Written by: Angie Reese
A beautiful Christian sister of mine and I taught Bible class together for a while in the Richmond area. We were tasked with teaching middle schoolers, which is not for the faint of heart. She was so amazing and wanted to teach them a verse from the Bible that would make them better people. Something impactful. Something true to all Christians. What she came up with was amazing. She selected a section of verses from Philippians chapter 2.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is ours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (verses 3-7)
When I think about authenticity, I think about this verse. Putting ourselves second and looking to the interests of others. Even Jesus, who has the right to sit beside God on the throne, took on the form of a servant. Wow!
Another verse that comes to mind is Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
These verses put some serious responsibility on us as Christians. “As it depends on us” suggests that we are in control of the situation and ourselves. When we are authentically seeking Christ, shouldn’t these two verses speak to us differently?
Authenticity is about staying true to yourself and your values. These two verses are asking us to do just that. Being so authentic that we can put others before us in ways that the world thinks is ridiculous, but that God puts value in.
My oldest daughter, of whom I have shared so much about over the years, has decided many things over the last two years that I disagree with. She is old enough that even as her mother I have to allow her to make those mistakes separate from myself. Is it possible to disagree with someone on such a basic level and still love them? Still talk to them? Still be a part of their lives? These verses tell me yes. I think of her first. I keep the peace because it does depend on me. I tell her I love her and disagree with her life choices. I have to stay authentic to my own self and belief in God and His will. I have to stay strong and speak truth into her life and wisdom into her life.
Being an authentic Christian is not for the faint of heart - like teaching middle schoolers. But at the end of that study with those middle schoolers we saw a change in them. They memorized the verses, even framed them! They really took them to heart and allowed God and His authentic word to enter in their lives. I pray that the same thing eventually happens with my daughter as well. When we stay true to God’s will, he will bless our efforts. It won’t always look perfect, of course, but the reward He promises is pretty amazing.
Father, help me to be authentic to my belief in you and your word. Help us as mothers and grandmothers, aunts, and sisters to set an example of peace and love. Let us put others before ourselves in a way that shows you and your love. Be with our children as they walk through the confusion of life and allow them to remain true to themselves and you. Amen.
Written by: Angie Reese
Identity is one of those things that we build almost without thinking. It starts when we are young and our parents pour into us with positive praise and encouragement. At least I hope that is your story. Some people don’t get much of that positive praise. They either get no feedback or negative feedback. And sometimes we get a little of all of it. So when all of this gets jumbled up inside our heads, we somehow decide “this is me” and “this is not me”. If you’re like me, somehow you have let some of that negative feedback influence you a little too much. So how do we rebuild that positive? We look to God and see what He says about us! The perfect place to do this is in Ephesians chapters 1 and 2. These two chapters are full of wonderful things we can latch onto as part of our identity.
“He predestined us for adoption…”
Even if you haven’t had the pleasure of adopting a child or knowing someone who has, there is a terribly special kind of love involved. One that amazes me. I have a friend who has adopted two little girls and the love she has for those two is beautiful. I have a cousin who is adopted and the love the family shows her is also amazing. The love that God has for us as adopted sons and daughters is powerful and special. Let that begin the building of your identity.
“In him we were also chosen…”
Not only adopted, but also chosen! Out of all the beautiful things that God has created on this earth we are CHOSEN. That just feels good. To be chosen is to be wanted. Isn’t that a basic need we all crave? Someone wants us. God wants us.
Eph 1: 13b
“When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,”
When I read this I see a physical mark - like a special birthmark - that we have. A badge maybe that we can show people and say “Look! I am special! God gave this to me!” And all the things we know about the power of the Holy Spirit. Wow. Please notice that this special mark comes when we become believers in Him. It’s something we get when we decide that we want our identity to become intertwined with God. What other amazing gifts do we get when we believe and build our identity in God and Christ?
“Made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.”
We have been made alive and received grace. Alive - have you ever met someone that wasn’t in this category and they still just walked around? Being alive in Christ should give us a vigor and pep that helps us define ourselves.
Grace is an amazing gift for our broken lives. It is like the glue that holds it all together. Without it we would have to work so hard to be and do all the things we were “supposed to” in order to receive salvation. Instead, it is a free gift we can never earn, we just accept. And I do hope that you have chosen to accept it!
