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Archive for October, 2012

There are so many times I see or hear of concerns and pray for the issues/situation, but part of my prayers include “Lord, send someone to do something.”  Today, the Lord is convicting my heart that I am called to be a “someone” He can send.  There are three women from Scripture that you may have studied for lessons they can teach us, but perhaps not for the lesson of involvement…a hat we are to wear when God burdens our heart with a call to act.

Joshua 2 shares the story of the prostitute Rahab.  We can learn lessons from her trust and from her willingness to risk, but yet another perspective reveals her willingness to be the “someone”…to be involved.  Being a prostitute, she was not a citizen that local leaders would have contacted to handle community projects or to provide leadership in the administration of public governance.  Yet, because her heart was open, while others might not ask her to become involved, God could.  She was willing to become involved with God’s plan probably before she even knew or fully understood the risk or possible consequences.  Because she did, her household was saved.

I Samuel 25 highlights the intervening measures Abigail took to prevent the annihilation of her husband and their household.  I Samuel 25:3 explains that she was “intelligent and beautiful” but clearly she was wise enough to get involved when the time was right.  I Samuel 25:18 states, she “lost no time” in taking action.  Abigail didn’t stand around wringing her hands or being angry over the foolish actions of her husband.  She didn’t confront him or challenge him to correct his mistake.  No! Abigail listened to the Lord and took action quickly, exercising wisdom with respect and candor towards David.  A household in that culture could have included nearly a thousand servants as well as family members because of the nature of estates, so Abigail’s actions protected not just her husband but a small community.

Miriam, the sister of Moses, is recognized in Micah 6:4 as one of the leaders the Lord God placed over the Israelites as they journeyed out of Egypt.  Her willingness not to accept the circumstances around her but to be involved began early.  Miriam is responsible for protecting her baby brother Moses from certain death when she watched over him while hidden in the reeds of the river in Exodus 2.

Young women, older women, wives, or single women.  We are all called to be involved.  I don’t know what that might look like for me or for you today.  However, I am confident that Rahab, Abigail, and Miriam didn’t wake up knowing what God would ask of them that day, but they woke with open hearts that God could speak into and took action when He spoke.  They were willing to be “someone” God could involve in His mission and plan for the day.

Lord, I don’t know what skills You need or what time You want from me, but just know today I am willing to be available–to be someone You can use to further your message of love and grace.  Amen.

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Deborah, the wife of Lappidoth, (Judges 4) was a prophet and a judge…she was a woman who wore a very public Hat of Citizenship.  In her role as a leader and administer of justice in the nation of Israel, Deborah carried a great deal of responsibility and she was prepared to do so even when it wasn’t always comfortable or easy.  Day in and day out she would sit under a palm tree and lead the people.  There came a day when she was given the task of telling a military leader that God was commanding him to engage with a particularly cruel enemy of Israel.   Because the military leader objected and placed conditions on the duty he was given, Deborah made it clear that another person–a woman–would in fact fulfill the assignment.  As the balance of the historical account unfolds in Judges 4, it is evident the woman, Jael, who would handle the assignment was not given advanced warning as the male military leader had been given.  In fact, there is not any indication that she was aware Deborah had given God’s command to the military leader in the first place.  She was your average Israelite woman busy about the stuff of her every day life when she was called to action.
The success of the assignment though is assured, however, because Jael was prepared.  First, of all, she was prepared to invite in all who approached her home…whether friend or foe.  Secondly, she knew current events well enough…even without television, Internet, or telephone communication…to know who was an enemy of God’s values and principles.  She knew who was an enemy of God’s chosen people.  Third, she didn’t expect someone else to step in and fix the situation.  She was given an opportunity and she met the challenge with courage.

Jael didn’t just think about what should be different in her community.  Jael didn’t ignore the opportunity to stand for righteousness and justice.  Perhaps to our thinking today, her actions might seem extreme.  Jael lived in a time and a culture of constant war and even in that day and age of survival, her role as a citizen was truly unique.  But none can doubt the principle of preparedness in her life.  She was a woman who was willing to take prompt action which brought about positive outcome.  Judges 4:24 confirms that because Jael was prepared and recognized her responsibility to wear the hat of good citizenship, “Israel became stronger and stronger…”

Are you a Deborah with a clear-cut call to action, a public role of citizenship?  Or are you a Jael, an average behind the scenes citizen in the private sector?  We all have been given the opportunity to play an active role as citizens, to wear the Hat of Preparedness as citizens in our own communities, state and nation today.

Heavenly Father, guide our hearts, minds and feet today to the specific action You would want each of us to take in standing for truth and justice.  Reveal where we might glorify Your name by boldly standing in the gap.  Protect our homes, our families, our communities, our state and nation today.  Amen.

Editor’s Note:  This week’s devotionals are written by a local Christian attorney who has made the study of Citizenship a priority in her life.  She has a daughter and some precious grandchildren in her life, participates in small group at church, and she enjoys baking delicious goodies and giving them away.  We are so grateful for her insights this week as we continue in this series on hats we as women are often called to wear.

