Written by: Alexandria Brown
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God is not surprised by our circumstances. No thing that we walk through was, is, or ever will be a shock to God. We can not make a decision or go down a path that He has not accounted for.
This scripture tells us that God knew everyday of our lives before we even knew day one! And more than that, it says that he INTRICATELY made us for every circumstance that we would come into.
If we believe that is true then it must also follow that we recognize that God is aware of our mess-ups, our stumbles and struggles. And He was aware of them all BEFORE He sent His Son and yet, He still sent Him and Jesus still came.
God’s love for us is stronger than anything else in all creation, and we are completely, totally and irrevocably loved by God.
The truth is that God’s love is not based on you or me. We don’t get to determine or control how much God loves us. God does not love us because of who we are or what we do or do not do. God loves us because IT IS WHO HE IS.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?-Nothing in all création will be able to separate us from the love of God.”
God’s love is strong. God’s patience is more powerful than our stumble. His love is so much stronger than our frailty.
We are fully known. You are fully known. Mess-ups and all.
And yet, still completely and totally loved by the God of the universe. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son...
The God of the universe bought YOU at a cost. The Highest cost. He did not bargain or negotiate. He did not ask ‘what is the price’ or wait for a sale. He simply gave everything...
YOU are the most expensive thing in heaven & earth. Nothing, no one cost more! God named the price and Jesus willingly paid it for YOU.
God’s love for us is not something to be earned. We can’t work for it. It’s not an award, it is a gift. We only need receive it.
Jesus made it possible for us to once again walk in and through the love of the Father.
For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son that whoever believed in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
Sis, believe it. Receive it. Share it.
There is nothing that you have done or ever will do that is to scary for God. Let Him love you today. There is nothing He want’s more.
I love you and so does He!
Written By: Olivia Caldwell
There is a woman of great faith and humility that the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to my mind. Her story is found in Matthew 15 and it is short and yet powerful. Her interaction with Jesus is at first a bit confounding, but I believe this small passage of Scripture holds much for us to glean and to cling to.
“And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:21-28)
Why did he not answer her? Not even a word? As she cried out for mercy and as she, a Canaanite woman, recognized just who He was? “O Lord, Son of David” she called Him. She knew who Jesus was and that it was only the Lord who could help her.
And yet, He was silent.
Perhaps His disciples mistook His silence for indifference or refusal even, because they begged Jesus to send her away. They begged Him since she kept crying out to them, as well.
Have you known that kind of desperation before? To cry out to the Lord over and over again, only to be met with silence? To come to the church, His people, for relief? I pray that you have been met by the members of His body with nothing but sacrificial and supernatural love - and that is a gift and a grace - but those people serve to usher you into the presence and the love of Christ.
What do you do when there seems to be no answer to your cries for help? When people can’t save you and when the only One who can seems to be choosing not to?
When He answered her, His answer was not what we may have expected: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Was there no hope for her? She was a Canaanite, after all. We know that the gospel would go forth to the Gentiles, but Jesus seems to be saying this is not the time. He is here for His lost sheep. She is not of the house of Israel. But she’s encountered the Lord Jesus and is so close. So close. Will He really not show her mercy?
She comes closer and kneels before Him, pleading, “Lord, help me.”
His answer: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
What is your response to that statement? It sounds harsh, right? Offensive, even. How could He say that? As she kneels before Him in utter desperation?
It’s important to note a couple of things here. By “children”, Jesus means the Israelites. His usage of the word “dogs” does not actually reflect His mind toward this woman or toward Gentiles at all. “Dogs” was a term commonly used by the Jews that represented their animosity toward ‘unclean’ Gentiles. And in fact, the word that Jesus used here for ‘dog’ is a much more mild, gentle word.