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,”
I have the privilege of being able to travel to Brazil in the summer and participate in mission work. My husband and I have some wonderful friends that we consider family down there, but even as often as we have gone and as much as we are loved, we are still foreigners. There is nothing so refreshing as getting off that plane after days of hearing a language not your own and suddenly you are back on American soil. Home. Not a stranger anymore. A citizen. And even more sweet is when I have been gone for so long and I walk into my own home. My household (usually the kiddos and in-laws who have been watching them) welcomes me with an acceptance and love that no other place offers. This is another thing we have in Christ. When we are God’s people we have a place to belong. A foundation to build upon. A refuge when we forget who we are.
I know identity goes far beyond and far deeper than what I have talked about here, but this is a good place to start. As daughters of the King of kings we have so many wonderful parts to our identity. If nothing else tells you how special and loved you are, Christ died for you. Even if you haven’t accepted Him, he died for you. He waits for you to clothe yourself in Him so He can build your identity on these beautiful things. Adoption, being chosen, receiving the Holy Spirit, Grace, and a home.
Lord, thank you for giving us the gifts you have given us. Please help us to base our identity in you and these things instead of the negative that we have heard from the enemy and his followers of the world. Guide us in reading your word and listening to your voice as we build ourselves into the daughters you want us to be.
Written by: Angie Reese
When I think of prayer, I think of the everyday stuff: meals, thank you’s for the day, and prayers over children as they sleep. I also think about the prayers of desperation that we pray during a crisis. But here lately, I have been praying a different kind of prayer. Something in between these two.
You see, I have been suffering with some pretty crazy depression and (for the first time in my life) anxiety. I’ve been doing all the things my therapist wants me to do. I have been taking the medicine my psychiatrist wants me to take. And yet, it is still there.
When you have this going on you just want some relief from it after a while. This can take you down some scary roads, but thankfully I have an amazing support group. Prayer didn’t occur to me until I had to pick up the phone and call Lyndsay. Crying, I poured out to her what was going on. My sweet friend didn’t judge me or tell me it was going to be ok. I had heard those words before. She suggested we pray. So she did.
Friends, I am here to tell you that allowing myself to stop and enter into God’s presence with her for that prayer gave me relief. Now, it didn’t solve my problem, but it showed me that when God says “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,” (Phil 4:7) that he was not kidding.
This attack on me has been from the enemy and I have set down my greatest weapon to cower in the corner and cry. Prayer, my friends, is an amazing tool and weapon against Satan and all his ways. When I allowed myself to pray - truly focus and pray - I found peace. Even if it was just for a few minutes, it was there. It was possible.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” (Phil 4:6) is what comes before the peace verse. So when I take the time to be in His word, His presence, and really lean into him and come to him as a child would come to her Father, I find this amazing gift. Never in my life have I needed the precious gift of prayer like I do now.
So is my situation a crisis? No. Is it something that is “everyday”? Not that either. But nonetheless, it is vital and God knew I was going to need these verses, this reassurance, in my life. Obviously, if it is in the Bible, I am not the only one who needs to hear this.
So, in the meantime, I will keep doing all the things and taking the medicine. But most importantly, I will lean on God and remember that He has it under control. I will rest in His peace and continually remind myself that He is there. The Holy Spirit will keep interceding for me when I have no words. I will keep praying.
Written By: Angie Reese
I hated it when she said it. “Because I said so,” in response to my asking of “why?” was infuriating as a kid. Sure, sometimes I asked “why?” because I was playing a game, but sometimes I really wanted to know why. Why do I have to put my clothes away? Why do I have to come inside? Why do I have to stop hitting my sister? Ok, I knew the reason for the last one…I swore that I would never say that as a mom. So here I am with a three year old of my own. I have answered “why” patiently all day. All. Day. Long. Somewhere around dinner time my patience wore out and I said it. And you know what? It felt good. (But more importantly, it worked!) I took a deep breath and moved on. It wasn’t the cursed experience I expected it to be.
But isn’t that what God says to us? Obey me because I said so. He tells the Israelites specific things to do, wear, eat, and say. He gave the 10 commandments. He told us the greatest commandment. And we (sometimes whine) and ask God “WHY?” all the time. We ask it when we are angry, confused, or told to do something we don’t want to do.
This week I was pondering about this and wondering what God’s answer to us is.
Isaiah 15:22 has Samuel the prophet say “...To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” Here are a few of the verses that I came up with.