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As women, we are called to wear the hat of citizenship…to be good stewards of the freedoms God has set before us in this nation, but as we contemplate what that means perhaps your heart reflects similar to mine–“but Lord, I am only one woman, what difference can I make?”

 

Queen Esther must have surely felt that way (Esther 4)…inadequate, unprepared, and well aware that protocol dictated she couldn’t enter the King’s presence without being summoned.  Yet, Mordecai confirmed this was not a time for her to stand on protocol or be cautious in standing for justice and truth.  The Bible reflects that Esther concluded “for such a time as this” God had placed her in this unique position.  So too are we called for such a time today.

 

Standing for truth and righteousness in an ever-darkening world is a challenge but one our God can equip us to address.  Just as Esther took three days to contemplate, reflect, pray and seek God’s wisdom for addressing the challenge before her (Esther 4:15-16), so too with prayer and reflection God will reveal where He wants each of us to act as citizens to stand in the gap for His love, justice and mercy.  “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice, show mercy and compassion to one another.’ “. (Zechariah 7:9)

 

I don’t know what God may be calling you to as you wear the Hat of Citizenship today.  It may be to pray for our nation and leaders.  Perhaps it is a much more visibly active role.  Personally, I know that God has called me to speak out to share the truth of the founding of this nation and to challenge government leaders to follow God’s laws, but not every woman is called to such activism.  Some serve more indirectly, but all of us are called.  And we can be assured and confident that just as the Lord God prepared Queen Esther, He will prepare us for whatever assignment He has for us today.

 

For additional study, consider: Psalm 89:14, Amos 5:15, Matt 12:18, and Luke 11:42.

 

Editor’s Note:  This week’s devotionals are written by a local Christian attorney who has made the study of Citizenship a priority in her life.  She has a daughter and some precious grandchildren in her life, participates in small group at church, and she enjoys baking delicious goodies and giving them away.  We are so grateful for her insights this week as we continue in this series on hats we as women are often called to wear.

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Though we don’t always realize it, as women we can wear the hat of citizenship.  As believers in Jesus Christ, our primary citizenship is based on our relationship with God.  As Scripture says, we are fellow citizens with all of God’s children (Ephesians 2:19) and our eternal and spiritual citizenship is firmly held in place for us in heaven (Phil. 3:20).  Yet, God has also placed us very specifically in a temporary citizenship here on earth.  He has done so, as He did with Queen Esther, for such a time as this.

 

How can we as Christian women embrace the hat of citizenship and be good stewards of the influence God has given us?

 

This week’s devotionals have nothing to do with a political party or agenda; this series has everything to do with the principles of Biblical citizenship.  This week’s devotionals have nothing to do with the present political campaigns but have everything to do with the Biblical responsibility of believing women, as we wear our hat of citizenship, to influence our communities in a way that glorifies God.

 

Esther was given the role of a queen, a role with powerful influence but also a role that held great risk.  Deborah was a judge in the nation of Israel (Judges 4:4), and she had the ear of her fellow citizens.  Miriam held a position of influence and emotional leadership over the nation of Israel at a huge transitional point for their people, a position she could use for good or for evil (Exodus 15:20, Numbers 12).  The Wife of Noble Character (Proverbs 31) was a woman of influence in her home and in her community, choosing to pave the way for her husband to lead in their community successfully at the city gates.  And Anna was a matriarchal symbol in the very center of life in Israel during that day, in the temple, being used by God through prayer to make a difference (Luke 2:36-38).

 

Heavenly Father, as women we do have the honor to wear a hat of citizenship.  First and foremost, thank you that our primary citizenship is with you in heaven for eternity.  You are so good!  And may we wear the hat of our secondary citizenship, here on earth where you have placed us for a time such as this, with a pure heart before You.  Give us a deeper understanding of how to be a good steward of this great responsibility. Amen

 

Editor’s Note:  This week’s devotionals are written by a local Christian attorney who has made the study of Citizenship a priority in her life.  She has a daughter and some precious grandchildren in her life, participates in small group at church, and she enjoys baking delicious goodies and giving them away.  We are so grateful for her insights this week as we continue in this series on hats we as women are often called to wear.

 

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Proverbs 27:6 reminds us, “The wounds from a friend can be trusted.”  Ephesians 4:15 says we are to “speak the truth in love.”  These are great concepts, but can they be real life?  Is this kind of friendship possible?  The answer is yes, but it is rare and valuable and, in my experience, there are seasons when this kind of friendship is missing.  For many years, I longed for such a kindred spirit, a fun and loyal friend who would accept me and spiritually inspire me…and we could be truly honest with each other.

