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Jesus Cares for Widows

Ronald Rae Widow Woman 1992. Ragley Hall

Ronald Rae Widow Woman 1992. Ragley Hall (Photo credit: amandabhslater)

 

Jesus raises a widow‘s son from the dead”

Luke 7:11-17 “11. And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him,and much people. 12. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  14. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.”

As we see in the passage, there was “much people” with this widow, making much ado, grieving the death of her son. Though it is human to grieve for those who pass, I should think it would have been more of a solace to the widow if someone had stepped up and offered to take her in or give her aid. Instead, the crowd of mourners would go home, having accomplished their all-important ritual, and she would be left destitute and alone.

Back in those days there was no such thing as Medicare or Social Security. Women, especially elderly, were dependent upon their husbands and their sons to take care of them. Not only did Jesus care that this woman was in pain over her loss, I believe that He felt her pain. He also knew that her situation was dire, and that it required drastic measures. She had lost her husband, and now her last avenue of support through her only son. She was most probably past the age of childbearing and would never marry again. I would guess that the widow found Jesus’ words, “Weep not,” much more consoling than the raucous commotion that the crowd was causing. He knew that He was her only hope, and “he had compassion” on her and immediately brought her son back to life.

The Jews had many traditions they were bound to and their display at funerals was an important one to them. The family of the dead person followed the body as it made its way through town.  There were hired mourners who cried out drawing bystanders to the procession as well. The family then continued their mourning for 30 days. One thing the scribes and pharisees hated about Jesus’ ministry was that he chastised them for their many traditions and laws that were too hard on the people. Instead of seeking to know God and have a relationship with Him, they made stringent rules that only burdened the people. Jesus taught that those rules and traditions will not secure our home in eternity. He is the only Way.

Jesus also never missed an opportunity to glorify His heavenly Father. He used this event to illustrate salvation to a world that is lost in sin, just as the widow’s son was dead. We, like the dead, can do nothing to help ourselves. But God had compassion on us, while we were yet sinners, and sent His only Son to raise us to newness of life in Him. As the woman’s son could not earn a second chance at life, so we cannot earn our new life in Christ. We can, however, accept God’s gift of eternal life, praise Him for it, and live our lives to do His will.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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The Samaritan Woman

English: Christ and the woman of Samaria at Ja...

English: Christ and the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s Well (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Jewish culture in the first century treated women as second-class citizens. They had very few of the rights that men of that time had. Jesus respected all people equally, but he showed a special care for women. In this category, I will be sharing from God’s word about some of the encounters Jesus had with different women during his ministry on earth.

This first entry will be of the Samaritan woman that Jesus met at the well. You will find this story in John 4:1-26. It begins with Jesus leaving Judaea and traveling to Galilee because of mounting opposition from the Pharisees. Most Jews of that era hated the Samaritans and avoided them like the plague. Jesus had no use for such cultural limitations, and since the route through Samaria was the fastest one to Galilee, that is the way he chose. I like to think that our Father in Heaven told him something like this, “Hey, Son, since you are going that way, there is this Samaritan woman who needs to know that we love her, and we have a cure for her sin.”

Before, I continue with the story, we must first understand the history behind the Jewish hatred of the Samaritans. Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom before it was conquered by the Assyrians. When they invaded the Northern Kingdom, many Jews were exiled to Assyria and foreigners from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim were brought in to Samaria to settle the land and keep the peace (2 Kings 17:24). Most Jews who remained in Samaria married the foreigners and they became a mixed race.

The Jews from the Southern Kingdom considered themselves to be a pure race of Jews. They became very prejudiced against the spoiled blood line of Samaritans because they felt that they had betrayed their people and their nation by mixing their Jewish blood with foreign blood.

Now at Jacob’s well in Samaria: Jesus was weary from his journey “and it was about the sixth hour” or noon. Usually the women went to fetch water from the well in the morning and in the evening. This woman came at noon to steer clear of others, probably because of her poor reputation.

