FAITHFUL WOMEN, FAITHFUL GOD, Week 4

Who Do You Want In Your Corner?

The popular phrase, “Who do you want in your corner,“ comes from an analogy in a boxing ring. The fighter is out in the ring, doing the best he can to stay on his two feet. If he is hit so hard that he bleeds, stumbles, needs water or encouragement to keep going, he looks to those in his corner. The corner of the fighting ring that holds his stool, water, sponges, bandages and those people who would aid him, patch him back up, hydrate him and speak the words he needs to hear to battle on!

So, I ask you, “Who do you want in your corner?“

Abigail is someone I would want in my corner!

In I Samuel chapter 25, we encounter our next wheelbarrow rider, her name is Abigail.

The Bible describes Abigail as, “an intelligent and beautiful woman.“

In contrast, her husband is described as, “harsh and evil in his dealings.

From the first few verses of I Samuel 25 we learned that Nabal is wealthy. In fact the Bible says that he is, “very rich!” The community he lives in actually calls him, “A worthless fool no one can talk to.“

From the onset we see that Nabal is a fool who needs someone able to reason with him. He definitely needed someone in his corner!

Enter David…Abigail knew God had appointed David to be Israel’s next King. David was offended by the foolishness of Nabal. David and his men had provided care and protection for Nabal’s shepherds in the wilderness. David expected some kind of thanks and a gift in return. After all, he was to be the king!

Nabal responded with nothing.

Did David shrug his shoulders, throw his hands up and say, “Oh, well, no foul no harm!” No, David slipped into one of his weaknesses, his pride.

David was angered and sent out to pay back Nabal with harm. He set out with 400 men to make Nabal pay for the evil he had done! It would take a very wise woman to right this disaster.

Abigail was the woman for the job!

I Samuel 25:23-24

“When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off the donkey and knelt down with her face to the ground and paid homage to David. She knelt at his feet and said, “The guilt is mine, my Lord, but please let your servant speak to you directly. Listen to the words of your servant.

Abigail not only stands in Nabal’s corner, she steps into the wheelbarrow for him and risks her own life!

She speaks wise words on behalf of her husband. She humbles herself and demonstrates the respect toward David that her husband failed to demonstrate.

Abigail not only spoke words of wisdom to David she humbled herself by bowing before him, pleading for mercy and preparing food for he and his men! Abigail shows David the respect he is due and gives the gift to David her husband should have given.

That is someone I would want in my corner!

Not just someone who can tend to my cuts and bruises, but someone who demonstrates wisdom and action when I lack it!

In a world where most would walk past, stay quiet and pretend like they are oblivious, we could truly use God Believers like Abigail who step in to help resolve conflict!

Abigail jumps into the wheelbarrow and stands in the corner for her husband, her family, and her entire community.

Abigail made a positive difference when she stepped into the corner for her husband Nabal and helped stop the situation from escalating.

We can too!

I Samuel 25:33

Then David said to Abigail, May your discernment be blessed and may you be blessed. Today you kept me from participating in bloodshed and avenging myself by my own hand.

TRUTH BOMB

WE HONOR CHRIST WHEN WE STEP IN TO HELP RESOLVE CONFLICT!

I am thankful for Abigail and the example she sets.

Abigail‘s words both challenged and encouraged David! God wants his people to live in unity. We must pursue peaceful living and reconciliation, understanding that yes, we have differences, but we can ask for forgiveness wherever conflict exists and glorify God by striving for unity in the body of Christ.

We all need people in our corner who will encourage us to live in unity. We also need to be the kind of people, like Abigail, to stand in someone’s corner and help bring unity!

Speak Truth Love

FAITHFUL WOMEN/FAITHFUL GOD, Week 3

FAITH THAT PRAYS

What do you think of when you hear the word WAIT?

Have you ever waited for a package to be dropped on your front porch?