Exodus 6:2 “God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.” (and then goes on to explain why he was leading the people of Israel through the desert)
Matthew 13:11 “He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.” (as Jesus explained why he spoke in parables)
Job 37:5 “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.”
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.”
Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever,...”
These verses have made me realize that just like I really didn’t MIND Alora asking me “why?”, neither does God. People have asked him that question throughout the Bible. He has also asked that question of many people. I have also learned that sometimes God answers with an explanation. And sometimes he doesn’t.
Where does that leave us then when we really want to know why? It leaves us with obedience. As disciples of Christ, we are asked to obey God no matter what it costs us. Sometimes we just have to remember that He is a good father and wants what is best for us. His eternal knowledge is beyond what we can comprehend. That is not the answer we want. It is the equivalent to “because I said so”. But sometimes with a little time and space, we can see that the experience of being told that by the loving, perfect, one true God of the universe isn’t the cursed experience we thought it would be. I hope you can find peace in that like I have this week, sisters. It certainly isn’t an easy task, but obedience is sometimes like that. It stings a little. Give it a try. Pray through it. Ask why and listen for an answer. And when you get one - whether the explanation one or the “because I said so” one - obey. Trust Him and his eternal lense. It will always be His perfect will.
Written by: Angie Reese
When it comes to consistency, I am NOT your gal. I struggle with being consistent in most areas in my life. Dieting - nope. Exercise - nope. Even reading my Bible - it’s a struggle. I am so bad at this that when I shared that I was writing about consistency, a few people in my life actually laughed. Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt my feelings.
But I have an excellent example of consistency in my life. My husband is a rock star at this. If he finds it important enough to put it on his habit tracker, it gets done. I am amazed at his ability to do this. He reads his Bible daily, does a devotional, exercises, and practices a foreign language. Every. Day. For like, over 1,000 days in a row on some of that! It’s quite amazing.
So on one hand you have me - I don’t string more than a few days of consistency together. And on the other hand you have my husband - who doesn’t miss a day. There is a saying that goes “it takes all kinds” and I guess that is true in this case. My wise little sister even said “God calls people to be the message when they’re “not right for the job” all the time.” And she is right. So here I am.
Consistency is not one of those subjects that is talked about much when it comes to the Bible outside of us reading it for growth and intimacy with God. Both of those things are very important. But the thing that jumped straight into my head was the verse in Hebrews 13:8 that states,
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV)
This verse brings me peace in such a deep place. In this world that is ever-changing, Jesus is the same. Right now the price of groceries isn’t the same from one week to the next (hello eggs!), but HE is the same. Gas prices shift from hour to hour it seems, but HE is the same. I put off reading my Bible, but HE is the same. Just waiting for me. Just waiting for me to come and sit by His side and commune with Him. And He isn’t doing so with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face because it has been a few days since I cracked open my Bible. Rather, he is waiting patiently and calling to me like a Father that wants to see their child. Arms open and expectant.
So, when your diet fails - AGAIN - or you forget to get that snack for your child’s classroom, your workout gets put on the backburner, or you haven’t read your Bible in a few days, take a deep breath, remember that Jesus offers a clean slate policy and doesn’t keep a record of wrong, and make time for Him. Oh, and get those other things done too. Alarms help I hear.
Let me pray for us.
Jesus, thanks for being the loving friend that you are. Thank you for forgiving me when I mess up. Help me and my fellow sisters to be more consistent with everything, but especially spending time with you. Thank you for being constant and never changing. Your dependability is a rock in our lives. We love 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: Angie Reese
Lineage of Jesus.
Have you ever played “one of these things is not like the other”? That list makes it pretty obvious which one doesn’t belong. They all belong to one person though. If you immediately thought of Rahab when you saw those words, you are right on the money. If you aren’t sure who Rahab is or what she is about, take a quick look in the book of Joshua chapter 2. It will be worth your time to go read this short chapter and her short, but important story.
I remember being asked to teach the story of Rahab to a group of elementary students at a VBS we were having. As an adult, I was horrified. How was I going to explain this woman and her shortcomings to an innocent group of first graders? In my mind it became almost comical: “Now children, do any of you know what the word harlot means?” Big no there. But that was me focusing on her just like the people of Jericho did. However, praise God, there is more to her than just that.
