be left empty.

~Amy

What will you do when there’s a Flood?

We’ve been talking about how God can use simple people to do great things for Him.

But, it seems like there is so much bad stuff going on. Persecution and suffering around the world seem like a flood. It feels like the enemy is in overdrive to bring as much evil and heartache to the world. You feel it too, right?

We must remind ourselves, however, of Isaiah 59:19….

When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of God will lift up a standard against it.

God promises that when the enemy floods our lives that He will lift up a standard against the flood.

What’s the standard? The standard is an opposing force that will stop the flood.

Who is the standard? Jesus Christ is the standard. God is promising that He will lift up Christ in the midst of this overwhelming flood from the enemy.

But How is God going to lift this standard of Christ? Through us. The Body of Christ. His Body- The Church. We are the ones who God will use to facilitate, administer, and activate the standard in the midst of the flood.

flood

God will use us to bring Christ to the world to stop this flood of evil.

But we aren’t going to infiltrate by marching in a parade wearing offensive hats?!? We aren’t going to be bossy, mean, demanding, or demeaning .

How are we going to do this? Only like godly women can!

Just like the Women of Courage from the Bible, we will lift this Standard with wisdom, love, the peace and joy of God, not by might or power but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) We will lift this standard against the enemy’s flood when we……

birth babies like midwives when Pharaoh tells us not to

when put that baby in a boat and send him down the river like Jochebed

when we become queen like Esther influencing the heart of the king from within the castle

when we plead on our husbands behalf like Abigail

when we submit to the angel bearing the Good News like Mary

when we tell those around us ‘I’ve just seen Jesus’ like Mary Magdalene’!

We will lift the Standard of Christ when we teach children to read and speak, advocate for abused and neglected children, support people with disabilities, meet the needs of the sick and elderly, raise your children and grandchildren, care for your parents or spouse, teach SS, or lead VBS or make meals or work in the nursery……the list goes on and on….

We are going to love, encourage, speak truth, share joy and peace. We are going to be Salt and make people thirsty for the Gospel, and we’re going to be Light and shine the Glory of God in dark places for the glory of His name!!!

That’s how we will be Women of Courage to lift up the standard of Christ when the enemy comes in like a flood to hurt God’s people.

The enemy may see it as small, but God sees our service as big, bold, mighty acts. When you are a Women of Courage like this, you are Big Giants of the Faith. God wants to use YOU to stop the evil flood in this world!

WoW2018Flyer

Join us for week 2 as we continue our series on “Women of Courage”! Find out how God can use you to life the Standard of Christ in this flooded world and how you can be a Woman of Courage!

~Amy

When God uses the small ones to do BIG things…..

Read with me Exodus 1:8-22.

The Israelites had become slaves. They were growing in strength and number. Pharaoh felt threatened and insecure, so he devised a plan to try to limit their growth and strength. He gave orders to Shiphrah and Puah, 2 common midwives to kill any Hebrew male babies when they are born. But the women couldn’t do it- they let the boys live.

Why couldn’t they do what Pharaoh asked? Because they feared God more than a man. Whether they were Egyptian with their various gods or Hebrew who believed in one true God, they knew enough to know that what Pharaoh had asked them to do was evil and wrong.  I love it how they made their excuses….”those Hebrews women are too strong and fast…they have the babies before we get there”!

The enemy used Pharaoh to execute a deathly plan, but what we see happening is the God puts into effect His own agenda. God used these women as His own unlikely secret weapon to stop the evil plot. They took a stand. They resisted evil. They infiltrated the enemy by defying Pharaoh and by delivering those babies.

Here’s the thing…… The devil has always tried to execute these grandiose schemes with such drama and flare. But God thwarts those evil attacks through people who are seemingly small insignificant with acts of subtle obedience. God infiltrates the enemy’s plan by working through a couple of simple women of courage who quietly waging war through delivering babies and allowing them to live.

Throughout the Bible, God  used the seemingly simple people to accomplish what seems like insignificant tasks…..Jochebed and Miriam allowing a baby to live, Rahab helping Israel’s spies to escape, Jael killing the enemy in her tent while cooking supper. It keeps going. God used a donkey, farmer, orphan, the last born shepherd boy, a coward in a well, a barren woman on and on it goes. God infiltrates the enemy’s schemes and He accomplishes His own plan through what seems like the small and weak people.

Courage_Shiphrah

However, in God’s eyes this obedience isn’t small or insignificant. Their acts of courage aren’t meager or trivial. Rather,  it’s great faith and courage and bravery. In God’s eyes, these women who feared God more than man were Big Giants of Faith.

Throughout history the enemy’s tactics have not changed! He keeps trying the same old strategy to kill, steal and destroy but God always has a secret operative working in the shadows….Corrie Ten Boom…..Mother Theresa….Amy Carmicheal…..Rosa Parks.

Women who quietly and subtly…yet powerfully and courageously, with God’s Spirit, were doing battle on God’s behalf…..rescuing Jews, caring for poor, sharing the Gospel taking a stand for what’s right…..because they feared God more than man.

It doesn’t stop there…..we are being called to be God’s secret weapon for today to infiltrate enemy strongholds and to be God’s strategic plan to carry out His Mission in these last days. We know there are modern day Pharaohs, Herods, and Hamans trying to do everything they can to take out as many souls as possible. Satan’s is raging like never before to attack what God loves most…His People.

Do you feel like you are small and insignificant? Do you feel like what you do matters little?

WoW2018Flyer

Please join me at Women of the Way 2018: “Women of Courage”  as we discover how God used seemingly small women in the Bible to do BIG things for Him and how we can do the same! I truly believe this is an important message for this day and age! I urge you to be there! Find out all the details here! 

~Amy