By Alexandria Brown
Lois & Eunice. Their one and only mention in the Bible is in 2 Timothy and it is a side note to impact the world for generations.
Paul to Timothy;
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Timothy 1:5
One sentence. One reference. One statement and inside it reveals so much. As I sit here meditating on this scripture, I can’t help but wonder at it’s significance. You see Timothy was not simply another Christian. He was not simply a fan of Jesus, he was a follower of Jesus. Timothy was active in His surrender to God’s will and plan. He pursued God’s kingdom and loved those around him well.
In that one statement Paul reveals to us that the belief, the trust, the passion that Timothy had was passed on and fanned to brighter by Timothy's grandmother and mother. They were the ones to reflect God’s love to Timothy. To reveal the nature of God and nurture the understanding of who God is, not just in words, but in actions. Lois and Eunice regularly reflected the character and nature of a loving God. A God who loves us unconditionally. A God who surrounds us when we are weak and gives us strength. A God who walks with us and guides us.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
We see that statement of scripture everywhere. It’s on decorative pictures, coffee mugs, and t-shirts. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with any of those things. By all means have them, wear them, and, most importantly, I pray that we live them. In one sentence we are told that Lois and Eunice brought this scripture to life in their family. Lois and Eunice lived this scripture out in their own homes. This single reference of Lois and Eunice should be an encouragement to do just that in our own families, in our own households.
Ladies, it does not matter if you are a mother in the natural or not. Please do not get hung up on that. I do not believe that there is a stipulation to that role in this single sentence. I believe that we, as women, are called to this role. We are called to nurture and reflect the character of a loving God. One who picks us up when we fall (Hosea 11:3-4). One who knows the most intimate parts of us (Psalm 139:13-16). We were never meant to do this walk alone. We have always been intended to use each other to be with each other. We are not all a foot, we are not all the fingers, we are the BODY of Christ. We were made to surround, nurture, and reflect God’s perfect unconditional love to those we surround ourselves with and those we encounter. We were made to, with the guidance of Holy Spirit, help shape and support each other in our faith walk.
I did not come from a family that has lived generation after generation believing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Actually, I can remember when those in my family got saved when I was young. I can remember our lives before Christ. I can remember a switch in the lives of my family once we accepted Jesus. And, more than anything, I can remember the love that drew us to God shown from those around us. They did not hit us over the head with scripture or try to scare us into believing God. They simply reflected God’s love for us. They lived it out. They walked the talk. It is not enough for us to talk and speak of God’s unconditional love, we must live it out. That is what draws those around us deeper into Christ.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Father, I ask that You reveal to every woman that reads this today who You have placed in our lives for us to surround with Your unconditional love, to build up, to uplift, and to support. Father, give us wisdom and love to release to those that we encounter both in our own house and outside of our roof. Help us to reflect Your grace and lead them into a deeper more personal understanding of Your character. Help us to draw nearer and nearer to You Lord, that we may pass Your love on from generation to generation just as Lois and Eunice did. Start with us Lord. We thank You for all this and more. In Jesus name.
Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash
At The Feet of JesusRead Now
By gay Idle
There is a passage in Luke that highlights the actions of an unnamed woman. Actions that point to a heart of true repentance and faith. This short story is found in Luke 7:36-50.
If you are not familiar with the story, it begins with Jesus being invited to the house of Simon the Pharisee. A God follower, a rule follower, a man very aware of the necessity of the need for repentance, but whose heart, perhaps, was more focused on never needing repentance in the first place. After all, he was not a ‘sinner’. As a Pharisee, he was known for following the letter of the law. And because of that he “rejected the plan of God” (verse 30) for himself. Some think that Simon was truly interested in what Jesus had to say. Maybe. We are not told why he invited Jesus to dine at his house. Jesus accepted the invitation. He went into Simon's house and reclined at the table. (In that time it was customary to recline, or sort of half-lay, at the table when eating and conversing). Here was another opportunity to teach the blind.
And then it happened.
“... a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of fragrant oil and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil.”
Simon thought to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him—she’s a sinner!”
But Jesus, knowing Simon’s thoughts, began to address his heart issue with a story.
“Simon, I have something to say to you.”
I wonder if Simon had a fleeting thought at that moment…wondering if Jesus had just heard his very thoughts? But he replied, “Teacher,” he said, “say it.”
Jesus told this story:
“A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denari and the other 50. Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one he forgave more.” Jesus replied, “You have judged correctly.”
