I am the least…

When the Lord allowed Bethany and I to start this blogging journey, I told Anna that she would have the opportunity to “guest post” from time-to-time. The following was taken from Anna’s Bible Journal:

“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.” I Corinthians 1:26-29 

Verse 27 is talking about how God can use the weak to confound the mighty. Confound means to make ashamed. God isn’t just looking for rich, educated, good-looking people to work for Him. He is looking for willing, humble, separated, etc. vessels to do His work. In Judges 6, God called a man named Gideon to deliver His people from the Midianites. His reply was, “…Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” Judges 6:15  Notice he said, “I am the least”. Gideon had a humble spirit. He thought that he was too small to do such a task, but God used him and he fought a very interesting battle where God gave the victory! God used the “least” to lead an army.  There are many other examples where God used the “weak” or “least”. So, don’t get discouraged and think that you can’t be used of God, because ANYONE can!!! Just have a willing and humble spirit and a life consecrated to God!!

~ Anna ~

“The Great I Am”

God’s children were in bondage

In Egypt’s land for many years

When they cried unto their Father

Through their pain and through their tears

Then He raised a man named Moses

To lead them to the promised land

When Moses said Lord I am nothing

God said just trust Me, The Great I Am

CHORUS

I am thy God Jehovah

Is anything too hard for Me

When the water’s too high for crossing

I’ll be there to part the sea

When the flames of doubt enfold you

I am the fourth Man in the fire

Fear thou not for I am with thee

I am your God, you are My child

~~~

Though we walk through the fiery trials

And though we trod the valley low

There’s a refuge for God’s children

And a place where we can go

Just like Moses, I am helpless

By myself I cannot stand

Then I hear the Saviour whisper

Just trust in Me, The Great I Am

BRIDGE

I am the Rose of Sharon

I am your strength when you are weak

I am the great Physician

The Provider of all your needs

The Lily in your valley

When storms of life are raging wild

Fear thou not, for I am with thee

I am your God, you are My child

(Traci Jones)

God’s Word – It’s for Ladies Too!!

Sometimes, I’m afraid, Christian women have the mindset that spiritual strength is just for men. Yes, our husbands are to be the spiritual leaders in our homes, but that does not mean that women are not to grow in the Lord as well. It seems that even some “just for ladies” Christian publications tend to shy away from challenging women to dig into the Word and grow. The endless “feel good about yourself” stories, warm and fuzzy illustrations, etc, may make us smile, laugh, cry…but have we grown “in grace and knowledge”?  I was talking to a dear Christian lady…several years younger than I…and as we discussed different books that had been an encouragement to us, she mentioned some that had been a disappointment to her as well. Books that she had eagerly purchased because of the well-known speaker/author, had left her very hungry…desiring meat but yet receiving fluffy dessert.

What is the problem? Are we afraid to be perceived as being “strong”? Do we think that spiritual strength is not lady-like…even unbiblical? Consider a few illustrations from God’s Word:

ESTHER Before Esther became queen, we see an example of her submissive spirit:

 “Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred: for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it.” Esther 2:10

After Esther became queen, we see her continued submissive spirit:

“Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him.” Esther 2:20

Yet, Queen Esther was strong in her faith! When Mordecai sent a charge to her, that she risk her life and go before the king on behalf of the Jews, her initial (and quite normal) reaction was one of fear but her final response was that of consent. She then sent word back that all the Jews in Shushan fast for three days, while she and her maidens fasted as well. She ended that request with, “…if I perish, I perish.”  She would trust God; her life was in His hands. The type of strength that Queen Esther portrayed does not point to a young lady whose faith had not been growing over the years.

RUTH We see Ruth’s stedfastness in the very first chapter of this small book. After the death of Naomi’s husband and two sons (one of which was Ruth’s husband), Naomi decides to return to her own homeland. Both of her daughters-in-law initially begin to follow her but, at Naomi’s insistence, one of them (Orpah) turns back to her own people and their false gods. Ruth, however, “clave unto her” and we read part of her response to her mother-in-law in verse 16, “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:”  Verse 18 tells us Naomi’s reaction to Ruth’s response “When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.”  Was Ruth a stubborn and rebellious woman? Not hardly! After their return to Naomi’s homeland, we see the impact that Ruth’s character had on the entire city:

