RSS

Phoebe – A Significant Servant

Romans 16:1-2 “I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.”

Phoebe, here spelled “Phebe,” was a Gentile Christian from the port city of Cenchrea. Her name, derived from Greek mythology, means “pure” or “radiant as the moon.” Paul described Phoebe as a “servant” (Greek-diakonon) and “helper” (Greek-prostatis). She may have been a patron of some sort.

In Greek cities, rulers routinely appointed patrons to look after the interests of foreigners. Therefore, Phoebe may have functioned in an official capacity to protect the rights and meet the needs of Cenchrea’s numerous foreign visitors and resident Jews. She was obviously a person of significance who used her wealth and influence in the service of the Christians there.

On this occasion, Phoebe had traveled to Rome, possibly on a business trip. Paul, knowing that she would pass through Corinth, took the opportunity to write to the Roman Christians. This letter commended Phoebe, its bearer, to the church in Rome. Paul knew that the Roman Christians would be able to provide Phoebe with hospitality and fellowship, as well as with advice on the state of Roman politics and law.

Paul spoke highly of Phoebe. He introduced her to the Roman Christians as “sister, “servant,” “saint,” and “succourer.” Though the word here translated “servant,” it also transliterated as “deacon,” note both generic and technical usages of the word. The Greek root means literally “one who ministers or serves.” Of course, taken in that sense, the word describes not only Phoebe and other “deaconesses” in the early church, but also countless women who have given and do give themselves untiringly to the work of the Kingdom through ministries within the local church.

However, the word is also used by some in a technical sense to describe a functional ecclesiastical office such as assigned to Stephen – Acts 6: 1-7 “And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” This office was created to equip a corps of Godly saints to meet physical and social needs so that the apostles would not be pulled away from the primary ministry of the Word – Acts 6:4 “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” Phoebe and other women like her ministered where needed, they did not “preach” God’s Word as the men did. They did work that freed the men to accomplish God’s spiritual work. Women are blessed with great help-meet skills as I believe God intended.

Certainly, in the New Testament sense of deacon or deaconess, women can find ample opportunity for service with or without an official title. On the other hand, if deacon or deaconess is considered a position of official spiritual leadership, there are other passages for consideration – 1 Timothy 2:11-15 “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.” And, 1 Timothy 3:8-13 ” Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

In any case, Paul noted that Phoebe was a highly capable Greek woman of significant social status, and apparently through the Gospel, she had also overcome the pagan origins of her name to gain status–in Paul’s eyes–as a pure and radiant light for Jesus.

Phoebe was blessed with much, and after her conversion to a born-again child of God, she used her means to further God’s Kingdom!

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.”

Proverbs 31:30

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Godly Women

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Just received this from WordPress:
Happy Anniversary!
 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 19, 2014 in God's Love

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Fourth of July

Anna:

My thoughts and feelings exactly!

Originally posted on Study God's Word:

Today is the Fourth of July. For most of us, it means at least a partial day off work. Often, it means beautiful summer weather, although this year it’s a bit soggy  on the east coast so far because of Hurrican Arthur. Terry opened up the doors and windows early this morning. It’s delightful to have cool breezes clearing out the house after several days of very hot temps.

I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there is something so special about the Fourth. I love the true history of our nation, not the garbage that’s being taught today. Political correctness has destroyed the pride and honor, and the trust in God, that marked the true establishing of our nation. We have a President who made a world-wide apology tour for our very existence, yet he has stated he will not apologize for ignoring the Constitution and going around Congress with…

View original 649 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Truth and Common Sense

 

Bernice – An Unrepentant Sinner

(Berenice depicted with her brother Agrippa II during the trial of St. Paul. From a stained glass window in St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne.)

Bernice (Berenice) was the daughter of Herod Agrippa I, and the older sister of Drusilla. She was born about 28 A.D. into a racially mixed family. At age 13 she was married to Marcus, the son of Tiberius Julius Alexander. Marcus died, and she then married her uncle, Herod of Chalcis. They had 2 sons, Berniceanus and Hyrancus. She was widowed again in about 48 A.D, and was the subject of incestuous scandal when she became a consort to her own brother, Agrippa II. Years later, she married a third time to Ptolemy, king of Cicilia. The marriage, however, did not last, and she returned to her brother. She was later the mistress of the Roman emperors Vespasian and his son Titus. She was well known for her sexual promiscuity.

A woman of strong opinions, Bernice was once a dauntless defender of the Jewish people. Some sources report that she even risked her own life to intercede on behalf of the Jews. So strong was her faith that at one time, that she shaved her head and walked barefoot in keeping a vow to God. But her lifestyle pulled her away, and Bernice evidently abandoned her Jewish faith.