Then Simon basically got the dressing down of his life from Jesus. When I read this passage I hear Holy authority and a tone of righteous indignation in Jesus’ words. Can you hear it?
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she, with her tears has washed my feet and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but she hasn’t stopped kissing my feet from the time since I came in. You didn’t anoint my head with olive oil, but she has anointed my feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little. Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
If you are not familiar with the customs of this time, you might not get the whole picture. Most people wore sandals in Palestine or even went barefoot. So when a guest entered your house it was customary for them to leave their sandals at the door. You would greet your guest with a kiss, and offer water to your guests to wash their dusty feet when they entered your house. A towel to dry them. And oil to anoint his/her head. This was often a service provided by the lowliest servant in the house. This service to the guest was not so dirt wouldn’t get tracked. There were no white carpets in the homes then. This was a refreshing way to begin your visit.
Simon neglected to provide these basic common courtesies to Jesus as a guest in his home. Maybe this shows that Simon was questioning whether this Jesus was who He claimed to be. Maybe he didn’t want to be seen accepting Jesus as a truly welcomed guest in his home? Perhaps covering his butt…Ummm…I mean bases. After all, there was a growing antagonism toward Jesus from many of the Pharisees of the time. Can’t be too careful.
It is interesting to note that we don’t know if or how Simon finally responded to this dressing down he received from Jesus. Yet Jesus gives us a glimpse of both hearts, through their response and their interactions with Him.
Simon did not provide…
But the woman who was a sinner? She knew it, she knew they knew it, and she knew she was in the presence of the One who had the power to forgive her sins…though they were many.
I imagine that at some point previously she had heard Jesus teach. Watched His miracles. She knew at her very core that this was the One her soul desired. She watched Him as He graciously welcomed sinners into His fold. And she was a sinner in need of forgiveness.
Her response was a broken and contrite spirit. In his book How To Pray When You don’t Know What to Say, Elmer Towns writes, “... we must have a weeping heart before God. If our eyes are always dry, it means that our soul is also probably dry. And a dry heart eventually becomes a hardened heart.” Her tears were the very avenue to a softened heart before God. Those tears were not the result of a repentant heart…no, they were the sign of a repentant heart. These were the actions of a woman who fully realized her forgiveness. She loved Jesus so much because she had been forgiven much!
How do I know this? Because Jesus’ response to her was this, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Go in peace. In the original greek this actually says, “Go into peace.” This would be her new existence.
And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-8, AMPC
Her heart and mind remained focused on the feet of Jesus. Seven times His feet are mentioned in this passage in Luke. Seven. This number signifies completion, or divine fulfillment. Wow! I’m not even sure of all the implications of this little nugget of information. But I know that when we fall at His feet in worship, we have positioned ourselves to receive forgiveness. We have positioned ourselves before Almighty God, the lifter of our head…the One who restores us. There is no room for pride at the feet of Jesus. We are at His feet to learn from Him…about Him…and about ourselves in relation to Him. And we have positioned ourselves to participate in the celebration of eternal life received through the good news of Jesus Christ.
We are most complete when we have positioned ourselves at the feet of Jesus.
So where are you friend? Who do you relate to in this story? One who has sinned much? Or one who has spent the majority of life striving for sinlessness, yet missing the mark?
Repent then, and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…
Lord, make us women who are not afraid to fall at your feet. May our tears break down the wall of pride in our hearts so that we can clearly see the sins that are present in our life. Soften our hearts so that You can use us to reach out to others with open arms and open hearts. May they see the love of Christ in our words, and in our actions. Lord help us to weep tears of repentance...to accept your forgiveness...so that times of refreshing may come. ~ Amen
Heart of Hospitality - LydiaRead Now
There is a short story of a woman in the Bible and her conversion to Christianity. Her story can be found in Acts 16:11-15 - her name is Lydia.
So, setting sale from Troas, we made ad direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.
Lydia was a seller of purple. Purple, in the ancient world, was luxurious and expensive. Not something that just anyone had the money to purchase.
Lydia was most likely a Jew. She met Paul on the Sabbath at a place of prayer near the riverside. She was with other women, who were probably also there to pray on the Sabbath, and they all began to listen to Paul sharing the gospel.
Lydia heard the good news of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of her Jewish faith, the reality of her Messiah, and came to full-faith in Jesus. She was immediately baptized and, what’s more, she gathered her entire household to hear the gospel and be baptized as well.
Afterward, she urged Paul and Silas to see if they judge her as faithful to the Lord and to come stay in her house.
This is about all we know of Lydia. It’s a short story with few details about an interesting and mysterious woman.