Seems like, especially since Covid, we have most everything delivered to our doorstep. Literally, from dog food to donuts, it can be ordered and dropped off at your front door. 

The big difference between ordering online with front door delivery, and actually walking into a store and buying it, is the WAITING. 

I think this alone could be one of the main causes for the rise in anxiety that we’ve seen in our culture. We must wait!

Sure, it’s convenient to scroll through all the choices available, displayed in bold and bright color, while you are still in your pajamas. Problem is, as soon as you click the send button you…WAIT!

I recently found myself doing exactly what I just described. I was planning an event at church to honor our ladies. I decided on the theme, I love a good theme! Now, mind you, this was year five of planning this annual event. And the number one rule of every good theme is, “Do not repeat it!” So, scrolling for ideas is necessary. I finally found it, ‘Sweet As Can Bee.’ Did you catch that play on words there? Bee for Be, in order to focus on HONEY! After pouring out another coffee pot after another at my women’s Bible study, I realized that my ladies love Tea. And what goes better with tea than honey!

My search turned into a frenzy as I began searching every site available for honey related items. I found honey vanilla tea, honey straws, honey buns, honeycomb chocolate, and naturally the decor must match!

I quickly found honeybee napkins, swag for the photo booth and the perfect table cloths to pull it all together! CLICK SELECT AND SEND!

NOW WAIT.

I waited. 

The candy arrived first and tested my self-control. Slowly but surely items kept arriving on my doorstep. Then, they stopped arriving. There were only two items left, and they were nowhere in sight!

I waited, and I waited, and I waited!

Nothing came.

A bit of panic set in! I had no swag for my photo booth and no table cloths for my theme to be clear for all to see.

Know it may seem like a small trivial thing to pray about, but I began to pray! I wanted it to be perfect for our ladies. I needed the swag and the tablecloths so the theme would come alive!

The night before the event arrived and I was still WAITING.

I have been praying and still I was missing what I considered the two most important pieces to my plan.

Truth is, our plan is not always God’s plan!

So, because I had prayed, I was at perfect peace and let it go, right?

No, not at all, I was panicked! What can I do to make up for this terrible lack of theme?

I bought plain colored tablecloths as a back up and continued praying. I truly hoped I didn’t have to use them. At 8:35 at night the doorbell rang. My swag had arrived! I would be able to display the theme in writing across the photo booth backdrop! So, I finally stopped fretting about the table cloths?

Nope, I decorated that morning before the ladies would arrive and told everyone within earshot that my table cloths, which were perfect for my theme, had not arrived. 

The ladies arrived and the table cloths did not matter one bit. The gold ones that took their place looked great as they covered the tables where the honey treats sat. No one but me noticed the difference and the theme rang clear!

God had heard my prayer and He answered it! He knew what I needed, far beyond my knowledge of thinking I did.

While I was WAITING, He brought what I needed, the words of my theme, the swag for the photo booth at the last minute, in the final hour. He wanted me to keep waiting, keep praying, and most of all keep trusting Him! I needed to remember it was all about showing the women they were loved and not about a THEME.

Comedy Relief/Side Note…

The day after the event, the table cloths were WAITING on my doorstep!

God really does have a sense of humor!

The woman in the Bible who encourages us to pray as we WAIT, and demonstrates incredible faith in doing so is Hannah.

She is not only Faithful in Waiting, she is also faithful in prayer!

In the book of I Samuel we encounter the story of Hannah. She was married to Elkanah. She was not his only wife, but Elkanah actually had two wives. The name of his other wife was Paninnah. Paninnah had children and Hannah did not. Hannah was childless and her heart was broken over it.

I Samuel 1:10

Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears.

Hannah was waiting for some thing that she grieved over and had no control over. Hannah‘s greatest desire and what she longed for most and waited for, was out of her control. All she could do was grieve, wait and pray.

Through tears and pain she had pleaded with the Lord. As she waited and prayed and nothing came, she made a vow to God.