Still, we may wonder at His statement and ask ourselves if this context makes His words any less harsh. But note here, sweet sister, that this woman does not. She does not even flinch and without missing a beat, she replies, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
When Jesus encountered this woman, He knew what He would do. He knew that the very words she would speak came from a heart full of faith, humility and trust. Note that just before this account, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and states, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart...” (Matthew 15:18a) and what came from this woman’s mouth represented a deep humility, content with even crumbs from the masters’ table. Faith that even those crumbs could heal her hopeless situation. Trust in the person and character of Jesus Christ.
His silence and His words did not deter her. His words were not a hindrance to her and she did not receive them as such. No, in knowing and recognizing Jesus, trusting in Him, she persisted. He did not remain silent nor did He refuse her out of malice.
Her faith was put to the test and her perseverance was rewarded:
“"O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.”
Oh, Lord, would you grow our faith? And as you grow our faith, would you grow us also in humility? Would you grant us a humility and a meekness like this Canaanite woman?
Would you make us persistent? A people persevering in prayer? Bowing before you full of faith and wonder, content and confident in even crumbs from your table to be more than enough for us?
Oh, God, let it be so.
WRITTEN BY: OLIVIA CALDWELL
There is a beautiful series of events that unfolds after Jesus’ death, as the stone has been rolled away and his tomb is found empty. In John 20:1-10, Scripture says:
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.”
Though it may appear clear to us throughout the Gospels that Jesus had been pretty explicit regarding what was to come and what He must do, so that the Pharisees remembered that Jesus had said He would rise again in three days and ensured that His tomb was guarded (Matt 26:62-66), we also see that later, as recorded in Luke 24:44-49, Jesus opened the minds of the disciples to understand the Scriptures. So what did they make of all this? What could they do, but marvel and wonder at the empty tomb and folded grave clothes- and then go home??
“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. (John 20:11-18)
Mary, who had been delivered from seven demons and followed Jesus all the way to the cross and beyond, as she approached the tomb early that day with spices to anoint Jesus’ body (Mark 16:1), stood weeping. She lingered. Where else could she go? Jesus, the Messiah, had saved her life. Her life had become His, as she followed Him to the end. Her hope was Jesus and now it seemed that her hope was not just lying in a tomb but gone altogether.
Although she knew that the tomb was empty, she still stooped to look as she wept. She kept seeking. And can you hear the desperation in her voice as she encounters these angels and answers, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”?
Turning, she sees Jesus, not yet actually seeing Jesus, and again seeks after her Lord, stating that she will take him away if she can only find him. And one word stops her in her tracks.
As soon as she heard His voice, she knew. She recognized Him and immediately turned, exclaiming,“Rabboni!”
Her Lord, her deliverer and savior, stood before her upon her searching after Him, and sends her to tell the others, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
“My Father and your Father.”?
“My God and your God.”?
This changed everything.
I can imagine her breathless exhilaration as she ran to the disciples yet again, only this time to declare, “I have seen the Lord!”
Oh, may we linger like Mary. May we never stop seeking after our Lord Jesus. May we know His voice and stop in our tracks upon hearing Him speak. May we let His voice change the trajectory of our lives!
And may we not hesitate to run to announce that we have seen the Lord. We have been with Him. We know Him to be true.. the Truth.
May we be faithful with the commission that has been given to us- the good news that we have been entrusted with.
May His great love shine forth because we ourselves have been loved much. Because to us the cross no longer means death and because the tomb was empty. Because we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Pet 1:3)
May our lives be wholly given, so surrendered to and wrapped up in Jesus, that we cannot do a thing apart from our Lord and our King.
That can change everything.
Written By: Lyndsay Terry
Hosea - can we all agree this man is a saint? If you know the story of Hosea and Gomer, then you know. If you don’t, here’s a quick overview, but if you want the whole story, all the amazing details and glimpses of God’s goodness, go read the book of Hosea. It’s short and sweet. You’ll love it!