John 4:7-9 “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”

This woman must have been quite taken aback by Jesus’ (a Jew) request for a drink of water. First of all, she was a woman. Second, she was a hated Samaritan woman who was known to be living in sin, and she was in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman under such circumstances. But Jesus did.

Verse 10 “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”

I believe that Jesus knew full-well who this woman was and what her life was like. I can imagine him resting near the well, watching the woman looking this way and that as she approached with her water pot. His heart must have ached knowing the pain her sin was causing her. He offered her “living water.”

The Old Testament compares thirsting after God to one who thirsts for water (Psalm 42:1; Isaiah 55:1; Jeremiah 2:13; Zechariah 13:1). God is also called the fountain of life in Psalm 36:9, and the fountain of living waters in Jeremiah 17:13. When he told the woman that he could give her living water, he was laying claim to being the Messiah, the only one who could offer this gift that gratifies the very soul.

He also knew that if she accepted his gift, her life would change drastically for the better. He does not wish for any one to hurt or suffer, and a life of sin is very damaging to the human spirit.

Verses 11-15 “The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12. Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13. Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14. but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”

No one had ever talked with her about her spiritual hunger and thirst before. She misunderstood and thought that Jesus could give her an endless supply of water so that she would never have to return to the well. He was teaching her that our souls hunger for spiritual food and water, just as our bodies do for physical food and water.

Verses 16-20 “Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18. for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”

The woman became uncomfortable when Jesus hit her sin square on the head. She was quick to shift the focus off herself by changing the subject. It was a smokescreen to keep Jesus from her deepest need. It happens to all of us at one time or another, especially when we are under conviction about something. Jesus did not let her get away with that tactic. He brought up the very important point that where we worship is not as important as our attitudes when we worship.

Verses 21-26 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Wow! Can’t you just hear the authority ring from that passage?  When Jesus referenced “salvation is of the Jews” he was saying that only through the Jewish Messiah would the world be saved. Jesus knew that the woman was familiar with the passages in the Old Testament that foretold of the coming Messiah. He finally got through to her.

As we read on we see that the woman was so excited to share what she had found that she left her water pot at the well and told people to “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (Verse 29) Then in verse 39. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.”

As we can see, Jesus spent not a little time with this woman because he cared about her. I know from experience that it does not matter how sinful we are, we are worth Jesus’ time. He stands waiting with open arms to give to each of us “living water.”

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Jesus' Encounters with Women

 

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A Powerful Love Story

Česky: Kříže - symbol utrpení Ježíše Krista a ...

 

How we ladies do love a good love story, so I want to remind all of you lovely women, as I am being reminded, of God’s great love for us. There is no better place to find how He loves us than in His word. I cannot think of a better, more loving motivator to being a Godly woman than understanding, to what extent that we can, the pure love of our Heavenly Father.

Psalm 139:17, 18 “17. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! 18. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

We are the “beloved of God, called to be saints” Romans 1:7. As sinners saved by grace, God considers us His beloved children. I rather like being a princess.

He lovingly protects us – Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

His love completes us – Colossians 2:10 “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

He makes us forever free from sin’s power – Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

His love is eternal! I Peter 1:3-5 “3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4. to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5. who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Jesus considers us a precious gift from His Father. John 10:29 “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

He has brought us to life – Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” 2:4-7 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5. even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) 6. and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7. that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

NEED I WRITE MORE!? I think this is enough love for now. How wonderfully overwhelming to be reminded of it. Thank you, Lord. I love you too.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2011 in God's Love

 

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Becoming a Godly Woman Part 4

Portrait of two women and a boy by Charles Bay...

 

Titus 2:3 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

“Teachers of good things”.

Teacher: Instructor, Educator, Mentor

I like to think of us as mentors to our younger Christian sisters, much the same as our younger siblings. To be teachers of good things, we are to be a good influence for the younger women and teach them God’s doctrine and principles. The Greek word for teachers of good things is kalodidaskalos (kal-od-id-as’-kal-os) meaning teachers of the right.

