By Anita Marie Spencer
Member, Westside church of Christ. Louisville, Kentucky
The lesson is simple: when you learn better, do better.
God expects us to grow in grace and knowledge as we mature and age (2 Peter 3:18). He loves us and His grace, mercy, and forgiveness are very close. He does not expect us to know everything according to 1 Corinthians 8:2, but He is there to assist and has provided “…all that we need for life and godliness…” (2 Peter 1:3).
For Christians, it is as simple as confessing our sin and repenting (having learned better, doing better in obedience). For non-Christians, it is as simple as obeying the gospel, being baptized, and continuing to grow and mature spiritually (having been obedient, learning better, and doing better). When we learn better, we can do better—if we choose to apply the Lord’s standard, His Word to our daily living. My husband reminds me that we can all usually do better, no matter the circumstance. My Dad (a non-Christian) once told me, “You don’t always do the right thing”. I replied, “I try. And when I know I am wrong; I don’t have a problem admitting the wrong and getting it right with God.”
Learning better and doing better means we begin to resemble God more and more in our actions and most importantly, in our reactions. We can listen to all the sermons. We can listen, study, and engage in all the Bible studies—both personal and group on “adding to our faith with virtue and virtue with knowledge and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love…” but if we do not INCREASE these qualities (think LEARN BETTER, DO BETTER), we will continue to be ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
There is no way we can grow, if we do not hold on to our progress by remembering that we are cleansed from our former sins (I Cor 6:11) And being diligent while practicing these qualities that glorify God (think LEARN BETTER, DO BETTER). In 2 Peter 1:12-13, the bible says “Therefore, I intend to always remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder.”
LEARNING BETTER and DOING BETTER means…~Now that we know the truth, and are ABIDING in Christ, God will bless us according to Jesus in John 13:17. ~We accept and obey God’s Word, and this shows our love for God. (Think: accept + obey + abide in Christ = love for God.)
In accepting and obeying, we are being the good example for others to follow. 21Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” John 14:21.
By doing so, we are about the Father’s business (Luke 2:45-49) We hold on to our progress (Phil 3:16) that we have made because we are being nourished by the message of faith, good teaching, and are now imitating Christ who imitated God (John 5:19). In 1 Peter 1:14-16, Peter reminds us So you must live as God’s obedient children, don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
In 2 Corinthians, Paul wrote to the church in Corinth/God’s holy people throughout Greece: 2 Cor 7:1: 1Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear (reverence/respect) God,
(Think: knowing +learning + doing better = we are growing and begin to resemble Him).~We are being nourished by the message of faith and good teaching. In 1 Tim 4:6, Paul reminds Timothy that he will be a worthy servant of Jesus because he is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching (from his grandmother Lois and Mother Eunice that) he has followed:
I Tim 4:6, If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed.2Tim 1:5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. And I know that same faith continues in you.
(Think: We keep on learning better, we keep on doing better).~We are being nourished by seeing the examples of others who are learning better and doing better. We work towards being faithful and standing firm in God’s grace. Knowing that what we are experiencing in this life is truly part of God’s grace (1Peter 5:12).
~Heaven is our goal, and we cannot lose focus. We remember and remind others that we are to …”2Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God….7You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.8But, now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.” (Colossians 3:2, 7-8)
~We continue to encourage one another in love” the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things (Gal 5:22-23). We remember our promises from God and pray that we cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And we work toward complete holiness because we fear (reverence/respect) God (2 Cor 7:1).
~If we mess up, accept that we messed up. We get it right. And continue moving forward towards our heavenly goal, thinking of heavenly things, and not the things of this earth.We get it right because we want heaven as our eternal home. We do not want the alternative! We remember that James 4:17, reminds us that it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
And we do not want to be ashamed or try to hide when Christ returns. (Adam and Eve, Gen 3:7-8; Joab & David’s soldiers after Absalom died, 2 Sam 19:3. Us ashamed of what we used to do? Rom 6:20-21; Us [refused to live righteously)? Instead, we look forward, are ready, to welcome His return because we have learned better and are doing better. We love His appearing, 2 Tim 4:8. We are ready and are at peace, 2 Pet 3:14. As Psalm 119:5-6 states “Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then, I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.”