Here we go…
God told Hosea that he needed to go marry a prostitute and have children with her. So he went a found a woman named Gomer…I just imagine, in today’s world, a righteous man traveling to some pretty seedy places and subjecting himself to some things he doesn’t want to see or hear or feel in order to find a woman who is so far gone, for whatever reason that led her there, and bring her with him to a life of wholeness and freedom and into the beauty of marriage. He would be a man committed to her, something she’s never known, fully and wholly. That is Hosea.
Next God tells Hosea to give his children names with very specific meanings as a prophetic sign of his intent toward Israel and Judah for the own sins of prostituting themselves to other gods instead of remaining true to the One True God. Hosea and Gomer’s children bore the bad name of Gomer and all her sins laid on them as well. Her actions were burdens on her children. Heavy burdens.
Gomer leaves her family to go back to her life of prostitution. She just couldn’t play the part of wife. It was so foreign to her and I can only imagine the shame she carried in her heart and mind as she tried to raise children and love a husband. She’d rather go back to the life she was familiar with…it was easier to not commit to love and settle for cheap imitations of it.
But Hosea…Hosea went to find her. His love for her was greater than her sin. He searched for her until He found her where, in that time, women were put up for sale for a “good time”. She was stripped naked for all the hungry men to see and then her value was determined by what these men would be willing to pay for her company…the only thing she knew that she had to offer was her company for a night. Was that all she was worth? Hosea found her there and bought her back…not for a night, but forever. He was committed whether she was or not. He was sold out to love her wholly, whether she could love him or not. He would love her even if she never stopped running. His love for her was pure and whole…perfect love.
My goodness…what a gorgeous picture of God’s unending, perfect love for us. We have run so far at times, haven’t we? We have run to other things that are easier. We’ve sold ourselves for less than we’re worth. We’ve left what was good for what was known…even if it hurt us. We’ve let our value be determined by other people and what we can do for them. BUT GOD. God found us in that marketplace, naked and vulnerable. He beat all the other offers and bought us with all He had, not for a night…not for what we could DO for him…but for His own love for us. His perfect, whole, pure love for us. No matter how far or how often we run, He is waiting at the market to buy us back. To bring us home where we belong. He is committed…are we?
Hosea 6:6 says, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”
I read that and I just think…God desires for us to really know Him, not just do things for Him. We can DO for God and still our hearts are far from Him. We can play the part and still be found in the marketplace. BUT GOD. He wants us near, not to do things for him, but to know Him. To be committed and connected to His heart. He wants mercy…mercy on us.
Sister, if you’ve run so far you’ve lost your way back…He is waiting for you in the marketplace of your life. He will buy you back, bring you home, and have mercy on you. He wants you to know Him, to love Him, to be connected to His heart. And He’ll do whatever it takes to bring you back to where you belong. He doesn’t want you to be nearly so concerned with DOING things for Him as he wants you to KNOW Him.
It’s time to stop prostituting ourselves to other things…even if they are good things. If they are taking our attention and time from the Lord, we are selling ourselves to a lesser love. It may be a relationship, an activity, our phones (oh mercy, yes), television, our need to veg out, whatever. If it is causing us to withhold our attention and love from the Lord to give it to a lesser thing, we’ve run away.
Pray and ask the Lord how you’ve been running from Him lately. He’ll show you the marketplace in your heart where He’s waiting to bring you back. Let Him.
Written By: Olivia Caldwell
Hey, I want to go through a passage today that at first may seem kind of weird or difficult to understand. Okay, it’s both and at first, it really makes you scratch your head and wonder, but it actually is quite kind, gracious and beautiful. I promise. Remember that, okay?
Here we go!
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, If any man's wife goes astray and breaks faith with him, if a man lies with her sexually, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her, since she was not taken in the act, and if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself, or if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself, then the man shall bring his wife to the priest and bring the offering required of her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance.” (Numbers 5:11-15)
Okay, let’s keep going..
