Women of the Bible 8: Who are we?

S was shopping with Helena, who also went to her church and was in her clique of friends. “If E wouldn’t be so stubborn, she might be a nice person. Except, did you know … she has a special ‘friendship’ with that butcher man? Her husband hasn’t found out yet, but I thought I’d let you in on it, so you can pray for her.”

S continued on her way, picking up pomegranates to examine them for ripeness, pushing the tips of melons and choosing a large one, collecting rice, wheat kernels, and dried beans in cloth bags, and chatting it up with Helena all the while, lots of gossip in her wake.

Suddenly, she spotted E, the woman she was gossiping about, and ducked behind a fruit stand, finally silent. No way did she want to meet that person.

But E had seen her. She and S went to the same church, but they were archenemies. E couldn’t believe how S acted. Why did she always have to take the other side of every issue? Why did S have to seek the limelight, even publicly putting her down? Oh well, E would do the Christian thing and greet her, even though she’d rather stab her in the back—which she often did with her words.

E embraced and kissed S as if they were friends. It was good no one could see her facial expression. Oh, how she hated pretense—but in order to look good, she’d stoop to anything.

Apparently, word got out that E and S made trouble in their local church. The traveling leader called them out by name in his letter. I beseech E, and beseech S, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. How embarrassing!

Seriously, what right had he to name them?

Who were E and S? These are their real initials.

Who was the traveling leader?

For extra credit, where was the missionary when he wrote the letter naming these women? And, what authority did he have to call out two contentious people in the church?

Can you think of another Bible verse about divisive people in the church? Please share.

Why is it so serious when Christians don’t get along in a local church?

Do you think E and S changed their ways and made peace?

What’s the lesson for us today?

Do you like yourself?

Many women don’t like themselves. Maybe they look in the mirror and scowl, but for the majority, it goes much deeper. They simply don’t like who they are … and they don’t know how to be what they want to be.

What’s the problem? It could be many things, for example:

  • Emotions—Ups and downs, the rollercoaster of women’s lives
  • Health issues—Underlying health problems and/or pain can greatly affect how we feel about ourselves.
  • Comparison—Social media shows one side of people’s lives, but women still tend to believe what they see—and want it.
  • A lack of biblical perspective—An accurate look at Scripture will help us improve and accept ourselves today. It will also give us goals and purpose.
  • Lack of contentment—Contentment helps us be happy with ourselves as well as what we have.
  • Unachievable goals—Many women set their goals as if they were someone else. They think they have to achieve something great in order to succeed.

Let’s look at the Bible to see who you are and what you need to strive for.

  1. You are an amazing creation. God planned you from the very beginning, when you were in the womb. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13-16). Therefore, since God made you wonderful and marvellous in His divine plan, you can praise Him for exactly how you are.
  2. To God, you were worth saving. It was because of Jesus’ payment for sins and not because of any merits on your part. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5). For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). I don’t think I will ever fully comprehend how a holy God could love sinners—but He does. Praise Him!
  3. God cares about every little detail of your life. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:30). How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee (Psalm 139:17-18). Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:7).
  4. The Lord promises to meet your needs—all of them. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
  5. If you trust Him, He will also be your guide. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).
  6. Contentment can be learned. The Apostle Paul said, Not that I speak in respect of want (lack): for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11). He goes on to say we should be content with what we have right now. Let your conversation (lifestyle) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).
  7. Understand that God loves to use weak things, and be thankful He wants to use you. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
  8. Set a simple goal: to bring glory to God. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Love God, and accept yourself as a masterpiece of divine artwork, created for His glory.

God bless you today!

Ask your husband.

Even in Christian circles, women constantly ask other women what they think. While that’s not wrong, and it’s extremely helpful to brainstorm certain subjects with other women, we’ve lost an important custom that dates back to biblical times—and the wisdom behind it.

Ask your husband.