In Rahab’s story she encounters two spies sent to the city by Joshua. These men were sent in to check things out before the Israelites were going to do their famous march around the city to destroy the wall. For whatever reason, they were found out and Rahab saved their lives by hiding them on the roof and then lowering them out her window (which was built into the wall of Jericho). This story has all the makings of a good movie - spies, a search, secrets, and a dangerous escape.
This woman, who had an ungodly profession, was known very well in the city. Enough so that the king sent to her and asked about the men who came into the city. She was one of those women that everyone knew and that knew about everything. I would imagine that this came naturally with the life she led. But that is not the most important part of her story. Let’s look again.
“...for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”
Rahab had heard all the things that God was doing for the nation of Israel and she had a healthy fear and respect for what was going on. This caused her to recognize God as God. This in turn made it so she put her life on the line to save these two spies - that might not have been that good at spying (just noticing that they were found out pretty easily.)
When we recognize the power and might of our Lord God, life changes. Rahab and her family were the only ones we know of that were saved from the battle at Jericho. Her life had to have changed from that time forward. We read in her story that she asked the spies to save her in return for keeping their plan a secret. She knew destruction was coming to the city. She tied a red chord on her window and as the wall fell, she and her family stayed safe because of her faith.
Later, in Matthew 1, as we are taken through the lineage of Jesus, we see Rahab’s name again. She is one of two women mentioned (usually it didn’t matter who your mother was in a lineage - your father was the important one) as part of this. Rahab and Ruth - two very different women, but both mentioned.
I believe this story is a great example of how our faith can turn things around. We always say God can use anything for his good, and Rahab is proof! A woman who was worldly and far away from God at the time has an encounter with God and changes her life and the life of her family. And we think God isn’t using us? Think again! Can you imagine her testimony? How powerful would that story be?
Sisters, sometimes we are a mess - a hot, hot mess. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am downright lazy. I can’t seem to keep the house clean, laundry done, and myself together. I miss deadlines, say things I shouldn’t, participate in gossip, and just go through the motions of worship instead of really entering into God’s presence. However, time and time again, just like Rahab, I am used for HIS glory. When I am paying attention sometimes the Holy Spirit will put words of life and love into my mouth that help others. Sometimes I get it right and I actually teach my sweet little girls about God in a moment instead of losing my mind. And I give God all the credit for that.
God uses whatever he wants - the messy and broken - because He can! He knows we are a mess and he uses us anyway. I personally find hope in the story of Rahab. If he can use her, I know that I can allow him to move in my life and use me. Will you allow him to use your mess?
Lord, thank you for using us and all our mess for your glory. Thank you for stories like that of Rahab where your work and change is evident. I pray for each woman that reads this. Let her light for you shine through the difficult moments of this earthly life. Let her heart and her voice be used for you. Amen.
Written by: Angie Reese
Many of us have experiences that can relate to the story of Naomi found in the book of Ruth. We might be married, have lost a spouse, have daughters or daughters-in-law, lost children, or had to move to a new place. The book of Ruth is named after Naomi’s daughter-in-law, but so much of this story is about Naomi herself and how she responded to all of the hardships of a Jewish widow at that time.
Naomi’s name means “pleasant” and I get from the story of her life that she was aptly named. She is married and has two sons and they end up having to move from their homeland in Bethlehem to the country of Moab because of a famine. During the ten years she and her family live there her sons marry local women, but have no children. Then her husband and sons all die (we aren’t told how). This leaves her to make some hard choices. Being a foreign woman with no man to take care or protect her, Naomi makes the hard choice to go back home and wants her daughters-in-law to return to their own homes so they can remarry and move on with life. With much convincing, Orpha agrees, but Ruth insists upon remaining with Naomi and going back to Judah.
This is the first and biggest clue to me that Naomi was a special woman. She is so loved by her daughters-in-law that they don’t want to leave her side and return to their own families - especially Ruth! Mothers-in-law get a bad rap. They are depicted by the world as almost evil. This is usually where we stop thinking about Naomi in this book. Our attention goes to Ruth and we use her words to Naomi in wedding ceremonies to display our togetherness and commitment to one another. But let’s allow our gaze to move past that today.
When Naomi and Ruth return home, it doesn’t give us a lot of details as to what happened, but it seems like they were accepted back into society and had a place to live. This is where we see the bitterness of the situation come into play. As she is welcomed back, Naomi tells her friends to call her by a new name - Mara - which means bitter. She states that the Lord has dealt bitterly with her. She is angry about all that has happened and is blaming God. This really struck me and took me back to a place of loss.