“And the priest shall bring her near and set her before the Lord. And the priest shall take holy water in an earthenware vessel and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord and unbind the hair of the woman's head and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. And in his hand the priest shall have the water of bitterness that brings the curse. Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, ‘If no man has lain with you, and if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while you were under your husband's authority, be free from this water of bitterness that brings the curse. But if you have gone astray, though you are under your husband's authority, and if you have defiled yourself, and some man other than your husband has lain with you, then’ (let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse, and say to the woman) ‘the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your thigh fall away and your body swell. May this water that brings the curse pass into your bowels and make your womb swell and your thigh fall away.’ And the woman shall say, ‘Amen, Amen.’” (5:16-22)
You still with me?
“”Then the priest shall write these curses in a book and wash them off into the water of bitterness. And he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain. And the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy out of the woman's hand and shall wave the grain offering before the Lord and bring it to the altar. And the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering, as its memorial portion, and burn it on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water. And when he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has broken faith with her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall swell, and her thigh shall fall away, and the woman shall become a curse among her people. But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be free and shall conceive children.
“This is the law in cases of jealousy, when a wife, though under her husband's authority, goes astray and defiles herself, or when the spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife. Then he shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall carry out for her all this law. The man shall be free from iniquity, but the woman shall bear her iniquity.”” (5:23-31, emphasis added)
You made it! I really wish I could see you face to face and ask if your reaction to this passage of Scripture matched mine. If so, you have a lot of questions. At first glance, this doesn’t seem...good, right? What does all of this mean and how is this kind or beautiful or even remotely pointing to Jesus?
Let’s start with how this passage of Scripture tells of God’s care for and protection of women. Because, like, all of this talk of a curse and thighs falling away and bellies swelling may not exactly paint this picture at first. Check this out:
“The ancient Near East was an especially cruel place and time to be a woman. Women had little protection…And at this point in history, men had all the cultural power as well. It would not have been out of the ordinary for a man to simply act on a suspicion and cast his wife aside. Not so for the people of Israel. The Lord set them apart by requiring this strange-to-us test. If the woman was innocent, the Lord provided an opportunity for her to be vindicated. If she was guilty, the consequences upheld God’s standard for marriage.” -Lauren Chandler, With Us in the Wilderness
God is always providing a way. In this way, women were given a chance to be proven innocent, to live free from the harsh cultural norms. A marriage could also be delivered from any suspicion, this "spirit of jealousy", and restored. How heartbreaking it would be for a husband to accuse his wife, for trust to be broken in some way, but this ceremony gave the opportunity for a clean slate and for the covenant to be restored.
How comforting it is, really, for this design. In a culture that would not have hesitated to toss women aside, to cast them out, God commands His people to bring His women before HIM.
“And the priest shall bring her near and set her before the LORD.” (5:16)
“Then he shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall carry out for her all this law.” (5:30b)
Are you seeing how this points to Jesus? Jesus is our High Priest and He brings us near! He is the one who has carried out for us all the law, who has fulfilled the law, so that we can come near. Jesus stands at our side as our Advocate - even now.
If you stand accused today, your hair unbound and your hands filled with a grain offering devoid of oil and frankincense - which symbolizes joy and the Spirit of God - you have an Advocate. You may be bare, exposed, uncovered, bringing nothing but an offering that serves to bring your iniquity to remembrance, but you have a Savior who comes near and covers you in His righteousness.
You may have "broken faith with the LORD" and you may feel as if you’re drinking the water of bitterness, water that brings the curse, but Jesus Himself redeemed you by becoming a curse (Galatians 3:13).
“Surely, both the holiness of God and the perfection of His word testifies against us. We should be forced to drink a bitter cup that would destroy us – but Jesus drank it for us.” -David Guzik
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Father, for providing a way for us. Thank you for your faithfulness and your loving kindness. Thank you for your protection and your provision. Thank you for your holiness and for the gift of our robes of righteousness. Thank you that we can come near. We just want to be near.
written By: Gay Idle
Have you ever found yourself shifting between adapting to the subtle (or not so subtle) lies of the culture in which we live and the truth found in the Bible? It can be easy to condition our thinking to the path of least resistance because we can become weary of truth-splaining. When this becomes our default way of thinking it becomes easier to just do what we’re told…even when what we are told is a lie from the enemy of our souls.