Making A vow, she pleaded, “Lord of armies, if you will take notice of your servants affliction, remember and not forget me, and give your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.

I Samuel 1:11

Hannah’s faithful life reminds us that God cares about our prayers and He is faithful to respond! 

TRUTH BOMB

No prayer to God goes unheard or unanswered!

Even when God does not answer our prayers the way we want Him to He hears our requests, loves us deeply, and answers them according to His great wisdom.

God knows what is best and right for us. His greatest desire for us is that we grow closer to Him! 

I prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked Him for, I now give the boy to the Lord.” I Samuel 1:27-28

God hears our prayers my friend! He answers each and every one of them according to his great will, plan and purpose. His plans and purposes are always best for us!

So even when the “tablecloths” arrive the day after, God knew the swag needed to arrive the day before.

Let go of the “ tablecloths” of life, the things we think are important, and cling to the “swag,” the words God deems important! 

I pray this encourages you to keep praying through the difficult issues in life, like Hannah did, and let go of the unimportant pieces that can be let go of!

We really do need to learn to laugh at life circumstances when we can! 

Speak Truth Love

FAITHFUL WOMEN, FAITHFUL GOD Week 2

Anyone need encouragement?

Yes, please, I need it by the truckload! Just back up the truck and dump it all over me!

Sign me up! Show me where the dotted line is and I will put my signature on it! Plug me in and feed it to me intravenously! I need it on repeat and auto pay! I need it all the time, consistently and at times, moment by moment! I run on it, live through it and find my inner strength in it. Bring on the encouragement! Please don’t hold back!

That is my cry. How about you?

Are you ready for our next “wheelbarrow rider?” This woman of faith not only jumps in the wheelbarrow, she stands firm and strong inside of it with both feet firmly planted.

I am excited to introduce you to (drumroll please, as my grandson would say)

DEBORAH!

Today we move from the book of Joshua to the book of Judges to find our next woman of Faith! Deborah challenges us to be FAITHFUL as we become encouragers who encourage others to be FAITHFUL in who God made them to be.

In Judges 4:1-5 _we are introduced to the only female judge mentioned in the book of Judges. She was full of wisdom, confidence and leadership. 

Her wisdom is on display as she sits in a position traditionally held by men only.

“Deborah, a prophetess and the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at the time.

She would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to settle disputes.”  

Judges 4:4-5

Deborah’s FAITH in who God made her to be was strong. She willingly “gets into the wheelbarrow” and uses her gift of wisdom to direct and guide others in God’s path.

This assuredly makes her a “wheelbarrow rider” as this position is traditionally held by a man.

Her confidence is clearly seen as she calls Barak, the leader of Israel’s armies, to remember the call God put on his life.

“She (Deborah), called Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “Hasn’t the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you: “Go, deploy the troops on Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men…”  Judges 4:6-9

The FAITH of Deborah, displayed in her confidence in what God had commanded, allowed her to boost the FAITH of another, Barak!

Deborah did not only display her FAITH in God and His call on her life and the life of another, but she demonstrated even greater FAITH as she encouraged Barak through God’s call on his life!

Her Leadership is not only demonstrated as she encourages another into exercising their FAITH, Deborah is willing to put her FAITH into action! 

“Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go…, “I will gladly go with you she said.” Judges 4:8-9 

Deborah steps into the wheelbarrow with him and encourages him to live out his FAITH in God!

Because of the encouraging FAITH of Deborah we not only have one “Wheelbarrow Rider,” we have two!

TRUTH BOMB

OUR FAITH IN GOD LIVED OUT IS AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO THOSE AROUND US!

Who needs your FAITH demonstrated through encouragement today? 

Who in your life encourages you by their FAITH and steps into the “wheelbarrow” of life alongside you? 

Let’s ask God to help us encourage those around us and thank Him for those who FAITHFULLY encourage us by their FAITH!

See you back here next week as we uncover our next wheelbarrow rider.

Speak Truth Love