What are we to teach that is right? Titus 2:4, 5 “4. that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5. to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

1. “be sober” – Greek word sōphroneō – serious, self-restrained, of a sound mind, temperate (control our tempers?)

2. “love their husbands” – This goes above and beyond just “loving” our husbands. It is to be lovers of our husbands, putting our love into action by putting his needs above our own. This is the foundation for all domestic harmony as a Godly man will, in turn, do the same.

3. “love their children” – Godly women not only nurture their children physically, but train them up in the Lord as well. We make our homes and our families our priority.

4. “be discreet” – self-controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion) probably from an obsolete Greek root phrao (to rein in or curb). Could this possibly be referring to curbing our tongue? I would say so, but I would say that we are to also curb our thoughts that lead to what rolls off of our tongues.

5. “be chaste” – the Greek word hagnos means pure in our thoughts as well as in our behavior - innocent, modest, perfect - being faithful to our husbands

6. “keepers at home” – Guardians of the house - here again this has to do with keeping our homes our top priority and fulfilling our household duties, even if we work outside the home, our families need to come first. If we are training our children in the Lord, they will chip in and help. Godly families work together as a unit.

7. “good” – kind (Greek word ag-ath-os’) beneficent or thrifty as housewives helping our husbands to be good stewards of what God gives us

8. “obedient to their own husbands” – submission to our husbands. Please see my SIDE NOTE in my Enter Evil posting for the best description of wifely submission.

We are to teach our younger women this lifestyle so that “the word of God be not blasphemed.” We are not to bring shame or reproach to God or His word.

In conclusion, as teachers of good things we not only do what is good and right, we teach our younger women to do the same and pass on Godly precepts to the next generations. And this we do, not just in church, but we let our very lives show them how to become Godly women. They want to hear us and see us portraying these wise, Godly principles, not just mouthing them.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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Becoming a Godly Woman Part 3

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino ro...

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino rojo. Русский: Грозди винограда. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Titus 2:3 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

Today’s topic will cover “not given to much wine”. I think that is pretty straightforward in that we are not to be drunk with wine. I would go so far as to say that it would be unwise and a very bad example to consume alcohol at all. Would those looking to us for guidance take us seriously if they witnessed us in a drunken state? Of course not. In fact it would be more likely that we would cause some to stumble in their walk.

I find that God’s word, as always, says it best:

Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Proverbs 21:17 “He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

Proverbs 23: 29-32 “29. Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?”

“30. They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”

Proverbs 31:4-6 was written as wise advice to a king, but I feel that it is also fitting for those of us who wish to become a Godly example to others:

“4. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
5. Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
6. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.”

Though alcohol may be used to sooth and comfort, it is only temporary, and we must be aware of the dangers it imposes on its victims. It dulls our senses, limits our judgment, hinders our self-control, and destroys our bodies and minds. Very many families and marriages are destroyed by it as well. It is not a solution to any problem. Instead of losing ourselves in alcohol; why not find ourselves in God?

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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Becoming a Godly Woman Part 2

English: Portrait of Rebecca Greenleaf Webster...

English: Portrait of Rebecca Greenleaf Webster, wife of lexicographer Noah Webster, by the American artist Jared Bradley Flagg, oil on canvas. 84.7 cm. x 72.7 cm. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Titus 2:3 “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

My last entry focused on what it means to be Godly with behaviour that becomes holiness. Today’s topic is false accusers. The Greek word for false accuser is diabolos (dee-ab’-ol-os). It means devil or slanderer. Nowadays we call them gossipers. I think we can all agree that gossiping is not Godly behaviour; it is quite the opposite and very harmful.

Gossipers are known for starting or spreading malicious rumors, and/or divulging personal information that someone has trusted them with. Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary defines a gossiper as: “One who runs from house to house, tattling and telling news; an idle tattler.”

