Friday, February 21, 2014

Day 4 The Women who Followed Jesus

Woman, you are loved.  You are loved more than anyone could possible love you on this earth.  You have a wonderful plan and purpose set before you.  I can not stress enough in this book how much the Lord God adores you and has prepared you for this time.  I can not stress enough through this book how you are precious in his sight, cherished as his daughter and were formed in the womb by His very hands.  You have special gifts and talents bestowed upon you by God.  My prayer is for my sisters in Christ to know their calling, to know their gifts and purpose, but use them for God’s glory, giving the church your hands and feet.
I pray you are as these women mentioned in the Gospel of Luke as those who gave Jesus all they had, “And also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had been expelled; And Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager; and Susanna; and many others, who ministered to and provided for Him and them out of their property and personal belongings.” Luke 8:2-3, Amplified Version
There are women who are good at serving; there are those who are granted the
gift of knowledge for excellent teachers.  We have sisters in the church who are gifted with children, prayer and gentle hearts for play.  Christian, there are women whose voices could bring a tear to the eye of all of us as she sings with the voice of an angel.  There are women in the church who can feed an army, where the congregation could wait days for their gift of cooking. There are serving hands and feet on the mission field, in the work place, in the prayer closet and in the hospitals.  Are you using all of your gifts and talents to give Christ all you have?
            My heart is for the children and elderly.  I love to teach, I love to write, I love to pray, I love to worship and I love going to the nursing home.  I laugh as I write this because it is so true!  My husband asks me every night how my day was.  On Wednesday and Thursday nights I can honestly say, “I had such fun at the nursing home!” I volunteer a couple of hours on Wednesday mornings with the “grandparents”. When my children were very small, I would tell them, “Today, we are going to bless and love on some people like grandparents.” They knew we were going to see the elderly and make them laugh or read or play with them.  Several of these sweet “grandparents” have stolen our hearts.
            I believe the mission field can be in our own back yard, next door, down the street or where ever God wants it to be.  A few miles from our house, I have taken my little ones to a nursing home where they have been accepted with open arms.  These “grandparents” love the children, look for them each week and ask how they are.  We’ve given school pictures, crafts and our hearts to them every week.  It is such a blessing. 
            There is one, young woman who lives there with a brain disease.  At times she is not coherent, but at other times she knows exactly who you are.  She is unable to move.  She is unable to talk.  At times she doesn’t recognize us, but I have prayed that one day in Heaven, I will see this beautiful woman dance, sing and rejoice to the Lord.  My little five year old likes to play “pee a boo” with her.  This young woman, whom is unable to speak or move, watches with eyes and wonder at my little Matthew as he plays, dances and gently touches her hand.  She laughs.  Her room mate looked at me and said, “I have never heard her laugh.”
            What a cherished moment that once.  I continue to believe God uses her as an example for others to prayerfully thank God for their abilities to move around and think, but also to remind us of serving with a loving heart.  The good doctor Luke writes in the book of Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all those who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” What are you anointed for?
There are biblical accounts of women who God used to advance His kingdom. Anna fasted and prayed in the church, Priscilla spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Mary and Martha opened their house for bible studies being given the gift of hospitality, widows and women gave their money to God’s Temple.  The women who followed Jesus gave to Him food, lodging, caring for His every need, never thinking of their own possessions as they shared what they could do for him. 
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27). “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve, if it is teaching, let him teach, if it is encouraging, let him encourage, if it contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8).
“Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12-14).  We are called not only serve with our hands and feet, but with our hearts.  With pure motives and a sincere heart, we are to love the ones who are in need.  If you know of a need, do not neglect to supply what you have or pass the need on to someone.  If you are able to care, love, encourage, inspire, give, help or instruct, then do it with all of your heart. 
As examples of Christ, ambassadors in chains, we are to be a living, breathing epistles to the world.  I am aware the church has its own challenges, divisions, luke warmness and idleness.  But, I remember the words of Christ to Peter when asked what would happen to “the disciple Jesus loves” regarding the death Jesus portrayed to Peter, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:22). You follow Christ.  Pick up your own cross, think and obediently do the things Jesus has asked you to do with a willing heart and spirit.  Do not try to imitate what another believer does, it may not be your calling.  Do not worry about how much time is spend spreading the Gospel or another Christian’s lackaday attitude, you follow Christ.  Do not worry how much another woman gives; you give what God tells you to give.  Do not worry about another’s lack of study or worship, you worship, study and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  We are all in different seasons and times in our lives; different trials, testing and triumphs.  Do not compare your purpose, plan and testimony to another. 
Pray, seek God’s counsel, guidance and learn from the Word of God.  The plan is there; your purpose and talents are needed in the body of Christ.  Give what you have to the Lord with a joyful spirit, a thankful heart and watch how the Lord is blessed through your giving.

Pray out loud and CONFESS the Word of God:

            I am so thankful for the gift of these women mentioned in the bible.  I am so thankful I can study them and see how much you love your daughters.  Just as these women followed and gave what they had to your ministry, I pray I can give you what I have and use it for your purposes.  I pray the gifts you graciously bestowed on me will enhance your Kingdom, grow a harvest for you, be used for your Glory, and spread the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth.  I know we all have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying – then I pray he use it in proportion to his faith.  If I am to serve, let me serve; if I am to teach, let me teach; if I am an encourager, let me never tire of encouraging; if I am to contribute to the needs of others, then I pray I give generously; if I am called to leadership, let me govern diligently; if I am to show mercy, then I pray to be a woman who does it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8)
            Teach me to study so I may give a word in due season (1 Timothy 4:2).  Teach me to follow submissively behind you for I want your will, not my own.  Teach me to open my heart to new believers offering my home as a sanctuary for prayer, counsel, and praise.  Teach me to fast and pray when called by Your Holy Spirit to.  Lord, help me to tithe my money to your church and if asked to give more, open my heart for your generous spirit.  I do not want to hold onto the things of this world which are destroyed by rust and moth, but store up my treasures in heaven, secretly giving to those who are in need and giving you the glory (Matthew 6:19-21).  Help me to love the orphans and widows, loving those who are in need and not neglecting to care for those who are sick, troubled, diseased or held in bondages.
            Lord, show me how to use everything you’ve given me for your glory, withholding nothing for I do not want any obstacles or hindrances to stand between you and me.  I pray if I am new a Christian woman, give me godly Christian elders to observe, glean from, pray with and honor, lest I become conceited or puffed up with pride (1 Timothy 3:6) I pray I am a woman who can be entrusted and approved with the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:4). I pray to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bearing with my fellow believers, forgiving and putting on love, which binds everything in perfect unity (Colossians 3:12-14).
Lord, give me your spirit of wisdom as to when to volunteer, how much time to spend in your presence and how much time for my family (Isaiah 11:2).  I pray for balance, sound mind and the rest due after serving you and your kingdom (2 Timothy 1:7, Mark 6:31). For I desire you hear my prayers and offerings, that they are a sweet aroma to you bestowing all grace and honor to the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ the Messiah! I pray this in your precious Son’s name, the name above all names, Jesus of Nazareth. Amen.

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