But God calls us to do so much more than live in the misery of Satan’s lies. He calls us into His truth. Jesus said that when we abide in His Word, we will know the truth and it is that truth that sets us free (John 8:31-32). And sometimes that truth calls us to step out and take a bold risk.
We find two such audacious women stepping out in the first chapter of Exodus.
Exodus begins with Jacob’s descendants multiplying rapidly in Egypt and a new ruler in place who has no respect for the Israelites and no memory of Joseph and what he had done. As a matter of fact, he seemed to be so fearful of the sheer numbers of the Israelites that he put them in forced labor.
“So the Egyptians made the Israelites their slaves and put brutal slave drivers over them, hoping to wear them down under heavy burdens. They forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses as supply centers for the king” (Exodus 1:11).
But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied! This was alarming to the Egyptians so they made their work even harder. They were cruel taskmasters.
“Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: ‘When you help the Hebrew women give birth, kill all the boys as soon as they are born. Allow only the baby girls to live.’ But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king and allowed the boys to live, too.” (Exodus 1:15-17).
Did you catch that? At the risk of their own safety, Shiphrah and Puah defied Pharoah’s evil edict to kill the baby boys. They feared God more than they feared Pharoah. Because these women revered God more than the current ruler and his wicked law they had the courage to step out and do the righteous thing. They took the high road and saved the lives of many Hebrew infants. And so we read in verse 20: “So God blessed the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.”
God honored these women for their bravery. They were given the dignity of being named in God’s word. Notice the Pharoah is not honored in this way as he is not identified by name. In the big picture of God’s story, these women are more important than the King of Egypt.
And why? By defying the king’s order, these gutsy women set in motion the story of the Exodus, the story of how God was going to free the Israelites from slavery. We read in the second chapter of Exodus that it was during this time that Moses was born. And it was very likely the actions of these two midwives saved the life of baby Moses. It is also very likely that the bravery of Shiphra and Puah inspired Jochebed, Moses’ mother, to be courageous enough to further protect him by hiding him for three months, and then setting him off to his destiny in a basket along the edge of the Nile River. Moses grows up and goes on to deliver the Hebrew people from slavery.
So what does that mean for us?
As I write this I keep thinking of Fred Roger’s mother telling him that when he saw really scary news on television to “Look for the helpers”. Shiphrah and Puah were the helpers…the ‘ezers’ (Hebrew word for ‘helper’). Women are called to be ezers. There are many nuances in the word ‘ezer’, but in one sense it means “rescuer”. We, God’s women, are called as image bearers of God to be ezers. To be ready when God calls us to do the right and righteous thing.
We need to look for the ezers. Those women who are walking out the call that God has placed on their lives…as Shiprah and Puah did. When we read the stories of these brave women…when we see other women stepping out boldly for truth, we too can be inspired to courageously step out.
When those around us are suffering because they have believed the lies of the enemy…we need to be ready. And sometimes we need to love God enough to break the rules.
Written By: Alexandria Brown
"…Jesus left on a journey to the village of Nain, with a massive crowd of people following him, and his disciples. As he approached the village, he met a multitude of people in a funeral procession, who were mourning as they carried the body of a young man to the cemetery. The boy was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow. When the Lord saw the grieving mother, his heart broke for her.* With great tenderness he said to her, “Please don’t cry.” Then he stepped up to the coffin and touched it. When the pallbearers came to a halt, Jesus spoke directly to the corpse, “Young man, I say to you, arise and live!” Immediately, the young man moved, sat up, and spoke to those nearby. Jesus presented the son to his mother, alive! A tremendous sense of holy mystery swept over the crowd. They shouted praises to God, saying, “God himself has blessed us by visiting his people! A great prophet has appeared among us!” The news of Jesus and this miracle raced throughout Judea and the entire surrounding region." Luke 7:11-17
This particular woman of the Bible remains unnamed and still teaches us powerful attributes of the character of God. Let’s start at the beginning. This was not a “planned” stop on the trip Jesus was preparing to go on. Don’t get me wrong, I believe it was absolutely and totally a divinely orchestrated appointment, just no one that the disciples were let in on. His crowd literally ran into her crowd. This crowd was mourning. This mother was mourning.