When Agrippa and Bernice went to Caesarea with Festus on state business, Agrippa agreed to hear the case of a prisoner, the apostle Paul. Bernice heard Paul argue his case for Christ in one of the most eloquent presentations of the Gospel ever givien, along with his own personal testimony; yet she ignored his message. Maintaining her wicked ways, Bernice died in Rome after the fall of Jerusalem. She seems to have simply disappeared from recorded history. So, we do not know how her demise came about.

Acts 25:13-23 “And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul’s cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him. To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him. Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth. Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked him whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar. Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him. And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus’ commandment Paul was brought forth.”

Paul’s defense and testimony before Agrippa and Bernice:

Acts 26:

1 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:
2 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.
4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers:
7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
21 For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.
22 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.
26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.

Bernice represents all those women throughout history who have heard the gospel, yet they have chosen to reject Christ. She embraced a sinful life that caused the deterioration of her character–a character that could have been changed by Jesus Christ, making her useful in His Kingdom. Instead, she chose to live as a friend of this world (which is at enmity with God). Her life was of such little consequence that very little was recorded of her after this oratory from Paul. I imagine that her thoughts in her later years surely wandered back to that opportunity afforded to her to come to Christ, and how she, in her self-consuming mindset, rejected Him. I would like to believe that perhaps she came back to Him before she died. But I cannot help but believe that she suffered much sorrow at the regret of so many wasted years of her life that could have been spent furthering the purpose of God’s Kingdom.

As I look around at the world today, I see many young women doing the same as Bernice in rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ for the temporal pleasures that this world offers. Perhaps they find it easier to go the way of the world and accept the devil’s lies, therefore finding their self-worth in self-love. Perhaps they are even born again children of God who have found the world’s enticements too exciting and fun. Whatever the reason, it is my prayer that they will seek the joys of following Jesus. The joy that I experience in my walk and submission to my God Jehovah totally outweigh any high I have experienced from the world.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Women of the Bible

 

Tags: , , , ,

Drusilla – A Shameful Beauty

Drusilla, daughter of Herod Agrippa, younger sister of Bernice, claimed to be a Jewess. She may have been named for Emperor Caligula’s sister. Her great-grandfather, Herod the Great, was the monster who murdered all the Jewish baby boys in an effort to destroy the newborn Jesus, our promised Messiah.

This Drusilla was a woman of rare beauty which she let corrupt her and lead to her moral decadence (The state of being degenerate in mental or moral qualities - Indulgence in sensual pleasures; excessive or immoral activities involving sex, alcohol, food, or drugs, i.e. things of this world). When she was only 14 years old, she married King Azizus of Emessa. A year or so after her marriage, Felix, the Roman governor of Judea, persuaded Drusilla to leave Azizus and to marry him illegally.

She was only mentioned once in Scripture – her presence at apostle Paul’s defense of the Gospel of Jesus before Felix:

Acts 24:24, 25 – “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”

We read there that Paul reasoned or spoke logically of God’s righteousness, temperance and judgment to come. So, we see and understand that Drusilla heard, firsthand, the Good News of Jesus Christ and the outcome of accepting or rejecting Him. She chose to reject Jesus by not responding to Paul’s message. We all face that same choice. Evidently the world’s temporary pleasures that Drusilla received because of her rare beauty meant more to her than spending eternity with our God and Saviour. That was her choice.

The apostle’s words so frightened Felix that, to please the Jews, the governor returned Paul to his confinement under house arrest rather than to prison.

Drusilla, however, chose to live a shameful, wasted life. Before her 41st birthday, she died a horrible, violent death. While she and her only child, Agrippa, were in Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying under burning lava Pompeii and Herculaneum, as well as Drusilla and her son.

When I see young beauties today caught up in what are fleeting pleasures and flatterings of this world, I stop and lift them up to the Lord for divine intervention and Salvation. I remember being so young once and the immaturity that comes with youth. Many of us at such young age are incapable of understanding how fleeting life, beauty, and the things of this world truly are. We think we are invincible, and before we know it many years have passed (if we are not taken from this world). We are left with unmendable (my own word) regrets. I guess what I am trying to convey is this, “All you young ladies out there, please open your minds and hearts to the Word of God. Let Him lead you down the path He had planned before you were in your mother’s womb, and you will experience a much more joyful life with much less regret about wasted years that could have been spent serving your precious Lord Jesus.”

I am so very thankful that my Heavenly Father, in His infinite mercy, has turned all my bad choices around and uses them for the good of His purpose. Even though I did not follow His leading several times in my life, by His Grace I am allowed to do my best to faithfully serve Him and follow the path He had to mend and change for me. Thank you my LORD, I love you so.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 25, 2014 in Godly Women, Women of the Bible

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Vengeance Belongs to God

In ancient Israel, the priests in the Temple would sing a different Psalm for each day of the week during their daily worship services. For Wednesday, they sang Psalm 94 which focuses on vengeance being part of God’s care for His people. I can understand how these words could be of comfort to God’s children.