Are they always women? No, men have been known to do it too, but I would say that women are the weaker vessels in this area. Are they always older women? No, but older women are to set an example for the younger, inexperienced women. Have I ever gossiped about someone? Yes, I shamefully admit that I have. One thing though – the Holy Spirit has convicted me very quickly, helping me to make things right when I have joined in on gossiping. I was also taught, growing up, not to say anything behind a person’s back that I would not be willing to say to that person’s face.

Have I been hurt by others’ gossip? Most definitely, and God lays it on my heart to remember those times when I feel tempted to prattle on about someone else. I pray daily (and sometimes constantly) that God will guide and control my tongue along with my thoughts and actions. Left to my own devices, I cannot overcome any temptation.

I have seen precious souls leave God’s house because of one person’s thoughtless scuttlebutt. Some have found a new church home, but some were so devastated by such hurtful actions that they left the church never to return. Also, sadly, lifelong friendships have ended because of an uncontrolled tongue.

Our speech comes from one of two sources – Satan or God:

Words that are motivated by Satan are full of bitter jealousy, selfish ambition, earthly concerns and desires, nonspiritual thoughts and ideas, disorder, and evil.

In Contrast:

Words that are motivated by God are full of purity, peace, consideration for others, submission, mercy, sincerity, impartiality, and goodness.

If we are sincerely seeking to know God more each day, we are in His word, listening to His direction in our prayer time, busy about God’s work, and caring for our families. That leaves no time to focus on what may or may not be happening in other peoples’ private lives. The old saying, “idle minds are the devil’s workshop,” is appropriate here.

Luke 6:45 “A good man (or woman) out of the good treasure of his (or her) heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man (or woman) out of the evil treasure of his (or her) heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his (or her) mouth speaketh.” Additions in ( ) are mine.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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Becoming A Godly Woman

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, ...

Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, alabaster, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Over the past year, God has placed a strong desire in my heart to become a more Godly woman. I know that I have definitely grown in my walk, just not as much as I could have. I have stopped listening to Satan’s lies that because of my past I am not good enough. I have made the decision to no longer allow guilt to hold me back from being the kind of woman that God has always intended for me to be.

I have come to learn that the biggest hindrance to my growth in the Lord has been my need for control. Since I have made the choice to endeavor to place my life under God’s complete control, I have felt an overwhelming joy and peace. I mean, did I ever really have control in the first place? The only control I had was to say no to God’s control. Will I have times of doubt, most assuredly. But, I know where I can go to receive immediate confidence.

I think about what being Godly means — to be like God, to think, speak and behave like Him. The greatest compliment we can receive is when others see us as Godly. They can see God in us, and this brings glory to our heavenly Father. Am I saying that to be Godly is to be perfect? No, of course not, that is impossible while we are in our human forms. I am saying that we can all do our best to be ‘like’ God. This does present us with quite a challenge, but it is achievable.

With that said, I have asked the Holy Spirit where to go in God’s word to find the direction I need. I believe He has led me to start in Titus Chapter 2. I will attempt to take this inspiring Scripture a step at a time beginning with verse 3.

“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;”

Okay, aged, meaning old. While I believe it is including elderly women, it is also making reference to “mature” women. Yes, that sounds much better to me. Since I am well under the age of 60, I think it is speaking of those of us who have raised our children, but we are not ready for the rocking chair yet.

Our behavior is to be such that becomes holiness. I would put it this way – we are to live in a way that honors God. We are to set an example by living reverently for God – respecting Him and His rules – basically just doing what is right.

There are many young women watching how we older women deal with the challenges that life throws our way. We can either be a Godly example and show them that it is God’s hand on our shoulders that gets us through, or we can be a worldly, selfish example and see them turn their backs on the Christian life.

It is heart-wrenching to watch women today as they struggle to just do their best without God’s direction, and therefore, miss out on His blessings. Along with that comes regret. It does not have to be that way.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Godly Women

 

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