God isn’t waiting for us to get our act together to meet with him. He is not looking for us to only come when we are joy-filled and laughing. He longs for us to come to Him in the good, the bad and the ugly. “Come as you are” is not just a cute tagline when it comes to being with the Lord, but a genuine invitation.
"When the Lord saw the grieving mother his heart broke for her."
*Excerpt from TPT regarding the above verse:
7:13 The Greek word splanchnizomai denotes the deepest level of compassion. There is no greater word in the Greek language to describe the depth of emotion Jesus felt for this widow over the loss of her son. Splanchnizomai is actually the word for “intestines.” Jesus’ emotions fully identified with her grief and he cared her sorrow.
This woman did not have to say a word. She did not have to ask a question. She simply met with Jesus and He met with her. It is not recorded that Jesus asked her if she believed or what she wanted, instead we are told about the compassion of the heart of our Lord. This verse shows us that when we are hurting God knows, understands, and has compassion on us. He hurts with us. He stopped her in the middle of her hurting and reached down and grabbed her hand and did something miraculous.
With all authority and power of the Son of God he touched the coffin and declared life back into the young man! The glory, all the glory, was given to God. I love the phrasing “a holy mystery”. Wow.
How many of us came out of, are in, or are headed into a season in our lives where we could use some holy mystery? When we long for the glory of God to be tangible, touchable?
Sis, if I could leave you with anything today, let me leave you with this…meet with Him and let Him meet with you. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He will carry our sorrows if we let Him. He longs to bring us His comfort, His peace, His joy. The Bible says the Joy of the Lord is my strength. Look for the holy mystery in what He is doing and we will receive strength.
He sees you. He knows you. He loves you. He’s with you.
Written By: Angie Reese
You will have to bear with me as I share with you my thoughts from this week. I am a little more scattered than usual, but I think that God has been putting this message on my heart to share with you. It is inspired by the book of Acts. Let’s take a look at a few quick verses.
Acts 16: 13-15
13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.
This simple mention of Lydia for some reason brings to mind robes of purple. The color of the robe they placed on Jesus during his crucifixion was purple. Lydia is a beautiful example of the simplicity of the gospel message we are blessed to know in completion today. This thought of purple and robes and salvation makes me think of the robe of righteousness that we are promised as believers and followers of Christ. What a beautiful robe! Purple is my favorite color, so I like to think of mine as purple as well. But what other robes are we placing on ourselves? In Tana Glanzman’s book “My Father’s Daughter” she talks about these robes. Let me share with you an excerpt from her book...
“Our Heavenly Father has generously and graciously dressed us as His children. A beautiful robe of righteousness awaits each child of God who chooses to humbly and willingly submit their hearts and lives, accepting the new identity that is theirs according to the inheritance they have received.
Often, however, we are tempted by the enemy of our souls to toss aside our robe of righteousness and replace it with something much less fitting. He tries to whisper in our ear that a robe of shame, insufficiency, or self-defeat really suits us better. He even helps us put it on, step by step, attempting to convince us the entire time that this is what we were intended to wear all along.” (pg. 77, My Father’s Daughter)
I couldn’t think of a more fitting description than what Tanya shares there. It makes my skin crawl thinking of the enemy helping me dress in such tattered and ugly robes as the ones she mentions. Sadly, we give into this on a regular basis and take off our beautiful royal robes that God Himself has given us, and replace them. The day that Lydia boldly responded to Paul’s Gospel message, she put on a robe - one she could never earn herself and more beautiful than her finest purple. This girl knew it too! I love how she convinces them to come stay with her. (Feisty women in the Bible are my favorite!)