Let me explain. In Numbers 30, we read that a husband may nulify a vow made by his wife. This protected her. The Bible teaches that the husband is the head of his home, and in that position, he has God-given authority. This concept carries on throughout Scripture.

When a woman goes to church and she has a question about what she’s heard, the Bible says she should ask her husband at home instead of speaking out in the service (1 Corinthians 14:35). This also protects her, and if her husband doesn’t know the answer, he can find out for her.

When a lady asks her group of Christian friends what they think, some will reference Scripture, but most give off-the-cuff personal opinions. She probably should also ask her husband. He has a different perspective and will help guide her. An added benefit to asking her husband is that he’s encouraged because he sees that she values his views.

Respecting one’s husband basically means that a wife seeks and considers his opinions.

Many women forget to ask their husbands at all.

In my own marriage, it has been an eye-opener to ask my husband his thoughts on hundreds of topics. Many times, it’s a totally different perspective. When I ask him what his priorities are for the day, a lot of times I am surprised by his answers. This is freeing. I understand what’s important to him—and that’s important to me.

In 1 Corinthians 7:34, we read that there is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

How does she know how to please her husband?

She asks.

Try it today!

14 popular sayings, but…

You read them every day. They’re interesting phrases, but they don’t necessarily agree with the Bible. At best, they’re verses taken out of context. At worst, they’re just pithy phrases.

Let’s look at them:

  1. I can do all things. This partial verse comes from Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. The context is about being content in extremely adverse circumstances. The Apostle Paul is in prison when he wrote these words. The verse just before this one says: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Jesus can strengthen a Christian to forebear in even the most difficult situations.
  2. You’re not supposed to judge. While it’s true that God is the ultimate Judge, the Bible tells us by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20). This is speaking of Christians displaying the fruit of the Spirit—one evidence of a person who is truly born again. Jesus said, Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). Also, the Bible gives the church mediation judgment in disputes and for cases that require church discipline.
  3. The devil made me do it. Ever since Eve, people have been blaming the devil for their own decisions. Each person has at least a split second to decide whether to do right or wrong. In the beginning of the book of Job, we see that the devil can certainly afflict and tempt, but he cannot make anyone do anything.
  4. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Cleanliness is certainly desirable, and the Bible often refers to washing (ceremonial, for hygiene, and customary kindness to guests). But, you won’t find this statement or anything close to it in the Bible.
  5. You certainly earned a place in heaven. No one can earn a place in heaven. It’s a gift. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  6. We’ll wear crowns in heaven. We read about Paul getting a crown of righteousness from Jesus at judgment day—along with others who are true Christians. Those believers who endure temptation and persecution will get a crown of life. At the appearance of the Lord, believers will get a crown of glory. The purpose of these crowns? I don’t envision believers walking around like kings and queens with crowns on their heads. In Revelation 3:10, we read about the twenty-four elders casting their crowns in adoration at Jesus’ feet. I believe we receive crowns in order to offer them back to Jesus in appreciation for His salvation.
  7. God helps those who help themselves. Algernon Sidney was quoted saying this by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac. This isn’t Bible and never was.
  8. Money is the root of all evil. Money isn’t the root of all evil; it’s the love of money—the desire for it and not being content. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:10).
  9. You got this. This is used to encourage people and we understand what it means, but the truth is that only God is in control of any situation. We are, at best, weak people completely dependent upon Him.
  10. God will never give you more than you can handle. Simply not true. I wrote a whole post about this recently. You can access it here.
  11. I put out a fleece, so I can find out what God’s will is. I know that Gideon put out a literal fleece because he genuinely needed confirmation of God’s will for him (Judges 6:37-40). God honored Gideon and performed the miracles for him. Nowhere in the Bible do we read that this is a normal or recommended way to find out God’s will. Now, we have the whole Bible, which tells us clearly what God wants for our lives. We don’t need to test God to find out.
  12. You need to love yourself, forgive yourself. I don’t think loving one’s self appears anywhere in the Bible except in Ephesians 5:28, which says: So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. The Bible consistently speaks of loving God first and loving others next. It never tells us to love ourselves. It takes that for granted—and warns many times against pride. Forgiving yourself is a little weird. Only God can forgive us of our sins and short-fallings. Forgiving one’s self might mean accepting that God has forgiven confessed sin—but it’s not the same thing. The truth is, we can’t forgive ourselves. Only Jesus can forgive.
  13. I’ve got a mansion waiting for me in heaven. A mansion? John 14:2 actually says, In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. The word mansion means a place to abide, an abode (Vine’s). God is preparing places in heaven. What will they be like? I have no idea. What does a changed body need in heaven? Though we probably won’t ramble around alone in huge houses, we’ll have some kind of place in heaven—and it will be amazing.
  14. God showed up. We know what people mean by this, but God is omnipresent—everywhere in the universe at once. He is not able to show up, since He’s already there. The psalmist asked, Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me (Psalm 139:7-10). Kin to this one is, “Let’s invite God into this space,” as if He weren’t already there and as if He needs an invitation to be anywhere.