 “…all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” Ruth 3:11 

Yes, Ruth was strong in her faith but Ruth was a virtuous woman. In other verses, we see examples of Ruth’s caring spirit:

(Boaz speaking to Ruth) “…It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” Ruth 2:11,12

And her submissive spirit:

(Ruth speaking to Naomi) “And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do. And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.” Ruth 3:5,6

THE VIRTUOUS WOMAN How often has this woman – this rare but valuable woman – been pointed to as an example for Christian girls and women? Yet, when I read this passage in Proverbs 31:10-31, I do not get the impression of a warm and fuzzy lady who lives in a fairy tale world of constant lightheartedness, “Christian” romance novels and chocolate bon-bons. 🙂 We do not have to read very far to see a woman of strength and diligence. But, I also see signs of a submissive spirit:

Verses 11 & 12 “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Verse 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”

I see a sweet spirit as well:

Verse 26 – “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

 It has been said, “Behind every great man, there is a great woman” and I believe The Virtuous Woman would certainly be an example of this. Her husband’s greatness would be attributed in part to a wife who had willingly taken second place in their home. I heard it said recently that, for a wife, it takes great strength at times to be submissive. I would say this is certainly true and, depending on the natural personality, could require greater strength and grace for some than others. Was submission an occasional challenge for this great lady? It quite possibly was, considering her own great strength as well as talents and abilities. Yet, it was her husband that was known in the gates…not herself.

The type of strength yet sweet and submissive spirit that we see in the lives of Esther, Ruth and The Virtuous Woman can only be carried out in our daily lives through close fellowship with the Lord. Even then, there will be challenging times but, by allowing God’s Word to be our guide, we are sure to get back on track. The above three examples are just a very small percentage of women who were strong in the Lord, yet sweet and submissive. There are many, many other examples that could be given – both from God’s Word as well as in the lives of Godly women both past and present. I pray that this has been an encouragement as well as challenge – that we, as ladies, not fear growing spiritually but rather see the vital importance of digging deeper into God’s Word.

~ Rachel ~

Following Christ – R. A. Torrey

“One of the commonest causes of failure in Christian life is found in the attempt to follow some good man whom we greatly admire. No man and no woman, no matter how good, can be safely followed. If we follow any man or woman, we are bound to go astray. There has been but one absolutely perfect Man on this earth–the Man Christ Jesus. If we try to follow any other man we are surer to imitate his faults than his excellencies. Look to Jesus and Jesus only as your Guide.” ~ R.A. Torrey

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27

“…in those days…”

“And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered.
And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.
But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth.
Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?
And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.
And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”  Luke 6:6-12

In reading these verses, we find Jesus teaching in the synagogue. One of the people there that day was a man with a withered hand. The scribes and Pharisees, seeing this, watched Jesus to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath day that they might find an accusation to make against Him.
Jesus, being omniscient, knew their thoughts and questioned them before proceeding to heal the man. We find, in verse 11, the scribes’ and Pharisees’ response to this:

“And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.”

Afterward, in verse 12, we see Jesus’ response to theirs:

“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”

We see that Jesus, “in those days”, (days of trouble, trial, tribulation, turmoil…etc)….PRAYED! We, as Christians, should be patterning our life after Jesus! But do we?  Do we, in the midst of trouble, call out to God or do we rather call out to everybody but Him? The moment we are hit by adversity, do we run to God…or the social media? Numerous times in God’s Word, we find God bidding us to call to Him in time of trouble. Psalms 50:15  “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” Let us take His invitation and call out to Him in our trouble, knowing that He will never fail to deliver us!

~ Bethany ~