So I will end with a question. What robe are you wearing these days? Is it a royal purple robe of righteousness or a tattered rag given by the enemy?
Dear Father, thank you for the royal robe of righteousness that you have given us. Please help us to remove those rags from the enemy and take our rightful place in your kingdom with confidence and pride. You are such a good Father that gives us good things, even if we could never earn them. Thank you for that.
Written By: Olivia Caldwell
Let's talk about worship...pure and unadulterated worship.
David learned how to worship before the Lord. You may be familiar with the story of David shedding his kingly robes and dancing before the Lord, but there is so much that David walks through just in 2 Samuel 6 before he strips down and leaps and dances with all the house of Israel.
How is it that the king became so "undignified" to the point of declaring, "I will make myself even more undignified than this,"?
He saw just who God is, just how holy He is. David learned how to rightly worship a holy, holy, holy God.
A few months before this, David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the LORD, "with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals." (2 Sam 6:5b) After many years, since the ark was lost in battle, the ark was now finally being returned to the tabernacle, to be set in the Most Holy Place. God's glory and presence was returning to its rightful place, in the center of Israel and in the center of the hearts of God's people!
David and the 30,000 Israelites are bringing the ark back and look at how they dance and worship! Look at their rejoicing! Isn't this incredible? Surely the Lord is pleased!
Well, no. See, God gave very specific instructions for transporting the ark. It was to be carried. And it was only to be carried by Levites of the family of Kohath. And yet...
"And they carried the ark of God on a new cart and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. And Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart, with the ark of God, and Ahio went before the ark." (v. 3-4, emphasis added)
So, here we have this large production and this worship and so much joy and celebration- and gracious, doesn't it seem like their hearts are in the right place? But how holy our God is. How worthy He is of our reverence towards Him and His commandments.
And how quickly David and the Israelites will be reminded.
"And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God." (v 6 & 7)
Not only was the ark of God to be carried by Levites of the family of Kohath, but there were also very specific instructions outlined in Numbers 4 of how every thing of the ark of God was to be covered: "but they must not touch the holy things, lest they die." (Numbers 4:15)
Perhaps one of the most profound statements I have heard that will stick with me forever is this: “Uzzah assumed that his hand was less polluted than the earth.” (R.C. Sproul)
David was angry and he was afraid of the LORD that day. "How can the ark of the LORD come to me?" (v. 9)
Can you imagine how that must have been for him? He wholeheartedly wanted for his people to be centered around the glory and the presence of the Lord and His desire seemed to be to honor the Lord above all else. How confused he must have been after this. How heart wrenching it must have been, to have had this horrifying realization wash over him that what he had been doing was not, in fact, honoring to the Lord.
"So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household." (v. 10 & 11)
"David did this in fulfillment of God's word. Obed-Edom was a Levite of the family of Korah and Kohath (1 Chronicles 26:4).
When God's word was obeyed, and His holiness was respected, blessing followed." (Enduring Word Commentary)
When David heard how the Lord had blessed the household of Obed-edom, David went and brought the ark of God to the city of David. Verse 12 says, "with rejoicing."
"And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn." (v. 13-15)
How different this was.. we see that the ark of the Lord was being carried, "bore" by men, and then this elaborate sacrifice followed.
And David. David dancing before the Lord with all his might in his linen ephod. Note that 1 Chronicles 15:27 says this, "David was clothed with a robe of fine linen, as were all the Levites who bore the ark, the singers, and Chenaniah the music master with the singers. David also wore a linen ephod." (emphasis added)
David encountered God in all His holiness and his worship was transformed accordingly.
Isn't that beautiful? How convicting and inspiring.
Well, not everyone thought so.