The Lord has answered that need to various degrees through the years, but one friend in particular stands out as a great example.  Here is our story:  After several years of almost daily get-together’s, my friend moved away from town due to her husband’s job. It was hard on both of us, and on our daughters who were best of friends, and it had been over a year since I had seen her.  In her typical fun fashion, she decided to surprise me with a visit back to town and she coordinated with my kids to have me in the driveway playing basketball with them so she could nonchalantly pull in and surprise me. It worked!  I was surprised and happy and we hugged, but when she stepped back to take a closer look at me, she put her hands to my hair and said, “Oh, honey, it has been a hard year hasn’t it! You really need to touch up the gray!”

Later I told my amused husband how our teenage son was completely horrified.  My son had no frame of reference in his own world of friendship for what she had just said to me…and it was written all over his face.  I had of course immediately put his heart to rest, explaining that the rare level of God-given friendship out there that is so special that even hard things can be said, and painful advice will be received in the spirit in which it is given.

While the gray in my hair is a minor issue, there are bigger and more important things my friend has been honest with me about through the years.  She has gently spoken honest words when I have become overwhelmed by “caring too much” about things I can’t control.  She has carefully and honestly helped me evaluate priorities, even when she knows I may not want to hear the truth in the moment.  She has checked in with me on my spiritual walk, willing to step in and ask the hard questions.  She has been brave to say things that I might not like to hear, but that I need to hear.

Most importantly, and the reason she is able to be so bold a friend, she has nurtured our relationship to the point where she can responsibly wear the Hat of Honesty when God has opened up the opportunity to speak.  She knows me, she listens to me, she respects me, and she has established her loyalty in my life…and so the door for honesty is wide open to her.  I know this kind of relationship is rare and I have tried to reciprocate and  faithfully wear that same hat of honesty with her through the years as the opportunity arises.  Lord willing, and I believe He is, we will continue to enjoy the gift of honest friendship though our daily interaction has long since ceased and many miles separate us.

God our Father, I praise you and I thank you that You give the gift of friendship to us.  Sometimes, though, we are in a season where we feel alone and we don’t have that close, honest relationship with other women. The friendships aren’t deep or mature enough yet or perhaps that depth of relationship just isn’t there for whatever reason or purpose.  In those times, dear Lord, when we feel lonely, please sustain us with Your Perfect Friendship!  Draw our hearts closer to Yours and help us to hear your honest words of encouragement in our hearts.  And we ask that you would bring those kinds of relationships in to our lives.  We are open to Your provision in this area and we want to be that kind of honest friend to others as well.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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One of the most valuable roles within a friendship is found in inspiring your pal to be better than they would on their own.  How can we do this service for our friends?  And do we really have what it takes to be inspiring?

I am just going to throw this thought out to you in all honesty…I am looking at my schedule for today and not feeling particularly inspired or inspiring.  What is ahead of you in your day?  If you are like me, you have a mix of work time and down time and home time, which means lots of potential for inspiring others if we are willing to accept the challenge.

~Think about the way we typically interact with others in our work place.  Will you interact with others with barely a glance and least words necessary to avoid extra effort or will you pause, listen, serve…?  Whether our work is as a full-time homemaker or working in an office building, we have all kinds of potential interaction with others ahead of us in our day.

~Think about the words we typically say with our friends as we meet for coffee at the local coffee shop.  Are the words pleasing and uplifting or will is conversation be laced with discouraging gossip?

~Think about the way we speak on Facebook.  Is what you share most likely to be respectful and honoring or do you air grievances and issues too freely?

~Think about our response when a girlfriend calls to “vent” about their day.  Are you most likely to join the bandwagon of negativity with your own stories or can you simply listen and gently encourage?

In I Corinthians 11:1 Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

So we don’t really feel like we have what it takes to be inspiring.  That is really just fine because neither did the apostle Paul.  He was human and flawed just as we are.  But he knew that the more he kept his eyes on Christ and followed His example, the more others would be blessed and inspired to have bold faith, to do right, to follow God’s ways more fully.

So let us bravely reach out and grab that Hat of Inspiration and put it prayerfully in place as we step in to our day.  With God’s strength, may we inspire others to follow Christ more fully just as we are following Christ.

 

 

 

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I have a dear and fun friend who wears the Party Hat of Friendship to great advantage.

 

Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  Another wise saying from Scripture tells us that “the cheerful heart has a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15)

 

My friend and I are very different in personality and upbringing.  But here is the amazing thing about her…not only does my cheerful friend personally enjoy the benefits of her own “good medicine,” she also sees me in standing in the shadows of life, reaches out and invites me in to her party.  Her happiness is contagious and that is truly a gift from God.  Her desire to lighten other people’s load in some way is a unique ministry opportunity.  And I have watched her fun personality open doors of conversation, breaking down walls of reserve, like nothing else possibly could.

 

Is the Party Hat of Friendship a hat you like to wear?  Enjoy this gift God has given you to glorify Him and bless others.  Thank Him for making you the way He did!

 

Or maybe this is a hat you usually avoid, by personality just not feeling completely comfortable in it?  That is just fine too, but like me, maybe you can learn to better appreciate your friends who wear this hat so easily and praise God for their presence in your life.

 

Do you have a Party Hat wearing friend?  Feel free to leave a comment and tell us about her!

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