When I was in college I got a phone call in the middle of the night. It scared me, of course. My mother was on the other end of the line telling me that my uncle had an accident and was in the hospital. We didn’t know if he would make it. I hit my knees. I prayed harder than I ever had in my life for God to keep him alive. A little later I got the second phone call telling me he didn’t make it. He was so young and had a family - three kids - that he was leaving. It wasn’t fair! Why? Why him and not the other guy in the car with him? I was so mad at God. I thought - He didn’t listen to my prayer because if he had my uncle would be alive. Bitter. Angry. Furious at my loss and the loss of my family.
Just like in the story of Naomi, it didn’t take me long to see that God was going to make good from a bad situation. In my story, the family was brought together like they never had been before. My aunt fell in love with a wonderful man who took in those three babies and raised them like his own. In Naomi’s story we see that the redeemer was Boaz.
Boaz allows Ruth to gather in his field and Naomi guides Ruth through the process of gaining Boaz as a husband. Fast forward a little and Ruth and Boaz have a son. Naomi’s bitterness melts away and her friends help her to name the child and she becomes his nurse. She again has the family that she lost. I can just see her smile as she holds that sweet baby boy and sees in him her own two sons.
For me, Naomi is a wonderful example of how to move through a situation that seems hopeless. She was angry at God, but was able to move through it and remain faithful. She had a spirit that allowed her to be a pleasant and lovable person, but had flaws. She had Ruth and the friends that are mentioned in the story to help her through a hard time. As with many women of the Bible, I see Naomi as one that I would enjoy getting to know as a friend!
Naomi went from pleasant to bitter, but was able to step back from that bitterness. Let’s allow that lesson to sink into our hearts. It’s ok to become upset, but don’t let your name be changed permanently to Mara. Naomi’s friends didn’t listen to her when she asked them to call her that because they knew that her character was one of pleasantness. I hope the same can be said about us when we face struggles!
There are so many amazing women named in the Bible. Eve, Sara, Rachel, Esther, Ruth, Mary. However, there is one important figure that we have to do some research on to find out what her name was. Like Eve, she was a mother of the human race. This woman is simply known as Noah’s wife. If you do just a little research outside the Bible, you will see that her name is most likely Naamah (pronounced Na-ah-mah). It just makes me feel better having a name for this woman. We don’t get a lot of insight into her life outside of the general story of the ark, but can you imagine?!
Noah’s wife is mentioned each time the Bible lists the people that were involved in the story. She is never mentioned by name, however. Neither are Noah’s son’s wives. But they, too, are mentioned each time. Take a moment and think back to the story of Noah and the ark. It is one of my daughter’s favorite stories. When she was afraid in a thunderstorm, she would crawl on my lap and I would tell her this story. And usually by the time I was done, she was comforted and the storm was ending.
Head on over to Genesis 6:9 and read the account of Noah and his family. You will miss so much if you don’t read it.
Right away in the story, we hear about how Noah was righteous among the men of the earth. We then read about how God was essentially disgusted with his creation, there is just this one family that is set apart. The human race was violent and wicked and corrupt. He decided that he was going to choose Noah and his family among all of the inhabitants of the entire world to save and start over with. What an honor! What a huge responsibility! And what do we hear about Noah and his family?
“Noah did everything just as God commanded him.” Genesis 6:22
The assumption I am making when I read this is that his family was in on this too. Knowing that God was about to destroy everything he created except this ONE family makes me think that they were led well by Noah, and they too were on the list of people worth saving. So what does all of this tell us about Noah’s wife? She was incredibly faithful.
She was faithful to Noah.
She stood by him and probably helped him in organizing, gathering, and building. It is widely thought that up to this point there had been no major rain - much less any flooding. For Noah to have been told from God that he was going to undertake building a large boat and that it was going to be made to float by a flood he would have had to have a family that stood beside him through all the work. Have you ever packed for a long road trip? My family loves doing stuff like this. One summer we went for six weeks camping around the USA. We loaded down our car, filled up the tank, and took off. Now, what most people don’t know is the amount of planning that had to go into that little trip. We planned financially and saved money so we could enjoy ourselves. We planned for lodging and campsites along the way. We planned for the stops we wanted to make along the way and all the sites to see. We planned for the different clothes we needed, the snacks we wanted in the car, and so many other minor things. This was three people in modern times that can stop by a Walmart and pick up whatever they forgot and it took months of planning. Imagine it being eight people and a ton of animals working toward what was going to be the end of the world as they knew it! I envision Noah’s wife calculating what everyone is going to eat and what supplies they needed for all the animals while the men were doing most of the physical labor. Oh, and Noah was 600 years old which means there is a good chance his wife was close to the same age!