"As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart." (v. 16)
David finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings and went to bless his household, but his wife, Michal, confronted him, saying, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” (v. 20b)
This sarcastic vitriol could have been so deflating. And maybe it even could have even hindered a full and righteous worship of the Lord. But because of what David had experienced in those months and how he had seen with his very own eyes the holiness of God, he did not bend. He was not deterred. He was not swayed. He responded, "It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel--I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (v.21-22, emphasis added)
Hey, sister? There may be times when your obedience to and honoring of the Lord will not make sense to others. What He is doing and what He has done will compel you to offer to Him that which is pleasing and even that which is costly and that which will require levels of humility that could only come about from being in the presence of God. Once you have tasted and seen, you will not dare offer up anything less to the King.
There may come those who revile you and those who question you, confront you and accuse you, even.
May you stand firm in your convictions and in your devotion to a right worship of a worthy King.
May you be even more undignified - more and more and more, as you heap more and more and more glory and honor on the Lord of lords and King of kings.
Let it be so.
Written By: Alexandria Brown
Anna: There is little scripture written about her and, still, this prophetess had the privilege of seeing the Savior. Anna saw this tiny baby called out and thanked God for the Savior to be. The prophet Anna lived a life of worship to God. The Bible tells us first that she was a prophet, that she was married for 7 years and became a widow, and after that seven years she devoted her life wholly to God until the time see saw Jesus. When she encountered Jesus, Anna was 84. That’s a lifetime of worship.
Anna had a glimpse, a glimmer of understanding, of just how much God loved her and what that meant and she chose to love God and worship Him in return. I believe Anna understood that God loves to give gifts to us and she recognized that encountering the Savior was a gift for her.
All through out the Bible we see scripture after scripture that reveals to us "if we ask…"
I believe for myself that sometimes…sometimes I don’t ask because I am afraid of not getting the answer that I am looking for. "What if it doesn’t happen?" "What if I don’t deserve it?" And I’ll admit, sometimes I allow that to shift my perspective of what are “acceptable” and what are “unacceptable” asks of God depending on my behavior. I begin asking according to what I believe I deserve rather than asking from the place of beloved daughter, precious treasured one.
Anna lived, breathed, spoke, and stayed where God’s presence could be found. She devoted her life, all her life, to God. Fully surrendered, fully committed. She intentionally surrendered herself to God. It would be safe to say that Anna did not only talk about God, she lived it. She breathed it. She moved in it.
The key to power & authority is proximity to the King and with proximity to the King you get intimacy with the King. And because of Jesus we all have access to God in a way that Anna never did. We have access to the presence of God whenever and wherever we are. Still intimacy is not created by one night stands. Intimacy is created when we continuously surrender, submit, and allow access into every part of our lives, both with people and with God.
Intimacy & presence is where we begin to develop the heart knowledge that God’s love for us is not dependent on the words we say and the things we do. That’s what the Bible means when it talks about the unshakeable love of God. There is nothing we can do or say to make God love us any more and there is nothing we can say or do to make God love us any less.
Anna knew that God’s love was not dependent on her, but how she received and accepted God’s love was up to her response. Anna had decided that her life was going to be a “living sacrifice” as we read in Romans 12. Anna spent her time worshiping, praying, and seeking the Lord. She devoted herself to ministering to the King of kings and Lord of lords. She made herself an offering unto the Lord and the Lord blessed her.
Not all of us are in a position where we can drop everything and spend our day at the church. We have jobs, families, and ministries. Still God gives us the incredible opportunity to spend our days at the tabernacle of His presence because of what Jesus did and the Holy Spirit in us. The Bible says that we are the living temple of the King! We don’t have to spend our day hanging out IN the presence of God, because we have the opportunity to spend our day WITH the presence of God. We get to invite Him into every moment of every part of our day. WOW!
I have heard it said, "If you’re confused about who you are supposed to be and what you were created to do with your life, try ministering to the Lord." Spend time in His presence. Please, please, I double dog dare you! Pray. Worship. Lean on the Lord. He wants to see you. He wants to know you. And just like He did for Anna He will show Himself to you.
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