~And we remember that in our freedom in Christ, we pray for and love one another and hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching we have learned that (Galatians 5, 2 Timothy 1:13) that we might all LEARN better and DO better.
by Ye Bao Stoa
Member of the Mt. Airy church of Christ
In the path of life we have many decisions to make, some trivial some important. As humans we can’t see the consequences of our choices , so in the times of life changing decisions, how we wish that we had a GPS to lead us to the right path. Now, the good news is we have one!
Exodus Chapter 13: 21-22 vividly illustrates “ By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on the way and by night, a pillar of fire to give them light. Neither the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” Yes God is our GPS! (Of course we shouldn’t expect God to lead us the same way He physically did for the Israelites in the Old Testament; but Psalms 119:105 also tells us that “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”)
When you use GPS, first step is to enter your destination, but if you don’t enter anything, it will not lead you anywhere. Prayer is the first thing to communicate with God about goals. We tell God our needs and see how He reveals the way. Psalm 32:8 “God says I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go,I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”
Next, we got to move. If I turn on the GPS but just sit and not move, I won’t go anywhere. This is probably one of the hardest things for people to do. When we need to find a job, or a spouse and so on; just sitting around praying and waiting is not going to make it happen. We have to act. Such as searching for jobs/submitting résumés/preparing for interviews, going to bible studies/camps/gospel meetings to meet eligible Christians. We have to make an effort and can’t expect God to just carry us to the destination. Proverbs 21:25-26 “The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. All day long he craves and craves”
Sometimes, God will show us a direction that we don’t think makes sense; but we have to trust Him.
Remember in Exodus, when God lead the Israelites to the Red Sea with Egyptian army not far behind? I would imagine the Israelites asking God “Why did you lead us here, there is no road but an endless sea? And guess what? God opened the Red Sea right in front of their eyes! If the Israelites had just stayed put and didn’t move following the GPS (God) into the Red Sea. They wouldn't have been able to witness this miracle.
I remember when I was looking for a new job, I prayed and only searched for jobs in California because that is where I wanted to live; beautiful weather and supposedly lots of single Christians (I was single then) and opportunities. I got a few leads but nothing fruitful, meanwhile my friend told me about this job in Connecticut that required the exact skill set I had but I didn’t want to apply, because I was thinking “what’s in CT, so small and cold.” But God answered my prayers by blocking all the roads to CA, and 6 months passed, my friend told me again that job in CT was still available. I thought to myself I might as well give it try. Everything went smoothly and I got the job and moved to CT, where I met my future husband in church. Looking back, I see that CT was the path God directed me to, even though at the time it didn’t make sense or was what I wanted. Imagine if I didn’t follow God direction, I would have missed my now husband!
But what if I have made a lot of mistakes and wrong decisions in my life, is it too late? Am I doomed to be a failure? The answer is No. Again using the GPS is your example. if lost, just open the GPS and hear the delightful voice saying “the route is recalculating, and then it shows us a new route.
If a man made GPS is smart; how much more is God?
Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
by Audrey Baker
Member of Mt. Airy church of Christ
Have you noticed occasions when young people leave the church? The loss of even one young person to the world is spiritually devastating. An article published by Lifeway Research in 2019, claims that ‘Most teenagers drop out of church as young adults.’ Their survey was conducted on protestant church members 20-30 years old, but we have seen this occur in our congregations as well, especially after the young person leaves for college.
When our young people leave the church, they are opting for a life that is not regulated by God’s laws, but by the standards and directions they create or obtain from people who do not respect God’s teachings. The consequence of leaving the church is eternal separation from God (Mt 10:28). As Deuteronomy chapters 4, 5, and 6 state, our God is supreme and provides principles and laws that are ideal for man’s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual wellbeing. God cares. He knows that we, like Peter (Luke 22:56-62), Paul (1Tim 1:12-16), and the woman with the alabaster jar (Lk 7:37-38) struggle with sin. Using these examples, we can reassure our young people that God cares (Matt 6:28), and that nothing can top what God has in store for those who love Him. Reassure them that God can solve their physical, social, and emotional stresses, along with the need to graduate from school and land that job, but we must be obedient and put God above all.
Women in the church can help by encouraging our young people. It may be a tough task, but Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep illustrates his care for one lost person (the sheep), and his willingness to leave even 99 behind as he searches for the lost member (Matt 18:10-14). We should have this same attitude; but to be effective, women should consider a three-pronged approach: (1) forge a bond with the young person based on genuine love and concern, (2) develop an understanding of the challenges the young person grapples with, and (3) provide biblical advice when trouble rears its head. Too often, we are slow to care but quick to chastise. The three-pronged approach can guide us in our interactions with our young people. Let’s investigate how it might work.
Firstly, to forging a bond takes time, attention, and brotherly love. That bond you have with your best friend was not built overnight. You likely spent time and shared joys, sorrows, achievements, regrets. 1Jn 4:7,8 and Rom 12:15 remind us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” God himself, sympathizes with our weaknesses, Heb 4:15. So, let us build those bonds of love (Gal 5:22), compassion and kindness (Col 3:12) with our young people. Sharing your time, stories, thoughts and prayers can go a long way.
Secondly, to develop understanding of the challenges our young people are facing, we must truly listen, be patient, and really understand what they are saying. Keep their information confidential and reassure them that they are not in it alone. We are charged with bearing one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2, Eph 4:2, Col 3:13). Paul said he ‘became as a Jew’ to win the Jews (1Cor 9:20). Consider sharing your own challenges and your methods for tackling sin; and coach them when the opportunity arises. Jesus trained Peter, James, and John for the huge task they had in spreading the gospel. They observed when he prayed, when he taught, when he performed miracles, and how he responded to persecution. It took time, but they learned. Let us strive to better understand and coach our young people in their walk with God.
Finally, when the young person shows signs of leaving the church, we are in a better position to approach them. Whether the problem arises from dating, self-esteem, social pressures, or coping with life, the foundation we have laid based on a bond of friendship and understanding provides an easier pathway into the more serious conversations around sin. They know that we respect and seek the best for them. Approach them by praising their past efforts and accomplishments; then, let them know you are seeing something that causes you concern. If they agree, reassure them that they can overcome their challenge, then warn them in love of the seriousness and consequences of their planned actions. Share stories of biblical characters who grappled with the problem and overcame. Psalm 1 and Prov 29:24-27 warn against following the council of the world; and 2Cor 6:14-16 and Amos 3:3 advise against being yolked or bonded to unbelievers. Further, remind them that making wise choices is important. Mention Joshua’s conviction (Joshua 24:14,15) to serve God; Paul’s conviction (Rom 8:38,39) to never let hardships separate him from God; and Ruth’s resolve to align with Naomi and God’s people, rather than choosing a heathen life in Moab (Ruth 1:16). When they accept your coaching, help them through the stages of regret, contrition, sorrow, repentance, acceptance, conviction, and transformation (Rom 12:2, 1Jn 1:7). Do not forget to pray for them often. Your support will go far.
In the church we strive to love each other as God demands (1Jn 4:7,8, Matt 22:35-40). As we seek to help our young people, let us begin now by developing that strong bond and seeking to truly understand them. After this foundation is established, we will be better equipped to council them when they are about to pursue unwise decisions. God had a special purpose for Ruth, Sapphira, and Esther. He may also have a special purpose for the young person you help. In that way, the help you offer to them could be priceless.
This post originally appeared at Lindsaylens.com on 1/16/2016.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to run my first half-marathon since my youngest child was born.
It was actually my first in several years, as I had focused on the marathon distance for the couple of years before she came along. A race is always an adventure and this one proved no different—I spiked a fever the night before, we had to detour around an interstate shutdown on the way there, and the course went through some last minute changes due to flooding of the Chattahoochee River. But at 8 AM my friends Katie, Stephen and I lined up with about 1100 other runners in downtown Columbus, Georgia, to complete the 13.1 mile trek.
Now, running and I have a ‘for better or worse’ relationship, and for the last two years we have been in a ‘for worse’ rut. Due to an injury, the pregnancy, and a baby who doesn’t sleep well, I feel like I’m doing more slogging than running at the moment. But I had a plan for this race and I was excited to execute it. I would be solidly middle-to-back-of the pack, chasing the 2:20 pace group and intentionally reserving energy to run slightly faster in the second half of the race. The first six miles went by uneventfully as we ran through a spitting rain from downtown Columbus to the river and along a trail headed south until the turnaround point. The trail was still muddy, and the scenery was nondescript. A few miles in we slower runners got to see the leaders of the race go by, and that is always energizing to me. They are amazing to watch, both in form and in strategy as they challenge each other to run fast but not peter out. At this point I was doing okay--not loving the run, but resigned to doing the distance.
Then, after seeing Katie pass me headed north, spotting Stephen just before making the turn, and running back through the worst of the mud on the trail, I spotted an older gentleman sitting on a bench, covered in mud. He was with a younger man who seemed concerned. I ran past, slowed, and turned around. “Do you need a phone?” Yes, they did. The older man had fallen and thought he’d dislocated his shoulder. Long story short, I called 911, hollered at a pace group leader to tell race officials we needed help, and waited till the medical staff arrived. I told the EMS operator where to meet them, hung up, and started back to running.
This all took no longer than 7 minutes by my calculation, but in that short time I got pretty cold, and it was just long enough that my running mojo was just…shot. The 2:20 pace group was long gone. It was the 2:30 pacer I’d asked to help us, and they were far in the distance as well. My goal was gone, and I’d lost my motivation. I spent miles talking myself out of quitting the race. Finishing would be winning today.
But then I noticed something. I was now solidly in the back of the pack, and I had lots of time to observe the people I was running with. There was a sharp contrast to the gazelles I had seen run by earlier on their way to victory. The leaders are focused on winning, and you can see it in their faces and their body language. They are amazing, and their stories are generally of long hours of dedication and hard work, with support from coaches or family or both. They work hard, and it’s obvious to everyone because they are at the front.
The back of the pack? Well, these are the people who are just glad they are out there. Their stories (mine too) are often of a lifetime of bad, unhealthy choices followed by realization of the possibility of a better life. They work hard, harder than they ever have, and they will never receive any glory for it. But, oh, they are smiling and they are proud, and they want everyone to join them in that.
There was one lady who wasn’t doing much more than a jaunty speedwalk. But she was high-fiving everyone she passed and flashing a smile that stood in direct contrast to the dreary weather. Before the turnaround on the north side, during another spot where the faster runners were on the trail going opposite us, I chatted up another woman who told me she’d started running at 49 and wanted to inspire her family to change their lifestyle. She, the slower runner, was the one encouraging those who were going minutes per mile faster than she on the other side of the trail. There were several sets of friends running, helping each other through the race. I saw young runners, older runners, heavy runners and lean runners. Some seemed pained, many seemed tired, but when I smiled at or spoke to them, they all smiled back. I think they’d all tell you that the accomplishment of finishing was worth the pain it took to get there.
I tell you all this to say… there is a spiritual connection there. Maybe you are a back of the pack runner in the race to heaven. Maybe you just feel that way today, because you are disappointed or depressed or discouraged. It’s okay. Stay headed in the right direction. The Hebrew writer does not say “Let us run with swiftness, style, and beautiful form!” The key word in Hebrews 12:1 is endurance. Keep going.
We are all struggling. We all have a reason to keep fighting. We all serve a God who wants us to make it across the finish line. So lay aside whatever is holding you back, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees (Heb. 12:12), and run toward Him.
“Count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Written by a Sister of the Church of Christ
in Piscataway, New Jersey
Most people can look back on their childhood and feel that they missed out on some helpful life lessons.
They may have learned in a painful or even embarrassing way, that: “It’s not all about you,” or “You can’t always get what you want,” or “You can’t please everyone.” If asked, people would probably say they have wished many times over that they had learned more of life’s lessons when they were young.
Although I feel inadequate at times, I know that there are many things that I learned as a child that I have carried into adulthood, and those lessons have stood me in good stead. That’s the benefit of learning something as a child; it can be used from then on and, most importantly, it can save adults a lot of pain and sorrow by preventing them from acting in embarrassing or harmful ways.
One of life’s lessons I learned and which has been helpful to me is, “Be grateful for what you have.” How sad it is that some, even Christians, are not able to see how blessed they really are. Do they have a family? friends? church family? home? car? job? As you can imagine, the list can go on and on.
Who is our supreme example of gratitude? Of course; it is Jesus. Though all things were made through Him (Jn. 1:3), He offered up thanksgiving to the Father on more than one occasion (Matt. 15:36; 26:26,27; Lk. 10:21; Jn. 11:41-44). He used a Samaritan leper to praise the grateful person and, by implication, condemn those who were not (Lk. 17:11-19). If He, though God in the flesh, felt the need to be grateful, why should it be any different for us?
Once a person realizes how much he has to be grateful for, how should he express that gratitude? It’s probably not that people don’t recognize what they have to be grateful for; they just either fail to be grateful or they don’t know how to express it.
When someone is kind or helpful to you, take the time to express your thankfulness. It doesn’t cost anything to say, “thank you.” A written note is even better. If the giver took a lot of time to shop, wrap, and give you a gift using their hard-earned money, is it such a burden to write a thank-you note? If they spent time cooking or baking something for you in your time of need, shouldn’t you at least take the time to express your feelings in a tangible way? It seems that society in general has forgotten the art of the thank-you note. Is it going the way of the dinosaur? It shouldn’t, if one is a Christian.
Though the author’s focus has been on physical blessings and our gratitude for them, the more important blessing for which we have to be thankful is salvation through Jesus Christ. How we live in this life is important, yes, but it is only important to the extent that it leads us to eternal life. Paul told his readers, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thess. 5:18). How could Paul truthfully say this? Everything? Was he thankful for the beatings, stoning, imprisonments, hunger, thirst, cold, shipwrecks, and other dangers he suffered after becoming a Christian? Yes, he could be thankful for all the evil that befell him because he had something that compensated him for all those things – salvation (Rom. 8:31-39).
What about you? Are you thankful for the good things that have come from God? How about the burdens? If not, start today with acknowledging how blessed you have been with good things.
Thank those who have blessed you. Understand that burdens can also be a blessing if they lead you to a better appreciation for what you can have as a child of God - salvation that leads to eternal life.
by Tamula Tucker
Westend Church of Christ
My Special Remarks Written for My Lovey on 10/25/2019 That I Read At his Funeral Titled: "God Granted Me That"
I asked God, four requests when he was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2010. First that he "Remember Me" or at least how my touch would bring him comfort...God Granted Me That ! Second that he wouldn't get that Death Rattle or gurgle in the throat, when his body is dying and loses its ability to swallow. That Sound is so unnerving and intense ....God Granted Me That ! Third that I would be by his side to comfort him on his final Breath. That his home going would be special for me... God Granted Me That ! I decided to stay home from work last minute on Monday Oct 21, 2019 because my Sister Rita was having a Pet Test but I found out she had already gone with her husband. Then Mama said her chest was hurting and she was going to the Intermediate Care Center. I said I would drive her, but she insisted I stay Home with Tim A.K.A Lovey and she went alone. She found out that they thought she had pneumonia and sent her to the hospital where she was admitted. I had my Aide Christy there from 9-1pm on that Monday. I stepped out to handle some business about the last hour of her shift and I returned to find Lovey breathing heavy and called Hospice who began the morphine, but as the day progressed he got worst. No medicine they gave him seem to help and my main concern was for his comfort . I ended up calling Hospice again in the early hours of Tuesday Oct 22, 2019, telling them twice to increase his medicine. They added an additional med for him which produced a small change. On their second call, they instructed me to do meds every 2 hours as needed. I said its needed, cause his breathing is uncomfortable .
Now the Hospice Nurse told me he had about two weeks left, but I thought he can't go on like this with no food or water. So at 7am, I gave his meds and noticed his chest was beating slower and he had eyes open more, which had been closed mostly and now looked more relaxed. I made a video on my phone and gave him words of comfort. The Room was dim, with only a nite light that shone a Beautiful heart of colors on the ceiling. A serene and beautiful scene, just he and I. I started the video about 7:21am, stroking his face and hands and he seemed to be listening while lying on his side facing Me. I told him My Love for him and that the Angels were ready to carry him home. How I appreciated the love he shown and told me for 37 years and how he has made me feel beautiful, appreciated and wanted. I told him to tell love ones along with our Son, "hello" and to save me a seat next to him. etc. At 7:25am, I finished the video and before I could put the phone down, he made a deep gasp with open eyes, and I said to him, " Lovey you gone ,
Lovey you gone". I looked down at his still chest " My Precious lovey was Gone" !
I was crying but still showing my care for my beloved husband by closing his eyes, removing his pillows and stretching out his body and folding his hands to help with rigor mortis . I made numerous calls : to Kim our daughter, my two aides, some family and lastly Hospice....God Granted Me That !
What an Awesome God we Serve! My last Request was to give me Strength to endure his passing and be OK but knowing he would always be a part of me and irreplaceable. I prayed don't let him suffer long and it has only been in the last three months that I have experienced a huge decline. Even though he couldn't talk for quite a while, he still had a few words or funny things he would say or do on his good days. I took him everywhere in his wheelchair after he couldn't walk anymore because he broke his hip a second time. His spirit stood high and he never complained.
He once said,' Getting old wasn't for sissys' ! I replied, " For Better or Worst and Sickness and in health....I do" and did. But God gets all the glory, because He carried me through it all. Thank You Lord !
Tim and Tam Forever
By Dianne B.Blakley
(Member of the Northside Church of Christ - Conway, AR)
We all experience anxiety at some point in our lives. As women we try to juggle all the different roles in our life and at times feeling like we have fallen short. I can personally say it has happen to me on many occasions.
But as I study and meditate on God’s word, I have decided to “Pray More Worry Less”. There are many comforting verses in the Bible on anxiety. Consider 1 Peter 5:7 "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you" My personal favorite is, Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
In closing, my prayer is that this will edify my sisters in Christ.
And if you are not a member of the body of Christ, my prayer is that your heart and mind will be open to seek what is needed for your Salvation, for the door is always open.
If you live in the Philadelphia area, I encourage you to contact the Mt. Airy church of Christ to study and learn about God. If you live in the Conway Arkansas area, I encourage you to contact the Northside church where I worship. We will be happy to assist you. And if you need information for church locations in other states, let us know. We will help you locate a church of Christ.
by Lindsay Li Soumar
(Member of the Mt Airy church of Christ)
When I was asked a month ago to write on this topic: “what do you want to tell women as a woman?” I thought that it is a very interesting subject, since I never thought about this until just now. What do I really want to say to people like me: a woman, a scientist, a wife, a mother, and, most importantly, a Christian? First of all, I feel so grateful for this opportunity to write my thoughts and even to share them publicly. About 100 years ago women couldn’t have imagined getting the opportunities we have today. All of these have come from many different women’s rights movements. We have fought hard to obtain those opportunities and equalities. Suddenly, this came to my mind: women are powerful, intelligent, brave, and independent. In today’s society, women have not only been identified as mothers, but as presidents, CEOs, Nobel prize winners, doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc. We don’t stop showing people our talents and leaderships that influence our colleagues, friends, husbands, children, and the world at every corner. However, God has taught us to be mindful of the influences we make, for they can have significant consequences, good or bad.
In the book of Genesis, the very first woman that God created, Eve, successfully enticed her husband Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. As a result, we forever lost our place walking with God and forever gained the pain in childbirth. The book of 1 Kings 16-22 tells us about Jezebel, the wife of king Ahab, who was a princess and later a queen. She was a very powerful and intelligent woman, but she used her power and intelligence to steer her reckless husband Ahab to commit atrocities against God and man. She enticed him to murder innocent people and prophets and to worship false gods. Her intelligence and power over her useless, timid, and indecisive husband have led to both of their bitter ends and forever earned Ahab a place as one of the most wicked kings to reign over Israel. Her wickedness has arguably made the name Jezebel a common noun for evil and wickedness.
In contrast, the book of 1 Samuel tells us of Abigail, wife of Nabal, who used her words and actions powerfully and carefully. She placated David and convinced him to spare her husband Nabals life when David was ready to destroy him for the ingratitude and contempt he showed to God’s elect.
Book of Judges 4-5 records of a judge and prophetess Deborah. Deborah judged Israel at the time when the people turned from the Lord and He gave them over into the Canaanite oppression. The Israelites cried out to the Lord for deliverance and Deborah dispatched Barak to fight the Canaanites, assuring him that the Lord will deliver the Canaanite army into his hands (1 Judges 4:6-7). When Barak hesitated and declared that he won’t go unless Deborah joins him, she agreed and accompanied Barak into the battle (1 Judges 4:8-9). It took a courageous and faithful woman, grounded in the Lord and His promises, to deliver the Israelites from their oppressors and to give land rest for the next 40 years.
Eve, Jezebel, Abigail, and Deborah were very powerful, intelligent, brave, and independent women. However, their actions earned these women very different reputations, and their influences effected very different consequences on the people around them. What I really want to you tell you today is this: we ARE just as powerful, intelligent, and brave as all the famous (or infamous) women in the Bible. However, God has shown us the examples and wisdom to make the right decisions and to be positive influences on our friends, coworkers, children, husband… anyone around us. Let us wield our “powers” wisely and be the godly women our Lord would want us to be.
by Ye Bao Stoa
Member of Mt airy church of Christ
As women, most of us (single or married) crave love, which is not surprising as it is consistent with what the Bible says in Genesis 3:16 “To the woman God said, your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” To us, love symbolizes security, protection, comfort, and approval.
When I was single looking for a husband, whenever I met a decent single Christian man, I couldn’t help but wonder “is he the One?” But time and time again, hopes ended in disappointment and I was getting anxious. One day I was discussing my seemingly hopeless situation with another Christian woman and suddenly it hit me like a lightning bolt, Revelation 2:4 “But I (God) have this against you, that you have left your first love”, that I have fallen away from my first love, the Lord! I let the worries of this world (finding a spouse, job, money) choke out my love for the Lord Jesus. After this shocking realization, I recalibrated my purpose for life and focused my love on the Lord through Bible reading, prayers, and Bible studies with other fellow Christians, and how sweet the time that I spent with the Lord felt. So woman to woman, KEEP JESUS as YOUR FIRST LOVE. Men will not save you but only God can and He will give you an abundant life. My love story has a happy ending later – Mr. Right found me in the church and we are happily married, proving yet again God’s infinite wisdom through Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added onto you.”