She was faithful to God.
I don’t believe that Noah’s wife would have been chosen to be on the ark if she had not been a faithful believer. God was starting over and wanted the most faithful and pure start he could have. This would have been backward if Naamah had worshiped other gods or not truly believed what Noah was telling her came from the one true God. God knew that she was going to be one of four women responsible for starting the human race over again. She needed to be on His side with things.
The amount of faith it would have taken to listen to what Noah was saying, help him in preparation, and actually step onto the ark knowing that things were never going to be the same. Wow. My mind can’t comprehend it. I actually have a physical response to this thought. When I think about being in her shoes it makes my heart race! What an amazing example of faith.
This story focuses on a lot of physical details, but I wanted to share that insight with you. Just thinking about the faith of Noah’s wife - both to him and to God - makes me want to step up my game.
I know that my husband is happiest when we are on the same page. When we work as a team we can overcome so much. I would say we are healthier physically and emotionally when this happens. How can you come alongside your spouse or loved ones and show them that you believe they are living the life that God laid out for them?
I struggle with really giving myself time to align with God as well. Studying the Bible, taking time to really be in His presence, and truly talking to Him and worshiping Him are sometimes pushed to the side for normal everyday stuff. Since when is God less important? One of the things that I have been challenged to do is pray bold prayers. Our church is actually going through a time of challenging us to do that right now and journal our bold prayers and study bold prayers. How can you be more faithful to what God is telling you to do? Pray more? Serve more? Give more? Worship more?
The blessings that Noah’s wife - Naamah or otherwise named - was able to pass on to her family and future generations are directly related to her amazingly faithful life. I am so glad that when God looked down upon the world he saw at least one faithful family. He did amazing things with them and I know he can do the same with us if we are willing!
WRITTEN BY: ANGIE REESE
Joanna - if you are like me then you don’t think “Bible”, but rather hear the song in your head. Or maybe you think of a friend that has that name.
I was reading my Bible and the name jumped out at me. Who was this woman and why did I not know that she was there all along? Let me share with you what I found out!
Joanna is only mentioned in two sections in the Bible. Both of them in Luke.
Chapter 8 verse 1-3 tell us “After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”
Then again in Chapter 24 verse 9-11 it says “When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.”
In these brief mentions of Joanna we get a snapshot of a regular everyday Christian woman during the time of Christ. Her presence in the Bible is not an accident and I feel like we can learn a few beautiful things from her.
Joanna was in a position to be generous. We read that she and other women were supporting Jesus and the twelve of their own means. They believed in what Jesus was doing and wanted to show their faith and support in the form of generosity. Making sure these 13 men had what they needed in everyday needs made it so they could focus on the work they were doing as “fishers of men”.
Need for Jesus
It mentioned in the first set of verses that Joanna and the other women were part of this group because they had been cleansed of unclean spirits or disease. They had recognized that they needed Jesus and his healing power. They had a strong enough faith in Him that they went to Him for help and found it. How amazing would it be to have had Jesus himself in the flesh heal you from something that would have set you so apart from society?
Love for others
Joanna and the other women mentioned not only showed this love by stepping into a servant role when taking care of the twelve and Jesus while they were near, but this extended in wanting to give Jesus a proper cleaning and burial ritual in his tomb. She and the others didn’t understand that Jesus would be rising from the dead and so they went down there to take care of him in one final way they knew how. What a surprise awaited them!
While she is not a major Bible character, I am so glad God pointed her out to me. Sometimes practical and timeless examples of women that we can look to as role models in our faith are difficult to find. We can learn from all of the women in the Bible, but Joanna has a special place for me now. She did what she did from a place of love and faith. I am sure Jesus and the twelve appreciated her and the care she took of them. I wonder how much wisdom she gleaned from being in their company for the time she had with them.
I hope Joanna can be an example to you as she has been to me.
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