Wasn’t this fun? We’ll explore some more of these sayings in the future. A shout-out to my girlfriends who contributed to my brainstorming session. Thank you so much!

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).

Bible women 7: Who am I?

The judge profesied to the captain of Israel: The journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall deliver your enemy into the hand of a woman.

The enemy gathered his troops with nine hundred chariots of iron and readied them for battle.

Israel went to meet them, descending from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men.

The Lord confused the enemy with all their chariots and warriors, and their captain ran away on foot.

I was outside tending to our camels when I noticed him running towards our tent home. As soon as his face was recognizable, I knew who he was: our enemy, the captain of Jabin’s army, running away like the coward he was, wearing the cloak of a poor man. I circled to the front and called out to him, “Stranger, please come in and find shelter.” When he entered, I rolled out a cushioned mat on the floor.

“I’m thirsty. Bring me water,” he commanded. I knew by his tone I had guessed correctly. This was indeed the captain.

Instead of water, I opened a bottle and gave him milk, encouraging him to take a nap. I would stand watch at the door. He ordered me to lie and say no, should anyone ask if I had seen him.

Oh yes, I would stand watch. I would make sure no one came in, but I wouldn’t lie. I’d guarantee he wouldn’t be seen—and there would be no witness to what I was about to do.

Within minutes, he was asleep on the couch on the floor. Snoring. What a racket! My husband never snored so loud. I knew my chance had come. I tiptoed outside to the wooden chest where we kept tools, chose a sharp tent stake and hammer, and silently slinked back into my tent. It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d made a noise. That man wouldn’t even have heard a camel bawling. He was sound asleep and still making too much noise of his own.

I steadied myself, took a deep breath and held it. I would save many lives by killing him. Still, it wasn’t easy. I had to muster all my strength. I held the tent stake at his temple and hit it hard. With two terrible blows, it went all the way through, pinning him in place.

He would never snore again.

While I pounded and blood splattered all over my dress and the corner of our tent, Israel’s soldiers followed the confused enemy and defeated them. Many enemy troops fell on their swords rather than being killed or captured. They suffered utter defeat.

Soon, Israel’s captain and soldiers passed by my home. Still decorated with blood spray, I invited the captain to come inside to view his enemy. The tent peg pinned his head to our floor.

God had delivered the kingdom of Jabin into the hands of the Israelites. Our people were free.

Later, they would sing praises to God for the victory. Part of that song described my little part. Blessed above women shall (she) be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer; and with the hammer she smote (the captain), she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.

Who am I?

And, who was the enemy captain I killed?

What was the name of the captain of Israel’s army?

And, for extra credit, who was the judge?

And, if you enjoy deep topics, what is the difference between killing in war and murder? Is there a difference? Bible references?