Sitting down to write this article, truthfully, I don’t have much to say about Lydia, but the things that I think the Lord has drawn my attention to concerning her life have impacted my own and have challenged me to change my intentionality in opening my heart and home to the people in my path. My perspective on hospitality has changed. I pray that the Lord speaks to you about your life, your circumstances, and your calling as you continue to read these words…
Lydia gave of herself, her time, her talents, and her money to do the work God called her to - selling beautiful purple garments. What is so profound and impactful to me is this…in a moment, the moment she heard the gospel for the first time, she went from a purveyor of purple garments to a purveyor of the robes of Christ. Her time, her talents, her money all going toward doing a NEW work that God was calling her to…sharing the good news of Jesus.
She gathered her entire household, the people in her nearest reach, to hear the gospel - just as she heard it. She made sure they weren’t just covered with the beautiful clothing she sells, but with the righteousness of Christ. This was a woman who understood value. How expensive are the robes of Christ that have been given for us? The work God called Jesus to was to cover the nakedness of those too poor to cover themselves with a spiritual purple cloth - beautiful, expensive, luxurious cloth - the robes of righteousness. We could never be right with God by our own strength. We need Jesus to make us right with the Father. We can trade our rags for His robes.
Lydia had a heart of hospitality that extended far beyond inviting some strangers to stay in her home. For her, it meant inviting her household to make their home in Christ. This really changes my perspective on spiritual hospitality.
Whether it be the people who walk through my doors or the people who just walk in my path - am I inviting others to make their home in Christ? Am I purveyor of the robes of Christ to those too naked and too poor to cover themselves? Or am I too busy and too embarrassed to open my heart and my home to strangers, to those nearest to me, to whoever God puts in front of my path today? Is going about my business more important that going about the Father's business? Lydia understood what was more important, what was better, what had greater value...the invitation into righteousness and rightness with God through Jesus Christ.
Do I understand what's more important, what's better, and what has greater value than my schedule, my mess, my tiredness, my busyness? Do you, sweet sister?
So what is the Lord prompting you to do right now? Is it to open your home to that Bible study that needs a place to meet? Is it to start your own? Is it to invite your neighbors over for dinner and open the door for a conversation about Jesus? Is it to roll down your window and pray with the man on the street corner? What is the Lord prompting you to do when it comes to your own spiritual hospitality?
Things to ask the Lord…
Lord, help us to have open hearts and open homes to the people you put in our path. Give us wisdom and direction when sharing the gospel in word and deed, when opening our lives to the broken and needy around us, and when working to fulfill the calling you’ve placed on our lives. Make us like Lydia. Make us like you.
Written by: Lyndsay Terry
Tambourines and LeprosyRead Now
Miriam, the prophetess:
"Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea."
"..Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?"
Miriam, the prophetess, tambourine in hand, leading the women in song and dance out of Egyptian captivity.
And Miriam, with brother Aaron, speaking against brother Moses, whose pitch-daubed basket she once watched through reeds in the Nile.
"And the LORD heard it."
A family meeting, called by the LORD Himself:
""Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.""
A pillar of cloud and a Father's firm:
God, Mighty Defender:
"Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"
The LORD's cloud lifted and Miriam's face white as snow
Once lit up with joy as she danced forward in freedom
Walking on dry ground in the midst of the Red Sea
As the LORD brought the waters back
Shattering her enemies with His mighty hand
Standing before the tent of meeting shrouded by cloud
And her face revealed
The devastation and gravity of her sin
Now brothers united
Grieving and pleading for their sister
Shattered by sin
Please heal her-
Separated in her sin,
Examined by Aaron the priest,
And not left behind,
Brought back in.
Blessing our God and Father
And cursing our brother
Made in the likeness of God
With the same mouth.
Hearts crusted over with leprosy,
Dancing with death,
Drained of lifeblood
And infected with
Bitter jealousy and selfish ambition.
The Greater Moses,
Not only interceding for us,
But giving His very life
And spilling His blood for us
So we are not cast out.
We are not left behind.
Our Great High Priest,
Declaring us clean
And our sin,
Though once as scarlet,
Now white as snow.
And this Jesus,
And every vile practice,
Even the most hopeless,
Irreconcilable of circumstances,
From the unlikeliest of circumstances,
Like taking what was meant for evil
And turning it for good
And just like Jesus
May carry out
His ministry of reconciliation.
Miriam, Numbers 12
WRITTEN BY: Olivia Caldwell
Photo by Stéfano Girardelli on Unsplash
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