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Woman to Woman…Lydia

We are continuing our look at some of the amazing women in the Bible and what we can learn from them. Today I have chosen to take a look at Lydia. Her story can be found in Acts 16:12-15, 40 

Lydia lived in Philippi, a Roman colony in the district of Macedonia and the water in the area was known to make a brilliant purple Copyright: roxiller / 123RF Stock Photodye for cloth. She was a business woman who dealt in the dying of purple cloth which were a very expensive commodity and in my reading about her I learned that she was very well off for single woman.

Besides being a business woman, Lydia also found time to worship God in her Jewish faith. While near the river bank in her daily time of prayer she meets Paul and it is written that as Paul shares about God that her heart is opened.

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. (Acts 16:14)

The scripture goes not to say that she and her household are baptized, and we can also see that she is a woman of hospitality. Paul says this about her and her household: 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. (Acts 16:15)

In looking at Lydia I see some important lessons

  • Lydia had heart that was open to the Lord and we should also have a heart that is open to hear from Him. I hope that you pray for God to give you a heart the always open to listen him.
  • Lydia is a wonderful example of a woman who understands how to balance her job and her time with God. I think that for many of us, including myself it is easy to allow or time with God to take a back seat when life and its responsibilities get overwhelming. Whether you are career woman or a stay at home mom, make time for God daily.
  • She is also an example of what it means to have the gift of hospitality. She opened her home to Paul more than once and shared what she had. I think that is a gifting the is very important and can easily get looked over in our churches because we focus on the other gifting.  If your gifting is hospitality I hope you use it for the glory of God.

In reading about Lydia something else spoke to my heart and I want to share it with you before I close.

The very water that was so important in the dying of the purple cloth was also the same water that would be used to baptize her. Let me explain…”Purple’s rarity in nature and the expense of creating its dye gave it a great deal of prestige. It was the most expensive dye known to the ancient Israelites in the Bible. It was the color of choice for those of noble or royal birth or those who were high-level officials” -see biblestudy.org

As stated above, Purple is a royal color and the very water that gave the brilliant purple color to the cloth that provided for her financially is the same water that would baptize her as a daughter of the king of kings, Jesus Christ. That water and her faith in who Christ was would allow her to become an heir in Christ and part of the royal priesthood that is talked about in 1 Peter 2:9-10

I hope you are enjoying our look at the women of the bible in the Woman to Woman series. It is my hope that you will be able to apply lessons from the woman in this series to your own life.

Until next time, may you be Simply Blessed.

Shares are welcomed and I would love to hear your thoughts on todays’ post. 

For more daily encouragement and Heartfelt Ramblings order you copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel and christianbooks.com

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Woman to Woman…Mary

Today we are wrapping up our look at the women in Matthew 1, the lineage of Jesus.  Mary is the last woman listed and she has the honor of calling herself the mother of Jesus.

Mary was from the town of Nazareth in the hills of Galilee. She was from a poor but honorable family who were descendants of Israel’s greatest king, David. Mary was trained in the scripture and knew that God had promised to send the Messiah who would rescue her people and be their king. Right after the 400 years of silence, the time between the Old and New Testament when no new Scripture was written, and no prophets had spoken, Mary’s story unfolds.

What is amazing about Mary’s story is that people believed that the king would come from a wealthy and powerful family. Instead God choose a poor girl from a humble family.

Mary is the perfect example of God choosing the most unexpected person to do something for His kingdom.  No one would have ever picked David to slay Goliath but God did.  No one would have ever thought Joshua could bring the walls down by marching around the city of Jericho and blowing a trumpet but God did.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking we are not good enough.  We may think God has better candidates to choose from for the job but God knew exactly what He was doing when He chose David to slay Goliath, and He knew exactly what He was doing when He chose Mary to carry His Son. God knows exactly what He is doing with you too.

Trust God to use you as He sees fit. Mary was the only one in the group that did not have sin that is mentioned.  Unlike Ruth who comes from a line of people whom God had cursed, Mary was a descendant of David. She, however, was not who most people thought God would have chosen.

God picked exactly who was to be a part of the genealogy of His son so that it would show His grace and mercy.  From these five women we can see that no matter how big our sin or whether we don’t see ourselves as worthy, God has made it clear that we can call ourselves heirs of His kingdom.

We need to believe who we are in Christ and understand that there is nothing that we have done that is too big for His forgiveness.

I hope you join me again next week for the Women to Women series.

Shares are welcomed and I would love to hear your thoughts on today’s post.

For more daily encouragement and Heartfelt Ramblings order you copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and christianbooks.com

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Woman to Woman…Bathsehba

 

Bathsheba is the next woman in the lineage of Jesus listed in Matthew 1.  I hope you are enjoying the Woman to Woman series and the lessons we can learn from the women in the Bible.