I also like what Matthew Henry’s Commentary has to say about this Psalm:

Verses 1-11: The danger and folly of persecutors:

We may with boldness appeal to God; for He is the almighty Judge by whom every man is judged. Let this encourage those who suffer wrong, to bear it with silence, committing themselves to Him who judges righteously. These prayers are prophecies, which speak terror to the sons of violence. There will come a day of reckoning for all the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against God, His truths, and ways, and people. It would hardly be believed, if we did not witness it, that millions of rational creatures should live, move, speak, hear, understand, and do what they purpose, yet act as if they believed that God would not punish the abuse of His gifts. As all knowledge is from God, no doubt He knows all the thoughts of the children of men, and He knows that the imaginations of the thoughts of men’s hearts are only evil, and that continually. Even in good thoughts, there is a want of being fixed, which may be called vanity. It concerns us to keep a strict watch over our thoughts, because God takes particular notice of them. Thoughts are words to God.

Verses 12-23: Comfort and peace to the persecuted:

That man is blessed, who, under the chastening of the Lord, is taught His will and His truths, from His Holy Word, and by the Holy Spirit. He should see mercy through his sufferings. There is a rest remaining for the people of God after the days of their adversity, which shall not last always. He that sends the trouble, will send the rest. The psalmist found succour and relief only in the Lord, when all early friends failed. We are beholden, not only to God’s power, but to His pity, for spiritual supports; and if we have been kept from falling into sin, or shrinking from our duty, we should give Him the glory, and encourage our brethren. The psalmist had many troubled thoughts concerning the case he was in, concerning the course he should take, and what was likely to be the end of it. The indulgence of such contrivances and fears, adds to care and distrust, and renders our views more gloomy and confused. Good men sometimes have perplexed and distressed thoughts concerning God. But let them look to the great and precious promises of the Gospel. The world’s comforts give little delight to the soul, when hurried with melancholy thoughts; but God’s comforts bring that peace and pleasure which the smiles of the world cannot give, and which the frowns of the world cannot take away. God is His people’s Refuge, to whom they may flee, in whom they are safe, and may be secure. And He will reckon with the wicked. A man cannot be more miserable than his own wickedness will make him, if the Lord visit it upon him.

Psalm 94

Emphasis added.

1 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.

2 Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

3 LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? (I hear many asking this question still today.)

4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?

5 They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.

6 They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.

7 Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. (Really, how ignorant to think that Almighty God shall not see ALL!)

8 Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?

9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

10 He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?

11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. (The wicked WILL be judged, some during out time, and some on The Judgment Day, according to God’s plan.)

14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

15 But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.

16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?

17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.

18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.

19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

20 Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?

21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.

22 But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.

AMEN!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 11, 2014 in God's Truth

 

Tags: , , , ,

True Meekness

I experienced some conviction during my time with the LORD this morning, which focused on the trait of meekness. I am a humble person at heart, for the most part, well-sometimes… but true meekness is not one of my strong points. Thus, God is still working on me in this area. With one of my gifts being prophecy (laced with mercy), it is very difficult for me to tolerate injustice of any kind. I very much need God’s guiding hand to help me with this in that it would do me good to realize more quickly that He is in control, and He it is that enacts justice, in His time, and according to His plan. I have had a tendency to try and take these matters into my own hands when I have not seen them being ‘made right’ in my time; much to my own chagrin.

I decided to get my Strong’s out and look up the word meekness as found in Titus 3:2 “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”

Imagine the needed correction I experienced in my spirit as I read the following:

Greek word praios (prah’ -os) - gentle, i.e. humble:–meek

“Praos is mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, meekness. Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. The meek man truly acknowledges himself as a sinner among sinners and this knowledge of his own sin teaches him to meekly endure the provocations of others and not to withdraw from the burdens their sins may impose on him.”

*Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

*2 Timothy 2:25 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;”

“The meek are those wholly relying on God, rather than their own strength to defend them against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing that God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time.”

*Isaiah 41:17 “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”

*Luke 18:1-8 ” And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

“Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will.”

*Galatians 5:23 “Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

My response to this teaching today is to continually ask for the Spirit’s help to strengthen me in this area of trusting God in ALL things. I actually feel sad for those who commit injustices on those of us who belong to Yahweh. He will provide His justice. It also makes me want to take more care not to be hurtful to others as well.

“Thank you, my LORD, for your gentle teaching, Amen.”

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Godly Women

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 295 other followers

%d bloggers like this: