Your One Beauty!

"Your hair! Your beautiful hair!"
"Oh, Jo, how could you? Your one beauty."
I love this scene in the screen adaptation of Little Women with Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, and Susan Sarandon. The first time I viewed it, I see this young woman sacrificing her one beauty out of a heart of love. The following passages in Scripture flooded my mind.

Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, sheds light on a heart opened by the Lord. Martha is the one who invites Jesus into their home during His travels. Martha begins tedious preparations for her guest, as she is persuaded a good hostess should (she most likely has the gift of hospitality). Mary on the other hand, immediately plants herself at the feet of Jesus. Take note of that…the first time we get a glimpse of Mary, she is at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:39). He is bringing her good news, as Isaiah prophesied,
“How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'”
Then we have another biblical account of a sinner woman, who is most likely NOT Mary, though some have tried to make that connection. A possibility is that she is the woman who was caught in adultery and brought to Jesus to be stoned to death (while those who “caught’ her conveniently forgot to bring the man too as the Law demanded both their deaths, thus they were in violation of the Law.)

This woman caught in adultery had her shame made public and knew that physical death was her sentence. What did Jesus write in the dirt with His finger? Many have made guesses about listing the names and sins of the people standing there. My thought is perhaps he was writing the law that showed these “witnesses” against her were in violation of the very law they opportunely forgot to quote in its entirety. They took Scripture out of context to trap Jesus, but Jesus KNEW better.
“If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.” Deut 22:22.
Whatever Jesus was writing seemed to convict their hearts of their own unrighteousness and not one was willing to remain a witness against her. Can you imagine how she felt? The Messiah is standing before her and the ugliest of her sin revealed. He is justified in condemning her. Yet He chooses mercy and love and forgives her. My guess is she became one of the women who followed Jesus, because when a woman is given that kind of mercy and love when all of her sin is exposed and forgiven, she would follow Him to the ends of the earth.

In Luke 7, we see a sinner woman enter into a Pharisee’s home. “Sinner” is most likely referring to this woman being a prostitute, because all sinned, but this was some type of publicly KNOWN sin.

In the era this event unfolded, they reclined at the table in a manner where they leaned head first into the table with an arm resting on the table and their body lies behind them. Thus, the sinner woman stood behind Jesus, at his feet and wept.

What is it about the feet of Jesus? The prophecy of Isaiah being fulfilled, “how lovely are the feet of Him who brings good news and salvation!” She wets His feet with her tears, which signifies a complete brokenness to weep that hard. The faucet of her soul is flowing. She then proceeds to wipe his feet with her hair.

One must comprehend what hair meant to a woman. It was her head covering before God and to this very day, her one beauty. Even the women of less beauty could have long, luxurious hair. She willingly muddies up her hair, losing possibly her “one beauty” to express devotion and gratitude to the Lord. This was the role of a servant and she humbly chose to be the servant of the Lord. She kisses his feet and anoints them with the vial of perfume she had brought forth.

A precious reminder of when Jacob (Israel) set eyes upon Rachel, the shepherdess, he kissed her and lifted his voice and wept. Jacob was running in fear from his deceit, still in the midst of his sin, when he saw the shepherdess, releasing the intense emotion of weeping and kissing her, as he saw a future and a hope. Now we have a sinner woman of Israel, who sets eyes upon the Shepherd and sees her future and hope.

Going back to Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, we later see her coming to the Lord in the midst of her grieving over Lazarus. She is so grieved in her soul, that she did not run to greet the Savior until He called for her. Where does she go? Once again, Mary goes straight to the feet of Jesus, as she is weeping.

Jesus moved in spirit, begins weeping too. It’s the first time in the Bible we see this “emotional” side of Jesus. Why is the Son of God weeping? Surely, He knew he was going raise Lazarus, so He was not grieving over the loss of Lazarus. In fact, He had intentionally delayed His coming for this opportunity to display the glory of God. Yet, His spirit stirred when He saw one of His devoted followers hurting. Does this not comfort you? To know that when we are in the depth of our pain, even though Jesus knows the victory to come, He still hurts with us, because He loves us. He empathizes with our pain. He does not have the attitude of the world to just “buck up and take it like a man.” He understands our pain and weeps with those who weep (Romans 12:15)

Our next example, we have Jesus at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus six days before Passover and his death. We find Martha serving and Lazarus reclining at the table with Jesus. Where is Mary in this picture? Once again, she is at the feet of Jesus. This time she is taking highly expensive perfume, it is worth three hundred denarii. We know from Matthew 20:2 that a denarius is a day’s wages. We have about 42 weeks of wages poured forth onto the precious feet of Jesus, and then wipes them clean and dry with her hair. The crowning glory (1 Cor 11:15) of a woman is wiping the feet of Jesus. Something even the male disciples had not volunteered to do until Jesus first washed their feet. She has just cast her crown to His feet! (Rev 4:10)

Last, but not least, we have Mary at the tomb. She is STOOPING, while weeping, and looking into the tomb. Did you catch the STOOPING part? Have you noticed this detail overlooked in paintings of this scene? Then Jesus approaches her. NOWHERE in the Bible does it state that she has yet stood up. So when she is weeping and begins clinging to him…where might she be clinging? May I suggest His feet? I cannot state this with certainty, but it seems highly plausible.

For many years, all I wanted to do was hug Jesus someday. I wanted to know what it feels like to be in the arms of love. Yet Scripture has a way of transforming a person. Now I want to join Mary and the sinner woman at the feet of Jesus. As gratitude consumes me, I too want to cast my crown at His feet for the overwhelming love He has bestowed upon a sinner like me.

Jesus the Messiah is Born--Family Devotional with Object Lesson

(Plain and colored pencils provide us with the illustration of humility)

Weekly Scripture:
Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-7

“Jesus the Messiah is Born”

Jesus was humble, are you?

Live the Lesson: Pretty Pencils
This week you need to a set of colored pencils and a plain pencil too. Sharpen all the pencils before the class or your family.

Show the children the colored pencils and ask each one of them to pick one to take to their seat with them. Ask the children which pencil is the best and to state their reason why?

After they discuss their favorites and why, show them some drawings done with only one color each. The drawings are pretty on their own, but when incorporating and blending all colors, the picture takes on a new dimension of beauty. They are each necessary for the resulting splendor. If you do not start out with what some may consider a boring color first for the outline, the picture does not stand out the same. The outline makes the picture remarkable.

In addition, share with them to manufacture a pencil takes a little bit of a lot of countries to put it together. The graphite comes from South America . The different colors come from all kinds of places around the world. The eraser comes from some islands. The wood may come from Oregon or Northern California for instance. It took people from different occupations (poor and rich) and from many different countries to bring all the products together required for these pencils.

Jesus resided in Heaven, came down and was born in a manger, and walked among the lowliest of sinners to bring us the greatest gift we can ever receive…Salvation. These pencils should serve to remind us to be humble, value others, and know that we all have a part to serve if we will just surrender to the working of God’s Masterpiece with our lives.

Memory Verse:
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Dear Lord, please help us to have the same heart of humility that Jesus had when He came down from Heaven to be born in a manger and die for our sins.

Living the Life:
This week share with your children times you have had to fight the spirit of pride or prejudices in your own life and seek to have the heart of Christ.

The Fall--Family Devotion with Object Lesson

(A 2 liter bottle and a $20 dollar bill help make an Adam and Eve trap as we learn to beware of temptation and learn about consequences this week with Adam and Eve.)

Weekly Scripture:
Genesis 3

“The Fall”

God wants us to take responsibility for our sins, repent and seek restoration to Him, rather than try to hide our sins.

Finding Christ:
In this chapter, we hear God announce the enmity that will be between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. The seed of the woman is a prophecy of Christ. Through the crucifixion and resurrection, Christ did bruise the serpent on the head.

Live the Lesson:
Prepare an Adam and Eve trap before the devotional time. Take a $20 bill and put it in the middle of a piece of paper. Crush the paper into the shape of a ball around it, adding 2 more sheets to the ball. Make sure to crush this very firmly. Tape around it, making sure there are not edges one could pinch anywhere.

Take a 2 liter bottle and cut the top ¼ of it. Find a very sturdy piece of cardboard or foam and cut a hole in it big enough for the ball only to pass through or a hand, but not a hand wrapped around the ball. Try dropping the ball through to make sure it can clear by itself. Secure the cardboard to the top of the bottle with duct tape or something of that nature until it holds firmly in place.

Now show the children how the ball can pass through the trap and place it in the bottom of the bottle. Tell them this is an Adam and Eve trap. Tell them the piece of cardboard on top represents God’s relationship with us. Explain to them the ball represents temptation and there is a $20 bill in the middle of the ball. Whoever can reach into the trap, wrap their hand around the ball, and remove it without damaging the relationship to God can have the $20! Having seen the ball drop in surely some child will believe they can pull this off.

As they realize it is impossible, explain to them so it is with temptation. You cannot keep focused on temptation without giving in to it and you cannot actually sin without it damaging your relationship with God. Then talk about how to seek God’s restoration.

Memory Verse:
“My sins are not hidden from You.”
Psalm 69:5

Dear Lord, please help me to overcome temptation. If I do sin, please help me to take responsibility and confess my sins to You, that I will repent and be restored to You!

Living the Life:
This week, name the various temptations we come across. Share how to overcome them with the Word. Remind children to take responsibility and not put the blame on others. They should repent and seek restoration.

Adam & Eve--Family Devotion with Object Lesson

(A foil covered “robot” given the ability to choose to obey or disobey shows us along with Adam and Eve why it is important to obey the Lord.)

Weekly Scripture:
Genesis 1:26-2:25

“Adam and Eve”

God wanted Adam and Eve to live, just as He wants us to have eternal life, so He gives us commands to keep us spiritually alive, but He also gives us the choice to obey or disobey.

Finding Christ:
These two chapters are packed with types of Christ. See how many you can find. Just one would be the Adam is referred to as the “first Adam” and Jesus is referred to the “last Adam” according to 1 Corinthians 15.

Live the Lesson:
Make up Dad (or Mom) to be a robot! Have the kids help wrap and tape foil all around him! (Get out the camera…you do not want to miss this.) Now give the robot some basic commands and watch the robot comply and obey. Continue this and let the kids join in giving him some basic commands. Have the robot add some drama to get some laughs. Now go to the back of the robot. Take your screwdriver and open up his head and put the “ability to choose” into his mind to either obey or disobey you. Now give him some more commands in which he complies. However, beforehand have it planned which thing the robot will not obey. Such as if you are in the kitchen area (with a mop handy) you could tell him to get a glass of water (make sure to use a plastic cup in case this slips out of your hand). Tell the robot to drink the water. The robot begins to comply, but shocks everybody when instead he tosses the water on all of you!!! Explain to the kids how we too have the choice to obey or to disobey all of God’s commands. When we choose to disobey, we too will have a mess on our hands.

Memory Verse:
“Children obey your parents in all things.”
Colossians 3:20

Dear Lord, please help me to obey all of your commands. Help me to obey my parents too

Living the Life:
This week, discuss the commands of the Lord and the blessings and consequences associated with obedience or disobedience.

God Gave Man Responsibility--Family Devotion with Object Lesson

(Water balloons, eggs, or macaroni help teach us to be responsible as we learn with Adam about God giving us work to do.)

Weekly Scripture:
Genesis 1 & 2

“God Gave Man Responsibility”

The Lord gives us responsibilities to do His work and care for each other.

Finding Christ:
These two chapters are packed with types of Christ. See how many you can find. Just one would be the Tree of Life. Jesus is our Eternal Life!

Live the Lesson:
Depending on where you will be doing this object lesson, what kind of weather you have, and what time of day/night…you have the option of using either: water balloons, eggs, uncooked elbow macaroni noodles, or whatever you can imagine. Have your family sit in a close circle if you use macaroni or a lot further apart if using water balloons or eggs. Without telling your family the purpose, place one bucket next to the first person in the circle with the entire “product” in it and place an empty bucket next to the last person. Explain the rules that they are responsible to pass the product around the circle. If anything drops, do not retrieve it. Just continue passing more product to the next person as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Memory Verse:
“We are God’s fellow workers.”
1 Corinthians 3:9

Dear Lord, please help me to be very careful with the responsibilities you give to me. Help me to always do my best and to always seek Your help!

Living the Life:
This week discuss responsibilities each person is given to care for each other in the family. Teach your children good manners such as holding the door open for others.

God's Nature Expressed in Creation--Family Devotion with Object Lesson

(A flashlight, a mirror, and a bowl of water help to remind us that God created light and colors this week as we study Creation.)

Weekly Scripture:
Read Genesis 1 & 2 to your family

“God’s Nature Expressed in Creation”

We praise God and express appreciation for His creation that reveals to us how Almighty He is!

Finding Christ:
These two chapters are packed with types of Christ. See how many you can find. Just one would be the Sabbath (the 7th day) represents Christ, our perpetual rest. Jesus also declares He is Lord of the Sabbath.

Live the Lesson:
Take a deep, clear bowl of water and place a small mirror inside of it. In a dark room shine down the flashlight on the mirror and see how it reflects colors. Lift the mirror so that it leans on one side of the bowl to get a rainbow on your wall. Explain to your children that by creating light, God also created all the colors. Now follow it up with some chocolate pudding interlaced with gummi worms and then sprinkle some crushed oreo cookies on top. Mud pudding is really yummy! Don’t forget to say “Thank you Lord, it is good.”

Memory Verse:
“I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.”
Matthew 11:25

Dear Lord, please help me to remember to notice all that you create and praise you for it.

Living the Life:
This week point out all the things around you that God has created and how unique each thing is. Praise the Lord for His wonders with your children.

Biblical Ishshah (Woman): Abigail-- An Example of Wisdom, Beauty, and Intelligence

Then David said to Abigail, “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand.” 1 Sam 25: 32-33

God uses obedient and willing women mightily in His kingdom. This is often taught that only if a woman is in total subjection to her husband, even if he is not walking in God's will and obedience and 1 Peter 3 is quoted as the proof according to the rendering of those using it to make their point.

However, our Bible weaves together beautifully to illustrate basic principles which sometimes seem contradictory, but truly are not. It requires wisdom to pull all aspects together and watch them flow in harmony. Some either cannot or will not show this bigger picture of women and leave out these important truths.

Abigail, was known as a wise woman, of intelligence and beauty. She was married to a man named Nabal which means “folly or fool.” I guess this was a case of opposites attract and definitely a spiritual mismatch.

Nabal's own servants said he was worthless. Take note as to why Nabal is known as worthless to them, because no one can speak to him. Now as we read this chapter we realize indeed they spoke to him, but he was not a man of good reasoning and refused input from others. He was also known as harsh and evil in his dealings with others. This harsh can also be translated as hard, stubborn, or obstinate. The word given as evil can also be translated as bad, disagreeable, unkind, and unpleasant. Dealings literally means his acts, deeds, and practices. You get the picture?

A man like this is usually abusive with power over his family and employees. Abuse may be in one spectrum or many, encompassing mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual abuse.

King David is out in the fields and a feast day has arrived. He seeks from Nabal a gift in exchange for the fact he and his men have been good to Nabal's servants and flocks and even offered them a wall of protection. Nabal being a greedy man refuses and spurns David.

Fortunately, even Nabal and Abigail's servants have perceived that Abigail is wise and intelligent. So they secretly come to Abigail and tell her of the foolish decision of Nabal. Abigail immediately acts on this and goes fully against her husband's will, even behind his back, because she discerns that her husband is not obedient to God. She is wise enough to know that she cannot reason with Nabal, so she moves forward without his knowledge or permission.

In haste she goes to King David with many gifts and pleads for his mercy. She is bold and exercises one of her spiritual gifts and begins to prophecy over David. What she speaks is truth given from God. This is a woman who is surrendered to our Lord!

David had his mind made up to kill Nabal and all his household before Abigail came and spoke wisdom and prophesied over him. David, who was unlike Nabal, listens to Abigail's wise counsel and heeds it, realizing God has revealed His will through this woman.

Then David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me, and blessed be your discernment, and blessed be you, who have kept me this day from bloodshed and from avenging myself by my own hand. "Nevertheless, as the LORD God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from harming you, unless you had come quickly to meet me, surely there would not have been left to Nabal until the morning light as much as one male." So David received from her hand what she had brought him and said to her, "Go up to your house in peace. See, I have listened to you and granted your request."”

Abigail returns home to find Nabal throwing himself a feast fit for a king and he was drunk. Abigail in her wisdom decides now it not the time to share with him what she has done. The next day she tells Nabal all and the Bible says his heart died within him and became as stone. This appears not to be physical but rather emotional and spiritual, since God has yet to strike Nabal dead. Can you imagine how Nabal probably treated Abigail in those 10 days following since his heart was now like stone? Then the Lord struck Nabal dead.

When David heard Nabal was dead he blessed the Lord. Not only that, but he sent a marriage proposal to Abigail.

Abigail is one of my favorite women in the Bible, because she chose the fear of the Lord and to walk in obedience to Him in contrast to what most of us are taught today! Yet, she is blessed with the titles of wise, discerning, intelligent and beautiful!

Father God, in the Name of Jesus, please help each of my sisters and me to choose to walk in obedience to You and Your plans. Let us reflect Your wisdom, discernment, intelligence, and beauty. Help each of us to live out our lives longing to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant!” AMEN!

Are You in Denial?

As often as I open my email, Facebook, Twitter, or other account I hear women versing the promises of God. Sometimes I feel wholly encouraged. At other times, I feel entirely concerned.

Encouraged, because what an amazing God we serve that He has given us His promises to cling to when our hearts would otherwise be overwhelmed. How many of us have clung tightly to the promises in His Word while being battered in the midst of a storm? Those promises were our beacon of hope that helped us hold on!

Concerned, because too many people cease to comprehend that every promise of God is founded on a condition of obedience. When we neglect to speak about the conditions of obedience, we are like children trying to sustain good health off Cotton Candy! We want our impulses and the sweet promises. We want to claim them no matter what we are doing with our lives. It is the “best of both worlds” mentality, which Christ and His apostles warned had no part in Him!

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” Titus 1:16

My dear friends, you do not want to be one who denies God by your deeds and lack of obedience to His Word. This is the wrong type of denial for those who claim to be Christians.

Yet we are called to be in denial! “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.””

What is it to deny ourselves? It is a moment by moment choice to deny our selfish flesh and surrender our lives to Christ for His glory. It is deliberately choosing to make Jesus the LORD (Master) of your life. If Christ is truly Lord, then His character should be more and more emulated by you.

I am not calling you to beat yourself up here, because none of us have achieved perfection and will not until we are face to face with Christ. Yet, we are to be growing in His grace. Step back and look at the last year of your life, graph it out in your mind's eye. Are you becoming more like Christ and less controlled by the lusts of your flesh. Do you see an overall increasing in the fruit of the spirit?

The Word of God makes reveals to us the deeds that we practice if controlled by our flesh:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:19-21

Yet if we are abiding in Christ, His spirit will be prevailing more and more against the flesh. Thus, we will produce more fruit of the Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Gal. 5:22-23

If the fruit is increasing in your life, you do well. If not, then it is time to cry out to the Lord to intervene. I would also suggest you find some godly, same-gender siblings for the sake of accountability. There is nothing like a sister who reminds me to put my eyes back on Christ and not my circumstances or selfish desires.

Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.” Ps 119:37

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2

May we press on together toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! Blessings to you!

Biblical Ishshah (Woman): The True Role of Helper/Help Meet

Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." Gen. 2:18

Are you ready to embrace who God created you to be dear sister? Because I am excited to take you on an adventure into the Word of God to discover the truth about women. In our series Biblical Ishshah (Hebrew for woman, pronounced ish-shaw) we will start with the HELPER/HELP MEET.

In the Hebrew the word for the helper/helpmeet in the passages in Genesis 2 is `ezer which is a masculine noun. It has for the root the verb `azar which is also translated helper in the English.

What does that word “Help” or “Helper” mean in the Bible? Would you be surprised that it does not mean what we tend to think in our culture today?

We tend to think of the master tradesman who is the brains with the skills, who calls the shots and hires or enslaves a helper, whom is the lesser of the two. Maybe even apprentice comes to mind.

When people are told wives are created to be a helper to their husbands, an assumption is made based off our current cultural understanding of the word helper.

Let us dig into His Word to find out what a helper is. Helper is one who comes to the aid, to rescue, or deliver those in NEED of help. Does that sound like a lesser being or one further down on the totem?

2 Kings 14:26 we see that Israel is suffering because there was found no HELPER for them. In this case helper is a king, prophet, or military general who would deliver the people.

Job 29:12 speaks of the delivering the poor and the orphan who has no helper. Job was not the lesser, but rather capable of bettering the life of the poor and orphan (who had little or nothing) out of his own faithfulness and abundance.

In the Psalms, every time the word helper is used, it refers to God Himself. David recognized that he desperately needed God to help him, deliver him, rescue him, come to his aid!

In every passage in the Old Testament, the word Helper was understood to be a competent one(s) who came to the aid of the one in need of help. You were in a better position to help those who could not help themselves. Not a lesser position.

God knew from the beginning that He would create both man and woman. However, he allowed man to go for a time alone and separate to understand that He was in need of somebody to come to his aid.

Some say Eve was a helper suitable for Adam. The word that has been translated as suitable means conspicuous, in front of or corresponding to. So God fashioned Eve to come to the aid of Adam in ways that became conspicuous to him corresponding to his needs for help.

God did not create Eve to be treated as a peon. He created her from the side of Adam, not from his top to crush him, nor from his bottom to be trampled on. In every other place in the Bible the word Tsela` is never translated as RIB. It refers to the ENTIRE side, or half of the assembly/structure, even used in reference to parts of the Temple. How interesting. What if Eve was actually created from an equal half of Adam? Could it be? Do you see the Temple connection to our bodies now being His temple in the New Testament?

If God did indeed create marriage to be a three strand cord that correlates to the Trinity, then is Yahweh in this union the Father, while the husband is to be like the Son laying down his life in sacrificial love? If so, then that would mean the wife represents the role of the Holy Spirit who is also called a HELPER in the New Testament. Interesting, given the same role title, helper. Maybe even more than that, since the Holy Spirit inhabits the church, perhaps the wife is also symbolic of the Bride of Christ filled with Spirit. Think about how each role in the Trinity work in AGREEMENT to be part of the WHOLE and always with a purpose in mind.

You, my sister, were created with valuable design in the mind of God. He intentionally waited to create Eve until Adam realized he was in need of aid. He took the very side of Adam and fashioned Eve. She was an equal part of him. First the husband recognized his need for aid, then God made him incomplete without the help of his wife. A helper comes along side (never beneath) in our Bible to aid one in need.

If you are walking in singleness, all of this still applies to your standing. Equal in standing with man in the eyes of God, both are equally sinners in need of grace. You were created to be a helper to those in need of aid. There are plenty of hurting people who need the aid and compassion of a helper to lead them into truth and bandage their wounds with the healing ointment of Christ's blood.

Father God, in the name of Jesus Christ, I thank you for Your Word and my sisters. I ask that today you would reveal to each of my sisters, their standing and purpose in Your eyes as a helper. Help us to understand Your truth and walk in it. Let each of us serve out our purpose for which You created us. AMEN!

Is it Provision or Blessed Provision?

Yahweh-Yireh (The Lord Will Provide) is the name Abraham gave the place where he almost sacrificed his only son of promise, Isaac. On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided is a prophecy of how God would some day truly sacrifice His only Son, that we might be redeemed. Abraham had told Isaac that God Himself would provide the Lamb for the burnt offering! The ultimate provision! Did you know provision means “to see beforehand?” God knows/sees the future and thus anticipates our every need, including sacrifice and redemption!

Yet Abraham, a mere mortal with no corporate protection, knew what most exalted corporate giants do not comprehend. Obeying God brings blessed provision. My emphasis is on blessed!

This same theme was found in the story of “Faith Like Potatoes.” Angus Buchan, a hot-headed Scotsman farming in South Africa is transformed when he lives a life of obedience and faith in God. During a drought, on his farm with no irrigation, God commands him to trust in Him and plant potatoes which require much rain/irrigation. Potatoes grow underground and you cannot see if they are thriving until you dig them up.

Angus obeyed God knowing that if this potato crop failed, he would lose his farm and destroy the means of support for many. During the harvest, he was blessed with the provision of many potatoes that helped not only provide for his family and workers' families, but also for an orphanage full of children on their farm. There is much more to this story, but every detail is about their lives surrendered in obedience to God and their faith being strengthened through it, as well as all of those who came into contact with them.

Most Christians will struggle their entire life fighting against rebellion towards God. The natural, sinful urge within desires control and to exert sole authority in one's life in preference to obeying God.

We have two kinds of “Christians” with money, both receive their provision from God, yet not both are blessed by God. One type uses their money to gain control and require people to acknowledge them for their wealth and generosity. They are like the pharisee on the street giving alms for all to notice. It is for their own glory, yet cloaked in righteous deeds. The other type would rather keep secret how much they do for God, as they want Him alone to receive the glory. They are humble before God walking in obedience to His Word and experience a deeper blessing.

“...for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matt 5:45

Do we only yearn for His provision such as He gives to even the evil and unrighteous? Or do we prefer His blessing?

Many of us have heard the teachings of prosperity and they appeal to us. God wants to bless you financially if you will just tithe to their ministry! These teachers neglect to show you the thousands suffering poverty and imprisonment undergoing persecution around the world who follow Jesus passionately. The persecuted church knows more about sacrificial giving than most of us in free nations could ever fathom. Yet they are not wealthy with material provision! Why not? Does God's windows only open over the USA, Canada, Europe, and Australia? Nonsense!

God said He would provide for our needs, not all of our wants and our selfish desires. When the Bible says to "delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart", one better stop and ponder this verse. If you are delighting (taking pleasure) in the Lord with your “self”, then you are surrendered to Him, not your “self.” Your relationship with Him is what brings you pleasure and delight, not the things of this world. Thus, the desires of your heart will be His desires, not all those material or selfish things. The condition of obedience comes before the promise of blessing!

Are you walking in obedience like Abraham? Do you apply faith to that obedience? Have you considered God's servant Job? Could you say, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord” in the midst of tragedy? What did Abraham and Job know that made them humble servants who would surrender all to God Almighty?

Integrity is described as doing the right thing even when nobody is looking. Obedience is doing God's will even if everybody is watching and nobody supports you or thinks is it wisdom! We have a living example of that kind of obedience in Angus Buchan and his potatoes. If we are obeying and blessing God in our daily walk, even during our petty grievances, then we are more likely to obey Him with more and bless Him even when we have less. This was the heart that was in Abraham and Job. This is the heart that is in Angus and Jill Buchan! Lord, I want that kind of heart in me!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” Eph 1:3