Bathsheba is not mentioned by name in Matthew 1. She is referred to as Solomon’s mother and Uriah’s wife. Though her name is not mentioned, she is no less important than the other women who are listed. One of the important things to note is that she is the wife of Uriah who was one of David’s men. Uriah had gone off to battle, and while lounging on his roof, David sees a beautiful woman bathing on her roof.  I am not sure if she knew the king would be watching or if it was totally innocent. David asks his men to find out who she is and even though they bring him back the news that she is married, he sends for her anyway so that he can sleep with her.

Not a good idea, David! That one moment of lust starts a domino effect…

Bathsheba ends up pregnant from their escapade and David is afraid his sin of adultery will be discovered. He calls Uriah back from the battlefield and tells him to go home to his wife.  Seriously, David?

King David thinks if Uriah sleeps with his wife Uriah will think the baby is his. But that backfires because Uriah is a loyal soldier and chooses to stay in the palace with his king rather than go home to his wife. That leads to yet another attempt to cover up his sin. David orders Uriah to be sent to the front line in hopes he will be killed. When Uriah dies, David marries Bathsheba and they have a son. Growing up, my mom always said if you lie you will get caught and that is exactly what happened. Nathan the prophet confronts David about his sin and David repents asking God for forgiveness. There is a consequence for their sin, their child dies.

God, however, blesses Bathsheba and David with another child and they name him Solomon and he is loved by God.

When we look at the story of Bathsheba and King David we see that though God can always forgive, there will still be consequences for our sinful choices. We all fall short from time to time, but when we repent, God forgives us. Yes, there will be consequences but God is good and there is always something so much better ahead than what we leave in our past.

Have a Simply Blessed day and I hope you take a moment to read the whole story of Bathsheba and David in 2 Samuel 11 and 12

Next week we’ll finish our look at the women of Matthew 1 and look at Mary the mother of Jesus.

For more daily encouragement and Heartfelt Ramblings order you copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and christianbooks.com

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Woman to Woman…Ruth

Welcome back to the Woman to Woman Series.  We are making our way through Matthew 1 and today we will be looking at Ruth. She is the only lady listed in the Mathew 1 that has her own book in the Bible.

Ruth is the daughter-in-law of Naomi who left Bethlehem with her husband to live in Moab because there was a famine. Naomi had two sons and one of them married Ruth. Sadly, Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah all lose their husbands and Naomi decides to return to her homeland.

Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law and chooses to go with her to a land the she doesn’t know, to live with people who serve a God she is not familiar with. The book of Ruth is full of so many treasures. But before I share some of the gems found in her story, I would love to have you read the book of Ruth on your own first.  Here is a link to get you there…RUTH

Now that you read the story of Ruth, let’s dig in and look at some hidden treasures…

Gem #1: Ruth is a Moabite and that piece of information is where we will find our first hidden gem. Do you remember the story of Lot in Genesis? Lot ends up hiding with his daughters, after his wife is turned to stone, while running from Sodom and Gomorrah. His daughters get him drunk and sleep with him so that they will not be without children. Both of them become pregnant and the eldest daughter names her son “Moab” and he becomes the father of the Moabites. This angers God and in Deuteronomy 23 it states that the Moabites are excluded from the assembly. In other words, no Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation. (Scholars say that the term 10th generation is another way of saying forever). Ruth is a Moabite which means she has been excluded from the assembly of God. But by the grace of God, she is named in the lineage of Jesus. That just goes to show us all that there is no end to God’s forgiveness and redemption.

Gem #2: Boaz is a Kinsman Redeemer. Let me give you a little explanation.

As you read in the book of Ruth she meets Boaz, a rich landowner and relative of Naomi. He is strong and powerful and I think it was love at first sight. Naomi knows that Ruth must find a home for herself and someone to provide for her and when she realizes that Boaz has found favor in Ruth, she instructs her about what to do.

She tells Ruth that Boaz is a family member (a Kinsman). Next she instructs Ruth to wash and perfume herself and to go where he will be. Naomi also tells her to not let Boaz see her until he has had food and drink. Ruth is obedient and does exactly what Naomi tells her to do. She quietly goes to Boaz and uncovers his feet.  He wakes to find a woman lying at his feet and he asks, “Who are you. (I am guessing it must have been very dark or maybe she had her head covered.)

Ruth tells Boaz who she is and asks him to spread the corner of his garment over her because he is her

“Kinsman Redeemer”. A Kinsman Redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws, had the privilege or responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication. Just as Boaz is Ruth’s Kinsman Redeemer, Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer.

Christ identifies Himself with us and He redeemed us because of our need. (Jesus is not only our redeemer from sin He is also kinsman to us). We are part of the family of God and Jesus understands our struggles. He is truly able to help us in our time of need. Like Ruth found her Kinsman Redeemer, we have found ours.  Just as Ruth was covered by Boaz’s garment, as a sign that he would redeem her and protect her, we have been covered by the blood of Christ.

Gem #3: Ruth’s grandson would become the great-grandfather of David, a man after God’s own heart and a hero to the people of Israel. Not only was she no longer excluded from the assembly of God, she is now counted by name in the lineage of Jesus.

The story of Ruth is such a beautiful story of God’s grace and provision. I hope you have enjoyed the beautiful treasures that are found in the story of Ruth. You are worthy to call yourself a child of God and you are deeply loved by Jesus who laid down His life for you.

Next week we will look at Bathsheba.

Have a blessed day.

Shares are welcomed and I would love to hear your thoughts on todays’ post. 

For more daily encouragement and Heartfelt Ramblings order you copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel and christianbooks.com

 

 

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Woman to Woman…Rahab

Welcome back to the Woman to Woman series.  So far we have looked at Abigail and now we are making our way through the women of Matthew 1. This week we are looking at the second woman in Matthew 1, Rahab, who unlike Tamar she was actually a prostitute.

Her story begins in the book of Joshua. Joshua sent two men secretly to go and view the land, especially Jericho. When they got to the city they came to the house of Rahab and they lodged with her. The King of Jericho came to her house and told Rahab to bring the men out who had entered her home. Rahab told the king that the men were there but they had left and that if he hurried, he would find them and over take them.

After the king and his men left Rahab who was hiding the men says,

 I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt”. Joshua 2:9

Rahab knew this God they served. She acknowledged what He could do and that He was the one true God. That was a statement of her faith in God. I love her boldness in what she says next. She says, “Because I have dealt kindly with you, please deal kindly with me”. She then goes on to ask that they would save her family. They make an oath with her and tell her that when they come back to the land, no harm will come to her or her family as long as they do not leave her house.

In order to leave without being caught, the men lower themselves with a rope through the window. Not just any rope, a red rope or a scarlet cord. It was a symbol of her lifestyle, a glaring reflection of her sin for all to see. Ever heard of the red-light-district? It has the same meaning. With the cord that showed her sin, she saved the men of God.

Before they left the men told her to gather her family into her house and when they came into the land to hang the scarlet cord in her window. In a class I took at Portland Bible College, my professor mentioned that she had to go and get her family. He pointed out that they most likely did not associate with her. Still, she cared so much for them she risked her life to save them.

The cord and her faith in whom God would save not only her, but her whole family. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the cord that saved her is the same color as the blood that saves us.

Rahab was a Gentile and a prostitute but she was credited for her faith. 

By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. Hebrews 11:31

Besides being an example of what it means to have faith, Rahab is also the perfect example of God’s love being big enough to forgive our sin no matter what it is. It is my hope that you too will have the faith of Rahab and that you will always remember that God is so much bigger than the mistakes you may have made. When we leave our past in the past and put our faith in God we will find forgiveness and a new beginning.

Rahab would in time marry Solomon. They had a son named Boaz. Boaz would become the kinsman redeemer in the life of the woman we will look at next week. Her name is Ruth. To read Rahab’s whole story read Joshua 2

Shares are welcomed and I would love to hear your thoughts on todays’ post. 

For more daily encouragement and Heartfelt Ramblings order you copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel and christianbooks.com

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Woman to Woman…Tamar

Tamar, the is 1st woman listed in Matthew:1 (The Genealogy of Jesus). Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah. She was married to his oldest Son Er who was evil in the sight of God and put to death. By Levirate rights/law Er’s brother Onan must take her for a wife and once again she finds herself treated in a disrespectful way.

Levitate Rights: Tamar Had these rights but was not allowed to claim them for herself because of what Onan did to her. The law said if a married man died without children, it was the duty of the brother or other near relative to marry the widow. The son of the union would be reckoned to be the son of the first husband. Onan knew if he made a child with her, that child would get an inheritance that was the right of his brothers child. With his brother gone, he and his children would be able to claim the right of the first-born. That meant he used Tamar for sex but Scripture says that he let his semen spell on the ground. For a Jewish woman it meant disgrace and people thought being childless was a punishment from God.

God than puts Onan to death because of how he treats Her. She was promised to be married to Judah’s 3rd son who was very young. Tamar is now left waiting for the third son to grow up. Two husbands have died for treating her so poorly.  One used her. She had no children, and that was looked down on. Now she is waiting for a boy to grow up and she is not sure he will become her husband.

Eventually Judah’s wife dies and Tamar takes matters into her own hands. She dresses as a prostitute and sits by the road waiting for Judah to pass. He thinks she is a prostitute and has sex with her. He promises her a payment but she asks for his signet, cord and staff to hold until payment is brought. They are Judah’s seal. In other words they are ancient version of our personal ID. They are how he would prove his identity and now she has them in her hands. Judah sends a friend with her payment in exchange for his things. She is gone… 3 months later she is pregnant and Judah wants her burned for her sin. Judah asks her by whom are you pregnant? “By the man whom these belong, I am pregnant” she says, as she shows him his possessions.

Tamar got justice for herself. According to the law she had rights but her means of achieving those rights were extreme and not my right to judge. She fought for her inheritance and in her we see how important it is for us to also fight for what is ours. By that I mean our spiritual inheritance. We are daughters of the one true God, heirs in Christ and we should let nothing take that from us. God rewarded Tamar’s tenacity and determination with the birth of sons. One became an ancestor of King David, Israel’s great hero. She is counted in the genealogy of Jesus. You my sister are also worthy to call yourself part of God’s family.

To see Tamar’s full story, read Genesis:38

Until next week,

May you be Simply Blessed.

For more daily encouragement and Heartfelt Ramblings order you copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel and christianbooks.com

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Woman to Woman…You are Worthy

Welcome back to my Woman to Woman series…Lessons from the women of the bible

Last week I started our women to women series by looking at Abigail. Over the next several weeks I would like to look at five women who are the perfect example of God’s forgiveness and provision. In these five women will see that we to are worthy to call ourselves daughters of God. The enemy loves to fill us with lies. Satan wants us to think that we are not worthy and that God could never use us because of past mistakes.

It is my hope that the women of Matthew 1 will allow you to throw the lies the enemy has feed you out the window. Matthew 1 is a record of the genealogy of Jesus and four of the women are named and the fifth who is not named is said to be the wife of wife of Uriah.

Three of the women where gentiles: Tamar, Rahab and Ruth. I believe the fact that women were listed in the genealogy of Jesus, and that three were gentiles shows Gods love is for all of us. At the time it was written women did not have a lot worth in society. Mathew 1 shows us that God’s grace is not limited to just men or to only the people of Israel. God’s grace is for each of.

Today I am going to ask you to read Matthew 1: 1-17 and make a note of the women listed and dig in a little on your own. Next week we will dig in and look at Tamar. In each of these five women there is a lesson and I am so excited to share with you what God has shown me as I have gotten into his word.

Until next week ladies (and any men who may be reading this), May you be Simply Blessed

For more daily encouragement and Heartfelt Ramblings order you copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) from Amazon or Barnes and Nobel and christianbooks.com

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Woman to Woman…Abigail

Today I am starting off my “Woman to Woman” Series. Over the next several weeks I will be looking at women of the bible and what we can learn from them.  Anger and revenge. Two ugly things that can trip us all up and I love this lesson from a very wise woman named Abigail

Abigail (1 Samuel 25) is the wife of Nabal. He was a very wealthy man but he was not very kind. While in the wilderness, David came upon Nabal and he sends his men to greet him and wish him health and a long life. Nabal’s response toward David and his men was very rude and David becomes angry. In his anger, David wants to kill Nabal. Abigail hears from a servant what her husband had done and because she was a wise woman she acts quickly. She gathered bread, wine and other foods. With her servants going before her, Abigail goes to meet David and offer him a proper greeting. When she finds David, she falls to her knees and pleads with David not to get blood on his on his hands. Abigail is explaining to David that she understands his anger but she wisely lets David know that he should not kill her husband because it will leave blood on his hands. She directs him to trust The Lord and to keep his hands clean. David listens to her wisdom and he does not seek revenge. About 10 days later Abigail’s husband, who’s heart was hardened, dies.  We can all learn from Abigail’s example. When anger and the sense of revenge hits us we need to remember that we should not take things into our own hands. Ask God to remove your anger by replacing it with joy. You’re not saying that what was done to you was right or that it should be excused.

Give the pain to God and ask Him to take care of things as he sees fit. Please understand I am not asking you to pray that God will end their life. I am asking you to tell God that you cannot live a life filled with anger no matter how righteous it is. Tell Him that you trust Him to deal with those who hurt you. Keep praying for God to help you let go of the anger because hanging on to it allows what they did to control you.

This is something that you may have to address over and over because the enemy doesn’t want to see you move forward in victory. Take your battle stance and don’t allow him a stronghold. Have a simply blessed day and let Abigail be a reminder to never take revenge into your own hands. If you have time today please read 1 Samuel 25

Shares are welcomed and I would love to hear your thoughts on today’s post. 

For more daily encouragement and Heartfelt Ramblings order you copy of Simply Blessed (31-day devotional) at christianbooks.com